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82988 MAYFAIR
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www.forsters.co.uk

London: Corporate and commercial

M&A: smaller deals, up to Β£50m
M&A: smaller deals, up to Β£50m - ranked: tier 1

Forsters LLP

The team at Forsters LLP is particularly active in advising family offices, entrepreneurs, high-net-worth individuals and start-ups. Department head Craigie Pearson, who has extensive experience in the hotels and leisure, charity and art sectors, advised a client on its Β£60m purchase of two Luxembourg companies that held a Jersey property unit trust. Craig Thompson is noted for his experience in media and corporate real estate M&A, though he also acted for Greybull Capital on its purchase of the Longs Products steel business from Tata Steel UK. Christine Dubignon assisted The Related Companies with its acquisition of a 50% stake in Pocket Living. Other clients include Ardstone Capital, Savills Investment Management and British Airways Pension Trustees.

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London: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation
Commercial litigation - ranked: tier 6

Forsters LLP

Forsters LLP’s β€˜lawyers are easily as good and capable as Magic Circle advisers’. The practice has broad expertise across the commercial, corporate and private client sectors, with associated contentious teams based in the firm’s property and construction departments. Emily Exton heads the dispute resolution and contentious trusts group; Benedict Walton β€˜has a sharp mind ’; Andrew Head is also highly rated; and consultant and former dispute resolution head Caroline Bassett is β€˜an excellent litigator’.

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London: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 1

Forsters LLP

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

Leading individuals

Andrew Lane - Forsters LLP

Penny Elliott - Forsters LLP

Rupert Mead - Forsters LLP

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Art and cultural property
Art and cultural property - ranked: tier 4

Forsters LLP

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

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Charities and not-for-profit
Charities and not-for-profit - ranked: tier 3

Forsters LLP

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

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Contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 1

Forsters LLP

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

Leading individuals

Emily Exton - Forsters LLP

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Court of Protection
Court of Protection - ranked: tier 3

Forsters LLP

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

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Family
Family - ranked: tier 3

Forsters LLP

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

Leading individuals

Joanne Edwards - Forsters LLP

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Personal tax, trusts and probate
Personal tax, trusts and probate - ranked: tier 1

Forsters LLP

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

Leading individuals

David Robinson - Forsters LLP

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London: Real estate

Commercial property
Commercial property: development - ranked: tier 2

Forsters LLP

Commercial property: general - ranked: tier 3

Forsters LLP

Commercial property: hotels and leisure - ranked: tier 2

Forsters LLP

Commercial property: investment - ranked: tier 3

Forsters LLP

Commercial property: retail - ranked: tier 2

Forsters LLP

Forsters LLP provides β€˜strong business acumen, and thoughtful advice’ to a range of investment funds and asset managers, including Aberdeen Asset Management and LaSalle Investment Management. Recent investment-side mandates saw Eugene McMahon and Magnus Hassett act for British Airways Pension Fund on the Β£179m sale of 61-67 Oxford Street and 1-14 Soho Street; and Sarah Pass assist HIFML UK Property Fund with the Β£56m disposal of Gallows Corner Retail Park, Romford. The practice has a strong track record in retail-led redevelopment schemes, and recently handled the acquisition and redevelopment of a mixed-use scheme at Piries Place, Horsham for British Airways Pension Trustees. In other examples of development work, Glenn Dunn acted for the Corporation of Trinity House in connection with the redevelopment of the site of the former Southwark County Court; and Ronan Ledwidge assisted a fund managed by Aberdeen Asset Management with the funding of Helical Retail’s Cortonwood Shopping Park, near Rotherham. Corporate specialist Craigie Pearson leads on hotel and leisure instructions, and is regularly engaged on M&A for clients such as Bespoke Hotels. In other highlights, the client-focused Victoria Towers acted for a subsidiary of Bursha Holdings on the sale of the Theatre District in Milton Keynes to Otium Real Estate. Practice head Matthew Swainston and founding partner Smita Edwards, who β€˜gets things done and fights the client’s corner’), are also key figures.

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Construction: contentious and non-contentious
Construction: contentious - ranked: tier 5

Forsters LLP

Construction: non-contentious - ranked: tier 5

Forsters LLP

Forsters LLP demonstrates β€˜great commercial and tactical awareness’ when handling disputes for the firm’s broad client base of developers and institutional property owners – including the likes of LXB Retail Properties and Realis Estates. Contentious head Andrew Parker is β€˜at ease with all aspects of construction disputes and has a very good eye for the key issues in cases’, and associate Alastair Robertson is β€˜remarkably capable relative to his year of qualification’. On the non-contentious side, Sarah Cook continued to advise Knight Dragon Developments on all the construction aspects of the regeneration of Greenwich Peninsula, and also provided construction advice to a client regarding the funding of a development comprising a Premier Inn and retail outlets in Exeter.

Next generation lawyers

Alastair Robertson - Forsters LLP

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Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 4

Forsters LLP

Forsters LLP enjoyed further growth in 2016 with the hire of Victoria Du Croz from Hogan Lovells International LLP and the addition of new clients such as Grosvenor Estates and The Aitch Group. Head of practice Oliver Wright advised on the restoration and change of use of St Mark's, North Audley Street, into a high-end retail, restaurant and community space building. Wright acted for Soho Estates on the demolition and redevelopment of the landmark Foyles building on Charing Cross Road. The team also continued to be heavily involved in the redevelopment of Greenwich Peninsula, including assisting Knight Dragon Investments with its objection to TfL’s DCO for the Silvertown Tunnel. The β€˜experienced and effective’ Matthew Evans is also recommended.

Next generation lawyers

Matthew Evans - Forsters LLP

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Property finance
Property finance - ranked: tier 5

Forsters LLP

Though it is increasingly active on the lender side, Forsters LLP’s department is best known for its strong borrower-side experience. Victoria Edwards heads the practice, with support from Craig Thompson, Matthew Swainston, borrower-side specialist Ronan Ledwidge and Simon Collins, an expert in syndicated and bilateral credit facilities who made partner in April 2016. Clients include Santander UK, J.P. Morgan International Bank, Knight Dragon Investments, LaSalle Investment Management and, on the sponsor side, Ballymore Properties.

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 2

Forsters LLP

Specialist property firm Forsters LLP has β€˜a brilliantly strong litigation practice’, which handles the full gamut of commercial, residential and enfranchisement mandates. The β€˜professional and efficient’ Natasha Rees, who specialises in residential disputes and leasehold enfranchisement, leads the team, which β€˜saw a huge boost’ with the hiring of Ben Barrison from DLA Piper. β€˜Astute and practical lawyer’ Jonathan Ross, who is β€˜a pleasure to work with’ and regularly handles dilapidation claims, β€˜strategic thinker’ Rosalind Cullis, senior associate Charlotte Ross, who is experienced in contested lease renewals, and senior associate Emma Gosling, who handles residential development disputes, are also noted. Recent highlights include Rees acting for The Corporation of Trinity House of Deptford Strond, as the freeholder, in Upper Tribunal proceedings relating to a collective enfranchisement claim, Barrison acting for Savills IM Prime Residential Fund II in litigation surrounding a major development project in Putney and Ross representing Reedbase in a service charge dispute relating to roofing works. Aberdeen Asset Management, Deutsche Bank, the Phillimore Estate and LaSalle Investment Management are also clients.

Leading individuals

Jonathan Ross - Forsters LLP

Natasha Rees - Forsters LLP

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Residential property
Residential property - ranked: tier 2

Forsters LLP

Forsters LLP’s β€˜service and advice is exceptional’ and its β€˜strong and stable’ team is β€˜reliable, professional and personable’. Practice head Lucy Barber is the β€˜go-to person’ in the group; she regularly acts for high-net-worth individuals and is also highly regarded for her enfranchisement expertise. The team also includes former practice head Paul Neville, who has notable expertise in landlord and tenant issues; Chris Myers, who is β€˜a key asset for the group and inspires confidence in clients’; and Helen Marsh, who focuses on the sale and purchase of high-value freehold and leasehold properties. The team works closely with the firm’s private client practice, where Penny Elliott and Andrew Lane are the names to note.

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