Press Release: 2 June 2021

Long-established law firm Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand is delighted to announce that it has appointed two new partners.

Mark Hutchinson-Lyons and Avelina Wright have both been promoted from associate solicitors to become partners at the firm, which has offices in Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale.

Mark, 41, who lives at Lancaster, has specialised in private client work for the whole of his legal career. He is a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, the internationally recognised leading professional organisation in his area of law, and is chair of its Lakes and Lancaster branch.

His work at Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand involves dealing with estate planning for a wide range of clients, preparation and advice on wills and preparation of Powers of Attorney.

Mark studied for his degree in English with Spanish at Lancaster and then began crown court clerking in London. “That sparked my interest in the law and I decided to study it,” he said. “I returned to Lancaster and started working in the crown court service and volunteered at the Citizens Advice Bureau to gain experience while studying nights for the common professional examination in law and undertaking the legal practice course.”

Mark joined Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand around seven years ago as a solicitor and later became a senior solicitor then associate solicitor.

“I particularly enjoy private client work,” he said. “It is a blend of highly technical legal work but it’s also very personal as you work for families – often for different generations of the same family over time – and try to help them during what can be the hardest times in their lives.”

His outside interests include canoeing, sailing and exploring the lakes, fells and forests in the area.

“Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand is a well-known and respected law firm and I am delighted to be joining them as a partner,” said Mark, who is married with three children.

Avelina Wright, who lives near Ingleton, is a specialist in agricultural and rural property matters, acting for farmers, including land owners and tenants, landed estates and charities. She is based at Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand’s office in Kirkby Lonsdale.

Her experience includes, amongst others, sales and purchases of farms, bare land and landed estates; agricultural tenancies and grazing licences; and overages and development agreements.

She was a co-founder of the Agricultural Law Association’s North West group and remains a regional coordinator.

“Having enjoyed a childhood in my family’s woodlands in Germany and then, from the age of 12, living in rural Lincolnshire surrounded by cabbages and tulips, it was inevitable that I would feel at home acting on behalf of farmers and landowners!” said Avelina.

She took a degree in Law at the University of Exeter, including English Law and German Law, amounting to an LL.B European. She then moved to Germany to complete a master’s degree in comparative law. Avelina started her law career at Henmans LLP in Oxford and joined Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand two and a half years ago.

Avelina said she enjoyed working in the agricultural property department as it often involved quite complex legal issues, requiring bespoke solutions. “You get to know your clients and their wider professional team very well as you tend to be involved over many matters and spanning many years. The relationships you build up mean that many are not just your clients, but also become friends. It is fantastic being able to play such a big role within your community,” she said.

As part of her promotion to partner, Avelina will take on managing the firm’s Kirkby Lonsdale office, following the retirement of Sarah Miller at the end of May.

In her spare time, Avelina enjoys singing, caving, walking, climbing and scuba diving. She is a volunteer and trustee for her local Mountain Rescue team, the Cave Rescue Organisation, based at Clapham.

Mark and Avelina became partners on 1st June.

Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand has just announced a series of other promotions. Charlotte Russell (Head of Residential Conveyancing), Catherine Roberts (Commercial Litigation) and Hayley Housley (Wills and Probate) have been promoted to Associate. Anna Wilkinson (Family), Bryony Robin (Commercial Property) and Laura Brereton (Wills and Probate) have been promoted to Senior Solicitor.