Local law firm, Latimer Hinks, one of the largest specialised niche law firms in the region, has announced a change in ownership and management at the firm.

Anne Elliott and Andrew Way have retired as directors of the company, stepping down as CEO and MD respectively. Business and managerial responsibilities have passed to the four remaining directors, Elizabeth Armstrong, Natalie Palmer, Martin Williamson and Adam Wood who, between them, have more than 80 years of experience, 58 of which are with the company.

Despite now stepping back from running the business, Anne and Andrew will continue to work in a wholly client-facing/client service role. They joined Latimer Hinks in 1976 and 1977 respectively and have built a strong following. They will remain serving their clients and supporting the whole Latimer Hinks ‘family’ to facilitate the transition and to ensure continuity and the development and growth of the business.

Specialising in estate, wealth and tax planning, elderly client, capacity and agricultural matters, Elizabeth and Natalie are well-established, respected lawyers in their fields. Partners since 2012 and then directors when the firm incorporated in 2015. Both have also already been actively involved in managing the business since 2015.

Together, Elizabeth and Natalie will continue to head the firm’s large private client team. Individually, Elizabeth, who is now the MD, joined the firm in 2005 and will continue leading the tax and trust department, a responsibility she has enjoyed since 2010. Natalie, who has spent all of her legal career with Latimer Hinks since 2000, will continue to lead the Court of Protection team, a role she has had since 2011.

Martin is recognisable as a local newspaper columnist and is a specialist residential and rural property conveyancing practitioner. Martin has spent the last 35 years working in Darlington and has a loyal following in his practice areas. He will continue to lead the company’s expanding residential property team.

Adam’s specialism is landed estates and commercial property work. He has succeeded to the role previously occupied by Tim Haggie who was with the business for 50 years and was managing partner of Latimer Hinks until Andrew Way assumed the role in 2015. Adam heads the Commercial Property team and is also a Notary Public.

Elizabeth, Natalie, Martin and Adam will continue to be supported by Neil Stevenson, who has 40 years’ experience and who specialises in agricultural property matters. Neil will continue leading the firm’s Farms and Estates Team.

Anne said, “This is another exciting stage in the development of Latimer Hinks. 2020 is the right time for Andrew and I to ‘pass on the baton’ in terms of ownership and responsibility for the management of the business and the growth of its reputation and brand.

“If there is a ‘golden thread’ which has been present since we joined the practice, it is that we and those before us have all shared a real love of the work we do and the company we have played our part in growing. It is extremely heartening to know that we are passing the company to those who share the same passion for the business and the Latimer Hinks’ core values.

“We have no doubt that Elizabeth, Natalie, Martin, and Adam are superbly well-equipped and more than capable of taking the business onwards and upwards. Individually, they have more than proven themselves in their fields of expertise and we know that they will continue to provide the excellent legal advice and services upon which we have been fortunate to build our reputations.

Elizabeth Armstrong, who is the managing director, said: “We are all excited about the future of the business as it moves into the next stage of its long life. Andrew and Anne are respected and experienced lawyers who have delivered a formidable record of service to their clients and the business and we are delighted they will be working with us in a client-facing role in the future.”