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Editorial

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Overview

The market for family law services remains buoyant. London is still a financial hub and firms report an increase in instructions for pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Allied with this is an increasing number of cases on the issue of spousal maintenance especially challenging the concept of maintenance for life. Another noticeable trend is the marked rise in cases where a client wishes to move a child to elsewhere in the UK or overseas. Firms report that these ‘leave to remove cases’ have become increasingly complex and litigious. Changes to both public and private children and family law work as a result of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012 is impacting a number of law firms, with several stating that, as a consequence of these changes, there has been a decrease in the number of firms carrying out publicly funded work and a reduction in the size of teams at some of the more established family law practices.

There has been a steady increase in the demand for non-adversarial options to resolve family conflicts, including mediation and solicitor-to-solicitor negotiations. This option is perceived to be a more private and cost-effective method of resolving disputes that arise in the aftermath of divorce and separation. It is also compulsory for all parties that commence family law proceedings to first undergo a mediation information assessment to decide if mediation could be a more suitable way of resolving issues. The increased emphasis on mediation is reflected in the fact that in 2014 the Family Mediation Council approved a new framework for professional standards and regulation. It has also established a register of family mediators that can be searched by the public. The new framework was gradually introduced during 2015.

Court of Protection is an expanding area, with a number of law firms attempting to diversify into this niche practice area. Firms have noticed a surge on the contentious side as there are now more deputyship applications. Irwin Mitchell, Thomson Snell & Passmore and Withers LLP excel in this area.

Wealth management and preservation coupled with the need for secrecy surrounding offshore trusts and sheltering assets in offshore jurisdictions are very much in the public eye. The top private client firms are also looking at reputational issues for their high-net-worth clients, who want to ensure that their investment structures are legitimate and are not prone to investigation or unwanted scrutiny.

Charitable organisations were thrust into a negative spotlight during 2015, following the high-profile collapse of Kids Company amid allegations of mismanagement, in addition to adverse media reports concerning over-zealous fundraising and data protection concerns. Demand for a new regulatory landscape gained momentum, and the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 received Royal Assent in March 2016, which increases the Charity Commission’s powers of investigation and remedy.

The appetite for investment in art and antiquities continues to escalate against a backdrop of poor-performing financial markets and global uncertainty in real estate. Alongside this are calls for greater international regulation, with the World Economic Forum highlighting the potential pitfalls of the art market: money laundering, tax evasion, insider-dealing and price manipulation are all risks. Two firms stand out for their commitment to the sector and expertise in the field: Farrer & Co and Mishcon de Reya LLP.

With rural land and large estates typically owned by private individuals, family generations or large trusts, this area of legal practice remains the domain of private client law teams as opposed to commercial real estate practices. The sheer scale of some estates demands an eclectic mix of legal specialism: property law, planning, environmental, tax and succession, exploitation of sporting or mineral rights, asset protection and the management of valuable art collections are some examples of the matters typically handled by law firms in this area. Boodle Hatfield LLP, Farrer & Co, Forsters LLP and Withers LLP all provide a holistic service to landed estates.

For wealthy individuals, London is still an excellent place to invest in. Firms such as Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Farrer & Co, Macfarlanes LLP, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP, Taylor Wessing LLP and Withers LLP have all-round domestic and international expertise in personal tax, trusts and probate.


Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals

Boodle Hatfield LLP fields an experienced, eight-partner team that is ‘at the top of its game’. Led by the ‘very user-friendlySaskia Arthur, the practice advises some of the largest landed estates in the country – including Grosvenor Estates, Bedford Estates and Radnor/Folkestone Estate – on the full range of issues, from complex, high-value transactions to day-to-day estate management. Other key figures include Sue Laing and Natasha Hassall, who are ‘both extremely good’, and the ‘outstandingFiona Graham, who heads the Oxford office.

Clients praise Farrer & Co’s ‘team of loyal partners’ for its ‘depth of experience’ and ‘outstanding advice based on years of focus and commitment to this sector’; its work for clients such as the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall and the Church Commissioners of England is a testament to this longstanding track record. Department head Henry Goulding, James Maxwell (who is ‘an excellent communicator’), Simon Pring (‘an outstanding and creative thinker’), and the ‘highly effectivePaul Krafft are all singled out. Peter Downy has retired.

Best in the business’ according to some, Forsters LLP is praised for its ‘extremely sophisticated client skills, quality of service’ and for its ‘excellent strength-in-depth’. Key figures include head of landed estates Penny Elliott, the ‘innovativeAndrew Lane, and Rupert Mead, who provides ‘good, clear, practical advice.’ Catherine Hill and David Robinson are also highly rated. The firm provides a full service to institutional and private landowners.

Withers LLP has a ‘hugely competent team of rural property lawyers’. The firm acts mainly for landowning families and individuals, as opposed to institutional clients, with eight partners providing the full remit of legal services. The team is co-led by Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall (who is ‘fantastic with clients’) and the ‘brilliant and tirelessMatthew Woods, and includes Christopher Groves, who is noted for his ‘sensible, commercial approach and vision’, and Rebecca Spencer, who is ‘an outstanding associate’. Clients include Bleinham Palace.

Bircham Dyson Bell’s clients rate the depth of its team as well as the ‘quality of customer care, which goes above and beyond at all times’. Christopher Findley and Henry Cecil both ‘combine great experience with the ability to listen’. The firm typically acts for high- and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals.

Burges Salmon LLP acts for The Crown Estate and National Trust, and assists private estates and major companies with agricultural land issues. Tom Hewitt (who is praised for his ‘excellent service’) leads the team, which includes legal director Emma Folkes, who ‘must be the best farmland conveyancer in the UK’.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s multidisciplinary team acts for a range of landed estates and UHNW families; ‘few firms have the breadth of experience necessary to deal with all the related specialist areas’. Head of private client Bart Peerless leads ‘a very strong team in this area’. Senior partner Christopher Page heads the rural business and landed estates practice.

Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans fields a 16-partner team led by Patricia Sykes which includes the ‘excellentJonathan Godwin-Austen, who is rated for his knowledge and communication; and the ‘outstandingAlexandra Sarkis and Julia Richards. Clients range from landed estates to titled individuals.

Outstanding in this area’, Mills & Reeve LLP fields expertise in London as well as nationally through its regional office network, which is ‘a major plus-point for many clients’. Agribusiness is a core area of focus for the firm, which attracts instructions from The Wellcome Trust, Oxbridge university colleges and multiple landed estates. Key figures include Amanda Tagg, Tim Ryan and Michael Aubrey, who ‘gets the job done’.

Payne Hicks Beach’s ‘excellent’ practice provides experienced, specialist advice to over 50 landed estates on all issues relating to private client and property. The ‘strong team’ is led by firm senior partner Alastair Murdie and includes ‘very good, strategic practitioner’ Robert Brodrick and Rosamond McDowell, who is ‘clever and hardworking’ as well as being ‘very difficult to intimidate’.

Thrings LLP’s ‘strong agriculture practice’ is led by consultant Anita Symington, who has a ‘wide range of experience’ and is noted for her expertise in agricultural tenancies and renewable energy. Clients include National Farmers Union, The Badminton Estate and Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

Currey & Co is a long-established private client and property boutique with a significant rural land and agriculture practice. Jonathan Redmayne stands out for his experience.

Standout individuals at Macfarlanes LLP include Tristan Ward and associate Olivia Buck, who are both ‘excellent’.

Taylor Wessing LLP advises on high-value transactions for individuals and landed estate-owning families. Senior associate Luke Callaghan is ‘intelligent, reliable and a very capable pair of hands’. Andrew Hine is recommended for trusts work.


Art and cultural property

Index of tables

  1. Art and cultural property
  2. Leading individuals

Farrer & Co has a leading presence in the art field, as reflected in its unrivalled client base, which ranges from the international super-rich, dealers and collectors to leading galleries and museums such as the Natural History Museum and Science Museum, as well as heritage properties and art charities, including The Art Fund. ‘Brilliant art litigatorAdrian Parkhouse chairs the firm’s art and heritage group, which includes James Carleton and Rhoddy Voremberg, who are ‘outstanding’.

Mishcon de Reya LLP’s Karen Sanig is ‘probably the best art lawyer in this field in the world’; she is ‘one of the few who really understands the art market’. The firm’s long-established practice is ‘pre-eminent’ in this area and is singled out for its ‘outstanding’ track record in litigation and restitution. Managing associate Amanda Gray has ‘great technical knowledge of the issues’. Clients include Gagosian Gallery and The Fine Art Fund Group.

Boodle Hatfield LLP’s excellent private client and landed estates practices also handle high-profile art and cultural property work. ‘Very adept’ litigator Tim Maxwell successfully advised The Creative Foundation on the return to Folkstone of the Banksy mural, ‘Art Buff’, removed from a leased property wall by tenant Dreamland and shipped to the US for sale. The cross-disciplinary art group includes Simon Fitzpatrick, Natasha Hassall and Sue Laing, who are ‘outstanding in this area’.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP advises a broad client base that includes dealers, artists, galleries and auction houses, as well as wealthy individuals. Practice head Suzanne Marriott is highlighted for her tax planning expertise, and is recommended alongside Robert Blower and Bart Peerless, who are ‘outstandingly good’. Sotheby’s is a key client.

Constantine Cannon LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice attracts praise for its ‘very strong international experience, which is of essence for the art market’. Pierre Valentin’s ‘understanding of the art world is seriously impressive’; ‘his excellent, technical advice reflects a deep understanding of the commercial issues that art galleries face’. Senior associate Azmina Jasani is ‘well versed in both UK and US laws’. White Cube, Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance and online auction house Paddle8 are clients.

Howard Kennedy LLP’s practitioners have ‘exceptional experience and expertise and thoroughly understand the art world and its unique challenges’. Mark Stephens is a founding father of the practice area, and Daniel McCLean is ‘robust and very single-minded in litigation matters’. The firm acts for high-profile artists, galleries, estates and charitable foundations including The Tate, Sir Peter Blake, Turner prize-winner Mark Wallinger and the Arts Council of England.

Stephenson Harwood’s clients include Christie’s, The Royal College of Art and The Society of Art Dealers. The firm has ‘an absolutely first-class litigation practice in this area’ and handles complex, multi-jurisdictional litigation and arbitration with ‘great skill’. Roland Foord has ‘excellent knowledge of the world of art’ and is ‘down-to-earth, with a brilliant mind’. Stephen Roberts is also recommended.

One of the few firms with a specialist team in this field’, Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans advises on art and antiquities across its private client and litigation departments. Hetty Gleave is ‘very well known in the area; practical, with a good range of knowledge and industry experience’. Also recommended are Gregor Kleinknecht, who has ‘a great eye for detail and is very hardworking’, and the ‘outstandingAlexandra Sarkis.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP’s traditional strengths in tax, estate planning and charities provide a sound basis for its growing art and cultural property practice, led by name partner Ceris Gardner. The team provides ‘an excellent service’ to an array of private individuals, trustees and estates.

The practice at Bircham Dyson Bell was boosted by the recruitment of Susan Johnson, former head of trusts and estates at Moore Stephens and former senior director at Christie’s. She joins highly-rated tax and estate planning specialist Hugo Smith. Clients include a number of well-known artists, trusts, estates, charities and galleries.

Browne Jacobson LLP is rated by clients for its commercial awareness, pragmatism and ‘interpersonal skills’. IP specialist Alex Watt has a growing client base of artists, galleries and other institutions, particularly within the street/urban art scene, including artists STIK and SHOK1. The firm also acts for the National Trust and Natural England.

The fine art team at Clyde & Co LLP specialises in the insurance aspects of art and cultural property on behalf of underwriters, auction houses, galleries, dealers, collectors and carriers. Tony Baumgartner heads the practice and has ‘a genuine passion for fine art matters’ and ‘real expertise’ in international art litigation.

Fladgate LLP’s ‘knowledge of how the art market works is outstanding’. Under the leadership of Paul Howcroft, who is ‘very clever, approachable, pragmatic and ego-free’, the practice acts for collectors, investors and intermediaries, both domestic and overseas, in transactions and disputes.

Forsters LLP fields an experienced and ‘excellent’ team that includes Rupert Mead, who is ‘very strong on historic collections and landed estates’; the ‘very knowledgeableDavid Robinson; and Catherine Hill, whose varied practice includes acting for living artists. The firm recently advised the trustees of the Penrhyn Settled Estates on the £35m sale of Rembrandt’s portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet.

Payne Hicks Beach acts solely for private owners, trusts, dealers and charities, with a focus on the administration of art collections. James Bacon and his cross-disciplinary team are ‘excellent’ and ‘doing original work’.

Pinsent Masons LLP has ‘an understanding of the complexities of artwork and sensitivities in relation to cultural art in particular’. The practice, which focuses on commercial and transactional art matters for a broad array of clients, is headed by Richard Hart, who has ‘complete knowledge’ of the movement and control of art and cultural property. Fionnuala Rogers is ‘knowledgeable and passionate about this area’.

Clients at Withers LLP include Blenheim Palace, The Fine Art Fund and a raft of well-known galleries. The firm has considerable cross-border knowledge and fields specialist art lawyers in three continents. In London, Eleni Polycarpou is ‘highly respected within the sector’ and Simon Chadwick is noted for his ‘outstanding attention to detail’.


Charities and not-for- profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals

Bates Wells Braithwaite is singled out for its ‘unique combination of the largest department of expert charity lawyers in the UK backed up by first-rate specialist departments such as employment and public policy’. At the helm are Philip Kirkpatrick, adviser to the trustees of Kids Company, and Julian Blake, who is one of ‘the most effective charity lawyers in the country’. The ‘fantastic’ team also includes Thea Longley, who is a ‘delight to work with’; ‘absolute starRosamund McCarthy; Lawrence Simanowitz, who ‘always offers a solution where we can’t see one’; and ‘top-class’ senior associate Erica Crump, who is singled out for her specialist arts and culture knowledge.

Farrer & Co’s ‘exceptionally good’ practice is ‘as competent and strong as any Magic Circle firm’. It represents an impressive array of household-name charities, including Age UK, Save the Children, the Bill and Melanie Gates Foundation and the 1-UP Foundation. Anne-Marie Piper is ‘sharp as a knife’ with ‘brilliant knowledge of charitable law’; she leads a team that includes Julian Smith (‘an outstanding charity lawyer’) and the ‘excellentSam Macdonald.

Bircham Dyson Bell provides ‘exceptional levels of service and industry expertise’ under the leadership of Penny Chapman. Clients highlight the client care, responsiveness, technical knowledge and approachable team, which is advising a number of NHS charities, including Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity, on their reorganisation from statutory trusts to charitable companies. Jonathan Brinsden is ‘a fantastic lawyer’.

The large, multidisciplinary team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP continues to expand with the hire of consultant Mark Harvey, former head of legal at Age UK, and associate Kate Parkinson from the Dogs Trust. They join Mike Scott and Lynn Povey, who co-head the practice and together, are leading advice to the National Museum of the Royal Navy on various projects, including the acquisition and exhibition of historic ships.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP is ‘a pre-eminent outfit dealing with large international charities and foundations’. The ‘outstanding team’ provides ‘seamless advice’ to a client base that is weighted more towards philanthropy and wealth-based organisations than major national charities. Jennifer Chambers (she ‘simply knows everything’) leads the practice, which includes the ‘hugely respected’ Ceris Gardner and Emma-Jane Weider, who provides a ‘Rolls-Royce’ service.

Russell-Cooke LLP stands out for its focused charity team led by Andrew Studd and which includes James Sinclair Taylor, Jane Klauber, James McCallum and Mary Cheves. The firm is advising the British Heart Foundation on a comprehensive governance review. Other clients include Action for Children, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and Child Poverty Action Group.

Stone King LLP is widely respected by clients and fellow practitioners for its commitment and nationwide expertise in the charities field. Firm chairman Ann Phillips and practice head Jonathan Burchfield are two of seven members of the firm appointed as interim managers by the Charity Commission.

Veale Wasbrough Vizards acts for an extensive roster of charities and not-for-profit organisations, including the British Library, Royal College of Music, Institute of Cancer Research and the London Symphony Orchestra. The service is ‘excellent in every way’ and is provided by a dedicated team of specialists, led by widely respected Con Alexander.

Withers LLP provides ‘world-class experts on charity law and exceptional client service’. The firm fields a team of ‘very nice people to deal with’ including practice head and healthcare charity specialist Alison Paines, who ‘brings the subject to life’; Chris Priestley, who is ‘a lynchpin of the team’; and special counsel Alana Petraske, who is noted for her ‘passionate expertise’. Clients include Cancer Research UK, Macmillan and the Royal British Legion.

Blake Morgan LLP acts for a large client base including RNLI, RSPCA and Oxfam, in addition to significant heritage trusts and diocesan authorities. The level of service is ‘excellent’, with business acumen, know-how and quality of advice highlighted by clients. Elizabeth Davis heads the national cross-disciplinary team. Alison Talbot moved to Penningtons Manches LLP.

Fieldfisher’s practice is made up of a broad swathe of expertise from across the firm; key individuals include private client head Penny Wotton, senior partner Matthew Lohn, employee trusts expert Graeme Nuttall and Shireen Irani, director of corporate responsibility. The firm is advising the Mo Farah Foundation on its structure and scholarship programs.

Forsters LLP’s ‘very professional and assured practice’ advises a variety of established charities, start-ups and individuals, including well-known sports personalities involved in philanthropic activities. Tax planning and estates partner Fiona Smith heads the charities group, which includes Rupert Mead, who is singled out for his ‘good client-handling skills’.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP provides ‘an exceptional’ level of service and advice that is ‘always ahead of the curve’. The entertainment firm excels in advising charities and foundations in that sector, including Comic Relief, Donmar Warehouse and Invictus Games Foundation. David Scott heads the group, which includes ‘standout starColin Howes.

Hempsons fields ‘a strong team across the board’, with clients singling out group head and ‘absolute rockIan Hempseed, who shines for his expertise in relation to social enterprise in the health and social care sectors. Clients include Macmillan Cancer Support and the National Childbirth Trust.

Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans has a longstanding track record in the charities sector and has built an impressive stable of clients including The Independent Press Regulation Trust, the British Sporting Arts Trust and the Architects Benevolent Society. Key figures include senior partner Paul Almy, whose ‘experience is considerable’, and Dominik Opalinski, who is highlighted for his knowledge of the investment powers and reporting obligations of charities.

Wilsons acts for a plethora of not-for-profit organisations in a variety of sectors, including schools, armed forces and care homes. Gillian Fletcher is director of charity law and governance at the firm and steers a team of experienced partners.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP has a renowned national charities and social economy practice, with strengths in ecclesiastic, education and philanthropy sectors, among others. Malcolm Lynch is widely recommended.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP acts for a sizeable national charities client base that includes MIND, Sense and Friends of the Elderly. Shivaji Shiva led advice to the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity on a review of its Royal Charter and governance.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP advises traditional charities and corporate foundations, including Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Battersea Cats and Dogs Home and Tesco. Neasa Coen is key charities adviser at the firm following the departure of head of not-for-profit solutions, Janet Turner QC, who has moved to an in-house role. Martin Paisner and head of private client Jonathan Kropman are also recommended.

Bristows LLP provides ‘an excellent, prompt and knowledgeable service’ to an array of not-for-profit clients, most notably in the arts, science, technology, engineering and medical research sectors. Mark Hawes heads the practice and is ‘exceptionally competent, with a good grasp of both strategy and detail’.

Macfarlanes LLP’s practice leverages its firmwide capabilities to provide a level of charities advice that is ‘very high indeed’. Clients range from family grant-making foundations to large charities. Nicholas Harries is the key contact.

Ian Davis leads an experienced, cross-disciplinary team at Trowers & Hamlins LLP that includes employment specialist Emma Burrows, who is ‘excellent at making sense of a brief’. The firm provides ‘an outstanding service’ to clients including The Children’s Society, Lee Valley Leisure Trust and The Brandon Trust.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP is ‘clearly committed to the charitable sector’ and provides an ‘exceptional level of service and industry knowledge’. Joanna Bussell is widely praised as ‘personable, positive, commercial and full of common sense’.

Bond Dickinson LLP recruited charities specialist Joanne Coleman from IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett), who joins the firm’s London office. The national firm’s clients include Mental Health Matters, British Association of Oral Surgeons and Addaction.

Boodle Hatfield LLP’s cross-disciplinary private client team advise charities and philanthropic individuals on a wide range of issues. Key individuals include Natasha Hassall and senior associate Eleanor Sepanski.

Druces LLP’s well-established practice counts several high-profile charities and not-for-profit organisations among its clients, including the Dogs Trust. Richard Monkcom and Matthew McCormick are highlighted for their expertise.

Edwin Coe LLP fields a team of four cross-departmental partners led by David Goepel, who is a ‘calm and wise adviser’. Clients include the Anne Frank Trust (UK), Prostate Research Campaign UK and Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). The firm also has a growing philanthropy practice.

Eversheds LLP’s clients include the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Born Free Foundation and the Medical Research Council. Of note is the firm’s expertise in the health, regeneration, social justice and education sectors. Principal associate Stephen O’Reilly is the key adviser.

Howard Kennedy LLP’s charity establishment and legacy management practice advises on all facets of charity law for the likes of the Old Vic Theatre Trust, Criterion Theatre and the FairBanking Foundation. Robert Craig and consultant Alan Banes are the main contacts.

Neil Burton heads a large national team at Mills & Reeve LLP, which advises not-for-profit organisations on a broad range of legal issues. The firm acted for the Royal Shakespeare Company, following a competitive pitch, on the redrafting of its Royal Charter and governance documentation.

RadcliffesLeBrasseur acts for a significant number of charities, particularly within the healthcare sector. Philip Maddock, Stephen Blair and Victoria Fairley are all recommended.


Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals

Baker McKenzie LLP has ‘a market-leading practice’ that is renowned for its excellent work in big-ticket international trusts and estates litigation. Among its ‘quality lawyers’ is the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ head of department Anthony Poulton; ‘for the truly heavy cases with an international dimension, Poulton is without equal’. Senior associate Gemma Willingham provides clients with ‘clear advice on critically important issues’. Clients include Barclays Wealth, Grupo Torras and the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s ‘utterly excellent’ team provides ‘very fast response times and practical solutions’, and ‘can handle the most demanding litigation’. Rupert Ticehurst heads the practice and is ‘outstanding; technically excellent and with a knack for putting clients at ease while explaining issues in layman’s language’. Also recommended are the ‘incredibly hardworkingDamian Bloom, senior associate Jessica Henson and associate (and ‘very strong litigator’) Simon Goldring. Clients include Rothschild (Singapore).

Boodle Hatfield LLP’s ‘leading practice’ consists of ‘outstanding individuals who provide an excellent service’. The ‘extremely personable and knowledgeableAndrea Zavos is ‘a genuine problem solver’ and Simon Rylatt is ‘a brilliant and practical lawyer’. Associate Mark Lindley is ‘formidably bright’. The ‘very experienced’ team regularly advises trust companies, ultra-high-net-worth individuals and wealthy families on complex matters with an international dimension. Sofie Hoffman is now at Edmonds Marshall McMahon.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has ‘a leading practice, particularly following its merger; it has excellent national links and an extensive international reach’. The sizeable team includes Graeme Kleiner, who is ‘very capable of dealing with complex and high-end litigation with ease’; the ‘unflappable’ Duncan Elson; Roberta Harvey, who is ‘a superb litigator’ on offshore trusts; and the ‘hardworking’ Tamasin Perkins, who is now a partner. The ‘immaculateSuzanne Marriott and ‘tenacious and knowledgeable’ senior associate James Lister are also singled out for praise.

Farrer & Co fields a team of ‘dynamic and technically excellent lawyers’ that is ‘regularly involved in the leading cases in England and overseas’. Key figures include the ‘particularly excellentToby Graham; the ‘highly responsive and extremely talentedMark Bridges the ‘very practical and extremely knowledgeableJeremy Gordon; and the ‘technically able and very brightJoanna Poole, who is now a partner. James Price joined Stewarts Law LLP.

Macfarlanes LLP is ‘going from strength to strength’ under the leadership of Charles Lloyd, who ‘remains on top of every detail’. The ‘absolutely first-class’ team has ‘tremendous firepower to handle all the technical and taxation aspects of complex trusts and probates. Clients include individuals with substantial inherited wealth, entrepreneurs, trustees, protectors and financial institutions. Newly promoted partner Jonathan Arrbrings real energy to a case and relentlessly fights for his clients’, and solicitor Melody Munro is ‘handling some large cases with great intelligence and commitment’.

Taylor Wessing LLP fields ‘a team that is going places’; according to clients, the addition of Emma Jordan ‘has pumped new energy into the contentious trust team. Jordan, who is also a Jersey advocate, joined the team from Gowling WLG and is ‘one of the most talented lawyers in London for contentious trusts’. Andrew Hine is ‘extremely bright and committed’ and Kirstie McGuigan ‘juggles a large case load brilliantly’. The team is especially strong on complex disputes, and combines its strength with a technical tax capability. ‘It fights your corner without being unduly aggressive, which is essential when dealing with the bereaved’.

Withers LLP’s ‘superb team’ is ‘at the top of the tree’; it provides ‘well-rounded advice’ across the entire spectrum of private client issues with a ‘good team structure to ensure that things are dealt with at the right level’, and its ‘excellent associates and partners’ are regularly involved in disputes both nationally and internationally. Paul Hewitt is a ‘brilliant strategist and thinker who gets great results for his clients’ and is ‘very adept at handling tricky situations’. Stephen Richards is ‘clever and tenacious’ and Dawn Goodman has ‘vast experience of trust litigation’.

Clifford Chance LLP provides ‘a thorough and consistent service throughout long-running disputes’. The ‘calm’ Jeremy Kosky is ‘very experienced in trust litigation, especially in offshore cases’. Other key members of the ‘very motivated team’ include the ‘robust and approachable’ Maxine Mossman and ‘hugely energetic’ senior associate Nicole Buncher, who is ‘a rising star’. Coutts is a client.

At Forsters LLP, ‘everything its team does is commercial, thorough, well executed and focused on finding solutions’. Emily Exton is ‘an A-list litigator who is first-class on trusts and probate litigation and can handle any tricky issue very well’. ‘Vastly experienced’ consultant Caroline Bassett has ‘excellent judgement, great dedication to her clients and a thorough knowledge of the law’. The seven-partner practice is ‘highly effective and efficient, and is very well known and well regarded in the trusts and private client world’.

Catharine Bell heads the team at Gowling WLG, which provides ‘advice that is always of the highest quality and that is consistently commercial and practical’. Andrew Witts is recommended for his experience of running large, complex multi-jurisdictional fraud and trust disputes in offshore jurisdictions. Catherine Naylor is an ‘emerging talent’ and Verity Barker is praised for her ‘enormous work ethic and dedication to each case’, both are principal associates. Clients include New World Trust Company and Jersey Trust Company. Emma Jordan joined Taylor Wessing LLP.

Clients praise Harcus Sinclair LLP’s team of ‘very talented individuals’ for its ability to handle complex cases both domestically and internationally and disputes concerning high-value works of art and chattels. Damon Parker is experienced at bringing group investment loss claims on behalf of claimants, and is recommended alongside Henry Hickman, Lucy Gibson (who is ‘a very impressive trusts litigator’) and Alison Meek, who is ‘a formidable litigator’. Clients include numerous offshore law firms and the Iraq Britain Business Council.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is praised for its ‘straightforward advice and good teamwork and for being ‘very good at explaining complicated issues to non-specialists in clear, concise and simple terms’. For high-end, multi-jurisdictional litigation the firm can draw on expertise in a diverse array of offices such as Moscow, Hong Kong and the Middle East. Tom Leech QC is ‘an experienced and accomplished advocate’. Robert Hunter joined Edmonds Marshall McMahon.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP’s team is ‘going from strength to strength’ and is skilled at handling complex multi-jurisdictional trusts disputes. Nicholas Holland is ‘very thorough, bright, capable and always sees the bigger picture’. Ziva Robertson is ‘a trust litigator of enormous experience and boundless energy, and is superb on tricky conflict of law issues’. Clients include DYXnet Holdings and Hill Street Trustees. Associate Lynsey McIntrye is ‘always efficient’.

Mishcon de Reya LLPregularly attracts the meatiest, toughest and highest-profile disputes and handles them excellently’. The ‘incredibly successful’ practice is adept at handling major cross-border disputes and is headed by Mark Keenan, who is ‘very quick at understanding complex issues and relaying these to the client’. Peter Steen, who is ‘an excellent trusts litigator with wide offshore experience’, acts predominantly for corporate and individual trustees, beneficiaries, protectors and third parties on claims against trustees. Managing associate Claire-Marie Cornford has ‘a calm manner that helps to diffuse the most difficult of situations’.

Bircham Dyson Bell recruited Geoffrey Kertesz from Withers LLP, who joined as the head of the trusts and wills team. Kertesz is dual US and UK qualified and ‘has a fantastic eye for spotting things that other people miss’. Helen Ratcliffe is ‘efficient, thorough and superb with clients’, and John Darnton has ‘a real flair for communicating complicated matters very simply’.

Howard Kennedy LLP’s workload includes acting for clients with large UK property portfolios. Emily Mailer is ‘able to manage difficult situations and difficult clients very well and is reassuringly calm, with a good eye for tactics’. New addition to the team Naomi O’Higgins, who joined from Harcus Sinclair LLP, is ‘an excellent addition and is particularly skilled at acting in major international trust matters’.

Richard Kershaw at Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans is noted for his ‘measured, sensible and confident approach to litigation, which ensures that his clients’ best interests are promoted at all times’. Its specialist tax and family lawyers handle a range of contentious trusts and probate matters, enabling it to deliver ‘a comprehensive service. Associate David Draisey is also recommended.

Kingsley Napley LLP’s ‘efficient and pragmatic team’ is well equipped to handle complex multi-jurisdictional work. Head of team Ryan Mowatthrows his heart and soul into his clients’ cases and knows when to fight and when to settle’. Also recommended are the ‘exceedingly bright’ Katherine Pymont, ‘very reliable and capable’ Kate Salter, and associate Laura Phillips, who ‘really knows her stuff’.

Payne Hicks Beach is noted for its ‘excellent work and phenomenal service’ provided to high-net-worth private clients and estates. Recommended individuals include newly promoted partner Richard Manyon, who is ‘very hardworking’; the ‘extremely diligent’ Stephen King, who demonstrates a ‘genuine concern for his clients’ best interests’; the ‘very practical’ Robert Brodrick, whose ‘technical skills are second to none’; Rosamond McDowell, who is ‘very quick and intelligent’; and associate Ane Vernon, who ‘will explore every possible angle to ensure that she secures the best deal for her clients’.

Penningtons Manches LLP provides ‘a high-end service and has decades of experience in this area; its understanding of offshore vehicles demonstrates its ability to move with the times’. Michael Cash is ‘a first-rate litigator with a real grasp of the things that matter’, and Sarah Lee attracts praise for her ability to ‘think outside the box, which is an invaluable skill in estate work where personalities and/or the family dynamic can play a critical role’. ‘Clever’ senior associate Henrietta Mason is also recommended.

Russell-Cooke LLP provides ‘top-quality advice’ on cross-border succession disputes. Alison Regan is ‘extremely thorough’ and Richard Frimston is ‘very experienced at advising on cross-border estates and foreign laws’. The ‘talented and pragmaticGareth Ledsham is praised for his breadth of experience and for his willingness to ‘work hard to keep costs down where possible’. Associate Emma Saunders is ‘diligent and sympathetic, but firm’.

Stephenson Harwood’s ‘flawless team’ includes John Fordham and Stephen Roberts, who are ‘excellent tacticians and strategists who always go the extra mile for clients’. Other ‘very able litigators’ include Helena Berman, who is highly recommended for complex trusts and family disputes and the ‘no-nonsense and tenaciousJenny McKeown.

The ‘very calm and deeply knowledgeable’ Michelle Rose heads the ‘fast and outstanding team’ at Veale Wasbrough Vizards, which includes members appointed as independent administrators and court appointed deputies. ‘Thorough and helpful’ senior associate Fiona Lawrence is also recommended.

Anthony Gold has ‘excellent links with local authorities and the Official Solicitor’ and also receives regular instructions from the Public Trustee and the Court of Protection. Deparment head David Wedgwoodreally knows his stuff and is absolutely brilliant with vulnerable clients’. Clare Kelly is ‘an excellent and versatile litigator who has a refreshing no-nonsense attitude’. Kelly has particular expertise in acting for children and incapacitated clients.

Neil Long, who joined from Howard Kennedy LLP, heads the team at Bond Dickinson LLP and is ‘an extremely competent trusts litigator’. The team acts for individuals, as well as UK and offshore trustees and insurance companies. ‘Knowledgeable’ managing associate Richard Pike is also recommended.

Burges Salmon LLP is ‘a leading firm in the South West for this work, and is more than able to hold its own in London’. Sian Edmunds is ‘totally on the ball’ and is recommended alongside the ‘very cleverJustin Briggs and Kevin Kennedy.

Key figures at Collyer Bristow LLP include the ‘practical’ James Badcock, who ‘sees the bigger picture’, and ‘committed’ senior associate Samara Dutton.

Druces LLP’s clients include The Queens Club and a number of high-net-worth individuals. ‘No-nonsense litigatorHelen Freely is recommended alongside ‘responsive, proactive’ and ‘well-organisedsenior associate Rachel Diedrich.

Edmonds Marshall McMahon significantly strengthened its ranks with the ‘outstandingSofie Hoffman from Boodle Hatfield LLP and Robert Hunter from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

Fladgate LLP’s team is ‘excellent’ at handling high-net-worth family finances. Sophia Purkis is rated for her ‘very quick and clear responses’ and is recommended alongside the ‘very competentTeresa Cullen.

At Frydenson & Co, Henry Frydenson regularly advises on high-end contentious trust and probate litigation and has considerable skill in mediation.

Irwin Mitchell’s ‘efficient and impressive team’ consistently handles a broad mix of cases. ‘Very savvy litigator’ Paula James heads the team, which includes associates Margaret Windram, who is ‘a very calm litigator’, and the ‘very knowledgeable’ Samantha Ewing.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP is ‘a very strong outfit, with tremendous depth and experience’. The practice is a regular fixture on heavyweight trust applications. Arabella Murphy and Richard Turnor are recommended. Jenny McKeown and Helena Berman left to join Stephenson Harwood.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s ‘excellent team’ mainly acts on disputes concerning the validity of wills, actions involving trustees/executors and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. The team is headed by the ‘very experienced’ David Catchpole in Norwich, and includes ‘knowledgeable and highly organised’ senior associate Lucy Howard.


Court of Protection

Index of tables

  1. Court of Protection
  2. Leading individuals

Irwin Mitchell’s established team attracts praise for the ‘efficiency with which it handles clients’ finances while ensuring that clients are fully involved in the decision-making process’. The team’s nationwide presence and ability to provide the full suite of services in property, health and welfare matters ensures that it regularly acts on cases involving multimillion-pound damages. Sheffield-based Yogi Amin has ‘unparalleled experience of really tricky cases involving mental health and mental capacity issues. National team head Julia Lomas provides ‘clear and concise advice’, and associate Anne-Marie Irwin is ‘a very good strategist’.

Thomson Snell & Passmore’s Martin Terrell is ‘one of the best and one of the most expert Court of Protection lawyers around’. The ‘excellent team’ is recommended for its experience in property and welfare cases in addition to high-value catastrophic injury claims. It is also very skilled at administering complex personal estates for older clients. ‘Very effective’ team head Eddie Fardell and Brian Bacon are also recommended.

Withers LLPexcels both in the domestic sphere and on complex cross-border issues’, and is singled out for its strength in depth in elder law. Key figures include Julia Abrey, who ‘knows everything and gets everything right’; Paul Hewitt, who ‘combines technical excellence with a real streak of pragmatism’; and Stephen Richards, who is ‘top notch on procedure, brilliant at managing clients and has a way of getting the courts’ sympathy for his clients’. The team’s ‘excellent associates’ are also highly commended.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is ‘very well respected nationwide for its Court of Protection, health, welfare and social care expertise. Senior associate Sheree Green is ‘reasonable, patient and measured’ and associate Kirsty MacMillan is ‘rarely fazed by the twists and turns of Court of Protection litigation’. Donna Holmes ‘takes the time to put her clients at ease’.

Anthony Gold’s ‘extremely responsive and professional team’ is led by David Wedgwood, who is noted for his ‘real understanding of the issues affecting a vulnerable client’. Wedgwood is an experienced deputy and has considerable experience of acting for vulnerable clients. Associate Emma Tante is also recommended.

Paul Ridge leads Bindmans LLP’s ‘fantastic team’, which is recommended for its ‘very quick responses, superb legal knowledge and spot-on advice’. Charlotte Haworth Hird is experienced in ECHR claims and ‘quickly gets to grips with each case’. Solicitor Laura Hobey-Hamsher ‘is always prepared to go that extra mile’. The firm regularly receives instructions from the Official Solicitor.

Bircham Dyson Bell provides ‘a fair and an excellent service’ on a broad range of issues, from capacity issues to complex multi-jurisdictional deputyship. Clients have ‘nothing but praise’ for Lucie Sleeman, who regularly advises on lasting powers of attorney and elderly client issues in addition to acting as a professional deputy. Recommended senior associates include Lorraine Jeffery (who is ‘extremely thorough’) and Rachel Rodrigo, who is adept at advising on statutory wills, gifts and contentious issues.

Suzanne Marriott at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is ‘a real star; she deals with situations that are often emotionally charged calmly, competently and with great authority’. The ‘specialist team’ advises on the full spectrum of issues and is well known for its work on large estates. Key figures on the contentious side include Tamasin Perkins, who ‘understands when to be conciliatory and when to fight her clients’ corner’; and Roberta Harvey, who regularly advises trustees, protectors and beneficiaries.

Foot Anstey is ‘very strong on elderly client matters, and is one of the leading firms in the South West for court of protection welfare work’. The team includes the ‘highly efficient and knowledgeable’ Patricia Wass, ‘very conscientious’ associate Katie Webber and ‘practical and approachable’ legal director Stacey Bryant. Bristol-based Holly Miéville-Hawkins joined from Royds Withy King and is ‘an associate to watch’.

An excellent firm’, Gillhams Solicitors LLP’s expertise was bolstered by the appointment of three of its members to the Office of the Public Guardian’s professional panel of deputies. The ‘hugely experiencedRussell Caller attracts praise for his ability to ‘make clients feel that they are in safe hands and ensure that they are well looked after in the most cost-effective way’. Lisa Cornish has ‘done some great work for clients in difficult situations’.

Leigh Day’s key clients include relatives of protected individuals and charities (as interveners). It also regularly acts on behalf of the Official Solicitor, and has particular expertise in healthcare law. Frances Swaine and Sean Humber are recommended. Solicitor Kate Egerton is praised for her ‘responsive and measured approach’.

Mackintosh Law is a niche firm that specialises in community care and mental capacity issues. Nicola Mackintosh is ‘very experienced, shows great integrity and is a brilliant strategist’.

Miles & Partners LLP advises on all aspects of mental capacity law and ‘punches significantly above its weight’. Floyd Porter ‘always adds value to the case by being objective and strategic while remaining completely focused on his client’. Newly promoted partner Rachel Turner ‘consistently brings commitment and humanity to all her cases’. The team is praised for its considerable ‘in-depth knowledge and experience in this area’. Solicitor Sara Isenberg is also singled out for praise.

Julie Burton heads Penningtons Manches LLP’s ‘strong, efficient and tightly run and well-resourced team’. Burton is ‘calm and vastly experienced’ and acts as a professional deputy for many clients with complex brain injuries where substantial compensation has been awarded. Senior associate Rebecca Sparrow is ‘driven to ensure that the best outcome is secured for her clients’.

Russell-Cooke LLP fields a ‘strong and focused team with the necessary expertise to handle complex work and cross-border cases’. The ‘extremely experienced and empatheticRita Bhargava is particularly adept at handling difficult capacity cases. Gareth Ledsham is ‘always ready to go that extra mile’ and Richard Frimston is a ‘go-to person’ for advice on the International Protection of Adults.

Simpson Millar LLP is well known for its expertise in Court of Protection work; ‘all its solicitors are very committed to its clients. The practice covers a significant range of social welfare cases. Julie Cornes ‘works tirelessly on complex and demanding cases and is a very skilled and effective negotiator. Other members of the ‘consistently strong team’ include the ‘intelligent and insightful’ Angela Jackman; solicitor Zena Soormally, who is noted for her ‘great attention to detail’; and Oliver Studdert, who ‘keeps on top of the most challenging cases’.

At Steel & Shamash, Janice Kaufman specialises in mental capacity and childcare law. ‘Very knowledgeable and experienced’ solicitors Andrew Bowmer and Damian Cullen display ‘excellent judgement and know which way to take the case forward’. The team is recommended for its ‘advice on welfare and health proceedings’.

Switalskis Solicitors’ ‘dedicated team leads the way with Court of Protection work in the North of England and provides a committed, expert and innovative service’. Leeds-based Alison Kaye has ‘an affable and calm manner that belies her steely determination to get the best result for her clients’. The team is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor to act for vulnerable individuals.

Weightmans LLP acts for public sector clients including local authorities and NHS trusts such as Pennine Acute Hospital NHS Trust. Liverpool-based Richard Jolly heads the team, which includes the ‘excellentBeth Buchanan, who is experienced in clinical negligence litigation and clinical welfare applications to the Court of Protection.

Glen Miles heads an active team at asb law LLP and acts for over 150 vulnerable clients, primarily as deputy but also as an attorney and trustee.

Ashton Legal has a strong Court of Protection practice, which acts for clients who have suffered brain damage through traumatic injury or clinical negligence. Adrian Mundell and Tom Cook are recommended.

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors’ team ‘explains things clearly and simply’. Gemma Connolly ‘puts clients at ease’ and Andrew Flannagan is ‘very well organised’.

Capsticks LLP has a diverse practice with considerable experience in medical treatment cases. It regularly advises a broad range of organisations on health and social issues. Francis Lyons and Birmingham-based Tracey Lucas are recommended.

Nottingham-based Anna Thurston heads the team at Cartwright King, which is singled out for its work in health and welfare proceedings. Leeds-based associate Kate Jackson is ‘totally supportive and explains things properly’.

DAC Beachcroft LLP is praised for its ‘excellent response times’. The ‘very knowledgeableGillian Weatherill regularly advises health and social care providers on mental health and mental capacity law.

At Dawson Cornwell, ‘very practical and calmJeremy Abraham and solicitor Katherine Res Pritchard (who ‘genuinely cares for her clients’) are recommended.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors specialises in cases that overlap between mental health/capacity issues and deprivation of liberty safeguards. Angela Smith and Ravinder Brar are ‘highly competent’.

The ‘incredibly brightEmily Exton is the key figure at Forsters LLP.

GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates’ Amy Butler has ‘excellent client skills and is a very competent litigator’.

At Giles Wilson LLP, Melinda Giles primarily acts for the elderly in addition to those with learning disabilities. Philip Giles is also well regarded.

Nick Moxon heads the care and capacity team at Higgs & Sons, which includes associate Annabel Kay, who is ‘a clear communicator’.

Hodge Jones & Allen LLP’s team is headed by the ‘quick and thoroughPhilippa Barton.

Hugh James fields a team of ‘exceptional and approachable lawyers’ that includes Andrew Harding, who ‘takes a real interest in all of his clients’.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) receives a steady flow of instructions from local authorities, charities and care homes. Jacqueline Almond is ‘very competent and reassuring’.

At JE Bennett LawJane Bennett ‘develops excellent relations with her clients and is prepared to always go that extra mile’. Bennett has a ‘superb grasp of Court of Protection practice and procedure’.

Kingsley Napley LLP’s ‘very professional team’ has a particular specialism in complex and high-value cerebral palsy cases. Newly promoted partner Simon Hardy is ‘very thorough’ and Matthew Duncan is also recommended.

Lester Morrill Solicitors is singled out for its ‘exceptional team work’. The ‘well-informed’ Julia Morrill is recommended.

Linder Myers has a strong acquired brain injury and clinical negligence focus. Andrew Cusworth is well regarded.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s clients include University Hospital Birmingham and NHS England. Birmingham-based Jill Mason is a key contact.

Shoosmiths LLP acts for clients with acquired brain injuries as a result of a traumatic birth or a RTA, mental illness and learning disabilities, or those with a degenerative disease. Charlotte Dunn is recommended.

Slater and Gordon is ‘an excellent, all-round firm’. Lucy Nicol provides ‘high-quality advice’ and heads the team, which includes the ‘very skilledRichard Copson, who is recommended for his community care and mental capacity work – both are based in Manchester.

Key figures at Stephensons Solicitors LLP include ‘tenacious’ associate Melanie Varey, who provides ‘clear advice’, and Michael Pemberton.

Royds Withy King has a core focus on the management of deputyships and personal injury trusts. Becky Ricards Small heads the team.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP’s ‘very efficient’ team includes the ‘knowledgeable’ Lynne Bradey; Ian Potter ,who is ‘very quick at identifying the key issues and addressing them’; and newly promoted partner Jane Netting.


Family

Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s ‘immensely experienced team’ is noted for its ‘very broad range of skills and particular expertise in children and money matters’. Recommended individuals include Victoria Francis, who is ‘simply superb’ at handling complex cases with offshore assets and trusts; the ‘phenomenally brightJames Freeman, who has niche expertise in Anglo-French cases; Richard Collins, who is ‘a tough litigator with an excellent bedside manner’; the ‘thoroughSarah Higgins, who is particularly strong on financial applications and civil partnership cases; and Sarah Whitten, who has a ‘first-class brain’.

Dawson Cornwell is renowned for its expertise in international children’s cases of all kinds, whether it be surrogacy, relocation, or forced marriage/stranded spouses, while its breadth of experience in financial matters enables it to act on the full range of cases, from the smallest to the largest. Anne-Marie Hutchinson has ‘near-legendary status’ and Carolina Marín Pedreño is ‘very experienced in international cases at the highest level’. Zoe Fleetwood is ‘very calm and organised’ and Charlotte Conner ‘really doesn’t miss a trick’ – both are newly promoted partners. Also recommended are Kate Allen, the ‘excellentRhiannon Lewis, and associate Colin Rogerson, who ‘gets to the nub of the issue very quickly’.

Farrer & Cois strong across the board’, with a particularly strong reputation in high-value ancillary relief following divorce. Simon Bruce is ‘excellent for cases with an international dimension’ and is recommended alongside the ‘very wiseWilliam Massey, Jeremy Posnansky QC, who ‘provides an extraordinary level of care’, and Claire Gordon, who ‘rolls up her sleeves and gets the job done quickly and well’. Sarah Hutchinson is also recommended for her skill in private children disputes and her ‘deep understanding of the emotional as well as the legal aspects of litigation’.

At Hughes Fowler Carruthersthere is no weak link – the whole team impresses’ with its ability to ‘deal with the most complex and highly contentious cases without losing sight of the needs of the client’. Frances Hughes is ‘indomitable and shrewd; you want her in your corner’. Also recommended are Pauline Fowler, who is ‘just superb all round’; Renato Labi, who ‘explains complex issues in a very user-friendly way’; the ‘excellentAlex Carruthers; the ‘totally switched-onCaroline Park; and Mark Harper, who is highly rated for his ‘in-depth knowledge of trusts’.

Mishcon de Reya LLP’s team combines ‘integrity and a client-centric approach to litigating, which ensures that clients feel protected’. The ‘exceptional, dedicated and very knowledgeableSandra Davis heads the team, which frequently acts in the most complex and high-value cases with an international element and involving complicated tax and trust issues. Barbara Reevesalways brings tenacity and intellectual rigour to cases’. The ‘very intelligentMelissa Lesson is also recommended.

Payne Hicks Beachprovides a Rolls-Royce service to each and every client’ and continues to attract a steady stream of work at the highest level of complexity. Key figures include the ‘wise, pragmatic and resolute’ Fiona Shackleton, ‘hugely respected’ Ian Airey, Matthew Booth, who is ‘everything you would want in a family lawyer – unflappable, calm and intelligent’, and the ‘very efficient’ Philip McGuirk, who is singled out for complex, multi-jurisdictional disputes and financial remedy work. The practice’s ‘very talented younger lawyers’ are also singled out for praise.

Stewarts Law LLP’s ‘scarily bright’ team is noted for its knack for ‘unravelling complicated trust structures and assets hidden behind companies’. Stephen Foster is ‘a strong leader who can manage any situation or individual and steer things to a successful outcome’. Also recommended are Debbie Chism and Richard Hogwood, who are ‘very clever’; Emma Hatley, who is ‘as good as you can get’; Helen Ward, who is ‘extremely talented and fiercely loyal to her clients’; Sam Longworth, who stays ‘very calm under pressure’; and Matthew Humphries, who is ‘excellent at tracing the money’. Toby Atkinson joined the team from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Withers LLP has ‘real strength in depth, both at partner and assistant level’, giving the team the notable ability to deftly handle several large cases at once. Diana Parkerbrings matters to a swift conclusion’ and Julian Lipson is ‘in command of every detail of the case while maintaining a clear tactical overview’. The ‘hardworkingSuzanne Todd provides ‘excellent support to clients’ and Suzanne Kingston a ‘very skilled litigator’. Special counsel Lisa Fabian Lustigman can produce ‘timely and accurate advice at a minute’s notice’. Newly promoted partner Brett Frankle has ‘a bright future ahead of him’.

Alexiou Fisher Philipps is ‘an excellent boutique practice with a high level of skill amongst its practitioners’. The ‘caringSara Hannell has ‘a razor-sharp and analytical mind’ and the ‘very sensibleEmma Harte has ‘excellent judgement’. Susan Philipps is ‘very hands on’ and Magnus Mill is noted for his ‘knack for securing the best outcome for clients’. Tom Amlot is ‘very focused and effective’ and Douglas Alexiou is ‘a wise elder statesman’.

Clintons fields a team of ‘great solicitors who resolve issues in a pragmatic, intelligent and cost-effective way’. Paul Newton garners praise for his ‘meticulous attention to detail and brilliance at handling complex and high-value matters’, as does the ‘excellent’ Maggie Rae. Also recommended are the ‘very able’ Liz Vernon; Patrick Kearns, who is ‘determined to secure the best outcome for his clients’; the ‘very experienced and empathetic’ Catherine Bell; and associate Frances Petterson, who has ‘wisdom beyond her years’.

Family Law in Partnership Ltd’s ‘great team’ attracts praise for its ‘focus on out-of-court solutions’. The ‘hugely knowledgeableJames Pirrie is recommended alongside the ‘sympatheticGillian Bishop, who adopts ‘a no-nonsense approach’; the ‘tenacious yet realisticBradley Williams; the ‘very cleverDavid Allison; and Daniel Coombes. Ann Northover joined from Forsters LLP.

Hunters Incorporating May, May & Merrimans has ‘an outstanding team that places strategic advice, client care and thorough preparation at the top of its list of priorities’. Henry Hood has ‘the Midas touch on high-value cases’ and Richard Kershaw’s ‘tactical and negotiation skills are second to none’. Hazel Wrightreally knows what she is talking about’. The ‘extremely ableJo Carr-West was promoted to partner.

Kingsley Napley LLP frequently advises high-net-worth individuals on matrimonial finance, prenuptial agreements and cross-border children matters. The ‘very wise and experiencedCharlotte Bradley heads the team, which includes the ‘very sensibleJane Keir, and Michael Rowlands, who has the ‘sharpest of brains and works tirelessly for his clients’. Also recommended are William Healing, who is strong on advising on foreign law issues, Claire Wood, who is noted for her ‘exceptional capacity for hard work’ and is recommended for matrimonial finance and surrogacy.

Levison Meltzer Pigotttakes excellent care of its clients, has superb technical knowledge and provides a cost-effective service’. The ‘very impressiveSimon Pigott and Julian Ribetrelish the difficult cases and get results’ and the ‘pragmaticNicola Fletcher has a ‘good eye for detail’. Alistair Myles is ‘clever and approachable’ and Amanda Andrews is ‘balanced and calm’. Alison Hayes is ‘technically brilliant’. The firm has particular expertise in complex financial and international cases.

Penningtons Manches LLP regularly handles complex cases involving high-net-worth individuals often with an international dimension. Anna Worwood is known for her ‘exceptional children work’, and Gillian Rivers has ‘a wholesome mix of common sense together with vast knowledge’. Jane Craig and James Stewart are ‘passionate about giving their clients the best possible service’. Simon Blain and ‘extremely diligent and exceptionally pragmaticRebecca Carlyon are also recommended.

Russell-Cooke LLP provides ‘clear, pragmatic and quick’ advice. The team is ‘equally at ease with ultra-high-net-worth individuals, as well as individuals with very little money’. Kate Hamilton ‘combines legal experience with emotional intelligence’, and Fiona Read is praised for ‘getting the job done quickly and cost-effectively’. Other key figures include the ‘very knowledgeable’ James Carroll, Sarah Richardson, who is ‘great with tricky parent clients in public law cases’, Samantha Little, who has ‘vast experience of complex children cases’, and Camilla Thornton.

Vardags acts in high-value cases and is frequently involved in multi-jurisdictional disputes. Ayesha Vardag is recommended alongside Simon McKirgan and Catherine Thomas, who are ‘first-class family lawyers with excellent client and case management skills’, and Arron Bortoft, who ‘represents each client with dogged determination and is not afraid to give robust advice when needed’.

Bindmans LLP’s ‘excellent family law practice’ is especially active in international and children cases. At the helm are the ‘very bright and ableFarhana Shahzady and the ‘knowledgeable and experiencedFlora Grossman, who ‘put their clients at ease’. The ‘assured and always well-prepared’ Amy Rowe is adept at handling complex international issues and the ‘pragmatic’ Liz Dronfield is recommended for her experience in children matters.

Boodle Hatfield LLP provides a ‘very personal and high-quality service, which stands shoulder to shoulder with the larger Magic Circle firms’, and which is especially rated for its ‘high-quality matrimonial finance work. Barbara Simpson has a ‘wealth of experience and knowledge’ and associate Harriet Errington is a ‘true rising star’ – both are recommended for their ancillary relief work. Clients include a number of international sportsmen.

Camilla Baldwin is a boutique practice that is singled out for its ‘immaculate level of service and advice’, as well as its ‘skill at handling high-value and complex cases with great success’. Camilla Baldwin is ‘warm and clever; even in the darkest hours of divorce she will get people through it with good spirit’. Henrietta Thomas is also recommended.

At Collyer Bristow LLP, Toby Yerburgh and Michael Drake are ‘level-headed and can reach a deal with the minimum of fuss’. Other key figures in the ‘exceptionally competent and dedicated team’ include Susan Breen, who ‘develops a rapport very quickly with her clients’; Philippa Dolan, who ‘works collaboratively’; and ‘thorough’ senior associate Mark Harrop.

Shona Alexander* heads the team at Forsters LLP and specialises in high-net-worth financial cases with a cross-border component. The ‘approachable’ Joanne Edwards is skilled at advising wealthy individuals on issues that arise in the aftermath of relationship breakdown. Ann Northover is now at Family Law in Partnership Ltd. *Shona Alexander joined Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's Guildford office in May 2016.

Goodman Raycontinues to have a very strong presence in children’s cases, and its financial provision practice is also strong’. Jemma Dally is ‘a real problem solver’ and is particularly excellent on surrogacy and adoption. Trudi Feathertone ‘works tirelessly for her clients to secure the best possible outcome’, as does Peggy Ray, who gives ‘110% to her cases’.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP is ‘particularly well known for its representation of sports people and clients in the media and entertainment industry’. Team head Tom Farley-Hills is ‘as comfortable litigating as he is negotiating, mediating or arbitrating’. Linzi Bull is ‘a highly impressive family lawyer with terrific client skills’.

Harcus Sinclair LLP is ‘a blue-chip firm with traditional values but a modern approach’, and provides ‘a highly bespoke service’. The practice is skilled at advising high-net-worth individuals on complex financial issues across multiple jurisdictions. Kathryn Peat heads the team and ‘will always go that extra mile for clients’.

Irwin Mitchell’s ‘great team’ is noted for its ‘very modern approach’ and for its work on complex financial applications, often with international trust and property issues. It is also ‘well placed to deal with heavy and complex litigation’. Elizabeth Hicks has ‘lots of energy and is hugely committed to her clients’, and Ursula Danagher has ‘amassed extensive knowledge which she deploys in her cases with confidence’. The team at a more junior level is also ‘first-class’. The firm combined with Thomas Eggar in 2015, further strengthening its capability in this area.

At Lee & Thompson LLP, Catherine Bedford (‘charming, clever and tenacious; her clients all love her’) heads a ‘very impressive team’ that includes newly promoted partner Mark Irving, who is ‘great with clients’, and the ‘very cleverNicholas Westley.

Miles Preston & Co is recommended for its work with children and for divorce, relationship breakdown and pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Key figures include Julia Stanczyk and Rachel Freeman, who are Resolution Accredited specialists, and Miles Preston.

The International Family Law Group LLP advises on the full spectrum of issues and provides ‘a quick, efficient and accurate service’. The team, which is ‘particularly well regarded for cases with a difficult international aspect’, includes associate Mandeep Gill, who is ‘very experienced in international disputes’, and the ‘fiercely intelligentHelen Blackburn. Also recommended are the ‘very knowledgeable and thoroughLucy Greenwood; Ann Thomas, who ‘always seeks to achieve the best outcome for her clients’; and David Hodson, who ‘really knows his stuff’.

Anthony Gold’s ‘strong and well-respected team’ is led by the ‘excellentKim Beatson and includes the ‘experienced’ David Emmerson, who joined from TV Edwards LLP, and Margaret Hatwood, who is skilled at handling cases with offshore trusts.

Bross Bennett is a boutique practice that provides ‘a quality service at a sensible price’. Sharon Bennett is ‘sympathetic with her clients and adopts a no-nonsense approach with her opponents’ and Ruth Bross is ‘totally committed to her clients’. The ‘exceptionally experienced’ Lea Harris and ‘knowledgeable and sensibleAnna Wagstaff are also recommended.

Fisher Meredith LLP is ‘an excellent firm with real strength and depth’. Practice head Eileen Pembridge is singled out for her ‘determination to secure the best outcome for her clients’. Also recommended are David Hodgson, who ‘leaves no stone unturned’, and the ‘collaborativeLouise Barretto, who ‘fights hard for her clients’.

Freemans Solicitors fields a team of ‘high-quality practitioners with a raft of experience on which to draw’, and which has ‘now firmly established itself among the big hitters on international children cases’. ‘Very committed’ associate Hilka Hollmann is especially rated for her work on international adoptions, and team head Nina Hansen is ‘a class act on children cases’. Other standout associates include the ‘very caring and bright’ Maria Wright, and Laura Coyle, who ‘always goes that extra mile for clients’.

Gordon Dadds has considerable experience dealing with divorces and cohabitation disputes in addition to pre- and post-nuptial agreements. John Burrell is skilled at advising on child arrangements and David Ruck advises on significant financial matters (often with an international context) following relationship breakdown.

Hodge Jones & Allen LLP has a strong public law practice that includes Laila Bhunnoo, who provides ‘excellent representation of parents and children in care proceedings’, and Jacqueline Major, who joined from Winckworth Sherwood LLP and is ‘very experienced’ in all aspects of privately funded family work.

Miles & Partners LLP’s ‘exceptional’ practice is singled out for its strength in children public law work and for its abduction expertise. Standout team members include Sarah Cove and Kate Hammond, who are ‘kind and intelligent’; solicitor Stephen Talbot, who has ‘an encyclopaedic knowledge of financial remedies’; the ‘calm and insightful’ Amanda Dench; and Michelle Uppal, who ‘really cares about reducing the animosity between the parties’.

Mills & Reeve LLP fields a team of ‘excellent lawyers who manage clients’ expectations brilliantly’ and which ‘offers a London service at non-London prices’. Cambridge-based Caitlin Jenkins is ‘superb on detail and can always see the bigger picture’, and Joanna Grandfield is ‘clearly at ease with handling complex matters, while always putting the client at the forefront of every case’.

The five-partner practice at Osbornes is strong across the board, with particular experience in high-value financial litigation with a cross-border element, complex cohabitation issues, and private law children’s matters. Bridget Thompson heads the team, which includes ‘experienced’ practitioners Lisa Pepper and Mark Freedman.

Pinsent Masons LLP is noted for its ability to ‘handle family law cases of the greatest complexity at a level that matches and often surpasses the self-styled specialist firms’. The practice is led by the ‘exceptionally hardworking’ Michael Pulford, who ‘thinks outside the box’. Senior associate Kate Francis is singled out for her ‘breath-taking efficiency’.

RadcliffesLeBrasseur is ‘an all-round excellent private client firm, and for family law matters it cannot be praised enough’. The practice is led by the ‘really efficientCaroline Penfold, who is ‘highly thought of by senior counsel and the judiciary, and is excellent with clients’. ‘Very capable’ associate Carina Smith is also recommended.

Schillings’ ‘dynamic team’ advises on the full range of family law matters. The practice is headed by the ‘personable, intelligent and very commercial’ Davina Katz and has ‘an excellent reputation for understanding its clients’ needs and handling high-profile and complex cases’. Clients include Dale Vince OBE.

At Sears ToothSusan Apthorp and Raymond Tooth act for UK-based and international high-net-worth individuals.

Seddons is recommended for its work on complex financial disputes between divorced and cohabitating couples, often involving cross-jurisdictional issues. Deborah Jeff heads the team which welcomed the ‘reliable and very competentToby Hales to its ranks from Hodge Jones & Allen LLP.

TV Edwards LLP’s wide-ranging practice handles all aspects of children law and financial remedy work. Key individuals include the ‘very responsive’ Maud Davis; Alison Leivesley, who is ‘totally committed to her clients’; and Hannah Perry, who has strength in public law children proceedings.

For some, Vaitilingam Kay continues to be the ‘best new boutique family firm on the block and is as good if not better than many of the long-established boutique firms’. Joe Vaitilingam is ‘a master tactician who wins cases’, and Anne Kay has ‘an excellent instinctive feel for her cases’.

Wedlake Bell LLP’s ‘well-organised and client-focused’ practice includes Charmaine Hast, who has ‘a wealth of experience, which she delivers in spades to her clients’. The ‘very practicalConrad Adam is also recommended.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP’s ‘thorough and conscientious’ team includes the ‘excellentEmily Brand and senior associate Katie Spooner; both attract praise for their ‘wonderful personal touch with clients’.

At Bircham Dyson BellSiân Jones is skilled at advising on the financial aspects of high-value cases with an international component. Lisa Bolgar Smith ‘fights hard for her clients’.

Burges Salmon LLP is ‘already a major player in the West Country and has successfully gained a significant foothold in London’. The ‘excellent and efficientSarah Woodsford and the ‘wise and calmCatherine Hallam are recommended.

Burgess Mee Family Law is ‘an excellent niche firm with intelligent and fair lawyers who go the extra mile and have the personal touch’. Founding partners Peter Burgess and Antonia Mee are recommended.

Covent Garden Family Law is recommended for its children work and advice to same-sex couples. Haema Sundram is the name to note.

Mary-Ann Wright* leads the team at DWF and handles high-value matters – often with a cross-border element – for high-net-worth individuals. *Since publication, Mary-Ann Wright has joined gunnercooke LLP.

DWFM Beckman is noted for his ‘excellent handling of big-money international cases well’. Team head Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui has ‘excellent judgement and puts her clients at ease’.

Fladgate LLP is singled out for its ‘excellent handling of high-net-worth finance and private children law matters’. Teresa Cullenlooks after her clients very well’.

Howard Kennedy LLPis doing really good work on high-value matters for high-profile clients’. The ‘very wise and practicalAlan Kaufman and the ‘excellentLois Langton (who is very strong on surrogacy matters) are recommended. Juliette Peters and Jay Patel joined Shoosmiths LLP.

Ketley Miller Joels Ltd is ‘an excellent all-round family law firm that provides a high-quality service’. Clients recommend Clayton Miller, who stays ‘fantastically calm under fire’; the ‘immensely ablePhilip Cooper; and associate solicitor Laura Brown, who is ‘quick and wise’.

Natalie Gamble Associates provides ‘an outstanding, personal and sincere service’. The firm is a ‘top firm for same-sex couples’ and is highly recommended for its work on assisted reproduction and international surrogacy. Natalie Gamble is ‘extremely knowledgeable and really cares’.

Russells Solicitors acts for a number of celebrity clients. Carol Ellinasprefers to work collaboratively as opposed to an adversarial approach, but she is also very strong in court when needed’.

Sheridans has a ‘sure-footed team that provides excellent advice’ to its predominantly media-related clients. Andrea Plum ‘really knows her stuff and gets the job done’.

Simons Muirhead & Burton provides ‘an excellent service in all aspects of divorce, especially those with an international component’. Jane McDonagh is ‘brilliant and charming’ and Lara Wulwik is ‘very bright’.

Slater and Gordon’s team is ‘a slick, well-run machine that still has the personal touch’. Rupi Rai is recommended.

Venters Solicitors fields a team of ‘public law experts’ including Denise Hoilette, who is very well regarded for her care work and is a ‘highly experienced advocate’. June Venters QC is also recommended.

At A City Law Firm LtdAndrew Spearman is recommended for his work on surrogacy law and is ‘incredibly professional and empathetic’.

Brookman Solicitors is praised for its ‘total transparency on costs and its precise answers’. Talitha Brookman and Aziz Malik are recommended.

Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates is strong on all aspects of family law from care, abduction and finance to private law proceedings. The ‘calm’ Stephanie Marshall and David Marcus are ‘excellent advocates’.

DMH Stallard LLP provides ‘robust and cost-effective advice’. David Leadercramer is ‘a very fine solicitor indeed’.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors has particular expertise representing divorce abuse victims under legal aid and has niche experience in Islamic divorce. Adeeba Naseem is ‘extremely helpful’.

Edwards Duthie’s ‘hardworking team is devoted to each and every client’ and has particular experience in issues involving children. Rajinder Garvey is recommended.

Edward Hayes Lawyers is recommended for its work in serious injury/abuse cases and public law children matters. Christopher Hayes and Stephanie Dew are ‘very able’ and are recommended alongside the ‘very hardworking’ Helen Fitzsimons.

GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates is a ‘forward-thinking’ firm that undertakes a broad mix of public and private work. Geoffrey Castello is ‘knowledgeable’.

Grayfords Law Limited’s ‘responsive team answers questions succinctly’. Sheata Karim is ‘very efficient’.

HKH Kenwright & Cox is very experienced in childcare law and Shari’ah law. Solicitor Surinder Chana and Aisha Jamil are recommended.

Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitorsdefines what a good firm should be’. Sarah Beskine and Barbara Hopkin are ‘practical, deeply committed and very skilled’.

Josiah-Lake Gardiner Solicitors’ ‘very efficient’ team includes the ‘very personable’ Margaret Kelly and Rebecca Gardiner, who ‘takes very good care of her clients’.

McMillan Williams fields ‘very effective advocates for children law’. Nicola Jones-King is ‘extremely experienced and entirely focused on assisting her clients to achieve the best outcome’.

Michelmores LLP’s clients ‘feel that they are in very safe hands’. Louisa Ghevaert is ‘enormously knowledgeable about surrogacy law’.

Nockolds Solicitors fields three collaborative lawyers. Lynn Cowley and Peter Dodd are well regarded.

Philcox Gray & Co has six Children Panel members. Joint heads of team Beverley King and Sheila Donn are recommended.

Simpson Millar LLP handles divorce and financial remedy matters. Victoria Walker is a key contact.

Joanna Pratt at Thomson Snell & Passmore specialises in high-net-worth financial cases.

At Wilson Solicitors LLP the ‘excellentAysen Soyer and Patricia Beckett are both ‘able to quickly identify the key point in each case’.


Family: mediation

Index of tables

  1. Family: mediation
  2. Leading individuals

Family Law in Partnership Ltd practice attracts praise for its holistic approach to family law issues, and its strong team of mediators is noted for its commitment to assisting clients with complex issues. The ‘sympatheticGillian Bishopalways sees the bigger picture’ and David Allison is ‘very sharp on detail’. James Pirriethinks outside the box’ and associate Helen Greenfield ‘gets things done’. Bradley Williams is ‘always determined to achieve the right outcome for his clients’. Dominic Raeside is ‘very effective for tricky children disputes’. Ruth Smallacombe is also recommended.

Alexiou Fisher Philipps provides ‘a first-rate service. It is modern in outlook, intelligent in its approach and its standards of service are much valued by clients and respected by peers.’ The ‘sensibleEmma Harte, ‘very intelligentTom Amlot and ‘very experiencedSara Hannell are recommended.

At Anthony Gold, the ‘excellentKim Beatsongets the job done in a cost-effective manner’. The ‘perceptive’ Caroline Bowden ‘gets to the key issues quickly while making clients feel that they are being understood’. David Emmerson joined from TV Edwards LLP; ‘he manages to get the parties to reach agreement in very complex situations’.

Karen Barham at Barlow Robbins LLPknows the law inside out and is also very warm, empathetic and puts people at ease’.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s Sarah Anticoni is ‘one of the most experienced mediators around and is able to meet with children and couples and make them all feel at ease’. Sarah Whitten is also singled out for praise; she ‘manages to engage both parties and is adept at gaining their confidence from the outset’, and is particularly recommended for complex financial matters.

The ‘very sound and competentPhilippa Dolan at Collyer Bristow LLP is a collaborative practitioner who is experienced in children’s issues and complex money disputes.

At Dawson Cornwell the ‘sensible and vastly experiencedJeremy Abraham handles all areas of matrimonial law and is very strong on trusts and foreign assets.

Family Law Partners has three mediators and five collaborative lawyers. Linda Lamb is skilled at handling financial issues and is qualified to see children as part of the mediation process.

Hughes Fowler Carruthers has the ‘excellentPauline Fowler, who is ‘really brilliant at mediation’, and Frances Hughes, who has ‘pitch-perfect judgement on when to take points and when to drop them’.

Key figures at Hunters Incorporating May, May & Merrimans include the ‘very calm, reassuring and level-headedHazel Wright and ‘very bright and thoughtfulHenry Hood.

Charlotte Bradley at Kingsley Napley LLPhas years of experience and offers premier league expertise in mediation and collaborative work’. Bradley is particularly skilled in money cases.

Simon Pigott at Levison Meltzer Pigott has ‘an outstanding reputation as a mediator’. His strengths lie in advising on financial issues and children matters.

Michelle Uppal at Miles & Partners LLP is a ‘brilliant mediator who has the ability to cut through the most intractable disputes’.

At Mills & Reeve LLPAlison Bull often handles tricky financial cases and is qualified to consult children during the mediation process.

Russell-Cooke LLP has the ‘wonderfully supportive, caring and knowledgeableFiona Read. Therese Nichols is a ‘brilliant mediator’.

Denise Ingamells at TV Edwards LLPcuts to the chase on legal aid mediations and is also very strong on children cases’.

At The International Family Law Group LLP the ‘firm yet understanding’ Denise Carter mediates in international child disputes and has considerable strength in parental child abduction and child relocation cases.

Withers LLP’s Suzanne Kingston is ‘one of London’s top family mediators for complex financial disputes. She achieves impressive results in mediation’. Diana Parkerfocuses on the real issues to achieve a quick outcome’ and Suzanne Todd shows ‘great understanding of her clients’ needs’.


Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s ‘technically excellent, accessible and versatile team’ regularly advises on high-value cross-border wealth, governance and tax structuring in addition to shari’ah wealth and succession planning. The ‘first-class’ team is also recommended for its work for institutional clients and on complex trust restructurings. Damian Bloom is ‘extremely competent’ and Simon Phelps is ‘very proactive’. Martin Paisnerprovides clear, incisive and effective advice, especially on trust matters’. Paul Whitehead gives ‘well-thought-through advice, while also being keenly aware of the families’ needs’.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is ‘extremely strong for cross-border private client work’. The ‘responsive and strategicBart Peerless heads the team, which is also noted for its ‘sensitive, risk-aware and client-focused approach’. Robert Blower is ‘very experienced on matters relating to the Middle East’ and Dominic Lawrance is ‘an excellent adviser to high-net-worth individuals and families, and is particularly adept at US/UK engagements’. The ‘very ablePiers Master and Suzanne Marriott are ‘vastly experienced’ and Andrew Cameron is ‘readily able to come up with pragmatic solutions to problems as they arise’.

Farrer & Co is in the ‘top division for advising international and domestic clients on their wealth structuring by having an approachable and extremely competent team’. Russell Cohen is ‘technically excellent’; Marianne Kafena is an ‘excellent lateral thinker’ and Nick Dunnellreally knows his stuff’. Alison Springett is ‘extremely knowledgeable’ and Mark Bridges has a ‘breadth of experience that is unmatched’. Rhoddy Voremberg is ‘outstanding’ and Ian Huddleston joined the team from Pinsent Masons LLP. It is ‘one of the strongest firms in the private client world with an incredible brand and people to match it’.

Macfarlanes LLPparticularly impresses for the range of highly regarded partners with the ability to provide a consistently high level of service on super-sophisticated cross-border work’. Head of team Jonathan Conder is ‘just brilliant at everything’ and Charles Gothard is ‘superb at structuring unusual and complex cross-border trusts’. Jennifer Smithson is ‘terrific at handling complex situations and finding solutions’ and the ‘thoroughOliver Court has an ‘amazing US following’. Piers Barclay and Robin Vos are ‘brilliant technically’. It is also ‘excellent at associate level’.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP fields a team of ‘bright, articulate and incredibly talented lawyers who are well versed in trusts, estates, probate and tax planning’. Team head Arabella Murphy is ‘top notch for trust structures, corporate governance and trust litigation’ and Jennifer Chambers is ‘very impressive on international estate planning’. Emma-Jane Weider is ‘bright, technically excellent and manages clients’ expectations very well’. Clients also recommend the ‘vastly experienced’ Ceris Gardner and ‘extraordinary’ Clare Maurice.

At the top of its game’, Taylor Wessing LLP provides a fully integrated service to high-net-worth families and family offices that require multi-jurisdictional advice. Sanjvee Shah is ‘technically excellent, with a talent for simplifying complex issues for an increasingly large international client base’. Also recommended are the ‘superb and pragmatic’ Nick Warr, Mark Buzzoni, who is ‘experienced, knowledgeable and has great client-handling skills’, and Andrew Hine, who heads the ‘excellent private client practice’.

Withers LLP is ‘unrivalled for the sheer breadth and depth of its expertise. Its ‘excellent’ team includes Filippo Noseda, who stands out for his ‘broad range of expertise’; Tim George, who is described as ‘the first choice for ultra-high-net-worth individuals with a truly global asset base’; the ‘technically excellentJulia Abrey, who is recommended for elder law; Andrew Haave, who has ‘detailed knowledge of US tax and estate planning issues’; the ‘very experiencedSarah Cormack, who stands out for complex offshore structures; and Patricia Milner.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s global footprint enables it to provide seamless cross-border advice, making it a natural choice for international disputes. Ashley Crossley heads the wealth management group and is praised for his ‘enormous knowledge of complex trusts’. Associate Phyllis Townsend is ‘exceptionally knowledgeable and wonderful with clients’. The team has strong Russia/CIS and Middle East links.

Bircham Dyson Bell is recognised for its work on complex estate and succession planning for multi-jurisdictional families. The ‘very competentHelen Ratcliffe heads the private wealth team and has particular expertise in offshore trusts. Also recommended are the ‘unflappable and knowledgeable’ Susan Johnson, and Hugo Smith, who is ‘very good on the taxation aspects of trusts; he is clever and practical and provides clear and insightful advice’. Matthew Braithwaite has been promoted to partner.

Boodle Hatfield LLP has ‘an outstanding team that is impressive on all fronts’. Clients include privately owned businesses, very wealthy entrepreneurs and individuals, and numerous large landed estates. Simon Rylatt is ‘technically excellent and cares about his clients’ needs above all else’. Also recommended are ‘excellent strategic thinkerSara Maccallum and Sue Laing.

Forsters LLP’s sizeable practice ‘combines a high level of expertise with a personal service’. Andrew Lane, Patrick Harney and Xavier Nicholas are all ‘technically very able and highly commercial’. Fiona Smith provides ‘robust and detailed advice’. The ‘very strong team’ acts for some major high-net-worth clients and has considerable offshore expertise. David Robinson and Rupert Meadcontinue to impress’.

Gowling WLG is praised for its ‘impressive response times and knowledgeable lawyers who understand not only the theoretical and legal aspects of a problem but also the practical implications of the advice on clients’ businesses’. Anthony Thompson heads the team, which focuses on complex cross-border matters.

Harcus Sinclair LLP’s team is ‘deeply experienced in complex multi-jurisdictional planning and litigation’. Jonathan Burt is ‘technically gifted in the intricacies of complex estate planning and has an uncanny knack for getting things right first time, every time’. Other key figures include Lucy Gibson, who is ‘a great strategist who also has a very human touch’; the ‘exceptionally ableKeith Bruce-Smith; and Siena Gold, who is ‘one to watch’ and is rated for her skill in offshore trusts.

Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans’ ‘all-round technical skills and commercial approach makes it a very strong offering’. Joe Richardson is ‘hugely experienced, technically brilliant and very wise’, and Jonathan Godwin-Austen has ‘extensive knowledge of trusts and probate’. Also recommended are the ‘technically very ableAlexandra Sarkis and Julia Richards, and ‘very astuteMary Elliott. Clients include landed estates, family businesses and celebrities.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP is ‘one of the top firms for transatlantic tax planning; the breadth of its international reach is significant’. Astrid Owen has a ‘deep understanding of the interface between US and UK tax laws’. Andrew Vergunst (‘an excellent strategic thinker’), Charles Lubar and Claire Murray are also recommended.

Payne Hicks Beach fields ‘a highly competent and practical team that understands its clients very well. Rosamond McDowell is ‘highly intelligent and responsive’ and Alice Palmer is ‘outstanding’. Frederick Bjørn is ‘incredibly knowledgeable’ and Christopher Sly is ‘thorough and client-driven’. Robert Brodrick and newly promoted partner Basil Dixon are also recommended. The firm acts for a broad range of clients from landed estates to middle eastern and Scandinavian families.

Collyer Bristow LLP fields a ‘professional and responsive’ team that includes the ‘pragmaticDaniel Simon, who is ‘an excellent negotiator with extensive knowledge of UK and US tax laws’; and James Badcock and William Hancock, who ‘always see the bigger picture’. It also has an international capability through its Geneva office.

Howard Kennedy LLP provides a ‘very professional yet distinctly personable service’ to a broad range of clients, from entrepreneurs to City financiers and foreign royalty. It is ‘very ably led’ by Liz Palmer and includes the ‘very practical and sure-footedJohn Annetts, who is well regarded for his work on a broad range of high-value and complex estates; and Simon Malkiel, who gives ‘very good and practical advice’.

Key figures at Irwin Mitchell include Nick Rucker, who has ‘a no-nonsense approach’, and the ‘experiencedConor Brindley. Alexandra Ruffel regularly acts for non-UK nationals and domiciles who wish to relocate to or exit from the UK. Andrew Watters is also well regarded. The firm merged with Berkeley Law and Thomas Eggar in 2015.

Mishcon de Reya LLP’s practice ‘provides advice of the highest technical quality as well as being very commercially focused’. Its broad expertise covers issues from international tax structuring to reputation management. Andrew Goldstone is ‘very attuned to his clients’ needs’ and Kassim Meghjee is skilled at advising on international tax issues.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s Clare Archer is ‘an exceptional lawyer with great technical expertise; she provides a high level of client care and is sensitive to the families’ needs when dealing with complex issues’. Newly promoted partner James d’Aquino has the ability to ‘focus on the key issues very rapidly’. Robert Macro and Neil Morris are now at Druces LLP.

RadcliffesLeBrasseur is ‘an established practice with a dynamic offering and very impressive levels of service’. Standout figures include the ‘pragmatic, commercial and calmTim Newsome and ‘able and level-headedVictoria Fairley. Also recommended are the ‘really excellentJonathan Shankland, and the ‘intelligent and practicalTulin Kiranoglu-Hamit, who is popular with Turkish clients and ‘bends over backwards to help her clients’.

Russell-Cooke LLP’s Richard Frimston has ‘an excellent reputation for cross-border work and conflict of law issues’. Dawn Alderson is well thought of for her French-related advice and Rebecca Fisher stands out for her international and domestic tax and trust planning advice for families during marital breakdown.

Wedlake Bell LLP has ‘a very strong and experienced practice that is accustomed to dealing with high-value and complex estates and trusts’. New addition to the team Andrew O’Keeffe from Wilson Solicitors LLP is ‘outstandingly intelligent and dynamic’. The ‘always helpfulEmma Loveday is ‘very knowledgeable’ and Camilla Wallace is ‘an extremely competent lawyer who handles difficult matters very well’. Senior associate Caroline Cook is ‘an excellent communicator’.

Burges Salmon LLP’s ‘strong practice’ includes Jim Aveline, who is ‘very bright and calm’; Beatrice Puoti, who is ‘superb with clients’; the ‘technically excellentSuzanna Harvey; and John Barnett, who ‘explains complex issues in an engaging way’. Clients include UBS.

Druces LLP has ‘a highly intelligent team that always seeks to provide a practical solution’. Roy Campbellconsistently impresses’ and the ‘vastly experienced Richard Monkcom provides ‘very precise and pragmatic answers’. Robert Macro and Neil Morris, who joined from Penningtons Manches LLP, are praised for providing ‘advice that you can trust’.

Edwin Coe LLP has particular expertise in offshore trusts and tax/foreign domiciliary work. David Goepel provides ‘extremely clear advice and devises extremely imaginative solutions to complex cross-border matters’. John Shelford ‘handles difficult family situations very well’.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s ‘very responsive, pragmatic and efficient team’ advises UK-resident and international high-net-worth individuals on tax structuring and succession planning, the use of trusts and asset protection. Team head Glen Atchison is ‘always available and goes the extra mile to assist clients’. Also recommended are ‘technically strong’ partner Chris Moorcroft and non-lawyer Gary Ashford, who is experienced in serious tax investigations and large tax disputes.

Mills & Reeve LLP has a strong nationwide team that is ‘able to express difficult issues in a way that is comprehensible to the client’. Cambridge-based Chris Belcher heads the team, which advises a wide range of clients from traditional landed estates to entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals. Leeds-based Julia Rangecroft is ‘very commercially aware’ and Manchester-based Deborah Clark is ‘technically able’.

Pinsent Masons LLP fields a well-resourced team that handles the full range of private client matters for ultra-wealthy families, individuals, family offices and institutions. Richard Hart’s client base is international, with a particular focus on families from the Middle East. Jason Collins specialises in the resolution of complex HMRC disputes for high-net-worth individuals.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP provides ‘one of the most joined up services in the market to its private clients’. The practice has a strong following in the Middle East and Asia, with a specific focus on Malaysian investors. Other clients include landed estate families. Andrew Sneddon is a name to note.

Piper Smith Watson LLP is now Blake Morgan LLP. Ruth O’Neillbreaks down complex tax and estate planning issues into an understandable and user-friendly format’, and Mark Spash provides ‘sound and practical advice’. Helen Bunker is also recommended.

Key figures at Bond Dickinson LLP include the ‘professional and very reassuringNeil Long, and Alexander Dickinson, who is ‘very knowledgeable and provides clear advice in a sensitive way’.

At Currey & Co, William Swan is ‘very experienced’ and Sabina Fortescue is ‘rapidly becoming a first-rate technician’.

DMH Stallard LLP stands out for its ‘clear and pragmatic solutions’. The ‘knowledgeableLorna Fairbairn is ‘a great communicator’.

Penny Wotton heads the private client team at Fieldfisher, which acts for royalty, members of the aristocracy, ultra-high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs and high-profile individuals working in the entertainment business. Graeme Nuttall is dual-qualified as a solicitor and chartered tax adviser.

At Fladgate LLP, David Way advises on tax and estate planning and structuring issues for national and international individuals and businesses. The ‘thoroughRichard Kaufman is also recommended.

At GSC Solicitors LLP, Saleem Sheikh is ‘very knowledgeable and accessible’ and James Cohenpresents matters in an understandable way’. It frequently acts for internationally mobile ultra-high-net-worth individuals from countries such as Africa and China.

Ian Lane heads the team at Hodge Jones & Allen LLP and is ‘able to articulate complex matters in an easy-to-understand way’.

Kerman & Co LLP has ‘an excellent reputation’ for global asset structuring and offshore trust work. It acts for clients from Russia, Asia and Africa. Amanda Elwell heads the department.

At Kingsley Napley LLP, the ‘thorough and knowledgeableZoë Sive* is recommended alongside the ‘very professionalMatthew Duncan, who heads the team. Jim Sawer joined from Thrings LLP. *Since publication, Zoë Sive has left the firm.

Lee Bolton Monier-Williams provides a ‘swift and cost-effective service’. Michael Fletcherexplains complex legal concepts in a language that is easy to understand’.

McGuireWoods London LLP’s team has a ‘very high level of expertise’. Hed Amitai and associate Oliver Sharp are ‘experienced, approachable and knowledgeable’.

Michelmores LLP’s ‘smart and responsive team’ includes the ‘technically excellentJonathan Riley, who ‘gets to the nub of the issue quickly’.

Moon Beever’s ‘efficient, practical and reliable’ team includes Alexandra Bartrope, who attracts praise for ‘the ease with which she explains complex matters’.

Osborne Clarke has the ‘very client friendly and able’ Stuart Janaway. Andrew Goodman remains ‘calm in any crisis and engenders confidence in his clients’.

PWT Advice LLP is a ‘very strong private client boutique firm’. The firm is acting on the administration of the estate of the late Michael Winner. The ‘technically excellent’ Jo Summers provides ‘clear and practical advice’ and Nicola Dudley ‘handles difficult cases very well’.

At Stephenson Harwood, James Quarmby has ‘an excellent all-round knowledge of tax law and the ability to communicate complex issues in a straightforward, timely and precise fashion’.

At Stone King LLP, Alison Allen has developed a niche practice advising older clients and their families and carers. Rod Smith handles the full array of complex wills and trusts work frequently with an international element.

The international practice at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is led from both the London and New York offices. Basil Zirinis is ‘first-rate for complex cross-border estate and trust planning; he really brings out the best in all the parties’. Key clients include the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.) and The Pritzker Family.

Veale Wasbrough Vizards’ ‘extremely efficient and professional individuals’ include Michael Knowles, who is ‘calmness personified when faced with any problem’; and Judith Cuxson and Christine Green, who ‘always provide excellent advice’.


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