Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has bolstered its private client team, and particularly its trust and estate disputes offering, with two senior promotions announced recently.

Richard Pike, in the private client team in Edinburgh, was promoted to partner. Richard advises individuals, professional trustee, insurers and financial institutions on a range of private client issues, particularly disputes about trusts, inheritance and tax. He acts for clients from all around the UK and internationally, with a focus on clients with business or family connections to Scotland, North East England and Yorkshire. This good news in Edinburgh was part of a wider raft of promotions across WBD's offices in the UK with 31 promotions including seven partners, four legal directors and 20 associates.

The firm also recently welcomed back Fiona McLaughlin from maternity leave, who has been promoted to managing associate. Fiona is based from WBD's Leeds office and her practice covers both contentious and non-contentious private client work.

WBD has a growing and highly regarded trust and estate disputes team led by partner Neil Long, who is based in London. The team now counts five specialist lawyers in its ranks, who are supported by members of the wider firm.

Last year Neil Long was featured in the prestigious Citywealth TOP 100 Trust Litigators List 2020, a guide which recognises individuals who have excelled in litigation and showed great skill in lateral thinking and in negotiating with opponents.

Neil Long, private client partner at WBD, commented:

"We have a significant trust and estate disputes offering with teams now based in our London, Newcastle, Leeds and Scottish offices and I am delighted by Richard's and Fiona's much deserved promotions which underline the growth we have achieved in this space. Whilst COVID-19 has made geography less of a concern for many of our clients, the team's presence across more parts of the UK is indicative of the growing demand we have seen for advice in this field and the excellent service that our team provides to our clients."

Fiona McLaughlin, managing associate at WBD, added:

"I am absolutely delighted with my promotion to managing associate, which I was able to achieve whilst on maternity leave. This highlights WBD's commitment to supporting its female staff with their journey through motherhood, without it impacting on career progression."

"Contentious private client work has been a feature of my practice since I joined our private capital team on qualification in 2013 and I am excited to have the opportunity to put even greater focus into helping our clients resolve disputes, whilst continuing my estate planning work. I believe the skills I have developed in both areas are mutually beneficial, and will help ensure that WBD's clients achieve the best possible outcomes. I am really excited to be working with the team and I will certainly be learning from two of the best in the field with Neil's and Richard's impressive track record, as well as Rosie Taylor in London who is already showing herself to be a rising star and who has been singled out for recognition in the legal directories."

WBD's private client team was ranked highly in the latest editions of Chambers and Partners High Net Worth (HNW) and Legal 500 guides. The team is praised by clients for delivering "absolutely first-class advice on a wide range of issues" to HNW individuals in the UK and overseas with teams drawn from across the firm's offices.

The guide also recognises ten of the firm's private client lawyers as 'leading individuals'. The guide highlights WBD as "the go-to firm" in the North East and Yorkshire, "one of the best private client teams in the West" for high-end private client work, and highlights WBD in London for "handling complicated cases with ease".