Firms To Watch: Personal tax, trusts and probate

Keystone Law's bench of personal tax experts includes Alex Boothman, Barry Adamson and Luke Micallef Trigona, all of who have joined in recent years - Adamson was formerly the head of private client at Moore Blatch.
North Star Law Ltd. regularly advises some of the wealthiest people in Denmark on their international and cross-border estate planning and tax matters. Benedikte Malling Bech heads up the department.

Personal tax, trusts and probate in London

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP fields a large global private wealth team that provides an integrated service to HNW/UHNW individuals and their families, family offices, landed estates and private banks. Other key clients include trustees and wealth managers.  A significant proportion of its work is cross-border and it is noted for its expertise in dealing with the key international markets in the Middle East, the Far East, the USA and Russia. The London office in conjunction with its Guildford office advises on niche areas such as art, intellectual property, real estate and corporate. Bart Peerless, William Begley and Robert Blower are leading practitioners in this field who advise on the full array of complex lifetime tax and planning issues, offshore assets and trusts and other issues affecting landed estates. Peerless acts for some of the world’s wealthiest families and advises many UK and international business people and substantial landowners. The group was pleased to be joined by Simon Weil from BDB Pitmans, who brings a wealth of experience in philanthropy.

Practice head(s):

Robert Blower, Head of Private Client Division; Piers Master, Head of Private Wealth; William Begley, Head of Tax, Trusts and Succession

Other key lawyers:

Simon Weil; Suzanne Marriott; Dominic Lawrance; Nicola Thorpe; Alice Wilne; Sangna Chauhan

Testimonials

‘Very large team. Very strong technically, very responsive and great at dealing with clients. They are brilliant on the both the legal and tax side. Bart Peerless. Superb. He is extremely capable, extremely approachable, extremely good with clients, and very nice person to deal with’.

‘Piers Master and Nicola Thorpe are both brilliant‘.

‘Solid leader in this field with an enormous depth of expertise. Bart Peerless – a Colossus of private client. Suzanne Marriott – brainily sensible. Piers Master – a walking tax encyclopaedia. Nicola Thorpe – prodigious. Simon Weil – the grandfather of private client‘.

‘Highly impressive group of partners. I know Bart Peeless, Piers Masters, and Robert Blower best. They are all superb. Bart did a monumental job for a client on a matter I am working on‘.

The CRS private clients team is extremely knowledgeable regarding the quite complex interplay of the US and UK tax regimes, so the team is an invaluable resource and partner for high net worth clients who are subject to tax by both countries. I have worked extensively with Sangna Chauhan in recent years on a complex matter and have found her to be responsive, knowledgeable and resourceful.  She really went above and beyond during the pandemic lockdown in organising and executing document signings for an elderly client. She is also very personable, which is greatly appreciated by the clients’.

‘Complex approach, Russian speaking team, dual qualified with ability to support ex-CIS countries clients. Personal approach, diversity, ability and wish to develop relationship’.

‘Technically excellent team and one of the best in London. I have worked with Dominic Lawrence and Sangna Chauhan who are some of the most technically capable private client lawyers I have worked with‘.

‘The CRS private client tax, trusts and probate team is unparalleled in its depth of expertise in dealing with UK tax, trusts and probate matters. Piers Master is the perfect private client lawyer: he combined detailed technical knowledge with excellent judgement’.

Farrer & Co

Farrer & Co has a vast array of talented practitioners with 'exceptional legal knowledge' who advise many wealthy families and individuals, as well as trustee companies, banks/wealth managers and family offices. Sarah von Schmidt heads the stellar team that is 'extremely responsive and professional' and is also praised for its 'collaborative approach'. The group provides a 'seamless service and first-rate advice' and works with substantial international families and their family offices, advising a mixture of trustees and beneficiaries on significant trust restructuring and strategic planning as well as family governance and succession issues. The team receives plaudits for its strength at advising the internationally super rich on a broad array of multi-jurisdictional issues. Other clients include entrepreneurs, property investors and developers as well as landed estates and private equity companies. The team garners praise for its 'strong technical knowledge' and for its ability to 'tailor the right solution for the client'. Sonal Shah was promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Sarah von Schmidt

Other key lawyers:

Mark Bridges; Russell Cohen; Rhoddy Voremberg; Bryony Cove;Catherine McAleavey ;Oliver Piper; Alexandra Hollingshead; Richard McDermott ;Nick Dunnell ; Rachel Mainwaring-Taylor; Sonal Shah ; Isabel Paintin ; Nicola Pomfret

Testimonials

‘The depth and breadth of knowledge within the private client team and across the firm is excellent. The partners really get to know their client and understand their needs. The structure adopted by the team offers value for money. There is great empathy and understanding. Whilst offering a modern and proactive service their knowledge of issues particularly for landed estates remains valid today. Sarah von Schmidt – intelligent and has a great deal of experience of trusts and succession. She is very personable and offers great support. Bryony Cove – extensive experience particularly advising entrepreneurs. Very calm and capable. Builds strong relationships with clients’.

A large and vastly experienced team: there is very little the lawyers haven’t seen before and they take everything in their stride. As a team, it is the ultimate pair of safe hands. Bryony Cove: a real name – extremely well-respected for her experience, calm approach, and insight. Excellent with clients. Sonal Shah: extremely efficient with an excellent manner. Richard McDermott: very thoughtful and quickly spots all angles; unfailingly polite and reassuring to clients‘.

‘Oliver Piper – great technically and really great client service and manner. He is someone who quickly gains his clients’ trust and the trust of the wider private client community‘.

Very good team, works well with other people.  Good private client offering. Richard McDermott – excellent, friendly, good at getting to the heart of the problem, responsive. Catherine McAleavey – very experienced, pragmatic, cuts to the heart of the issue, friendly, nice to work with‘.

‘Its size perhaps marks it out – there’ll always be someone appropriate for the task at hand. Catherine McAleavey has real gravitas, huge experience and a great manner with clients. Rhoddy Voremberg – male version of the above! Isabel Paintin – very engaged and clever, really nice to work with. Have also enjoyed working recently (on a short matter) with Sonal Shah‘.

‘The team is very responsive and pleasant to deal with. The lawyers make it a priority to understand a client’s needs and meet their expectations as to quality and speed of services. Alexandra Hollingshead stands out for being very hands-on and user friendly‘.

‘Working with the private client team at Farrer & Co, you can expect a highly professional, worldly knowledgeable and plain speaking approach, a team who are happy and experienced in working alongside other professionals wherever required. My experience is of working with Rachel Mainwaring-Taylor and Richard McDermott in particular has added significant value to both my knowledge of the work they do and how they help resolve complex matters in a simple and easy to understand way‘.

‘Good balanced team in the private client sector. Good partner support such as Bryony Cove and Sarah Von Schmidt. Nicola Pomfret is a stand out associate. Russell Cohen: a brilliant lawyer who is at the same time personable‘.

Forsters LLP

Under the leadership of Xavier Nicholas the team at Forsters LLP advises a broad range of domestic and international clients in the HNW and UNHW sphere with particular strength in advising international and multi-generational families on complex cross-border issues. Nicholas is adept at advising wealthy families on a range of matters, including family trusts, regulatory issues and tax residence matters, and also works closely with the real estate team to advise clients on the tax implications of UK property ownership and investment. Catharine Bell is another known name for her work on wealth structuring, family governance and advice to family offices. Carole Cook is also a key figure who is particularly strong at advising entrepreneurs. Nicholas Jacob advises many UNHW Asian families, while Anthony Thompson is well-regarded for his work with Middle Eastern UNHW clients. Rupert Mead is recognised for his work on rural property and landed estate matters. Patricia BoonJeremy Robertson and George Mitchell have been promoted to the partnership. 'Each person is exceptionally experienced and committed to doing the best for the client, and to thinking constructively and around issues in order to provide a solution.'

Practice head(s):

Xavier Nicholas

Other key lawyers:

Catharine Bell; Carole Cook; Nicholas Jacob; Anthony Thompson; Rupert Mead; Kelly Noel Smith;Catherine Hill ; Emma White ;Guy Abrahams ;Daniel Ugur ; Patricia Boon; Jeremy Robertson; George Mitchell

Testimonials

‘Great quality technical people but with a sense of humour/human element. Again – no huge ego in any of the team members and this comes from the top down through Anthony Thompson and Nick Jacob. They are unstuffy and really fun to deal with but also technically brilliant’.

‘The knowledge, accessibility and responsiveness of the team instils a great deal of confidence to refer clients, who are always very positive about their experiences of dealing with the team. There is some serious legal weight to the experienced team and it is exceptionally always a safe pair of hands. Nick Jacob is always a pleasure to work with – exceptionally knowledgeable whilst retaining a down to earth ability to guide clients through often finely balanced issues. Patricia Boon has developed over the years from a trusted associate to an excellent partner in her field. An excellent technical mind, she is approachable yet professional‘.

‘Guy Abrahams – very friendly, good to work with, collaborative, excellent knowledge. Rupert Mead – his trust knowledge is exceptional and he is also pragmatic in his approach so I have total trust in him. Kelly Noel Smith – genuinely cares about her clients’.

‘Every person I have engaged with at Forsters has been collaborative, dynamic, proactive and a pleasure to work with. As a fellow professional, I value hugely the team mindset and enjoy working with Forsters knowing that our clients are receiving the very best, combined advice. Catherine Hill is an exceptional lawyer, inspiring confidence in her colleagues and clients due to her deep technical expertise and pragmatic approach to advice. Jeremy Robertson is a team player who consistently keeps his clients’ best interests at the centre of what he does. He is both an expert in his field and an expert relationship builder which makes him a fantastic individual to work with as a fellow professional adviser‘.

‘Emma White & George Mitchell are the main partners who I work with and are both excellent. They have done a sterling job in developing their profile in the US/UK market‘.

‘Dependable, commercial and very approachable. Experienced both in onshore and offshore trust law matters. Always on hand to provide practical guidance or information when relatively routine administrative queries arise on trust structures. Catharine Bell is my immediate go to person when needing advice on English trust law matters. Highly responsive and dependable who will consistently provide clear and commercially minded advice. Catharine’s experience of working in Jersey and her familiarity with Jersey trust law and doing business in Jersey has proved invaluable‘.

The team has depth of knowledge across all areas of private client tax work, including UK, offshore and trusts. Daniel Ugur – extremely thorough, clever and very practical in his advice. Patricia Boon is a real rising star‘.

‘The team at Forsters provides an exceptional service, and provides great expertise in a vast range of services. The team I have dealt with in the private client sector had a great understanding of the clients when it came to a restructuring of an offshore structure for UK clients. The individuals I have dealt with at Forsters are extremely knowledgeable and most importantly approachable. Transactions are dealt with in a well structured manner’.

Macfarlanes LLP

Under the leadership of Piers Barclay the group at Macfarlanes LLP provides comprehensive advice to clients across all aspects of private client, including bespoke tax advice, trust and succession planning as well as advising on the administration of estates, philanthropy and contentious trusts and property matters. It is skilled at advising high-net-worth clients with assets, business interests and families across multiple jurisdictions. Barclay has a wide-ranging tax and trusts practice with a significant number of Middle Eastern and Greek clients. Jonathan Conder advises on a whole host of issues, with strong experience in advising business owners who have combined personal and corporate law needs as well as helping clients with their large-scale philanthropic aims. Oliver Court has a large family office client base. Charles Gothard has spent considerable time in  Switzerland developing relationships with key intermediaries such as private banks, trust companies and foreign lawyers. ‘Quality shines throughout the team.

Practice head(s):

Piers Barclay

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Conder; Charles Gothard; Edward Reed; Oliver Court; Nicholas Harries; Isobel Morton; Jennifer Smithson; Sebastian Prichard Jones; Mark Hunter; Richard Giangrande; Charlie Maydon Grace

Testimonials

‘The Macfarlanes private client team is extraordinary.  The lawyers have a depth of knowledge that is unmatched and it is a pleasure to collaborate with as part of a team. One of the terrific things about working with Macfarlanes is that different members of the practice have different areas in which they shine, including a knowledge of various other jurisdictions.  In addition, they always step up when a new matter arises that has a short deadline‘.

‘Oliver Court is knowledgeable, particularly in the area of US-UK planning, and is a pleasure to work with.  He is able to explain complex cross-border planning matters in a client-friendly way. Jennifer Smithson also has an impressive knowledge of US-UK planning as well as fiduciary matters. Jennifer is always ready and able to help, embracing even the most pressing and complex matters‘.

Piers Barclay is a true leader, not only in his field but for the group more generally. Clients adore Piers and he is able to handle the most difficult of personalities. Nicholas Harries is always a pleasure to work with, no matter the complexity or number of jurisdictions involved. He is incredibly smart and able to handle the most difficult matters with patience and grace‘.

They are superb for both (1) personal tax, trusts and probate and (2) contentious trusts and probate . I and others at my firm have worked with a number of the lawyers at Macfarlanes for many years. We involve them in our most significant matters, for clients with assets usually in the billions of dollars or pounds. We find all of their partners with whom we have worked to be of the highest quality. They are always incredibly responsive, are leaders in the field, provide sophisticated, nuanced advice and have great depth‘.

I have worked with several of the partners on client matters over the years and have found all of them to be excellent. Moreover, I have consistently found the associates to be extremely impressive. On the personal tax, trust and probate side I have worked the most with, and think extremely highly of partners Sebastian Prichard Jones, Jon Conder, Piers Barclay, Charles Gothard, Oliver Court, Isobel Morton, Mark Hunter and senior solicitor Charlie Maydon Grace. Macfarlanes has extraordinary depth, as each of these partners is a superb lawyer, extremely knowledgeable, dedicated and hardworking, sophisticated in his or her practice and displays valuable judgement and keen insight‘.

‘The lawyers at Macfarlanes are a delight to work with. For example, I regularly recommend Sebastian Prichard Jones (senior partner of the firm) and other partners to important clients and they invariably thank me‘.

I consider Macfarlanes to be the “Oxbridge” of the private law world and am always highly impressed with them. I have recently been working with Jon Conder on a big international trust planning case for a young heiress. This is a complicated cross-jurisdictional matter and he has done an amazing job‘.

‘The best in the industry.  Jenny Smithson – simply excellent.  Clients love her and her attention to detail is second to none. Richard Giangrande – well respected and technically brilliant. Nicholas Harries – experienced practitioner with gravitas and great to work with’.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP is renowned for its work in the private wealth arena with its specialist focus on complex international and cross-border estate planning and succession planning for UHNW clients. Clients include foreign royalty, English aristocracy, entrepreneurs, traditionally wealthy families, trustees and private banks. These clients have assets that include listed and privately owned companies, race horses, a major football club, works of art and investment portfolios of significant value. Head of team is Jennifer Chambers, who advises clients from around the world on succession and estate planning. Clare Maurice advises trustees, beneficiaries, family offices and other trust companies and private banks on all aspects of trust law, estate planning and personal taxation. Ceris Gardner is highly regarded for her work with UK and non-UK domiciled and resident individuals and families on UK and international tax and succession matters. Emma-Jane Weider has a broad range of private wealth expertise. Jennifer Emms has been promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Chambers

Other key lawyers:

Clare Maurice; Ceris Gardner; Emma-Jane Weider; Fiona Poole ;Paul Whitehead ; Jennifer Emms

Testimonials

‘Jennifer Chambers – great technically but really great client service and manner. She is someone who quickly gains her clients’ trust and the trust of the wider private client community‘.

‘MTG specialises in tax and estate planning for high net worth families and trusts. The lawyers deliver precisely what it says on the tin. Up to date, clear and directly relevant advice on these subjects, but always understanding and placing the advice in the overall context. Very highly recommended indeed for this’.

‘Emma Jane Weider is outstanding, both in her technical knowledge and her ability to deliver advice clearly and comprehensibly. She reduces difficult tax concepts into understandable advice. Her attention and delivery are both outstanding. Definitely a go-to personal and trusts tax adviser‘.

‘The team is knowledgeable and leaders in the private client field. There are some outstanding individuals and the breadth and depth of the areas covered provides comfort to clients that Maurice Turnor Gardner is in effect a full service private client law firm. In particular I have found Ceris Gardner to be pragmatic, resourceful and considered but most of all someone who has real empathy for the clients’ requirements and who provides a listening ear on the one hand and firm challenge and/or guidance on the other‘.

Strong technical ability. Dedication to its areas of practice‘.

‘Good client service and technical skills. Fiona Poole‘.

‘MTG as a whole has impressed me enormously as a firm with a full complement to cover all aspects of the trust world I inhabit which is ever more complex. I have been delighted with advice on many different tax complexities I’ve grappled with (from Paul Whitehead). What has been especially comforting is the symbiotic way each of the practices works together and communicates and I have always been confident that I have all angles covered, all t’s crossed and i’s dotted’.

‘Paul Whitehead – Paul is simply brilliant. His ability to translate complex tax matters is unsurpassed to my mind. He has a practical approach and will always ensure that all angles are considered. A very safe, practical pair of hands. I enjoy working with Paul, have a number of active cases and cannot recommend him highly enough’.

Key clients

Former director of Kid’s Company

Work highlights

  • Advised the former director of Kids Company in the context of directors’ disqualification proceedings issued against him on the basis of incompetence during his directorship of a prominent children’s charity, which went into insolvent liquidation in August 2015. The Official Receiver brought a court action against those who managed the charity and sought to disqualify him and his co-trustees from acting as directors for a number of years. The judge concluded that disqualification would have been ‘wholly unwarranted’.

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Mishcon de Reya LLP has a sophisticated client base of wealthy UK and international individuals, families, trustees and corporates. 'The firm as a whole engenders confidence and trust in high ranking clients and intermediaries alike.' Head of department Andrew Goldstone frequently advises on residence and domicile issues in addition to philanthropy and the establishment of charitable trusts. Goldstone is also adept at advising on issues such as business investment relief and the taxation of offshore trusts. Patrick Harney is also highly recommended and has a particular specialism in US-UK and UK-Irish cross-border tax advice. Filippo Noseda is a dual-qualified English solicitor and Swiss lawyer. Kassim Meghjee is another key figure, along with Charlie Sosna who has a particular focus on China and the Far East. 'The partners are entrepreneurial in their approach, they are free-thinking and have a depth of experience that is unmatched in the market.'

Practice head(s):

Andrew Goldstone

Other key lawyers:

Patrick Harney; Filippo Noseda; Kassim Meghjee; Charlie Sosna; Martin Davies; Nicola Simmons

Testimonials

‘A stand out private client team that is highly respected for delivering the best results for its clients. I have worked with Andrew Goldstone and Charlie Sosna – both technically excellent and practical with their advice.  Andrew and Charlie are seen as true trusted advisors for their clients‘.

‘The team is unique in its unrivalled ability to advise on both personal and corporate tax issues, and manage multiple issues contemporaneously. Its understanding in both areas, as well as its experience with international matters, have been incredibly helpful in spotting issues, and (importantly) resolving them pragmatically and effectively. I predominantly work with Kassim Meghee and Nicola Simmons who are both excellent lawyers. Kassim provides straightforward and considered advice, clearly understanding the client’s needs and concerns. Nicola is highly approachable, knowledgeable and keenly interested in her areas of tax expertise’.

Mishcon has a fierce relationship within the private client sector, which is well deserved. The quality of its client base is fantastic and its entrepreneurial approach is fascinating to observe. Patrick Harney is one of the leading UK practitioners with a US focus.  He will, I’m sure, develop a very strong practice and team in this area. Mischcon will be a fantastic environment for him to continue to flourish‘.

‘Excellent team, with a real campaigning approach to key issues, especially on cross-border information exchange‘.

‘A “one stop shop” in the real sense. The different teams of specialists work cohesively to ensure that the client obtains the best advice and support. The accessibility to the engagement partner, Kassim Meghhjee, is of importance. This was a great feature. We dealt with Nicola Simmons. A great individual who is a strategist and with a great logical mind. She is able to assimilate the intricacies of what is required and create a coherent structured plan for implementation. The ability to take charge and direct from the top is a great asset‘.

Martin Davies heads a dynamic Middle East group of top-notch private client advisors at the firm, providing structuring and taxation advice to the different generations of UHNW international families across the spectrum of their affairs and investments. He is a consummate all round trusted adviser who covers all bases in strategic wealth planning, private capital and clients’ global affairs. A true lateral thinker and problem solver possessed of great interpersonal and “soft” skills. He is peerless in his field with regard to advising Middle Eastern Royal families and he is also the go-to lawyer in London for the merchant trading families of Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf region. His understanding of the region’s nuances are second-to-none. His experience and expertise in offshore structuring for his clients is highly respected by not only the leading families from the Gulf but also from an ever expanding list of global UHNW individuals‘.

Mishcon de Reya continues to go from strength to strength. The team is recognised and admired for both its domestic expertise and its highly respected international private client practice – 75% of the firm’s clients have an international flavour with a large number of global families in the Mishcon stable. They are leaders in high profile litigation, structuring and reputational matters and their clients rely on their deep knowledge and technical expertise in multi-jurisdictional matters. Innovative and impressive at all levels, the service is top-notch and it continues to be a rewarding experience to work with them in all private client matters‘.

‘The individuals who work in this area do so in a highly collegiate manner with other colleagues to ensure that clients’ needs are met and interests protected. They are accessible, responsive and commercially very astute.  They are focused and offer perceptive strategic and tactical advice. Combining finely tuned diplomatic skills, strategic vision and a keen attention to detail across the full spectrum of technical disciplines enables Martin Davies to advise leading families on complex and sensitive issues. His personal charm and modesty doubled with a steely determination to achieve the best outcome for clients make him a highly effective adviser even in the most challenging of situations‘.

Key clients

Jenny, The Accidental American

Lady Gloria, late Dowager Countess Bathurst (1927-2018)

Work highlights

  • Advised Jenny, The Accidental American (Mandatory Disclosure Regime case) – its work included fundamental issues relating to the ownership and processing of data by government bodies. The team has filed several claims and complaints in a number of countries (UK, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg), as well as against financial institutions in connection with systems of automatic exchange of information from the EU to the US (‘FATCA’) and between non-US countries among themselves (‘CRS’).
  • Continuing with the administration of Lady Gloria Bathurst’s complex estate including circumventing various disputes which have been played out publicly in the national press in 2020.

Taylor Wessing LLP

Taylor Wessing LLP acts for many entrepreneurs advising them on their personal and business interests in addition to acting for over 70 families/individuals with net wealth of more than $1bn, eight royal families and several hundred families and individuals worth over $100m. With the 'very able' Nicholas Warr at the helm, over 80% of its clients have interests in two or more jurisdictions. It has a strong offering in the Middle East and a significant client base in Asia. It continues to advise ex-US clients on a range of private wealth matters. Key members of the first-class team are also Mark Buzzoni and Andrew Hine, in addition to Sanjvee Shah.  Murray North is well-regarded for his work in the Middle East and on US-connected projects. The firm was pleased to add Simon Phelps and Damian Bloom to its ranks from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP. It garners praise for its 'excellent client care and top quality advice'.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Warr

Other key lawyers:

Mark Buzzoni; Andrew Hine; Sanjvee Shah; Kirstie McGuigan; Murray North; Simon Phelps; Damian Bloom; Kunal Vyas ; Rachel Davison; Alexander Erskine; Ben Lister

Testimonials

‘The UK team benefits from the firm having an international network which provides a sense of security for clients with international interests. In addition, the private client team often works alongside lawyers from across other practice areas (ie real estate and corporate) which enables them to have a holistic view of a HNW client’s legal needs. This is a relatively unique offering in the market, with many other private client teams in the city operating in siloes from the rest of the firm. Nick Warr – a true leader in the field whose knowledge of complicated, international tax affairs is second to none. Nick has long been respected for his work with ultra high net worth clients, in particular those from the Middle East‘.

Taylor Wessing’s private client team has always had real strength in breadth and depth with the team comprising a number of very talented lawyers across all levels of seniority. The recent BCLP team hire is testament to Taylor Wessing’s reputation as a top firm in the private wealth sector‘.

‘Great technical ability and strength in depth. Well liked by clients and co-professionals alike. Nick Warr – very well regarded partner in the industry. I trust his judgement on matters and very much enjoy working with him. Benjamin Lister – up and coming star who is starting to develop his own practice. Very confident and capable’.

Real strength in depth, great team, top partners and good quality associates. Able to work with other service lines seamlessly. Sanjvee Shah is superb. Nick Warr is a leading private wealth lawyer with a fantastic client base. Excellent Middle East contacts‘.

‘I do feel that the depth and quality is extremely high and in all dealings, the quality of advice and support has been excellent. The team performs in a cohesive and collaborative manner and where necessary is very timely in preparing documents and responding to questions or tasks. The direct relationship with Kirstie McGuigan (partner) is excellent and she has the measure of complex relationships, excellent interpersonal skills and a keen understanding of approach and her firm’s capabilities‘.

‘A unique personal approach that is tailored to the specific client’s needs. The Taylor Wessing team also has the strength of deciphering complex matters and explaining them to clients in a simple but sophisticated manner. Kirstie McGuigan has a calming, but authoritative demeanour which engages individuals and clients. Kirstie always approaches matters with utmost care and attention to detail‘.

There is a team ethos and an appropriate allocation of resources to the client activity. The lawyers exhibit a good sense of empathy with clients and are conscious that the journey to solving the relevant problem is important as well as the solution. The private client team is modelled around Nick Warr and so the above qualities are demonstrated by him in abundance. He is ably supported by up and coming partners’.

Rachel Davison – a real rising star with a particular focus on US/UK tax matters. Rachel is very approachable and can always be relied upon to provide accessible and sound legal advice. Kunal Vyas – another rising star whose advice crosses both corporate and personal matters which can be really beneficial for clients with business interests‘.

Withers LLP

Withers LLP is 'an enormous private client powerhouse, full of really impressive lawyers'. It has one of the largest teams of US-qualified attorneys in London and has an excellent international probate team that is well placed to deal with complex cross-border issues. It acts for 70% of the individuals and families in the 2020 Sunday Times UK Rich List. Patricia Milner has significant experience in advising family businesses and landed estates on succession and capital tax issues. Christopher Groves has a particular focus on advising both UK domiciled and non-UK domiciled high-net-worth individuals on their personal, business and philanthropic activities. Dora Clarke is highly regarded for her work on all aspects of probate, succession and tax planning for both domestic and international families and family offices. Mara Monte  and Natasha Oakshett have been promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Groves; Dora Clarke

Other key lawyers:

Patricia Milner; Jeremy Arnold; Richard Cassell; Philip Munro; Ceri Vokes; Claire Harris; Charlie Tee ; Claire Harris ; Mara Monte; Natasha Oakshett

Testimonials

‘Very capable firm that covers every need a HNW/UHNW would require. Genuinely collaborative mentality means you have access to the best in Withers with contacts across all sectors‘.

The team from partners down is extremely competent, attentive and at the top of its game. Patricia Milner is a fantastic private client partner, she knows her clients very well and consistently delivers‘.

Withers is unique as the firm has advised our organisation for 20 years. The intrinsic knowledge the firm has of our organisation as a result cannot be matched by other firms. In addition to the intrinsic knowledge Withers has, one of the core strengths of the firm is its ability to render advice that is commercial and practical to implement in any given situation‘.

Continues to be a top notch firm.  I have worked with Chris Groves for years and he is of the highest order‘.

Technical strength of partners, ease of working, collaborative team based approach compared to other city lawyers. Phil Munro – very bright, extremely commercial, international practice and tremendous energy. Richard Cassell –  unparalleled experience and easy manner with clients. Charlie Tee – very even tempered and measured. Deep experience in both international and estate planning. My go to adviser for clients with cross jurisdictional estate planning considerations‘.

‘The private client team at Withers always goes the extra distance for client deliveries and services. Over the difficult last year I have been impressed with the uninterrupted service offering and the availability of the team throughout the period. Claire Harris is a very approachable and diligent adviser who shows great attention to detail and care for each client and their circumstances‘.

The breadth of its international offices is unusually wide and includes some interesting niche outposts that means it has access to equally interesting clients. Chris Groves – hugely impressive, great grasp of the detail on complicated cross-border projects. Charlie Tee – a wonderful lawyer, technically excellent of course but also really takes the time to understand his clients’ needs and priorities. Very good on the more contentious side too. Phil Munro – intellectually curious and quick to understand new areas of law and ways of helping his clients. Mara Monte – very sophisticated and good with clients‘.

Very thoughtful, all in it for the client, exceptionally reliable’.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie continues to enjoy a steady flow of instructions from clients in the Middle East. It has particular expertise in advising ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families and those international clients who are seeking UK family office advice. Ashley Crossley heads the team and is well-regarded for his work on cross-border tax and trust structuring, in addition to asset protection, multi-jurisdictional investment structures and all other aspects of trust work. He has particular experience of establishing private trust companies and advising on international asset holding structures, family offices and tax-efficient venture capital structures. In addition he regularly advises both clients and governmental organisations on OECD compliance and exchange of information.

Practice head(s):

Ashley Crossley

Testimonials

The Baker McKenzie private client – personal tax, trusts and probate practice is exceptional in its depth of knowledge of relevant issues across the team as well as its responsiveness to clients and other advisors alike. These strengths together with its unparalleled international experience make it stand out in the sector. The individual team members are knowledgeable, experienced and responsive and willing to collaborate to ensure the optimum result is achieved. Stand out member of the team is Ashley Crossley.

One of the firm’s strengths is diversity and team support. There is no issue that is thrown at them they cannot field. 

The individuals that I work with are proactive and very responsive to client demands and needs. They have a firm grasp of the matters in hand and understand the culture of the clients as well as the need to balance the advice with the fiduciary‘.

Advice is always in the format we want – it’s clear and  lawyers are available to discuss and willing to have an initial call free of charge – approachable, knowledgeable‘.

BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans continues to act for UK and international private clients, their trustees and family offices. The versatile team that is led by Alastair Collett  advises on estate planning, succession law, wills and the administration of estates. It is also adept at advising entrepreneurs and advising on the structuring and co-ordination of the affairs of international families. The practice frequently advises on the structuring of real estate assets too. Other strengths lie in providing regulatory law advice in terms of compliance with a whole raft of reporting regimes. Senior partner Helen Ratcliffe is highly rated. Simon Weil left the firm to join Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Collett

Other key lawyers:

Helen Ratcliffe; Hugo Smith; Judith Millar; Jonathan Colclough

Testimonials

‘I work with one specific team and have done so over many years. The members of the team are experts in their fields, very friendly and professional. Hugo Smith is approachable, helpful and very knowledgeable in relation to the general private client matters we deal with. Fees are reasonable‘.

‘Great team and very responsive and really gets to understand the clients’ needs and offers dynamic solutions. I work with Judith Millar who is an outstanding private client partner. Judith is extremely knowledgeable but is able to distil that knowledge to tailor each client’s circumstances. She is warm and sympathetic and takes time to get to know clients to offer tailored advice‘.

‘Jonathan Colclough is my primary contact at the team. He is exceptional and has deep international experience and expertise‘.

Boodle Hatfield LLP

Boodle Hatfield LLP specialises in complex international wealth structuring and is renowned for advising some of the largest family owned businesses and family offices in the UK and internationally on governance, risk management and wealth preservation. The group of 'clear thinkers' advises a wide range of clients from entrepreneurs to landed estates and has increasingly been advising on philanthropic projects. In addition it has been providing tax and planning advice on large art collections, as well as advising artists on legacy issues. Andrea Zavos leads the practice that promoted Eleanor Sepanski and Laurence Morgan to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Zavos

Other key lawyers:

Sue Laing; Simon Rylatt; Hayden Bailey; Sara Maccallum; Geoffrey Todd ; Salpy Kouyoumjian; Eleanor Sepanski; Laurence Morgan;Kyra Motley

Testimonials

Clients who I came across and who deal with BH have been very happy with the approachability and reactivity of the firm. Partners are accessible, revert in a timely manner and are down to earth. The different people I talk to are highly professional, cooperative and have the interest of their clients close to heart. They are very pleasant to work with as they revert quickly and collaborate well in an open and efficient way‘.

‘Boodle Hatfield has plenty of strength in depth as regards private client work. One receives a consistent good level of service from all of the fee earners. Kyra Motley has worked for several HNW clients from the Middle East for many years and has an excellent understanding of that region. Laurence Morgan, who was promoted to partner, is a good all round private client lawyer and a rising star‘.

‘The partners are close to the client and hands on which is exactly what we as a client want. Boodle Hatfield has a long term view and we value it as a partner rather than a service provider. Hayden Bailey and Laurence Morgan are exceptional professionals in their respective fields. We are used to receiving short and precise advice giving us the full picture of the situation sometimes at very short notice. Also, it is very important that you can think together with these individuals (use them as sparring partners) and use their wide knowledge to the fullest during meetings’.

They are very clear from the beginning about costs, speak plain, clear, English away from jargon, constantly hold conference calls for updating and questioning, so not only via emails. Kyra Motley is amazing to work with, have been referring potential clients without hesitation to Kyra‘.

‘Boodle Hatfield has a strong history in the private client market and works for many well known clients. It is able to bring its wide-ranging knowledge and experience forward to support clients. In an area like personal tax and trusts, it is vital to have knowledge, experience and an absolute attention to detail: Boodle is incredibly strong on this. Hayden Bailey is the lead partner and has really helped us understand the nuances of the trust structures and the key areas we need to be aware of. He is very responsive and gives precise, high quality advice. He has been very understanding of our position during 2020 – and worked hard to support us in a way that has worked best for us: not something that is seen in all advisory firms‘.

‘This venerable practice successfully serves a diverse client base, from ancient landed families to globally oriented entrepreneurs, providing them with a unique toolbox of experience. The lawyers have a deep understanding of their clientele – often over several generations – and can present tax and estate solutions that are individually tailored to each particular situation and the client’s personal preferences. This is not a “one size fits all” practice. The partners are straightforward, down-to-earth and comfortable addressing a broad range of private client issues involving multiple jurisdictions. Geoffrey Todd, in particular, is knowledgeable and personable. He also has the intellectual flexibility to make him an effective collaborator in cross-border planning‘.

‘Boodle Hatfield has a fantastic team, although I deal mainly with Salpy Kouyoumjian. The team is always very helpful and has a fantastic understanding of a client’s culture – particularly in the Middle East. Salpy Kouyoumjian is, to my mind, the best private client lawyer in London. She is super-knowledgeable, very easy and fun to work with and always very helpful’.

‘The team is dynamic and provides clear, accurate and very timely advice. I have complete confidence that if I recommend a client to use BH, that client will receive A1 advice from the BH team. Responsive, passionate and commercial in the advice that they give and solutions that they suggest. I am always impressed with Kyra Motley and the way that she cuts straight through to the heart of an issue and provides the client with practical and clear advice that is focused on addressing and resolving the client’s particular needs‘.

Edwin Coe LLP

Edwin Coe LLP has a thriving private client department with three experienced partners at the helm -  Alison BroadberryDavid Goepel and Sean Bannister. It has strong relationships with a number of leading wealth management organisations in the UK and internationally and frequently advises on high-value and complex cross-jurisdictional estates. Goepel is the lead international partner who has particular experience in the Middle East, South East Asia and on  US/UK estate planning.  The group  is particularly skilled at helping business owners, entrepreneurs and senior executives and also acts on a significant number of intestate estates. It is praised for its 'platinum-standard technical knowledge and attention to detail, combined with a highly personable relationship with the clients'.

Practice head(s):

Alison Broadberry (Head of Private Client); David Goepel (Head of Charities and Philanthropy); Sean Bannister (Head of Tax)

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Barnett; Ben Harle

Testimonials

David Goepel is excellent technically, super with clients and a calm and effective negotiator. He is ably assisted by Ben Harle (senior associate) who is a rising star in private client work‘.

‘First class trust, probate and private client tax expertise; specialised knowledge of the complexities of mass marketed insurance based products. Alison Broadberry brings wide experience and a thorough knowledge of the personal and tax issues confronting private clients. She doesn’t just tell you what the law is, but uses this knowledge and experience to recommend a sensible and business-like course of action‘.

‘The lawyers think outside the box rather than simply reciting the law back to you. Alison Broadberry and David Goepel – they give thoughtful, insightful answers to questions rather than generic answers‘.

David Goepel – partner – I have worked with David for over 10 years on a very regular basis. He knows his subject inside out and he is able to insource excellent advisers either internally from E. Coe or externally, where necessary. He is an extremely agreeable person and communicator. Ben Harle – associate. Ben, who I have worked with regularly for the past 3 years, is an extremely able and agreeable young solicitor who is going places‘.

David Goepel is best of the best. Every client receives not just the expertise of one of the best professionals in the sector, but 100% dedication to his or her interests. Ben Harle is proving himself an excellent senior associate with stellar levels of client satisfaction‘.

‘Excellent client handling skills.  Alison Broadberry and Ben Harle. All have been accessible, caring and provide full explanations of what they are doing in a way which is easily understood by executors with no knowledge or understanding of English law‘.

‘Matthew Barnett is exceptionally knowledgeable and able to communicate complex advice in a way that is understandable and practical. Matthew is down to earth, approachable and clients and colleagues love him’.

One of the best teams of which most people have never heard. Alison Broadberry is endeavouring to shine the deserved spotlight on this team, which has great quality, ability and charisma at all levels. Alison Broadberry – indefatigable, effervescent and delightful, Alison is utterly committed to providing an exceptional service to her clients. Ben Harle – a rising star. Thoughtful, clear and concise – exactly what you need in a private client lawyer‘.

Key clients

St. James’s Place

Hoopers

Hunters Law LLP

Hunters Law LLP has considerable experience in the administration of complex estates, the re-sealing of foreign grants of probate and post-death tax planning in addition to court of protection work. Lucinda Tite and Wilfrid Vernor-Miles co-lead the team that is also skilled at advising on international matters which are frequently high-value. It has an extensive landed estate practice where the assets are frequently held through complex structures involving partnerships, companies and trusts. Vernor-Miles advises on all aspects of international succession planning and advises a broad range of UK and offshore families, trusts and individuals.

Practice head(s):

Lucinda Tite; Wilfrid Vernor-Miles

Other key lawyers:

Mary Elliott; Julia Richards; Alexandra Sarkis

Testimonials

My experience of the Hunters private client team is one of continued excellence and thoroughness. Alexandra Sarkis is a highly competent and thorough lawyer with many years’ experience – which shows. I have worked with her in regards to a highly complex estate where she balances the interests of the trust, the recipient charity, as well as the professionals involved, in processing the estate administration (foreign lawyers, accountants and bankers). What’s more, she is directional, by which I mean she knows her field of practice and the laws involved in that well enough to cut through distracting information/opinions and to go straight to the key points that need addressing‘.

Good solid and reliable legal practice with very good private client team. Give robust advice in a timely and proactive manner. I work with Mary Elliott (partner) who is very accomplished. Mary is very empathetic and gives timely and value for money advice‘.

The Hunters team comprises both experience and efficiency. Billing arrangements have been clear and simple and within the estimates provided. Both the partner involved and the associate allocated have been extremely effective. Discussion of options available to me as an executor has been full and informative. When action has been decided on, the execution has been extremely efficient. On occasions when either member of the team assigned to us has been absent, the other has always stepped up to ensure continuity of service. Overall the right balance has been struck between the requirements of the law, the complexities of the family and the desire of the executors to expedite the administration of the estate’.

‘Hunters’ history, quality of service and quality of client in the UK is second to none. The firm does not appear to rest and rely on this though. There are no weak divisions at Hunters but the private client, charity, property and estate planning/services divisions are exceptional. Hunters’ strength is not in its long history. It is the other way round. That long history was made possible by its strength in services, capabilities and impeccable reputation‘.

The stand out partner is Wilfrid Vernor-Miles. His sharp legal mind complements his affable character. Attention to detail, industry knowledge and delivery of service ensures top quality execution at a price well worth paying. There are more and less aggressive lawyers around the UK but none strike the correct balance of approach required for each individual case/project quite like Wilfrid’.

One of the best private client firms around. Great calibre of people, outstanding presence in high value estates and trusts. Very long-standing but better than ever as the merger with May, May and Merrimans has bedded in over the years. Recommended without hesitation or qualification. Key contact recently is Julia Richards. She is a consummate private client solicitor well capable of handing the most complex trust and estates. Thoroughly recommended‘.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell is best known for its complex international tax and trusts estate work for clients who are predominantly high-net-worth individuals, families, trustees and family offices. It advises clients from all over the world who are entrepreneurs, business owners, owner-managed businesses and family-owned businesses. Another core area of expertise is advising senior executives and others such as hedge fund managers with complex remuneration structures. Alex Ruffel has a significant practice acting for clients based in the Gulf region and Eastern Europe and acting for trustees and wealth advisors who are based in the Channel Islands, Switzerland and Dubai in particular. Ruffel also acts for several crypto-currency entrepreneurs in respect of tax and succession matters. Nick Rucker is now at Ince.

Practice head(s):

Alex Ruffel – Head of London; Paula Myers – National Head

Other key lawyers:

Ashley Hill; George Merrylees

Testimonials

Above all I find its approach is pragmatic which is very much appreciated in the increasingly technical environment we have to operate in. The implementation of detailed planning is mapped out in advance and monitored and updated continuously by the team so that everyone keeps on track and knows what is required of them’.

‘I have dealt with Alex Ruffel for many years. Her approach and the quality of her advice has been consistent. She is easy to work with and always clear in her advice. She is empathetic with clients and other advisers and clearly has their respect and they value her counsel‘.

Alex Ruffel is a fantastic advisor. Very hands-on and experienced. One of my favourite tax and private client advisors in the UK. Very savvy’.

‘Ashley Hill, a partner in private clients is an exceptional tax adviser, being both technical and highly commercial in his solutions. Clients, and particularly those that could be classed as “tricky” are always happy to work with Ashley as he is able to cut through the complexity with straightforward language whilst also being highly personable and approachable. Ashley is the reason I have referred clients to Irwin Mitchell‘.

Great services, team very knowledgeable, reactive and pragmatic with respect to billing and budget relevant to the matters submitted. Mostly work with George Merrylees. George is a very good lawyer and advisor. He has great knowledge of UK tax law and international tax principles. His advice is to the point and very pragmatic. He speaks French very well which helps a lot with French clients when they are not so fluent in English, for explaining some aspects in their national language. George and his team are very reactive and available. A pleasure to work with them!‘.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP represents multibillion-dollar-net-worth families, structures and fiduciaries from around the world. The team specialises in complex cross-border matters. Its London team includes US-qualified lawyers who have expertise in US trusts, estate planning and tax. It acts for ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families, some of them in the Top 20 on the Sunday Times rich list, and some of the wealthiest people on the Forbes 100 billionaires list. Simon Goldring attracts a diverse client base of very wealthy individuals, family offices, entrepreneurs and multinational corporates both in the UK and internationally. Astrid Owen has immense cross-border expertise. Andrew Vergunst is another key figure and he continues to attract clients with significant financial interests in Africa.

Practice head(s):

Simon Goldring (Private Wealth Law); Ziva Robertson (Private Wealth Disputes)

Other key lawyers:

Astrid Owen; Andrew Vergunst; Simon Gibb

Testimonials

‘Good technical skills and client engagement. Simon Goldring is an excellent client partner – very steady and thoughtful. Clever‘.

Very strong technically and great strength in depth. Simon Goldring, Simon Gibb and Astrid Owen‘.

‘Global reach in tax and trust structuring is invaluable in family HNW cases.  Astrid Owen – phenomenal experience in UK, US and French tax.  Diligent and pragmatic.  Fun to work with‘.

‘Team is technically good. Simon Goldring is a stand-out’.

‘The access to cross-border advice makes the team a one-stop solution for clients with multiple jurisdictions to consider. The main quality which I value is the ability to manage a fairly large team of advisors from different jurisdictions and to pick up on issues which could arise in one jurisdiction as a result of advice received from another jurisdiction. Stand-out individuals: Andrew Vergunst (private client); Simon Gibbs (trusts)‘.

‘Readily available – pragmatic – international planning / multi-jurisdictional / cross-border skills. Partners directly involved in work. Astrid Owen – technically strong, commercial, pragmatic, proactive‘.

Payne Hicks Beach LLP

Payne Hicks Beach LLP advises high-net-worth clients from the UK and internationally (many of its clients feature in the Sunday Times Rich List, Forbes 400 and the Arabian Business Rich List). It has an interesting mix of domestic and international work, with continued instructions from Scandinavia and the Middle East in particular. Other key focus areas include advising some of the UK’s oldest and largest landed estates. It also has extensive experience of advising on the tax aspects of nuptial agreements and the structuring of divorce settlements. Rosamond McDowell leads the department that includes Robert BrodrickFrederick Bjørn,  Basil Dixon and Martin Paisner.

Practice head(s):

Rosamond McDowell

Other key lawyers:

Robert Brodrick; Frederick Bjørn; Basil Dixon; Martin Paisner; James Bacon; Clare Hetherington; Emily Woods; Clarissa Ferguson

Testimonials

‘Simply one of the smartest private client firms there is, as discreetly understated as one would expect, but with experience and efficiency second to none. Rosamond McDowell: her clients adore her not only for always getting them to where they need to be but also for an unrivalled personal touch and helping them through what can be the most difficult of times. James Bacon: genial, charming yet uncompromisingly efficient. Emily Woods: an up-and-coming star who will find the needle in the haystack required to unlock a case‘.

‘Small practice so they all know each other. Rosamund McDowell – very sensible, covers a lot of territory‘.

‘Highly responsive / top of their game / all aspects works well. Frederick Bjorn –  his personality is well suited for its specialism and he likes to “get the job done, but get it done properly”. Well suited to dealing with self-made entrepreneurs. Good advisor and also trusted – he can intuit needs and use his experience to ensure important decisions are well made and well executed‘.

The PHB team is able to advise and manage the full spectrum of the ultra high net worth’s private client legal requirements. Its approachability and relationship building is its USP. The team actively engages in the client relationships and looks holistically at the client’s wider interests in delivering advice which covers cross-generational planning‘.

Basil Dixon – delivers top quality advice with energy and passion. Clare Hetherington – she is a superstar of the future’.

‘As a client you very much feel the personal touch is given by the team, which is deeply appreciated during these challenging times. The lawyers have a deep knowledge within the area they work and can often think outside the box when offering guidance on key matters. The team is highly professional and is able to assist on many different workstreams at any one time, always giving relevant and helpful advice. The two individuals I work closely with are Basil Dixon and Clare Hetherington, both of whom work tirelessly to deliver the unique guidance/support needed. They are both very personable people who understand the pressures and complexity of the workstreams and are always available to the client as and when needed‘.

‘Rolls-Royce, gold-standard, all the cliches fit exactly. No estate is too problematic, no tax issue too complex. A wealth of ability and expertise combined with a – now – old-fashioned dedication to client service. If trusts and estates were a martial art, then partner James Bacon would be a black-belt. He has a deep knowledge and expertise in the area, while showing a perfect affinity for his clientele. Senior associates Clarissa Fergusson and Emily Woods provide partner-level service of the highest order, capably handling the most difficult matters (and clients, though of course their clients are never difficult)‘.

‘Basil Dixon is a highly capable, thorough solicitor and tax partner. He weighs matters very carefully but is also decisive and has both common sense and judgement. He has a sound knowledge of complex tax legislation on trusts. There are few partners among the best personal tax firms that are his equal‘.

Weightmans

RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP has an old and established private wealth team in London with Jonathan Shankland at the helm. It has ‘great depth in its team with excellent leadership from the top. The lawyers are experts at what they do, and the customer service is always outstanding’.  It acts for a whole host of renowned individuals and household names across multiple jurisdictions.  Some of its clients are royalty, aristocracy, sports stars and hedge fund managers. The practice is well-equipped to advise on international wills and estate planning, as well as trust and international trust matters. It is also skilled at advising on the taxation of UK residential property and landed estate and heritage matters.  Many of its clients have substantial collections of art, antiques and chattels. Arshoo Singh joined the team from Blake Morgan LLP while Victoria Fairley recently moved to Cripps.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Shankland

Other key lawyers:

Arshoo Singh; Patrick Malone; Caroline Doyle

Testimonials

The strength of the firm is in the people, who are very approachable and inspire confidence. They have remained contactable throughout lockdown and always respond quickly. I have been especially impressed by their commitment to their clients, and advocacy for them. Jonathan Shankland is trustworthy, client focused and diligent‘.

‘The company is a professional, highly skilled operation with excellent staff. Always available to take calls, even through the Covid period.  The practice is top drawer and you pay in life for the best. Our main contact is Jonathan Shankland who is an excellent solicitor with a strong back up team. I would highly recommend him‘.

‘A strong overall team with excellent levels of client service. Jonathan Shankland is a pleasure to work with. A problem solver and easy to do business with, he is responsive and excellent at disseminating issues in a manner that is easy for clients to absorb‘.

Jon Shankland has developed the international private client team, which has been an important development in clarifying its specific offering to the UK res/non-dom market. Jon Shankland is an excellent practitioner and is very focused on growing his team. He has very strong technical ability but also is able to build successful relationships with clients based on practical considered advice’.

‘Fantastic team. Great strength and depth. Aware of current issues around the globe and able to deal with them. Able to pick up a complicated sanctions related issue at short notice and provide a Mandarin speaker as part of the team. Superb. Jon Shankland is a standout individual – a complete star. In-depth legal knowledge but more importantly fantastic strategic brain and clarity of execution‘.

‘Market leading advice delivered on quote with pragmatic approach to follow up discussions. Approachable and without ego – Jonathan Shankland‘.

‘I have known the RLB team for many years and have known head of team Jonathan Shankland due to his reputation as a leading tax and estates lawyer. Jonathan has a very broad client base of complicated matters and the team that he has around him is brilliant, he seems to keep finding new team members that add to the offering and I am always impressed by the quality of the clients that he is acting for. The team is really well thought of in the industry and everyone has heard of Radcliffes as a private client team. They can open doors through the personal relationships that they have with wealth managers, financial planners, private banks, fiduciaries, property professionals and accountants. Due to the depth of the team there is never a private client matter that they cannot handle and with a very high degree of experience and expertise‘.

Jonathan Shankland – he is right up there as one of the best operators in the London private wealth community and he is a go to name for clients and professionals. I trust Jonathan not only because he is technically excellent in a wide range of areas both on and offshore, but because he is really approachable and down to earth – not something that can be said for many of his competitors in this relatively small private client world. As a result of his expertise and his character, that makes him and his team very attractive to clients and advisors alike. Patrick Malone is a key member of the team and also excellent, along with some really good up and coming lawyers. Caroline Doyle is a star in the making‘.

Key clients

Jersey Telecommunications

Zedra Isle of Man (Ltd) Trust Company

47 Brand Europe

JTC Group PLC (Trust & Fiduciary Company)

Executors of the Estate of Leslie Squibb Deceased and the Squibb Group Ltd

The Van Dedem Family & Estate

Findale Ltd (Offshore client company and trust structure)

HFMC Wealth Management

Westminster Wealth Management

The Executors of the Estate of Charles Jencks Deceased/Linklaters

Russell-Cooke LLP

Russell-Cooke LLP has witnessed significant growth recently with the addition of a number of new clients, including five family office clients and the lateral hire of Clare Jeffries from Goodman Derrick LLP. Christopher Salomons was promoted to the partnership. The group is well-placed, with its expertise in French succession and property matters, to help international clients and their families on all aspects of private client law. Another area of expertise includes advising on issues such as  EU succession regulation, matrimonial property regimes and family investment companies. Head of department Rebecca Fisher specialises in advising on tax and trust issues in the context of family breakdown and also advises multi-generational family businesses and entrepreneurs on succession planning matters. Consultant Richard Frimston is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Fisher

Other key lawyers:

Clare Jeffries; Christopher Salomons; Suzanne Mynors; Richard Frimston

Testimonials

The combination of Central London calibre of lawyers, without paying a Central London premium for access to those lawyers is attractive to clients. Christopher Salomons is an excellent private client solicitor.  His charming and steady demeanour is combined with a razor sharp intellect, and a pragmatic approach to solving clients’ problems‘.

‘Everyone I have dealt with at the firm has provided sensible and practical advice with the aim of solving an issue in the best way for me, rather than (occasionally even at the expense of) generating billable hours. The firm is a good mix of top tier advice without the magic circle price rates. The lawyers are able to draw on an experienced knowledge base to address more complex tax issues which gives one confidence in their ability to handle any task – big or small, and all tasks are accomplished with an equal level of gravitas, regardless of the overall project size. In a nutshell the firm makes you feel valued and secure, regardless of the complexity of the task at hand‘ .

Many of the partners I have worked with over the years have now retired, but my most recent engagement was handled by Suzanne Mynors, a senior associate. She and I genuinely enjoyed our interactions, despite the sensitive nature of some of the subject matter. I felt that her advice was reliable and well intentioned and enabled us to wrap up proceedings in an efficient timeframe, despite the restrictions imposed by the latest lockdown‘.

I recently met and instructed Rebecca Fisher to handle both my will and succession planning and found she had a great understanding and insight in this area… she actually pre-empted a number of my questions. I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending both her and Russell-Cooke‘.

Russell-Cooke has a very strong private client and tax team.  Members of the team have excellent knowledge of the law and practical experience of dealing with HMRC. Given that the firm has a good private client litigation team, this means that the private client lawyers have support if things go wrong, and are able to anticipate potential litigious issues and deal with them. The French law team means that the firm is well equipped to deal with those who hold property in France particularly but also elsewhere in Europe. Rebecca Fisher – Rebecca has in depth knowledge of capital taxes and always asks insightful but practical questions to ensure that she secures the best result for the client’.

Helpful and responsive. Attention to details‘.

High quality work without eye-watering fees.  Very pragmatic and friendly‘.

‘The team relates to clients with capacity issues as well as in cross-border matters. It is of course able to handle routine private client matters as well. The range of links that the firm has with continental lawyers makes the lawyers essential advisers for those with European continental links.  The advice is at least as good as anything you will find in, probably more expensive, firms with larger teams in central London. Richard Frimston is outstanding in cross-border matters especially when matters have civil law elements.  He has recently published a book on the Succession Regulation which is required reading for everyone in the field. Christopher Salomons is excellent at what he does and again has good links with continental lawyers.  He is capable of explaining complicated issues to clients with different legal backgrounds and is establishing himself as a leading partner not only in the firm but in the field generally‘.

Sinclair Gibson LLP

Sinclair Gibson LLP has an agile team that advises on the full array of complex issues from the establishment and ongoing administration of trusts to lifetime tax planning and family office services. It combines extensive experience in advising UK-based families and landed estates on wealth structuring and devolution planning with a specialist practice of advising international clients on multi-jurisdictional issues and cross-border estates. The group is led by Keith Bruce-Smith and Lucy Gibson, who both act as fiduciaries of substantial UK and offshore trusts and are also non-executive directors of UK companies owned by the families they advise.

Practice head(s):

Keith Bruce-Smith; Lucy Gibson

Other key lawyers:

Eleanor Walsh; Elizabeth Fordham

Testimonials

‘Sinclair Gibson is one of the key firms in the private client world – hugely respected by its peers especially for technical expertise. Its lawyers are often our first choice where independent advice is required. Keith Bruce-Smith is one of the true elder statesmen of the private client world and a superb handler of difficult clients. Associates are well trained and responsive – rising to the challenge of responsibility early in the careers‘.

‘Continuity, consideration, adaptability and looking at the whole picture. Friendly, approachable and responds to communications super fast‘.

Every part of this company is outstanding. Lucy Gibson is amazing. Her knowledge, efficiency and caring nature is exceptional. The support I received from Lucy not only for myself but for the other professional companies I use alongside Lucy is unrivalled!‘.

‘Brilliant client focus and an ability to take a step back and re-appraise even the most complex of international ownership structures and repeatedly bring “fresh” thinking to situations to improve client outcomes. Fantastic team players who have settled in brilliantly to a very established group of advisers. Keith Bruce-Smith has a wealth of experience and wisdom and has an ability to bring fresh and current thinking to a wide range of complex challenges. Keith has outstanding client care attributes, energy and enthusiasm to bring progressive solutions demonstrating outstanding value in the process‘.

Sinclair Gibson LLP is absolutely first rate in the private client practice, with deep experience and expertise in complex, multi-jurisdictional planning and litigation. All of the partners are impressive as are the associates – Lucy Gibson is a top advisor, with keen intelligence, excellent judgement built on deep experience, and a practical approach to difficult problems. She is particularly impressive in leading a team of lawyers from various jurisdictions in complex cross-border  matters and coordinating advice with leading QCs. She is experienced, knowledgeable and can juggle the complexities of various legal systems masterfully. We work with her regularly. She is a brilliant and loyal ally, and a fierce opponent‘.

‘Sinclair Gibson has excellent credentials and knowledge in this area. Being a specialist firm means that the lawyers know the area inside out, so that the service that clients receive is first rate. Both Lucy Gibson and Keith Bruce-Smith are excellent lawyers with outstanding client skills. Eleanor Walsh also really knows her stuff as well as being incredibly hardworking. They know the area inside out. They are supported by excellent associates/consultants/solicitors including Elizabeth Fordham‘.

‘Very capable and proficient private client team, with excellent partner leadership.  Keith Bruce-Smith – an outstanding non-contentious partner who is fully across all the technical trusts and tax aspects of trusteeship and trust transactions‘.

Key clients

Executors of the estate of the late Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath

Executors of the estate of the late Guy Innes-Ker, 10th Duke of Roxburghe

Work highlights

  • Advising the executors of the estate of the late Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath in relation to the administration of the significant and complex estate, which has cross-border elements, aggregable settled property and settled land with heritage exemption considerations. It involves intricate probate and tax law challenges for the firm’s specialist probate law team.
  • Advising the executors of the estate of the late Guy Innes-Ker, 10th Duke of Roxburghe in relation to the very large landed estate in Scotland (comprising a broad array of relievable, non-relievable and conditionally exempt assets, including land, investments and business interests) in relation to its devolution for the benefit of the subsequent generation while optimising the inheritance tax position arising as a result of the late Duke’s death.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood acts for UHNW individuals and family offices internationally. It predominantly acts for entrepreneurial wealth generators and has a particular focus on complex structuring with an international angle, especially where a business or corporate structure is involved. It frequently advises on governance for family businesses and related issues during the transfer of wealth to the next generation. Other strengths include advising on the UK tax treatment of international pensions. James Quarmby heads the department and has an 'incredible understanding of tax and can communicate to all levels of experience with empathy and humour'. Hugo Jenney is now a consultant.

Practice head(s):

James Quarmby

Other key lawyers:

Hugo Jenney; Emily Osborne; Alice Vink

Testimonials

‘We have extensive experience of dealing with this practice and they are extremely good at dealing with all aspects of private client matters. Its real assets are the people in the team. Emily (Osborne), James (Quarmby) and Alice (Vink) are all first rate and hugely regarded within the private client world. James is hugely knowledgeable and has formidable personal skills. James has a wonderful network and has an incredible knack of being able to condense hugely complicated advice into relatively straightforward advice. Emily has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the tax code. Her response times are excellent and I have never encountered a question which is relevant to personal or trust taxation that she does not know, or at least have a very strong idea of, what the correct answer will be. Alice has spent the last few years building her professional network and she is definitely somebody who has the potential to be a partner within the firm in the near future‘.

‘I found Emily Osborne to be one of the best tax lawyers I have come across. She is fantastic. She is very approachable, excellent at distilling complex rules and very pragmatic in her advice’.

The culture of the firm is such that everyone I have met has been approachable, friendly, professional and knowledgeable. Most importantly the advice they provide is presented clearly which is incredibly important to potential clients. James Quarmby and Emily Osborne consistently give clear, helpful, relevant advice in easy to understand terms for what is usually a complex subject matter. They are incredibly knowledgeable and I have no hesitation whatsoever in referring clients to them. I feel what makes them different from competitors is that they are not afraid to give an opinion (i.e. they don’t sit on the fence and caveat their advice) and instead they provide clarity for clients and advisers alike‘.

The SH team has a collaborative approach, working with clients and business partners to find  a solution and resolution rather than taking a more contentious stance creating high fee and time costs. Alice Vink: Very approachable and collaborative, works well on highly complex family governance structures. James Quarmby: Highly experienced and decisive, looks for solutions and moves matters along‘.

‘I find Stephenson and Harwood a most congenial practice with which to deal. I would say that the team’s main strengths are high levels of expertise and professionalism. I work mainly with James Quarmby, head of private client. James is exceptionally knowledgeable. I particularly value James’s ability to work cooperatively with other practices and professionals‘.

‘Complex issues are set out in a simple/straightforward manner such that clients can overcome the legal narrative to make decisions. Good work ethic across team. Always contactable and willing to go the extra mile for the client. Emily Osborne (partner) is excellent. She has a pragmatic/commercial approach and a real “can do” attitude. Organised, efficient, approachable, contactable and always a step ahead. Problems or unforeseen issues are navigated without any unnecessary drama to arrive at a sensible outcome‘.

‘The private client team is driven by James Quarmby who lives and breathes the legal profession and especially tax. He has close relationships with clients, enabling him to provide a highly personalised service and tailored solutions. Recommended solutions are usually straightforward – “why make it complicated”. Highly qualified and forward thinking approach. Very personable with clients and professional contacts. A person that can be trusted‘.

What is so unusual about the practice is that you get a boutique style private client advice from such a large international law firm. This means that the advice is highly personal, with partner level attention at all times, but with the reach and expertise of a major commercial law firm. So if our clients have a need for advice on, say, a build contract for a super yacht, or finance for an art collection, then they have the lawyers to do that and in many different countries. We find the fact that they can advise in so many jurisdictions to be very comforting as all of our clients have cross-border issues. Their people are highly collaborative and they actively participate in our network and always try and reciprocate with referrals of clients and intermediaries. James Quarmby is at the top of his game‘.

Druces LLP

Druces LLP remains a firm of choice for HNW wealth planning advice. Under the leadership of Robert Macro the team’s work includes not just tax and succession matters but also extends to other areas including corporate tax, financial services and real estate. It is well placed to advise its entrepreneurial clients on their personal assets but also on multi-generational legacy issues. It has expertise in advising Middle East-connected clients as Matthew Duncan is registered with the Dubai International Finance Centre. Helen Freely acts on many highly complex probates. Richard Monkcom is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Robert Macro

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Duncan; Helen Freely; Richard Monkcom; Roy Campbell ; Paul Levy; Estelle Tague

Testimonials

‘Very personalised service. Attention to detail, first time and excellent bedside manner. Very clear on fee quote and they keep to it. Matt Duncan and his team are excellent. Immediate response (1 hour) and clarity of communication is excellent. Very good on wills, LPoA and trusts expertise’.

‘People such as Robert Macro are technically very strong and have commercial acumen. I’ve also met with associates in property, litigation, employment and immigration who are also excellent and take a commercial, more economic approach without compromising quality of service’.

‘Lovely team and a very safe set of hands across the board. Combine legal knowledge with humanity, which is a rare combination in a ruthless market. Richard Monkcom and Helen Freely are each highly trusted advisors‘.

‘I have found working with Druces over the past four years very easy. They are very professional but friendly and helpful. They offer a contact, Paul Levy, who handles every issue and, if it is not his area of speciality, he knows who in the company is that expert and refers you on. He keeps in contact with you, discusses progress, and advises on the billing. Estelle Tague has helped on financial advice on the sale of a company. What has been so helpful is that they have offered mobile phone contact, I have visited one at their homes in an emergency and my son and I have had calls in the late evening and weekends. This is the service we appreciate‘.

‘Reliable, experienced and always offers solutions. Roy Campbell is principally responsible for the affairs of the family and its companies and he is very responsive with all aspects. He coordinates his team from real estate to private clients‘.

Always available, easy to contact. Fast and efficient. Estelle Tague very astute, capable and easy to talk to. Understands issues quickly and is exceptionally practical in resolving the same. Does not run up unnecessary bills as many other firms do. Highly recommended‘.

‘Amazing team, very professional, focused, driven for results, and truly care with a 24/7 approach. Matthew Duncan a leader in his field, best private client lawyer –  a true rock in any situation. During the most difficult of times he has always been there for me and my family. One of the best!’.

‘Creative team that puts the client first and always delivers a solution. Rob Macro is a superb legal mind who knows how to handle the ever-changing private client landscape with ease and provides timely solutions‘.

Key clients

Directors UK (RXM)

Vistra UK (RXM)

Kleinwort Hambros (RXM)

Harbottle & Lewis LLP

Glen Atchison heads a dynamic and ‘great‘ team at Harbottle & Lewis LLP. Clients include entrepreneurs in new disrupter industries and high-profile ‘celebrities’. The group continued to expand with the recruitment of Zoë Camp from New Quadrant Partners LTD. Atchison’s principal focus is advising UK resident and non-resident ultra-high-net-worth individuals on multifarious issues, ranging from tax-efficient international succession planning and structuring through to the use of trusts or other bespoke arrangements to trace and protect assets, increasingly with a significant international dimension. Jonathan Burt is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Glen Atchison

Other key lawyers:

Zoë Camp; Jonathan Burt; Marianne Kafena; Gary Ashford; Chris Moorcroft; Siena Gold; Caroline Rao

Testimonials

‘I find this firm to be friendly, easy to work with, calm, wise, knowledgeable, efficient, prompt in responding and, in short, very professional in providing a first class service which is just what I need‘.

‘A refreshing and vibrant team. Marianne Kafena – very experienced and a delight to work with. Chris Moorcroft -very knowledgeable and innovative. Siena Gold is bright and engaging’.

‘Approachable, very responsive and easily understood advice. Very transparent on billing and very reasonable. Very approachable, happy to explain a point until there is understanding. Quality of advice is always clear and concise‘.

‘Innovative, entrepreneurial mindset to match the clients. Collaborative and always willing to help. Gary Ashcroft – always goes the extra mile and incredibly knowledgeable on tax. Caroline Rao – strong and knowledgeable with a good client base‘.

‘It is a good private client law firm with expertise in the entertainment industry which is what I use them for. Zoe Camp a leader in the field‘.

The team at Harbottle Lewis all bring slightly different areas of expertise to the table, but seem to genuinely “get on” as individuals, which really helps them work collaboratively across the practice. The main thing that sets Harbottle apart, in my experience, is the combination of being very good, professionally and technically on the one hand and approachable on the other. They are informal and easy/straightforward to deal with, but really “know their stuff”‘.

‘Experienced team on the private client side. Jonathan Burt has both experience as an external advisor and also from the perspective of a trust company, as he worked in-house. His international exposure and connections make him a go-to lawyer‘.

‘The team is excellent and expanding rapidly, which is a testament to  its abilities in a highly competitive field. Jonathan Burt is first-rate – the perfect private client lawyer, combining technical expertise with first-rate judgement’.

Howard Kennedy LLP

Howard Kennedy LLP helps UHNW/HNW individuals, their families and advisers with their tax and estate planning. Under the leadership of Liz Palmer  clients include entrepreneurs, business owners, members of foreign royalty, artists, authors, musicians and sports professionals in the UK and overseas. The team benefits from the firm’s wider private client offering by being able to advise on other areas such as family, immigration and reputation management. In addition much of its work often involves complex multi-jurisdictional issues. John Annetts heads the administration of estates team and Simon Malkiel leads the trusts, tax and estate planning team.

Practice head(s):

Liz Palmer

Other key lawyers:

John Annetts; Simon Malkiel

Testimonials

‘Howard Kennedy’s private client team maintains an extremely high level of service to an elite and high profile client base. John Annetts, Simon Malkiel and Liz Palmer are all very knowledgeable and technically adept practitioners. They are a pleasure to work with and their client manner is exceptional’.

‘All aspects are excellent. Charming. Delightful. Expert. Easy to deal with’.

John Annetts is a highly capable lawyer, extremely knowledgeable and experienced, and has a very good manner with clients and intermediaries’.

I love working with Howard Kennedy – prompt, practical advice delivered by knowledgeable, lovely people. What more do you or your clients need! Howard Kennedy also believes in diversity. Liz Palmer has great instincts in solving complex cross-jurisdictional issues‘.

‘Strong multi-service line capability and highly personalised partner-led service. I have worked with Simon Malkiel who is incredibly personable and focused on providing practical solutions for his clients‘.

‘High quality of advice. Personal and effective service. Finds solutions to complex issues. Liz Palmer‘.

‘An excellent all round team. Liz Palmer is very capable – she is always on top of her game, calm, commercially minded and very nice’.

Kingsley Napley LLP

Kingsley Napley LLP acts for a raft of politicians, sports and media celebrities as well as business people. Head of department James Ward is a full member of STEP. Jim Sawer has strong connections in the Middle East and is a registered Wills Draftsman in the Dubai International Financial Centre’s Wills and Probate Registry - he drafts and advises on DIFC-compliant wills. Laura Harper recently joined the team from McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP and has particular experience of helping clients with US. connections. 'The whole team has a very strong focus on client service and on working together in a seamless manner'.

Practice head(s):

James Ward

Other key lawyers:

Jim Sawer; Laura Harper; Anita Gill; Joseph Austin

Testimonials

‘The team is flexible, professional and you get a sense that it does care. Always ready to help they are a source of great support for me. James Ward is someone I have a great deal of faith and trust in, easy to work with, with a depth of experience and knowledge that is invaluable. Never talks down to clients as some in the legal profession can do and client feedback is always very positive‘.

‘Practical, highly knowledgeable and excellent communication skills in regards to complex trust matters specifically generational wealth and tax planning. Jim Sawer – first class solicitor, huge depth of knowledge and experience in complicated trust structures. Extremely personable and precise on detail. Highly accommodating and professional‘.

‘I am the executor of a substantial estate being administered by Kingsley Napley LLP by partner Anita Gill and senior estate manager Joseph Austin. The service that I have received has been first rate and I should strongly recommend the firm. The individuals whom I have dealt with not only know their work to the highest level but turn round email and other correspondence by return‘.

The solicitors at Kingsley Napley are very efficient to work as a team and they are quite responsive. They have some experience in cross-border situations and have an interest for such matters, and they have the flexibility which is required to deal with such situations. I have been working with Joseph Austin for many years in cross-border matters and he is always responsive, very accurate and detailed, and open to the fact that different solutions apply outside of England and Wales, which is very important. Joseph is also very nice to work with‘.

A very reliable team always willing to go the extra mile. James Ward and in fact his whole team are incredibly professional and they uphold my high standards‘.

Warm, open and easy to communicate with, refreshing approach to sharing knowledge and supporting client outcomes. Offering a wide array of services, KN is able to deliver a full range of easily accessible services. Jim Sawer is able to cut to the issues and provide easy to understand solutions in a refreshing manner and open and frank way, just what private clients need to help them navigate their wills, powers of attorney or trust matters‘.

‘A highly competent team led by focused partner in James Ward. Strengths in dealing with international clients, particularly those involved with finance and business. James Ward has energised KN since being appointed as head of private client services and remains highly dynamic‘.

‘Extremely professional with good clarity on explaining the processes and procedures involved in the probate process. Joseph Austin was extremely good and helpful throughout the probate exercise for the client who we referred‘.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has strong international capabilities. It regularly assists UK resident and non-resident, non-domiciled individuals, international families, family offices and business owners in numerous countries. Of note is the fact that the team is involved in over 500 active trust administrations and the preparation of over 150 personal tax returns. With Clare Archer at the helm it frequently advises on the establishment and ongoing administration of trusts, family investment companies and family limited partnerships.

Practice head(s):

Clare Archer

Other key lawyers:

Laura Dadswell; James d’Aquino; James Sedgley; Tristan Smale

Testimonials

‘The firm has an exceptionally strong tax advisory practice. The lawyers simply do not get things wrong. They bring their own technical expertise, thoughtful approach and diligence to bear to great effect. The team’s clients – an international and diverse mix – respect them and take the advice. The team works well together. I am particularly impressed by the responsiveness in the last year, the excellent use made of technology (including online meetings, online court hearings, and safe electronic file sharing in very complex matters). I have also been impressed by the very good natured and calm way in which they work together‘.

‘The team is diverse in terms of gender, ethnic background and nationality of origin. James d’Aquino is a stellar partner with everything that the role requires. He is astute, calm under pressure, responsive and a pleasure to work with. His clients trust him‘.

‘My family instructs Clare Archer, James D’Aquino and James Sedgeley on private client trust and tax matters. During the year, James D’Aquino was particularly effective in dealing with a US trust on our behalf. He was instrumental in persuading US trustees to a particular course of action from which we benefitted. James D’Aquino is very clever and knowledgeable about tax (domestic and offshore) and trusts. He is calm, methodical and effective. Clare – her legal instincts are good‘.

Clare Archer provides an excellent personalised service to clients. She is extremely dedicated, with an excellent eye for detail and a firm focus on client needs. Clare is always on top of all the details of her cases. She thinks through each step carefully and is always a step ahead‘.

‘What Penningtons brings to the table is some very talented individuals, who concentrate on the service they provide rather than the fees they generate. In the particular cases I have with them, illiquid assets in the trust mean that they have been working for nothing for a year, until the assets are sold, without complaining. And in keeping a difficult family at least generally together, their concern for this not to become contentious has been outstanding. Laura Dadswell is really, really good in that she is an excellent lawyer, very clear sighted, and handles clients with empathy and great care, without being soft or not telling them how it is. The support team is all very capable and efficient, and conscious not to build up fees unnecessarily. They are very easy to work with, and very responsive‘.

‘Genuine bespoke approach – ability to work collaboratively with client, counsel, experts. Clare Archer combines sharp intelligence with creative approach to tricky issues – diplomatic & professional with difficult people‘.

This firm has a strong private client presence. The lawyers are commercial and pragmatic and they have a good depth to be able to provide a full service offering. Laura Dadswell is a gem. She is personable and intelligent and is able to relate to her clients in a way that puts them at ease and gives them the confidence that she will find the right outcome‘.

Wedlake Bell LLP

Wedlake Bell LLP acts for an array of major clients who range from prominent UK families to internationally mobile wealthy individuals. The team predominantly acts for serial entrepreneurs, landed estates as well as public personalities. The practice has a strong focus on cross-border succession planning and has also experienced considerable growth in advising on the establishment of new charitable structures. Camilla WallaceJenny Cutts and Matthew Braithwaite are among the key members of the team. Andrew O’Keeffe  is another recommended individual along with Antoaneta Proctor. The practice was bolstered in 2021 by the merger with Moon Beever - that tie-up saw Richard Boulding and senior associate Charlotte Pollard join the team.

Practice head(s):

Camilla Wallace; Jenny Cutts; Matthew Braithwaite

Other key lawyers:

Andrew O’Keeffe; Antoaneta Proctor; Emma Loveday; Clare Armitage

Testimonials

‘One individual who stands out is Antoaneta Proctor. Antoaneta is very talented at envisaging all aspects of a particular issue and anticipating clients’ questions. Antoaneta shares her thinking with clients and prospects equally, which is very engaging for the clients. In her interaction with clients, virtually or over the phone, Antoaneta is both effective and reassuring, and adapts herself to the audience. Antoaneta is extremely pragmatic and intent on finding the most efficient course of action’.

‘Responsiveness, value for money, personal approach and a clear communication of complex ideas to the uninitiated. Matthew Braithwaite is very responsive and easy to work with‘.

Technically strong with a good understanding of family dynamics and commercial issues. The team at Wedlake Bell works together to deliver to clients. Matthew Braithwaite, Camilla Wallace and Jenny Cutts – each with their own style; all three are technically excellent and provide solution driven advice’.

‘Technical competence with a friendly approach. Emma Loveday is very experienced and knowledgeable but has an understated manner which puts the client at ease. You never feel you have been lectured to’.

‘Clare Armitage – brings a calm and measured approach to any queries; she thinks about the client first and foremost and is a delight to work alongside‘.

‘Charlotte Pollard is sensitive, diligent and very personable. She is excellent in her role. She has a lovely manner and navigates her way around difficult client issues with delicacy and ease. She has a good sense of humour and is down to earth. Highly recommended‘.

Richard Boulding is is pleasant, well respected and good with clients. Richard is a very experienced solicitor, exceptionally bright and a full member of Step. Richard is diligent, with good attention to detail and excellent organisational skills. Charlotte Pollard deals very efficiently with matters referred to her and provides clients with a pragmatic and efficient approach. Charlotte has a refreshing enthusiastic approach to complex and sometimes challenging estates’.

Charlotte Pollard is compassionate, astute and a wonderful lawyer. She listens to her clients and actively works with them to create a legal solution for their problems. She can diffuse tense situations and create a safe space for her clients. Charlotte is a private client solicitor who truly cares about her clients and providing the best possible service for them‘.

Key clients

LANCE Platform Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised LANCE Platform Limited on an innovative, digitised solution for assessing UK tax exposure connected with offshore trust and corporate structures run by offshore fiduciary service providers.

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP has a dedicated team that is spread between Bristol and London. It continues to excel at UK landed estate work as it acts for many of the UK’s substantial and best known landed estates and a large slice of the country’s aristocracy. It now also acts for a significant and growing number of the international super-rich and is increasingly involved in some of the most complex international trust restructuring work. Beatrice Puoti and John Barnett co-head the department. The 'exceptionally great' Jim Aveline is recommended for his advice to family businesses as well as international trust companies and banks.

Practice head(s):

Beatrice Puoti (Partner, Head of Private Wealth); John Barnett (Partner, Head of Partnerships and Private Client Services)

Other key lawyers:

Jim Aveline; Suzanna Harvey; Catherine de Maid; Emma Heelis-Adams

Testimonials

‘Burges Salmon has been assisting a landed estate I manage which is going through a very difficult time. Jim Aveline approaches his work in a very quiet professional manner guiding trustees through the many troubled waters that have been thrown in their way. He is definitely the man to have in a crisis‘.

‘The team covers a range of technical issues, and the members are readily accessible. Catherine is a great technician with a practical approach to her clients and advice‘.

The UK private client tax capabilities at Burges Salmon are excellent across many disciplines. The lawyers are an extremely collaborative group, and place an emphasis on the clients’ interests. They also place an emphasis on developing their associate team, which has strengthened their offering significantly. My main points of contact are Beatrice Puoti, John Barnett and Suzanna Harvey within the partner team. They all have a very good mix of excellent technical strength and an ability to build empathetic relationships with their clients. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to clients with an international focus‘.

‘The level of technical competence of the team is outstanding. Coupled with its practical application makes it a formidable team. It is our “go to” firm of solicitors. I have dealt mainly with John Barnett who is an extremely able and competent solicitor. His ability to identify a problem and provide a practical solution is exceptional. My wife has also dealt with Catherine de Maid who she describes as a pleasure to deal with and someone of great ability‘.

Technically very strong but also very practical and approachable. Suzanna Harvey – always very good at explaining very technically complicated matters in a way most ordinary people can understand. Very practical and does not sit on a fence which is a good thing. Catherine de Maid – softly spoken but really knows her stuff!’.

Strength and depth. Very good technical skills- Jim Aveline; John Barnett‘.

This is a really strong team in a sector that many firms do not do well. They have chosen to maintain a deep knowledge of trusts which represent a vanishing specialism elsewhere, but is vital for HNW and UHNW clients who will generally retain historic trust structures. Jim Aveline is a stand-out relationship-builder in this area, maintaining an excellent bedside manner whilst still being able to draw alongside opposing family members and navigate through difficult and contentious matters‘.

Strong technical expertise. Client friendly.  A number of advisers excel in their client service. John Barnett, Suzanna Harvey, Beatrice Puoti and Emma Heelis-Adam‘.

Key clients

PraxisIFM

Cripps

Cripps advises clients who include members of the English aristocracy and judiciary, politicians, celebrities and leading business people. The focus of the practice is on advising wealthy UK and overseas individuals, in addition to advising on executorship and trusteeship matters with an international dimension. Jeremy Curtis heads the group and is skilled at advising on all aspects of estate planning, business succession, heritage property and other matters such as court of protection, probate and estate administration. There have been changes to the team at a senior level; John Goodchild is now at Brecher LLP while Victoria Fairley recently joined the team from RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Curtis

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Fairley

Testimonials

‘You get the sense that they are on the client’s side and looking for a solution. Jeremy Curtis – great attention to detail, forward thinking and wonderful client care’.

‘The merger of Cripps and Pemberton Greenish has led to a really strong team in this sector, combining traditional values with modern delivery, and able to deliver really good value for money. Jeremy Curtis is a deep thinker, with skills way beyond those just of a lawyer: his deep experience gives him some great abilities to see things from the client’s point of view, and find solutions that work for everyone‘.

‘I only work with Jeremy Curtis, a partner at CPG. Jeremy is measured, thoughtful and a good team player‘.

Fladgate LLP

The private wealth practice at Fladgate LLP focuses on complex tax and wealth structuring issues for domestic and international clients including entrepreneurs, families and fiduciary businesses. Jonathan Riley joined the firm from Michelmores LLP to spearhead the group. It also has considerable strength in family office work as it acts for over 80 family offices. Mark Spash  has a particular emphasis on inheritance tax and estate planning for domestic and international HNWIs.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Riley

Other key lawyers:

Mark Spash; Helen Cox; Helena Luckhurst

Testimonials

‘It has been advising my family for many years and has been a great support in difficult times, including dealing with complex tax issues arising from the death of a family member this year. Mark Spash is charming and helpful. He is approachable and informal‘.

‘The overall depth of expertise within Fladgate is impressive and I know that clients will be well looked after by the team. As they have multi disciplines, we do not need to introduce multiple legal firms. I have mainly worked with Helen Cox and Mark Spash. Both are extremely knowledgeable and personable. Helen in particular has a great understanding of legal and tax matters, so is well placed to assist mutual clients with legal support’.

Great technical knowledge, commercial approach, responsive, partner led and reasonable on fees. A perfect match for a lot of our private clients and mid-cap corporate clients. I couldn’t recommend Helen Cox highly enough. A brilliant technical lawyer with a great approach with clients. She is a great asset to have when working with her on corporate structuring transactions, and every time we have referred a client to Helen we get nothing but glowing praise‘.

The firm provides an excellent service and is a very credible alternative to much larger City firms. We have no hesitation in referring clients to this firm – we have every confidence that it will meet all of their needs. Jonathan Riley has an excellent understanding of UK tax law, UK tax planning and private wealth structuring. He is hardworking, technically very able, a good communicator and personable. He understands the importance of listening to his clients and quickly identifying the real issues, in order that he may provide cost effective solutions which meet his clients’ needs. He has an excellent reputation in the private wealth space and is a trusted adviser of choice for UHNWIs and HNWIs‘.

‘The key strength is its partner Jonathan Riley‘.

Helena Luckhurst has always been very responsive and been available to support client needs and timeframes. Helena’s subject matter knowledge has been very helpful in assisting us making informed decisions. Service has remained consistent throughout the pandemic. Helena has excellent client relationship management skills and takes the time to get to know her clients so that she can provide a great customer experience. Our engagement was international and she was readily available despite the time differences to meet and collaborate with other parties that were engaged in order to reach a decision and agree a way forward. The billing of Helena’s time was always value for money and timesheets provided, where appropriate she took the initiative to engage more junior staff to reduce fees but always sought my agreement before she did this. Our engagement relied on technology and the experience was seamless‘.

‘Mark Spash is the consummate private client practitioner – he knows his field inside out, is brilliantly efficient and has all the empathy and understanding needed to deal with a naturally diverse and highly demanding clientele‘.

Key clients

International trust companies

Fund managers

Individuals and families with significant personal assets, domiciled and non-domiciled

Trustees of family and charitable trusts

Entrepreneurs and family businesses

Personal representatives of substantial estates

GSC Solicitors LLP

GSC Solicitors LLP acts for international ultra-high-net-worth clients ranging from high-profile individuals such as oligarchs through to significant owners of blue-chip companies on the full array of private client matters. The team also boasts substantial linguistic capabilities. Saleem Sheikh heads the 'client orientated' team that deals with a diverse range of matters such as succession planning for children coming into the business. It has also been busy advising on the protection of assets for married clients through prenuptial agreements or trusts. Amanda Chapman joined the team from DWF.

Practice head(s):

Saleem Sheikh

Other key lawyers:

James Cohen; Amanda Chapman; Sana Sheikh

Testimonials

The team has some exceptional talent and its approach to the work is great. The lawyers always try to ensure they put the client first. With the experienced Saleem Sheikh and personable Amanda Chapman the team has some superb leadership. Amanda Chapman has great empathy with her clients and will always go further to find out what it is they really want from a lawyer. A superb lawyer for the international client. Saleem Sheikh has the experience and international contacts to rival anything I have seen in our field‘.

‘Excellent Middle Eastern client base and contacts and specialist knowledge. Amanda Chapman; breath of fresh air, describes things in an understandable way, very responsive and creative‘.

The private client group sits in a wider team where entrepreneurs’ business and personal legal matters are handled. There is a good level of obvious collaboration amongst the various partners so working with them, particularly in first generation wealth creators is conducive. Amanda Chapman is an outstanding individual, technical flair and a charming personality is a rare combination. Her philanthropic passion is also very useful in the UHNW family discussions‘.

The lawyers take the time to talk everything through with you, explain all the questions in a language you can understand. They have covered quite a lot of aspects on personal tax, trusts and probate which has been reassuring. Engagement letter provides the details of the costs, and you are kept informed of the costs throughout the process. James Cohen has been a great help in explaining everything and has been responsive and taken the time to listen and understand. Provides the best possible outcomes, approachable and helpful‘.

For me it is the level of diversity of law it practises in the firm. Whether I need tax structures, to employment contracts, conveyancing and even litigation, the lawyers have handled all aspects amazingly for me. In terms of diversity, it has always been an evolving cycle which is refreshing, male or female members, young to experienced, I have encountered all at the firm which is ever so refreshing. How GSC differentiates from other law firms I have used is through its level of service and dedication. Whenever I require assistance they are at hand at all times for me, irrelevant if this is day or night. The level of understanding of not only the law, but my requirements are outstanding. They do not focus on the problems but structure solutions. James Cohen, Saleem and Sana Sheikh handle my affairs regularly‘.

‘The whole team has amazing synergy and offers a very personalised service to tailor your requirements. Saleem Sheikh always looks after what is best for you. Long term relationship. James Cohen excellent communicator and extremely efficient‘.

‘The diversity of the firm and its ability to make me feel understood as a British Pakistani Muslim put me immediately at ease with them. Its mode of working and availability on the phone as well as email was superb. Saleem Sheikh was brilliant and made it clear that he wants to build relationships with clients which we appreciated. James Cohen the partner was always available, friendly and efficient. There was always a solution‘.

Saleem Sheikh and James Cohen are stand out individuals in this practice for the following reasons: 1. They take time to understand the objective I am trying to reach. 2. They are highly responsive and often this extends to outside normal working hours. 3. They are highly knowledgeable and very personable. 4. Their network of additional professional contacts is outstanding‘.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Richard Norridge leads an excellent team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP that acts for prestigious ultra-high-net-worth individuals as well as institutions, family offices, private banks and trust companies. Typical mandates are complex and high-value and span multiple jurisdictions. Norridge’s client base is international and includes entities in both onshore and offshore jurisdictions. It has acted for some of the wealthiest families in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the UK. 

Practice head(s):

Richard Norridge

Testimonials

‘Richard Norridge – calm, knowledgeable, approachable. Very clear and precise in the advice given‘.

Michelmores LLP

Michelmores LLP advises on all aspects of structuring for wealthy individuals and their families, whether UK based or internationally mobile. The team is led by Jennifer Ridgway, who acts for a number of large UK landed estates. The practice has been increasingly advising on offshore trusts. There have been changes to the team at a senior level - James Radcliffe is now at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP while James Frampton has been promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Ridgway

Other key lawyers:

James Frampton

Testimonials

‘We primarily work with Jennifer Ridgway at Michelmores in relation to private client advice usually in conjunction with matters we are working on where we are providing corporate tax advice. We have worked with other firms in the past but we have found Jennifer to be exceptionally responsive and reliable and great with clients. Jennifer Ridgway is exceptional. She works late into the night to respond to the timetables required and puts clients at ease‘.

High quality work at completely reasonable fees. The lawyers are responsive and pragmatic. James Frampton goes above and beyond for clients. He brings technical expertise without ego‘.

‘Always willing to go the extra mile and offer a solutions orientated approach. Jennifer Ridgeway is always helpful, approachable and extremely knowledgeable‘.

‘Good strength in depth. Jennifer Ridgway is excellent. Able to charge lower rates to top London firms for equivalent service. Jennifer Ridgway is superb technically and a pleasure to deal with‘.

What makes the firm stand out for me is the attention that they pay to client service as they guide clients through the process of making (sometimes complicated) legal decisions. I’ve referred a number of clients to Michelmores over the years, and at this point I am extremely happy to do so because I am absolutely confident they will have a great experience. The attorneys are thorough and communicate clearly, and as a result they have a real talent for empowering the client to make educated decisions‘.

‘I refer to Michelmores when a client needs excellent service in complicated international matters. James Frampton and I work together often on mutual clients, and he is exceptional at running meetings, engaging clients, giving advice, and following through‘.

‘It is a good “London experience with regional rates” firm – especially good with UK/US clients and well known in the Jersey trusts sector. Frampton – bright and engaging, definitely one to watch‘.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Osborne Clarke LLP has a thriving practice that acts for wealthy clients on issues as diverse as international tax and estate planning as well as on UK and offshore trusts. It is also adept at handling estate administration and inheritance tax issues for high-value estates. It acts for a significant number of entrepreneurs and international families. Stuart Janaway heads the department that also has particular strength in US-related private client matters.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Janaway

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Goodman

Testimonials

Very relaxed team that provides clients with confidence and ability to get the right outcome. Focus on the client and ensuring the outcome is the right one. Stuart is very methodical and wants to take time with clients to ensure they have considered the various options and the impact that these will have. Stuart Janaway has been particularly good with client engagement and ability to be flexible with timings as clients’ needs change. Willing to find convenient times to be available for clients‘.

‘Andrew Goodman is really impressive. He is reasonable and doesn’t run bad points, so earns respect amongst those he is dealing with‘.

The team is highly focused on client outcomes and very well aligned to other advice offered from the firm. Therefore, the engagements tend to be very agile and dynamic, yet rooted in solid private client advice foundations. The lawyers are open, collegiate, collaborative, flexible as well as just excellent technically. Stuart Janaway and Andrew Goodman stand out‘.

‘Andrew Goodman is very calm and measured. Technically excellent and easy to deal with‘.

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Stevens & Bolton LLP advises on the full spectrum of private client work, from complex international tax planning for non-domiciled UNHW individuals to landed estates and estate administration matters. An increasing proportion of its work is generated from overseas law firms. Head of team Stuart Skeffington has extensive experience in all aspects of tax and trusts, with considerable expertise in family offices.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Skeffington

Other key lawyers:

Daryl Fox; Nick Acomb; James Hardaker; Harriet Irving

Testimonials

Stevens & Bolton explained everything clearly and streamlined our operations. We worked with Harriet Irving and Darryl Fox with Harriet being responsible for the detailed work. Their qualities were that they listened. They didn’t try to hurry us into making decisions. They always explained what they were doing in terms we understood. They replied promptly with any correspondence. They gave us confidence‘.

‘A marvellous team of people, professional, reactive and human. I dealt with Harriet Irving who was always contactable and understanding‘.

The team at Stevens & Bolton combines the working practices, knowledge and experience of a top City firm coupled with the realistic and pragmatic approach of a large regional practice. James Hardaker – partner – I have worked with James for several years now and it’s always a pleasure. My clients appreciate his calm, affable manner coupled with his deep knowledge of his practice area and practical advice. He is very knowledgeable‘.

‘I have worked with the private client team for many years and would have no hesitation in recommending it . The work is of an exceptional standard and produced accurately and timeously. The lawyers are also very client friendly. Nick Acomb is exceptionally knowledgeable and yet very straightforward in his approach and client relationship. It is the attention to detail and service to the client which is so impressive‘.

VWV

VWV is skilled at advising on complex tax structures and cross-border estates. Clients are almost exclusively wealthy individuals with multi-jurisdictional assets. Michael Knowles heads the department and is particularly recommended for his  advice on inheritance planning and wealth structuring. Judith Cuxson acts as a trustee for a large number of family and charitable trusts and also acts as an attorney for clients who are unable to manage their affairs.

Practice head(s):

Michael Knowles

Other key lawyers:

Judith Cuxson; Angharad Lynn

Testimonials

‘Over the years I have benefited from having a singular point of contact as the initial link to any particular private client service I have required which I have found most useful when differing legal aspects have been involved. I have felt at ease with the manner of service provided combined with the skill sets required. Judith Cuxson‘.

‘I have been very satisfied with the service provided concerning the probate work following the death of a relative . Step by step help acquiring the information – generally very helpful and friendly‘.

‘I have started working with Angharad Lynn a few months ago and she is very pleasant to work with. She has an interest in cross-border matters and understands the importance of considering the different rules which apply in other relevant jurisdictions when assisting clients who have a connection with these jurisdictions. She is very responsive, and she speaks French, which is very helpful with French clients‘.

‘In my view what makes the VWV private client team so strong is the wealth of experience on offer. Judith Cuxson and her team are experts in all matters relating to personal and family law, particularly where trusts and taxation are concerned. Their offering is, I believe, compelling by comparison with other firms in this area. In addition, during the pandemic the diverse VWV team has been able to conduct business as usual with its comprehensive technology. Judith Cuxson has considerable experience and a wealth of untapped knowledge in all areas pertaining to family law. She is an experienced trustee and always represents her clients’ best interests‘.

‘The private client team at VWV combines modern-day professionalism with a traditional client service which ensures clients receive the best advice in a friendly and efficient manner. I work primarily with Angharad Lynn‘.

‘Very competent in the respective disciplines. Good communicators both verbal and written, in particular Angharad Lynn and Michael Knowles‘.

‘VWV always provides  an excellent services for clients. The lawyers are very quick, efficient and excellent value for money. They deliver a very efficient service. They work closely as a team and their knowledge is excellent‘.

‘Highly professional but extremely user-friendly. They helped me and my husband, and my very elderly mother with wills and POAs – flexing admirably across the different clientele. The wills were not straightforward but VWV stuck firmly to the original fee quote which was really appreciated. Angharad Lynn was our main point of contact and was first-rate: professional, clear and engaging. Angharad showed particular sensitivity in dealing with my very elderly mother – who has very limited exposure to law professionals. She was gentle, but highly professional and persuasive‘.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP

Winckworth Sherwood LLP continues to be busy advising on trusts, high-net-worth estate planning and probate matters as well as high-net-worth matrimonial and residential work. It receives a steady flow of instructions from wealthy clients directly as well as advisors such as accountants and investment managers. Hugh MacDougald leads the practice that includes Tim Snaith who has particular expertise in setting up philanthropic and charitable structures. Dhana Sabanathan advises UK and non-UK clients on international tax and estate planning matters.

Practice head(s):

Hugh MacDougald

Other key lawyers:

Tim Snaith; Dhana Sabanathan

Testimonials

‘In depth knowledge, a very personable way of putting across complex issues and the availability of the partner dealing with the matter‘.

‘Tim Snaith is a stand out partner at Winckworth Sherwood. He is responsive, efficient and collaborative and understands when advice needs to be nuanced to suit a particular client or set of circumstances. Tim is a perfect individual to refer sensitive, complex, high value work to and it is a pleasure to work with him’.

‘Excellent private client firm. Very capable people at partner level. Tim Snaith is my main contact. Very bright, very knowledgeable and great insight into complex trust and tax issues. Calm, considered, courteous manner ideally suited to private client work. Recommended without hesitation. Hugh MacDougald also excellent‘.

‘This firm has a number of high net worth clients with complex problems to solve. Not all of the matters are large “battles” but the lawyers are frequently involved in quietly resolving difficult trusts and estates issues. Tim Snaith – a strong technician with excellent client management skills‘.

‘The team led by Dhana Sabanathan is very strong on the technical aspects of the law. The tax and legal advisory work the team does for high net worth individuals and families and trustees and family offices is very impressive. The team is very client focused and gives a great overall service. Dhana has also instilled great team values. The team is from a diverse range of backgrounds and is clearly very happy and engaged’.

Dhana Sabanathan is a fantastic tax and private client lawyer. She is very strong on the technical aspects of the law and has an amazing ability to cut through the complexities of a situation and provide clear and pragmatic advice. She is also an absolute pleasure to deal with. She is very committed to her clients and goes out of her way to ensure that they receive an excellent service. I think she is one to watch‘.

‘Tim Snaith, his dedication and professionalism have impressed us. He considers the client’s case in a proactive way and is willing to spend time on understanding the circumstances of the client before giving out tailor-made advice‘.

The team is 100% focused on the best outcome for the client, and will advocate what is best for the client even when the answer may not be the one that the client wants to hear. Dhana Sabanathan and her team of associates are all extremely skilled in their fields, but it is the interpersonal skills and empathy that make them standout‘.

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP has a particular emphasis on structuring advice relating to the holding and acquisition of UK residential property and owner-managed businesses. It is frequently instructed to advise on tax-efficient structures for property holdings, both from an investment and development standpoint. The team is also skilled at advising on the administration of complex, cross-border estates and trust structures. Helen Bunker leads the team. Arshoo Singh is now at RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP.

Practice head(s):

Helen Bunker

Testimonials

‘Personal service at partner level with back-up at appropriate associate level and the consequent reasonable charges is a particular strength of this team. Helen Bunker is an intelligent, knowledgeable and empathetic private client lawyer. She makes clients feel listened to and wins their trust giving them the confidence to share with her their personal and sensitive family and personal matters’.

Helen Bunker is a stand out partner from its London office’.

 

Greenwoods Legal

The team at Greenwoods GRM advise high-net-worth UK domiciled and non-UK domiciled clients on a wide range of estate planning and tax matters. Chartered legal executive Ian Bowyer - one of the first legal executives in the country to be appointed as a partner of a firm - and senior associate Muna Rogoff are recommended.

Other key lawyers:

Ian Bowyer; Muna Rogoff

Testimonials

‘The service we require is for a long-standing relationship with a firm that understands our needs as a family. This is what we get from Greenwoods GRM.  We also get the support of a large firm capable of dealing with a variety of challenges. Ian Bowyer assisted us during the process of arranging Lasting Powers of Attorney for both of us. More recently he has arranged a re-writing of our wills with rather complex details relating to gifts to charity.  Ian is always friendly, helpful and prompt in replying to matters that we raise. He has also dealt with questions raised by our IFA’.

‘Muna Rogoff… extremely approachable and down to earth. Ian Bowyer… very solid advice‘.

Ian Bowyer has great experience in private client matters and is a pleasure to deal with‘.

‘The team is very accessible, with a range of styles which enables it to match the right advisor to clients. The lawyers have a refreshing approach to pricing, with opportunities for clients to take more control over how they are billed – it’s not just based on hourly rates. The firm is tech savvy which enabled it to hit the ground running during the early weeks of lockdown. Technical excellence comes as standard, and they use different levels of lawyers to ensure the best possible value for clients. They pride themselves on being “lawyers you’ll enjoy working with” and that is exactly my experience‘.

‘Ian Bowyer has a calm, focused approach putting clients at ease and building a rapport quickly. Whilst he has broad technical expertise, future planning is a key strength for him.  He works as a team with other professional advisers, something that is both unusual and refreshing, and definitely differentiates from the competition. The team has strength and depth, team members are easy to work with and they do what they say they are going to do.  Professional, business-like, and accessible with strong service delivery and a feeling that nothing is too much trouble‘.

The cooperation with Muna Rogoff was very good and very effective. Her German is excellent. I was impressed by her understanding of the legal situation in Switzerland regarding matrimonial and estate law.’

The firm has a very broad practice area but has made excellent progress within the private client space, with various strategic hires. Its regional presence and very favourable billing rates make it an excellent option for HNW individuals & families with an international element.’

Ince

Ince has a dedicated team with particular strength in advising UK resident non-domiciled and non-UK resident non-domiciled clients on complex cross-border matters. It has particular expertise in co-ordinating multi-jurisdictional tax and inheritance advice and in other areas such as domicile matters. It is also adept at devising succession structures to accommodate the business and property assets of family entities. Matthew Biles co-heads the team with new arrival Nick Rucker, who joined  from Irwin Mitchell.

Practice head(s):

Nick Rucker (Global Head of Private Wealth) ; Matthew Biles (Head of Private Client)

Other key lawyers:

Eleanor Bing; Edward Knox

Testimonials

‘Matthew Biles. My impression is of a well-oiled supportive operation.  I find him able and efficient. He is a sound private client lawyer with the qualities of the ability to empathise with the client and provide good sound advice. He is capable of providing reasonably high level technical advice and analysis. He has a gentle sense of humour, which always helps‘.

‘Strong relationships and interaction between contentious probate department and private client department provides the best all round advice when settling probate/trust/Inheritance Act matters. Eleanor Bing, Edward Knox’.

 

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP has a full-service private client offering that advises international and domestic clients who are predominantly HNW and UHNW. Head of team is Sarah Cormack who is known for her work on international asset holding structures, international family offices and governance issues. Senior associate Katharine Watson is particularly knowledgeable about family investment companies. Gillian Kennedy-Smith is now at Mourant.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Cormack

Other key lawyers:

Katharine Watson

Testimonials

Mills & Reeve LLP delivers top tier private client advice. The strength of the firm is its geographical spread with its offices in various English cities, which is very useful when one has to deal with any estate/property/private matter which does not have any London-centric element. The level of service is uniformly good across the different offices. Sarah Cormack is very knowledgeable on family office and international trust structures‘.

‘A very talented and extremely commercial private client team who understand the importance of client centric delivery‘.

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP

Devorah Ormonde heads the department at Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP that has been advising on an array of complex cross-border matters, as well as receiving an increasing number of instructions to advise on and create lifetime trusts. The team frequently advises on the administration of estates worth several million pounds, as well as on cross-border tax planning matters for both domiciled and non-domiciled clients. Chris O’Callaghan is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Devorah Ormonde

Other key lawyers:

Chris O’Callaghan

Testimonials

The outstanding courteous approach the team has especially in this area of practice when clients are dealing with sensitive topics. In addition the lawyers share with clients a sense of genuine care and attention to their matters. Devorah Ormonde provides a sense of assurance to clients and is very trustworthy and efficient in her responses while not missing out on details‘.

‘RFB provides a most professional service, and I found it to be most efficient in dealing with my father’s estate after his passing. Devorah Ormonde executed my father’s will in a most satisfactory way‘.

1.This is a wonderful legal team. 2.The lawyers are very quick to respond. 3.They are not very expensive. You can call them anytime and the solicitor will pick up the phone directly. I will definitely recommend again and again. They have been successful in all the cases they have done for us. I have been dealing with Chris O’Callaghan and Devorah Ormonde. They are both wonderful solicitors, I first started with Chris but due to the complicated nature of our case Devorah is also involved. I can pick up the phone and call Chris or Devorah and they are always willing to speak to me’.

The team is exceptional. Not only did it find tax savings where I didn’t believe it was possible but the lawyers were a pleasure to deal with. The team deals with matters quickly but most importantly the advice is correct and presented in a client friendly way. I dealt with Chris O’Callaghan and was instantly impressed. His knowledge belies his years and he is the standout advisor from my team. I wouldn’t hesitate to refer him to my clients and instruct him myself. In my view the best young practitioner in the market‘.

The lawyers are easily accessible, provide good value for money, have a common sense approach to solving client’s problems and care a lot about their clients. I have interfaced with Devorah and Chris. They are very down to earth and are always available to attend to clients. You never get the impression that you are bothering them. They are on top of their game and go overboard to help’.

I am impressed by Devorah Ormonde’s knowledge of her subject and her ability to make the mysteries of inheritance tax and powers of attorney easily comprehensible.  She works very quickly, responds immediately to calls and emails.  She is business like but also friendly and approachable‘.

‘Ms Devorah Ormonde was excellent – she was very pleasant, professional and accommodating. She was efficient, understanding and patient. She helped me write a new codicil to my will and then helped me with a new will: this was fairly complicated as it involved recipients of items and/of money in 5 countries worldwide’.

‘Always willing to help , if the answer is not known there is always the experience close at hand and always prompt. Personal touch, hardworking and engaging‘.

Royds Withy King

Rod Smith heads the department at RWK Goodman that is particularly experienced at advising high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs, investors and business owners on their UK tax and estate planning matters. It also regularly acts for international clients looking to move to, leave or invest in the UK. Deanna Hurst is another name to note, along with associate Amish Patel.

Practice head(s):

Rod Smith

Other key lawyers:

Deanna Hurst; Amish Patel

Testimonials

‘I have worked with Rod Smith for two and half years now. He is outstanding’.

We met Rod Smith and Amish Patel at the meeting and they gave us their advice and recommendations. Thereafter Amish Patel was our main contact and he wrote and issued all the documentation for our wills, LPAs and a disabled trust. He worked very quickly and accurately and replied promptly to all of our many questions. The service provided by RWK Goodman has been excellent and it has given us peace of mind to sort out our affairs as we approach retirement‘.

Seddons

Seddons often deals with international HNWs who have assets in many jurisdictions. It works with UK residents, non-UK domiciled and international clients on all aspects of UK law. Department head Stuart Crippin has a wealth of experience in high-value domestic and international estates as well as UK tax and estate planning matters for both domestic and international clients with UK connections.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Crippin

Other key lawyers:

Zoe Pearse

Testimonials

‘The team provides highly individualised solutions in an international, cross-border context. The billing is reasonable, compared to the industry standard and the provided solutions beat benchmark in the positive direction. Stuart Crippin stands out not only due to his pragmatic, solution orientated and high quality advice, but also his responsiveness and sensitivity when working with highly demanding clients‘.

‘Seddons LLP is my go-to law firm in the West-End of London. It’s a nice sized firm – big enough to be able to handle a wide range of instructions but not so big that one loses the personal touch. Stuart Crippin delivers well reasoned private client advice in a friendly and approachable manner‘.

Stuart Crippin has a uniquely broad and deep technical knowledge‘.

‘Seddons is a forward thinking firm that has client experience at the forefront of its delivery. Its attitude to go the extra mile really sets it apart from other firms. Zoe Pearse is an exceptional private client solicitor, she has dealt with many of our clients and always gets great feedback‘.

The private client team at Seddons is discrete, with the personal touch to advise a wide range of clients, from complicated family structures, to offshore trusts. Stuart Crippin – always contactable, provides clear instructions, and is legally very up to date‘.

‘My experience with Seddons has been a very pleasant and enriching one. I find the advice it has provided to be direct, timely and actionable, which is especially valuable to clients in their structuring. The team has shown strong expertise in being able to combine the UK considerations with the broader client requirements in an offshore trust context, providing holistic structuring solutions. Stuart Crippin, in particular, is very professional and is a delight to deal with. He provides great comfort to clients, and is ever-ready to address any queries they may have‘.

‘An efficient and approachable team run by the affable Stuart Crippin. Stuart will lead where his expertise is required and allocate to the wider team dependant on the matter in hand. Stuart Crippin – a trusted advisor and extremely personable. Explains even the most complex tax issues in a user friendly way, and provides valuable assistance to matrimonial lawyers with his wealth of expertise. Excellent all round and (importantly) always responsive and helpful‘.

‘Seddons has been excellent in the client service, responsive and ready to assist wherever possible. Stuart Crippin is particularly notable, as he is leading the department, is commercial as well as technically great, and is always available to discuss the matter‘.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

The private wealth offering at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP advises high-net-worth clients on the full range of contentious and non-contentious domestic and international matters. It has a particular focus on US/UK issues. The group has a number of excellent practitioners including Neil Long; Alexander Dickinson and Will Ford. Long’s clients include entrepreneurs with complex business and financial interests. Dickinson leads the development of its transatlantic private wealth practice.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Dickinson

Other key lawyers:

Neil Long; Will Ford

Testimonials

A very strong team with great clients/work‘.

‘Will Ford is brilliant with clients and receives excellent feedback. He brings deep experience across a range of matters, both UK domestic and international.  Alongside his technical excellence, Will is a deeply empathetic and compassionate private client lawyer.  Will has everything needed to be a “trusted advisor” to those families and individuals seeking excellent advice in a practical and commercial context‘.