Vincents Solicitors has expanded its criminal law team with the appointment of solicitor Laura Heywood.

Based in Preston but working across the firm’s network of offices in Lancashire, Laura is also a High Court advocate, enabling her to represent clients in the criminal courts, in lieu of a barrister.

Her arrival follows the firm’s recent acquisition of Blackpool-based Colebourne Solicitors, which has made Vincents one of the largest criminal law firms in Lancashire.

Trevor Colebourne, head of criminal legal services for Vincents said: ‘Laura is a key hire for the firm. Her expertise will enable us to continue to develop our in-house chambers over the next year, ensuring that we can provide advocacy services at all levels in both the magistrates’ and Crown courts.’

Joining from Southerns Solicitors in Burnley, Laura studied to be a barrister before qualifying as a solicitor in 2008, gaining her higher rights of audience qualification in 2012. Her career has seen her manage a range of criminal cases, dealing with offences including drug supply, sexual offences, burglaries and assaults.

Trevor added: ‘Laura brings several years of valuable experience to our growing team, having dealt with all aspects of criminal law and achieving an impressively high acquittal rate at trials.

‘She has managed a range of major and complex cases, including working with vulnerable clients such as youths in care. We look forward to working with her and building our advocacy team across both our Preston and Blackpool offices.’

Laura said: ‘This is an exciting opportunity to join an expanding law firm with an established reputation. I’m looking forward to being a key member of the team and working across all areas of criminal law ranging from police station work right through to representation in the Crown courts.’