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Frettens recommended again in Legal 500

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Frettens recommended again in Legal 500

This year’s Legal 500, the leading independent guide to law firms, was published yesterday and Frettens was once again recommended as one of the region’s leading law firms.

The Legal 500 is an independently researched guide to law firms in the UK. It 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.

"Client feedback means the most"

“To be recommend in the Legal 500 again is great. In the legal sector, I know that LinkedIn posts will be shared, press releases drafted, and backs slapped, but the wonderful comments from clients, after the year they have had, mean the most to us." said Managing Partner, Matt Fretten.

"It has been a challenging year for many of our clients. For them to take time out not only to respond to the survey, but to say such wonderful things about the service they have received, makes you really appreciate the relationships we have with them, and the work our team have put in to deliver that level of service.”

New faces make the list for the first time

As well as being recommended as a firm, six of Frettens’ teams and a total of seventeen lawyers were listed in the guide.

Anna Curtis, Will Bartley, Kerri Hunter and Kerry Martin were recognised for the first time.

Karen Edwards was, once again, recognised as a rising star in Corporate & Commercial Law, in the year she was appointed head of the team.

You can read the guide’s recommendation of each of our teams as well as a selection of the best client comments below.

Corporate and Commercial

At Frettens LLP, clients include businesses in the sports, care and technology sectors, but the group has particular experience in advising property-based investment and manufacturing companies. Active areas for the 'excellent' group include company reorganisations, as well as management buyouts, share buybacks and M&A. The department is led by 'phenomenal' managing partner Matthew Fretten and includes associate Karen Edwards, who has developed a specialism in M&A relating to veterinary practices.

‘To a person, they deliver a first-class service.’

‘Matthew Fretten and the team have been phenomenal this year throughout the pandemic, and when the rest of the corporate world shut down Frettens were still at the end of the phone and able to take care of our legal needs through their portal and e-sign capabilities.’

‘Matthew Fretten is my main point of contact at Frettens and he is always quick to respond and very flexible with his timings. I value his feedback and his team’s expertise.’

Wayne Spolander was again listed as a key lawyer in the team. Sarah Sillar, the one remaining team member not listed, joined after the submissions deadline.

Commercial Litigation

Frettens LLP's 'tenacious' dispute resolution department counts corporate, contractual, property and professional negligence disputes among its areas of expertise. The 'amazingMichelle Hayter leads the team and excels in director disputes and in acting for social housing providers.

‘I have found Frettens to be very approachable and clear in their advice. Having worked closely with them for the past 8-9 years I have found them to be tenacious and always clear in the direction to be taken. With Frettens you always feel you are in a very safe pair of hands.’

Willl Bartley was singled out for praise by one client:

‘Will Bartley at Frettens is a very level-headed influence with our costs recovery. He always appears to be available even for a quick chat about any situation without overcomplicating matters. Always gives clear advice and very easy to converse with. The best thing is that there is never an indication of trying to make a fee for no effort.’

Malcolm Niekirk, Head of the firm’s Insolvency Department, who works closely with the team, was also recommended.

Michelle Hayter was again listed for her worth in both commercial litigation and contentious trusts and probate.


Well-regarded in Dorset and Hampshire, Frettens LLP is known for its offerings to care and education sector clients. The team provides a variety of advice to SMEs,  including this year a large number of matters involving redundancies. It has also been building a base of manufacturing sector clients. Paul Burton leads the team from its Christchurch office. 

‘There is a team specialising in this area of law – the team members work solely in employment and HR work so are highly specialised. They offer an insurance backed retainer-based fee structure, giving certainty and the opportunity to clearly budget for employment issues. They are particularly experienced working for employers, including in highly regulated sectors.’

‘Paul Burton offers comprehensive and practical advice in a straightforward and easy to understand manner. He has legal knowledge but explains it in a client-friendly way. ’

‘Very personal touch feels like a family practice – always have time to help.’

Commercial Property

Frettens LLP is noted for its 'knowledge, experience and professionalism' in the commercial property space. The team has know-how in transactions involving hotels, restaurants, industrial and retail units as well as in matters relating to lease extensions and enfranchisements. It is led by Oonagh McKinneyBen Cobb and Niki Adkins. Fiona Knight gives 'excellent advice.’

‘Good team. Good experience for the area that we operate in.’

‘Friendly and efficient.’

‘Strong team, with a depth of knowledge.’

Kerry Martin was also named as a key team member.

Contentious Trusts & Probate

Michelle Hayter leads the contentious trusts and probate team at Frettens LLP which advises on disputes concerning inheritance, breach of trust, and undue influence support. Her practice focuses on high-value matters.

‘The team has extensive knowledge- if one member of the team is away, someone else will pick up queries. ’

‘Michelle Hayter is both knowledgeable, approachable and communicates effectively with us about the state of our case. She listens to us and our potential suggestions and tells us the pros and cons of what we say, telling us whether our proposition is viable. She has been both patient and understanding of our extremely long-running case.’

Anna Curtis and Kerri Hunter were also named as key lawyers in the team.

Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate

Lee Young and Heather Varley were once again named in the guide and Lee in particular received heavy praise from clients.

Frettens LLP offers a full set of private wealth services to its client base, which primarily comprises pre-retirement local business owners, the elderly, and local charities. It has also been expanding its elder law, including local authority care funding advice. Lee Young and Heather Varley lead the team.

‘Frettens have grasped what customers want and require from a law firm. The team is stable, experienced and yet friendly and approachable. They work with clients in a sensible and pragmatic way, adhering to necessary regulations in a professional manner but at the same time not being overly pedantic. They remember that the client is king and quote fixed fees for work, which is what clients want when paying for professional services. ’

‘As head of the team, Lee Young sets the tone that is reflected throughout the department. He is very experienced, both as a solicitor but also in trust taxation, and his technical knowledge is first class. Yet he explains matters to clients in a clear, simple manner and doesn’t create unnecessary complication. I feel he is on the side of my clients and looks after their best interests. ’

‘The team includes highly skilled individuals with a wide range of qualifications – legal, tax and multi-disciplinary. Speed of response is exceptional given that the advice is highly innovative and tailored to the client’