People: Shoosmiths boosts disputed wills and trusts department; Shakespeare Martineau adds to residential development team; and more

Laura Abbott has joined Shoosmiths to lead the firm’s disputed wills and trusts team in Birmingham.

Working alongside Kelly Carr, who joined Shoosmiths in August 2020, Abbott’s arrival means the national law firm now has a dedicated team based in and covering Birmingham and the Midlands.

Originally with Lodders Solicitors in Stratford upon Avon, and previously with Wright Hassall Solicitors in Leamington Spa, Abbott is a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the international professional body for advisers who specialise in inheritance and succession planning. She has also completed the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) training for contentious trusts and probate practitioners and is a member of ConTra, the contentious trusts association.

She said: “Disputes arising from contentious Wills and Trusts can tear families and family businesses apart and are very demanding in terms of time, money and emotion. I’m delighted to join Shoosmiths, being part of a team that appreciates how cool and objective legal advice together with sensitivity to all the emotional and commercial implications is needed to achieve a resolution in these cases.”


Kevin Joynes

Law firm Shakespeare Martineau has welcomed a trio of experts to its residential development team, including partner Kevin Joynes, legal director Fiona Martin and solicitor Joe Davies, located at the firm’s Solihull, Stratford and Birmingham hubs, respectively.

Joynes has more than 20 years’ experience working in private practice as well as client-side during his time as legal director at Bovis Homes. He provides cradle to grave support to developers and land owners, specialising in both immediate and strategic land transactions.

Strategic development projects specialist Fiona Martin joins the firm from Wright Hassall. She acts for clients in the acquisition, promotion and disposal of sites for residential and mixed use developments, with particular expertise supporting private landowners.

Solicitor Joe Davies assists on the disposal and acquisition of sites for residential development. he has experience acting for regional developers with a particular focus on disposals to Housing Associations and deals with complex lease transactions from both perspective of tenants and landlords.

Neil Gosling, head of residential development at Shakespeare Martineau said: “Each year we act on the sale of more than 5,000 plots and support clients with buying the land and securing planning permission for tens of thousands of homes.

“We now have more than 50 residential development experts across our national team and with the recruitment of Kevin, Fiona and Joe, continue to build our reputation as a market-leading team. We are working on larger and more complex projects for our clients, many of which have grown over the years and we’ve supported them on that journey with both legal and strategic advice.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Fiona and Joe to the team and delighted to have Kevin join us as partner.”

Azets, the regional accountancy firm and business advisor to SMEs, has made two senior appointments in its Midlands Tax team, welcoming Andrew Cockman as tax director and Ray Abercromby as tax partner.

Cockman has worked for three of the Big Four firms in a tax career spanning almost 40 years.

He joins Azets from AMC Tax Consulting where he was a tax director. He has extensive experience in UK inheritance tax, UK resident and offshore trust taxation, and non-UK domiciles.

Abercromby joins Azets from Smith & Williamson, where he has spent the last 14 years working on corporate reconstructions, creating and heading up a national specialist structuring team.

Prior to that, he spent 12 years with PwC. Abercromby specialises in M&A, corporate & shareholder reconstructions, and real estate tax, with a number of national and international property clients, and has led the tax work on several capital markets transactions. He has specific expertise in the drinks sector having held a number of non-executive positions with wine companies.

Clare Clifford, head of tax with Azets, said: “We welcome Andrew and Ray to Azets’ senior Tax team, which is growing rapidly as we continue to create a wide range of opportunities not just in the Midlands but throughout the UK. Andrew and Ray are two respected advisors with significant experience and are valued additions to the Azets family.”


Digbeth-based marketing agency Digital Glue has made four hires.

Joining the team is a lead web developer, senior account executive and two account executives.

Joining the team as lead web developer is Fabiano Carvalho, who brings with him 20 years of expertise.

Senior account executive Jack Lacy joins from a background in recruitment, previously working in software recruitment for various digital agencies.

Josh Tekin and Liv Gardner join as account executives.

Managing director Javan Bramhall said: ‘’Following the addition of six new client partnerships, we have introduced four talented new faces to the team in order to keep up with demand. Josh, Jack, Liv and Fabiano bring their own expertise within social media, PR, content writing and web development which aids in achieving excellent client results and allows us to continue to grow as a company.

“With increased demand for our services we are looking to further expand our team. Currently, we are recruiting for roles within Pay Per Click and account direction to continue to accommodate our communications clients. ’’