A leading West Midlands law firm has announced two new appointments and a series of internal promotions.
Higgs & Sons, based at offices on the Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill, boasts more than 100 specialist lawyers and the moves are set to strengthen a number of the firm’s key departments.
Joining the Family team from Shakespeare Martineau is new partner Claire Darley, a qualified mediator with more than 18 years’ experience in family law.
Claire has forged a reputation for addressing complex finance cases with a commercially focussed approach. She has significant experience of assisting family businesses to preserve assets and is highly experienced in bringing and defending inheritance claims.
Claire has chaired the Family Law Committee of Birmingham Law Society for four years and is a member of the Advisory Group for the Family Section of The Law Society.
Head of the Family team at Higgs & Sons, Philip Barnsley, said: “Claire brings with her a wealth of experience and we are delighted to welcome her to the business. Her mediation expertise is second to none and she is renowned for facilitating conversation between families, enabling them to talk to each other in order to reach their own understandings.”
Also joining the Black Country firm’s Dispute Resolution team from Clarke Willmott LLP is Associate Beth King-Smith.
Beth completed her training contract at Ashfords LLP in the South West before joining Charles Russell LLP on qualification, specialising in property litigations. Her last three years have been at Clarke Willmott LLP, developing her practice area in contentious private client work in addition to servicing property litigation for agricultural clients. Beth is an associate member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists and will head up the firm’s offering in Wills, Trusts and Inheritance disputes.
In addition to Claire’s arrival as partner, Richard Saxton (Commercial Property), Simon Bond (Employment) and Kirsty McEwen (Private Client) have been promoted internally to partner.
Richard specialises in a wide range of commercial property areas, including asset management, real estate finance and sales and disposals. He has been with Higgs & Sons for two years, and prior to joining, worked at a Birmingham based international law firm for 10 years.
Simon Bond qualified in 1995 and joined the employment team in 2012. He is experienced in advising managers and directors at all levels on a broad range of employment and HR issues, with particular expertise in providing advice on business restructures and on the termination of employment of senior executives. Simon is a member of the Employment Law Committee of the Law Society and a trustee of Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau. His work with Birmingham CAB was recognised by Birmingham Law Society in 2012 when he was named Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year.
Kirsty McEwen, who qualified in 2002, advises on all aspects of private client work, including wills, the administration of trusts and estates, Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection work. She specialises in advising individuals and their families on tax, estate and succession planning.
Kirsty is a specialist charities lawyer who has spent many years advising the charities and not for profit / voluntary sector on all aspects of their operations. She regularly writes and speaks on issues affecting the sector. Kirsty is a member of The Charity Law Association, The Ecclesiastical Law Society, the STEP Charities UK Special Interest Group and STEP.
Finally Sarah Potter has been promoted to associate within the Private Client team, where her work includes wills, tax planning, administration of estates, trusts and powers of attorney. Sarah is a member of the Law Society Private Client Section and STEP.
Paul Hunt, managing partner at Higgs & Sons, said: “The experience we now have within the firm is, I believe second to none.
“We have followed a strategy of appointing experts within their individual specialisms and aim to grow the team even further in the future to match the needs of our clients.”
Pictured, from left: Claire Darley who joins the Family team as partner, Head of Family Philip Barnsley, Beth King-Smith who joins the Dispute Resolution team, and Head of Dispute Resolution Julia Lowe