Sam Macdonald > Farrer & Co > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Farrer & Co

Living Wage

Work Department



Sam is the Head of the Schools Group. He advises charities and other not-for-profit institutions on all aspects of UK charity law and related tax law. He also advises philanthropists on structures for giving and the establishment of charities, and overseas organisations on their engagement with the British and European charitable sectors. Sam represents the firm on the Charity Tax Group and the Charities’ Property Association, and is a member of the Charity Law Association.


Trained Farrer & Co: 1995-97; Assistant Solicitor Farrer & Co: 1997-2004; Partner Farrer & Co: 2004 to date.


Conversational French.


Manchester University.

Lawyer Rankings

London > Public sector > Education: institutions

(Hall of Fame)

Sam MacdonaldFarrer & Co

The ‘totally focused‘ multi-disciplinary team at Farrer & Co acts for a broad roster of high-profile and market-leading clients. Practice head David Copping is handling big-ticket cross-border matters pertaining to data protection and transfers, and advising higher education bodies on establishing international campuses. The ‘exceedingly effective‘ Sam Macdonald is the key name for charity law, advising schools and universities on this area.

London > Public sector > Education: schools

(Hall of Fame)

Sam MacdonaldFarrer & Co

Farrer & Co‘s ‘high-quality and fully engaged‘ education team continues to be at the forefront of acting for national schools on issues such as safeguarding, child protection, data protection and immigration. The team is led by Jonathan Eley and Sam Macdonald, and has a strong reputation for handling high-value, complex and sensitive work for clients. Recent highlights include several cross-border matters led by David Copping and David Smellie relating to the establishment of overseas institutions. Other core members of the group include contracts lawyer Paul Jones; newly made-up partner Maria Strauss, who has experience advising faith-based schools; and Ben Longworth.

London > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit

(Hall of Fame)

Sam MacdonaldFarrer & Co

Anne-Marie Piper leads a strong team at Farrer & Co that has a superb client list of some of the largest and best-known UK and international charitable organisations. The group advises on the full array of matters from transactional and structuring advice through to innovative charity finance matters. It has also been advising a growing number of clients facing complex and mission-critical issues including regulatory interventions, governance failures, and corporate insolvency. It has a dedicated safeguarding unit and has immense expertise in working with major cultural organisations that are charities – it has for many years acted for a significant number of the country’s national museums and galleries. It also acts for a sizeable number of educational and religious charities. The team includes: Sam Macdonald, who advises clients on all aspects of UK charity law and related tax matters; James Carleton, who routinely advises institutional charities with significant investment assets; Elizabeth Jones, who advises charities on constitutional and governance matters; and James Maloney, who was promoted to partner in May 2018.

London > Public sector > Education: individuals

(Hall of Fame)

Sam MacdonaldFarrer & Co