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 has advised both companies and individuals on a wide range of employment issues ranging from cases in Employment Tribunals through to the High Court and advising on many Settlement Agreements.
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.
Michael is a solicitor who joined Underwoods in December 2020 and qualified as a solicitor in December 2019.
He attended Brunel University where he gained a 2.1 with honours. After university, Michael went on to assist in the running of his family businesses, working in the leisure industry and managing commercial investment property. He continued to pursue his legal career, completing the LPC at BPP University, obtaining a distinction in all subjects.
Michael started working in a small firm in north London before going on to work as a paralegal in a niche Commercial Property firm in the City, assisting with the purchase and lease of some of the most expensive real estate in the west end.
Michael has acted on business acquisitions, civil and commercial litigation matters including licensing reviews, attending court on behalf of landlords in residential possession proceedings and disputes in the Residential Property Tribunal.
Michael has also acted on a High Court action bringing a claim for breach of the non-compete restrictive covenants relating to the purchase of dental practice, construction disputes and defending the claim of an unfair loan relationships under the Consumer Credit Act”
In his spare time Michael enjoys socialising with his friends and family and playing chess and football, and is a keen supporter of Arsenal.
Caitlin BurgerConveyancing Consultant
Caitlin has re-joined Underwoods Solicitors as Conveyancing Consultant having previously worked for Underwoods in their South African Office as Office Manager.
Caitlin has spent the last 6 years in busy residential and commercial real estate departments of law firms and specialises in residential conveyancing, having worked with both individual clients and developers.
Caitlin has a passion for conveyancing and understands that moving home can be a stressful time for her clients and is committed to providing a service second to none, and making sure her clients are informed and updated every step of the way.
Caitlin's life away from work is dedicated to her family and her rescue animals. She loves horse riding, cooking, reading and anything to do with Harry Potter.
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.
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 and Trainee Legal Executive
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.
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.
Tarryn van GraanLegal Secretary and Trainee Legal Executive
Tarryn van Graan was born in Paarl and is a Legal Secretary and Trainee Legal Executive in the South African Office.
Tarryn joined the company in 2020 and strives to become a valuable part of the Underwoods team and gain experience in the field of Administration and Offshoring.
Tarryn obtained her certificates in Management Assistant in 2019 and she is very keen on studying to obtain a BA in Communication Sciences while working for Underwoods Solicitors.
Tarryn is also a Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives of England and Wales and is studying for the Institute’s examinations.
Tarryn enjoys reading, walking her dog Daisy, and spending time with her family and friends.
Giselle WesselsLegal Secretary
Giselle was born in the city of Johannesburg in South Africa and was then raised in Paarl. She joined Underwoods in November 2019.
Giselle studied Hotel Management and worked in the industry for 4 years. She is enjoying the new challenge of working as a Legal Secretary.
She has a gorgeous son, who she loves spending all her free time with.
Raquel JonesLegal Secretary
Raquel was born in the picturesque Town of Riebeeck-Kasteel, where she finished her Primary and Secondary Education. She then relocated to Wellington to pursue her Tertiary Education where she obtained a Bachelor of Technology in Tourism Management at The Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Raquel did her in-service training at British Airways at Cape Town International Airport after graduating.
Thereafter, she worked at a well renowned Wine Estate, Delaire Graff Wines, where she discovered her love for wine and the wine industry as a whole.
Prior to Underwoods, she worked as Front-of-House Manager for seven years at De Villiers Chocolate and it was during her time there that she got to know herself and realised what she was actually capable of. Raquel believes in the saying dynamite comes in small packages.
Raquel’s role at Underwoods Solicitors involves assisting the South African Office Manager with the day to day running of the office.
Raquel has a love for working with people and will always go the extra mile for anyone. In her free time Raquel loves to spend time with her husband and family, reading, writing, listening to music and entertaining people with her witty sense of humour.
Oliver FalmerLegal Secretary
Oliver Falmer was born in Paarl and works for Underwoods Solicitors based in the South African office.
Oliver is a former Community Radio host with a few years of experience in various On Air programs.
Oliver obtained his Call Centre Training Certificate in 2005 and is keen on furthering his studies in business.
Oliver has travelled throughout Europe living his dream of being a successful singing entertainer for over 11 years and has also featured on the popular television series Got Talent Espana (Spain’s Got Talent), in which he made it through to the finals in 2018.
Oliver has a passion to work with people and strives to put professionalism first at all times with clients and fellow employees. He believes in staying consistent all the time and giving his best.
Oliver enjoys listening to music, theatre, watching reality investigative television series and spending time with his beautiful niece.
Ashlynne PilzLegal Secretary
Ashlynne was born in Port Elizabeth, also known as the Windy City, Eastern Cape, South Africa. She then later moved to the majestic Winelands in the Western Cape and has been living in Paarl for the past 20 years.
Ashlynne has worked in the Hospitality industry for the past couple of years and has gained exceptional communication skills. She joined The Underwoods Solicitors team in September 2020, and it has contributed to her enthusiastic personality and allowed her to reach yet another milestone in her future and career.
In her free time, Ashlynne enjoys spending priceless moments with her adorable son, close family and friends and taking spontaneous road trips.
Melissa-Kim JacobsLegal Secretary
Melissa was born in Paarl and has lived there her whole life. She has a very creative daughter whom she is very fond of.
Melissa has worked in the Hospitality and Tourism industry for the past five years. She enjoyed working on a busy wine farm and that experience surfaced her love for working with people.
Melissa enjoys spending her free time with close friends and family and loves listening to music. Her favourite pastime is watching reality shows, especially cooking shows. Her goal is to go abroad one day and explore a few of her favourite destinations.
Amber KockLegal Secretary
Amber Kock was born in Paarl.
Amber works for Underwoods Solicitors as a Legal Secretary based at the South African office.
Amber has a musical background and plays the violin. She named her daughter Lyric whom she loves and adores.
Amber wants to gain as much knowledge, skills and experience as she can because she would like to further her studies in Law. She is a goal driven person who carries out what she starts and aims to complete. She aims to please.
Amber likes socializing and spending time with loved ones.
Sifundo DimazaLegal Secretary
Sifundo was born and raised in Paarl, Western Cape.
Sifundo studied Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch but unfortunately could not finish his Honours Degree.
Sifundo joined Underwoods Solicitors in October 2020 as a Legal Secretary and Typist. He sees this as a great opportunity in terms of skill development and establishing a new career path.
Sifundo enjoys being part of a busy environment where each day presents fresh challenges, where he always has to think on his feet and find answers to problems.
Sifundo has always taken a keen interest in all sport, although he has majored in cricket. Sifundo has his own initiatives where he trains local disadvantaged children and organizes matches in his local area.
The culture and music of South Africa has always fascinated Sifundo and he is really pleased to see so much home-grown talent recognized across the world. Sifundo would love to travel and explore other countries in future.
Ulreka JoshuaLegal Secretary
Ulreka was born and raised in Paarl, Western Cape, and joined Underwoods Solicitors in the South African Office in December 2020.
Ulreka was involved in events co-ordinating, pageants, reception duties and has a passion for working with various charities.
Ulreka has her Diploma in photography and looks forward to this new chapter in her life with the Underwoods Team.
Ulreka has two children which she enjoys spending all her spare time with and taking long drives on a motorcycle.
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.