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Four Senior Solicitor Promotions at Wilkin Chapman

The largest law firm in Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire has promoted four new senior solicitors across its Lincoln, Grimsby and Beverley offices.

The new senior solicitors will strengthen the firm’s commercial property and debt recovery teams.

Commercial property lawyer, Gillian Smith, has been promoted in Wilkin Chapman’s Lincoln office. Meanwhile, in the Grimsby office, debt recovery expert Amber Aisthorpe has been made senior solicitor, alongside commercial property expert Tom Furneaux, and commercial property litigator Hannah Loft, who will split time between the Grimsby and Beverley offices.

Gillian Smith joined Wilkin Chapman’s Commercial Property team in Lincoln in 2020 having moved from a local regional firm. She deals with freehold and leasehold sales and purchases, commercial landlord and tenant matters and secured lending and refinancing. She has now been promoted to the role of senior solicitor.

Senior Solicitor, Gillian Smith said:

“I originally started working in residential property before I started my training contract. Moving to commercial property was therefore a natural progression. I love working on more complex matters, such as complicated leases and developments. There’s a lot of variety and plenty to challenge me.

“At the moment the cost of living and higher mortgage rates are having an impact, but we remain consistently busy.”

With more than a decade of experience at Wilkin Chapman, Amber Aisthorpe is a debt recovery specialist who works with local authorities to recover unpaid taxes and settle insolvency and adult social care disputes.

Senior Solicitor, Amber Aisthorpe said:

“With the cost of living crisis, everybody’s owing more and more money. I deal with local authority debts, specifically recovering unpaid taxes and adult social care charges.

“With council budgets stretched, it’s important that they can reclaim any money that’s owed to them so they can spend it on public services. There can be tricky situations where people intentionally dispose of their assets, meaning the local authority has to then pay for the care provided to that individual.”

“It’s been a long journey from joining after my A Levels in 2009 to qualifying and now gaining a promotion but I’ve been supported by the firm every step of the way.”

Hannah Loft grew up in Broughton, near Brigg, and gained her 2:1 LLB Honours in 2015 from the University of Birmingham. In the same year she joined Wilkin Chapman as a paralegal in the commercial property department, before qualifying as a dispute resolution solicitor in October 2020. Now a specialist in commercial disputes and property litigation, Hannah has been promoted to the role of senior solicitor.

Senior Solicitor, Hannah Loft said:

“I’ve been based in Grimsby for the most part of my time at Wilkin Chapman, and recently I’ve started splitting my time between the Grimsby and Beverley offices, as we try to build up the disputes team in East Yorkshire.”

“The Beverley disputes team is relatively new – consisting of a senior solicitor and a newly qualified solicitor who have both joined the firm in the last six months. We’re  trying to grow and develop the team to expand our offering both on the north and south banks of the Humber.

“My expertise is in commercial litigation, but predominantly, I’m a property litigator. My particular specialism is dealing with large property portfolio clients and estates, as well as nationwide developers and housebuilders, so anything property related, which hasn’t really been available at the Beverley office before.”

Tom Furneaux joined Wilkin Chapman’s Grimsby office in 2012 as a trainee legal executive and has been promoted to senior solicitor after over 10 years with the firm. Tom is part of the Commercial Property team in Wilkin Chapman’s Grimsby office and specialises in new build housing site set ups, infrastructure and utility agreements. The property market has been in the news a lot recently, with house prices suffering their sharpest drop since 2009 last month, but Tom isn’t noticing as big a slowdown in the market as many first expected.

Senior Solicitor, Tom Furneaux said:

“There is no doubt about it, there has been a downward shift in the number of properties being sold due to the increase in interest rates, but it hasn’t dropped off as much as people initially expected. Despite the fact that interest rates are going up, they appear to be starting to level off now and people still need to buy and sell properties, with new builds still providing a really attractive route onto the property ladder.

“Having started out as a trainee, progressing all the way up the firm to senior solicitor is a really nice feeling. For those that are just starting out I hope it shows that if you carry on and persevere then you can succeed.”

With over 400 partners and staff located across a network of legal offices in Grimsby, Lincoln, Beverley and Louth, Wilkin Chapman is the largest law firm in the Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire area and it ranks as the 111th largest firm in the UK, with offices in Grimsby, Lincoln, Beverley and Louth. Wilkin Chapman provides trusted legal and insolvency advice to both private and commercial clients who are based locally, nationally and internationally.

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Wilkin Chapman’s position at number 111 in the Lawyer’s Top 200 UK Law Firms for 2021 sees it retain its place as the leading law firm in Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire with an unrivalled breadth and depth of expertise and experience. With over 40 partners and more than 400 members of staff located across a network of legal offices in Grimsby, Lincoln, Beverley and Louth, the firm provides trusted legal and insolvency advice to both private and commercial clients who are based locally, nationally and internationally. The firm is also extremely proud of its rankings in the Legal 500 2023, which is the most comprehensive directory of global law firms. Using extensive research combined with clients’ experiences, Legal 500 has ranked Wilkin Chapman as amongst the best there is in the UK in 14 specialist areas, with a plethora of lawyers and partners praised for their excellent expertise, innovative approach and client service. Wilkin Chapman’s strength in key sectors including housing and development, agriculture and food, energy and renewables, tourism, and local government is supported by its expertise in employment, corporate and commercial and real estate as well as all aspects of private client work. The firm adopts a holistic approach to providing professional legal services, but always with the client at its very heart. The firm is also listed within several other leading UK legal directories and received awards for the quality of its work, including: The Chambers UK 2023 guide – Wilkin Chapman received twelve practice area and solicitor recommendations. In 2014, the firm’s specialist and nationally recognised debt recovery and insolvency department achieved ISO9001:2008 certification. In 2020, the firm was awarded the Armed Forces Covenant Gold award which recognises the outstanding support for our armed forces from employers.

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