A HOST of top Dorset lawyers have been listed in an annual guide to the profession’s elite.

Bournemouth-based Steele Raymond is listed in the Legal 500 as one of the region’s top tier firms for the 17th consecutive year.

Chairman Tim Stone said: “To have received such an excellent Legal 500 listing after a challenging and unpredictable year is tremendous. Although we as lawyers take note of these results and those of our peers, our clients remain at the heart of everything that we do; the comments and recommendations submitted by them to the Legal 500 are what we all really appreciate and take a great deal of satisfaction from. They are ultimately the judge of how we are performing.

“As legal professionals, it is my firmly-held belief that we are here to serve, to provide insight, guidance and support to our clients through both good and bad times and, irrespective of personal accolades and industry kudos, this is at the heart of what we do and why we do it.”

The firm is ranked in nine practice areas, with 20 individual lawyers recognised.

Those listed as leading individuals include Mr Stone and partner Paula Eckton for their work in corporate and commercial law; managing partner and head of dispute resolution Peter Rolph; and three partners in the firm’s property group, head of commercial property Chris Twaits, property partner Jennifer Rogerson and head of residential development, Emma Stainwright.

Lindsay Halliwell in family law and Johanna Hammersley in pension property investment maintained their “rising star” status, an accolade which also went to newly-appointed commercial law specialist Alexandra Clapp. Employment law head Deborah West is a “next generation partner”.

Bournemouth-headquartered Ellis Jones, with 160 staff in six offices, was rated in business services; commercial litigation; commercial property; contentious trusts and probate; employment; family; and private client work including wills, trusts and probate. It was in tier one for commercial law.

Head of dispute resolution Lauren Day was one of just four leading individuals in the whole region; Katie Taft was recognised as a next generation partner in family law; and praise went to head of employment/HR Kate Brooks; partner Matthew Clake; associate solicitor Maria Evans; joint heads of family Deborah Leask and Sean McNally; head of insolvency and business recovery Caroline Palacio; and senior associate solicitor Victoria Riddleston.

Nigel Smith, managing partner, said: “Recognition within the pages of the Legal 500 is a tremendous accolade. It is a highly respected and influential publication whose independent endorsement is much coveted within the legal profession.”

Blandford-headquartered Blanchards Bailey was listed for the seventh year running, endorsed for six practice areas with 11 individuals commented.

It was listed in for agriculture and estates; commercial litigation; contentious trusts and probate; employment; personal tax, trusts and probate; and family law.

The 11 individuals commended were partners Paul Dunlop, Jerome Dodge, Robin Cole, Laura Martin and Ben Jones, plus Sarah Dunlop, Lucy Mignot, Jane Eldridge, Emma Needham, Catherine Roberts and Julie Keogh.

Managing partner Paul Dunlop said: “A huge thank you to our valued clients who took the trouble to participate in the Legal 500 interview process and agreed to be named – a sure sign of their confidence in the firm.”

Lester Aldridge, based in Bournemouth and Southampton, was named a top tier firm in five practice areas and recommended in 13, with nine partners named as leading individuals, five as next generation partners, three associates as rising stars and 35 lawyers named.

Trethowans, which has offices in Bournemouth and Poole, was recognised as a top tier law firm for its services in corporate and commercial, licensing, personal tax, trusts and probate and personal injury & clinical negligence (claimant). It was recommended in several other areas.

Several partners were praised in the latest Legal 500, including ‘leading individuals’ Kelvin Farmaner and Bethany Blamire (insurance and regulatory) and Lucy Gleisner (corporate) as well as ‘next generation partners’ Emma Wilders-Pratt (family) and Mihiri Gajraj (private client).

Managing partner Mike Watson said: “The praise given by our clients is an incredible reflection of the hard work that our teams put in on a day-to-day basis, going over and above what is expected in order to deliver an exceptional service to our clients, especially during the difficulties of the pandemic. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to recommend Trethowans during the research process.”