ONE of the largest specialised niche law firms in the region has announced a change in ownership and management.

Anne Elliott and Andrew Way have retired as directors of Darlington-based Latimer Hinks, 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, Ms Elliott and Mr Way will continue to work in a wholly client-facing and client service role.

They joined Latimer Hinks in 1976 and 1977 respectively and have built a strong following and will remain serving their clients and supporting colleagues during the transition.

Ms Elliott 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, 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.”

Specialising in estate, wealth and tax planning, elderly client, capacity and agricultural matters, Ms Armstrong and Ms Palmer 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.

Martin Williamson is a specialist residential and rural property conveyancing practitioner.

He has spent the last 35-years working in Darlington and will continue to lead the company’s expanding residential property team.

Mr Wood’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.