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 > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit

(Hall of Fame)

Sam MacdonaldFarrer & Co

Farrer & Co has a prestigious client base of some of the largest and best-known UK and international charitable organisations. In addition it works with numerous major grant making bodies and philanthropic charitable foundations. Under the leadership of Anne-Marie Piper it is well-regarded for its transactional and structuring advice particularly involving charities with extensive group, trading and constitutional structures. It also receives plaudits for its charity finance advice and has a dedicated safeguarding unit that acts for a range of charities. Julian Smith acts for a broad array of foundations and functional charities. Sam Macdonald advises charities and other not-for-profit institutions on all aspects of UK charity law and related tax law. James Carleton advises various institutional charities with significant investment assets while Peter Wienand is recognised for his work with charitable organisations in the cultural and educational spheres. Elizabeth Jones and James Maloney are among the other key members of the team.

London > Public sector > Education: schools

(Hall of Fame)

Sam MacdonaldFarrer & Co

Headed up by Jonathan Eley, Farrer & Co stands out for its work for UK independent schools and groups of schools. Key areas of work include Covid-related queries, school M&A, racial discrimination and equality matters, immigration work, and employment and HR issues. The firm has notably strong expertise in child protection and safeguarding work, housing a dedicated safeguarding unit. David Smellie has specialist expertise in safeguarding and child protection work for schools, while Katie Fudakowski, who has a wealth of experience in discrimination and SEND litigation, has advised on peer-on-peer abuse and gender-based violence matters. Sam Macdonald regularly handles high-level restructuring and complex governance issues, and associate Alice Yandle supports schools on employment, education and child protection matters.

London > Public sector > Education: institutions

(Hall of Fame)

Sam MacdonaldFarrer & Co

The ‘highly knowledgeable and responsive‘ higher education practice at Farrer & Co acts for numerous prestigious UK universities, advising on issues across the sector including investment fund management work, charity law, domestic and international major joint ventures and consumer law. Other key areas of expertise include property and construction matters, employment and student disputes, and reputation management and crisis management issues. Complex employment and staff issues, including unfair dismissals, race and gender discrimination cases, and whistleblowing claims are another core pillar of work. The group is also known for its expertise in international collaborations, UK/China collaborations in particular. Practice head David Copping is a key name, advising higher education clients on major IP and commercial matters. Sam Macdonald advises universities on UK charity law and the related tax issues. The ‘proactive and knowledgeable’ Kathleen Heycock specialises in higher education employment matters and student safeguarding.

London > Public sector > Education: individuals

(Hall of Fame)

Sam MacdonaldFarrer & Co