Thornes the Solicitors

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Staff Profiles

Gerald Thorne - Solicitor

Gerald Thorne


Gerald is a Director of Thornes and Head of the Family Department. He has been practising in Family & Criminal law for over 25 years. Gerald’s areas of expertise include:

  • Disputes involving children (Residence, Contact, Grandparents rights)
  • Domestic Violence
  • Disputes between Families and Social Services

Gerald has extensive experience in helping families where their children have been removed by Social Services and taken into Care. Gerald is a Member of the Law Society’s Children Panel. Gerald has also spent many years assisting the victims of Domestic Violence and is an Executive Member of the Black Country Domestic Violence Forum.

Gerald is a keen cyclist and enjoys dog walking and socialising with family and friends.

Tracy Davis - Solicitor

Tracy Davis

Director, Head of Client Services, Family Mediator

Tracy is a solicitor, Mediator and Director of the firm and has been with Thornes since 1992. Tracy is committed to high levels of client care and is the firm’s head of Client Services. Tracy’s areas of expertise include:

  • Disputes involving Children (residence, contact, grandparents rights)
  • Domestic Violence Injunctions
  • Disputes between Parents and Social Services and Care proceedings
  • Adoption proceedings and Special Guardianship orders
  • Separation and Divorce
  • Family mediation

Tracy has extensive experience in dealing with all aspects of family breakdown. She has also assisted many parents whose children have been removed from their care by Social Services. Tracy is a qualified Family Mediator and a member of the Family Mediation Association. Tracy is also a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel.

In her spare time Tracy enjoys swimming, travel and music. Tracy is a Governor of a local Wolverhampton school for children with special needs and is also an Independent Cost Assessor for the Legal Services Commission. Tracy is President of Wolverhampton Law Society (2013-2014).

Alison Westwood - Solicitor

Alison Westwood

Director, Head of Private Client Department

Alison qualified in 1995 and joined Thornes in 2005. Alison is a member of the Private Client Department, assisting clients in the following areas:

  • Wills and Probate
  • Court of Protection and Inheritance Claims
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • Home visits available in the Wolverhampton Area

Having a background in litigation and having worked in the Family Department for some years, Alison combines her people skills and litigation skills to bring a sensible approach to a sensitive area of law.

Alison is a keen tennis player and enjoys singing with a local choir. She also serves as a Director on the board of a women’s charity.

Mike Kelly - Head of Private Client Department

Mike Kelly

Mike qualified as a solicitor in 1975, joined Thornes in 1989 and became a Partner in 1991. Following retirement from the partnership in 2012, Mike has remained with the firm as a consultant and assists clients in the following areas:

  • Wills and Probate
  • Inheritance Tax avoidance
  • Preservation of Assets
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney/Court of Protection
  • Inheritance Claims
  • Home visits available in the Wolverhampton area

In addition to many years experience in the above specialities, Mike practised for much of his career in divorce and family work which led to accreditation to the Law Society’s Family Law Panel. Mike’s background in litigation, combined with his current area of practice, makes him particularly qualified to handle cases in the expanding field of applications to the Court of Protection and Inheritance claims.

Local history, walking, music and languages are some of Mike’s interests.

Rob Sherrey- Head of Matrimonial Department

Rob Sherrey

Head of Family Department

Rob joined Thornes in January 2014 and now heads up the Family Department.  He has extensive experience in all aspects of Family Law to include:-

  • Divorce and Separation
  • Pre-nuptial agreements
  • Financial disputes
  • Co-habitation matters
  • Children Issues to include contact and residence disputes

Before becoming a solicitor Rob spent 9 years working in the motor trade being promoted through the ranks to become Dealer Principal (BMW motorcycles).

Having decided that a career in the law was what he wanted, he studied part time whilst working full-time.  Rob secured a training contract at a local firm and gained experience there before spreading his wings to pastures new in Worcester. He has now returned to the Black Country to carry on the good work.

He is a committed member of Resolution and has specialist accreditation in Cohabitation and Financial Provision.  In his spare time, Rob enjoys cycling and rugby.  He is married with 3 children.

Michelle Knight - Solicitor

Michelle Knight

Property Department

Michelle qualified as a solicitor in 2006 and joined Thornes in 2013.

Michelle has a wealth of commercial and residential property experience. She is the former Editor of the Chartered Institute of Housing - an online manual for property. She is also a regular plenary and workshop speaker on all aspects of property.

Michelle's areas of expertise include:-

  • Sales and purchase of commercial and residential property including the sale of goodwill for businesses
  • Residential property development
  • Landlord and Tenant matters
  • Residential conveyancing including matrimonial transfers, lease extensions and re-mortgages

In her spare time Michelle enjoys socializing with friends and family and long walks in the country.

Matthew Kelly - Solicitor

Matthew Kelly

Private Client Department

Matthew joined Thornes in 2006 and qualified as a solicitor in 2007.

As a member of the Private Client Department Matthew specialises in:

  • Wills: Advice and preparation of a range of Wills to cover all family circumstances and potentially help reduce the impact of care home fees
  • Administration of Estates: Assisting and advising families in administering a variety of estates including advice on mitigating Inheritance Tax liability
  • Preparation of Lasting Powers of Attorney, registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney and Deputyship applications
  • Estate property sales and transfers of ownership
  • Home visits within the Wolverhampton area available

Matthew is a member of the Law Society Private Client Section and is a full member of STEP (The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) the worldwide professional association for practitioners dealing with family inheritance and succession planning.

In his spare time Matthew enjoys playing football, running and travel.

Sonali Obhrai - Solicitor

Sonali Obhrai

Family Department

Sonali joined Thornes in 2008 and qualified as a solicitor with them in 2010. She is an enthusiastic member of the Family Department and her areas of expertise include:-

  • Disputes relating to children
  • Injunction proceedings - non-molestation orders and occupation orders
  • Divorce and financial settlements

Sonali is a member of the Junior Lawyers Division and in her spare time she enjoys reading and socializing with friends and family. Sonali is also a volunteer for a children’s charity, giving her time to man the help-line.

Ben Thorne - Solicitor

Ben Thorne

Family Department

Ben is proud to have become the fifth generation of the Thornes family to climb the Lich Gates steps when he qualified as a solicitor in March 2011. He first joined Thornes in 2007 after graduating from the University of Sheffield. He completed his legal studies at the Birmingham College of Law alongside gaining further experience as a paralegal at Thornes.

He is now an established member of the family department. His energetic approach means he relishes the challenge of representing parents in all family disputes.His areas of expertise include:

  • Cases concerning parents involved with the children’s services.
  • Disputes involving children (residence and contact cases
  • Injunction proceedings.

Ben has taken his enthusiasm into his role with the Wolverhampton Junior Lawyers Society for the past 3 years when he has actively raised money for local charities, including organising the now annual football tournament between local firms.

Maggie Harrison - Mediator

Maggie Harrison

Maggie qualified as a Family Mediator in 1999. She completed her training as a child consultant mediator in 2011. Maggie joined forces with Thornes in March 2013. She specializes in children’s issues and is highly experienced in complex children cases.

Maggie chose to be a mediator because, having worked in the family law arena for so many years, she felt strongly that in the majority of cases, litigation is not the right approach and can actually make the situation worse, with the child ultimately losing out.

In her free time Maggie loves to travel especially if this involves wildlife, having recently returned from India where she was privileged to see tigers. She also considers herself to be very lucky to be one of the few people to have seen the Spirit Bear in British Columbia. Maggie is also passionate about horses and rides most days.

Shila Patel - Property Executive

Shila Patel
Property Executive

Property Department

Shila joined Thornes 25 years ago and, since then, she has accumulated a wealth of experience and knowledge in a variety of property matters. She is a valued member of the Property Department where she specialises in the following areas:

  • Freehold residential sales and purchases
  • Probate & matrimonial sales and purchases
  • Re-possession and Right to Buy transactions
  • Transfer of property subject to mortgage
  • Re-mortgages
  • Matrimonial transfers

In her spare time, Shila’s interests include music and cooking.

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