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  1. Art and cultural property
  2. Leading individuals

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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’.

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