Expert guidance. Specialist knowledge. Your complete service.

We understand that legal matters can at times be complex and stressful. Whether you’re facing a personal challenge or a business hurdle, navigating the legal landscape requires a trusted advisor by your side. That’s where we come in.

Our rich history combined with our unwavering commitment to excellence allows us to offer diverse legal expertise across various practice areas. We are the dedicated team of professionals you can rely on for personalised legal guidance. We’re here to guide you with our expert knowledge, advocate for your interests, and achieve the best possible outcome no matter what the situation.

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Mark Cook

Founder & Director


Mark Cook was born and bred in Sunderland. He studied law at the University of Leicester before returning to Sunderland to complete the remainder of his training. Mark worked for a local firm at their Sunderland office, rising to Partner and running their Newcastle office for several years before opening the doors to Mark Cook Solicitors in 2006.​

Mark’s vision was to create a new, progressive law firm for Sunderland and the North East that prides itself on an informal and relaxed approach to legal services, an area often seen as daunting and unapproachable. Mark’s client-centric and friendly attitude to the provision of legal services carves the way for a new line in client service and expectation. 

Mark’s specialist areas are Property, and Wills & Probate.

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Richard Walls


Head of New Build

Richard Walls is a director of the firm and a Chartered Legal Executive with over 20 years of experience in conveyancing.

Richard is head of the New Build team, which specialises in acting for clients buying new-build properties from builders and developers. Richard provides expert advice and guidance to clients buying new-build properties, ensuring that they are properly guided through every aspect of the new-build process.

In addition, Richard provides additional support and mentoring to the team’s conveyancers, ensuring that the team is up-to-date with current regulations and best practice working standards and is always providing the highest standards of conveyancing advice and client care.

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Lee Gilder


Head of Residential & Commercial Property

Lee Gilder, director, is an experienced property Solicitor and Head of Residential and Commercial Conveyancing.

Lee deals with all aspects of freehold and leasehold residential transactions and commercial property transactions, acting for both landlords and tenants on lease transactions and dealing with lease assignments.

With a passion for networking, Lee is heavily involved in investor groups throughout the country, actively discussing all things property and providing much-needed help and advice.

In addition, Lee also specialises in Bridging Finance and all other types of commercial finance.

Outside his role as Director at Cooklaw, Lee Gilder serves as a trustee for Age UK North Tyneside.

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Rhaynor Garvin

Practice Manager

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Danyal Hussain


Danyal Hussain joined Cooklaw in 2022, becoming the firm’s first Trainee.

Danyal qualified as a Solicitor in November 2023. He obtained his LLB Law Degree at the University of Sunderland in 2017 before completing his Legal Practice Course and gaining a Master’s in Law. Danyal specialises in residential property and provides support to clients on a full range of property-related matters.

In addition to his role at Cooklaw, Danyal is a trustee of the charity Washington MIND.

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Daniel Parker


Daniel joined the firm in 2021, working alongside the members of our residential conveyancing team. He is currently working to complete his CILEX qualification to become a Chartered Legal Executive. Daniel is an integral member of the team, building a solid rapport with his growing client base.

Daniel enjoys cycling, hiking, and spending time with friends and family outside of work.

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Demi Laws


Demi Laws is a Paralegal specialising in Private Client work.

Demi joined the firm in 2022 and assists clients with a range of services, including residential conveyancing, Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, and Probate.

Demi has many years of experience in the legal sector, having worked at both a large regional firm and smaller local firms.

As Demi looks to expand her legal services career further, she is currently undertaking a law degree.

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Anne Richardson


Anne joined the firm in November 2020 as part of the new build team. With extensive knowledge of new build conveyancing, including leasehold and freehold matters, Anne advises our residential conveyancing clients on a wide range of matters.

Anne has over forty years of experience working within the legal sector, where she has progressed through the ranks of secretarial staff to fee earner to the position she holds today.

When away from the office, Anne likes to spend time with her family and friends and attend Rock Concerts.

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Adam Lawson


Adam graduated from university in 2015 with a degree in English Language and Literature before embarking on a career in Law. 

Adam joined the Cooklaw New Build team in 2021, providing specialist help and advice to clients on Help to Buy purchases and other government-backed First Home schemes.

Adam is a published author and, when not working, can often be found at a concert or music festivals.

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Graeme Tennant

Post Completion Lawyer

Graeme Tennant graduated from the University of Teesside 2006 with an LL.B (Hons).

Graeme joined the firm in 2014, working closely with our residential conveyancing team and assuming responsibility for dealing with post completion registrations with HM Land Registry.

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Megan Montgomery

Legal Assistant

Megan joined the firm in 2019 as an apprentice and is now a legal assistant in the New Build department, supporting our conveyancing team.

With a can-do attitude and a client-centric approach, Megan is always happy to help our clients. She is a strong advocate of our commitment to providing outstanding legal service and is always looking to go the extra mile.

Outside of work, Megan enjoys spending time with family and friends and attending concerts.

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Layla Hutchinson

Legal Assistant

Layla joined Cooklaw in 2022 as a Business Administration Apprentice.

Layla provides valuable business support, including filing, scanning and answering phone calls and assists all departments with their administration tasks.

Outside of work, Layla is a Sunderland AFC season ticket holder and is often seen at games, both home and away, supporting The Black Cats. Layla also enjoys spending time with her friends and loved ones.

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Rhiannon Smith

Legal Assistant/Receptionist

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Leila Brightmore

Trainee Conveyancer

...and you?

We believe that quality legal advice is standard, but the people are what make the difference. As a growing firm, we always seek talented individuals to join our team. If you’re a passionate legal professional who thrives in a collaborative environment, please forward your CV.

Your career could get the boost it deserves as part of the Cooklaw team.

Contact us at for details.

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Navigating the legal maze can at times be daunting. We understand the complexities of the law and are dedicated to providing you with expert guidance and comprehensive solutions for all aspects of property and wealth related matters.

Let Cooklaw be your trusted guide. Contact us today to receive the clarity and confidence you deserve. 0191 567 7244