Friendly & Approachable

Our People

Our people are the basis of our business – highly talented and enthusiastic lawyers and back room staff who go the extra mile to deliver a superb level of professional service to our clients. As a rural practice, we understand that our clients can’t always come to us at convenient office times and this is just one of the factors that sets McGarry & Co apart from other legal advisors, delivering professional advice when and where it’s needed.

Michael B. McGarry


I left school at 16 and trained in Darlington and Barnard Castle as a Legal Executive. I moved to Hawes to practice in 1997 and became a Partner in Richard Johnson & Partners on qualifying as a Solicitor in 2004.

In 2011 I established McGarry & Co in Barnard Castle, quickly re-opening an office in Hawes in 2012. Clients have been kind to me and with effort the business has expanded, opening an office in Sedbergh in 2015 and following this up by opening an office in Leyburn in October 2017.

I am probably a dying breed of a general practitioner. I handle a wide variety of matters including Wills, powers of attorney, trusts and administration of estates, commercial property matters, agricultural land issues, business advice and Court of Protection deputyships amongst other things.

I enjoy the variety of work which allows me to advise clients across generations. It is nice (but worrying because of the passage of time) to realise that I am now acting for the grandchildren of grandparents I acted for in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I believe in providing a professional service but in a friendly and approachable way. This is the ethos which I try to instil throughout my firm.

I was an early member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners back in 1994 and I am a member of Solicitors for the Elderly. I am one of the Northern Panel Deputies appointed by the Court of Protection for people who have lost their mental capacity and who have no-one to take things on or if problems arise with either deputyship or in respect of Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Outside of the office (what little time is available) I enjoy spending as much time as I can with my family, three growing children.

Located at: Barnard Castle, Sedbergh & Hawes

Janice McKenna LLB Hons


I was admitted as a solicitor in 1990 after completing my training, working first as an Articled Clerk and then as an Assistant Solicitor for Sunderland firm MacKenzie Bell of John’s Street. After moving to the Darlington area in around 1997 I worked as a Solicitor, specialising in personal injury litigation and all aspects of family work for Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors at their Barnard Castle office.

I worked for TBI for three years during which time I married and then stopped work for ten years in order to raise my two sons.

I was tempted back to work by Michael who wanted to provide family and matrimonial services to his clients.

I became a partner in 2012 and I have been very fortunate in being able to specialise in the areas of work which most interest me and they are Matrimonial, Children and all aspects of Family matters generally.

Located at: Barnard Castle, Sedbergh & Hawes

Janice specialises in: Family Law

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James R. Fawcett LLB Hons

Associate Solicitor

I am a farmer’s son local to Wensleydale. I decided that I would like to pursue a career in the law and approached Johnsons at Hawes to look at work experience options. From that time onwards I have maintained an association with Michael McGarry and I was trained at Richard Johnson & Partners I Hawes. I qualified as a solicitor in 2009.

After a short spell at Freeman Johnson in Darlington I moved back to work with Michael McGarry at McGarry & Co in 2013.

I undertake mostly land related work, particularly residential and commercial conveyancing. I have been pleased to be instrumental in ensuring that the firm retains its Quality Conveyancing Scheme membership. I manage the Leyburn office of the Practice.

Outside of legal practice I continue to enjoy farming, assisting on the family farm. I also enjoy a number of sporting activities including squash and quoits together with socialising.

Located at: Leyburn, Barnard Castle & Hawes

James specialises in: Residential and Commercial Conveyancing, Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney

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E. Richard D. Johnson

Consultant Solicitor

I qualified as a Solicitor in 1970 and practised throughout my career in Wensleydale, being first a partner in Willan & Johnson and its successor Johnsons and then in the firm of Richard Johnson & Partners.

Michael McGarry was my assistant from 1997 through to 2004 and then my partner from 2004 to 2009. I have been delighted to be associated as a consultant for McGarry & Co in recent years.

I have wide experience of the administration of estates, rural land and farming matters and in respect of sporting rights and common land issues.

Whilst not engaged in day to day practice these days, I continue to enjoy good relationships as friends with the clients I have known over the last 50 years. This helps me to be in a position to provide consultancy advice to McGarry & Co.

Outside of legal practice, my love is the countryside and in particular grouse moor management with the occasional game of golf.

Located at: Hawes

Richard specialises in: Rural & Agricultural Law

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Louise Gudgin LLB HONS


Originally hailing from Hazel Grove near Stockport, since the age of 9 I have lived most of my life in the North East of England. After leaving school at 16 I spent an interesting year at college studying catering before returning to the academic route. A fresh round of ‘O’ Levels introduced me to the subject of Law, which I then pursued through to A Level, and was awarded a Law Degree from Newcastle University in 1990. I passed my Solicitors’ Exams in the beautiful city of York, at the College of Law, and then completed my two-year Articles at North Shield’s law firm Hadaway & Hadaway, where I worked in the fields of matrimonial law, conveyancing, criminal law and civil litigation.

After marrying in 1991, I was admitted as a solicitor in 1993 and there then followed a 5 year break during which my husband and I had three children.

Since 1999 I have worked largely in Newcastle upon Tyne, as a solicitor in the fields of Personal Injury and Civil Litigation. However I have also worked for a Defendant Insurer, giving me a useful insight into the view from the other side of the litigation process.

I take great pride in my profession. I often see people at difficult times in their personal or business lives, and it is very rewarding to be able to provide support, guidance and practical assistance to people at these times. One of the things which drew me to McGarry & Co is this shared view of providing what some may call an “old-fashioned” client-focused, friendly and professional service.

Located at: Barnard Castle, Sedbergh & Hawes