Mills & Reeve's private client team in Birmingham has welcomed the arrival of four new members of staff.

Deborah Clark and David Catchpole have both joined as associates, while Katherine Kennedy has been appointed a solicitor.

Trainee Claire Piggott will be the fourth person when she qualifies as a solicitor in September. She currently assists all members of the team with divorce, finance and children work, including contact applications and leave to remove cases.

Ms Clark will join as a member of the private client tax team. Previously, she was an associate at Wragge & Co, where she worked in the firm's corporate tax department for nearly seven years.

She is also qualified as a barrister, although she has never practised.

Mr Catchpole has transferred from within the firm to maximise the depth and quality of advice the team can offer its clients. He will be part of the private tax, probate and trusts team and will specialise in private client litigation and contentious trust and probate matters. He is one of only a few lawyers in the country to specialise in this area of law.

Ms Kennedy is an experienced matrimonial lawyer, specialising in private high net worth cases. Prior to her recent appointment, she handled a range of divorce, separation and children matters at Harrison Clark in Birmingham, which she will continue to do as part of Mills & Reeve's family and matrimonial team.

M&R's national private client group, headed by Birmingham-based partner Matthew Hansell, has grown by almost 40 per cent over the last year, strengthening its position as the largest private client practice outside London.

The latest recruits follow major investment last year with the transfer of Wragge & Co's 15-strong team to the Birmingham office and the launch of a nationwide family and matrimonial group, following the arrival of partners Marc Saunderson and Andrew Breakwell.

Mr Hansell said: "The new appointments come at a time when the private client team is enjoying sustained growth.

"The Birmingham team has already achieved its three-year growth plan 18 months ahead of schedule, with the current value of its clients standing in excess of #5 billion."n The private client practice has been named the UK's leading regional legal team by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.