The committee supports the development of the future strategy of the section and enhancement of the services already offered to members. Committee members and their brief biographies are below.
Stuart Adams is an associate at Mishcon de Reya. He specialises in UK and international tax planning, in addition to general private client matters. He advises individuals, entrepreneurs, families and corporate entities, as well as the family offices, trust companies and other institutions supporting them.
Helen Clarke is a solicitor. She lectures regularly to solicitors on topics including wills, probate and elderly clients.
Melinda Giles is a partner at Giles Wilson LLP, a small high street firm with two Essex offices. She has worked in property and private client since 1987, has represented clients at mental health tribunals, has been a Court of Protection panel deputy for over 10 years, and is on the Mencap list of specialist solicitors providing wills and trust advice to parents of children with learning disabilities. She represents the Private Client Section on the Law Society Council.
Fiona Heald (chair) is an experienced solicitor working at Moore Blatch in the South. She now specialises in dealing with older clients and their issues, especially with regards to mental incapacity, applications relating to property and financial affairs at the Court of Protection, care fees planning and funding.
Kate Mahon (vice chair) is a solicitor and sole practitioner at Davidson Mahon Solicitors in Rugby, Warwickshire. Kate deals with all aspects of private client work, but has particular expertise in advising farming families and business owners with regard to their estate planning. Kate also gives seminars on making applications to the Court of Protection.
Gareth Marland is a legal director at Clarion Solicitors Limited. Prior to retraining as a solicitor, Gareth was a manufacturing engineer. He is particularly interested in family businesses, succession planning, and agricultural clients. He is a member of STEP and Solicitors for the Elderly.
Sarah Murphy is a partner at Brabners LLP. Sarah has always dealt with private client work and advises clients on a daily basis on matters including estate administration and probate, estate planning, wills, trusts, taxation, powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. Sarah has particular expertise in advising elderly and vulnerable clients and is a full professional member of Solicitors for the Elderly.
Alberto Perez Cedillo set up his own firm five years ago in Lincolns Inn, London, after practising as a dually qualified Spanish lawyer and English solicitor in London-based English firms for 20 years. He is the president of the British Spanish Law Association and council member of the International Bar Association.
Charlotte Crawford is a senior associate at Hugh Jones Solicitors and a full member of STEP. She specialises in wills and estate planning for clients looking to provide for vulnerable family members as well as the administration of trusts and estates.
Paul Clark is the managing director of Spall Clark Solicitors. He deals with all aspects of private client work but has a particular focus on complex estates (often involving an international element) and advising vulnerable clients. He is a full member of STEP, a director of a local law society, and a trustee of a charity for adults with learning disabilities.
Chris Claxton-Shirley is a solicitor at Tees, based in Cambridge. Chris deals with all aspects of wills, trusts, tax and probate work, including Court of Protection applications. He is an associate member of Solicitors for the Elderly and due to undertake a STEP diploma shortly.
Linda Dack is an associate solicitor and head of the private client department at Watkins and Gunn solicitors. Linda specialises in wills, powers of attorney, estate administration and inheritance tax planning for individuals. She is an accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly and a dementia friend. She led her private client team to win private client team of the year at this year’s inaugural Wales Legal awards.
Sophie O’Connell is a solicitor and leads the Court of Protection Team at Wolferstans Solicitors in Plymouth. Sophie works with a wide range of clients and their wider support network to assist them to manage their financial affairs, either under deputyship or LPA. Sophie also advises on Court of Protection matters and the Care Act.