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Frettens expert lawyers recommended in the Legal 500

Frettens has yet again been recognised as a leading law firm on the South Coast in the latest Legal 500 rankings for 2023/24.

The Legal 500 is an independently researched guide to law firms in the UK. The guide is generally recognised as the largest and most in-depth survey of the UK legal market and is compiled based on client feedback and the complexity of cases handled.

The Headlines

The firm has remained consistent and held its positions across all of the different categories that we ranked in last year, including:

In addition, our Social Housing department were recognised for the first time alongside some of the largest firms in the South.

All in all, we ranked in 8 different practice areas, with many members of the team being mentioned; some for the first time.

The importance of independent feedback

“We are so pleased to have retained and built upon our Legal 500 rankings from last year, with more people from the firm being recognised than ever before.” said Managing Partner Matthew Fretten.

“We’re always striving to provide the best possible client service at Frettens, and the Legal 500 results are so important in measuring our success in doing so.

The feedback that we receive from the guide gives us an insight into what is and isn’t working, so we can continue making improvements.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Legal 500 survey this time around, we’re grateful for your feedback and thrilled to see that the responses are overwhelmingly positive.”

Another strong year for the commercial team

The firm’s Commercial departments received favourable rankings in the guide yet again this year, being praised for their ‘ability to apply common sense to transactions’ and ‘allowing the client to make their own decision’.

Karen Edwards, Matthew Fretten and Sarah Sillar were all recommended in the guide once again; with Karen being recognised as a ‘Next Generation Partner’ for the second year in a row.

And newcomers Paul Longland and Zoe Watson were both recommended, despite only joining the firm a year ago.

“Over the past few years, we have cemented ourselves as having one of the best commercial offerings in the South and one that rivals the larger, more regional firms.” said Matthew Fretten.

“When looking at our improved ranking in this area, the growth of the commercial side of the firm is clear.

This growth stems from our hardworking and dedicated team, who we are lucky to have!”

Social Housing

Our Social Housing team, headed up by Ben Cobb and Oonagh McKinney, was recognised for the first time this year; alongside some of the largest firms in the South.

The department handles portfolio acquisitions and transactional work involving leases suitable for development and use as social housing, with the team being described as ‘friendly but professional’.

The team also assists in litigation matters to resolve any disputes that arise in connection with social housing, and landlord & tenant disputes.

“We are delighted to have been recognised by the Legal 500 for our efforts in social housing, especially so soon after launching the specialist team.” said Commercial Property Partner Ben Cobb on the team’s inclusion in this year’s guide.

“The team was set up in 2020 with the aim to increase our social housing offering, which we certainly have, and we’re now at a point where we’re genuine competitors to the large regional firms that operate in this niche.”

‘Standout’ Commercial Litigation Team

Our Commercial Litigation team received high praise in the 2023/24 rankings, being commended for its ‘vast knowledge and expertise’.

‘Standout’ Head of Department Michelle Hayter was recommended once more, alongside frequent inclusion Anna Curtis.

“Michelle Hayter is a well-regarded solicitor, who I have always found to be approachable and efficient.”

Another addition is Olivia Parkinson, who finds herself in the Legal 500 for the first time; being described as a ‘key lawyer’. Olivia joined the firm as a trainee back in 2021 and subsequently qualified as a solicitor in September 2022, showing great promise.

“Frettens LLP have proven to be a very approachable and modern law firm serving a wide array of clients”, said one dispute resolution client.

Insolvency Partner Malcolm Niekirk also received acclaim under this section of the guide, being a ‘leading lawyer’ in Insolvency.


Employment Associate Chris Dobbs was included for the second year in a row, being singled out as an ‘approachable and talented employment lawyer’.

“Chris Dobbs is an excellent solicitor and I would highly recommend him. He prepares cases thoroughly and diligently and his hard work makes conducting trials as smooth a process as possible.”

Property team recommended

Oonagh McKinney and Ben Cobb were lauded for their efforts and ‘diverse knowledge’ in Commercial Property, in addition to Social Housing.

Other key lawyers include Clare Hallett, head of our prominent Conveyancing department, and Leasehold Property expert Niki Adkins.

Niki was promoted to partner in Summer 2022, heading up what is a consistently flourishing department.

Private client commendation

Our Wills & Tax Team, headed up by James Hammersley and Lee Young, were also recommended.

The team work closely with Michelle Hayter’s Contentious Probate team when matters turn contentious.

You can view the rankings on the Legal 500 website here.