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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Overview clients in London using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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London is internationally recognised as having a significant number of excellent private client firms and the market remains buoyant, although the impact of Brexit is the subject of much speculation. Some family firms predict that there will be a significant increase in work in the aftermath of Brexit, as senior executives are asked to relocate from London while other family members may wish to remain in the UK. Others report that Brexit is already having an impact on their practices as couples who have been co-habiting for years are now formalising their arrangements and are getting married, with wealthy individuals in particular inclined to enter into formal legal agreements to preserve and protect their assets in view of the uncertainty.

Other family practices are doing more work to protect children as worries about the radicalisation of younger family members come to the fore. Firms handling publicly funded work remain concerned about their clients’ access to justice as cuts to the legal aid system continue.

There is a growing emphasis on non-adversarial options to resolve family conflicts, such as mediation and solicitor-to-solicitor negotiations. These options are seen to be more cost-effective, and have the added advantage of being more private, leading more and more high-profile couples to look at other ways of resolving family disputes than resorting to court. Couples who commence family law proceedings must first undergo a mediation information assessment to determine if mediation could be a more suitable way of resolving their situation, and this has led to an increase in the number of firms building up their practices in this area.

Court of Protection is a niche practice area, and is expanding, with firms witnessing a surge on the contentious side with more deputyship applications. There is also added work as local authorities are getting involved at an earlier stage of the process and seeking assistance from law firms, particularly in relation to safeguarding issues. Irwin Mitchell, Thomson Snell & Passmore and Withers LLP continue to dominate in this practice area.

The firms recommended for personal tax, trusts and probate and contentious trusts and probate are adept at advising on wealth management for nationally and internationally mobile wealthy clients. These firms also understand the need for discretion when handling the financial affairs of high-net-worth individuals. Such clients have assets in multiple jurisdictions and expect a high standard of service and expertise. The top private client firms can handle cross-border matters with ease, and regularly advise on offshore trusts and the sheltering of assets in multiple jurisdictions. The pre-eminent firms in this field are also experienced in dealing with reputation management issues to ensure that their clients have investment structures in place which are legitimate and do not attract unwanted media or legal scrutiny.

These firms were busy advising ultra-high-net-worth non-domiciled families on the proposed changes to the taxation of non-domiciled individuals, which had been due to come into effect in April 2017. Immigration of high-net-worth individuals had been increasing into the UK, and many existing clients are concerned about their immigration position in the UK following the result of the EU 2016 referendum. On the law firm front, an important development in the private client arena was the move of Gowling WLG’s 19-strong private wealth team to Forsters LLP in May 2017.

Charities are also concerned that post-Brexit it may be more difficult to move money across borders. They are also increasingly aware of data protection and compliance issues, with more charities also enquiring about the common reporting standards. It is undoubtedly a challenging time within the charitable sector, with increased media scrutiny on governance and fundraising issues also.

The appetite for investment in art and antiquities remains strong, despite the volatility in the area of art funding; it appears that fewer banks are willing to lend against art when valuable works of art are being used as security. Firms with particular strength in this area are Boodle Hatfield LLP, Farrer & Co and Mishcon de Reya LLP.

Advice to rural land and large estates – typically owned by private individuals, family generations or larger trusts – is an area of legal practice which remains the domain of private client firms as opposed to commercial real estate practices; Boodle Hatfield LLP, Farrer & Co, Forsters LLP and Withers LLP remain pre-eminent.


Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Agriculture and estates clients in London using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Boodle Hatfield LLP fields β€˜a highly knowledgeable and experienced team that provides clear and comprehensive advice as quickly as required’. The β€˜wise and collegiate’ Sue Laing is β€˜technically very sharp’; Simon Rylatt β€˜does not get flustered under pressure, and has a calming influence on his clients’; Fiona Graham β€˜always completes her work even on the most complex and protracted matters in a swift and efficient way’; and Saskia Arthur is β€˜highly regarded by her loyal following of clients. Her knowledge of this field is unrivalled, as is her dedication to her clients, their needs and objectives’. At senior associate level, Kirsty Ions, on the property side, is β€˜very practical, knowledgeable and thorough’; and Eleanor Sepanski is β€˜well versed’ in all aspects of onshore UK tax, private client and trust work. The β€˜simply outstanding’ team is based across London and Oxford and has a national presence, and continues to advise high-net-worth individuals and landowners in relation to estate management matters, tenancy issues, and farming and sporting rights in addition to asset protection and the effective devolution of assets. It acts for over 80 landed estates including four of the UK’s largest ten, and counts Bedford Estates among its key clients. The β€˜thorough and fantastic’ group regularly assists wealthy individuals investing in landed estates, country houses and farms, and acts as trustee for a number of key estates. Other major clients include Wates Group and family, and the Radnor/Folkestone estates.

Simon Pring heads a large and β€˜excellent’ team at Farrer & Co which provides β€˜timely and pragmatic advice that is always focused on achieving the best outcome for the client’, and β€˜always treats its clients with the utmost respect’. Pring is β€˜outstanding’ for his work in the areas of urban/village fringe development and the exploitation of mineral rights. Paul Krafft has β€˜unparalleled knowledge of a broad range of issues, and has an amazing ability to provide concise and practical advice’. James Maxwell is β€˜exceptional for all aspects of agricultural work’, and Edmund Fetherston-Dilke has a well-established reputation for his work on the sale and purchase of major estates. Among a number of talented associates, Thomas Kirkman provides β€˜a superb service on farm disposals and acquisitions’, and the β€˜impressive’ Katy Tydeman handles a wide range of rural property matters. The team had a busy year advising on some of the largest and most complex sales and purchases of agricultural land and estates in the UK market, and continues to attract a steady flow of instructions from some of the UK’s largest and highest-profile institutional and private clients. Highlights included acting for a very substantial estate in Lincolnshire in relation to the grant of a 40-year lease to a leading mineral operator for limestone extraction. It also continues to act for longstanding client the Church Commissioners of England on a broad range of matters, recently advising on the purchase of a large farm in Middlesex for over Β£6.3m.

Forsters LLP is β€˜one of the leading London firms that provides a bespoke and prompt service to the owners of agricultural estates and farms’. Penny Elliott heads β€˜a strong team able to deal with a wide range of property issues’, and Catherine Hill provides β€˜high-level strategic tax planning and trust advice’. Andrew Lane, who is β€˜at the top of his game’, advises individuals, families and trusts on a diverse range of legal, commercial and personal issues, and has a focus on capital taxation and succession issues for the owners of landed estates. Rupert Mead is experienced in the preservation of heritage property and its exemption from tax, and acts as a trustee for a number of significant estates in England and Wales. The team is β€˜technically excellent and has very good client skills’, and acts for a mix of traditional landowning families, ultra-high-net-worth individuals and, increasingly, overseas investors and purchasers.

Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall and the β€˜exceptional’ Matthew Woods co-lead a β€˜very strong and thorough’ team at Withers LLP, which is β€˜consistently excellent’, has a number of β€˜standout individuals’, and is one of the β€˜market leaders for landed estates’. Christopher Groves has β€˜a wealth of experience and provides a full and comprehensive service to clients’, and on the real estate side Jeremy Wakeham is β€˜very knowledgeable’. Mainly acting for families (rather than institutions), the β€˜first-class’ team is recommended for its experience in rural property transactions, and has a diverse practice ranging from transactional tax advice such as VAT and stamp duty land tax to contentious matters, where it has considerable strength. It recently represented a purchaser in a significant contractual dispute over the terms of a contract to buy a vast rural estate. The β€˜excellent’ team acts for many major landowning families whose trusts and property interests require specialist knowledge of heritage legislation, and it is also experienced in acting for international families requiring advice on how to purchase rural property in the most tax-efficient manner.

Bircham Dyson Bell shows β€˜great attention to detail and a commitment to secure the right outcome for its clients’, and β€˜understands the importance of building up long-term relationships with its clients’. It is β€˜a key player in the private client market, and has retained its strong personal service and culture that some of the larger firms can no longer provide’; Christopher Findley is praised for his β€˜wide-ranging experience and practical advice’, and Henry Cecil for his β€˜clear, no-nonsense and pragmatic approach’. The β€˜responsive, knowledgeable and practical’ Susan Johnson is also recommended, for trusts and capital tax matters. The team has been active advising landowners on the purchase, sale and expansion of estates and significant blocks of farm and woodland. It regularly advises high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals on estate structuring and tax planning with the aim of protecting and preserving their farms and estates for future generations, and it acts for entrepreneurial clients alongside individuals who have inherited their wealth. The group has been busy advising the Country Land and Business Association on various aspects of objections to the compulsory purchase of land by HS2.

At Burges Salmon LLP, Tom Hewitt leads β€˜a highly competent team’ with a national presence. Emma Folkes is experienced in agricultural tenancy matters and in complex restructuring issues involving the surrender and re-grant of tenancies to facilitate strategic land use projects. Jim Aveline is recommended for his work on tax, trusts and estate planning. The β€˜first-rate’ Sian Edmunds is recommended for food, agriculture and agribusiness matters, and β€˜always tries to get the best for her clients’. Senior associate Peter Roberts is β€˜calm and methodical, and adopts a pragmatic approach to solving problems’, and associate Maddie Dunn is β€˜excellent’. Major clients of the practice include the National Trust, which it advises it on rural law issues across England and Wales. It has also been busy working on major estate transactions for The Crown Estate, and continues to advise the John Lewis Partnership on rural law issues in relation to the Leckford Estate (a 4,000-acre estate in Hampshire).

At Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Christopher Page leads on rural business and landed estates work, while Bart Peerless heads the private client side; he is β€˜very knowledgeable’ and shows β€˜great attention to detail’. The team acts for a range of landed estates and ultra-high-net-worth families on a broad array of complex matters, from tax, trusts and property issues to employment and matrimonial matters, often advising on the terms of old trusts (including Settled Land Act settlements) where the trustees own farmland and rural estates, and has a focus on succession planning both in terms of tax mitigation and in terms of ensuring that estates pass down the generations as intended. The team regularly works jointly with the firm’s trust litigation group on contentious matters involving succession to rural estates.

James Vernor-Miles and Peter Robinson co-head the team at Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans. It acts for approximately 90 estates stretching from Cornwall to Scotland, ranging in size from houses with amenity land to large landed estates covering several thousand hectares. The team is experienced in the full gamut of issues, from matters concerning tenanted farms, residential units, commercial operations and renewable energy to development land and historic rights. Jonathan Godwin-Austen, Alexandra Sarkis and Patricia Sykes are well regarded for their work in the areas of trusts, estates and tax law. The team’s expertise includes capital raising to support landed estates, whether through the sale of extensive development land or the sale of individual properties.

Macfarlanes LLP fields β€˜a bright team that is very efficient and well respected’. Head of department Tristan Ward attracts many accolades, and is β€˜extremely calm, knowledgeable and practical (as he is a farmer himself)’. The β€˜unflappable’ Michael Ranson is β€˜highly intelligent, available and very responsive’, and senior solicitor Simon Blackburn is β€˜very thorough, patient and knowledgeable’. The team is well equipped to advise its high-net-worth clients on the full range of matters. In a recent highlight, the team was instructed by the family which owns the 1,000-acre estate surrounding Pitchford Hall to reunite the Grade 1 listed Tudor manor house with the estate, requiring advice on residential and agricultural matters, various livery arrangements for racehorses, and the return to the property of artwork which had been separated from the hall for many years.

The β€˜very experienced and efficient’ Michael Aubrey, who is based in Cambridge, heads the agribusiness practice at Mills & Reeve LLP. Other members of the β€˜strong’ team are Norwich-based Tim Ryan, who has led on many diversification projects for farmers, landowners and estate owners and is β€˜excellent at dealing with all aspects of development land agreements’. Cambridge-based Amanda Tagg is experienced in agricultural land diversification schemes, particularly development and energy projects. The team acts for a variety of prestigious landed estates and historic institutions in addition to large farming companies, pension funds, universities (including a significant number of Oxbridge colleges), energy/utility companies, and farming co-operatives. Highlights included acting for the trustee landowners of the Kirton Estate in negotiating and agreeing the terms of an option for a cabling easement (and an associated deed of grant) across a large section of the estate. Other key clients include the Wellcome Trust, The Countryside Restoration Trust and Univeg.

At Payne Hicks Beach, Alastair Murdie heads β€˜a helpful, discreet and responsive team that provides robust advice that is always right. It has a number of outstanding performers’. Murdie is β€˜a well-respected colossus in the field’; Robert Brodrick acts for trustees and owners of landed estates, primarily advising on tax and estate planning, and β€˜does not miss a trick’; and the β€˜absolutely brilliant’ James Bacon β€˜relates really well with his clients’. The β€˜responsive’ Rosamond McDowell’s covers contentious and non-contentious advisory, trust and probate work, acting for many families, agricultural landed estates, trustees and individuals. The firm β€˜represents some of the country’s most substantial landowners’, acting for over 50 landed estates on private client and property matters. It is also experienced in farming business reorganisation and succession planning issues, and is increasingly active in relation to agricultural developments. The practice includes sophisticated tax matters, such as the maximisation of agricultural property relief and entrepreneurs’ relief, the protection of farmers from trespass, and the use of alternative energy schemes and diversification.

At Taylor Wessing LLP, the β€˜excellent’ Luke Callaghan (senior counsel) provides specialist advice on property issues affecting the firm’s landed estate clients. He is experienced in residential and agricultural property matters for both UK and non-UK clients, covering freehold/leasehold property, landed estates, mineral rights, and agricultural and residential tenancies. Also recommended is Andrew Hine, for trusts work. Clients include traditional landowners and their heirs and trustees, as well as entrepreneurs and overseas and non-domiciled buyers. The group has been advising on myriad high-value and complex matters, notably acting for an ultra-high-net-worth individual on the acquisition of a traditional sporting estate which surrounds their property and includes a Grade II listed country house, numerous farm cottages which are let, and 600 acres of farm and woodland (which also includes a commercial shoot). In another highlight, the team acted for an ultra-high-net-worth Swedish family on its first acquisition of UK property; the property included a substantial country house in Gloucestershire together with gardens, lakes, farmland and common land.

At Thrings LLP, Anita Symington advises on a broad range of matters such as the sale and purchase of farms and rural estates and secured lending matters, and is well known for her work on agricultural tenancies and renewable energy projects. Clients include farmers, growers, agribusinesses and other rural enterprises, with the practice ranging from property sales and development through to tax and succession planning and advice on farm subsidies. The team acts as National Farmers Union panel solicitors for many counties across the UK.


Art and cultural property

Index of tables

  1. Art and cultural property
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Art and cultural property clients in London using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Boodle Hatfield LLP is β€˜a very prestigious law firm for art and cultural property work. It has been handling art and cultural property matters for its private clients for many years, so it has an intimate understanding of how the whole market works. The team really takes the time to get to know its clients and has the added bonus of cross-departmental expertise from its IP and fraud divisions, to name but two’. Key individuals in the β€˜first-rate team’ include Simon Fitzpatrick, who is β€˜strong on the contentious side’; he has specialist expertise in art litigation, including claims concerning auction house misattribution and negligence and provenance claims. Tim Maxwell also has a specialism in art law and art litigation, and is β€˜an experienced litigator who can handle large and complicated matters with ease’. Natasha Hassall is recommended for her expertise in both onshore and offshore trusts, tax planning, and wills for large landed estates with substantial heritage property and art collections. Fiona Graham is praised for her β€˜great technical knowledge’, and the β€˜dynamic’ Sue Laing β€˜fights hard for her clients’. Senior associate Rudy Capildeo β€˜exudes confidence and has huge in-depth knowledge of the art and cultural property space’, and associate Becky Shaw is β€˜a safe pair of hands who provides solid support’. Clients include privately owned businesses and very wealthy entrepreneurs, alongside numerous landed estates such as the Folkestone Estates. The group has considerable expertise in street art, representing major artists such as Stik, and has advised on some of the largest art financing transactions of recent times. The β€˜excellent and swift’ team has been instructed to advise an organiser on a groundbreaking proposal to bring a historic musical instrument to the UK for the first time. Overall, the team has β€˜a keen interest in the field. The lawyers do high-end work, have in-depth knowledge and are incredibly friendly’.

β€˜A great team that has a formidable and merited reputation for the wide range and high quality of legal services it provides’, Farrer & Co has β€˜a depth of expertise it can call upon coupled with a great skill to provide clear responses’. Head of department Adrian Parkhouse is β€˜a wizard who really knows his stuff’, and β€˜combines meticulous professionalism with a realistic and pragmatic approach to complicated art and heritage issues’. Rhoddy Voremberg is β€˜a senior statesman who is a very, very safe pair of hands’. Other members of the team include Peter Wienand and associate Jane Randell, both of whom are β€˜unfailingly polite, prompt and clear’. The β€˜technically excellent and very experienced’ James Carleton β€˜thinks laterally and has a natural empathy with his clients’. Mike Chantler is well regarded for his work in devising tax-saving strategies for artworks and other heritage property, and senior associate Adam Carvalho stays β€˜very calm and collected’. The firm’s β€˜long association with many of the grandest landed estates gives it great experience and confidence to deal with a wide range of art-related matters whether they be unambiguously commercial or heritage related’. It has a diverse client base ranging from the international super-rich, dealers and collectors to the foremost galleries and museums. It recently advised the Tate Modern on the return of a Turner sketch, Beaching a Boat, Brighton, which had been looted by the Nazis from its Hungarian owner during World War II.

Mishcon de Reya LLP has β€˜in-depth knowledge of the art world and its ability to solve problems’, and is β€˜always available and provides immediate responses’. Karen Sanig heads the team and is β€˜probably the most experienced art lawyer in the country. If you need an art litigation lawyer she is the "go to" person’. She and managing associate Amanda Gray are both β€˜meticulous, and live and breathe their work’. Sanig represents clients from across the globe, and advises on a wide range of matters including disputes over attribution, authenticity and ownership, as well as on the restitution of looted cultural property. The β€˜excellent’ team is regularly involved in the largest art transactions in the world and the most significant litigation in the area. In a major matter, it represented longstanding client the Arab Republic of Egypt on the possible prevention of the export of the sculpture of Sekhemka (an Egyptian royal scribe), which had been sold at auction in 2014 by the Northampton Museum for Β£15.8m to an anonymous foreign owner; the export was blocked until the end of March 2016. In another key matter, it advised the Contemporary Art Society (CAS) on a potential sale of Figure Study 11 by Francis Bacon, worth approximately Β£60m, by Kirklees Council, CAS having gifted the painting to Kirklees Council on condition that if the Council attempted to dispose of the artwork it would automatically forfeit the title and ownership would then revert to CAS. The team is β€˜hugely knowledgeable from being in this sector for such a long time’, and is β€˜highly efficient: if it says that something is done, it is done and done well’.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has β€˜a very good reputation’, with the β€˜very sensible’ Suzanne Marriott β€˜highly regarded’; she is β€˜very clear-sighted about her clients’ aims and objectives’ and is noted for β€˜her ability to then use imaginative ideas to come up with solutions’. The β€˜very user-friendly team’ team was pleased to add β€˜outstanding litigator’ Ludovic de Walden to its ranks from Bird & Bird LLP; he is a well-known name in the field of art-related dispute resolution, acting for museums, collectors, dealers, sovereign states, artists’ estates and other industry bodies, and β€˜always tries to get the best for his clients’. Bart Peerless is β€˜very experienced’, and Robert Blower is β€˜fantastic’ at advising art collectors. The team advises a broad client base of dealers, artists, galleries and auction houses in addition to wealthy individuals, on issues ranging from tax planning and escrow and valuation agreements to succession planning and insurance matters. Sotheby’s and The Design Museum are key clients. Highlights included advising the trusteeship of a charitable trust which endows the arts by organising and funding art prizes, exhibitions and collections, on matters including export licences and loan agreements.

Constantine Cannon LLP has β€˜a highly skilled team that is strong in the international arena’. The β€˜outstanding and very analytical’ Pierre Valentin has β€˜superb market knowledge’ and is β€˜extremely thorough, hardworking, and highly ethical’; he β€˜thinks creatively to always try to get the best solution for his clients’, whose β€˜interests are always foremost in his mind’. The team has significant transatlantic capabilities, and Valentin has β€˜considerable knowledge not only of the UK art market but also of other systems of law’, which β€˜gives him a unique advantage in London’. β€˜Very helpful’ senior associate Azmina Jasani is β€˜meticulous and very client-orientated’. Both Valentin and Jasani are β€˜very fair to all people they deal with and are very understanding that these matters can often be very emotional for family members’. The practice provides the international art market with the full range of advice, and has a diverse client base which includes artists, galleries, auction houses, private collectors, banks and private art foundations. Notable clients include Paddle8, Art of Kindness and Blain Southern.

Mark Stephens is β€˜a brilliant strategic thinker’ and heads a skilled team at Howard Kennedy LLP which has β€˜an excellent understanding of the practicalities of the art market and is therefore particularly well able to assist its clients in potentially contentious situations’. Robert Lands is β€˜very experienced’ on all aspects of intellectual property, and Daniel McClean is β€˜really hungry to get the best results for his clients, with an excellent understanding of the art world and a sophisticated understanding of artists’. Jonathan Sellors is β€˜very practical and adopts a good strategic approach to matters’. The team is best known for its work in relation to impressionist, modern and contemporary art, and looted art and cultural property, and covers both transactions and contentious issues. It acts for high-profile artists, galleries, estates and charitable foundations including The Tate, ArtAngel, Sir Peter Blake and Turner prize-winner Mark Wallinger. Tim Bignell recently led the defence of a client in High Court litigation brought by the Art Loss Register for breach of confidential information, employment covenants and solicitation of company clients. In another major matter, the group acted for Meem Gallery (Dubai) on behalf of a group of leading Iranian artists and estates against Christie’s (London) and Darius and Marc Azari in relation to 300 disputed artworks.

Stephenson Harwood has β€˜a great team across the board, and is and should be the first port of call for anyone looking for either non-contentious advisory work or contentious dispute resolution advice and representation’. It is β€˜one of the few firms that has a true art specialisation and is also very experienced in cultural property work due to its long-running association with clients in the art world such as galleries, dealers and auction houses’. β€˜Very able litigator’ Roland Foord heads the team, and his β€˜calm and measured approach is born out of years of extensive experience. He has an impressive roster of clients’. He advises on other matters ranging from the sale and purchase of fine art to standard terms of business for the major market players in the art world, and is also experienced in export issues and looted art matters. Stephen Roberts has β€˜an excellent forensic mind which he brings to bear in providing superb advice on the prospects and risks of litigation’. In a significant matter, the team is acting for Mark Weiss Limited, an established London Old Master dealer, in a dispute over a painting sold through Sotheby’s as a work by Frans Hals; the authenticity of the painting has now been questioned. It also acts for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Royal College of Art, the Society of London Art Dealers, Hazlitt Gooden & Fox Limited, and Mark Adams Fine Art Ltd.

At Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans, Hetty Gleave β€˜is doing high-quality work and is a real art expert who really knows her stuff’; Gregor Kleinknecht is β€˜prominent in the area and is known as a tough litigator’; Alexandra Sarkis is β€˜excellent with clients and is also very knowledgeable and experienced’, acting for a number of major landed estates with significant heritage property; and associate Petra Warrington provides β€˜great support within the team’. The multi-disciplinary team acts for over 60 landed estates and has specialist experience in relation to art and antiquities. It regularly advises dealers, galleries, collectors, and public and private institutions on title disputes, questions of misattribution and authenticity, IP issues, and matters relating to treasure. Gleave is a member of the Treasure Valuation Committee, which advises the Secretary of State on the fair market value of declared treasure finds from the UK which museums may wish to acquire. Both Gleave and Kleinknecht are mediators and members of the Art Resolve, a specialist art dispute resolution service.

The β€˜very knowledgeable and empathetic’ Ceris Gardner heads the team at Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP; she has β€˜a real depth of expertise and inspires confidence in her clients’. The β€˜very responsive, sharp and clever’ Clare Maurice β€˜fights her clients’ corner very well’. The team is experienced in assisting art collectors in the review and tax structuring of the ownership of their collections, and is also well versed in succession planning. Gardner has a wealth of experience advising individuals, families, estates and trustees on UK and international art and heritage property matters, and is also notable for her work for grant-making and operational charities on matters of charity law and tax concerning the acquisition, loan and sale of both collections and individual pieces.

Withers LLP has β€˜a very strong practice that fits in very well with its overall excellent private client offering. It has a well-organised and helpful team that is completely dedicated to its clients’. Celia Lloyd Davidson is β€˜very alert to the commercial realities of each situation’; the β€˜phenomenal’ Peter Wood is β€˜very good at identifying arcane points of law and identifying the potential traps before the client walks into them’; Robin Paul has β€˜a wealth of knowledge and experience’; Eleni Polycarpou, who heads the art litigation team, is β€˜an excellent litigator to have on your side and is relentless in pursuing her clients’ best interests’; and β€˜up-and-coming’ associate Simon Chadwick has β€˜an unparalleled work ethic and his client manner is perfect’. The firm has considerable international and transatlantic capabilities. In a significant cross-border matter, it is advising Gazelli Art House (a leading Mayfair contemporary art gallery) in a claim against a Taiwanese gallery; and, in another substantial international matter, it is instructed by Naxos Art Inc in a dispute over the ownership of more than 300 paintings.

Susan Johnson and Hugo Smith co-head an β€˜excellent’ team at Bircham Dyson Bell, whose client base includes wealthy individuals, museums, galleries, historic estates, artists and their estates, livery companies, and charities. It continues to advise longstanding client the Royal Opera House Covent Garden on various contractual and regulatory matters. It has also been acting in a dispute over valuable and rare pieces of 17th century Chinese porcelain which were collected by Sir Michael Butler, who gifted the pieces to his four children; the practice successfully acted for two of the children in a claim for the issue of an order for the division of the pieces under the Law of Property Act 1925. Other areas of expertise include the formation of charities to hold art and cultural property to make works available for public display; the sale and purchase of works of art; and matters of provenance, intellectual property, succession and tax planning.

Alex Watt is a leading intellectual property lawyer at Browne Jacobson LLP, and has extensive experience advising both artists on the protection of their rights as well as galleries on their relationships with artists. He has developed considerable expertise in advising artists, galleries and other institutions on fine art within the β€˜street art’ or β€˜urban art’ categories; he is sole counsel for world-renowned street artist Ben Eine (aka EINE), and also acts for Stik, who is another major urban artist. The group is also recommended for its work on cultural property matters, and has acted for the National Trust for over nine years, advising it on a wide variety of matters.

The β€˜very personable’ Tony Baumgartner heads the fine art team at Clyde & Co LLP, which deals with the full range of fine art, antiquities, jewellery and specie matters for leading international insurers and reinsurers worldwide, as well as many major London insurers of fine art. Baumgartner has β€˜genuine expertise in this area and is very experienced’, covering both contentious and non-contentious insurance matters as well as more general disputes for key insurance clients.

Rupert Mead heads the art and heritage group at Forsters LLP, which draws on specialist knowledge from across the firm and has a focus on advising individuals, trustees and companies on the tax implications of owning art and heritage property. It is also experienced in contentious matters involving art, and is increasingly active in matters with a foreign law component. Clients include contemporary artists, art collectors, auction houses, museums, charities, dealers, and families and their trustees. Mead advises the owners of landed estates and has a particular interest in the taxation of heritage property (both chattels, and historic land and buildings). He acts as trustee of a number of major estates in England and Wales, many of which have a significant collection of art and chattels. Catherine Hill is experienced in estate planning and succession issues; and David Robinson is also recommended for his work with the owners of landed estates, offering detailed knowledge of the tax exemptions affecting fine houses and works of art.

Payne Hicks Beach is experienced in advising private individuals, trustees, art dealers and charities, and has particular strength in the administration of extensive, high-value collections of art and associated trusts; there is β€˜very little about the art and cultural property sectors that the firm has not mastered’. Practice head James Bacon has considerable knowledge of heritage property tax and niche expertise in the use of maintenance fund settlements for heritage land; β€˜he has the ability to handle the most complex art and cultural property matters, and does all this sensitively’. Alastair Murdie’s work for significant landed estates includes regularly advising on the legal and tax implications of large art collections owned by his clients.

Richard Hart heads an β€˜excellent’ team at Pinsent Masons LLP which is β€˜very responsive and provides robust and tailored advice that shows the firm’s expertise and ability to link together different specialisations (for example tax and art advice)’. Associate Fionnuala Rogers is β€˜knowledgeable and passionate about art, and this shines through in the quality of the advice that she gives’. Hart acts for several ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families on matters such as acquisitions and refurbishments of historic houses, and advises on art collections. The team has a strong transactional practice, with notable capabilities on the contentious side also. It is representing Mondex Corporation in a major dispute on behalf of the heirs of a Jewish gallerist who was dispossessed in World War II of the Modigliani painting Seated Man with a Cane. Other key clients include Deutsche Bank, University of the Arts London, Sussex University, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and various members of Middle Eastern royal families.


Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Bates Wells Braithwaite is β€˜a 21st century law firm with a very knowledgeable and flexible team that provides pragmatic advice. The service it provides is second to none’. The charities team is β€˜very innovative and responsive to the needs of the social enterprise sector’, and is co-headed by Julian Blake and the β€˜practical and commercially minded’ Philip Kirkpatrick. The firm’s β€˜knowledge of the charities and not-for-profit sector is unparalleled, particularly in an international context’, and it fields a large team of β€˜excellent lawyers along with some superb junior solicitors’. Among them are the β€˜calm and unflappable’ Laura Soley, who is β€˜responsive and completely client focused’; Lawrence Simanowitz, who β€˜applies practical solutions to complex problems’; Stephanie Biden, who is β€˜great with clients and explains the most complex matters in simple terms’; the β€˜technically excellent’ Thea Longley, who works with a broad range of not-for-profit organisations; Rosamund McCarthy, who is particularly experienced in legal issues with public policy implications and has β€˜a deep understanding of the charities sector’; Abbie Rumbold, a leading charity and social enterprise lawyer; and head of social finance Luke Fletcher, who β€˜provides straightforward advice on the most complex matters’. Erica Crump was promoted to partner, and associate Pippa Garland is β€˜very clear, efficient and concise’. Recent work for the team includes advising the Samaritans and Royal Albert Hall on a variety of matters, and providing extensive governance advice to Amnesty International (UK section).

Anne-Marie Piper heads a β€˜very strong’ team at Farrer & Co, which includes the β€˜very knowledgeable’ James Carleton and associate Laetitia Ransley, who is β€˜very responsive and provides very comprehensive answers – there is no risk that anything will fall through the cracks’. Julian Smith acts for a wide range of foundations and functional charities, with particular expertise in governance, tax, investment, reorganisations and mergers. Sam Macdonald is recommended for his advice to charities and other not-for-profit institutions on all aspects of UK charity law and related tax law. The firm acts for an impressive range of household-name clients, including Save the Children and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is currently assisting leading wildlife and conservation organisation WWF-UK in relation to its compliance obligations, and continues to advise Leonard Cheshire Disability, a leading disability charity in the UK with a significant international presence. The team is well known for its transactional and structuring work for charities with complex group and trading structures. It has also recently assisted various charities in relation to major financing initiatives through private placements and secured lending arrangements, and is a popular choice with high-net-worth individuals looking to establish and manage charitable foundations or to make significant gifts to charities.

Bircham Dyson Bell is β€˜prompt and efficient and its knowledge of the charity sector is evident in the calibre of advice it provides. This highlights the team’s detailed knowledge of this sector and its pragmatic approach to solving problems’. Team head Penny Chapman is β€˜very thorough’, and Simon Weil is β€˜very impressive’. Jonathan Brinsden is also recommended as someone who β€˜fully understands the most complex matters yet can explain them with great simplicity and clarity’. Brinsden has been appointed as an Interim Manager to the Manor Building Preservation Trust Limited following the Charity Commission’s statutory inquiry, which was prompted by serious regulatory concerns regarding the possible misuse of funds and assets. Associate Alice Malvezzi Campeggi is also β€˜professional, quick and personable’. The practice advises over 450 charities on governance, public benefit and company and commercial matters, including complex cross-border instructions, and also handles parliamentary guidance, child protection and employment law issues. It represents a significant roster of well-known clients such as St John’s Ambulance, Relate, The Mothers’ Union, Maudsley Charity, and the Blue Cross. β€˜The team feels better in terms of its nimbleness, flexibility and the personal relationships it builds with clients in comparison to some other firms.’

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has a large multi-disciplinary team including the highly regarded Mike Scott and head of the property charity team Lynn Povey. The philanthropy group acts predominantly for founders and funders of charitable and philanthropic ventures, and is headed by John Ward and Andrew Cameron. β€˜Commercially astute and a good tactician’, Roberta Harvey has considerable experience in trust disputes and β€˜really knows her stuff’. The team has been busy advising Eton College on governance issues, real estate matters relating to the college’s property portfolio, and tax structuring and trading company matters; and it continues to act for the Merchant Taylors’ Company and related charities and subsidiary companies on a vast array of real estate, tax and governance matters. Other major clients are Cancer Research, Save the Children and Lord Wandsworth College.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP has β€˜a stellar reputation with a magnificent array of charity clients. They handle the most complex and demanding matters with elegance and aplomb’. Team head Jennifer Chambers has β€˜an amazing intellect that can handle the most tangled legal problem and then produce a solution in language that the charity can understand’. Emma-Jane Weider is β€˜a remarkably safe pair of hands who enables her clients to sleep deeply at night’, and Ed Powles β€˜always steers clients in the right direction’. Ceris Gardner β€˜sees the bigger picture and provides exceptional levels of client care and service’; the β€˜empathetic’ Arabella Murphy also has β€˜a strong reputation’; and the β€˜approachable’ Clare Maurice is β€˜very impressive’. The practice is noted for its bespoke advice on governance issues, trustee protection and remuneration and on the powers, duties and liabilities of trustees, and is experienced in tax issues and international matters. It also advises on the benefits of dual-registered charities and on the provision of grants, in particular overseas grants. Active clients include the Leverhulme Trust, DS Smith Charitable Foundation, Legal Education Foundation, and the Association of Taxation Technicians.

Russell-Cooke LLP β€˜makes a great effort to understand not just the legal framework under which charities operate but also their ethos and aspirations for the future’. Andrew Studd leads the team, and has β€˜in-depth knowledge of the charity sector and a genuine interest in it. He totally supports clients when they have to make key investment decisions and when they are reviewing their governance procedures’. James McCallum is β€˜excellent’; and, on the employment side, Jane Klauber is β€˜very approachable, responsive and supportive’. Other members of the team are the β€˜highly professional’ James Sinclair-Taylor, who provides β€˜clear advice’; and Chris Rowse, who β€˜really wants to get to know and understand his clients and what they need’. In a high-profile matter, the team advised 4Children, an important national charity supporting children, young adults and their families, after the loss of a key contract; the charity faced medium-term insolvency and the group advised the charity, its trustees and administrators in the run-up to its administration and the transfer of its services to other providers. In another major matter, the firm advised Anthony Nolan (the UK blood cancer charity) and Leuka (the leading leukaemia research charity) on their innovative collaboration with NHS Blood & Transplant and the University of Birmingham to provide a national platform for the development, approval and delivery of clinical trials in the field of stem cell transplantation.

The experienced and β€˜extremely reliable’ team at Stone King LLP β€˜always tries to find solutions rather than just look for issues, which is very helpful’. Recommended individuals include Ann Phillips and Bath-based Tim Rutherford, along with β€˜strong all-rounder’ Jonathan Burchfield, who is the β€˜ultimate "sage" of charity law and regulation’, and Tom Murdoch, who is praised for his β€˜integrity and attention to detail as well as his remarkable energy and complete focus on achieving great results for his clients. He remains calm and persuasive when dealing with regulators and counterparties during the most complex negotiations’. With an integrated national practice, the firm acts for over 200 of the country’s largest charities, and is praised as developing β€˜excellent collaborative relationships with clients’. Among its recent work, it advised on the creation of a new charitable vehicle to take over responsibility for the running of the Royal Parks (including Hyde Park, Richmond Park and Regent’s Park) from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It also assisted long-term client the Heritage Lottery Fund in securing a tri-partite agreement enabling the Bowes Museum to acquire the painting St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child, which is attributed to the workshop of an influential painter from the golden period of Flemish art. The firm also regularly acts as a Charity Commission-appointed interim manager of charities, which is testament to its β€˜all-round excellent in-depth knowledge of the charity sector’.

Con Alexander leads β€˜a professional, organised and committed team’ at VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards), which has resources across London, Bristol and Birmingham and advises its charity clients on all aspects of their operations. It acts for around 1,000 charities and not-for-profit organisations, with recent work including acting on the establishment of a new charity to support the activities of registered charity Philharmonia Ltd in Bedford; and advising Roedean School both on governance matters and on the adoption of a total return approach to investment and various requirements under The Charities (Total Return) Regulations. Other clients are 2nd Chance Group CIC, Birmingham Association for Mental Health, City & Guilds of London Institute, and Dean & Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral. β€˜Responsive and reliable’ associate Elizabeth Knight is β€˜very supportive and understanding’.

Withers LLP has a 17-partner team led by Alison Paines, who is the standing legal adviser to the Association of NHS Charities. Other key figures are Chris Priestley, who has a wealth of experience advising charities and social enterprises on domestic and international projects and also assists businesses and individuals working with charities on their CSR and philanthropic initiatives; the β€˜very talented’ Paul Hewitt, who is β€˜a master tactician committed to his clients’ and leads the firm’s work for charities on legacy income and trustee disputes; and special counsel Alana Petrakse, who β€˜has a brain the size of a planet’. The team includes a number of US attorneys working in London and the US. The firm is advising the Royal British Legion on a charity trust law project in relation to various properties that are held in trusts for its branches and beneficiaries. It also advised SSAFA - The Armed Forces Charity on the terms of a year-long partnership agreement with England Rugby, covering IP licences, data protection and other matters. Other clients include Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, the NSPCC, and the Salvation Army.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is β€˜very active in the market’. The team is headed by senior associate Shivaji Shiva, who β€˜brings huge experience, knowledge and understanding to each matter. She is also very responsive’. Senior associate Phil Watts is β€˜well respected and highly regarded’, and associate Edwina Turner β€˜is able to give practical advice to clients and communicates this advice well to clients’. The team, which acts for charities of all sizes nationwide, represents a growing number of the leading national providers of health and social care, and is increasingly attracting complex instructions from larger charities. Highlights included working successfully with the trustees and the chief executive of Cyclists’ Touring Club (trading as Cycling UK) in a comprehensive governance review and rebranding exercise, with the resulting governance report winning the support of an overwhelming majority of members. The firm also acted for MIND in relation to the expansion of its premises and the carrying out of alternations to its flagship head office in Stratford, London. The team overall has β€˜very high standards and a big commitment to working in its clients’ best interests’.

Blake Morgan LLP provides a full range of legal services to charities, not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises, operating as a single team from offices in Southampton, Oxford, Portsmouth, London, Reading and Cardiff. The team acts for an impressive array of charities, including the RNLI, Catch 22 Charity Limited and Rowans Hospice. It has been advising Oxfam on its property portfolio, assisting on various lease renewals, acquisitions and disposals in addition to advising on dilapidations; and has also been advising the British Red Cross on all of its outsourced property work for England and Wales. The team also acts for international charities and for charities working in dysfunctional and dangerous political regimes and disaster zones. Chris Williams is a key contact.

The β€˜excellent’ Graeme Nuttall heads Fieldfisher’s charity team, which is β€˜first class in every way’. Nuttall is a dual-qualified solicitor and chartered tax adviser, and is praised for his β€˜quick understanding of complex constitutional matters’. Also recommended are the β€˜very responsive and incredibly helpful’ Penny Wotton, who heads the private client offering; Neil Palmer, who is β€˜excellent at advising on complicated issues’, on the corporate side; and the β€˜superb’ Jayne Elkins, who recently led advice to the Royal Academy of Dance in relation to a development of new bespoke premises on the ground floor of a large residential development in Battersea, involving complex legal, tax and commercial considerations as well as planning issues. Director of CSR Shireen Irani is also recommended. The team is β€˜very good at promoting and protecting its clients’ interests’.

Forsters LLP advises many high-net-worth clients on their philanthropic activities, and is also experienced in advising charitable bodies and not-for-profit organisations with significant real estate assets. Fiona Smith heads the three-partner practice. Carole Cook specialises in advising UK and overseas individuals in relation to tax, trusts and estates, succession planning, and philanthropic matters. Rupert Mead is also recommended. Clients include charities involved in education, social care and the arts, ranging from start-up charities to those that have been in existence for centuries, and the team is also well regarded for its work on the establishment of alternative structures, such as community interest companies, in circumstances where full charitable status may not be the best option. In addition to its general advisory work, the group has specialist expertise in establishing dual UK/US charities which qualify for favourable tax treatment in both jurisdictions.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP continues to advise corporate foundations, media-related fundraising charities and subsidised arts organisations, with practice heads David Scott and Colin Howes both recommended. Howes is a longstanding board member of Comic Relief, and the team continues to advise the organisation in a number of areas including charity law, reputation management, employment, fundraising, data protection and IP infringement. Howes is also a board adviser to Virgin Unite (the Virgin Foundation), attending its trustee meetings to advise on legal and governance issues. Recent work for Scott includes advising Free the Children UK in relation to ongoing governance and compliance matters as well as on matters of brand management, immigration and employment. The firm is also instructed by a high-profile charity in relation to an ongoing Charity Commission investigation.

Hempsons provides β€˜an excellent service’ and has β€˜an established charities practice. The firm is well known for its health work in particular, and has a depth of understanding of this sector which is useful for health charities’. The team is also noted for its β€˜quick response times’, and β€˜there is always a partner on hand to deal with any problems’. β€˜Very knowledgeable’ team head Ian Hempseed β€˜has that rare combination of being very knowledgeable while also being very pragmatic’, and Simon Lee and Chris Hook are β€˜associates to watch’. Recent highlights include advising the Avenues Trust (a group of charities which is pioneering specialist social care, with an annual turnover of over Β£28m) on its acquisition of Welmede Housing Association; and advising Autism Plus Limited on its merger with Turning Point, with Autism Plus able to remain a separate entity by becoming a subsidiary of Turning Point. Other active clients include the National Childbirth Trust, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and the British Heart Foundation.

The experienced Paul Almy heads a β€˜strong’ team at Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans, which assists clients β€˜in a friendly and professional way’. It acts for a broad range of charities, clubs, societies, institutions and not-for-profit organisations, and has substantial experience in complex matters with a cross-border or international dimension, with particular knowledge of Africa. Dominik Opalinski and Jamie Lester are β€˜very thorough, have creative legal minds and provide an excellent service to clients’. Recent highlights include receiving instructions from the senior representatives of a spiritual leader in the US who operates a network of charitable organisations providing food, housing, education and medical services to the poor; the team is assisting the UK branch of this charity as part of its major expansion into the UK, on matters including the acquisition of land and premises in London. Other clients include Genetic Alliance UK, The Gunnar Nilsson Cancer Treatment Trusts, and the Zubaidah Trust.

Key individuals at Wrigleys Solicitors LLP include the well-regarded Malcolm Lynch and Sylvie Nunn, who is β€˜a great all-round charity adviser, and immensely experienced and knowledgeable’. Lynch assists a broad range of local, national and international charities in their dealings with the Charity Commission and in areas such as charity trading, fundraising and legal structures. Nunn advises on a wide range of charitable matters from the charity law aspects of land transactions (including dealing with endowment land) to borrowing and lending matters, and charity law considerations for religious organisations. The firm has a dedicated team of lawyers working exclusively for charity and social enterprise clients, and advises voluntary, community and faith organisations in addition to schools and further and higher education establishments. Its expertise also covers the establishment, governance and restructuring of military charities, and advice to heritage, conservation and cultural charities. The group had a busy year with a series of national appointments and the development of its work with various NHS charities and student unions. Highlights included acting for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in relation to various loan facilities made available to social finance organisations and intermediaries; and the firm continues to act for the Sisters of the Cross and Passion, advising on property, governance, restructuring, regulatory and employment law matters.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s team provides β€˜timely, efficient and quality advice’. Martin Paisner, Neasa Coen and Jonathan Kropman are all β€˜first rate and highly professional, and have a very good understanding of how the Charity Commission and the HMRC work while also being able to communicate and be empathetic with the trustees’. The firm is experienced in complex and large-scale matters, acting for a blend of more traditional clients, such as high-net-worth trusts and foundations, through to an increasing number of corporate charitable foundations. It has advised on various insolvency matters for charities recently, and has also acted for several charities in the Orthodox Jewish sector (both charities operating schools and charities making grants).

Notable for its national presence, Bond Dickinson LLP’s team has β€˜clear expertise in this sector, and is very responsive and reliable’. The β€˜extremely personable’ Jo Coleman garners extensive praise; she β€˜explains fairly complex legal issues in an easy-to-understand and practical way, and is very good at finding solutions to seemingly difficult problems and situations’. Managing associate Eva Abeles is also β€˜excellent’. Highlights included assisting Bowes Museum in the acquisition of the painting St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child, attributed to the workshop of Dieric Bouts, including advising the museum on its relationship with the Art Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund and its partnership with the York Art Gallery and the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery in relation to displaying the painting. The firm also acted for Crisis UK (the national charity for homelessness) on its merger with The Lift People.

At Bristows LLP, the β€˜interaction between all members of the charity division and the firm as a whole is superb. The group consistently provides prompt, professional and meticulous advice, and importantly it is always willing to listen’. Mark Hawes is noted for his β€˜grace and diplomacy in keeping everyone informed, aligned and chipper’, and fellow practice head Miranda Cass is β€˜somehow able to make light work of tax and VAT issues, deftly explaining the position to clients and then providing practical options that add value’. On the employment side, the β€˜unwaveringly brilliant’ Justin Costley produces β€˜practical solutions and suggestions no matter how complex the matter’. Highlights included advising on the establishment of Secondary1st, a new high-profile charity focused on secondary breast cancer.

Druces LLP’s lawyers are β€˜friendly, interested in getting to know their clients and willing to spend time in answering questions. They make a complex world far easier to navigate’. Head of the charities group Richard Monkcom is β€˜very experienced and thorough, and has a very caring attitude towards his clients’. Helen Freely is also β€˜excellent’, and associate Matthew McCormick is β€˜keen and energetic’. Senior associate Caroline Cropley is β€˜very clear in her advice’, and is recommended for corporate matters. The firm acts for a variety of private charities, independent schools, medical charities, religious orders and city livery companies. Key clients include the Dogs Trust and the Directors Charitable Foundation, a charity which supports emerging directors and also assists professional directors in financial distress.

Nicholas Harries heads a β€˜helpful, innovative and unfailingly responsive’ team at Macfarlanes LLP which β€˜achieves the desired outcomes for its clients in almost unprecedented short periods of time’. Associate Clarissa Lyons and solicitor Emma Handbury are both β€˜incredibly accommodating, knowledgeable, patient and customer focused. Both also provide succinct advice’. The team advises on the full range of issues, with particular experience in cross-border work. It has been working with Longshot Kids Limited (the owner of Kidzania London), which is an education and entertainment space for children in London; and has been assisting the trustees of the DFN Charitable Foundation on various matters relating to the running of the charity, the making of grants and in particular conflicts of interest. Other significant clients include Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP fields a β€˜wholly reliable’ team whose β€˜knowledge is second to none. It provides an absolutely excellent quality of service’ under the leadership of the β€˜technically excellent’ Ian Davis. The β€˜sensible, professional and responsive’ Emma Burrows is recommended for employment matters, and Sharron Webster is β€˜excellent’. The team is very active for housing associations, and advises on a wide range of matters in the areas of disability, mental health, healthcare, leisure and social enterprises. Keith Mills and Helen Briant, who are both based in Birmingham, have been appointed by the Charity Commission as interim managers of Rhema Church London (an evangelical church); they have been appointed to address concerns over the charity’s alleged non-compliance with its charitable and governance obligations and unauthorised use of charity funds by employees. The group is also acting for the Swimming Teachers’ Association Limited in a substantial claim against its former CEO over alleged misappropriation of charity assets.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP has the β€˜highly efficient’ Joanna Bussell, who is β€˜a formidable and tough negotiator and a great communicator, and shows great attention to detail’. She has considerable experience in areas ranging from restructuring and governance to trustee training, with a particular focus on leisure, arts and cultural charities. The firm advised Upper Norwood Library Trust on the launch of a new charitable trust to manage and operate Upper Norwood Library; having created it as a new registered charity, the team then supported the trustees in their negotiations with the London Borough of Lambeth to take full responsibility for the management and operation of the library and the creation of a new community hub. In another highlight, the team advised the Hepworth Wakefield Garden Trust on the creation of a new charitable trust to manage and operate the new garden at the Hepworth Wakefield Art Gallery.

At Boodle Hatfield LLP, Simon Rylatt is β€˜brilliant’, and Fiona Graham and senior associate Eleanor Sepanski are both β€˜very knowledgeable’. The team has been undertaking a wide range of work for leading charities such as the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre. It is also recommended for its philanthropy practice, regularly advising corporates, family business and individuals on major projects. Recent work includes advising Empathy Museum on the charity’s registration.

The β€˜very clever but approachable’ David Goepel heads the charities team at Edwin Coe LLP; β€˜very experienced, technically excellent and thorough’, he is able to β€˜explain complex matters clearly’ and has β€˜a good understanding of the key issues’. He acts for a wide range of charitable and not-for-profit clients, and advises UK charities, high-net-worth individuals and families looking to focus on their philanthropic activities in addition to overseas clients seeking to establish a UK base. The practice covers cross-border tax and trust matters, the establishment of new charitable structures, and ongoing advice to those charities. Highlights included advising the Theatre Royal Haymarket on its conversion from a charitable trust to a charitable company limited by guarantee.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP provides β€˜helpful advice in a very timely fashion’, with principal associate Stephen O’Reilly noted as β€˜very knowledgeable about the charity sector’. The group has experience across the education, health, regeneration, mental health and social justice sectors, and has considerable expertise in advising research institutions and grant makers. Recent highlights include advising the National Land Based College on its registration as a charity with the Charity Commission; and advising on the establishment of Paris Dauphine International (an English charitable company limited by guarantee) and its registration as a charity. Glynne Stanfield is also recommended.

Cambridge-based Neil Burton leads a large national team at Mills & Reeve LLP praised for its β€˜exceptional service and quick response times: deadlines are met’. The β€˜professional and friendly’ Mark Ashton (a senior associate also based in Cambridge) has β€˜a good understanding of the charity sector and communicates with clients in an easily understandable language’. Highlights included advising on the tax structuring of a legacy of UK real estate by a US domicile for the benefit of a Professor of Economics; and advising Livability (a Christian disability charity with an income of Β£44m) on its merger with Prospects for People with Learning Disabilities.

Penningtons Manches LLP β€˜has geared up its charities/not-for-profit offering to a level equal to that of the rest of the firm. It has got off to a flying start with a remarkably strong client set that has been attracted by a stellar team’. Head of department Alison Talbot has β€˜exactly the right combination of steely strength, a very deep understanding of not just charity law but the way charities work, and complete sensitivity to her clients’ objects’. β€˜Hugely popular’ senior associate Philip Collins is β€˜a seasoned litigator who has a wealth of experience and very sound judgement’. The firm advises on a wide range of governance, regulatory and legacy matters. Key clients include the RSPCA and the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals.

Pothecary Witham Weld Solicitors is β€˜a discreet class act that provides advice to a very high standard very quickly’; it has β€˜a reliable team with specialist knowledge of charitable trusts and employs sympathetic staff who are temperamentally suited to this type of work’. Gerald Kidd is β€˜regarded by those who know him as a hidden gem in the charities sector, and an exceptional lawyer’; Peter Spencer is β€˜excellent’; Nadeem Azhar is β€˜attentive and efficient’; and Alexa Beale has β€˜an excellent track record’ advising religious charities on complex property matters. The firm acts for over 300 charities and is renowned for its work with religious institutions, in particular Catholic charities and the Methodist Church. The group has also been advising various schools, care homes, finance boards, pension schemes and the trading arms of these bodies on a diverse range of matters. Major clients include the Sheldon Trusts, Orphanz Care and the Simpson Foundation.

RadcliffesLeBrasseur’s practice is headed by the β€˜able and intelligent’ Victoria Fairley and Philip Maddock. Fairley is experienced in areas such as charity formation and management, and Maddock acts for a significant number of charities in the healthcare sector. The group represents a large number of UK charities including local community groups, heritage trusts and nationally recognised names. It is advising Royal London Society on its merger with a larger charity, while other key clients include Church Commissioners for England, Barnardo’s and Parkinson’s UK.


Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Contentious trusts and probate clients in London using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Routinely instructed in high-value and international trust disputes, Baker McKenzie is β€˜outstanding, and has a genuine global reach’. With β€˜a very high profile internationally’, Anthony Poulton β€˜is the name on everyone’s lips. He is a leading practitioner in the field of complex trust and estate litigation for the many qualities he possesses, such as sure judgement, intelligence and know-how: all of which he delivers in a friendly and approachable manner’. Poulton has extensive experience advising clients on the management of the risks associated with exposure to wealth-related controversy, and routinely advises on corporate governance and family governance in addition to resolving β€˜private’ family disputes. Other members of the β€˜market-leading team of exceptional lawyers’ include Charles Thomson, who regularly advises trustees, beneficiaries and other interested parties across a number of jurisdictions, and associates Gemma Willingham (β€˜a delight to work with’), Luke Richardson (β€˜a star in the making’) and the β€˜very strong’ Yindi Gesinde, who has β€˜a good eye for detail, is extremely efficient, and is also well organised’. Highlights included acting for Mr. Vitaly Smagin in successfully overturning in the High Court an anti-enforcement order relating to a 2014 arbitral award of $72m; the team obtained an ex parte injunction freezing all of Mr Yegiazaryan’s assets in California to secure funds for the recovery of the arbitration award. Clients appreciate that β€˜upon engagement with the firm, the team is clearly identified and the work is handled at the appropriate seniority. This ensures that costs are managed on a sensitive and practical basis’.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP is β€˜a go-to firm for complex and high-value trust work’, with β€˜a perfect litigation team’. The β€˜top-class’ Rupert Ticehurst heads the practice, and β€˜really knows his trust law (both contentious and non-contentious). He provides sound strategic advice’. Associate Simon Goldring is β€˜hardworking and determined’, and he and Ticehurst β€˜together manage very difficult clients with apparent ease’. Another β€˜real star’ is senior associate Jessica Henson, who is β€˜efficient, smart and bright, with a really in-depth knowledge of the law which she delivers with a smile’; she is β€˜one of the most impressive lawyers at associate level in London’. Highlights included acting for the second and third claimants in Isaac Moussa Salem & Ors v Faraj Moussa Salem & Ors, a partnership dispute relating to a multibillion-dollar African trading business and a Mayfair property portfolio; the claim raised myriad complex issues under UK and Lebanese law. The team is also acting for the Dowager Duchess of Marlborough in relation to a number of contentious issues following the death of her husband.

Boodle Hatfield LLP is β€˜a brilliant firm with outstanding individuals who are responsive and accessible’; it has β€˜a very well-deserved reputation for excellence’. The β€˜practical and just brilliant’ Simon Rylatt has β€˜a first-class command of cross-border matters and an impressive understanding of foreign laws, in particular continental civil laws’; and the β€˜technically very able and highly knowledgeable’ Andrea Zavos has β€˜a good bedside manner’ and β€˜inspires fully justified total confidence in her clients’. Newly promoted partner Mark Lindley is β€˜very personable and incredibly smart’, and is β€˜one to watch’; he β€˜shows great determination to secure the best results for his clients and keeps a calm head at all times’. The β€˜highly regarded’ team is in demand for advice to individuals and families, and has a strong record in resolving disputes and managing complex litigation; it has β€˜a superb reputation for working on the most major international disputes’. It has considerable expertise across multi-jurisdictional tax, asset protection, trusts, family businesses and governance, as well as succession, and continues to act for key trust companies in high-value matters; its β€˜strong all-round team has expertise across the board that is second to none’.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is β€˜absolutely top of the tree in terms of its depth of expertise – it can handle everything. The combination of the Guildford and London offices gives it good options in terms of fee structures – this is not necessarily open to other firms with just a London office’. Head of department Graeme Kleiner β€˜really knows his stuff and is fantastically good at soothing troubled waters’. β€˜Excellent tactician’ Roberta Harvey β€˜handles complex matters with great skill’, and Tamasin Perkins is β€˜just excellent with clients. Her determination, good sense and diligence all prove to be a case winner’. The β€˜very knowledgeable and capable’ Duncan Elson has β€˜apparently more than 24 hours in his day, as he manages to be personally involved in all his cases’; and Suzanne Marriott is β€˜outstanding’. The team also has some β€˜superb younger lawyers coming up the ranks’: among the senior associates are the β€˜very calm’ Oliver Auld and Aimee West, who has β€˜a lovely manner with clients’, and associate Jessica Stafford is β€˜very hardworking and has an excellent grasp of the detail’. The team had a busy year working on some of the largest and highest-profile cases both domestically and internationally. In a very large ongoing fraud trial with claims in the Cayman Islands and the US, the team is representing AWAL’s subsidiaries in both jurisdictions. It also successfully represented the respondent to a freezing and asset preservation order obtained by his wife in England during the course of divorce proceedings in Israel - the order was granted ex parte and effectively prevented the client from operating his UK-based business, and the team ultimately had the orders discharged as well as obtaining an order for costs against his wife.

Farrer & Co provides β€˜spot-on advice and has built up a very strong and experienced team of litigators who are able to handle the most complex and high-value disputes with total professionalism and commitment’. Jeremy Gordon is β€˜in a class of his own, with immense experience and a stellar list of satisfied clients’. Toby Graham has β€˜a huge reputation for complex, high-value cases which he runs with tremendous determination and intelligence’. Recently promoted partner Charlotte Fraser has β€˜proved herself as an excellent litigator with a track record of successfully working on a range of difficult and highly complex cases’. The β€˜outstanding’ Elizabeth Sainsbury (counsel) β€˜is able to drill down to the core issues of the case quickly and well’. Joanna Poole is β€˜fantastically capable, cool, calm and very effective’, and Adam Carvalho β€˜has learnt well from the wise heads at the firm and is now really coming into his own, demonstrating very sound judgement and instincts and an encyclopaedic knowledge of this area’. Associates Tom McPhail and Luca del Panta are β€˜rising stars – they are both industrious and pay great attention to detail’. The group routinely acts in the most complex and high-value disputes with an international dimension, with particular strength in offshore jurisdictions. Among its recent work, it successfully acted for the widow of a deceased wealthy landowner and farmer in Lincolnshire; the deceased had made a new will and the claim was for the will to be admitted to probate in solemn form.

Forsters LLP is β€˜undoubtedly a "blue-chip" private client firm’, and β€˜with the addition of the Gowling WLG team, it is now among the top firms for contentious trust litigation’; it is β€˜a well-respected outfit with an ever-increasing presence in the market’. The β€˜extremely bright and practical’ Emily Exton attracts resounding praise for her β€˜great client skills and as someone who gets the job done’; she is β€˜a seasoned and unflappable trust litigator who runs rings around her opponents’. Catharine Bell was β€˜a great addition to the team’ from Gowling WLG, joining the team in May 2017; she has β€˜a wonderful analytical mind and great skill in co-ordinating multi-jurisdictional matters. She deals with very large, complex disputes in which there is a great deal at stake, the pressure is high, the issues are difficult, the atmosphere is tense and time is often short with calm, unruffled and genial efficiency no matter how her opponents are behaving’. Senior associate Katherine Needham is β€˜also fantastic’, and β€˜very, very bright and incredibly hardworking’ associate Emma West is β€˜one to watch’. Exton is experienced in cases involving challenges to the validity of wills, the removal of executors/trustees, and claims under the Inheritance Act 1975, as well as in complex breach of trust claims, trustee fee disputes and professional negligence claims in the context of trusts and estates work.

Macfarlanes LLP is β€˜invariably involved in the most significant cases domestically, and has a very strong offshore presence. The strength in depth among its lawyers is outstanding. It has a broad range of fantastic individuals at all levels’. Head of department is the β€˜completely unflappable’ Charles Lloyd, who has β€˜huge experience and brings gravitas to each situation. He is an incisive thinker and has an excellent strategic awareness of his cases. He is rock solid in his support of his clients and his team’. Jonathan Arr has β€˜a razor-sharp mind and a great feel for litigation. He is tenacious and hardworking and handles his cases brilliantly’. The β€˜hugely experienced’ Matthew Pintus is β€˜fantastic with clients and has a sharp legal mind’, and the β€˜tactically very strong’ Dan Lavender β€˜successfully handles the big litigation’. Sebastian Prichard Jones is β€˜a brilliant tax lawyer who is also excellent when matters become contentious’. Also well regarded are senior solicitors Simon Day (β€˜a rising star with substantial litigation experience’) and the β€˜up-and-coming’ Elliot Aron, who is β€˜very bright with a great work ethic’. Solicitor Melody Munro is β€˜responsive and highly professional’. The β€˜first-rate’ team acts for trustees, protectors, financial institutions, entrepreneurs and those with hereditary wealth, on high-value and challenging matters. The quality of its practitioners is β€˜second to none - they strive for excellence at every level. They combine great technical accuracy with clear strategic thinking and superb client skills’.

The β€˜very well-established and large’ team at Mishcon de Reya LLP is led by β€˜excellent litigator’ Mark Keenan, who now has β€˜near-legendary status’; he is β€˜a master tactician who is also commercial and knowledgeable and stays calm even when dealing with the most difficult clients’. The team has some β€˜excellent partners and numerous very talented associates and managing associates coming up through the ranks’, with Claire-Marie Cornford, Jessica Medus and Victoria Sara-Kennedy singled out; β€˜it comes as no surprise that the team is involved in the most complex and sensitive important cases’. Peter Steen (β€˜an experienced litigator’) has a wealth of experience in a broad spectrum of trust-related disputes, acting for corporate and individual trustees, beneficiaries, protectors and third parties with claims against trustees. The group’s work ranges from complex domestic and cross-border succession disputes through to coordinating international trust litigation, with many members of the team having practised in key jurisdictions. Clients include Lord Weymouth and the Dowager Countess of Bathurst.

Emma Jordan heads the department at Taylor Wessing LLP; a Jersey advocate and β€˜a brilliant litigator’, she is β€˜at the cutting edge of "Z Trust" litigation in Jersey about insolvent trusts’. Jordan and senior associate Kate Silbermann make β€˜an incredibly impressive team’. Silbermann has extensive litigation experience acting for trustees and beneficiaries in England, Jersey and other offshore jurisdictions such as Bermuda and the Bahamas, covering civil fraud, asset tracing and recovery. Andrew Hine is experienced in matters of probate, succession and wills, and has acted in various substantial multi-jurisdictional cases involving conflict of law issues. The team acted for the trustees of the Longleat Estate in hostile proceedings brought by Viscount Weymouth (the remainderman beneficiary) to remove an outgoing co-trustee; the matter went before the High Court in May 2016 but the parties reached a settlement part way through the hearing. The firm continues to advise the trustee board on various estate matters. It is also acting for the trustee of a Bahamian law trust in respect of breach of trust claims brought by a beneficiary. Other clients include Equity Trusts (Jersey) Limited.

Stephen Richards heads the department at Withers LLP, and is β€˜at the top of his game’; β€˜if you want a solicitor who will put you in a strong position to settle your dispute with minimum publicity and get you a great financial deal, he is the person you want’. His team is β€˜extremely helpful and provides workable solutions. It is a force to be reckoned with’. The β€˜very talented’ Paul Hewitt is β€˜a master tactician who is utterly committed to his clients. You would have to go a long way to find anyone as good as he is’; Paola Fudakowska has β€˜a keen intellect and polished communication skills as well as an ability to give client-focused and concise advice in a no-nonsense yet considered way’; and the β€˜brilliant’ Dawn Goodman is β€˜a leading light in this field’. Also recommended is Steven Kempster, who regularly acts in significant UK and international trusts disputes. The firm is also noted as having β€˜a team of associates and assistants who are second to none’; associates Sarah Aughwane and Alice Tomlin β€˜are doing tremendous work. It is not just their clear legal knowledge and attention to detail that set them apart, it is also that they are very easy to work alongside’. The team acted for the adult children of a deceased whose will left most of his estate (sworn for probate at over Β£9m) on discretionary trusts for a class of beneficiaries including his children and sisters; the will was contested and the terms of the compromise have now been approved by the court.

Clifford Chance LLP’s team is β€˜absolutely first class and regularly deals with the very largest and most complex disputes in this area’. The β€˜extremely able’ Jeremy Kosky has β€˜a great grasp of the detail as well as the bigger picture. He is absolutely brilliant at dealing with highly charged situations and has the rare ability to take the heat out of these situations to move things in a positive direction. He is a problem solver of the highest order’. Maxine Mossman also β€˜always looks for a solution’. Highlights included acting for Affinity Private Wealth in relation to a Cayman Islands claim against Viktor Vekselberg and Renova entities; the action relates to the alleged misappropriation of assets from a private equity fund, and is relatively rare as a derivative action in the trusts arena. In another matter, the team is representing Virtus Trust, which has been joined to proceedings in the English High Court in its capacity as trustee of an offshore trust; the claimant is seeking to set aside certain transactions under insolvency law, including transfers into the trust, and the matter has been stayed pending the outcome of jurisdiction proceedings in Cyprus.

Harcus Sinclair LLP β€˜has over the years been steadily building a well-deserved excellent reputation in this area’. Key figures include the β€˜exceptional’ Alison Meek, who β€˜gets on top of the detail of every case very quickly’; the β€˜very able’ Henry Hickman; and β€˜excellent trust litigator’ Lucy Gibson, who β€˜commands the respect of her clients’. Damon Parker has a broad onshore and offshore trust and probate litigation practice, and is active for professional, charitable and family trustees, private individuals and institutions in large group financial services claims. The team is also notable for its expertise in cases involving high-value works of art and other chattels, in particular disputes over provenance and ownership and tax-related disputes. Its recent work includes acting for a large group of shareholders who are pursuing claims against Sir Victor Blank, other former directors of Lloyds TSB and the bank itself for the recovery of losses as a consequence of the acquisition of HBOS. Other clients include Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, the Iraq Britain Business Council, and numerous offshore law firms and professional trust companies.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP acts for prestigious ultra-high-net-worth individuals, families, institutions, family offices, private banks and trust companies in a wide range of complex and high-value matters involving multiple jurisdictions. Richard Norridge heads the department, and Tom Leech QC is also recommended. The team continues to represent Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees (the trustees of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust) in relation to the long-running and high-profile Tchenguiz litigation, advising on the appeals pending before the Privy Council. In other matters, Leech has been acting as lead counsel and advocate to Appleby Trust Co Ltd (as trustee of the Glencore employee benefit trust) in litigation over a claim for breach of contract against Glencore and a claim for breach of trust against Appleby in the Commercial Court. Other major clients include Julius Baer and Jyske Bank (Gibraltar).

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP’s β€˜very thorough team is really well known in this area, and is often involved in the most substantial and large cases’ both domestically and internationally, with particular expertise in offshore trusts and the laws of the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands. Ziva Robertson is β€˜just brilliant’, and attracts particular praise for her expertise in hostile trust litigation: she is β€˜a very clever lateral thinker who fights for her clients like a tigress but always within the rules’. Nicholas Holland β€˜is very good at setting out the key issues, and always seems to be further ahead than the other side’. Simon Goldring is another key partner, while at associate level Catrin Hughes is β€˜a very safe pair of hands’ and the β€˜bright’ Simon Gibb is β€˜very quick at absorbing complex facts and then providing practical solutions’. The team is acting for the beneficiary of a Bahamian trust and her adult children in the landmark Court of Appeal case Dawson-Damer v Taylor Wessing, which looks likely to transform not only the rights of individuals under the Data Protection Act, but also the rights of trust beneficiaries to documents and personal data held by a trustee and the trustee’s lawyers. The firm also advised the Canadian executors of an estate on various matters including a potential application to vary a Canadian will in England.

Bircham Dyson Bell β€˜has gone from strength to strength’ under the β€˜very effective’ leadership of Geoffrey Kertesz; it has β€˜a great client base and has been involved in a number of high-profile disputes’. Kertesz is β€˜exceptional’ and β€˜the complete package. He has an extremely impressive grasp of the law as well as being a shrewd tactician’. Richard Langley has β€˜an excellent analytical mind’, and James Freemantle β€˜has the ear of his clients. He also knows how to explain things clearly and most importantly how to win a case’. Kertesz is β€˜ably assisted by a group of talented lawyers’ including senior associate Lorraine Jeffery, β€˜a rising star’ who is β€˜friendly, efficient and a very safe pair of hands’. Highlights included acting for one of the trustees of the trusts relating to the Savernake Estate (Lord Cardigan and Viscount Savernake) in a high-profile dispute. John Darnton is also recommended.

Howard Kennedy LLP β€˜is growing in importance in the market and has been doing some very significant work that often arises out of its large number of clients with large UK property portfolios’. The β€˜very impressive’ Naomi O’Higgins is β€˜one to watch’; she β€˜focuses relentlessly on trying to achieve her clients’ goals and motivates the whole team to do likewise’. The β€˜cool and competent’ Emily Mailer β€˜completely focuses on the best outcome for her client’. The team is β€˜user-friendly and commercial in its approach’, and advises a broad array of clients on high-value and complex matters. It has a strong client base in the creative, entrepreneurial and charities sectors, and is increasingly working with clients and intermediaries in the Channel Islands and other offshore jurisdictions.

Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans has β€˜a great team that is knowledgeable and thorough. It combines a client-focused approach based on forming lasting relationships with the ability to act quickly and decisively when needed’. Head of department Richard Kershaw is β€˜an impressively clear thinker who makes sound judgements based on the correct combination of legal, tactical and practical considerations. He works quickly and is an excellent choice where it is necessary to keep ahead and face down a strong opponent’. Associate David Draisey is also recommended. The team specialises in complex and high-value multi-party litigation that is almost exclusively conducted in the High Court and often involves offshore assets, and has acted in a broad range of matters for landed clients, City professionals, and trustees and beneficiaries.

Kingsley Napley LLP β€˜is becoming a significant player in this area’. Team head Ryan Mowat has β€˜a huge amount of litigation experience and therefore great technical and tactical acumen’. Also well regarded are Matthew Duncan and associate Kate Salter, who β€˜is building up a fantastic reputation in this field’. The team has considerable expertise in areas such as undue influence claims, validity claims, and complex cross-border asset- and people-tracing cases, as well as professional negligence claims relating to wills and trusts. The team is defending Confiance Limited (a Guernsey-registered trust company) in a major fraud case involving offshore trusts. Butterfield Trust (Guernsey) Limited is another key client.

The team at Payne Hicks Beach provides β€˜excellent, quick and clear advice. It does not just find problems but actually focuses on finding solutions’; it is β€˜an impressive practice that is acting in high-value and prestigious cases, and handles both onshore and offshore work well’. The β€˜very astute and pragmatic’ Stephen King heads the department and is β€˜terrific with clients’. Richard Manyon β€˜has great presence and is tactically and strategically very savvy, with a razor-sharp intellect’. Robert Brodrick has β€˜huge amounts of experience’, and Dominic Crossley is β€˜very clever’. Senior associate Ane Vernon is β€˜tenacious in pursuing the best possible outcome for her clients and has an excellent manner, always going the extra mile to put them at ease’. The team is acting for Swiss trustees in a substantial breach of trust claim involving complex cross-border and conflict of law issues, concerning alleged excessive distributions by the former trustees.

Penningtons Manches LLP is β€˜one of the best. It is a heavyweight practice with a strong team’. The team is led by β€˜one of the stars of the sector’ Michael Cash, who β€˜is calm, knows his onions, and has unerring judgement and relentless determination. All of these attributes make him one of the most sought after solicitors in this area’. At senior associate level, the β€˜unflappable’ Henrietta Mason is β€˜a calming influence when emotions run high, yet is also whip sharp and fearless, and an extremely imaginative litigator’; and Sarah Lee is β€˜a big hit with clients’. The team is highly regarded for its work in resolving UK and international estate and succession problems in addition to its charities and Court of Protection work. Its recent work includes acting for the administrator of the 7th Nizam’s estate in a complex, long-running dispute concerning Β£35m held by National Westminster Bank; the money was deposited in 1948, and the claimants to the funds include the states of Pakistan and India.

Russell-Cooke LLP is β€˜very highly regarded and well equipped to deal with all issues. It has some excellent practitioners and is handling many of the more sizeable, complex and high-profile matters out there’. The β€˜very practical’ Alison Regan heads the team and β€˜gets on top of the facts incredibly quickly while never losing sight of the bigger picture’. Richard Frimston is β€˜technically superb’, and the β€˜very knowledgeable’ Gareth Ledsham is β€˜great with clients’. Among the associates, Hannah Mantle is β€˜a rising star’ who is β€˜very bright and offers clear and precise advice’; the β€˜no-nonsense’ Emma Saunders β€˜identifies and deals effectively and efficiently with the issues and the other side’; and Andrew Morgan is β€˜very approachable and proactive, with great attention to detail’. The group is experienced in handling complex disputes involving cross-border estates as well as acting for professional administrators in contentious estates.

Stephenson Harwood’s β€˜knowledgeable’ team β€˜has an excellent appreciation of the market, the needs of the client and the subtleties of each matter. It is robust in defending its clients’ interests’. The head of the practice is the β€˜responsive’ Jenny McKeown, who is β€˜a strong litigator with considerable expertise in structured finance and a good understanding of the difficult role of the corporate trustee. She leads large multi-jurisdictional teams well’. Highlights included defending the trustee of a discretionary trust established by a Kazakh billionaire in proceedings in the Commercial Court; the claimant challenged the validity of an assignment of assets to the trust and the validity of the trust itself. Helena Berman also has β€˜a strong reputation in this field’. β€˜The practice is increasingly busy, watch this space as they become real players in the market.’

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) provides β€˜swift and intelligent advice. The team as a whole has extensive knowledge and experience. It is really great to have a team of experts who work together (rather than individually) for you’. The β€˜outstanding’ Michelle Rose leads the team, and is β€˜empathetic, efficient and highly knowledgeable’. Senior associate Fiona Lawrence is β€˜reliable and determined to help, and has a profound knowledge of this area of law. She gives very prompt and thorough explanations’; and Bristol-based associate Julia Hardy β€˜fights her clients’ corner well’. The firm is acting for award-winning Guardian journalist Decca Aitkenhead and her two sons in a proprietary estoppel claim and an Inheritance Act claim against the estate of her late partner.

The β€˜technically very strong’ David Wedgwood leads the β€˜highly professional’ team at Anthony Gold, and is β€˜very thorough, firm, fair and decisive’. Clare Kelly is β€˜exceptionally knowledgeable and extremely efficient, and is a good negotiator who is sensitive to her clients’ needs and finds practical solutions’. At associate level, Beth Holden β€˜has a bright future ahead of her – she could easily rub shoulders with partners at Magic Circle law firms’; and Monika Byrska is β€˜very capable’. The team’s focus is on medium-sized trusts and estates. Its recent highlights include successfully acting for the claimant in the widely reported case of Purrunsing v A’Court & Co & Others; the client was a victim of a property fraud and sued his solicitors and the fraudster’s solicitors for breach of their fiduciary obligations to hold the purchase money on trust for completion.

Bond Dickinson LLP is β€˜a substantial firm that is able to take advantage of its presence outside of London as well as in London to gain good work’, and β€˜is making its presence felt in London’. The β€˜well-known’ Neil Long is β€˜a first-rate practitioner with great experience in all aspects of contentious trusts and probate work coupled with sound judgement and a commercial and measured approach with clients and opponents alike. He has outstanding client skills and is not afraid to face seemingly intractable problems’. Newcastle-based legal director Jonathan Grogan is β€˜an excellent litigator’ who has a wide-ranging practice including professional negligence claims relating to trust and probate matters. Managing associate Richard Pike β€˜shows good knowledge and considerable patience’, and advises corporate trustees, private individuals and insurers on contentious trust and probate matters. The firm’s geographical spread assists it in acting for individuals, trustees and charities across the UK and offshore, as well as numerous insurance clients.

Burges Salmon LLP’s team is β€˜very professional, hardworking and committed to doing the best for its clients’. The β€˜experienced and clever’ Justin Briggs β€˜makes excellent tactical decisions’, and the β€˜considered and highly experienced’ Kevin Kennedy is β€˜an excellent litigator’. Sian Edmunds β€˜is able to take the difficult cases, often involving complex histories and clashes of personalities, and find a workable solution’. The team specialises in advising individual and corporate trustees, trust managers and beneficiaries. Recent highlights include acting for the personal representatives of a deceased who left a complex web of relationships and assets across the world, as well as dealing with the administration of the estate and defending a claim by his second wife brought under the Inheritance Act 1975.

James Badcock manages the team at Collyer Bristow LLP, and specialises in international tax and estate planning. Clients include high-net-worth individuals and their families, trustees, foreign law firms and banks. Senior associates Peter Pratt and Samara Dutton are also recommended.

At Druces LLP, the β€˜down-to-earth’ Helen Freely β€˜puts clients at ease and immediately reassures them’. The team regularly advises on multi-jurisdictional issues and the legal aspects of estate and probate management, in particular where art work is a core asset. Freely is experienced in acting for clients in relation to complex and contested estates of high-profile individuals, in the last year representing a well-known author, a composer and an art collector. Other clients include The Queen’s Club.

Edmonds Marshall McMahon has β€˜well-respected trust litigator’ Robert Hunter and the β€˜very diligent, knowledgeable and meticulous’ Sofie Hoffman. The team is well versed in specialist private prosecutions, civil asset tracing and trust litigation. Hunter is an experienced solicitor-advocate with specialisms in injunctive relief, freezing and search orders, and applications to remove trustees. Hoffman is experienced in acting for beneficiaries, trustees and executors in trust and probate disputes both in the UK and overseas.

Henry Frydenson at Frydenson & Co β€˜knows this area inside out’, and is β€˜an experienced practitioner who works hard to deliver a consensual outcome for clients. He is very knowledgeable and can be very tough and determined on his clients’ behalf’. Frydenson focuses on high-end trust and probate cases, from administration actions and claims under the Inheritance Act 1975 to family trust litigation, sham trust cases and contested Beddoes applications.

Paula Myers and Paula James at Irwin Mitchell are both β€˜charming, very able and also very practical practitioners who have a wealth of experience in private client litigation’, and Gavin Faber is β€˜very commercial and practical’. With β€˜a strong team nationally’, the firm acts for individual clients, banks, executors and beneficiaries in a broad range of cases from smaller disputes through to complex trust litigation. Its recent work includes a significant reported case on the issue of financial provision for cohabitees, acting for Joy Williams in a cohabitee claim brought by a partner of 18 years; and acting in a high-value matter concerning a Β£10m estate plus various trusts worth several million pounds, involving an undue influence claim, a will forgery claim, several Inheritance Act claims, and a number of potential breach of trust issues.

The β€˜very bright’ Arabella Murphy heads the team at Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP, and is β€˜an excellent litigator’ with β€˜a very strong sense of putting the client first’. Another β€˜star’ in the team is the β€˜outstanding’ Clare Maurice. The firm acts for trustees, beneficiaries and members of ultra-high-net-worth families on a wide spectrum of issues, including claims for breach of trust and fiduciary duties both in the UK and offshore. Highlights included successfully acting for the child of a deceased individual who had a very high profile in the entertainment industry; the father died intestate in respect of assets abroad having left only an English will, and another child sought to claim that the client had received double portions by virtue of an earlier lifetime gift.

Mills & Reeve LLP has β€˜a substantial private client practice’ nationally. David Catchpole and senior associate Lucy Howard are both β€˜very strong’, and Manchester-based Simon Pedley is another name to note. As well as dealing with disputes concerning the validity of wills, actions involving trustees and executors, and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, the team acts for a number of charities in relation to contested legacy matters, and regularly assists organisations such as higher educational establishments in relation to contentious issues arising from trusts and disputed wills.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s team provides β€˜an immaculate service with excellent response times, and has a depth of knowledge and experience which shows that each matter has been researched beforehand to the highest standard’. Head of department Michael Pulford has β€˜a great eye for the tactical points and on how best to protect the client while always ensuring the information provided is kept confidential’. Pulford is β€˜more than ably assisted’ by senior associate John Ford, and there is β€˜great strength in depth in the team’. It is particularly strong in large and complex cross-border trust disputes. Recent successes include overturning a $3bn β€˜without notice’ worldwide freezing injunction brought by Russian crude oil producer PJSC Tatneft against eight of the firm’s clients who are trust and corporate entities incorporated in England, the British Virgin Islands, the Isle of Man and Jersey. Clients include Kendris, Equiom Group, Standard Bank (Jersey) and Capco.

The β€˜very experienced’ James Price is the new head of department at Stewarts Law LLP, having joined from Farrer & Co. He is β€˜a hardworking and experienced litigator’,’ a first-rate lawyer and a formidable opponent with excellent client skills’, and β€˜a superb addition to the team’; β€˜his reputation is such that there is no doubt that he will make a success of it’. Associate Emma McCall is also well regarded. The group has been acting in various significant cases for high-profile individuals, and is also acting for a number of large corporates in trust disputes.

Wedlake Bell LLP has β€˜a very strong practice’ led by Andrew O’Keeffe, who is β€˜extremely experienced and a formidable opponent’. Also recommended is the β€˜very knowledgeable’ Caroline Miller, who β€˜deals with her clients well, is immaculately prepared for each case and fights hard for her clients’. O’Keeffe specialises in contentious probate matters and has extensive experience in trust disputes, the administration of estates, and claims under the Inheritance Act 1975.


Court of Protection

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Julia Lomas heads a β€˜professional and approachable’ team at Irwin Mitchell which β€˜always ensures that the clients’ funds are spent appropriately’, and is β€˜understanding and supportive of its clients and can be relied upon in times of crisis’. With a large team and nationwide presence, the firm has the ability to handle the full suite of services in property, health and welfare, and regularly acts in cases involving multimillion-pound damages. It has a number of β€˜excellent practitioners’ nationally, among them Sheffield-based Yogi Amin, who is β€˜superb’ for mental health and mental capacity issues. Alex Rook is β€˜first rate’ for community care, mental capacity and human rights law; and the β€˜exceptional’ Polly Sweeney, who is based in Bristol, β€˜manages a large number of cases while apparently staying on top of every detail’. Leeds-based Joanne Fraser is β€˜very efficient and always ensures that she gets the best for her clients’, and the β€˜compassionate and prompt’ Michael Knott is β€˜knowledgeable and very approachable’. Recent work includes representing a wife whose husband suffered serious and permanent brain damage following a motorcycle accident and was in a minimally conscious state; the client wished to follow her husband’s values and to discontinue his current treatment in the form of clinically assisted nutrition hydration, with the judge ultimately finding that the husband would have exercised his right to self-determination and declaring that it was in the husband’s best interests not to consent to further treatment.

Thomson Snell & Passmore has β€˜a wonderful team that delivers every time’, and stands out for its β€˜personal and understanding approach’. Head of department Eddie Fardell is β€˜a doyen in this field’ and is praised for his β€˜vast experience and intelligence, which are matched by plain common sense’. Brian Bacon and Martin Terrell β€˜together provide an excellent service to the most vulnerable’. At senior associate level, Catherine Fuller is β€˜incredibly efficient and knowledgeable and shows a real sense of passion about her work’. The large and dedicated team continues to receive a steady flow of referrals from other law firms, counsel and the Official Solicitor, as well as a significant amount of expert witness work. It is also increasingly involved in referrals for investigatory matters where previous deputies and attorneys have been removed for misconduct. It handles the full array of instructions, across property and financial deputyships, welfare and contentious cases, and personal injury trusts. β€˜Its knowledge is clearly evident in everything that it does. It is there to ease the client’s pressures and it does this successfully. It is undoubtedly one of the leaders in this field.’ Anna Bond has joined Fieldfisher.

Stephen Richards and Julia Abrey at Withers LLP are β€˜streets ahead of most in terms of the complexity of work they are involved in, frequently with an international dimension’. Abrey heads the elder law team, which has significant experience in dealing with international financial assets in a Court of Protection context. She is β€˜very committed’ and is β€˜a leading light in this area’; she gives β€˜straightforward, robust and caring advice’ and is β€˜plainly very experienced in this area both in terms of the law and the practical problems that can arise for people later on in life’. Richards is known for his contentious work and β€˜fights really hard for his clients. He really cares about them’. Also on the contentious side, Paul Hewitt has β€˜a depth of knowledge and an unerring sense of what is realistic to achieve which set him a cut above the rest’. At associate level, Deborah Nicholls is β€˜calm, efficient and sensible’, and Carly Barrett is also β€˜efficient, with good interpersonal skills’. The group has extensive expertise in drafting and using welfare lasting powers of attorney, and acts for over 100 charities on issues arising out of legacy income and challenges to gifts left to charities. Abrey is also noted for her work on living wills.

The head of the team at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is senior associate Sheree Green, who β€˜at all times shows empathy with her clients, is very aware of the complex nature of their needs, and shows a competent and caring attitude to solve their problems as best she can’. Alex Elphinston, also a senior associate, is β€˜prompt, courteous, and committed’, shows β€˜great attention to detail’, and is β€˜very thorough’. Elphinston acts as a Court of Protection financial deputy in high-value personal injury and clinical negligence matters, and also acts as an expert witness when there are problems with professional deputy costs. Donna Holmes is β€˜a true professional and is caring. She has a vast amount of knowledge beyond her years’; she is experienced in creating and administering personal injury trusts for people who have suffered injury and received compensation or may in future receive means-tested benefits. The group offers a full service to individuals, charities and not-for-profit bodies, and local authorities, covering matters ranging from health and welfare through to mental health, property and financial affairs. β€˜The team’s standards and its commitment to clients are very high.’

Anthony Gold has β€˜an excellent reputation. It has a fantastic team approach. It does not shy away from difficult client issues and is very responsive and very professional’. The β€˜friendly and approachable’ David Wedgwood heads the department, and β€˜makes the perfect deputy. He is very impressive, has excellent client skills, grasps issues quickly and remains calm no matter what’. Other key members of the β€˜first-rate’ team include Alexandra Knipe and Nicola Gunn, who β€˜explain things clearly and well to clients’. Knipe specialises in working with clients with acquired brain injuries, severe physical disabilities and mental illness. Gunn has extensive experience in supporting vulnerable clients and their families. The group has been busy on a wide range of contentious work including applications to recover assets and call in security bonds, welfare applications, and deprivation of liberty matters. It has recently been appointed as the UK deputy for a high-net-worth individual from Hong Kong; and was also appointed panel deputy after a contested deputyship application for an 80-year-old lady suffering from dementia: after the death of her husband there were allegations of financial misappropriation by two sides of the family. The β€˜well-respected’ team also includes solicitors Emma Tante and Donovan Lindsay, who β€˜ensures that the physical and functional needs of these often very vulnerable clients are fully met in a timely way’.

Paul Ridge heads the team at Bindmans LLP, which has β€˜great strength in depth, and combines great commitment to clients with a first-class analysis of its cases’. Associate Charlotte Haworth Hird, who has particular expertise in cases involving non-UK nationals, is β€˜extremely experienced and able. She is also very knowledgeable and efficient, with a caring and principled approach that serves her clients well’. Solicitor Laura Hobey-Hamsher is β€˜excellent, with very good judgment and attention to detail. Her ability to work through huge amounts of disclosure to identify the key documents (which could change the direction of a case) is second to none’. Solicitor Will Whitaker is β€˜a future star – he has demonstrated judgement well beyond his years in dealing with difficult clients’. Ridge primarily deals with welfare, medical treatment and deprivation of liberty cases, and is instructed by both family members and on behalf of those who lack capacity. The group also acts in cases involving breaches of an incapacitated adult’s ECHR rights, and the circumstances in which artificial nutrition and hydration should be withdrawn from a patient in a minimally conscious or persistent vegetative state. The team β€˜does a fantastic job for its clients’ and is β€˜recommended for the most difficult cases’.

Bircham Dyson Bell’s team is led by Alastair Collett and includes James Freemantle, who is β€˜quick to understand a case, perceptive and accurate in his judgements, and clear in choosing which strategy to pursue. This he then does with ruthless efficiency while continuing to remain calm’. The team is best known for managing capacity difficulties for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, ranging from public figures to members of large Middle Eastern families, and has particular expertise in contested cases.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has a team of β€˜very respected practitioners and is recognised for its particular expertise in international matters and acting for high-net-worth individuals with complicated tax and family arrangements’. The β€˜technically excellent, kind and compassionate’ Suzanne Marriott is β€˜one of the biggest names in the world of Court of Protection and is usually the first choice of professional deputy for disputes concerning wealthy individuals’; she is β€˜really a star in this area’, specialising in cross-border and UK mental capacity matters and regularly acting as an independent deputy for finances, health and welfare where the family is in dispute about residency and the tax implications of losing non-UK residency and domicile. The β€˜calm and enormously experienced’ Duncan Elson has β€˜a good eye for his clients’ priorities and how to achieve these quickly and cleanly’. Senior probate and trust manager Grainne Feeney β€˜is becoming well known for her work in this area. Again, she is technically competent and timely in her responses to any questions raised’.

Launched in May 2017 by Foot Anstey, Enable Law is β€˜one of the leading firms in the South West of England for Court of Protection work, with significant experience in mental capacity issues’. Andrew Hannam is β€˜hugely experienced in all aspects of mental capacity work’; Stacey Bryant is β€˜a very impressive deputy – she is tenacious yet understanding’; the β€˜very experienced’ Patricia Wass is β€˜a first-class lawyer and panel deputy’; and senior associate Holly Mieville-Hawkins is β€˜fantastic with clients, and achieves excellent results’. The firm specialises in personal injury and clinical negligence matters, including personal injury trusts, in addition to elder law and other areas involving statutory wills and issues of physical and financial abuse. Key clients include the Official Solicitor and the Office of the Public Guardian.

With β€˜a great mix of seasoned practitioners’, and three court-approved professional deputies, Gillhams Solicitors LLP has β€˜an established reputation in this area’; it has β€˜real strength and depth for COP work and provides an excellent service to clients’. The β€˜compassionate’ Russell Caller heads the team, and β€˜has many years as a panel deputy behind him’. Also recommended are Lisa Cornish, Hina Tailor and Christopher Poxamatis, who is β€˜forward thinking and professional’. The team β€˜listens carefully and acts wisely, and takes the time to get to know its clients’.

Andrew Harding at Hugh James leads β€˜a team of experienced solicitors and other support staff who offer a complete package to clients’; his β€˜knowledge, experience and manner with clients are second to none. He is also very approachable and trusted by the courts as an expert witness’. The β€˜excellent and responsive’ Kate Coles is also recommended. The team, which is notable for its extensive resources in both England and Wales, deals solely with high-value complex cases arising from damages claims.

JE Bennett Law β€˜provides a professional service in a friendly, sensitive and reassuring way. It is obvious the team has a detailed knowledge and understanding of the Court of Protection, and the procedural rules together with the rules relating to deputyship costs’. Jane Bennett is β€˜prompt, personable and exceptionally knowledgeable’, and is β€˜at the top of her game’. The team assists a wide range of individuals subject to the Court of Protection, whether through brain injury, illness, clinical negligence, personal injury or age-related issues.

Leigh Day is β€˜a force to be reckoned with, and is one of the firms at the forefront of mental capacity issues’, with Sean Humber leading β€˜an excellent COP team’. It includes the β€˜practical and very knowledgeable’ Emma Jones and Merry Varney, who were promoted to partner; Frances Swaine, who specialises in human rights law and is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor in best interests applications; and solicitor Anna Moore, who has β€˜tremendous judgement and excellent client skills’. Its recent work includes advising on withdrawal of treatment cases and residence issues, in addition to contact and care matters. Clients include the Official Solicitor, relatives of protected individuals, and charities (as intervenors). Solicitor Kate Egerton is instructed by the Official Solicitor on behalf of a young adult with learning difficulties who does not have the capacity to make decisions about contact with her family.

Nicola Mackintosh at Mackintosh Law β€˜quickly cuts to the chase, is a very powerful and thoughtful lawyer, and puts her heart into each case’. The firm provides specialist advice to disabled clients in the niche area of mental capacity and community care. It recently acted for P in the case of A County Council v (1) AB (2) JB (3) EWCOP 4, where the judgment emphasises that P is the focus of proceedings and that P’s participation should be carefully planned to ensure that they are involved as much as possible, leading to the issuance of formal guidance by Mr Justice Charles.

Rachel Turner at Miles & Partners LLP provides β€˜thorough and practical advice’. She has β€˜all the qualities you would want in a lawyer who represents vulnerable and incapacitated adults. She is compassionate, knowledgeable and wise. She knows when to fight and when to be pragmatic in cases. She is also well respected by others who work in this area’. Floyd Porter is also recommended. The specialist group has extensive experience in mental capacity and mental health issues, and is experienced in challenging detentions in hospital under the Mental Health Act (particularly in relation to forensic mental health detentions) and in challenging unlawful detentions by bringing High Court actions for judicial review. It is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor and by relatives.

Penningtons Manches LLP provides β€˜exceptional client service and has a very competent team with in-depth knowledge of this area’. Head of department Julie Burton is β€˜always available’ and acts as a professional deputy for many clients (both children and adults) with complex brain injuries arising from a personal injury where there is a substantial compensation award. Senior associate Rebecca Sparrow is experienced in working with adults with complex behavioural problems. The practice acts for a number of international as well as UK clients, and manages 108 deputyships and 30 trusts.

Russell-Cooke LLP has β€˜a specialist team that is quick and provides very sound advice. It is able to deal with complex matters including cross-border capacity issues well’. Practice head Rita Bhargava is β€˜a real expert and is passionate about her work. She genuinely cares about the clients whose affairs she looks after. She is professional and compassionate, and is someone whom you can turn to on all capacity-related issues’. Gareth Ledsham is β€˜clever as well as practical’, and Richard Frimston is β€˜beyond excellent on complex cross-border matters’. Associate Hannah Mantle is β€˜highly knowledgeable and diligent as well as very personable and approachable’. The team is experienced in contentious and non-contentious matters, and has considerable expertise in matters of complex private international law.

Simpson Millar LLP is β€˜trusted by the Official Solicitor with the trickiest of cases’. The β€˜very sensitive and astute’ Julie Cornes has β€˜a very good manner with vulnerable clients’, and the β€˜sensible, thorough and hardworking’ Oliver Studdert regularly represents children in a range of cases including extradition proceedings, criminal proceedings and judicial reviews. Associate Zena Soormally is β€˜a very organised and thorough associate who is a deep thinker and something of a perfectionist. She is a very good litigator who is able to remain on top of large and detailed cases’. Angela Jackman specialises in Court of Protection, community care and public law matters, including acting in mental capacity disputes concerning best interests and deprivation of liberty applications and cases for vulnerable adults and children.

Steel & Shamash β€˜undertakes high-quality work in health and welfare cases in the COP – undertaking important representation for the incapacitated and often for the Official Solicitor’. The β€˜very experienced’ Janice Kaufman leads the team, and is β€˜highly knowledgeable about sensitive cases involving the exploitation of the vulnerable. Her work is marked by a tireless dedication to get the right result’. Associate Shivangi Majithia is often instructed in cases where there is an interplay between the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the Children Act 1989 and the Family Law Act 1996, including applications for forced marriage protection orders and nullity petitions for incapacitated adults. Solicitor Andrew Bowmer is β€˜a very good and experienced practitioner in this area and the related area of community care’. The department continues to receive referrals from family members, advocacy centres and law centres, and is trusted by the Official Solicitor to act for vulnerable adults in cases involving the neglect or sexual abuse of children and in other highly contentious matters. Damian Cullen is now at the Office of the Official Solicitor & Public Trustee.

Switalskis Solicitors has β€˜a caring and efficient team that is financially aware’. York-based Michael Kennedy heads up the team along with director and solicitor Alex Guy, who is based in Sheffield; Guy joined the team from hlw Keeble Hawson and is β€˜a very able and knowledgeable practitioner who has an excellent grasp of the law and its practical application in cases involving severely injured claimants. He also takes a special and personal interest in his clients, which is vital in this line of work’. The team is renowned for dealing with complex mental capacity and welfare cases in addition to deprivation of liberty challenges and community care challenges. Huddersfield-based Alison Kaye specialises in representing adults who lack capacity to make decisions in various aspects of their lives, including capacity to consent to a sexual relationship. Chartered Legal Executive Caroline Hurst, who is based in York, β€˜fights fearlessly for her clients’. Among the team’s recent workload, Guy was appointed to act as a deputy to deal with the future of an individual awarded very substantial damages as a result of a cerebral palsy claim against a hospital.

Weightmans LLP provides β€˜very solid advice in a timely manner’. Simon Goacher and Richard Jolly, in Liverpool, and Birmingham-based Tony Yeaman are key contacts in the team, which continues to act in a wide range of welfare, health and property matters for local authorities, NHS trusts, and private health and social care providers. The team advises on issues such as consent, mental health and capacity, and best interests assessments. Highlights included acting for Knowsley MBC in proceedings concerning an elderly person with an acquired brain injury in proceedings about where he should reside; and acting for Leicestershire County Council in proceedings concerning a child whose father is seeking to remove them to reside in an African country; the council has concerns over the care that the child would receive given their lack of capacity and mental health difficulties.

asb law LLP has β€˜an excellent reputation for its work in this area and has particular expertise in helping clients who are suffering from brain injuries’. Team head Glen Miles β€˜stands out for his knowledge and ability to work closely with healthcare and social service professionals’, and is well versed in Court of Protection financial and health matters. The team continues to support a large number of clients with a wide range of illnesses, injuries and disabilities, as well as elderly clients. Associate Stella Mullane leads the vulnerable people team in Crawley.

Adrian Mundell heads the team at Ashtons Legal. The group acts as professional deputy for over 100 clients, in addition to acting in cases where it supports family members who are acting as lay deputies. Much of its work is for clients who have suffered a catastrophic acquired or birth-related brain injury, and the group also works with elderly clients and individuals with mental health problems. Tom Cook has been appointed as deputy to some 40 protected people by the Court of Protection.

The specialist team at Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors is led by Lesley-Ann Mayhew, who β€˜has lots of experience of acting for incapacitated foreign nationals who have received personal injury awards’. She handles work nationally, and has a specialism in cases involving multimillion-pound damages awards for claimants of medical negligence, as well as having considerable cross-border expertise. The firm has a track record in a wide range of Court of Protection matters including applications concerning statutory wills, lifetime gift orders and special needs trusts. Andrew Flannagan is also well regarded.

Simon Lindsay at Bevan Brittan LLP is recommended. He specialises in mental health and mental capacity issues and acts for a range of NHS, local authority providers and commissioners across the country. The team’s strengths include its β€˜professionalism, responsiveness and sensitivity when dealing with complex matters’. Senior associate Hannah Taylor is β€˜very experienced and helpful’.

Boyes Turner has β€˜an extremely client-focused, efficient and well-organised team’ under the leadership of Ruth Meyer, who is β€˜sensible, personable and supportive’ and is β€˜a leading light for COP work’. Anne Pearson β€˜always goes that extra mile for her clients’.

Francis Lyons leads the team at Capsticks LLP, which specialises in advising NHS providers and commissioners as well as public, private and charitable sector clients (such as community enterprise organisations) on issues affecting incapacitated and vulnerable adults and children. It has considerable expertise in cases involving an overlap between the Mental Health Act, the Mental Capacity Act and deprivation of liberty safeguards. It successfully acted for a London NHS trust in an application to the High Court for authorisation for serious medical treatment to an adult with a long-term history of schizophrenia.

Cartwright King fields a β€˜committed, efficient, compassionate and pragmatic’ team under the leadership of Conor Maguire, and focuses solely on representing individuals. It is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor as litigation friend in legally aided and privately funded cases where the client lacks capacity. Lauren Crow is also recommended.

Clarke Willmott LLP has a β€˜highly skilled’ team. Anthony Fairweather is β€˜very knowledgeable’, and the β€˜vastly experienced’ Anne Minihane is β€˜fully committed to achieving the best for her clients’; both are members of the Office of the Public Guardian Panel of Professional Deputies. Senior associate Jess Flanagan is β€˜passionate about her work and has a strong understanding of the law and the ways in which the COP works’.

The national team at DAC Beachcroft LLP provides β€˜excellent levels of service and is very knowledgeable. It is vastly experienced and there is great support at all levels’. Practice head Gillian Weatherill and senior associate Jemma Gillson (both based in Newcastle) are β€˜excellent and well organised’, with Weatherill notable for her experience in mental health and mental capacity issues. The firm advises the NHS and independent providers of health and social care services as well as local authority commissioners of care; examples include Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

The β€˜sensible and vastly experienced’ Jeremy Abraham leads the team at Dawson Cornwell, which provides β€˜an excellent service to clients with real depth and expertise within the team’. Abraham primarily works on cases for mid- to high-net-worth individuals, some of whom have been awarded substantial compensation. He is also experienced in areas such as declarations of capacity and applications to appoint a deputy (both financial and welfare).

Duncan Lewis Solicitors β€˜constantly strives to achieve the best possible results for its clients, and puts a tremendous amount of work into its cases’. The β€˜accessible’ Jemma Garside is β€˜particularly effective. She singles out the issues in each case with scary precision’. Angela Smith, Rachel Caswell and Peter Wusu are other key members of the multidisciplinary team, which collaborates with the firm’s experts in mental capacity, mental health, community care, clinical negligence, family, childcare and public law.

At Forsters LLP, Emily Exton β€˜can spot the key issues and formulate a successful strategy at an early stage to get the best result for the client. She brings sound judgement and common sense to any problems in a case’.

At Freeths LLP, Jane Maitland is praised for her β€˜thoughtful handling of delicate matters’, and Zandra Houston for her β€˜comprehensive knowledge and common sense’. Team head Melanie Williams works as a professional deputy managing substantial awards of compensation, and senior associate Veronica Cowdrey is β€˜enormously experienced in this practice area’.

GT Stewart Limited β€˜provides an exemplary service for vulnerable clients. The solicitors without fail work hard on every case to get the best outcome for the client with great care and dedication’. Amy Butler is β€˜very experienced, and has sound judgement and great attention to detail’. Assistant solicitor Warwick Norris is β€˜a tremendous and dynamic force’, and β€˜very bright and polite’.

Nick Moxon heads the team at Higgs & Sons, with the support of associate Annabel Kay. It continues to work closely with the firm’s clinical negligence and personal injury teams, and attracts a significant number of high-value and complex professional deputyships and associated Court of Protection instructions.

Hodge Jones & Allen LLP has β€˜a highly dedicated team of specialists. Clients feel that they are not only getting expert advice but also a very personal service’. Team head Philippa Barton has β€˜a complete understanding of this practice area, and provides clear and precise advice’. The team is well versed in property and affairs deputyships for clients who have received high-value personal injury awards.

The team at IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett), under the leadership of Jacqueline Almond, attracts a steady flow of instructions from local authorities, charities, and care homes, as well as law firm referrals.

Team head Simon Hardy at Kingsley Napley LLP has β€˜a very strong background in COP work and is used to dealing with complicated cases. He is very focused on what he can do for his clients and is an excellent mediator with families’. The firm β€˜provides an excellent service to clients’, and specialises in property and affairs matters for clients who lack capacity due to catastrophic medical negligence or acquired brain injury.

Birmingham-based Jill Mason heads the mental health team at Mills & Reeve LLP, with Bridget Archibald leading the health and care team. Highlights included acting in a complex appeal under the Mental Capacity Act to the Court of Protection, concerning a deprivation of liberty at a residential placement.

At Minton Morrill, team head Julia Morrill is experienced in supporting vulnerable people, particularly those with mental incapacity, and also their families and advisers. The team has seen an increased flow of instructions from individuals with acquired brain injuries, and conducts a significant number of health and welfare Court of Protection cases.

RadcliffesLeBrasseur acts in substantial Court of Protection cases both for institutional providers and for private individuals. Its clients include NHS trusts in London and across the UK. Andrew Parsons and Jonathan Shankland are key contacts.

Shoosmiths LLP has β€˜a client-focused team that always strives to put the client at the centre of everything that it does’. Charlotte Dunn β€˜speaks plain English and not jargon’, and Birmingham-based solicitor Rebecca Bristow is β€˜very approachable’. Clients include individuals with acquired brain injuries, mental illness, learning difficulties, and degenerative diseases such as dementia.

Slater and Gordon has a large team including β€˜outstanding’ practice head Lucy Nicol, who is based in Manchester. The β€˜extremely empathetic’ Joceyln Fox, in Cambridge, β€˜offers clear advice in language that clients can easily follow’; and Manchester-based Gillian Hitchen β€˜is very organised, manages a team well, and knows her clients very well’. Nationally the team acts as financial deputy for over 450 clients.

The ten-strong community care and Court of Protection team at Stephensons Solicitors LLP is part of the firm’s civil liberties practice, which is headed by Mike Pemberton. It acts for a range of vulnerable adults and children with physical disabilities and mental health issues. Associate Melanie Varey has developed a niche practice representing clients in relation to decisions over the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment.

Lynne Bradey at Wrigleys Solicitors LLP β€˜adopts a very personal and understanding approach which is crucial in this sensitive line of work. It gives the team the edge over other law firms’. The firm assists individuals nationwide who are vulnerable, injured, disabled or suffering from illness, and has been appointed to the Office of the Public Guardian panel deputy list since September 2015.


Family

Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Family clients in London using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Sarah Higgins heads a large group of β€˜very talented practitioners’ at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, which is β€˜a top London City family firm. It has a very strong team with real strength and depth across the board’. William Longrigg is β€˜brilliant with clients and has great judgement’. Sarah Anticoni is β€˜loved by clients’ and β€˜adept at guiding them through the tricky waters of litigation, as well as (with her mediation hat on) helping them come to a resolution that works for all parties’. β€˜Good tactician’ Miranda Fisher β€˜works very well for her international clients’, and James Freeman has β€˜a relaxed style which belies his strength and determination on behalf of his clients, who all regard him extremely highly’. The β€˜more or less unflappable’ Sarah Whitten is β€˜superb with clients’, and Richard Collins β€˜fights hard for his clients, 24 hours a day’. Victoria Francis is experienced in complex cases involving offshore assets and trusts, and β€˜combines excellent judgement with superb client care skills’. Tanya Roberts’s β€˜advice is robust, firm but fair’. Erica Shelton is β€˜very effective and efficient’. Also recommended are Grant Howell; and, at senior associate level, Charlotte Posnansky, who has β€˜a very bright future ahead of her: she is hardworking and clients like her very much’, and Sarah Jane Boon, who is β€˜excellent’. β€˜This is a great team that covers all aspects of family law. They work in a collaborative way and can also litigate well on their clients’ behalf.’

Dawson Cornwell has β€˜a strong team of talented lawyers who are tactical, experienced and pragmatic and always seeks the best for their clients. It can handle the heavyweight, complex and cross-jurisdictional cases well, with particular renowned specialist expertise in all kinds of international children cases’. Kate Allen in the matrimonial department is β€˜fearless, enormously experienced and extremely conscientious. She has impeccable judgement’. Rhiannon Lewis is β€˜extremely knowledgeable’, and the β€˜extremely conscientious’ Charlotte Conner is β€˜very supportive of her clients’. Jeremy Abraham is β€˜very calm and thoughtful’. Head of the children department Anne-Marie Hutchinson has β€˜near legendary status and an encyclopaedic knowledge of children law. Her unique combination of accurate judgement and analytical skills enable her to succeed even in the highest courts’. Other key members of the children department include the β€˜very empathetic’ Zoe Fleetwood, who is β€˜particularly outstanding when representing vulnerable children’, and Carolina Marin Pedreno, who has β€˜strong experience at the highest level of international cases’. At associate level, Jessica Reid is β€˜head and shoulders above many of her peers. Technically and strategically she is extremely astute and has an excellent bedside manner’. Lisette DuprΓ© has β€˜a real passion and enthusiasm for her work’, and Colin Rogerson β€˜has developed a fantastic reputation’ in the area of surrogacy. Katherine Res Pritchard is β€˜amongst the most able of solicitors: clients feel totally in safe hands’. Solicitor James Netto is β€˜a rising star of child law, with wisdom beyond his years’.

Farrer & Co is β€˜a high-quality "Magic Circle" firm specialising in very wealthy persons’ family cases, with considerable expertise in high-value ancillary relief following divorce’. The β€˜very dedicated and knowledgeable’ William Massey is β€˜user-friendly for clients in complex cases’, and Mark Fenton β€˜gets impressive results by cutting through to the core of each case’. The β€˜ferociously intelligent’ Simon Bruce is β€˜one of the very best lawyers in London for cases with an international dimension’, and Jeremy Posnansky QC β€˜has been practising at the sharp end of family law for decades. He has unparalleled experience and is a formidable tactical thinker’. Other members of the β€˜world-class’ team are the β€˜smart, thoughtful and measured’ Claire Gordon; Eliza Hebditch, who is noted for her β€˜lovely manner with clients who plainly feel well supported by her. She has a very analytical mind and good judgement’; the β€˜very focused and pragmatic’ Sarah Hutchinson, who is β€˜prepared to go that extra mile’; Nicholas Bennett, who is someone β€˜we’ll see a lot more of in the future’; and Richard Parry. Overall, the firm has β€˜an unparalleled reputation in private family law disputes, with strong solicitors at all levels’.

At Hughes Fowler Carruthers, there is β€˜not one weak link in the team. It is a great boutique firm with really superb back-up from bright associates. It provides an excellent and very client-focused service’. Frances Hughes is β€˜a star in this area’, and she and β€˜canny negotiator’ Pauline Fowler are both noted as β€˜astute and tough’. The β€˜brilliant, calm and quietly confident’ Alex Carruthers and the β€˜knowledgeable yet sensitive’ Renato Labi (β€˜an exceptionally safe pair of hands’) are β€˜outstanding’. Mark Harper has β€˜excellent knowledge of trust law. His ability to deal with complex divorce cases is far superior to others at other law firms’. Caroline Park is β€˜steely’ and noted for her β€˜accurate knowledge and spot-on case management’; she is β€˜a thinker who considers all possibilities and is tactically brilliant’. Recent work for the team includes representing Christina Estrada, whose husband was a Saudi billionaire who had acquired diplomatic immunity to frustrate the client’s financial claims in London following a Saudi divorce; in June 2016 the client won the largest needs-based award then ever ordered by the English court, providing the client with a total of Β£75m including her assets. The team delivers β€˜a truly first-class service’.

Mishcon de Reya LLP’s β€˜level of service across the full range of family law is exceptional. It is at the top of its game. The whole department is incredibly strong on the most complex and highly contentious cases, with client care that is second to none’. Team head Sandra Davis is β€˜an exceptional practitioner, who goes above and beyond the call of duty for her clients. She is held in the highest esteem, and rightly has a reputation of fearlessly representing her clients’ interests. The advice she gives clients is always spot on and consistently shows her excellent judgement’. Barbara Reeves is β€˜clever and tough, and tenacious in and out of the courtroom. She will fight fearlessly to get the right result. Despite her reputation as a fearsome opponent, she has the commercial nous to look at the broader picture and reach a compromise where needed’. David Lister is β€˜a thoughtful and considered lawyer’. β€˜Dedicated and hardworking’ legal director Claire Yorke β€˜is able to handle clients’ expectations and demands extremely well, such that clients never lose confidence in her abilities’. Miles Geffin, also a legal director, is β€˜clever’, and associate Antonia Felix is β€˜charming and a great lawyer’. It is β€˜an extremely strong firm that attracts top-quality work from domestic and international high-net-worth individuals to whom it provides a top-notch bespoke service’.

Payne Hicks Beach provides β€˜an unrivalled service that is discreet and client-focused, and it has an extremely clever team with some of the biggest names in London family law: it is an extraordinarily impressive firm’. β€˜Hugely respected’ head of department Ian Airey β€˜has seen it all. He is an excellent strategist and is wonderful with clients’. Fiona Shackleton has β€˜vast experience and is extremely busy. She is a savvy and commercial family lawyer who is passionate about protecting her clients’ interests. She attracts a large number of individuals with a high media profile, and is frequently involved in the leading cases’. The β€˜phenomenally knowledgeable’ Philip McGuirk is β€˜highly effective and achieves good results for his clients without drama or blood on the carpet’, and Matthew Booth is β€˜a thoughtful, clever and very charming individual’. Simon Beccle is β€˜a magnet for A-list clients’, and Fiona Brown β€˜combines her vast intelligence with great personal charm and commitment to her clients’. Among the associates, the β€˜fearless, charming and pragmatic’ Ben Parry-Smith β€˜punches well above his weight and already does top-quality work – he is one to watch’; Emily Foy is β€˜clever and thorough’; and Andrew Tose β€˜is a highly experienced family litigator who has well-honed skills in the field, knowing just when to push hard and when to reach agreement’.

Stewarts Law LLP is β€˜top notch for high-end and complicated matrimonial work and continues to go from strength to strength’ under the leadership of the β€˜calm and wise’ Stephen Foster, who is β€˜a first-class strategist and negotiator whilst also maintaining a personal and human touch’. β€˜Star performer and first-class litigator’ Debbie Chism is β€˜very, very experienced’ and the β€˜efficient’ Richard Hogwood is β€˜exceptionally strong on pre-nuptial agreements, especially those with an international element’. The β€˜very intelligent’ Sam Longworth is β€˜very good on the more complicated multi-jurisdictional cases’, and the β€˜shrewd and strategic’ Helen Ward is β€˜someone with whom it is possible to reach settlements out of court even though she fights every client’s corner vigorously’. The β€˜goal-orientated’ Emma Hatley β€˜achieves good outcomes elegantly, ensuring that couples emerge with as few bruises as possible’, and Toby Atkinson is β€˜extraordinarily able and extremely bright, and works tirelessly and efficiently for his clients, always looking to resolve issues if possible while preparing to fight if there is no negotiated settlement to be found’. Matthew Humphries is β€˜a star who is extremely good with numbers and complex corporate and financial structures, and just brilliant with the messy cases’. At senior associate level, Lucy Gould has β€˜encyclopaedic knowledge’ of complex matrimonial finances involving trust assets, and the β€˜brilliant’ Carly Kinch is β€˜a rising star’. The team overall is β€˜simply among the best. It is good on children matters and has an undoubted strength in complex and heavyweight financial remedy cases’.

Withers LLP β€˜always provides a "Rolls-Royce" service with impeccable client care and attention to detail’; β€˜the billionaire and the most high-profile cases regularly end up with the firm’. The β€˜charming and urbane’ Julian Lipson β€˜fights the client’s corner in a very civilised manner’, and Suzanne Todd (who leads the family team in London) is β€˜extremely able and pragmatic’. The β€˜top-rate’ Diana Parker is β€˜an excellent tactician and has a huge breadth of experience – she is always able to achieve the best settlement for her clients’. Suzanne Kingston is β€˜a very effective meditator, and tough as needs be’, and Michael Gouriet has β€˜a phenomenal intellect combined with a charming persona and a remarkable work rate. He is one of the best divorce lawyers in the country with few comparable’. The β€˜fiendishly bright’ Katharine Landells β€˜fights her client’s corner hard but with elegance and style, always looking for a sensible way through things’, and the β€˜extremely conscientious’ Claire Blakemore is β€˜supportive of her clients and has impeccable judgement’. Special counsel Laura Winterbottom β€˜can work on the most complicated cases with justifiable confidence’. The firm has β€˜real strength in depth – every partner without exception is a highly impressive lawyer, and it also has some brilliant juniors coming up through the ranks’.

Alexiou Fisher Philipps LLP has β€˜a very effective team for the big-ticket litigation. It is a highly impressive firm that provides a first-rate service on both the financial and children sides of family law. It is modern in its outlook and the team is intelligent in its approach to solving issues’. Tom Amlot is β€˜very impressive’, and Emma Harte is β€˜highly intelligent’. Susan Philipps β€˜is now one of the big names of London family law – tremendously personable, immensely able and with exceptional judgement’, and Sara Hannell is β€˜clear-sighted and very committed’. The team was pleased to add William Healing to its ranks from Kingsley Napley LLP; he β€˜comes highly recommended particularly for cases with an international element’. Magnus Mill is noted for his work on financial cases involving substantial assets and complex offshore holding structures, and Douglas Alexiou is a senior member of the team. Clients include senior figures in industry and banking, individuals in the public eye, and more vulnerable clients requiring assistance to prevent harm or protect assets.

Clintons is β€˜an outstandingly high-quality boutique firm with strength and depth’. β€˜Highly respected’ practice head Liz Vernon is β€˜at the top of her game. She is quick-thinking, sharp and clever yet is an utterly reasonable solicitor. She will pick her disputes wisely, holding back when it will not ultimately benefit her client’. The β€˜fiercely bright and very able’ Patrick Kearns is β€˜incredibly swift at working though issues, yet he is always ready to pick up the phone to an opponent and have a pragmatic discussion’. Maggie Rae is β€˜internationally renowned for her bright and pragmatic approach to dispute resolution, and is a real expert in her field’. Paul Newton β€˜can see the solution to the most opaque family law problems, particularly those with an international flavour, which he approaches with smart and commercial aplomb’. Associate Frances Petterson is β€˜a bright young lawyer who really is a rising star’.

With β€˜a formidable team that thinks outside the box’, Family Law in Partnership Ltd is β€˜an excellent boutique family firm that is at the forefront of ADR in family law but is also able to litigate. The team has all-round great expertise’. Gillian Bishop is β€˜a leading light for collaborative law. She is cool and knowledgeable with a real understanding of her clients’ issues’. The β€˜tough, tenacious and very smart’ Daniel Coombes is β€˜loved by clients’, and Bradley Williams is β€˜an acknowledged star performer with a real flair for managing complex financial and private law children cases’. Pamela Collis has β€˜the rare combination of being fiercely intelligent and having amazing client skills’, and Ann Northover is β€˜fantastically competent and knowledgeable with a practical and unfussy approach. She is completely focused on her clients’ best interests’. Nicole Hackett β€˜does her work with great intelligence which she delivers with verve and style’, and director Helen Greenfield has β€˜great client-handling skills and a great bedside manner. She is particularly good on children issues’. β€˜Hardworking and diligent’ director Elizabeth Fletcher is β€˜very effective in financial matters’, and senior associate Mariko Wilson β€˜is extremely numerate and a joy to work with’.

Goodman Ray is β€˜well known across all areas of family law, and one of the tops for international children law’, and has β€˜a superior legal aid practice’. Peggy Ray has β€˜a powerful and acute intellect, and grapples well and imaginatively and where appropriate forcefully with difficult cases’.Gwen Williams is β€˜excellent with vulnerable clients and is a natural family lawyer’, and Jemma Dally is β€˜the solicitor to go to for fertilisation and embryology work. She knows more about it than anybody else and brings admirable personal skills to the handling of these sensitive cases’. Janet Broadley is β€˜a well-established specialist in international cases’, and Ann Thompson is β€˜very dedicated’. Kevin Skinner’s β€˜reputation continues to go from strength to strength, with particular expertise in the law relating to alternative family structures’. Senior associate Emma Sherrington is β€˜an excellent advocate and tactician’

Hunters Incorporating May, May & Merrimans’s β€˜matrimonial department is filled with real talent. It is a heavyweight family law team’. Henry Hood’s β€˜client list really does include the great and the good. He is a first-rate mediator and is always in command of the details of the case. He is one of the most emotionally intelligent matrimonial solicitors in London, and manages clients’ expectations with great tact’. The β€˜very thorough’ Richard Kershaw β€˜manages to balance a pragmatic approach to his cases while simultaneously being willing to really fight his clients’ corner when required’. Hetty Gleave β€˜brings tremendous experience and knowledge to the table. She is immensely hardworking and clients feel assured that they are in safe hands from the very start’. Hazel Wright is β€˜an extremely experienced mediator with great insight and sharp intelligence’, and Jo Carr-West β€˜is quickly becoming a real force to be reckoned with’. Recommended associates include Amy Scollan, who has β€˜exceptional technical ability and an authoritative understanding of international family law’, and Vanessa Friend, who is β€˜very good’. The firm is β€˜a major player in the area of prenuptial agreements and private family national and international law. It is a real match for anyone, with a real focus on giving sound advice from start to finish’.

Kingsley Napley LLP has β€˜one of the best family departments in London. The firm as a whole provides a "Rolls-Royce" service, with particular expertise in cases with an international/multi-jurisdictional element’. The head of the team is the β€˜proactive’ Charlotte Bradley, who is β€˜brilliant technically and very human: clients just love her’. The β€˜tough, thorough and calm’ Jane Keir β€˜has seen it all’, and Michael Rowlands is β€˜a champion for the client – he will relentlessly pursue the best possible result for his client’. Claire Wood is β€˜extremely efficient, and excellent with financial documents’. β€˜Superstar’ Rachel Freeman recently joined the firm from Miles Preston & Co, while William Healing has joined Alexiou Fisher Philipps LLP. At associate level, the β€˜very intelligent, balanced and determined’ Cady Pearce gives β€˜real practical advice’; Stacey Nevin has β€˜very good client care, a detailed knowledge of the law and good judgement when it comes to tactics’; Lauren Evans is β€˜really good with numbers and has a very relaxed manner with clients’; and Abby Buckland is β€˜one of the firm’s rising stars – she has warmth, efficiency and exceptional judgement, and clients love her’.

Levison Meltzer Pigott has β€˜professionalism and compassion in equal measure. It is a long-established and highly regarded firm that is small enough to be personal but with some top-tier hitters amongst its members’. Jeremy Levison is β€˜fiercely bright but also utterly charming. If a case needs a fight, he is the solicitor you would want in your corner’. Simon Pigott is β€˜highly intelligent and utterly reasonable. His avuncular style and caring concern make the difference to clients time after time. He knows when to fight a point and when to gracefully move matters to a conclusion’. Julian Ribet is β€˜a leading financial remedies lawyer and one of the big hitters. He deals with cases with lots of zeros on the asset schedule’. The β€˜steely’ Nicola Fletcher β€˜has commercial savvy and knows how to present her clients at their best’, and Alistair Myles β€˜has quickly become one of the best in his field. He is very assured with clients, gives realistic advice and fights very hard when necessary’. Alison Hayes β€˜really goes that extra mile for her clients, and is completely client-focused’. Amanda Andrews is now at Winckworth Sherwood LLP.

Penningtons Manches LLP is β€˜an excellent firm, with strength in depth’. The β€˜superb’ Jane Craig heads the practice, and is β€˜very good for high-net-worth work. She has client skills that are second to none, and this she blends with good judgement’. Gillian Rivers is β€˜a first-class divorce and family lawyer who is sympathetic and a gritty and determined negotiator’. Other members of the β€˜standout’ team include Anna Worwood in London, Veronica Gilmour in Guildford, and Jane Mitchell in Oxford. Craig has a wealth of experience in both the financial aspects of high-value divorce and separation and in the resolution of complex disputes about arrangements for children, including relocation cases. The team is currently acting in some of the highest-value cases in England, and has well-established expertise in complex international cases. James Stewart heads the private wealth offering, and Rebecca Carlyon advises on all issues arising from divorce and relationship breakdown.

Russell-Cooke LLP β€˜undertakes the full range of family law work, both within the private law field and public law proceedings. It is highly regarded for international children matters and also provides high-class advice to very-high-net-worth clients while never losing its human touch’. Therese Nichols β€˜has decades of experience that she deploys to great effect to ensure that her clients’ cases are managed supremely well’. Fiona Read has β€˜a first-class brain’, and the β€˜thoughtful and clever’ James Carroll β€˜fights his cases in a low-key way and secures excellent results for his clients’. Samantha Little β€˜gets to grips with complex cases very quickly, and has been involved in the groundbreaking set of cases involving errors at fertility clinics. She deservedly has a superb reputation for hard work and sensitivity’. Camilla Thornton is β€˜loved by clients, and will fight all the way but without the histrionics’. Sarah Richardson is β€˜outstanding at representing both parents and children in public law proceedings, with a combination of compassion and strategic acumen that puts her head and shoulders above the crowd’. Kate Hamilton has β€˜a tremendous knack of getting it right’. β€˜One of the things that sets the firm apart is that the senior partners train and bring through more junior practitioners so that the expertise percolates throughout the whole team’.

The International Family Law Group LLP is β€˜one of the top firms in international family law in England’, with the β€˜great’ Ann Thomas at the helm. David Hodson is β€˜extremely knowledgeable, sharp and reliable’; Helen Blackburn is β€˜one of the most effective English lawyers on international child abduction’; Hannah Budd is β€˜excellent’; Lucy Greenwood is β€˜outstanding’; and Lucy Loizou is β€˜always concise, thorough and accurate’. At associate level, Michael Allum is β€˜incredibly diligent and hardworking’.

Vardags β€˜has established itself in a relatively short period of time as one of the top handful of family law firms. This is a remarkable achievement’. Ayesha Vardag is β€˜superb. She has enormous energy and drive and has taken the firm to the top echelons. She has first-class skills and remarkably good judgement’. Catherine Thomas attracts praise for her β€˜formidable intellect and knowledge of the law. Her approach and advice is always right’. Senior director Simon McKirgan is β€˜immensely skilled and works formidably hard’. Director Georgina Hamblin is β€˜so passionate and committed to "what’s right". It’s almost as if she is the one going through the divorce. She will be with you every step of the way in head and in heart’. Charlie Bell is β€˜a rising star’, and fellow director Kelly Edwards, who joined from Sears Tooth, is β€˜a strong addition to the team as she is a very experienced family litigator’. The firm β€˜will fight your case all the way. The advice and level of service it offers is unparalleled’.

Anthony Gold β€˜stands eye to eye with the London "Magic Circle" family firms. Its excellent team is skilled in all disciplines (mediation, collaboration and negotiation, etc.) and practises in such a way that is designed to assist families and the children’. Practice head Kim Beatson is β€˜calm, experienced and quick-thinking’; the β€˜reassuring’ David Emmerson β€˜immediately puts clients at ease’; and Caroline Bowden β€˜knows how to progress the most entrenched cases’. The β€˜very responsive and supportive’ Camilla Fusco β€˜instils confidence’, and Sarah Hughes has β€˜a great eye for detail’. The firm has β€˜expertise across all areas of family law, with particular skill and interest in alternative dispute resolution’.

Bindmans LLP is β€˜an excellent family law firm, with some real star individuals. It covers a broad range of cases, with particular expertise in cross-border children cases. It provides a service of exceptionally high quality to publicly and privately funded clients alike’. Katherine Gieve has β€˜huge experience in all areas of family law and is particularly tactically astute in cases involving complicated questions of international family law’. Associate Amy Rowe is β€˜one of the stars of the team. She is exceptionally able, showing a rare combination of creative legal thinking and detailed legal knowledge’. Associate Liz Dronfield is β€˜simply outstanding’. β€˜Thorough and committed’ solicitor Rosie Roddy acts in private law proceedings involving children and care proceedings where the local authority is involved. Solicitor Jamie Phillips has β€˜abilities far beyond his years’.

With β€˜a distinguished past and a very bright future’, Boodle Hatfield LLP is β€˜an excellent firm for matrimonial finance work, dealing with the big-money and high-calibre cases’. James Ferguson is β€˜a cool-headed tactician who fights hard for his clients’; Barbara Simpson is β€˜a tough, no-nonsense negotiator’; Christopher Butler is β€˜a highly effective lawyer with very sound judgement’; and Emily Brand, who joined from Winckworth Sherwood LLP, is β€˜very bright and pragmatic’. Among the senior associates, Katie O’Callaghan is β€˜immensely thorough with a keen eye for the important details’, and Harriet Errington has β€˜a well-deserved reputation for sound judgement and clarity’.

Specialising in high-worth cases, Camilla Baldwin provides an β€˜exemplary’ service; the firm is β€˜highly experienced and adopts a professional, caring and welcoming approach’. Camilla Baldwin β€˜gives everything to her clients – she is totally committed and her availability to clients is exceptional. She is compassionate and caring and utterly professional’. Senior associate Emma Percy also garners praise, and is noted for her β€˜availability and supportive advice’. The firm has a diverse national and international client base of wealthy individuals, and covers all areas of privately funded family work from divorce and financial proceedings to children matters.

Toby Yerburgh heads the team at Collyer Bristow LLP, which advises the very wealthy and acts in complex financial relief proceedings with an overseas component. Philippa Dolan is very experienced in mediation, and Michael Drake is also highly respected. The children team is led by Susan Breen, who also advises on surrogacy matters.

Forsters LLP β€˜is establishing a significant presence’ under the leadership of Joanne Edwards, who is praised for her β€˜attention to detail. She goes the extra mile for clients and leaves no stone unturned’, and is β€˜surprisingly tough behind a calm exterior’. The team has been strengthened by the arrival of Rosie Schumm from Wedlake Bell LLP, who has β€˜impressive legal knowledge and grasp of the details of each case. She is adored by clients’. Senior associate Amanda Sandys is β€˜calm and skilled. Her unflappable demeanour puts clients at their ease’. The team is strong in cases with β€˜trusts structures and international elements, and is also known for its progressive approach towards dispute resolution, collaborative law and mediation’; it is β€˜definitely one to watch over the coming years’.

Head of department Nina Hansen at Freemans Solicitors has β€˜an enormous amount of experience, particularly in international work’, and Laura Coyle is β€˜extremely conscientious and works tirelessly for her clients’. Consultant Rebekah Gershuny is β€˜very experienced in financial remedy work. She takes the most difficult cases in her stride. She has a wonderful combination of mastering all the issues whilst cutting to the heart of the matter’. Associate Hilka Hollmann β€˜undertakes complex international adoption cases with ease’. The firm is β€˜rightly undaunted whoever the opponent. In the niche area of international child practitioners, it really shines’.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP is β€˜a sensible firm that knows exactly what it is doing. It puts the client at the forefront of its practice. It is a modern and innovative firm with an enviable client list which properly reflects the high quality of the service it consistently provides’. The β€˜sympathetic and very knowledgeable’ Tom Farley-Hills has β€˜the right instinct on cases’, and Linzi Bull can β€˜navigate through the difficult facts and then move seamlessly into settlement discussions’. Associate Lidia Cantele is β€˜a smart and engaging lawyer’. The team has grown significantly with the recent arrival of Catherine Bedford, Nicholas Westley and Mark Irving from Lee & Thompson LLP.

Harcus Sinclair LLP is β€˜first rate. It has the breadth of knowledge but can also provide a bespoke service’. Kathryn Peat is β€˜great with clients’, and Roger Cobden-Ramsay is β€˜excellent’. Solicitor Georgia Day β€˜works tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for clients’. The practice is experienced in advising high-net-worth individuals with a range of business and trust assets across multiple jurisdictions, and is also noted for its work in private children matters.

Irwin Mitchell β€˜is becoming a real player in this area’. Team head Elizabeth Hicks β€˜goes the extra mile and provides great support to clients, gets to the point quickly and does not make a meal of the issues’. The β€˜incredibly hardworking’ Sital Fontenelle β€˜gets great results for her clients’, and Ursula Danagher is β€˜tenacious’. At associate level, Kathryn Evans shows β€˜great attention to detail’, and Carmel Brown is β€˜brilliant at helping clients through the challenges faced in financial remedy litigation’. The team was strengthened by the arrival of Ian Cook, previously of 1 King's Bench Walk.

At Miles & Partners LLP, β€˜across the board the solicitors cannot be beaten for their professionalism and their dedication. They approach their clients with compassion coupled with a firm grasp of the issues and law, and all without exception are formidable advocates’. Amanda Dench provides β€˜a "Rolls-Royce" service’, and Kate Hammond is β€˜a straightforward solicitor with a warm and friendly approach’. The β€˜committed and empathetic’ Michelle Uppal β€˜resolutely seeks out where the right solution will lie for her clients’.

Miles Preston & Co’s service is β€˜so personal, so professional. The team is always willing to meet clients and explain things a hundred times if needs be’. The β€˜pragmatic’ Julia Stanczyk β€˜does not get hampered by the legal procedures, and addresses issues head on. This ensures that time and money are not wasted’; and the β€˜assiduous’ Harriett Wait β€˜leaves no stone unturned’. The β€˜fantastic’ team advises on arrangements for children in addition to other issues such as pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Rachel Freeman is now with Kingsley Napley LLP.

Mills & Reeve LLP is β€˜a dynamic firm that has really excelled in the last few years. It is a rising presence, regularly comes up against the big names, and matches, if not exceeds them’. The London team, which acts for privately funded clients, is led by the β€˜astute’ Joanna Grandfield, who β€˜ably manages complex financial issues for her "City"-based clients’. The Cambridge team is led by β€˜absolute star’ Caitlin Jenkins, β€˜who can do nothing wrong’, and includes senior associate Tim Whitney, who is β€˜one to watch; he always makes time for his clients’.

At Osbornes, Bridget Thompson has β€˜an excellent reputation for children work’, and Mark Freedman for finance; Freedman is β€˜very ready to fight his clients’ corner and this he does well’. β€˜Clients really have faith’ in Lisa Pepper, and Naomi Angell β€˜continues to be one of the most experienced adoption and surrogacy lawyers around’. Associate Joanne Wescott is seen to be β€˜going places’.

Sears Tooth is particularly strong in high-value, complex matrimonial financial disputes, and β€˜remains one of the leading firms in London. It has a reputation for being firm but fair’. Raymond Tooth is β€˜one of the most respected family lawyers in London – everyone wants to instruct him and no-one wants their spouse to go to him’. Susan Apthorp is β€˜a brilliant lawyer with an incisive mind’.

Alison Leivesley leads the team at TV Edwards LLP, and her β€˜attention to detail is second to none’. The β€˜always available’ Maud Davis and the β€˜meticulously prepared’ Hannah Perry are β€˜always on top of the detail’, and solicitor Forum Shah is β€˜way ahead of her peers with her level of knowledge and expertise’. The team is particularly strong in international children matters.

Vaitilingam Kay is β€˜a boutique firm that has enjoyed stellar success in the few years since it started with a standout level of service and advice in both children and financial matters. It deals with the most high-value and complex of cases with ease’. Anne Kay is β€˜an exceptional lawyer’, and Joe Vaitilingam β€˜gives realistic advice, and his judgement is spot on’.

Wedlake Bell LLP has a β€˜very busy’ practice headed by the β€˜indomitable’ Charmaine Hast, who β€˜works incredibly hard for her clients and gets excellent results for them – clients such as footballers, captains of industry, and the rich and famous’. Conrad Adam is particularly good on β€˜tricky technical points’, and senior associate Trisha Siddique is β€˜a strong money practitioner who listens well to her clients’.

Bishop & Sewell LLP has β€˜very experienced partners with proven expertise in both finance and children cases’. Michael Gillman heads the team and is β€˜extremely conscientious and has impeccable judgement’. Philip Rutter β€˜remains calm when dealing with very difficult clients’. The β€˜committed’ Eileen Pembridge is also recommended, as is David Hodgson, who is β€˜thorough in his preparation and assesses risk carefully; his ability to control costs is a thing to behold’. Louise Barretto is particularly adept in complex financial matters with an international dimension.

Bross Bennett has β€˜an extremely experienced and capable team of family lawyers who offer pragmatic advice but are not afraid to take on the big boys’. Sharon Bennett β€˜negotiates with a steely determination without ever losing a grip on the commercial realities’, and Ruth Bross β€˜is able to empathise with her clients while never losing sight of their best interests’. Anna Wagstaff is β€˜vastly experienced on the financial and international side’, and Lea Harris β€˜offers a wonderful combination of elegance, intelligence and forthright commercial savvy’.

Burgess Mee Family Law provides β€˜a bespoke service to clients who do not want to pay London "City" prices but want the same level of service as the "Magic Circle" firms’, and has β€˜excellent lawyers at all levels’. Antonia Mee β€˜fights her clients’ corner extremely well and leaves no stone unturned’, and the β€˜outstanding’ Peter Burgess works β€˜equally well on the children and money cases’.

DWFM Beckman has β€˜a fearsome reputation and is making big waves right now’ with its work in high-value relief matters and private children applications. Head of department Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui is β€˜a masterful solicitor driven by her passion for excellence. She remains calm and in control in the most demanding situations’.

John Burrell heads the team at Gordon Dadds LLP, which has β€˜a long history of offering top-quality advice. Its greatest strength is obtaining good outcomes in a dignified and efficient way’. David Ruck is β€˜calm, extraordinarily reassuring and extremely experienced at resolving the most difficult disputes’. Consultant Yael Selig is also recommended.

Jacqueline Major heads the team at Hodge Jones & Allen LLP, which is β€˜determined to offer a full and high level of service to every client’, and is well versed in private and public law family matters. Deborah Johnson has β€˜a really big heart. She has a lot of experience under her belt’. Bharti Shah is β€˜supportive’, and senior associate Sara Upton is β€˜diligent’. Teena Dhanota-Jones joined from Curzon Green Solicitors.

Howard Kennedy LLP β€˜is able to compete with the toughest on the most complex and potentially high profile of cases’. Team head Lois Langton is β€˜particularly good at dealing with difficult and demanding clients from the sports and entertainment industries. She has an unrivalled ability to absorb and retain every detail of a case’. Consultant Alan Kaufman is β€˜a seasoned professional. Clients gain comfort from his experience and bedside manner’.

Ketley Miller Joels Ltd is β€˜a rising star in private children and financial work. Its team is conscientious and costs-conscious but still provides a high standard of service’. Clayton Miller is β€˜a master tactician who pulls no punches when needed’, and Philip Cooper β€˜works tirelessly for his clients’.

The β€˜very commercial’ Michael Pulford leads the team at Pinsent Masons LLP, and acts in relation to high-profile and high-value pre- and post-nuptial agreements, divorce and financial remedy proceedings, and private law children and child abduction cases.

RadcliffesLeBrasseur is β€˜an extremely polished central London firm dealing with high-net-worth clients’. Caroline Penfold is β€˜highly efficient and can defuse potentially highly confrontational situations’. Associate Carina Smith is β€˜very motivated and has a great rapport with clients’.

Davina Katz and David Greer at Schillings are β€˜exceptionally practical and work hard to find workable solutions for clients’. Clients range from senior executives in the banking, private equity and hedge fund sectors to European royalty and international entrepreneurs with a public profile.

Under the leadership of Deborah Jeff, Seddons has β€˜a formidable team of family law experts’ who β€˜will fight their clients’ corner whilst giving sensible advice throughout’. Toby Hales provides β€˜clear’ advice, and Neil Russell has β€˜oodles of common sense’. Associate Victoria Sterritt has β€˜impeccable judgement’.

Simons Muirhead & Burton has an β€˜outstanding and very thorough’ team. Jane McDonagh is praised for her β€˜detailed knowledge of the law and practice coupled with her pragmatic approach’, and Lara Wulwik is β€˜technically excellent and great with clients’. Senior associate Hazel McNaught shows β€˜great attention to detail and has a bright future ahead of her’. The full-service team has particular expertise in cases with an international component with elements of shar’iah, European or Iranian law, as well as in Jewish divorces.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP provides β€˜a first-class service’. Newly promoted partner Katie Spooner is β€˜very client-focused’, and senior associate Camini Kumar is β€˜a truly gifted lawyer with an impressive grasp of the big issues’. Former head of the team Emily Brand is now with Boodle Hatfield LLP.

Andrew Spearman at A City Law Firm Ltd delivers β€˜a 5-star service’ and is noted for his ability to β€˜immediately put his clients at ease when discussing very sensitive and personal issues’. He leads a specialist surrogacy and fertility team and LGBT practice.

Bircham Dyson Bell has β€˜a highly competent department that coves the full array of litigation, mediation and negotiation, and is particularly good on multi-jurisdictional cases’. SiΘƒn Jones heads the team and is praised for her experience in β€˜landed estates and farming cases and her skilful negotiation of pre- and post-nuptial/civil partnership agreements’. John Darnton is β€˜calm’.

Brookman Solicitors advises β€˜high-net-worth individuals and is an emerging firm for international work’. Henry Brookman β€˜is shrewd and has a real commercial eye’. Solicitor Maria Conesa is β€˜very experienced in cross-border cases’.

Sarah Hoskinson at Burges Salmon LLP is β€˜truly brilliant. She cuts to the chase and is caring and supportive’. The team is recommended for its work on complex financial settlements on relationship breakdown and divorce, and acts exclusively in high-value cases both nationally and internationally.

Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates’ clients β€˜feel very supported’. It has a host of excellent practitioners: Sabrina McKay β€˜works very well with vulnerable clients’; Antony Wilkinson is β€˜very skilled in public law cases’; Abbie Huxley is β€˜exceptional’; David Marcus is β€˜a hugely experienced child care practitioner’; Sidra Butt is β€˜a gifted mental health tribunal advocate’; and Stephanie Marshall is β€˜very efficient’.

Lynn Vernon heads the team at Covent Garden Family Law, which has a particular emphasis on children matters and on all issues concerning same-sex parenting.

Fladgate LLP fields β€˜a knowledgeable team that adopts a personal approach to meet each client’s needs’, and is experienced in international divorces and high-value financial claims. Teresa Cullen is β€˜the driving force in the team’; she has β€˜a superb bedside manner with clients but can equally be robust when putting their cases forward’.

Grayfords LLP’s β€˜highly competent’ team includes Sheata Karim, whose β€˜knowledge and experience of family law is clearly evident’, and Neil Graham, who provides β€˜clear and quick answers’. It has developed particular expertise in international ancillary relief proceedings, complex contact disputes and leave to remove applications. Megan Bennie is also recommended; her expertise encompasses divorce, pre and post-nuptial agreements, Children Act matters and financial applications, among other matters.

NGA Law is β€˜immaculately prepared for each case and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of surrogacy law. It has established itself as a leading firm also in fertility issues and same-sex family law’. Natalie Gamble has β€˜an international reputation and unrivalled expertise in this area’. Haema Sundram, who joined from Covent Garden Family Law, β€˜will deepen the firm’s expertise in family financial matters, mediation and same-sex families’.

Philcox Gray & Co has β€˜a great team that is superb in public law cases and is doing complex work. It is a very child-focused firm’. The β€˜astute’ Sheila Donn is β€˜a great tactician’, and Beverley King is β€˜thoughtful and measured’.

Russells Solicitors is β€˜a strong media firm with a bright and discreet family practice’. Team head Carol Ellinas is β€˜a smart and savvy lawyer who understands the needs of her camera-shy celebrity clientele. She is straight-talking and tough’.

Sheridans provides β€˜brilliant and balanced advice. It handles its cases with an effortless efficiency and there is an air of reassuring quality when dealing with the firm’. Andrea Plum has β€˜a marvellous bedside manner’ and is recommended for complex, high-value matrimonial finance matters. Associate Neil McNab has β€˜all the hallmarks of a rising star. He has a ready charm and a sharp mind’.

Slater and Gordon has a β€˜very large and experienced’ team nationally. Rupi Rai’s case preparation is β€˜watertight. She is charming, approachable and highly astute, and takes good care of her clients’.

Stowe Family Law LLP β€˜practises at the highest echelons of family law in high-profile and complex financial remedy cases’. Graham Coy is β€˜a very experienced family lawyer who always shows warmth and tact’, and Lucy Phipps is β€˜first rate’. Senior solicitor Emily Poynter is β€˜extremely conscientious and supportive of her clients’. Senior solicitor Holly Lamb and senior associate Phoebe Turner are β€˜great at putting the legal jargon into lay person’s language’.

June Venters QC at Venters Solicitors regularly appears in the High Court and Family Courts conducting complex trials involving issues of child protection and sexual abuse. Solicitor Sherma Polidore is β€˜very committed to achieving the best outcome for her clients and is especially well known for public (care) proceedings’.

At Curzon Green Solicitors, β€˜very experienced’ senior associate Jeff Thomas β€˜often secures a good outcome in the most difficult of cases’, covering finance and children matters. Emily Hook β€˜always has a firm handle on her cases’. Teena Dhanota-Jones joined Hodge Jones & Allen LLP.

DMH Stallard LLP has β€˜a switched-on team that fights clients’ corners well while also being sympathetic’. Siobhan Lomasney and Philip Morton are β€˜excellent at client care’ and β€˜first-class negotiator’ David Leadercramer has β€˜an enviable client list’.

β€˜Hardworking and compassionate’ solicitor Eileen Macqueen at Devonshires Solicitors LLP β€˜provides balanced advice and is a star in the making’. The team provides advice to City professionals and other high-net-worth individuals, and is adept at helping clients with particular needs such as mental health issues.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors has a large team that β€˜covers a broad range of family cases and excels in children’s cases’. Emine Mehmet β€˜represents a wide range of clients, including those who are exceptionally vulnerable, with dedication, commitment and skill. She takes on a high proportion of publicly funded work’. Laila Bhunnoo is β€˜a calm lawyer who stays on top of her workload’.

The team at Fletcher Day is β€˜utterly exceptional’. Dee Douglas is β€˜sympathetic and efficient’, and β€˜pragmatic’ associate Vandna Sharma is β€˜fantastic at bringing down the temperature of a case’.

Geoffrey Castello heads the team at GT Stewart Limited, which is active in public law care proceedings in addition to privately funded private law Children Act cases, divorce proceedings, financial claims, and matrimonial cohabitation issues.

The β€˜first-class and commercially aware’ Mary-Ann Wright joined Gunnercooke LLP from DWF, and will be β€˜a real asset to the firm’. β€˜Able’ senior associate Raj Bhattoa also joined from DWF.

Mitali Zakaria at ITN Solicitors is β€˜very hands on and committed to ensuring that she gets the best for her clients’. The team has developed a niche in radicalisation cases.

Josiah-Lake Gardiner Solicitors is β€˜committed to its clients’. David Josiah-Lake is β€˜an intelligent lawyer with a good grasp of children’s issues’, and Margaret Kelly is β€˜knowledgeable and fights well for her clients’.

At Michelmores LLP, the β€˜very knowledgeable and kind’ Louisa Ghevaert leads a specialist practice in fertility law and has β€˜immense experience’ in surrogacy work. She is recommended for her experience in fertility treatment, international private children cases and international surrogacy involving the US and Eastern and Western Europe.

Jay Patel at Shoosmiths LLP β€˜supports clients every step of the way’, and Juliette Peters is also recommended. The London office is best known for its work relating to financial applications on divorce and wealth protection prior to and after marriage.

Steel & Shamash is β€˜a top human rights firm with a strong reputation for representing vulnerable people’. Janice Kaufman has β€˜unrivalled breadth of knowledge of children’s rights born out of years of representing children’. Senior solicitor Geeta Manglani is β€˜very good at representing parents and children alike’.

The team at Guildford’s Stevens & Bolton LLP is β€˜very well-organised and knowledgeable, and also has associates who are on the ball’; β€˜the vast majority of its work is based in London, and as a firm they are as good as any leading London firm’. β€˜Incredibly thorough and an excellent tactician’, Nicola Harries heads a team of β€˜excellent partners’.

Thomson Snell & Passmore is β€˜absolutely one of the best firms in Kent, but it can hold its own with the top London firms’. Joanna Pratt β€˜radiates a quiet confidence and clients feel looked after and safe with her’. β€˜Shrewd and pragmatic’ senior associate Desmond O’Donnell and the β€˜incredibly responsive and dedicated’ Kirstie Law are recommended.

Wainwright & Cummins has β€˜a highly capable and experienced team who stand out in their dedication to their clients’. Areas of expertise include public children law, human rights and international issues in family proceedings. Charlotte Image-Flower is β€˜particularly impressive’.

Aysen Soyer heads the team at Wilson Solicitors LLP, which advises on the full spectrum of family matters. It is a significant provider of legal aid services in addition to acting for clients on a privately funded basis. Patricia Beckett is β€˜kind and wise, and totally professional’.


Family: mediation

Index of tables

  1. Family: mediation
  2. Leading individuals

Who Represents Who

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With a number of β€˜leaders in the field’, Family Law in Partnership Ltd β€˜has been at the vanguard of ADR in family law for a long time and is completely immersed in its development. It has a strong mediation practice and is referred work by many of the leading law firms’. Clients have β€˜absolute confidence’ in β€˜calm and constructive’ head of mediation Dominic Raeside, who β€˜is able to deal well with particularly difficult parents, often in the shadow of litigation. He is immensely experienced’. Ruth Smallacombe has β€˜a vast range of skills, expertise and experience’ which she can bring to bear in complex matters. Gillian Bishop is β€˜very constructive, fair and human. She literally "wrote the book" on collaborative law’, and David Allison is β€˜another experienced and skilled mediator in the team’. James Pirrie has β€˜considerable experience and sensitivity in these matters. He has the skill and understanding to know when to see the parties separately but also when to engage with the parties’ lawyers more directly’. Helen Greenfield β€˜is able to resolve things amicably between the parties’, and Bradley Williams β€˜does not lose sight of the fact that resolving matters without going to court is generally in the clients’ interests’. The firm fields 14 family mediators who offer all types of family mediation from sole and co-mediation to child-inclusive mediation. Clients include numerous celebrities, City professionals and middle-income to ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

Alexiou Fisher Philipps LLP’s β€˜standard of service is much valued by its clients and much respected by its peers’. All of its partners are collaboratively trained, and Emma Harte and Tom Amlot regularly practise as mediators. Amlot is called to mediate where the parties are well-known and the protection of privacy is paramount. Harte has recently been involved in an increasing number of high-profile mediations, including a case that was in the press involving large sums of money and family wealth. She has also acted for some well-known pop musicians and their partners as well as other celebrities, and has acted in a number of assisted reproduction disputes. Susan Philipps is an experienced and busy mediator, and Sara Hannell is also recommended.

Anthony Gold is β€˜a wholly client- and solution-focused practice where alternatives to traditional court-led proceedings are actively pursued. The firm has embraced ADR in ways that many traditional firms appear reluctant to do’. David Emmerson is β€˜an experienced problem solver: calm and reassuring. He gets to the issues quickly whilst holding the client’s confidence. He is a skilled mediator who is able to combine his extensive legal knowledge with the empathy and impartiality needed to mediate complex cases’. Caroline Bowden is β€˜one of the country’s leading mediators. She adopts a very calm and neutral approach to disputes’ and is noted for her ability to be β€˜sympathetic to the issues on both sides’, inspiring confidence that β€˜she will explore all relevant avenues to reach agreement’. Kim Beatson is β€˜just a class act. She is focused yet always charming, and gets straight to the heart of the case’.

At Barlow Robbins LLP, Karen Barham practises exclusively as a family law mediator, and is qualified to consult with children.

Sarah Anticoni at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is β€˜one of the leading lights in the London family mediation world. She has a stellar skill set in this area and is able to turn her attentions to all sorts of tricky family situations which result in a positive outcome for all involved. Her family mediation practice has been established for a long time and she has seen almost every sort of scenario going’. Sarah Whitten is also β€˜excellent on mediation’.

At Collyer Bristow LLP, Philippa Dolan’s mediation practice continues to flourish. She has been active in a range of different cases, from those concerning children to complex money matters with a cross-border component.

Dawson Cornwell as a firm is β€˜an outstanding supporter of mediation’. Jeremy Abraham is β€˜particularly impressive as a mediator. He is calm and thoughtful, bringing his experience and expertise to every case’, and β€˜is able to help the parties to bridge what had seemed like huge differences between them and to reach a sensible compromise’.

At Family Law Partners, β€˜warm, friendly and experienced’ mediator Hazel Manktelow β€˜brings a calming approach whilst skilfully facilitating her clients’ discussions’. Sarah Jelly is also β€˜very experienced and thorough’, and β€˜explores options sensibly and pragmatically, helping clients to reach agreement’. Julian McEvoy β€˜has a reassuring style and is a problem resolver’. Linda Lamb is well versed in financial issues and is qualified to see children as part of the mediation process.

At Hughes Fowler Carruthers, Pauline Fowler and Frances Hughes are both well-known, senior mediators; they are β€˜first-class, excellent and very client-focused’.

Hunters Incorporating May, May & Merrimans has β€˜a strong mediation focus, with several experienced and effective mediators’. Henry Hood is β€˜judicious in his approach and well versed in generating thoughtful solutions for participants to consider’. Jo-Carr West has β€˜an excellent manner with clients and helpfully leads them towards a negotiated agreement’. Hazel Wright has β€˜many years of experience. She wastes no time in the process, making herself readily available to assist the parties towards a mediated solution that is likely to gain the court’s approval. She is also strong on cross-border and cross-cultural mediations’. These three practitioners β€˜are committed to the use of the out-of-court route to reach settlement’. β€˜The firm has a greater ratio of mediators within the family law team than many family departments; it is clearly something the firm takes seriously and wants to get right.’

Kingsley Napley LLP’s Charlotte Bradley is β€˜well known for her excellent work in mediation’, bringing β€˜warmth and a strategic approach to her cases and an exceptional grasp of the law, especially on European issues’. She advises City professionals and high-net-worth individuals, and has recently acted in a number of children mediations concerning contact and relocation.

Levison Meltzer Pigott is β€˜an outstanding firm with an excellent commitment to client care; it has retained its "family feel" and produces excellent results’. Simon Pigott is particularly highly rated for financial mediation, and makes clients feel β€˜comfortable with him as he puts them at ease at an early stage of the proceedings. He is confident, calm, charming and personable’, β€˜knowledgeable and experienced’, and β€˜determined to get the best for his clients with the minimum of fuss’. Julian Ribet has β€˜a strong sense of justice, and clients love him’.

Michelle Uppal at Miles & Partners LLP is β€˜very practically minded and is very good at children and finance disputes. She is perceptive and analytical, whilst also warm, measured and approachable. Clients trust her as highly professional and she will get the job done’.

Mills & Reeve LLP β€˜places a lot of emphasis on ADR. It manages clients’ expectations brilliantly from the first meeting through to settlement – it provides outstanding client care’. Manchester-based Alison Bull is β€˜very thorough and experienced in complex financial matters. She is very sympathetic but gets to the point’.Joanna Grandfield β€˜manages clients brilliantly’, and Caitlin Jenkins is very highly rated for her experience.

Russell-Cooke LLP has β€˜a strong and growing reputation in this area; it is biting on the ankles of the "Magic Circle" firms’. James Carroll β€˜works very effectively with the parties and has the rare knack of being able to satisfy both parties’; he has β€˜a razor-sharp brain and a constructive, "let’s sort it out" approach’. Fiona Read β€˜can mediate difficult disputes (with difficult people) effectively’. Therese Nichols is β€˜intelligent, rounded and insightful. She puts clients at ease, even those who are reluctant to be present at the mediation’. Kate Hamilton is β€˜a practical and constructive lawyer who looks for solutions rather than staring at the problem. Her mediation practice is also growing’.

Denise Ingamells at TV Edwards LLP is a highly regarded and experienced mediator who is qualified to carry out child-inclusive mediation.

Denise Carter at The International Family Law Group LLP is an experienced mediator in international child disputes, especially cases concerning parental child abduction and child relocation covering Hague and non-Hague states.

Thomson Snell & Passmore is β€˜very strong for mediation’ and β€˜probably the best for family mediation in Kent’. The β€˜well-organised’ Kirstie Law is β€˜proactive and helpful’ on financial and children disputes, and is also qualified to meet children as part of the mediation process. Senior associate Desmond O’Donnell is also well regarded.

The β€˜extremely experienced’ Suzanne Kingston at Withers LLP has β€˜a kind and patient manner which puts clients at ease. At the same time she is clear in her dealings with them so that they understand what is happening. She is well prepared, and for financial mediations she is always on top of her numbers’. She is β€˜one of a kind – very firm but very fair, and passionately committed to ADR’. Suzanne Todd is β€˜extremely experienced, and prepared to listen to the other party’s point of view. This means that people can avoid both the stress and the attendant costs of court hearings’. The β€˜very intelligent’ Diana Parker is β€˜highly impressive for financial disputes’. Claire Blakemore has β€˜a very empathetic manner and an ability to connect with clients. This means that she is particularly skilled at finding common ground, even in situations where a couple is quite polarised. The confidence clients have in her gives them the chance of reaching an agreement’. The team as a whole is β€˜hardworking, business-like and thorough’, with β€˜a commitment to this type of work’.


Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Personal tax, trusts and probate clients in London using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s β€˜technically excellent’ team advises on high-value cross-border wealth, governance and tax structuring matters. It is also experienced in shari’ah wealth and succession planning issues, and is recommended for its work with institutional clients and on complex trust restructurings. Murray North is β€˜knowledgeable and professional’, and the β€˜excellent’ Martin Paisner acts for many very wealthy international families originating from the US and across Europe, as well as advising numerous high-net-worth individuals and families with connections to Israel. Simon Phelps heads the Asia private client group, with a significant number of individual and family office clients based in the Middle East and the Far East, and specialises in estate planning, capital and income taxation as well as offshore and onshore trusts. Damian Bloom advises high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families, with a particular focus on entrepreneurial clients. Associate director Reshmi Manekporia is also recommended for her experience in complex cross-border structures, particularly those with a shari’ah component, and works with shari’ah scholars to provide shari’ah-compliant wealth structuring solutions.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has β€˜strong market coverage from old money to entrepreneurs’, and is β€˜a highly respected outfit with a number of outstanding individuals’. Bart Peerless and the β€˜very able’ Piers Master are both β€˜superb and at the top of their game’. William Begley is β€˜measured, confident and pragmatic’, and Andrew Cameron is β€˜excellent at finding practical solutions’. Robert Blower shows β€˜great attention to detail’. Suzanne Marriott is β€˜well known for the big-ticket deputyship work. As well as being technically competent, she is also kind and compassionate, which is a huge advantage when dealing with very vulnerable clients who are under the protection of court’. Nicola Thorpe is β€˜fast becoming another top private client lawyer in the UK’. The β€˜very technical and thorough’ Alice Wilne β€˜is able to articulate issues and potential solutions very clearly so that non-tax colleagues can understand. She has a very good grasp of the key issues and the commercial aspects of each matter. Additionally she is highly responsive and provides an excellent client service’. The large team routinely handles complex cross-disciplinary and cross-border matters, and is adept at handling the full range of matters from tax and trust work for major landed estates and owners of heritage property to advising trustees and other institutions in the UK and offshore. The department β€˜works well across private and corporate clients to provide a holistic service. It combines technical excellence with a very commercial approach, and is a pleasure to work with’. Alison Broadberry is now at Edwin Coe LLP.

Farrer & Co fields β€˜a knowledgeable, commercial, practical and thorough team’ praised for its β€˜strong teamwork and its strength in cross-border work including Europe and the United States’, and has β€˜broad capabilities and many academically brilliant lawyers’. The β€˜tactically sound and commercial’ Jeremy Gordon is strong in contentious matters, and recently promoted partner Oliver Piper is β€˜clever, commercial and able to mediate well between difficult stakeholders’. The β€˜extremely calm’ Robert Field and Marianne Kafena (who has β€˜an exceptional client manner’) are both recommended along with the β€˜practical and thorough’ Bryony Cove and senior associate Richard McDermott. Other standout members of the team are Mark Bridges, who acts for a broad range of English private clients such as philanthropists, trustees and landed families and has a particular focus on succession planning, tax and trusts. Rhoddy Voremberg has a well-established reputation for advising high-net-worth families and individuals, in particular those who own heritage property. Russell Cohen chairs the firm’s international private wealth group, and consultant Mike Chantler specialises in heritage tax. The β€˜very responsive’ Nick Dunnell has been leading the advice to an international ultra-high-net-worth individual on an overhaul of the terms of an extremely complex Liechtenstein trust and foundation holding assets worth over $1bn. It is β€˜a top private client firm with a friendly team that consistently provides thorough and well-thought-through advice’.

The team at Forsters LLP β€˜from partners to associates is always diligent and courteous, and has superb industry knowledge’. The β€˜well-organised’ Patrick Harney β€˜leads an excellent team and manages client relationships very well’. The β€˜pragmatic’ Xavier Nicholas β€˜works very well under pressure while still continuing to pay close attention to detail’. Kelly Noel-Smith is β€˜an exceptional lawyer who provides a top-notch service and gets to the heart of issues very quickly notwithstanding her obviously large workload. She is always available to discuss any difficult issues’. Andrew Lane β€˜stands out from the crowd for his ability to understand his clients’ needs and provide intelligent and very useful advice’. The practice has been significantly strengthened by the move to the firm of Gowling WLG’s 19-strong private wealth team, who joined in May 2017. Notable names include Anthony Thompson, who is β€˜very experienced at the highest levels but carries it all lightly’. He advises high-net-worth private clients on estate planning, the creation and structuring of trusts, and family governance and general tax planning matters.

Macfarlanes LLP has β€˜an exceedingly strong group of hardworking and professional partners – not just one or two stars. They have a "can-do" and commercial approach and can really advise on the full range of issues’. β€˜The partners are incredibly responsive and leaders in their field who provide sophisticated and nuanced advice’. Jonathan Conder has β€˜outstanding knowledge that is blended with the ability to communicate well the most complex matters in a way that is easily understood by all’. Piers Barclay’s strengths include β€˜the extreme care that is given to the advice he proffers, his acumen and his experience’. Charles Lloyd is β€˜unflappable’ on complex contentious matters, and Edward Reed is β€˜excellent’ for UK and international wills, trusts and personal tax planning. Nicholas Harries is β€˜very knowledgeable’ and provides β€˜very well-rounded advice’ on the full range of tax, estate and succession planning matters. Sebastian Prichard Jones is β€˜superb’ at advising wealthy families on tax and succession issues. Charles Gothard and Robin Vos are β€˜very able practitioners’. Matthew Pintus is β€˜a very shrewd operator’, and Michael Parkinson is β€˜very commercially aware’. The associates in the team are β€˜consistently impressive also’.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP provides β€˜an exceptional service with an excellent team that is pragmatic and helpful. What sets it apart is that its lawyers "get" the City and how deals work. They are "go-to" advisers for sophisticated private client advice for private equity executives and other senior City people’. The β€˜first-class and highly professional’ Arabella Murphy heads the team. Other key members of the β€˜outstanding’ team are the β€˜responsive, approachable and immensely experienced’ Ceris Gardner; Ed Powles, who is β€˜technically excellent while also being practical and sensitive to the commercial needs of his clients’; Richard Turnor, who has β€˜a brain the size of a planet that he brings to bear on complex partnership law questions in particular’; Clare Maurice, who is β€˜a star’; and Jennifer Chambers, who is β€˜empathetic while also remaining commercial’. Newly promoted partner Fiona Poole is also β€˜excellent’. Work highlights included advising on the establishment of a Jersey trust and an innovative Dubai International Financial Centre succession trust to hold assets worth several billion dollars; and advising on conflicts between family members in relation to a trust with billions of pounds of assets. The β€˜very experienced’ team is β€˜strong and impressive across the board, and its fees are proportionate with the quality of the advice it gives’.

Andrew Hine heads the team at Taylor Wessing LLP, which provides β€˜an excellent service to its clients. It is able to offer a full service to its wealthy clients who have complex and large financial issues that need to be resolved’. Other members of the β€˜outstanding’ team include Mark Buzzoni, who has β€˜superb cross-border capabilities’; the β€˜well-connected’ Nick Warr; Sanjvee Shah, who is β€˜very responsive and shows great attention to detail’; and senior associate Kyra Motley, who is β€˜one to watch’. The group provides a full service to high-net-worth families and family offices who require multi-jurisdictional advice on their personal wealth structures, international tax planning, and commercial and real estate investments, and also handles reputation management and immigration matters. The London team works closely with counterparts in continental Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. In a significant multi-jurisdictional matter, it is advising the trustees of a historic large landed estate with a number of diversified businesses.

Withers LLP’s β€˜hugely experienced team delivers an excellent service. It has extensive knowledge of international tax and estate planning for high-net-worth individuals’. Jeremy Arnold is β€˜a visionary who is one step ahead. He is very good at predicting how things will go. His commerciality and understanding of difficult UK tax issues is immense, and his experience shines through’. Penelope Williams is β€˜very good on UK/US issues. She is professional and reliable, and has the ability to translate complex documents and legalese into digestible concepts and understandable English’. Patricia Milner is β€˜very good at dealing with very large families with international issues’, and Judith Ingham is β€˜superb for the very technical issues’. Christopher Groves is β€˜tough when needed’ and β€˜very good with entrepreneurs’, and Sarah Cormack is β€˜extremely professional with a first-class ability to communicate complex issues in a clear and concise way’. Ceri Vokes has β€˜a robust understanding of international and UK tax issues relating to HNWI and their families. She is very responsive, technically brilliant and gets straight to the point. She is very reliable and clearly satisfies the needs of the most demanding of clients’. Richard Cassell specialises in tax and estate planning for UK-resident US citizens and advice to US charities operating in the UK. Special counsel Claire Harris is β€˜up and coming’. Filippo Noseda is now at Mishcon de Reya LLP.

Baker McKenzie’s team stands out for its β€˜compatibility, and the dynamics within it. This is coupled with the depth of its experience and knowledge. Of particular note is the team’s awareness of the key issues (changes in legislation or developments in tax law) and how these can affect trustees and offshore structures’. The β€˜truly excellent’ Ashley Crossley is β€˜a delight to work with’ and heads the wealth management department. Senior associate Phyllis Townsend advises international banks and trust companies, and high-net-worth individuals both in the UK and overseas. The team has seen a significant uptick in work from the Middle East, and has attracted a number of important engagements for leading banks. Highlights included advising the offshore trustees of a leading family in relation to UK-resident beneficiaries’ tax and trust reporting to the HMRC.

Bircham Dyson Bell β€˜really knows its stuff’, and has β€˜some very capable lawyers’. Head of wealth Simon Weil is β€˜very knowledgeable and practical – a gem of a guy’. Judith Millar gives β€˜very good, practical advice, and is good at communicating and explaining the process and working with other advisers’. Helen Ratcliffe has considerable experience in advising ultra-high-net-worth families in the Middle East (especially Saudi Arabia and Kuwait). The team is best known for its advice on complex estate planning and succession, often involving assets in a wide range of international and offshore jurisdictions, and is recommended for its work on trusts and other wealth-holding vehicles for multi-jurisdictional families. It also advises owners of agricultural land and landed estates, and philanthropists.

The β€˜excellent, thorough and professional team’ at Boodle Hatfield LLP is β€˜good to work with and good at working with others’. The β€˜bright’ Simon Rylatt heads the team and provides β€˜clear and concise advice’; he is β€˜hugely experienced in the large matters and is an all-round great and efficient private client lawyer’. The β€˜dynamic’ Sue Laing advises wealthy UK and international clients on the long-term protection and devolution of their assets. Hayden Bailey is β€˜great at building relationships with clients. He can think ahead and explains complex issues to clients in a straightforward way’. Salpy Kouyoumjian, who provides β€˜excellent advice and offers solutions that work’, runs the firm’s Middle East private office and advises very wealthy people on issues ranging from property investments in the UK to establishing family offices. The team is renowned for working with some of the largest family-owned businesses and family offices both in the UK and internationally, and is experienced in enterprise initiatives, corporate governance and asset protection. The group also advises many of its clients on setting up charitable ventures.

Harcus Sinclair LLP has β€˜an absolutely first-rate private client practice with deep experience and expertise in complex, multi-jurisdictional planning and litigation. All of the partners are impressive, as are the associates’. The β€˜excellent’ Keith Bruce-Smith β€˜commands the respect of clients and is really friendly to work with’. Lucy Gibson is β€˜impressive when leading a team of lawyers from various jurisdictions and coordinating the advice. As an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner she can juggle the complexities of various legal systems masterfully’. Jonathan Burt’s work is β€˜consistently superb’, and solicitor Siena Gold β€˜stands out as an incredibly talented young lawyer who is already a star’. The team has secured some notable client gains recently, including an ultra-high-net-worth UK-resident non-domiciled Saudi Arabian family, an ultra-high-net-worth Russian client, and several wealthy landed estate owners, in addition to UK and international entrepreneurs. It is β€˜a highly effective practice’.

Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans is β€˜a genuine centre of excellence in non-contentious private client work. The firm has an outstanding record of forming and preserving long-term relationships with clients, and it has first-class technical expertise’. Alexandra Sarkis is β€˜a meticulous and highly skilled private client practitioner who can handle the most complicated matters with confidence. Her technical expertise is tremendous. She has a portfolio of first-class clients and dedicates herself to looking after them’. Jonathan Godwin-Austen is β€˜an experienced professional who has built up a good relationship with clients and other professionals. He is highly regarded and has a good grasp of US/UK tax issues’. Julia Richards is β€˜a thoughtful, conscientious and expert practitioner who exemplifies the firm’s valuable combination of a client-focused approach and professional competence’. Louise Walker is β€˜technically excellent and also has a very good understanding of the complex tax needs of families’. The β€˜highly knowledgeable’ Lucinda Tite β€˜balances the compassion and emotional intelligence needed for private client work with the necessary technical expertise’. The β€˜vastly experienced’ Mary Elliott advises a wide range of individuals, families, trustees and executors on all aspects of wills, estates, trusts and tax planning. Matthew Yates is β€˜very discreet and patient’, and with him β€˜you always know what is happening and why’.

Irwin Mitchell has β€˜a significant offering’, and β€˜is becoming an agile competitor’ under the leadership of Nick Rucker; β€˜its lawyers have an excellent combination of talent, experience and client know how’. Richard Jordan has β€˜detailed knowledge of international client issues combined with commercial nous and a pragmatic approach to meeting client needs’. Colin Dunston has β€˜excellent knowledge and is very approachable and friendly. He is able to give clear and helpful explanations to people who have no legal background – it is always possible to speak with him when required’. Mark Pearce β€˜has the ability to quickly focus on the area that the client is most concerned about’. Overall, it is β€˜a very impressive firm with a good amount of unusual and interesting cases. It has a very responsive team that provides client-friendly advice in a language that the client understands’.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP has a β€˜very talented’ group of β€˜excellent team players who provide a prompt and efficient service with a good international network to call upon’. Astrid Owen is β€˜very strong with European/US clients’, and the β€˜very experienced’ Charles Lubar β€˜is able to advise on a wide range of complex tax matters’. Andrew Vergunst is highly rated as a trusted adviser on tax structuring matters; Dhana Sabanathan is β€˜extremely responsive’; and Simon Goldring, who joined the team from Trowers & Hamlins LLP, is β€˜on the ball’ and very knowledgeable’. Jean-Marc Tirard has considerable expertise in French law and French trusts. Clients include ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families, including five of the Top 20 individuals on the Sunday Times Rich List.

Mishcon de Reya LLP is β€˜one of the best in the business. The highly professional team provides pragmatic, clear and concise advice’. Andrew Goldstone heads up the tax group and is β€˜an excellent communicator who seeks to find a pragmatic solution wherever possible’; he β€˜goes deep into the detail but is also able to see the entire picture to create unique solutions for his clients’. Kassim Meghjee is β€˜quality in terms of his experience and business acumen, and is uncommonly in tune with UHNW family issues and solutions. He gives clear guidance and support, and is hugely helpful’. Managing associate Charlie Sosna is β€˜extremely helpful and proactive. He is empathetic and takes a practical approach to complex matters’. The practice offers tax advice spanning both personal and corporate tax, and also offers a wide range of private client litigation services. It advises on matters ranging from high-value estate administration to the preparation of tax-efficient wills with international components; clients are a mix of ultra-high- and high-net-worth individuals, institutions, investors, property developers, entrepreneurs, trustees and charities.

Payne Hicks Beach is β€˜a real quality firm. It does not offer unnecessary frills for show. It provides a client-focused, discreet and hugely effective service to national and international clients. It is fully capable of handling billion-pound matters with the confidence and accuracy that clients demand’. Robert Brodrick β€˜offers a high level of technical expertise and is able to explain the details in simple and plain English. He makes the entire process as simple as possible, thus avoiding unnecessary stress and cost’. Frederick BjΓΈrn is β€˜responsive and helpful, and has an extremely impressive grasp of the law’. Rosamond McDowell’s β€˜strengths are that she has great empathy yet at the same time is scarily efficient. She masters the detail but still sees the bigger picture’. Basil Dixon β€˜constantly proves his worth. He handles the most complex and weighty affairs of global families with huge assurance’. Consultant Christopher Sly β€˜has a nice manner and is excellent technically’. The firm’s clients feature in the Sunday Times Rich List, Forbes 400 and the Arabian Business Rich List, and the team also acts for some of the UK’s oldest and largest estates. The practice includes advising on the tax aspects of pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and structuring divorce settlements involving trusts and international assets.

A β€˜focused, modern, fast and commercial’ firm, RadcliffesLeBrasseur β€˜provides a very personable and superb service; its extremely efficient and commercial team comes across as down-to-earth and approachable, and "goes that extra mile" to provide reassurance’. Team head Tim Newsome is β€˜first class, and can be very tough when negotiating as needed’. Jonathan Shankland has β€˜a high standard of technical knowledge and is very proactive. He is able to explain complex situations simply to clients and is very kind and thoughtful. He is a thorough young lawyer with a terrific grasp of estate planning and international taxation’. Newly promoted partner Hetty Maher has β€˜a great manner with clients, putting them at ease straight away, and provides a faultless service’. Another key member of the team is Victoria Fairley, who manages matters with β€˜great skill, discretion and good sense based on her longstanding and thorough knowledge of the law as well as a good understanding of her clients’ needs’. Cardiff-based associate Paul Lindsey is recommended for his work on complex multi-jurisdictional matters in particular; he is β€˜flexible and adaptable, and works hard to find a solution that is practical’. Tulin Hamit is β€˜very quick and responsive, and has an excellent understanding of how the English and Turkish tax systems work as a whole’; she is a dual-qualified UK/Turkish tax and private client solicitor.

Russell-Cooke LLP’s team is β€˜extremely responsive and knowledgeable, and provides clear and unambiguous advice’. The head of the team is the β€˜extremely knowledgeable’ Richard Frimston, who is β€˜clearly one of the most knowledgeable practitioners on the EU Regulation on succession, and is a true leader on this subject. He is beyond excellent on complex cross-border issues’. Dawn Alderson provides β€˜concise and helpful advice on the French aspects of private client law in a way that really assists a client’. Rebecca Fisher is β€˜a first-class communicator with an intelligent and pragmatic approach to problem solving’. Andrew Godfrey is β€˜excellent’ for international trust, tax and succession advice, with a focus on US and Italian matters. Senior associate Arshoo Singh β€˜pays great attention to detail. She explains things in layman’s terms about what course of action clients should take and how to approach each problem. Importantly she follows through until the end’. Andrew Robinson is the team’s in-house accountant, and is β€˜very empathetic. He has good experience of trust accounting and tax matters, and is always very reliable’.

James Badcock heads the private services team at Collyer Bristow LLP, where other names to note are the β€˜very competent’ Daniel Simon and William Hancock. Hancock advises on domicile and residence, succession and inheritance, and the formulation of efficient strategies for the preservation, maintenance and ultimate distribution of property through wills, trusts and charitable foundations. Much of the team’s work is cross-border, and it has particular expertise in trust structures and specific jurisdictions such as Switzerland, the US, Russia and Egypt. The group is currently advising on a structure involving three separate trusts (both onshore and offshore) and more than ten underlying companies in various jurisdictions. It also remains the long-term adviser to an ultra-high-net-worth family with six offshore trusts and numerous underlying companies involving very valuable assets in multiple jurisdictions.

Edwin Coe LLP has β€˜an excellent, highly skilled and experienced team that manages numerous cases. Over time it has developed a failsafe system for managing and progressing sometimes complex cases involving numerous beneficiaries’. Nick Giles has β€˜knowledge and experience gained from many years in this specialist area, allowing him to advise and guide clients through many complex issues’. The β€˜very experienced, thorough and technically adept’ David Goepel is β€˜excellent at handling family disputes. The man is a machine. He is able to handle the most complex and difficult probate, tax and trusts matters with complete assurance and accuracy, while still retaining an unaffected charm’. β€˜Very experienced international lawyer’ John Shelford β€˜has seen it all. He is particularly skilful at handling family disputes and is very sensitive to family situations. He is a very good man to have on your side’. Also recommended is Alison Broadberry, who joined from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. The team overall β€˜gives very clear advice in respect of complex and high-value matters, and is very user-friendly’.

Howard Kennedy LLP is β€˜technically and practically excellent on the complex offshore issues that affect non-UK domiciles and the relevant property regime for inheritance tax purposes. However, above all, it is a client-centric firm’. Liz Palmer is β€˜incisive, thorough and unrelentingly logical in her application of complex legal provisions. Combined with this she genuinely cares about her clients and works hard to ensure that there are practical solutions’. John Annetts is β€˜an excellent lawyer, meaning he is more than technically good. He is also pragmatic and easy to get along with in dealing with technical legal points/difficulties for the most complex clients with large assets’. The β€˜very sound’ Simon Malkiel is β€˜thorough and always ensures that every point that may help or hinder his client has been fully examined. He thinks logically but creatively about problem solving’. Michael Lewis is β€˜approachable, knowledgeable and focused on achieving the client’s objectives’.

Penningtons Manches LLP is β€˜a top tax firm with excellent and very helpful staff who are exceptionally well organised and have a wide range of experience’. Clare Archer is β€˜exceptionally personable and technically proficient. She has the right combination of experience, technical experience and diplomacy that ensures that sensitive matters are handled with great care’. James d’Aquino is β€˜certainly a rising star with superb client handling skills and a degree of sensitivity that is uncommon in a partner of his age. He is able to get to the key issues very rapidly, and is a problem solver. He has excellent multi-jurisdictional skills’. Senior associate Lucy Edwards is β€˜experienced on complex issues of UK res non-dom clients and ultra-high-net-worth clients’.

With a number of excellent practitioners, Wedlake Bell LLP delivers β€˜a reliable and professional service. It excels at trying to understand the needs of clients and has a diverse range of talent within the firm which can be called upon’. The β€˜very responsive and reliable’ Camilla Wallace provides a service that is β€˜second to none, and she is better than most at communicating complex tax issues to clients’. The β€˜experienced’ Ann Stanyer β€˜always looks for a practical solution rather than a convoluted way of dealing with the problem’, and the β€˜approachable’ Jenny Cutts is β€˜very good with clients. She has a modern approach to old family problems. She is very aware of the costs of the service and what is considered good value’. Emma Loveday is β€˜helpful and pragmatic’, and Eleanor Metcalf is β€˜a good communicator, and provides good support and technical advice’.

Burges Salmon LLP β€˜offers "City"-quality advice at provincial rates. The team is particularly strong in relation to UK RND issues. It can be relied upon to give clear and coherent advice to clients and to act as a sounding board on complex technical issues when required’. Team head John Barnett is β€˜superb technically and excellent at explaining complex matters to clients’. Beatrice Puoti has β€˜strong interpersonal skills coupled with very good technical skills. Her solid civil law knowledge complements her core excellent common law skills’. Suzanna Harvey has β€˜very good technical abilities, is commercially minded and is good at navigating the client’s commercial considerations with their tax issues – thereby providing practical advice’. The team has extensive experience in cross-border estate and succession planning as well as international tax and property structuring and the resolution of family disputes. It advises global financial institutions on the provision of trust and tax planning services, and acts as a trusted adviser on major succession planning matters. It is also currently advising in relation to numerous HMRC enquiries concerning substantial assets.

Druces LLP’s β€˜extremely competent’ team β€˜combines excellent legal knowledge with a keen sense of the commercial and practical realities of each case’. Helen Freely β€˜is able to come up with commercial solutions which go a long way towards achieving her clients’ aims’; she regularly acts for individuals in relation to complex and contested estates of well-known people who have died, with recent examples including a well-known author, a composer and an art collector. Richard Monkcom and associate Matthew McCormick are both β€˜very thorough and focused on practical solutions’. Robert Marco specialises in complex tax planning for international and domestic clients. Neil Morris advises trust companies and high-net-worth clients (such as entrepreneurs and media clients) on international tax planning, and is particularly adept at advising on complex cross-border estates and tax planning across multiple jurisdictions. Clients of the practice include trustees, private banks, funds, companies and individuals, and it has a particular specialism in the niche area of advising estates owning high-value artwork.

Fieldfisher has β€˜an excellent private client group that is very knowledgeable and friendly. It can take on matters and deal with them with superb expertise, and responds in a timely manner’. Head of private client Penny Wotton is β€˜hugely helpful and knowledgeable, and shows great attention to detail. She consistently provides clients with a first-class service. Her responses tend to have the right amount of detail for what the client requires’. Graeme Nuttall is another key member of the team and is recommended for his work on establishing and maintaining private wealth structures through private and commercially run trust companies and family offices in particular. The practice covers domestic and international estate planning and structuring as well as UK and offshore trust formation and administration, and other areas of expertise include charitable giving, probate and Court of Protection work. The team has recently seen a very significant number of new instructions from high-net-worth individuals from the Gulf region.

At Harbottle & Lewis LLP, Glen Atchison’s principal focus is advising UK-resident and non-resident high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals on diverse issues, ranging from tax-efficient international succession planning and structuring to the use of trusts or other bespoke arrangements to trace and protect assets. A significant proportion of the team’s work has an international dimension, and it acts for many very significant clients and family offices, including numerous billionaires, on a wide range of private client issues.

Kingsley Napley LLP has β€˜a long-established reputation in this area. Its service is of the highest calibre and the team provides a very personal service. It does not rush clients, which means that clients feel relaxed and can take their time to make decisions’. Jim Sawer is β€˜practical, creative and no-waffle’. Matthew Duncan is β€˜very engaging with clients and his customer service and follow-up with clients is very good’; he deals with high-level estate and succession planning with a particular emphasis on entrepreneurial clients, high-profile clients and complex family businesses. For family matters, Jane Keir is β€˜renowned for her fantastic clients skills; she is vastly knowledgeable and this she combines with superb client-handling skills’. The group has strong Middle Eastern connections and has seen an increase in referrals from private banks and accountants. It is β€˜a very impressive team’.

Cambridge-based Chris Belcher is a key member of the β€˜excellent’ team at Mills & Reeve LLP. β€˜His major attributes are his pragmatic approach to problem solving, client rapport, and knowledge of tax and the law. He has good empathy with his clients and provides clear advice that it is easy to follow, even though it may be complicated in practice’. Clients include owners of substantial businesses, internationally renowned sportspeople, landowners, trusts and charities. Principal associate Gillian Kennedy-Smith is another name to note. Among its recent highlights, the firm was appointed following a competitive tender to project manage the personal tax advice of a major international family with assets in multiple jurisdictions including the UK, the US, Jersey, Cyprus, Mauritius and India; a Cyprus holding company owned a UK family business and the advice covered complex tax and domicile issues for various family members following a death in the family.

Osborne Clarke LLP’s team is β€˜always responsive and knowledgeable, and provides a high-quality and excellent service, with particular strength in helping entrepreneurs’. Stuart Janaway has β€˜a flexible style that appeals to a variety of clients, and also has a strong knowledge of US tax issues. He provides practical advice’. Andrew Goodman is β€˜superb with clients, and very knowledgeable’. The team is best known for acting for entrepreneurs, business owners and international families, often acting on cross-border matters, and has strong US connections. On the investment side, the team works with the firm’s financial services and funds team in advising on the UK tax treatment of a variety of investment structures, assisting banks and investment managers looking to develop new funds and investment offerings in the UK.

Stephenson Harwood’s clients β€˜can be assured that all angles are covered. The team’s strength lies in its ability to assimilate information quickly and accurately and then to provide solutions in a very measured and precise way that makes clients feel that they are in very safe hands’. It is β€˜particularly helpful that the firm has offices globally, as this gives the added benefit of local expertise in different jurisdictions’. Head of department James Quarmby provides β€˜very detailed advice, and is broad thinking. He finds the optimal solution while keeping costs for the client in mind. He will always recommend the best solution for the client even if it is the most simple and cost-effective. He has the knowledge to be able to help the client and has his clients’ best interests at heart’. Senior associate Emily Osborne is β€˜technically brilliant and incredibly professional’, and both she and Quarmby are β€˜very approachable, innovative, proactive and efficient’. Areas of expertise include domicile and residency, succession planning for UK and non-UK domiciled individuals, offshore structures, and international succession law.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) fields β€˜a very efficient and competent team’. Judith Cuxson is β€˜very professional’, and the β€˜knowledgeable’ Michael Knowles has β€˜a lot of common sense. He is an excellent communicator and an exceptionally gifted lawyer’. Christine Green advises on estate planning, trusts and wills, and has a particular focus on cross-border matters, and the team also includes Rachael Armstrong in Birmingham, who joined from Flint Bishop LLP in Derby. Clients of the practice include entrepreneurs, wealthy individuals and families, landed estates, charities, museums and educational establishments. It undertakes complex tax work for cross-border and high-value estates, and acts on a number of matters involving national heritage assets.

At Blake Morgan LLP, team head Mark Spash and Helen Bunker are both β€˜proactive’. The β€˜first-class’ group is experienced in advising high-net-worth individuals in the event of a change in their personal, family or financial circumstances. It also has expertise in all aspects of domicile and its impact on areas such as inheritance tax, and in the interaction between UK and overseas estate duty and succession rules. Senior associate Laura Harper joined from Morrisons Solicitors LLP.

Neil Long and Alexander Dickinson are key figures at Bond Dickinson LLP. Long advises high-net-worth clients, including entrepreneurs, and trustees on estate planning and capital tax issues, and Dickinson specialises in succession, asset protection and estate planning matters for landowners, entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals. Recent highlights include advising on the reorganisation of a number of substantial trusts and the restructuring of their investment and trading structures, and providing ongoing tax and strategic advice to landed estates. The firm continues to act for high-value family investment companies, and is active in the administration of high-value trust assets.

Brecher LLP in September 2016 launched a new private wealth practice with the hire of Amanda Chapman and director Roger Holman from Cripps LLP, who both β€˜get straight to the point and give easily understandable advice’. Chapman specialises in tax planning for UK and non-UK domiciled individuals, with a focus on inheritance, capital gains and remittance planning, and also handles a broad range of trust matters. The β€˜quick and effective’ team acts for a wide range of clients including UK and international individuals, families, owner-managed businesses, family offices, trustees and charities.

DMH Stallard LLP is a firm with β€˜delightful people to deal with. Everything is fully explained in simple-to-understand language. All questions are answered promptly and fully. You always feel that the team is proactive and ahead of the game and that it can keep up with the "big boys"’. Practice head Lorna Fairbairn is β€˜very straightforward in her dealings and tries at all times to explain matters in such a way that her clients will understand. She is hugely experienced and very approachable with excellent instincts, and is a pleasure to work with, but cedes no quarter to the other side’. She and β€˜excellent and thorough’ associate solicitor Charmaine Wilson are both β€˜personable, and have a knack of imparting knowledge without making the client feel naΓ―ve’. Consultant Olivia Cooper advises on cross-border estates and estate planning. Recent work includes advising on the creation of a will for a client with assets in Scotland as well as England who was also in receipt of royalties from academic publications; the team advised on the appointment of literary executors and other issues such as domicile in relation to the Scottish assets, as well as how to mitigate the inheritance tax by way of charitable gifts. The firm β€˜offers very clear guidance to clients, and is excellent value for money’.

Matthew Bennett heads the department at Fladgate LLP, and advises UK and foreign nationals and their families on the management of their wealth and personal affairs with an emphasis on tax efficiency. Helena Luckhurst advises British and overseas families and entrepreneurs who want to protect their wealth and successfully pass it down to the next generation. The firm provides the full range of personal tax services to its clients, from completing personal tax returns to negotiating with HMRC, and regularly advises internationally mobile individuals (especially sportspeople and entertainers). Highlights included advising a Middle Eastern family on the restructuring of its London property portfolio (worth approximately Β£150m) in light of the anticipated changes to the taxation of non-domiciled residents, and the team continues to advise a non-domiciled Irish entrepreneur on restructuring UK and onshore trusts; other advice for the client has covered setting up a Jersey foundation and advice on the statutory residency test.

Saleem Sheikh heads the department at GSC Solicitors LLP, where β€˜the lawyers – from partners to associates – are always courteous and diligent, and have good industry knowledge’. David Nathan is β€˜excellent, steadfast and always available’, and Clive Halperin and James Cohen are β€˜superb’. The group acts for international ultra-high-net-worth clients on work spanning a range of jurisdictions, and has developed particular expertise in working with individuals from a diverse range of cultures.

John Burrell heads the department at Gordon Dadds LLP and is β€˜exceptionally calm. He can make the most excitable client calm and upbeat and is hugely, hugely experienced’. Anna Coakes is β€˜sensible and straightforward’, and specialises in estate and inheritance planning, wills, trusts and the administration of complex estates, acting for both UK and non-UK domiciled individuals. The team advises on a broad range of matters and has a particular focus on domicile matters and the administration of estates where domicile is at issue. It also regularly acts in the resolution of family inheritance disputes.

The head of the team at Hill Dickinson LLP is the β€˜excellent’ Iain Donaldson, who is β€˜great with clients’. He has β€˜an inventive mind, and is the classic busy person who gets things done’. Donaldson has significant experience in advising businesses and high-net-worth individuals on tax, wealth protection and financial risk management issues. The team is experienced in trusts, wills, capital tax planning and contentious and non-contentious trust and estate administration. Active clients include a significant number of non-UK domiciled clients, and the Church of the Agapemone - the Ark of the Covenant.

Ian Lane and Nicola Waldman are the names to note at Hodge Jones & Allen LLP. The team represents a wide range of clients from celebrities and notable families to non-domiciles and families in dispute. The group has recently handled the administration of multimillion-pound estates, family trusts, and UK inheritance tax matters in addition to advising on disputed estates and the drafting of wills of varying complexity.

Kerman & Co LLP has β€˜a knowledgeable team that takes the time to understand its clients’ needs and objectives to ensure that the advice it provides is tailored to suit the clients’ circumstances’. The β€˜hugely experienced but commercial’ Jane Molyneaux, who is β€˜a safe and reliable pair of hands’, heads the practice and specialises in complex wills and trusts and the administration of estates, often with an international element. Solicitor Laura Wynn provides β€˜a great and efficient service. She is sensitive and stays on top of the issues. She thinks outside the box to come up with innovative solutions, and explains things in a way that a lay person can understand’. The team advises on cross-border estate and succession planning, trusts, wills, powers of attorney and probate, for a national and international client base including high-net-worth individuals, wealthy families, trustees, charities and family offices. Senior partner Andy Kerman specialises in international estate planning.

Lee Bolton Monier-Williams is β€˜a firm that gives significant reassurance that the client’s legal position is well managed and protected’. Head of private client Michael Fletcher is β€˜reliable and well informed. He is calm and reflective when considering the client’s options but also very pragmatic in avoiding complex legal tangles when straightforward solutions are the best’. The team is experienced in onshore and offshore tax-planning structures and succession planning, and also in lifetime estate planning utilising gifts and the creation of trusts. Many of its clients have assets in a number of jurisdictions.

Head of department Hed Amitai at McGuireWoods London LLP is well regarded. The team attracts a steady flow of high-level work from US clients with interests in the UK as well as individuals relocating to the UK or investing money in the UK. It also counts a significant number of high-net-worth individuals from the Nordic region among its clients, and has strong links with other regions such as Israel, the Middle East, the CIS and Southeast Asia as well as Latin America and Africa. The team regularly advises private banks and family offices on UK and international tax and structuring issues, and has increasingly been reviewing the structures of high-net-worth individuals and their businesses not only from a tax and estate planning perspective but also to assist clients in maintaining their positive reputations in the market. Clients include Arlington Investors Limited, Capital Trust Limited, and Soderberg & Partners. Associate Oliver Sharp is another key contact.

Jonathan Riley heads the trusts, tax and succession team at Michelmores LLP, and provides tax advice to both UK and non-UK domiciled clients, with a large proportion of his work having an international element. Bristol-based Sandra Brown is another name to note. She acts for a wide range of high-net-worth individuals (many of them non-UK domiciled) and specialises in the preservation of personal wealth; she has a particular interest in the use of trusts and regularly advises trustees of valuable onshore and offshore trusts. The team focuses on wealthy individuals, families and wealth-holding structures requiring complex tax planning and wealth governance, and is experienced in cross-border US/UK tax issues in particular. It is also recommended for its specialist tax and succession planning for individuals with farming and agricultural business interests, and its experience in acting for vulnerable individuals and dealing with complex capacity issues. The team has notable expertise in advising on the protection of significant clinical negligence and personal injury awards.

The β€˜impressive and competent’ Paul Davidoff heads the private client department at Moon Beever; β€˜he really knows his stuff and he cares about his clients’. He specialises in complex tax, trust and estate planning matters for both UK and non-UK domiciled wealthy individuals and for onshore and offshore trustees. Alexandra Bartrope advises on wills, inheritance tax planning, estates administration and long-term care needs, in addition to powers of attorney and Court of Protection applications and trusts. The team acts for a broad range of UK and non-UK clients, spanning young professionals, high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs, local families and nobility.

PWT Advice LLP is noted for its β€˜efficient and well-delivered service. The team provides prompt responses and there is a ready availability of able and experienced staff who provide reliably correct advice in a clear way’. Jo Summers is β€˜completely well informed and on top of what she is doing. She deals with things thoroughly and within agreed timescales’. Nicola Dudley is another key contact in the team, and is experienced in complex tax planning and offshore structuring in particular. The firm has also set up a French desk headed by the dual-qualified Claire Adenis-Lamarre, assisting French clients who live in England and English clients with interests in France. The team continues to represent the trustees of the Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust with respect to their interest under his estate (now finalised) and to assist in the winding-up of the charity. It has also recently completed the administration of the estate of the late Michael Winner.

Seddons’ team is praised as providing the β€˜right advice each time, tailored to each individual client. It has a strong private client offering with international expertise, and is well matched by a robust contentious team’. Practice head James Ward is noted for his β€˜professionalism, knowledge and friendly manner’; he advises trustees, executors and high-net-worth individuals on tax affairs and estates, the administration of property trusts, and the drafting and variation of wills, and has extensive experience in both offshore and onshore domicile complications. Associate John Melville-Smith is a key contact for contentious estate administration matters.

Stuart Skeffington heads β€˜a top-flight team’ at Stevens & Bolton LLP. It is β€˜a strong firm with a good breadth of knowledge and experience. It is keenly priced relative to its peers in London but is in no way lacking in expertise. It offers a more pragmatic service and a collaborative approach’. Nick Acomb is β€˜outstanding’, and the β€˜excellent’ Daryl Fox is β€˜very knowledgeable and pleasant to deal with’. Matthew Carman has β€˜a good manner with clients and a broad range of private client knowledge’. Rosie Todd is active for entrepreneurs, advising on succession planning matters and other tax issues. The team covers the full range of advice from complex international tax planning for ultra-high-net-worth non-domiciles to work for landed estates, and estate administration.

Stone King LLP provides β€˜a good-all round value-for-money package in a more collaborative, client-centric way than some other firms in this area’. The team is headed by Alison Allen, who is based in Bath, and Rod Smith is another key figure. The five-partner team handles the full array of private client matters from international succession and probate to estate administration for large and complex estates. It also offers a wide range of services to older clients, from specialist services such as powers of attorney and Court of Protection applications to wills and estate planning, as well as providing a full β€˜concierge service’ such as managing their financial affairs, arranging and sourcing care and organising house moves.

The international practice at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is led from the firm’s London and New York offices. Basil Zirinis represents individuals, fiduciaries and family-controlled businesses globally in matters of estate and trust planning, family business governance and transition, estate and trust administration, and litigation; he has extensive experience in US and offshore trust disputes. For many years the firm has advised the majority of the Pritzker family beneficiaries on the restructuring of their $25bn worldwide business empire. Other active clients include The National College of Art (Washington, D.C.) and the Heyman family.

Hugh MacDougald heads the practice at Winckworth Sherwood LLP, and is recommended along with Tim Snaith, who is β€˜charming and discreet with clients and also knowledgeable, thorough and experienced. He is the ideal private client lawyer’. The firm acts for a variety of wealthy individuals, entrepreneurs, family businesses, and UK and foreign-domiciled trusts and individuals, in addition to landed estates, charities, executorships and agents. The team’s β€˜communication, knowledge and attention to detail are very reassuring’.


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