Kerry UnderwoodSenior Partner and Solicitor
Kerry is an acknowledged expert on funding, costs, regulatory matters relating to fee arrangements between solicitors and clients, and the legal system generally.
He is the author of several books on these matters.
He is a former Judge, current author, lecturer, broadcaster and a former Councillor and Parliamentary Candidate.
Kerry has extensive experience in virtually all types of litigation and has appeared as an advocate in many high profile and reported cases.
Kerry is mentioned in the Dictionary of International Biography, Debrett’s People of Today and American Biography Institute – Great Minds of the 21st Century. Kerry is a Regional Committee Member of the Lord’s Taverners Charity for disadvantaged children and is Knight Commander of the Order of St John (for charity work). He is a patron of Cape Town Opera.
Kerry travels extensively and home is his beloved adopted town of Hemel Hempstead.
In his spare time Kerry enjoys watching cricket and football and can be found during the football season cheering on QPR and Hemel Hempstead Town FC. Underwoods Solicitors is a Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassador. He also enjoys gardening and reading. Nelson Mandela, TS Eliot and Elvis are amongst his heroes.
Robert MalesManaging Partner and Solicitor
Robert has over 25 years’ experience in a wide range of litigation matters including personal injury, clinical negligence and building and contract disputes. He also has considerable experience on advising companies both small and large on a range of business issues. He has a particular specialism in stress at work claims having been successful in the leading case of Dickins v O2 in the Court of Appeal.
Robert is also experienced in Corporate Insolvency having acted for the Insolvency Practitioners in the winding up of the Cambridge Analytica group of companies. Robert used his extensive knowledge of Data Protection issues when dealing with the Information Commissioners Office in relation to this high-profile case.
Robert has contributed to Butterworths Personal Injury Law service and other legal journals. Robert also appears on local radio and national radio as an expert on a variety of legal issues.
Robert is a member of the Lord's Taverners Charity for disadvantaged children.
Robert is also a Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassador and legal adviser to Hemel Hempstead Town Football Club.
In his spare time Robert can be found umpiring hockey games or aiming for a hole in one on the golf course.
Imtiaz is a solicitor who joined Underwoods in April 2019. He deals with a wide range of private client matters including Probate, Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorneys.
Imtiaz completed his LLB at the University of Buckingham and went further to complete his LPC at the University of Hertfordshire. Following the completion of studies, Imtiaz joined a High Street firm in Hertfordshire where he secured a Training Contract. Imtiaz was admitted to the Rolls of Solicitors in February 2019.
In his spare time Imtiaz enjoys socialising with friends and family.
Norma WrightHead of Property
Norma - a mother of 3 and grandmother of 4 - joined Underwoods Solicitors in February 2020 and has bought over 30+ years of legal and political experience to Hemel Hempstead.
A former District Councillor, Parliamentary Candidate, and is currently a Political Campaigner, Political Agent & Political Campaign Manager and is trilingual. Norma possesses an intense love of learning and an intention to enjoy life to the full, - coupled with this is a spirit of openness and a willingness to assist and achieve the best outcome for her clients.
If Norma has any spare time, it is spent dabbling on the golf course, enjoying good food, travel and trips to the theatre/opera but above all loves spending time with her grandchildren.
Jatin PatelTrainee Solicitor
Jatin is training to become a Solicitor. After completing his LLB and LPC Jatin secured the positon of Trainee Solicitor at Underwoods Solicitors.
Jatin is involved within all the areas of law that Underwoods deal with and works alongside the Partners and Solicitors on their caseloads as well as carrying out various administrative tasks.
Jatin enjoys his time off work socialising with his friends and family. He keeps active by attending the gym and regular yoga sessions. Jatin also has a keen interest in football and supports his hometown club, Aston Villa.
Amanda MhlangaProbationer Trainee Solicitor
Amanda is training to become a Solicitor and joined the Underwoods team in February 2020 after completing her LLB and LPC. Amanda is involved with all areas of law and works alongside the Partners on their caseloads as well as carrying out various administrative tasks.
During her education, Amanda wanted to ensure she gained sufficient experience and participated in mooting, negotiation and mediation competitions. She was also involved with the Law Society and volunteered for two years at a local council.
Prior to joining Underwoods, Amanda worked as a Paralegal in an Immigration firm and did a mini pupillage.
Amanda spends her time off work socialising with friends and family and enjoys cooking and baking. She is also a keen traveller.
Emma is a bookkeeper with over 20 years’ experience and joined Underwoods in October 2019.
Emma is responsible for all aspects of accounts within the firm.
In her spare time, Emma enjoys singing and has won a few karaoke competitions and has taken to the stage in her sons’ school PTA panto and cabaret.
Emma is also an Active Youth Worker in her local church helping in the Sunday school and is the Treasurer at her Sons school PTA.
Emma enjoys spending quality family time with her husband and two sons and can usually be found having fun at Paradise Wildlife park.
When the chance arises, Emma also enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends over a drink or 2.
Claire LongAdvertising and Marketing Manager
Claire is responsible for all marketing and business development activities within the firm including direct marketing, digital marketing, advertising, seminar and event planning, sponsorship and PR.
Claire has over thirteen years’ marketing experience within the professional services industry.
With a height of only 4ft 10.5in Claire is smaller than petite Australian singer Kylie Minogue.
In her spare time Claire enjoys keeping fit, trips to the theatre and spending quality family time with her husband and two daughters.
Emily WalkerLegal Assistant
Emily is likely to be the voice you hear on the phone and the face that greets you at the door. Behind the scenes, Emily is responsible for most tasks involved in the day to day running of a Law firm but her priority is to assist the partners and solicitors with any ad hoc tasks that need doing.
Emily joined Underwoods after completing her Law Degree and decided that she wanted to get a feel for what it is like to work in a law firm before pursuing the LPC and training contract.
Emily prides herself on being a people’s person, resilient and her ability to cope under pressure.
In her spare time she enjoys a glass of prosecco or two at the weekend with friends and days out in central London – her favourite place.
Phoebe RangerParliamentary Liaison Officer
Phoebe started work at Underwoods part time when she was 16 in-between studying for her A Levels and has continued to work part time whilst studying for her degree in musical theatre. Phoebe is currently studying for her masters before continuing to do a PhD.
Phoebe is now seconded part-time, funded by Underwoods Solicitors, to the House of Commons where she works as Parliamentary Assistant to Sir Mike Penning MP, the Member of Parliament for Hemel Hempstead.
Phoebe assists Kerry in liaising with senior politicians from both of the main political parties.
Phoebe is responsible for answering and dealing with incoming telephone and email queries and welcoming clients into the office, opening and closing client files, scanning and destroying, and supporting the Solicitors and Partners with any administration work that needs doing.
In her spare time Phoebe enjoys going to the gym, spending time with friends and reading.
Georgina MalesHuman Resources Consultant
Georgina is our Human Resources Consultant. She has worked with us as our HR Manager in preparation for this contractor role.
Georgina has a post-graduate Master’s degree in Human Resource Management and a modern languages degree from the University of Leeds.
Georgina is currently the HR Advisor for BRE Group, and was previously an HR Business Advisor for easyJet.
Georgina has a keen interest in environmental sustainability and a passion for the South African outback; she hopes to do some conservation work there in the future.
In her spare time Georgina enjoys reading and spending time with her partner and their nephews
Tracy OntongOffice Manager
Tracy Ontong, born in Paarl the heart of the Boland Cape, joined the company in 2015 as a legal typist and is based in the South African office. Tracy took over general management of the company and works closely with the Senior Partner of the firm.
Her role involves administration in the office as well as Human Resources and financial duties.
Tracy is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives of England and Wales and is studying for the Institute’s examinations.
In her spare time she enjoys listening to music, reading and being close to the beach. She has a son and absolutely loves spending time with him.
JP La GrangeLegal Secretary
JP La Grange works as a Legal Secretary, contributing to the typing of legal documents etc.
JP enjoys writing articles, some of which have appeared in school newspapers. He is also a brilliant artist and enjoys drawing and has done illustrations for books and other forms of media
It is JP who designs and sets the popular and influential Hemel Hempstead Newsletter as well as assisting Claire Long in relation to the Underwoods Solicitors Newsletter.
He also loves music and in his spare time plays the guitar. He is a quiet person and so a fitting saying that describes him would be “Still waters run deep”.
Charney LateganLegal Secretary
Charney Lategan, born in Paarl, works for Underwoods Solicitors as a Legal Secretary based at the South African office.
She is a Human Resource Management Graduate and has four years of experience in various roles such as Receptionist, Admin Assistant, Data Capturer and HR In-service Trainee.
Charney has a passion for working with people, being client orientated as well as working with fellow employees. She believes being professional and consistent all the time is a very important aspect.
Charney is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives of England and Wales and is studying for the Institute’s examinations.
In her spare time Charney enjoys music, reading and the company of her beautiful funny daughter.
Michelle GermishuysLegal Secretary
Michelle Germishuys – Born in Paarl, is a legal secretary and is based at the South African office.
Michelle has been in the retail industry for 10 years. She is well organised and considers prioritising of importance. Michelle is a team player and aims to satisfy organisational goals as well as her own. When there is an opportunity to learn new things and gain more experience, Michelle takes it as a challenge and makes the best of it.
Michelle is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives of England and Wales and is studying for the Institute’s examinations.
Michelle enjoys listening to music, reading and spending every possible minute she can with her precious daughter.
Dominique SimpsonLegal Secretary
Dominique was born in Cape Town and raised in Paarl and is an undergraduate in Business Management and Entrepreneurship. She has worked in different fields of administration as well as retail groups.
Dominique has a love for working with disabled children, since her son was diagnosed with autism at the age of three and she believes in seeing the good in any human being.
Dominique is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives of England and Wales and is studying for the Institute’s examinations.
She comes from a musical background, although cannot sing or play an instrument and loves spending her free time reading or going to historical buildings.
Tamson OlivierLegal Secretary
Tamson Olivier joined the company in February 2019. She studied Hospitality Management and worked in the Hospitality industry for a few years. Becoming part of the team has been an experience and although this is all new to her, she enjoys working as a Legal Secretary and it has been an amazing learning curve for her.
She would someday love to further her studies within the Law and wish to focus a bit more on Family Law. Many single mothers out there need help, and she would like to make a difference in some of their lives.
She enjoys music, spending time with family and friends. She has a beautiful daughter whom she would do anything and give everything for
Julius MupingaProperty Maintenance
Julius was born in Zimbabwe and moved to South Africa in 2009. He has been working for Underwoods Solicitors since 2017.
Julius is in charge of the property maintenance at the office in Wellington, South Africa and the extensive grounds and gardens.
In his spare time, Julius loves spending time with his two children at home and visits his eldest son in the Northern Cape when on holiday.
Julius also enjoys watching football and listening to music.
Andrew McCabeWeb Manager
Andrew created our website including the online booking and payment systems. He also manages our email system. He's worked with Underwoods for 14 years.
He lives in the south of Spain between the mountains and the sea.
Anville Van WykDirector
Anville specialises in Property Law, General Commercial Law, Estate and Tax Planning, Administration of Deceased Estates and Trust Law. Through the years, he contributed to the community life in Paarl. He was a founding member of the Drakenstein Rotary Club in Paarl, founding member of the Paarl Attorneys Association, served as Captain, President and Chairman of the board of the Paarl Golf Club and has played a major role in establishing the Boschenmeer Golf and Country Estate.
Anville obtained his BA LLB degree at the University of Stellenbosch in 1974. He served his articles with Silberbauers Attorneys in Cape Town and joined Solomon Miller, Hymie Maisel and Willem Gaum in Paarl in May 1977.
He is an experienced and seasoned attorney who commenced his career in litigation and migrated into Commercial, Trust and Tax work. He obtained his post graduate diploma in Tax Law at the University of Cape Town, with distinction, in 1993.
Anville celebrated his 40th year in practice in 2017.
Nazlee Abrahams grew up in Paarl and obtained the degrees B.Sc. and LLB from the University of Stellenbosch in 1992 and 1997 respectively.
She commenced with her articles at Van Wyk Fouchee in 1998 and was admitted as an Attorney with right of appearance in the High Court in 2000 after which she consequently became a Director at the firm.
In October of 2002 she was admitted as Conveyancer and also Notary Public in 2006. She currently manages Bonds registrations in the Conveyancing Department and further specialises in family & marriage law, drafting of wills, administration of estates and all notarial work.
Nazlee makes a valuable contribution in pro-bono work when the opportunity arises and invests a considerable amount of time in community service. She also serves as the current Chairperson of the governing body of William Lloyd Primary.
Willem Van HeerdenDirector
Willem van Heerden is a Direct at Van Wyk Van Heerden in the dispute resolution, litigation and mediation department. He specialises in contractual disputes, company law, shareholder issues, evictions, family law, banking law and insolvency law. He provides sound strategic advice and direction on all commercial and company issues.
He is an accredited commercial mediator as well as a business rescue practitioner.
He has encouraged the appropriate use of mediation in the resolution of all disputes.
He has acted for various international and cross border trade, transport, agricultural and construction companies. Willem has acted for major banks, insurance houses, leading retailers, property groups as well as high network of entrepreneurs and individuals. He serves as a trustee on a number of trusts.
Willem has written various articles and is a co-author of a published legal book on farm evictions.
Charl obtained his law degree at the North West University in 2008. And finalised his articles at Van Velden & Duffey Attorneys where after he practised at the same firm and became a director in 2014.
Charl was recruited by Van Wyk Van Heerden in 2017 to strengthen and assist our growing litigation department. He handles a wide range of litigation matters including company, family, insolvency, banking and delictual law.
Carla GeldenhuysSenior Associate
Carla grew up in the Free State and decided to relocate to the Cape Winelands to study law at Stellenbosch University. She obtained her LLB degree in 2002 and furthered her studies at the University of Cape Town’s School for Legal Practice where she received the Dean’s award for the best student in Business Management and Administration.
She joined the litigation department at Van der Spuy & Partners as a candidate attorney where-after she decided to pursue a career in property and commercial law, specializing in sectional title schemes, security estates and developments, servitudes, subdivisions and consolidations as well as commercial contracting.
Carla heads up the Conveyancing Department of the firm and mainly assists estate agencies and developers and is actively involved in the marketing of the company.
Leonette completed her studies at the University of Pretoria and obtained her LLB degree in 2009. She practised in Rustenburg for 8 years and specialised in debt Recovery, debt review and related matters.
Leonette joined the firm in 2017 and manages all correspondent work.
Hein obtained his Postgraduate LLB degree in 2014 at Stellenbosch University after completion of his other qualifications (BA Human Resource Management and Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing.)
He started his professional career at the Law Clinic of Stellenbosch University in 2015 where he predominantly focused on opposing ESTA and PIE Eviction matters. During the course of 2017 Van Wyk van Heerden Attorneys offered him the opportunity to form part of their dynamic litigation team with his specific focus being Agricultural Evictions in terms of the ESTA Act, Alternative Dispute Resolution in the field of Evictions, Relocations and PIE Evictions. He currently manages the Eviction Department at the firm and is broadening the scope of the department by assisting clients in the agricultural sector with their housing agreements, procedures and structures to effectively regulate housing on farms.
His experience on both sides of the fence regarding eviction matters enables him to formulate an inclusive opinion on the merits of any proposed eviction.
Antionette obtained her LLB degree, with distinction, in 2015 at the North-West University of Potchefstroom.
She completed her articles at Van Wyk van Heerden Attorneys in 2017, and currently practices as an attorney in the litigation department. She completed her conveyancing examination in 2018 and will be admitted as a conveyancer in 2019. Antionette handles a wide range of litigation matters, including company, property, estate, family and insolvency law.
Esmeri Theron used B.Com Law as a stepping stone towards LLB and completed both degrees successfully at the North West University, Potchefstroom during the years 2012 until 2016.
Esmeri was appointed by the firm as an article clerk in 2017 and after being admitted as an Attorney she joined our legal team as a professional assistant, where she now stands at the head of our Debt Recovery Department. Throughout her period of serving her contract of articles of clerkship she has gained experience in numerous fields of the law, such as third party claims against the Road Accident Fund, evictions, general litigation, debt recovery and section 65 applications. Esmeri equipped herself with all the necessary skills and ability to work towards her future goals as a legal practitioner.
Gaynor obtained her LLB degree in 2012 from the University of Stellenbosch. She then completed her articles at a law firm in the North West Province where she gained experience in General Litigation, Family Law and Debt Collection. In 2016 she moved back to the Western Cape and finally joined the firm in November 2018 where she forms an integral part of the Evictions Department, assisting clients in both ESTA (Agricultural) and PIE (residential) evictions.