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LEGAL


Treble recognition for Paragon Law


Paragon Law, the Nottingham-based law firm, has scooped two international awards – alongside top marks in an industry rating system. It was awarded mid-market


Graeme Hills, head of legal services, and Adrian Reynolds, managing director of Ducan & Toplis


Duncan & Toplis expands with legal service practice


Duncan & Toplis has already made a name for itself in the accountancy world as a top 30 UK practice – and now it has another industry in sight after launching a legal services arm. The company, one of the largest accountancy and


business advice practices in the East Midlands with offices in locations including Loughborough, Melton Mowbray and Newark, has set up Duncan & Toplis Legal Services.


‘Our teams of experts are highly skilled and trusted by our clients’


The SRA-regulated firm will offer legal services for


businesses and individuals across a range of sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, leisure and tourism, property and construction. Services will be available to both existing and new


clients of the group, and will include all areas of company law such as deeds, company purchases and partnership agreements, together with regulated private client work. This will offer clients a complete wraparound service. Graeme Hills, head of legal services at Duncan & Toplis, said: “Businesses are often looking for a range of


services from one place of expertise, so it’s great that we can work with individuals, teams and shareholders with not only the financial aspects of their business, but any legal processes too. Our teams of experts are highly skilled and trusted by our clients, so it is a very natural fit for us to work with them on a legal basis too.” The new business, based in Grantham, will


complement Duncan & Toplis’ existing probate services, which provides will writing services, succession planning and inheritance tax advice. Joining the new legal services team is corporate


lawyer Paul Simpson. With 20 years in the legal profession, Paul will be


carrying out a range of legal work as a corporate solicitor and company director, working closely with Duncan & Toplis’ tax and probate teams to provide a range of services to clients. Adrian Reynolds, managing director at Duncan &


Toplis, said: “Expanding our legal offering to our clients is a natural progression for Duncan & Toplis, which will enable us to offer a seamless service for the businesses we work with. Our team of legal experts will provide businesses of all sizes, and their owners, with tailored advice to help them drive their business forward.”


business immigration law firm of the year by the Global 100 index, which ranks the world’s leading firms and individuals within their chosen specialisms. It also won the corporate


immigration law service provider of the year title for England awarded by Global Advisory Experts. In addition to the awards,


Paragon secured an “excellent” rating with the Law Society’s Lexcel quality benchmark for law firms in England and Wales. Lexcel sets the required


Standard in seven different areas: structure and strategy, financial management, information management, people management, risk management, client care and case management. Paragon’s practice manager


James Firman said: “This year was made all the more challenging due to the Covid- 19 crisis. We were already working on a more agile approach to working prior to the crisis, with remote and flexible working becoming more commonplace, but that can present challenges – especially when you are working to the exacting standards expected of Lexcel.”


Pandemic sees requests for equal shared custody rocket


The acceleration of agile working has led to an uplift in requests by separated families for arrangements that allow for equal care of children, according to the family team at Shakespeare Martineau’s Leicester office. Newfound flexibility arising from increased homeworking means more parents now want to alter existing arrangements, the firm says – while the majority of new agreements have adopted a more equal footing from the start. Equal childcare responsibilities is good news for


families, as the team believes it’s enabled “shared care” to truly mean “equal care” – a concept previously out of reach for many working parents due to the practical constraints they faced every day in traditional ways of working. Katherine Marshall (pictured), family law partner in Shakespeare Martineau’s Leicester office, said: “The pandemic has altered the way we live and work and, thankfully, there are positive outcomes.


“The move from office to home-based working


means children can more easily spend time with both parents. Putting the needs and wishes of the children first


when divorcing or separating provides a solid foundation for most agreements and this shift is good news for both children and parents alike. “Many couples who have reached an agreement may


now be prompted to revisit their current child arrangements to reflect their new ways of working. “Active and equal involvement from both parents


where possible is suggested for the benefit of the children, and we encourage separated couples to reflect on which arrangement is best for their children, in light of the new circumstances we are all living in. Now is the time to seize the opportunity to make positive changes.” In addition to an increase in amendments to


childcare provisions, the pandemic has also led to an uplift in enquiries about postnuptial agreements and separations, according to the team.


business network October 2020 65


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