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Another milestone for Steele Raymond LLP in the latest Legal 500 Rankings


Steele Raymond has again been recognised by the foremost legal industry guide, The Legal 500, as one of Dorset and the South West’s leading law firms; this latest milestone in the rankings is the 18th consecutive year the Bournemouth-based firm has received the Top Tier accolade.

The latest ‘Top Tier’ ranking comes after a strong year at the firm, which has seen Steele Raymond welcome several strategic partner appointments, strengthening its legal teams across the board whilst continuing to promote newly qualified solicitors from its highly regarded training programme.

Commenting on the latest rankings, Chairman of Steele Raymond, Tim Stone, said:

“Steele Raymond has once again excelled in the Legal 500 rankings after another challenging and somewhat unpredictable year for many businesses.

“It is a testament to the hard work, resilience and complete dedication of all our team to ensure the best possible outcomes for our valued clients.

“As a firm, we continue to evolve and grow in a turbulent economic environment. We pride ourselves on our ability to serve – that’s what we’re here to do – providing outstanding client service day in and day out.”

Steele Raymond is ranked in eight practice areas in this year’s Legal 500 guide, whilst 22 individual lawyers are recognised for their work across the Dorset, Devon and Cornwall regions.

Of those, the six lawyers recognised by the 2022 edition in the elite “Leading Individual” category have all maintained this status in the 2023 edition. ‘Leading Individuals’ include chairman Tim Stone and partner Paula Eckton for their work in Corporate & Commercial, partner and head of dispute resolution, Peter Rolph, and three partners in the firm’s leading Property Group, head of commercial property Chris Twaits, Managing Partner Jennifer Rogerson and head of residential development, Emma Stainwright.

The firm has also doubled the number of ‘Rising Star’ lawyers at the firm to six. ‘Rising Star’ is an accolade given to lawyers who frequently appear in significant matters and are widely cited by peers and clients as having made significant contributions to practices.

Lindsay Halliwell (Family) and Johanna Hammersley (Pension Property Investment), and Alexandra Clapp (Commercial) all maintained their ‘Rising Star’ status, whilst dispute resolution specialist Alice Toop, property litigation solicitor Laura Offer, and corporate and commercial solicitor Shaun Guppy also received the accolade.

An in-depth review of the firm’s performance in the 2023 Edition of the Legal 500, alongside some of the standout client feedback, can be found below:

Corporate and Commercial

The 2023 Legal 500 guide recognised Steele Raymond’s Corporate and Commercial Group for ‘its expertise across both corporate and commercial matters’ and highlights the team’s focus on significant corporate mergers and acquisitions work across the Dorset, Devon and Cornwall regions. Chairman and Partner Tim Stone, and partner Paula Eckton are both, once again, recognised as ‘Leading Individuals’, whilst partners Nick Davies and Craig Hardman ‘handle a steady stream of mid-market M&A for SMEs and owner-managed businesses’. Senior associate Shaun Guppy is ‘strongly praised by clients’ and, alongside Associate Alexandra Clapp, are both recognised as Rising Stars in the team.

Collectively, the team is noted as providing a multifaceted corporate and commercial offering where ‘the two sides of the practice frequently collaborate to provide both corporate and commercial advice to long-term clients’.


‘It is a pleasure to be asked to compare Steele Raymond’s commercial team to other legal practices I have worked with because they are so exceptionally different and better in numerous ways; including their proactivity to communicate, ability to explain a complex concept or situation in lay terms, value for money and experience.’

‘The commercial team at Steele Raymond are characterised by their professionalism. Over the past few years, they have always dealt with enquiries and projects incredibly efficiently and mindful of cost considerations for small independent businesses.’

‘Shaun Guppy is still the best young lawyer in the South of England.’

Commercial Property

Steele Raymond’s Commercial Property Group maintained their top tier ranking and celebrated another successful year with three partners again being recognised as ‘Leading Individuals’.

The team is praised for its ‘ability to act and advise on every conceivable legal matter’ whilst ‘acting as experts in their field’.

Partner and head of the property group Chris Twaits ‘who is regularly sought out by commercial property investors’ retains his status as a ‘Leading Individual’ with one client citing, ‘Chris is always available, and his work is extremely thorough. You always know that you are going to receive the best advice.’

Alongside Chris Twaits, Managing Partner and commercial property solicitor Jennifer Rogerson is praised for her ‘retail landlord and tenant work, as well as investment and pension property investment matters’, and partner and head of residential development Emma Stainwright, ‘specialises in residential development matters acting on behalf of landowners and regional housebuilders’. Both also retain their status as ‘Leading Individuals’.

Working alongside Emma in the residential development team, partner Chris Dolan is regarded as ‘highly efficient and extremely knowledgeable’ and partner Christine Kessler-Robinson, ‘adds strengths in the development and education sectors to the team’s offering’.

After the launch of a specialist SIPP and SSAS pension property investment offering, senior associate and SIPP and SSAS specialist Johanna Hammersley is, once again, named by the guide as a ‘Rising Star’ and is described as ‘always one step ahead of the curve’.


‘This practice has a range of people and specialists who are able to offer high-quality information and knowledge; acting as experts in their field to give the best advice and facilitate decision-making.’

‘Chris Twaits leads the commercial property team, which continues to expand, due to their excellent work and reputation. Chris is always available and his work is extremely thorough. You always know that you are going to receive the best advice.’

‘Chris Dolan is highly efficient and extremely knowledgeable in all areas of residential development, and I trust him to assist me with all deals. He works tirelessly to make sure his obligations are met.’

Dispute Resolution

The Dispute Resolution team at Steele Raymond has once again maintained its top-tier Legal 500 ranking and is praised for the way it ‘works together in a seamless and cohesive way’ in commercial litigation. The team are particularly active in the areas of property and construction litigation, shareholder and director disputes as well as professional negligence claims and alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Head of dispute resolution, Peter Rolph, is described as having ‘unfailing patience and kindness while maintaining professionalism at all times’ and continues to be very popular among Dorset-based businesses and corporates. Peter is also the ‘go-to name for complex disputes and professional negligence claims involving accountants and solicitors’.

Clients praise Alice Toop, who is highlighted as a ‘Rising Star’ as ‘highly professional at all times’ and able to ‘maintain a cool and knowledgeable head in difficult times, with advice that is quick, clear and easy to follow’.

Senior associate and specialist commercial litigator Amelia Williams is praised for her ‘construction property and contractual claims’ and is recognised as a ‘Recommended Lawyer’.


‘Steele Raymond have a wide range of experts in various aspects of commercial litigation who work very closely together to ensure that the most cost effective and expert service are provided in both simple and complex cases. Their feedback and prompt and honest responses enable clients to make the best decisions in difficult circumstances even when they are not themselves experts in the commercial field.’

‘The Steele Raymond team stand head and shoulders above my experience of other competitors. In terms of value for money, peace of mind, kindness and generosity, they win hands down.’

‘Peter Rolph, partner and leader of the dispute regulation team took my case on personally and has put many hours in on my behalf with unfailing patience and kindness whilst maintaining his professionalism at all times, no matter how his patience has been tried. He has guided his team and directed them to help us in all the aspects of our complex case.’


Steele Raymond’s employment law offering continues to be ranked highly by the Legal 500, advising ‘an array of employers ranging from SMEs to multinational businesses’. Partner Peter Rolph is identified as a ‘Recommended Lawyer’ in the team and praised for his ‘representation of companies and directors in senior exits’.

Feedback for the employment team’s expertise covers both contentious and non-contentious matters and their ‘swift response’.


‘Peter Rolph was so calming and helped me fight the legal case.’

‘Steele Raymond are unique in that they provide the full services of a large LLP, but with a personal touch.’


After another year of growth, the firm’s Family team ‘flawless reputation’ helped them maintain their Tier 2 status and partner Lindsay Halliwell is once again recognised as a ‘Rising Star’. Comments for Lindsay describe her as ‘an absolute star’, ‘willing to go the extra mile’ and whose ‘client-facing skills are second to none’.

Partner and head of family Daniel Sanders is also recognised, and whose ‘knowledge of Family Law is outstanding’. He is also described as ‘approachable’ and has an ‘ability to reassure clients almost instantly’.

The team, which specialises in ‘both divorce and financial remedy cases’ is highly regarded by clients for being ‘well versed in the handling of both Children Act cases and prenuptial agreements, and TOLATA claims and financial matters’.


‘Lindsay Halliwell is an absolute star. She always adopts a sound, pragmatic approach to a case and her client-facing skills are second to none. Willing to go the extra mile, she is a pleasure to work with.’

‘This firm continues to have a flawless reputation in the area of Family Law. Their department covers all areas of Family Law and I would not hesitate to recommend any one of the firm’s fee earners.’

‘Dan Sanders is approachable and has an ability to reassure clients almost instantly. Dan’s knowledge of Family Law is outstanding.’

Property Litigation

Specialising in lease extensions, collective enfranchisement matters and supporting the growing footprint of Steele Raymond’s Property Group, the firm’s property litigation practice is described by the 2023 Legal 500 guide as sporting a ‘dynamic team with an in-depth insight into the needs of their clients’.

Recently promoted partner Hannah Dare is praised as an ‘exceptional lawyer’ who is ‘a complete delight to work with’ and ‘experienced in handling landlord and tenant disputes as well as leasehold enfranchisements’.

‘Rising Star’ solicitor Laura Offer is another ‘key contact’ and acts for clients in residential and commercial property litigation.


‘The team we dealt with struck that valuable balance between totally realistic assessment of the situation being faced and human consideration/understanding of the experience that had resulted in the position we were in.’

‘Steele Raymond are a dynamic team with an in-depth insight into the needs of their clients, especially those based on the South Coast.’

‘I have worked with Hannah Dare who is an exceptional lawyer and a complete delight to work with. Hannah works hand in hand with other members of the team to provide the highest quality of service to her clients.’

Private Client

In private client matters, the firm’s personal Tax, Trusts and Probate team is recognised for providing ‘the full spectrum of tax, trust and Wills matters’. Partner and tax solicitor Sue Adams is described as ‘the best private client lawyer in Dorset’.

Partner John Andrews is recognised as a ‘Key Lawyer’, and the team, which recently saw the appointment of partner Joe Spring, are praised for their ‘really exceptional private client team at Steele Raymond’ who ‘always deliver exceptional advice and are at all times professional and courteous’.

Associate solicitor, Harriet Dormer, who specialises in all aspects of estate administration and planning, lasting power of attorney, enduring power of attorney registrations and court protection applications is also recognised as ‘Recommended Lawyer’


‘Sue Adams leads a really exceptional private client team at Steele Raymond. They always deliver exceptional advice and are at all times professional and courteous.’

‘Sue Adams is the best private client lawyer in Dorset in my opinion. She is extremely experienced and also has tax qualifications to lean on so can cover all bases.’

Contentious Trusts and Probates

In contentious wills, probate and trusts, Steele Raymond’s specialist team offers a broad range of services with a particular focus on clients on either side of an inheritance claim.

Head of disputed wills, probate and trusts John Andrews is noted for disputes of will validity and interpretation, duties of trustees, breach of trust, proprietary estoppel and claims concerning attorneyship and the Court of Protection.

The Contentious Trusts and Probate Team continues to grow year on year and was boosted by the recent appointment of partner Louise Maidment.

The Legal 500

Now in its 36th year, the Legal 500 is widely acknowledged as the world’s most extensive legal referral guide. Used by commercial and private clients, corporate counsel, CEOs, Financial Directors and professional advisers –nationally and internationally – the series is generally accepted as offering the definitive independent opinion on UK and International law firms.

The Legal 500 is an independent guide, and firms and individuals are recommended purely on merit. Rankings are determined by the Legal 500 through a combination of submissions made by solicitors demonstrating the quality and depth of their work and client base, as well as independent interviews carried out with clients.

The Legal 500 Steele Raymond firm rakings summary can be found here >

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