Meet the Wills, Trusts & Estates Team with Paul Nickalls


What is your role in the team and how long have you been at Sintons?

I am a Partner in Sintons. I head up the firm’s specialist Wills, Trusts and Estates Team, as well as being responsible for the 31-strong Private Client department as a whole. I joined the firm in December 2014.

Tell us about your career to date…

I went to university in Norwich, spending one year in Holland as part of my course, and then completed by training contract back in Norfolk. I am from the North East and returned to my home region to take a role in a law firm here.

I have been a private client specialist lawyer for over 20 years now and have held senior roles in two nationally and internationally renowned law firms, Womble Bond Dickinson and DWF.

What attracted you to Sintons?

Sintons is a Newcastle firm which primarily works with North East people, it is very committed to this region and has an extraordinarily strong client base here.

Significantly, Sintons has always been dedicated to developing its private client offering at a time when other firms were scaling back their teams, or even abandoning that service altogether.

Sintons has a rare mix of being big enough to do the most sizeable and complex cases properly, while still being small enough to care about each client’s particular needs and concerns.

What does your role involve?

As head of the Wills, Trusts and Estates Team at Sintons, I am responsible for the supervision and development of everyone within the team, particularly the more junior members.

We have recruited continually throughout my time here and have some people who are still quite new to the team, so it is great to see everyone supporting the newer people and to help them develop and thrive. I am also responsible for overseeing the trainee solicitor recruitment and development programme.

In addition to my role in leading the team, I am also heavily involved in client work and handle the full spectrum of private client matters including wills, trusts, administration of estates and Court of Protection matters. I am a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and I am a full accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly.

I am a member of the Northumbria University Law School Advisory Panel offering advice on curriculum content and identifying areas for ongoing development.

What have been your personal highlights to date?

My aim when I joined Sintons was to preserve all that was good about the private client team – the outstanding reputation, unrivalled personal service, legal excellence – but to bring in fresh new talent to help strengthen it even further. It is a real highlight for me that I think we have achieved that. We have a genuinely excellent team with first class lawyers who go above and beyond what is expected of them every day for their clients.

We are now rated as one of the leading specialist private client teams in the North of England by both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners and we were named the Private Client Team of the Year at the Northern Law Awards in 2019.  This year we have been shortlisted for Private Client Team of the Year in the Legal 500’s Northern Powerhouse Awards alongside some leading national and international firms.

The award-winning Wills, Trusts & Estates team is one of the most highly-rated in the North of England. What are the advantages of being part of it?

We are renowned for the quality of legal advice and personal service we offer, but I think a distinctive feature about Sintons is our team – we are very dynamic and committed, and absolutely focused on delivering what our clients want and need.

We offer a wide range of services and have expertise across the board, and this is a place where lawyers at all stages of their careers can come and still learn new things.

How does Sintons differ from other firms you have worked in?

The fact that Sintons is a full-service firm operating from one single site is a definite advantage and aids close cross-departmental working. Our team works very closely with other departments within the firm – closer than in any other place I have worked previously – and it helps that experts in other areas of law are always on-hand if you need to refer anything.

While this is quite a sizeable firm in terms of the number of lawyers we have here, with many recognised as leaders in their fields, Sintons is still of a size where everyone knows each other, and we have a friendly and co-operative working environment.

What are your interests outside of work?

My main love is travel. I have been to some fabulous places and I am enjoying ticking off from my bucket list as many ‘must see’ destinations as possible.

Aside from travelling, whenever I have the opportunity, I also love going to the theatre, watching films, reading – and I remain a reluctant gym goer!

Paul Nickalls is a Partner in charge of the Wills, Trusts and Estates Team and also heads up the Personal and Family department at Sintons. You can contact Paul at paul.nickalls@sintons.co.uk or on 0191 226 3640.


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