Legal advice
with a difference…

Meet our team


Fiona Smith LLB LLM

Solicitor/Senior Partner

Head of Property Department/Commercial 

Fiona was born in Hartlepool and now lives in North Yorkshire. She is married to Andy and has three children.

Fiona studied at University of Wales Aberystwyth where she studied at degree level and subsequently obtained a Masters Degree in Business Law. She studied for her professional qualification at Chester College of Law, before commencing her training in Hartlepool.

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Originally MSP Legal Services LLP was Malcolm Smith & Partners. Fiona is the daughter of founding partner Malcolm Smith who had practiced in Hartlepool since 1974. Malcolm returned from retirement on Fiona qualifying and the foundation of MSP was born. Sadly, we lost Malcolm in 2015, but his memory will forever live on in the Practice and our business ethos.

Fiona is one of the leading Property Lawyers in the North East.

Outside of work, Fiona loves being with her family (even when misbehaving!!) and is a keen baker (Great British Bake Off remains an ambition). Previously, Fiona was a rower having done so from an early age. Unfortunately, being married to Andy and having two boys, she had no choice but to develop two interests in rugby and football and spends many a Sunday morning on the touchline. Her daughter has a keen interest in musical theatre and performing arts, so there is many a time when “the touchline” is replaced by a proud member of the audience!

 “I cant change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination” 

Andy Jones LLB (Solicitor Advocate)

Partner/Solicitor Advocate

Head of Private Client Team

Andy is a proud “Valley’s Boy” having grown up in a small mining village in South Wales, hence his usual comment “You can take the Boy out of the Valley. But you will never take the Valley out of the Boy”

Andy joined the firm in 2004, having previously worked at two leading law firms in the North East.

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He qualified at the University of Wales Aberystwyth and received his professional qualification through the College of Law Chester. In 2006 Andy qualified as a Solicitor Advocate when he specialised in litigation work, which involved a broad spectrum of cases in the County Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and the House of Lords.

Having practiced in litigation for over 15 years, Andy decided to take a work-type change now specialising in Private Client work, involving wills, tax planning, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Elderly Client planning advice.

Outside of the practice, Andy is married to Fiona (yes – the same Fiona as the Senior Partner) so he too has three children. Andy was a keen rugby player having played to semi- professional level before moving into coaching. Andy’s son has now taken up the mantle!

“Life is what happens when you are busy making plans … so try not to make too many plans and enjoy life”

Shannon Dale LLB LLM

Conveyancing Executive

Residential/Commercial Property Team

Originally from London Shannon moved to Teesside when she was young. She commenced her Law Degree at Teesside University in 2016 then went on to do the LLM Legal Practice Course at Sunderland University in 2020.

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In her spare time Shanon likes to bake, and her family and friends say cheesecake is her speciality. She also enjoys going walking, socialising with friends and travelling as much as possible.

“Never regret a day in your life. Good days give you happiness and bad days give you experience”

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Katie Taylor LLB

Conveyancing Executive

Residential/Commercial Property Team

Originally from Manchester, Katie moved to the area in 2013 and is now rooted in the North East with her husband and two young sons. She is proud to have studied for both her law degree and post-graduate qualifications via distance learning whilst juggling work and home life commitments.

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Along with spending time outdoors with her family, Katie is a self taught crocheter and at a weekend enjoys nothing more than a takeaway and a boxset!

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”

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Chelsea McKie

Accounts Team

Chelsea is a true poolie! She lives with her daughter Annabelle. Her background is Administration and Accountancy although, she also has a degree in Applied Sports Science. She recently joined the team for a fresh career change and hopes to progress within the company.

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Outside of work Chelsea enjoys running, going to the gym, hiking, travelling, and socialising. She also likes to participate in challenging events and has completed the National 3 Peaks 24-hour challenge and The Great North Run.

“Believe you can and you’re already halfway there”

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Lauren McBride

Team Co-ordinator

New Business Team

Lauren is Hartlepool born and bred, she is married to Daniel and has a daughter and son.

She joined the team in late 2020, starting as a legal secretary and quickly progressing into the field of New Business.

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Lauren has sizeable background and has given almost every trade a chance. She originally studied Information Technology and Beauty Therapy, although this in turn, was not the trade for her. She is never one to shy away from a challenge and is always keen to learn.  

Previously, Lauren worked in transport where she met her husband Daniel. Together they have a son and young daughter.

Outside of work, Lauren enjoys family time, as well as beating the boys on their XBox. She enjoys singing and dreams of being able to re-join a choir once Covid is over. 

Time is non-refundable, use it wisely and with intention.”

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Laura Wrightson

Conveyancing Assistant

New Business Team

Laura was born in Hartlepool and lives with her boyfriend in Durham . She commenced her law degree at Sunderland University in 2016 whilst also working a full-time job.

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In her spare time, Laura likes to do thrill-seeking activities such as skydiving, bungee jumping and snowmobiling. On more normal days, she likes to watch movies with lots of crisps. Laura hopes to travel soon and has holidays booked for Finland, New York, and Venice. The 4th of May marked her fifth anniversary with her boyfriend. She has since written this date down so that she does not forget – again. Laura also has a rescue Labrador named Roscoe, who has an extreme hatred for men. 

“All my life I though air was free….. until I opened a bag of crisps”

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Megan Gibson

Private Client Team

Megan is originally from Durham but moved up the coast when she was younger and now spends a lot of her time in and around Newcastle.

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She lives on her own but is only round the corner from her parents and grandmother, where she likes to spend most Sundays tucking into a Sunday roast. She is a third-year student on the MLaw (exempting) course at Northumbria University where she will graduate with a master’s in law with LPC. In her spare time, she loves to eat out with her boyfriend and friends, trying lots of different cuisines. 

“Have a little faith and if that doesn’t work have a lot of mimosas”

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Ellie Tabley

Conveyancing Assistant

Residential/Commercial Property Team

Ellie has been working in conveyancing for nearly 2 years and has developed a passion for this area of legal practice and has recently progressed her career in property by enrolling for her CILEX qualification, which begins in September.

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In her spare time Ellie loves to spend time with friends and family, but in her “alone time” loves to read a good book or listen to music. Ellie thinks she has a diverse music taste and is not adverse to practicing the “dance like no one is watching” mantra.

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Sacha Dixon

Conveyancing Assistant

Residential/Commercial Property Team

Sacha is from Hartlepool and has two cats, a tortoise and a horse to occupy her time! Sacha is studying at Northumbria University to obtain her M-Law degree whilst working at MSP.

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Sacha is a very active person and her hobbies include going to the gym, riding and maintaining her horse and socialising with her friends on a weekend.

“You miss 100% of the chances, that you don’t take.”

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Sarah Dark

Conveyancing Assistant

Residential/Commercial Property Team

Sarah grew up in a small town near Durham Before moving to Middlesbrough in 2014 where she did both her Undergraduate and master’s degree in law at Teesside University – which being the first one in both sides of her family to go to University her parents are extremely proud of what she has done. 

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After University she moved back to her small town (after 6 months in China) where she lived with her Boyfriend although hoping that they will move soon… very soon

In her spare time, Sarah is an avid reader, aspiring author, and casual gamer. She enjoys spending time with her friends and trying to steal her parents’ dog – Unfortunately, her boyfriend won’t let her. 


“small steps in the right direction are better than big steps in the wrong direction”.

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Jessica Lynn

Conveyancing Assistant

Residential/Commercial Property Team

Jessica is originally from Sunderland and recently moved in to her first home with her boyfriend. Jessica studied Law at the University of Sunderland and has recently graduated. 

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Previously, Jess has worked in retail whilst studying at university and then in the financial sector before joining MSP. 

Jessica says her only hobby is shopping! Although, she does enjoy watching her boyfriend play rugby and a spot of brunch here and there! 

“Don’t count the days, make the days count”

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Bethany Giffiths

Conveyancing Assistant

Residential/Commercial Property Team

Bethany is Hartlepool born and bred and lives with her boyfriend, young daughter and pet rabbit Bobby.

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Bethany studied Law at Brinkburn College, Hartlepool and had been working part time before giving birth to her daughter in 2020. Bethany enjoys decorating and finds a new room in the house to redecorate every month! She also spends quality time by making memories with her new family.

“Whatever you do always give 100%, unless you’re donating blood.”

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Jamie Worton

Conveyancing Assistant

Auction Team

Jamie has completed both an undergraduate and post graduate law degree. He has an interest both the Conveyancing and Probate areas of law and aims to qualify as either a Solicitor, or Legal Executive in the future. He has just joined the auction team.

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Jamie has completed both an undergraduate and post graduate law degree. He has an interest both the Conveyancing and Probate areas of law and aims to qualify as either a Solicitor, or Legal Executive in the future. He has just joined the auction team.

Outside of work, Jamie enjoys gaming and sports, mainly Boxing and MMA.

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

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Scarlett Ovington

Conveyancing Assistant

Auction Team

Scarlett was born in Newcastle, and has spent her life living and working in the North East. She has a degree in Public health, and until recently worked for the NHS.

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She joined the MSP team in order to have a fresh start within the law sector. In her free time, Scarlett enjoys gardening and reading. She currently lives with her partner, her cat and dog, and her 113 house plants.

 “Sometimes, the best way to solve your own problems is to help someone else with theirs”

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Becky Balderson

Admin Support Team

Becky is a true Hartlepool girl; she lives with her Fiancé David and is planning on getting married in 2022.

Becky has mainly worked within retail and administration, she joined the team in January 2021. She has previously worked within fashion retail and technology.

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Outside of work, Becky enjoys travelling, walking with her dog (breed?) Issac and interior design. She is currently planning her wedding to David which had to be put on hold due to Covid-19. As such, she is extensively researching how exactly a post-covid wedding will be.

“When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I did not understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

Cath O’Donovan

Admin Support Team

Born and raised in Belfast Cath then joined the Air Force where she was a telephonist.  She then moved to Hartlepool and had two children, Diane and Stuart. 

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Cath is our longest serving member of the team being here a whopping 19 years!!

Outside of work Cath enjoys reading and socialising with friends and family.

 “Take a deep breath.  Its just a bad day, not a bad life”

How we can help

At MSP Legal Services we pride ourselves on offering an extensive range of legal services for individual and business clients. We offer specialist expertise in commercial law, civil litigation, dispute resolution, residential property, commercial property, wills and probate, personal injury, clinical negligence, wealth management and estates.



Private client advice

Elderly client advice

Advice for new parents

Getting married again

Helping someone with dementia

Inheritance tax

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Making your will


Contact MSP

"My wife and I have used the services of MSP for over 30 years and during this time the family run practice has looked after my family for over two generations. My children too, now use the services offered, in the full knowledge and confidence Andy and Fiona offer excellent legal advice and services tailored to the current climate. Thank you both for an excellent service over many years."

Steve and Shelley

"We as a family have used MSP for a range of things from registering a property, buying and selling a house , Power of Attorney and doing a Will We have dealt with Katie who is fabulous and nothing is ever too much trouble. She is very professional, friendly and is very happy to answer any questions you may have. We have also dealt with Fiona when we found out that our house had never been registered with the land registry. Fiona was very helpful and very prompt in keeping us updated with the progress of the registration. Everyone who we have dealt with at MSP legal have been great and I would very much recommend them. Thanks for everything"

Claire and Family

"I highly recommend MSP Malcolm Smith & Partners, in their provision of expert guidance and assistance, towards an efficient and successful completion of matters involved. I am totally satisfied with my choice of this legal company, it has been a pleasure in dealing with their highly efficient, helpful and pleasant legal consultants, assistants, and staff. I will continue to consult this legal company, should any future requirements arise. Their expertise and efficiency is much valued."

Happy client