Austin Ryder Legal

About Private Office Legal Services

Private Office
and Austin Ryder

Private Office Legal Services | Solicitors acquired Austin Ryder & Co. Solicitors in 2018.  Established in 1954 and providing long term and trusting relationships with clients across Hertfordshire.

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We have dedicated specialists across the following legal sectors

Real Estate

Dispute Resolution

Private Client

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With us, you get to meet your specialist legal team to discuss your case…

Meet the Specialist Legal Team

Private Office Solicitors

Phil Simmonds

Phil Simmonds


An experienced businessman, Phil gets involved first hand to ensure that the property team’s processes are streamlined to maximum effect meaning that no instruction gets left behind. Phil specialises in Litigation & Advocacy and he has Higher Rights of in the civil courts. Phil also takes on Company Commercial work which includes Mergers and Acquisitions, Partnership Agreements and Partnership Buy-Outs.

Michelle Simmonds

Michelle Simmonds

Head of Administration

Michelle is Phil Simmonds’ Personal Assistant, and is also the Private Office Group’s Company Secretary and head of Administration. She is an Associate Member of the Personal Finance Society (“PFS”) and is currently studying various financial services exams. Michelle enjoys riding her horses, keeping fit and ballet.

Anca Mitrana


Anca is Joint Head of the recently acquired practice Austin Ryder & CO. Solicitors. Anca specialises in Commercial Real Estate, Residential Real Estate and Private Client work. Anca qualified with a Legal 500 firm in London city and has continued to develop her commercial skill set within the Austin Ryder brand.

Leonard Scudder

Leonard Scudder


Leonard joined Private Office Legal Services in October 2018. Leonard is Joint Head of Austin Ryder Private Office Solicitors and is the Head of the Litigation Department, surveying the firm’s Dispute Resolution instructions whilst managing his own mixed caseload of company/commercial instructions.

Richard Hadley

Richard Hadley


Richard qualified as a solicitor in 1999 after graduating in Philosophy and Law at Birmingham University. Richard was latterly a Partner at a Top 200 UK Law Firm, and we are delighted that he chose to join our dynamic & growing team at Austin Ryder as Partner & Head of Private Client. Richard specialises in Trust Drafting, Trust Administration, Will Drafting, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate & Administration.

Bruce Crabb

Bruce Crabb


Bruce Crabb is a consultant at Austin Ryder Private Office Solicitors after having an impressive 51 year career with Austin Ryder & Co from 1968 and continues to do so with Private Office Legal Services. Bruce’s expertise is in both residential and commercial property transactions, and he has a wealth of experience drafting wills and managing estates and probate.

Victoria Morgan

Victoria Morgan


Victoria joined our team of lawyers in the summer of 2019. Victoria specialises in private client work, dealing with Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Probate & Administration of Estates. Victoria also has experience in real estate, dispute resolution and company commercial matters.

Abbie Marsh - Trainee Solicitor



Abbie joined our team in September 2019, having recently completed her qualifying LL.B(Hons) law degree, - gaining a 2.1 at the University of Hertfordshire. Abbie will commence her Legal Practice Course in February 2020 and will simultaneously being her 2-year Training Contract with Austin Ryder Private Office Solicitors with a view to qualifying into either the Private Client or Property team.

Private Office Practice Support

Annie Stubbs

Conveyancing Executive

Annie has been with us for over 23 years, and this is evident from her deep knowledge of the field and her exceptional case handling. Annie works and runs her own case load, heading up a team within the Property team to provide timely advice and proactive client care at each stage of the conveyancing process and has a particular proficiency with development/plot

Sharon Farman

Head of Accounts

Sharon Farman has worked for Austin Ryder since 2007 and has undertaken a broad range of roles and has proven herself to be an adaptable and hardworking member of the Private Office team. Sharon’s role is primarily as Practice Assistant and provides the Waltham Cross office Fee Earners with help in the day to day running of their cases. Sharon also plays a pivotal role within the internal accounts department.

Wendy Upson

Wendy Upson

Legal Secretary

Wendy Upson start with the firm in May 1979 and has continued her career with us ever since. Wendy’s focus and attention to detail means that she has gained a wealth of knowledge in each of the areas of law that she has worked. Wendy is most adept at dealing with instructions for the sale and purchase of property, wills, and dealing with probate matters. When she isn’t updating clients or assisting with fee earner’s work, Wendy enjoys gardening, socialising and going to West End Musicals.

Penny Moore

Penny Moore

Conveyancing Executive

Penny is a career conveyancer who has broadened her skillset through her career by working within and assisting other departments in commercial and dispute resolution contexts. Penny joined our residential property development in early 2019 uses her abilities to help push through substantial volumes of development work with great expertise and standard of care.

Weronika Rossa



Wroni joined our growing team in September 2019. She is an exceptionally enthusiastic graduate from the University of Exeter, having gained a 2.1 BSc.(Hons) in Physical Geography with Business modules. Weronika provides support predominantly to the Property Department fee earners and aspires to train to qualify as a solicitor. Wroni will take her GDL in Law during 2020 and then go on to become a Trainee within the firm. Weronika also provides some support to the Litigation and Company Commercial team.

Vincent Caratalla



Vincent’s role within the firm is to manage the increasing relationships that we have with our professional services partners, including accountants, estate agents, mortgage brokers and IFA’s who introduce clients to us. Vincent has worked with some of the major financial institutions in the City and has been us for 4 years – introducing clients to both with our law firm and our FCA Regulated stockbroking / investment management firm Private Office Asset Management Ltd.

Imogen Simmonds

Imogen Simmonds


Imogen is in her final year of her qualifying LL.B(Hons) Law Degree at Kingston University. She is a keen member of the Kingston Law Students Mooting Society, and she has recently been selected to represent Kingston University at the European Centre for Space Law’s 'Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court (Advocacy) Competition'. Imogen will join the firm fill time when she completes her Law Degree in the summer of 2020.

Paul Taylor



Since qualifying in 2010 Paul has carried out all aspects of Commercial and Residential conveyancing work, including Freehold, Leasehold, Shared ownership and Right to Buy transactions. His work also included Landlord and Tenant and transfers of equity. Paul prides himself on having an approachable nature and is always willing to go that extra mile to meet client expectations in a timely and efficient manner. Paul reports to Anca Mitrana and as well as running his own case load, assists and supervises Annie Stubbs and Penny Moore on their conveyancing transactions and general work. He is an exceptionally reliable and popular member of both the Property team and the wider Austin Ryder team in general.

Read our specialist legal advice articles

“I have no hesitation at all in recommending Phil and his team at Private Office Legal Services | Solicitors”

I first met Phil Simmonds about 6 years ago when I was introduced to him by a very good friend. Since then Phil has provided me with very sound, and very timely advice. Recently I found myself having to re-do my Lasting Powers of Attorney, as sadly the two friends I had nominated as my attorneys both fell ill and were unable to continue.

Naturally I approached Phil and his team at Private Office legal Services | Solicitors. Once again, everything was handled extremely efficiently, and I was delighted with the service received.

I have no hesitation at all in recommending Phil and his team at Private Office Legal Services | Solicitors, - so a huge thank you to all of them.

With my very best wishes,

Valerie Singleton OBE

TV Presenter and Broadcaster

Private Office Legal

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