Hugh James announces growth of private client team

Top 100 UK law firm, Hugh James, has expanded its Contested Wills, Trusts and Estates team with the appointment of senior associates Sarah O’Grady and Ryan Taylor based in Cardiff and London.

Sarah and Ryan are part of a ten-strong team, now one of the largest teams specialising in Contested Wills, Trusts and Estates in England and Wales, advising across the whole range of estate, trust and inheritance disputes for clients in the UK and internationally. The two new hires follow the arrival of Partner Victoria Jones, who strengthens the team at Hugh James’ Southampton office.

At the firm’s Cardiff headquarters, Sarah joins the firm from Clarke Willmott. Referred to as a ‘rising star’ by Legal 500, Sarah has many years of experience in will, trust and estate disputes and is a member of both STEP and ACTAPS. She brings expertise in agricultural estates, including proprietary estoppel claims and partnership disputes, and is a member of the Agricultural Law Association.

Ryan, who joins the team based out of its City office, likewise specialises in disputed estates and trusts and joins Hugh James from Anthony Gold, where he gained recognition as a key lawyer in successive Legal 500 rankings. Ryan qualified in Australia in 2011 and has specialised in private client law since then, originally advising on business and personal succession planning, as well as trusts for families and high net-worth individuals, before branching out into estate and trust litigation. Since settling in the UK eight years ago, Ryan cross-qualified and devoted his practice to contentious trusts and probate, practising in a Legal 500 London team for three years before making the move to Hugh James.

Partner Victoria Jones joined the team at the Southampton office in 2022, making the move from a South Coast based firm. Victoria has advised high net-worth families and specialised in contentious wills, trust and estate cases for over 20 years. She has also advised vulnerable adults and their families since 2006 in Court of Protection disputes, with a particular focus on cases involving elder financial fraud. Victoria also has an established niche charity legacy practice, which assists charities and trustees in both realising and protecting legacy income.

Victoria co-wrote Remember a Charity’s ‘Guide to Professional Advisors’ for drafting wills with charitable legacies and is a full member of the Association of Contentious Trust & Probate Specialists (ACTAPS); the Association of Women Solicitors and Charity Law Association.

Hugh James has bolstered its expanding team during an exciting period of growth. Last year the firm extended its service across the north of the UK through the acquisition of Potter Rees Dolan, a Manchester-based national catastrophic personal injury and clinical negligence practice, with strong Court of Protection and Welfare Benefits departments and the firm’s Contested Wills, Trusts and Estates team is now actively looking to bring in a senior hire to help develop the practice in the north and support the team there.

Head of the Hugh James Contested Wills, Trusts and Estates team, Roman Kubiak, welcomes the specialist talent to the team and confirms plans for recruitment in the North of England in 2023. He said:

“I am proud and delighted to be able to welcome Victoria, Ryan and Sarah to the team, all of whom are noted leaders in the field of contentious trusts and probate. Their hires are not only a direct response to the number and value of new instructions we are now receiving both nationally and internationally but also part of our strategy to bring on and retain the very best talent.

Our people are our greatest asset and, as we look to an exciting and ambitious future, I am keen to replicate our successes in Manchester.”

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