Withers LLP > London, England > Firm Profile
Withers LLP Offices
20 Old Bailey
Withers LLP > The Legal 500 RankingsWithers LLP‘s commercial litigation work almost exclusively has a cross-border flavour. Fielding a team of ‘sophisticated litigators‘, the firm is active in matters spanning a multitude of geographical regions, including the Americas and Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. Tatiana Menshenina is an expert in disputes involving Russia, Ukraine and the CIS. Continuing the international theme, Eleni Polycarpou is ‘multilingual and well connected in the Mediterranean‘. The department acts for a wide range of clients, such as high-net-worth individuals and investors, businesses, governments and financial institutions. Its workload covers matters concerning international fraud, asset recovery and enforcement, and insolvency, among other areas. Global CEO of dispute resolution Peter Wood is widely recognised for his longstanding dispute resolution experience. Also recommended is Roberto Moruzzi, who is experienced in handling a wide range of international and domestic contractual disputes, mis-selling claims, and fraud and asset tracing matters. The ‘very bright and competent‘ Lesley Timms is another name to note, as is Sinead Harris, who has ‘complete mastery of the detail‘.
Other key lawyers:
‘The Withers team has a strong presence in the market with great international capabilities.‘
‘Excellent, quality lawyers who are very approachable. Really good interaction between partners and associates (and good partner/associate ratio on the teams).‘
‘Sophisticated litigators who protect their clients on costs, and appreciate and take steps to mitigate or eliminate the unpredictabilities of litigation.‘
‘Very adept at finding solutions to seemingly intractable disputes, Peter Wood is a seasoned litigator with bags of experience, and someone who gets straight to the point; and Andrew Wass is extremely incisive and tactically very astute.’
‘Roberto Moruzzi is very calm and commercial, but he leaves no stone unturned in pursuing the best case for his client, and is very much hands on. He has spent weekends elbow deep in disclosure to unearth evidence.‘
‘Tatiana Menshenina is a highly experienced commercial litigator. She is both a solicitor and a Russian advocate, and is often instructed by Russian and Ukrainian clients in complex cross-border disputes. She manages large teams and demanding clients with great skill. I have never seen her lose her cool, even in the most challenging situations.‘
‘Stephen Ross is the lawyer you want on a difficult case, because his tactical awareness is superb, and his judgement excellent.‘
‘Eleni Polycarpou is multilingual and well connected in the Mediterranean. Lesley Timms is very bright and competent, and a fluent Italian speaker who often acts for Italian clients in litigation in the UK and internationally.‘
Anchor Hedge Fund (in liquidation)
Galaxy Fund (in liquidation)
Futuresone Diversified Fund (in liquidation)
Broadcasting Investment Group
Visual Investments International
Decisive Capital Management
Paper Mache Tiger
- Instructed by Raffaele Mincione, WRM CapInvest and WRM to bring declaratory relief proceedings against the Secretariat of State of the Holy See (the Vatican).
- Acted for Genesis Technologies/Genesis Trustee in relation to Fortuna Fix (in administration) and a shareholder dispute.
- Acting for two tech entrepreneurs in their claim against a Swiss company and a Liechtenstein family foundation.
Meriel Schindler is the head and 'driving force' of the team at Withers LLP where 'the associates are very high quality and take on significant responsibility early in their careers'. At partner level, the well-known Elaine Aarons is considered a 'master tactician'; both her and Schindler attract clients with high-profile careers at stake. The team has experience in many industries from publishing to financial services and has regulatory specialists on hand as necessary. The group also advises employers, and can provide assistance on cases that have international aspects. Senior associate Lisa Lewinsohn has considerable experience both in litigation and negotiating settlements, and associate James Hockin is also rated by clients as 'very direct when talking to the opposite side, but very supportive and patient with the client'. He worked with Schindler on the case for the former global head of currencies and commodities, in his claim in the Employment Tribunal against HSBC. Special counsel Melissa Paz acts for both employers and employees 'with hard to find tenacity, intelligence and negotiation skills'.
‘Whilst Withers is a well known large firm, they made it like a little boutique, very close to their client with a lot of various legal support within the firm with different specialities as well as external support such as training for cross- examination, PR for journalists engagement as well as other communication channels. This helped to feel completely supported and benefitting from their experience. This was essential when going through some very up and down times over the period of the case.’
‘Meriel Schindler and James Hockin were the two main individual with whom I dealt. Meriel is very direct and very driven with a lot of experience. When discussing a problem, she is very quick to tell you the potential options and outcome and then share with you the explanation and case examples that support her reasoning. James, whilst also very driven and very direct when talking to the opposite side, he is very supportive, patient with you as a client. He has a lot of empathy. He takes the time to explain the strategy that is put in place. The combination has been excellent. Whilst Meriel is the driving force with years of experience, James makes sure that all your uncertainties are answered.’
‘This practice hugely expanded the options available to me in ways I had not previously considered and then, working highly collaboratively and supportively with me, then executed my wishes with a high degree of expertise, experience and success. I worked exclusively with James Hockin who was excellent and had just the right balance between listening and proactively giving advice for a case which was highly personal and very stressful. He was also very responsive and able to step in and out to give advice on a complicated situation at a moment’s notice.’
‘The firm’s expertise in advising senior executives in the city is peerless. Key strength is a real understanding of the regulatory environment in financial services. Elaine Aarons is a master tactician and a very good technical lawyer. She never puts a foot wrong. Meriel Schindler provides a holistic service and particular expertise on team moves. Hugh More is unflappable. The associates are very high quality and take on significant responsibility early in their careers.’
‘What makes all the difference is the individuals and the depth and breadth of offering. Melissa Paz is the primary lawyer I have dealt with from Withers. The first time we worked together, was for a very personal, complicated and sensitive situation. Excellent in her role with hard to find tenacity, intelligence and negotiation skills. Melissa is driven and commercial and importantly someone pleasant, caring, and trustworthy. Best proof of how much I value Melissa is that post our first collaboration I have asked her to help me on two more cases, each reconfirming her character, talent and dedication. I had no hesitations about working with Melissa again or recommending her to others.’
- Representing HSBC’s former global head of currencies and commodities in his claim in the Employment Tribunal against HSBC and a number of its current and former senior staff.
- Representing a former CEO and Chairman of IBM in Asia on her exit from the role.
- Defending an award winning BBC editor of the News South East against alleged bullying claims.
With Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall and Matthew Woods at the helm at Withers LLP, the group acts for 130 landed estates across England and Wales. Clients include historic landowners and successful individuals from around the world. The first-rate team receives regular instructions from clients entering the rural UK property market for the first time and is well-equipped to provide tax, structuring, succession and transactional advice. It is also renowned for its work with intermediaries. Hoskyns-Abrahall advises on a broad variety of management and succession issues such as sporting , agricultural and commercial issues and frequently advises forestry investors. Woods is an important member of the private client and tax team and has a particular focus on farms and landed estates. Edward Jarron is another name to note for his work on a range of property matters.
Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall; Matthew Woods
Other key lawyers:
Edward Jarron; Christopher Groves
‘Strength and depth is particularly evident at Withers. A range of specialists in a wide range of fields and when issues arise that are particularly challenging, there is always a professional of equal standing on hand‘.
‘Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall and Edward Jarron -both are particularly efficient and experienced in their areas of expertise. Can be relied upon all hours of the day‘.
‘Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall and his team seem to have unequalled experience in this field. Confidence, responsiveness, approachability’.
‘In my opinion Withers provides a very personalised service certainly in relation to both the sale and purchase of a property. The lawyers’ knowledge and approach to understanding both the client and the property results in a very effective and supportive process from initial offer through to completion. Their experience in negotiating various aspects on behalf of their client is particularly helpful when arranging complex sales contracts and dealing with a wide variety of potential issues that arise‘.
‘Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall is a pleasure to work with. I found him to be readily available, supportive and highly effective. In my experience he takes the time to understand the client and their objectives, which produced an excellent result. In many ways he felt part of the team rather than an external legal adviser and so made the whole process much less stressful than it might have been‘.
‘Exceptional team – knowledgeable and responsive. Edward Jarron an exceptional partner providing a full and responsive service’.
Withers LLP acts for 65% of the top charities in the UK and is recognised for its expertise in governance and regulatory matters as well as mergers and commercial work for charities. 'The range of knowledge and expertise within the Withers team is fantastic'. Alison Paines is well-regarded for her work with healthcare charities. The first-class team regularly advises leading charities in education, arts, sports and the life sciences sector and is also known for its commitment to philanthropy. Chris Priestley advises nationally-significant businesses and individuals working with charities on their CSR and philanthropic initiatives. Paul Hewitt heads the firm’s work for charities on legacy income and trustee disputes. 'The team is great, works incredibly well together and provides a level of confidence in its opinions'.
Chris Priestley; Alison Paines
‘Excellent knowledge of charity law and modern approaches to governance. Responsive and able to tune the approach to the knowledge level of the client, which can be highly variable, without sounding arrogant or condescending‘.
‘Head and shoulders above other firms in technical analysis, quick grasp on issues and working with clients not just for them. Chris Priestley (partner) is well above his peers. He brings his associates in and never loses track of where his client is. Chris quickly takes on new briefs and has a great way of taking his clients forward. His case management is superb (exceptional) and he works brilliantly with other professionals. He is approachable, considered and has a brilliant mind. Amy Carter (associate) is superb to work with. Outstanding grasp of complex briefs, including a number that have been challenging and outside of her comfort zone. A real pleasure to work with – reliable, appropriately challenging and a brilliant manner with clients‘.
‘Withers stands out for the measured and judicious way it reflects on briefs, legislative change and emerging practice to provide proportionate and dependable advice that brings immediate benefit. Amy Carter in the Charities and Philanthropy team has helped a charity I work with make changes to its constitution in a calm and comprehensive manner, through paying careful attention to the brief and a careful consideration of the institution’s nature and history. Meriel Schindlerhas provided strong assistance while suggesting pragmatic ways to reduce costs through use of an excellent independent consultant‘.
‘The dual qualified structure which Withers operates works seamlessly for us. We have a UK Foundation limited by shares (not by guarantee) which is wholly owned by a US Foundation. Withers is able to resolve issues seamlessly across the jurisdictions, explaining in writing or by phone, spending a little bit more time explaining on the phone so that our team is better apprised of the legal positions. Roger Waite stands out for being accessible and comprehensible. Roger and the team are also very personable and able to deliver bad news very effectively. They always explain in such a way that, even when disappointed or irritated, you know the options of the right things to do and how best to fix the problem(s)‘.
‘It has a deep and up to date knowledge of the complexities of charity law, and has been well able to advise on some complex proposals I have worked with Chris Priestley and Roger Waite. I have found them both exceptionally helpful and responsive. Roger particularly is outstandingly responsive and practical in his outlook, and has also been very helpful in referring me to the right people elsewhere in Withers when needed‘.
‘The team knows everything there is to know about charity law and the charity sector. Partner Chris Priestley is very good and also just a lovely guy to work with. Amy Carter, associate, is also very able and helpful’.
‘The lawyers have always provided fast, personable and professional information, expertise and services to our charity. Over the last 18 months, during Covid-19 pandemic, we have needed expert legal services, contracts and advice with a fast response and turnaround; the Withers team has been able to provide that every time with exceptional professionalism. A huge thank you for your help, advice and support to our charity which means that we have been able to offer increased services to our beneficiaries throughout these turbulent times. The level of personal care and dedication from each member of the team is hugely valued. We would particularly like to thank Alison Paines, Roger Waite and Chris Priestley‘.
‘It has a great deal of experience in charity and trust law and are able to call on experts across other practice areas. The lawyers consider issues thoroughly and provide excellent advice, taking into account any particular client sensitivities or commercial considerations. Alison Paines is excellent at coordinating input from a variety of fee earners and ensuring that advice is joined up. She isn’t afraid to test colleagues if she is not certain that the advice they are giving takes into account all relevant considerations. Alison is able to cut through a great amount of detail and get to the material points on key issues. She is able to summarise complex factual backgrounds succinctly and ask the pertinent questions. Amy Carter is very thorough and has provided thought through and unique solutions to some of the issues we have put to Withers‘.
The Arts Council England
NHS Charities Together
The Tate Gallery and the Tate Foundation
American School in London Foundation
Galileo Global Education
The Royal British Legion
Masks for NHS Heroes
British Red Cross Society
Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers
- Supported Omaze on all its charity law advice as a major new organisation in charity fundraising in the UK.
- Continuing to advise the Arts Council England on its role in delivering the Government’s £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund.
- Supported NHS Charities Together through its extraordinary Covid fundraising appeal which, with the help of late Captain Sir Tom Moore, has raised more than £140m to date.
Withers LLP continues to act on high-value, multi-jurisdictional trust and succession disputes. It is well-equipped to handle major disputes that span multiple jurisdictions through its offices in London, the US, Hong Kong and Singapore. Clients range from blue-chip financial institutions, wealthy international families and leading charities. It has been involved in some major reported cases recently too. Suzanne Todd leads a team of experienced practitioners. Paul Hewitt (a 'titan in this area') specialises in representing families with connections to the sub-continent. Steven Kempster advises a mix of UK and international clients worldwide. Stephen Richards is skilled at advising on disputes concerning inheritance and trusts. Senior counsel Dawn Goodman is adept at stress testing proposed or existing trust structures to maximise their ability to withstand attack. 'This team is a powerhouse of ability and drive to get the best possible results for its clients. It has the advantage of being able to draw on the strengths of the firm as a whole and its international reach.'
Other key lawyers:
‘Paul Hewitt is everything you want in your solicitor. Hugely experienced, with a deep knowledge and understanding of the law, he brings determination to get a result and excellent strategic thinking to a case. Stephen Richards is just like Paul, and comments above apply. He has particular expertise in contentious CoP cases where he has a very good feel for the different approach required there.’
‘This team is outstanding and rightly gets the most high-profile cases. It has handled this year one of the biggest court of protection cases but is involved in all the high-profile probate and family provision work. The depth of expertise and experience is notable and this is a large team which can offer its clients excellent client service. Paul Hewitt is a superb tactician. He always fights his client’s corner hard but knows when a compromise would be the best outcome. He knows the area of law backwards. Dawn Goodman has almost legendary status. Stephen Richards is an excellent lawyer and very good with clients. Natasha Stourton is one of the most unflappable lawyers I have met and there is a whole array of talented associates: Sarah Aughwane.‘
‘In the very first rank of teams in this practice area. It is frequently instructed in the largest and most high-profile cases, and has particular expertise in acting for charities. The depth of knowledge and experience, as well the judgement, across the team is extraordinary, as is its capacity for plain hard work. Clients couldn’t be better served.’
‘Paul Hewitt: very hard to overemphasise the insight, experience, and rigour he brings to litigation – he has seen it all before and so is able to foresee all angles and developments. He just seems forever ahead of the game. Stephen Richards: indefatigable. Is absolutely committed to the client’s case and moves mountains to achieve the best possible position for them. Excellent client handling. Natasha Stourton: recently made partner and not before time – very tactically astute and calmness personified.’
‘Strategic skills are second to none. The lawyers really think through tactics to get the best outcome for you. I think it is better than most firms I can think of that practice in this field. It runs an indemnities project with access to a platform with advice notes and precedents. The costs charged for this are minimal but the benefit is huge to the sector. The team is strong across the board, from partners down to trainees/paralegals. Depth of knowledge; friendliness; speed of turnaround. Stand out associates would be Alice Tomlin; Sarah Aughwane; Richard Walker. Partners Paul Hewitt and Stephen Richards are superb.‘
‘The team at Withers is consistently reliable and trustworthy. The lawyers are the people we automatically turn to for our most complex and high-profile matters, in the knowledge that we will receive the highest quality service. When making contact you are guaranteed a speedy and detailed response from a team who understand its clients’ unique position and needs. They make themselves available, and provide support and guidance when needed, but also allow us to be involved in key decision making and determining strategy that fits with our ethos. They listen to us and take time to understand the outcomes we are looking for and how we can achieve this. It is absolutely the team you want by your side when you are facing an overwhelmingly difficult case that needs a successful outcome.’
‘The members of the Withers team individually go above and beyond. Each person takes time to get to know you, and will show humour and kindness which is so welcome when dealing with a complicated and frightening scenario. Despite being as efficient as a machine (in a good way!) you know the individuals are all real people and they don’t lose themselves behind a corporate identity. The quality of the partners and associates (such as Julia Schtulman and Paul Hewitt) stands out because you also know that they have exceptional support staff, who are equally dedicated and switched on.’
‘What I love about Withers is that there are no weak links. Every one of the lawyers is of a high standard and they have experts in all fields that I need. That depth of quality sets them apart. Whilst on the face of it expensive the efficiency of thought and quality of advice means you get great value for your fees. Stephen Richards is a joy to work with. He is extremely bright and driven to get great results but he does it with real charm and class.’
The Trustees of the 1949 Settlement for the benefit of Lord Allendale and his family
The Trustees of The Greek Cathedral Trust Fund
Acting for defendant in constructive trust/ Quistclose trust case involving £20m disputed assets in England and a number of Asian countries)
Michael Smith and Simon Philpot
Deborah Barker (as litigation friend of Euan and Rowan Barker)
His Exalted Highness the VIII Nizam of Hyderabad
Representative of the former employees of Zaha Hadid Limited
- Advised His Exalted Highness the VIII Nizam in a dispute over funds frozen at Natwest Bank for over 70 years, involving the governments of India and Pakistan. The Judge upheld the Nizam’s claim to his grandfather’s funds. The case was one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2019.
- Advised the Trustees of the 1949 Settlement for the benefit of Lord Allendale and his family on a ground-breaking court application to increase trustees’ powers using s57 of the Trustee Act 1925.
- Advised the former employees of Zaha Hadid Limited in an application by the warring executors and trustees of Dame Zaha’s estate for blessing of a decision to enter into a settlement agreement governing the administration of the estate, including settlement of an Employee Benefit Trust.
Withers LLP has a significant international reach with team members in the UK, the US, Hong Kong and Singapore. As well as acting for families and appointed representatives of older and vulnerable people it also regularly acts for trustees, executors, charities and other professional groups. It is skilled at advising on disabled trusts and advance decisions to refuse medical treatments. Julia Abrey co-heads the elder law team and has a particular focus on cross-border mental capacity issues. Stephen Richards also leads the elder team that is 'highly knowledgeable, strategic and effective'. Natasha Stourton was promoted to the partnership. Stourton is recommended for her work on various court of protection matters including statutory wills, lifetime gifts and contested registrations. It is 'amongst the very small handful of firms that can deal with the biggest, most complex, and most high profile Court of Protection litigation'.
Julia Abrey; Stephen Richards
‘The Elderly and Vulnerable Client Team has exceptional knowledge of incapacity law and dispute resolution, having acted in many leading cases. Julia Abrey has empathy and kindness and a very lovely manner when talking with vulnerable clients who need treating with care and compassion. She has great knowledge of her area of expertise and works well with her team in finding resolutions to tricky situations which vulnerable clients can find themselves in‘.
‘Amazing collaborations with lawyers in other jurisdictions (esp in US, Canada, Caribbean and Hong Kong) about standards of capacity and what differing standards and approaches mean for clients who may have property in multiple jurisdictions or travel between jurisdictions with risk of a medical event that may leave them away from their home jurisdiction. Julia Abrey – Very informed about court of protection issues, and working with clients with diminished capacity. Networks with lawyers and others around the world on issues related to diminished capacity. Conducted a STEP program on these issues with lawyers in other jurisdictions, including the US, Canada and Barbardos, with participants from the legal and financial fields around the world’.
‘Great knowledge throughout the team. No weak links. Stephen Richards is my absolute go to for Court of Protection work. His knowledge of this area and excellent advice has repeatedly helped us protect gifts left to the charity‘.
‘Withers has a wealth of experience in Court of Protection matters. The lawyers have an excellent understanding of the Court’s jurisdiction and procedure, as well as the practicalities of making applications to the Court of Protection. They can properly be described as specialists in this area. Stephen Richards (partner) has excellent client skills as well as being an excellent lawyer, as well as having great tactical instincts. Alice Tomlin (associate) is particularly strong in this field and really understands the law and principles in this area‘.
‘That Withers decided many years ago now to establish an Elder Law team was a decision which has continued to pay off in spades, because it means that it is able to respond across the board (including in relation to Court of Protection matters) to all the needs of clients who are ageing. Both Julia Abrey and Stephen Richards continue to go from strength to strength, and always continue to impress me by the way in which they seek to problem solve outside the court arena, and to find ways in which to ensure that their own teams, and the lawyers they work with, are informed about broader clinical and ethical considerations relating to elder clients‘.
‘A very smooth operation that draws respect from the Court, opponents, and the Official Solicitor. Stephen Richards: very sensitive to the client’s circumstances and priorities, but will (politely) give uncomfortable advice in the client’s own interests. Understands the jurisdiction and approach of the judges intricately and cultivates excellent relations with fellow practitioners which smooths the road for litigation. Natasha Stourton: supremely competent and confident, and very well polished. Totally on the ball and totally unflappable‘.
‘A very responsive, quality team, with outstanding lawyers at all levels. Also a pleasure to deal with. Stephen Richards leads the team and is excellent. He is very sensible and is able to explain complex points with clarity. He understands the client’s needs and works tirelessly to ensure they are met. Our matter was extremely full-on and he marshalled his team superbly. Natasha Stourton was the junior partner on the file and was excellent, on top of the detail and provides very sensible and pragmatic advice’.
‘Technically strong team with great lawyers who really know their stuff, particularly in respect of contentious applications. Also sensible and reasonable in their approach to Court of Protection work which requires sensitivity due to the issues that often arise. Stephen Richards is great technically but also understands the complex personal issues that arise in COP cases‘.
Private client > Family Tier 1
Withers LLP has a strong international offering with particular strength in the Asia Pacific in addition to Europe and the US - clients receive 'a top flight service from a great team of lawyers'. Through its wide-ranging connections with lawyers overseas it is well-placed to advise on a whole host of multi-jurisdictional cases. It is frequently involved in cases that set precedents and continues to act in many reported and landmark cases under the leadership of the 'inspirational' Suzanne Todd. Todd 'who can see around corners' is a ‘go to’ lawyer for all divorces with an Italian theme. The team consists of many skilled practitioners who frequently advise on high-value pre and post-nuptial agreements and international child abduction matters. Diana Parker is another leading light in matrimonial finance who 'combines a fierce intellect with an acute and strategic insight'. Adele Pledger has been promoted to the partnership. 'Leaders in matrimonial finance, excellent in children cases. It is frankly an exceptional team'.
Other key lawyers:
‘Withers is the standout star of the family law world, with a full team of experts who are able to deal with the most complicated technical legal matters, especially those involving trusts and companies or with international elements. Withers does not just know the leading cases; it acted in most of them. Its particular advantage to clients is that the family team can draw from other areas of the firm’s expertise, meaning they can offer in-house advice at the highest level on commercial, trusts, private client or immigration issues where they are relevant, making it the ultimate one stop shop for high net worth clients going through a separation or divorce‘.
‘Full support service with expertise in all areas for private clients. Suzanne Todd – enormously organised, scrupulously professional, combines emotional insight with pragmatic advice. A pleasure to have on a collaborative case and a respected opponent when not. Claire Blakemore is highly intelligent‘.
‘Deservedly one of the premier family departments in the country. There is scarcely any high value case of which it is not part of. The resources of the department appear limitless and the embracing of modern working and technology faultless. The cross-fertilisation with top tier tax and trust and wealth management departments makes for a compelling combination. Vastly commercially experienced and financially knowledgeable about the most complex of arrangements means nothing slips by unscrutinised. The department is particularly skilled with clients at the cutting edge of finance. Creative points are spotted where other firms may not, and every conceivable angle is analysed and argument stress tested’.
‘Diana Parker remains one of the best one or two doing this work. She is an intellectual giant, with skills of analysis and an ability to cut to the heart of a case like no other. Her tax knowledge and trusts expertise make her rightly the darling of the UHNW client. Utterly unflappable and is on top of every line of every page of the case. She demands and delivers the very best. Rightly held in awe (and loved) by those junior to her in the department, all have learned at her feet. Michael Gouriet is unique in being both universally liked and respected yet feared by opponents. An utter delight with no brashness, he is a details machine. Superb at keeping things low key when required, his quiet charm extracts settlements the few others can achieve. Scrupulously fair and unflappable, he deploys this to maximum advantage for the client‘.
‘Recently promoted (and not before time, if anything delayed by covid) Adele Pledger is a Diana Parker in waiting. Adored by clients, especially those with the most complex financial affairs and commercial backgrounds, she is a creative lawyer and a match for anyone doing the work. Her down to earth manner makes her approachable, inspires confidence and she spots points few others do. Brett Frankle brings a creative and lively approach. He is not afraid of the unconventional or mould breaking and wins cases that other’s would not, he gives no quarter in maximising ever appropriate advantage. Alex Breedon has a massive brain. He is super bright and analytical and utterly dependable. He sees angles where others might not, and backs it up with a total command of the facts and law. An unassuming manner and understatement in approach can be devastatingly effective‘.
‘This team presents as well established, with a worldwide vision for all cases and clients. The real global presence makes this firm a stand out operation. Julian Lipson is calm, inspiring loyalty of staff and clients the team comprises of different characters, Katherine Landells being the ‘rottweiller’ to Julian’s ‘german shepherd’. Amamda Bell is the unsung heroine of this team with a stellar future ahead of her‘.
‘I chose Withers principally as it had a Hong Kong office and was thus very au fait with the complexities there. Of course, its reputation generally as top notch operators in family law preceded them. I was represented by Michael Gouriet and his assistant, Sarfraz Ali. Both independently and as a team, I found them reassuring, professional, extremely thorough and well prepared. I felt very lucky to have been represented by them and would without hesitation recommend them‘.
‘Brett Frankle – a brilliant litigator, Brett excels in giving expert, timely advice and his judgment is second to none. Claire Blakemore – hugely able and widely admired within the profession. She is very comfortable running the most complex cases. Kate Landells – a fierce negotiator and a tough opponent‘.
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.
Christopher Groves; Dora Clarke
Other key lawyers:
‘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’.
Hussein Haeri; Sir Geoffrey Cox QC
‘This group is very strong in PIL work.‘
‘Withers is unique because it offers personalised services tailored to the needs and circumstances of clients.‘
‘They are professional and offer diversity in unique and specialized areas of public international law, particularly in relation to the concerns of small island states.‘
‘The members of the Withers team are professional and approachable, as well as being trustworthy and with high ethical practice standards. Clients can feel confident about the quality of advice they receive.‘
‘The Withers team comprises outstanding attorneys who have deep knowledge of human rights law, and the work across several regions is consistently outstanding. I always have full confidence that they will do an excellent job with minimal supervision from us.‘
‘Excellent strength and depth in the Withers team, led by the outstanding Hussein Haeri, who is exceptionally intelligent and commercially astute.‘
‘Hussein Haeri is a superstar intellect, who has been rewarded with some of the most interesting PIL briefs in London.‘
‘Senior associate Camilla Gambarini is an outstanding attorney, who in addition to her legal skills, brings Spanish fluency that is vital for our work in Latin America. In addition, she has deep knowledge of human rights law, and is able to grasp quickly the concepts and principles that we need to convey.‘
The Government of the British Virgin Islands (BVI)
Government of Ukraine
The Center for Reproductive Rights
High Seas Alliance
- Defended the Government of Ukraine against an UNCITRAL arbitration, which was commenced by Olympic, an Estonian gambling business.
- Represented Gesenu, an Italian waste management company, in ICSID arbitration proceedings against Egypt.
- Advised the Government of the Virgin Islands (BVI) on a Commission of Inquiry.
Withers LLP has a strong team of experienced and highly regarded mediators - these are Suzanne Todd; Claire Blakemore and Diana Parker. Parker has further honed her skills by being one of the first to qualify as an arbitrator for financial disputes on divorce. Todd is one of the ‘go to’ lawyers in London for all divorces with an Italian theme. Blakemore mediates on both financial and children matters and also has vast international experience.
‘Withers’ team is a top drawer family practice with some of the most talented and experienced practitioners in the country. Its mediators combine legal experience and ability with excellent mediation skills so that if there is a possibility of a sensible arrangement being reached they will find it. The lawyers work very flexibly according to what their clients prefer- in person, remote mediations and as they had already embraced flexible working pre-Covid had adapted the mediation practices particularly well‘.
‘Claire Blakemore combines huge legal knowledge and sound judgment with an empathetic and practical style as a mediator. She instils confidence even with a client who is unsure about the process and also has a sense of humour – a necessary quality in tricky mediations. Clients whom I have sent to Claire have been very impressed‘.
‘Suzanne Todd is charming and hugely effective as a mediator. She is very experienced in both children and finance cases and will not shy from difficult conversations to move the mediation forward‘.
‘Suzanne Todd is a highly regarded mediator‘.
‘Suzanne Todd – great communicator, invests time and effort in relationships and nothing is too much trouble. A good collaborator and looks for the solution‘.
‘Claire Blakemore is an experienced mediator‘.
Withers LLP’s varied portfolio of work includes transactions involving prime central London properties, flats, farms and country houses. Its team frequently handles matters involving non UK-domiciled parties; recent mandates involved parties from territories such as the British Virgin Islands, China and India. Henry Stuart, who leads the team, is notably skilled in tax structuring, as well as offshore structures. Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall is experienced in advising clients on the acquisition of estates, farms and country houses, either as first-time buyers or as part of a portfolio. Nicholas Vaughan, who is a fluent Italian speaker, is also highly recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Confidence, specialist knowledge, approachability, responsiveness.’
‘In my opinion, Withers provides a personalised service and the team are highly effective and a pleasure to deal with. Their knowledge and ability have instilled in me a confidence in working with them which makes such transactions less stressful, not least because they think ahead and ask the right questions at the right time.’
‘I think the level of engagement makes the difference and the fact that they are readily available and respond to emails often within the matter of a few minutes or hours.’
‘Working from home during the Covid lockdowns has not diminished the performance or personal approach towards clients seeking solutions to their property interests. Just as much cross-team collaboration and accessibility as when they were in an office environment.’
‘The team at Withers are excellent. They work incredibly hard and you know that, whoever is in charge of the deal, that person will be receiving the right advice.’
‘Nick Vaughan and George Coleman are a dynamic duo. They give honest, clear and excellent advice and are really a pleasure to deal with. Their knowledge is top notch and I feel very comfortable knowing that they are acting on behalf of my clients.’
‘The Withers Real Estate Department are renowned for their general efficiency and depth of experience. They seem to be able to work smarter and faster than their competitors. They do not profess to be the cheapest but we refer many clients to them and they are never disappointed.‘
The global media practice at Withers LLP houses an 'extremely strong' reputation management team. It provides advice on the full range of privacy, defamation, harassment and data protection issues to an array of clients, including high profile individuals, businesses and charities. Amber Melville-Brown operates out of the New York office and is dual qualified in the UK and the US, placing the firm in a unique position to advise on cross-border matters. The 'simply brilliant' Jo Sanders heads up the London office and is an expert in contentious data protection issues. Carving out a niche in the crossover of reputation and tax, Andrew Fremlin-Key is also recommended for his expertise in phone hacking and right to be forgotten claims.
Amber Melville-Brown; Jo Sanders
Other key lawyers:
‘Global practice with an extremely strong reputation management team – particularly adept at dealing with HNW individuals. No one else I would rather have at my side in a media crisis!’
‘Withers is one of the only firms I’ve dealt with that has a dedicated practice to reputation management. The Withers team truly understands how to handle reputation management and work with news media to make sure that news coverage of its clients is as fair as possible.’
‘An excellent team across all aspects of reputation management, privacy and data protection.’
‘Being qualified in England and the US, Amber Melville Brown brings a unique skillset to advise on reputation matters cross-borders.’
‘Fantastic team – very experienced and responsive. Able to respond quickly and efficiently. Reassuring to clients, whether large corporates or high profile individuals.’
‘Jo Sanders is simply brilliant. Knowledgeable, calm and reassuring. A clear leader in her field of expertise.’
‘ Andrew Fremlin-Key has had an immensely impressive grip on the details of this complex and technical cross-border financial matter, which has allowed us to work much more effectively with him.’
Several senior executives and professionals from banking, private equity and law (barristers and solicitors)
Several Actors and Writers
Founders of leading health and elderly care business
Major UK provider of health care staff
- Acting for Raffaele Mincione, the founder of a private equity firm, in High Court libel claims against Italian newspapers published in England relating to the high-profile dispute with the Vatican over a London property investment.
- Representing a politically exposed person and family members to defend against an application for forfeiture orders over multiple bank accounts lodged by the NCA, based on allegations published online.
Withers LLP has a growing presence in Cambridge, where it handles corporate transactions in the life sciences and healthcare sectors. 'Our experience with the firm as a one-stop practice for everything we have needed as a biotech start-up has been exceptional', remarks one client. Lead partner Susanna Stanfield is lauded for her 'calmness, professionalism and knowledge'. The 'responsive, client-focused and pragmatic' Richard Penfold and senior associate Sharmela Kalmer, who split their time between London and Cambridge, play key roles in the practice.
‘Susanna Stanfield is all the things you expect of a first-rate corporate partner – responsive and flexible to client needs and able to mobilise the resources of her firm quickly to meet deal timeframes.’
‘The Withers team is very responsive, efficient, effective and experienced in start-ups and able to address a broad range of legal needs from funding rounds through employment contracts to academic sponsored research agreements.’
‘Susanna Stanfield provided rapid expert advice and turnaround and over the Christmas and new year period ensured that we had a continuous service even when she was on vacation. Even as a small start-up we never felt to be anything other than a priority.’
‘Our experience with Withers as a one-stop practice for everything we have needed as a biotech start-up has been exceptional. In rapid time they were able to handle all aspects of what we needed, and when we were trying to move at breakneck pace to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Geniality, professionalism and flexibility were pervasive.’
‘Susanna Stanfield is our key partner for our operations, and she has been a fantastic advisor and supporter. Her calmness, professionalism and knowledge helped us navigate what ended up being pretty turbulent waters with one particular potential investor. Her ability to explain and reassure us on the finer nuances of legal positioning, including between the UK and US was hugely appreciated.’
‘Highly responsive. Pragmatic, they work nimbly and offer a clear monthly billing structure via routine matters through helpdesk function and other commercial matters.’
‘Richard Penfold is responsive, client-focused and pragmatic in his legal advice.’
‘A highly experienced team when advising on acquisitions of SMEs.’
Ario Pharma (formerly Provesica Limited)
Cambridge Respiratory Innovations Limited
Clear NeuroScience Ltd
Clowdy Group Limited
Coople UK Limited
Codebay Solutions Limited (trading as Lodgify)
Economad Solutions Ltd
Emerge Venture Lab Ltd
Entrepreneurs Fund General Partner Ltd
ETF Partners LLP (Previously ETF Manager LLP)
Fig Leaf Promotions Limited
HE Feeds Ltd
In3Bio Research Ltd. (formerly Bioven (Europe) Limited)
Keapstone Therapeutics Ltd
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
Kynos Therapeutics Ltd
Leucid Bio Ltd
LocalGlobe X, LP
Lumici Ltd (trading as Teacherly)
Morningside Venture Investments Limited
NJF Capital Corp. (formerly Montilla International Corporation)
Parkinson’s Disease Society
Sentient Machines Limited
Skiller Whale Limited
Snap HR Limited (formerly Circalit Limited)
Start Codon Ltd
Story Terrace Ltd
Stress Point Health Limited
Super Carers Limited
THS Group Limited
Unibuddy Limited (formerly Unibudy Limited)
Xention Pharma Limited
- Advised Morningside Venture Investments Limited, the New York based global life sciences investor on a £20m investment into an Imperial College London spin-out company, VaxEquity Ltd, which accelerated the production of a vaccine to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and is dedicated to developing saRNA vaccines for serious and life-threatening diseases.
- Advising longstanding client Mologic, a Bedford based rapid diagnostics company, throughout the development, testing and high volume manufacture of its rapid point-of-care Covid-19 antibody test.
- Advising Medovate Ltd (a joint venture partnership with Health Enterprise East, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough combined authorities and other government organisations) to develop and share innovations found in NHS hospitals to a global market.
Harvey Knight; Carl Newman
‘Harvey Knight: standout in this area. An obvious choice for individuals and senior managers. Has outstanding experience in acting in contentious FS matters.’
‘Extremely motivated to help the client succeed. Highly responsive and very thorough.’
‘Harvey Knight -detailed knowledge and recall of even small aspects of the case/work. Extremely responsive even when required on evenings and weekends. Thorough in his analysis and a strong negotiator.‘
Other key lawyers:
Susanna Stanfield; Iain Cockburn; Neil Jones; Sarah Melaney
‘The Withers team work seamlessly with our team – they understand the urgency and timelines needed to execute at pace. Pragmatic advice and execution at all times whilst being superbly professional and a pleasure to work with. I cannot recommend them highly enough.’
‘Iain Cockburn is extremely responsive, commercially-minded (which is always appreciated) and knows the market well. To boot, he is pleasure to work with.
‘Iain Cockburn – great counsel, insightful, super smart and commercial. A true partner to our business and the ultimate professional.’
‘Iain Cockburn is a pleasure to deal with; exceptionally knowledgeable, meticulous on deals and always on hand for ad hoc advice.
‘James Shaw is an exceptional lawyer, who knows how to think outside the box and to adapt to the start-up needs. He heads the team but is very involved in deals. He does roll up his sleeves.’
‘Iain Cockburn is a young corporate partner, very solid.’
‘Susanna Stanfield runs the Cambridge office and does great work with entrepreneurs linked to Cambridge University.’
‘Iain Cockburn gives great advice, is incredibly available for a partner and is really committed to making sure everything is done right.’
Wise (formerly TransferWise)
HS Holiday Search GmbH
The Business of Fashion
Keapstone Therapeutics Ltd
Kynos Therapeutics Ltd
In3Bio Research Ltd. (formally Bioven)
Eight Roads Ventures
Project A Ventures
Mangrove Capital Partners
Morningside Venture Investments
Keen Venture Partners
Amity Corporation Ltd (formally EKO Group Holdings Ltd)
Semantic Ventures LLP
Force Over Mass Capital
- Acted for Stride.VC and the syndicate of investors on their Series C investment into Cazoo, a car buying and rental website aimed at disrupting Britain’s used car industry.
- Acted for Draper Esprit as lead investor of the $125m Series B financing of Thought Machine, a UK-based fintech company that specialises in cloud native core banking technology.
- Advised Morningside Venture Investments on a £20m investment into an Imperial College London spin-out company, VaxEquity Ltd, which accelerated the production of a vaccine to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and is dedicated to developing saRNA vaccines for serious and life-threatening diseases.
Withers LLP has an excellent reputation for its work with owners of significant art collections on issues such as funding the purchase of art in a tax-efficient way, as well as strength in advising collectors and trustees on the loan of art to public collections or for public display in temporary exhibitions. The nimble team has a substantial international reach through its network of international offices and is skilled at advising on the full range of contentious issues in the art sector. Other areas of expertise include advising on the protection of collections by way of intellectual property or through complex estate planning measures. Eleni Polycarpou heads the department.
Eleni Polycarpou – UK Head of Art; Diana Wierbicki – Global Head of Art Law
‘Highly knowledgeable in the field of art and cultural property taxation‘.
‘Deep understanding of art market and interplay between art world and IP rights and personality rights of artists. Extremely responsive, clear communication, great strategists‘.
‘Very good reactivity, deep knowledge of the legal and cultural worlds, very nice contact‘.
‘The team at Withers was relatable, responsive and extremely knowledgeable. Its response times were better than others in the sector and the team was able to translate complex information into clear, digestible formats. I found Eleni Polycarpou to be brilliant to work with, excellent in her subject matter and responsive to the needs (and timeline) of the organisation/scenario‘.
‘Eleni Polycarpou handles art disputes as a part of her commercial/arbitration practice. She is excellent, very thorough, with good commercial judgement and very pleasant to work with‘.
‘Good cross-border team, broad and deep approach. Eleni Polycarpou has a broad expertise and good network in the area’.
‘Very knowledgeable in a diverse field of legal requirements. Very efficient and very professional. Prompt responses in easy to understand plain English‘.
Client purchasing Banksy work
Trustees of a trust which holds an extensive collection of valuable works
Gazelli Art House
The Royal Academy of Arts (RA)
Victoria Miro Gallery
- Advising the Tate in respect of English and Chinese law advice in relation to the Museum of Art Pudong.
- Advising Gazelli Art House on various legal matters including transactional and charity advice.
- Advising the Royal Academy of Arts on a variety of matters across the firm including IP.
The international fraud practice of Withers LLP acts for high-net-worth individuals and corporate clients in matters ranging from art and cultural asset frauds, to complex multijurisdictional cases involving financial services. The firm’s global reach allows it to trace assets across the world, as well as act in multijurisdictional fraud disputes. Stephen Ross leads the team and is an ‘authoritative and highly experienced civil fraud lawyer’.
Other key lawyers:
Ruzin Dagli; Andrew Wass; Laura Mattar
‘Headed by Stephen Ross. An excellent team. A very thorough knowledge of disclosure techniques and the tools required for fraud litigation generally’.
‘Great team to work with. Very understanding. Excellent client skills. Excellent at managing all the arrangements for virtual trials and hearings’.
‘Stephen Ross is astonishingly calm under fire even when it is coming from all directions. Nothing phases him. He is also a superb lawyer and does not shrink from informing clients of the demerits of their case and well as the merits’.
‘The team manages clients’ concerns extremely well, ensuring that no more than is absolutely necessary enters the public domain. This influences the litigation strategy to be adopted but never at the expense of getting the best result (in overall financial, commercial and reputational terms) for the client’.
‘Andrew Wass is extremely incisive, tactically very astute and very charming. A delight to work with, appreciating the realities of what can be achieved in particular timescales and what cannot be. Results in a willingness to put oneself out as you know that Andrew would not be asking unless it was necessary’.
‘Laura Mattar, while still relatively junior, has what it takes to become a partner in the long run. Provides independent input of the very highest quality’.
‘Stephen Ross leads a fantastic team of exceptional civil fraud lawyers. The clients the practice attracts are accustomed to the highest levels of service and they always receive it’.
‘Stephen Ross is an authoritative and highly experienced civil fraud lawyer, a brilliant tactician and, to his opponents, a formidable figure. He is highly attuned to the intense demands of fraud litigation and the complex needs of his clients’.
Barrowfen Properties Limited
- Acting for Barrowfen Properties Limited in a derivative action against a former director and his legal representation in respect of various claims including forgery, conspiracy and professional negligence
- Instructed to advise TransferWise Ltd to defend against threatened proceedings. The Claimant was defrauded by way of an internet scam and claimed that the client, by failing to identify the impersonation, allegedly breached a Quincecare duty and was in knowing receipt of the fraudulently diverted payments.
- Act for Transworld Aviation, a company based in Dubai, which is a leading distributor, stockist and technical provider to the aviation industry in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia, in relation to the sale and purchase of a helicopter.
Withers LLP's team acts across the banking, natural resources, infrastructure, manufacturing, technology, and oil and gas sectors. The practice is co-led by 'highly effective advocate' Hussein Haeri and Eleni Polycarpou, who represents high-net-worth individuals and families. Also highly regarded are Russia, Ukraine and CIS group head Tatiana Menshenina, along with recently promoted special counsel Robert Kovacs and senior associate Camilla Gambarini. Former Attorney General of England and Wales Geoffrey Cox QC was recruited in September 2020 as global counsel.
Hussein Haeri; Eleni Polycarpou
Other key lawyers:
‘The Withers team is a first-class outfit that is at the top of its game.‘
‘Small but well-run practice with some strong individual partners; they handle both commercial and treaty work, and have a very international client base.‘
‘The arbitration team is made up of knowledgeable, capable and pleasant professionals, and the quality of their work is excellent.‘
‘Hussein Haeri has a mastery of bilateral treaty arbitration that places him among the vey best of his peers, and he combines his wholesome knowledge with an excellent approach to breaking down the complexity of issues and articulating concepts in easy-to-understand terms. He also instils confidence in his clients, who admire his methods.‘
‘Hussein Haeri is a superb team leader and highly effective advocate, and charming to work with.‘
‘Hussein Haeri and special counsel Robert Kovacs both have in-depth knowledge of international arbitration against sovereigns in developing markets.‘
‘Eleni Polycarpou has extensive experience in multi-jurisdictional arbitration disputes, and stands out for her commercial approach to cases and exceptional client care.‘
‘Tatiana Menshenina is a partner who knows the CIS market, and the needs and objectives of clients, particularly well; and she keeps a close eye on the development of a case, and knows how and when to use counsel.‘
Qatar National Bank
Cyprus Holding Company
Government of Ukraine
- Represented Qatar National Bank in a contractual dispute-related ICSID arbitration against South Sudan and the Bank of South Sudan.
- Represented a professional footballer of Juventus FC in an ICC commercial arbitration against a Maltese company.
- Representing Cyprus Holding Company in an LCIA arbitration, where the respondent is accused of conspiracy to defraud.
The professional negligence team at Withers LLP advises a range of clients with claims against insured parties such as solicitors, valuers, accountants and tax advisers. The team is also known for its longstanding relationship with Bar Mutual, advising barristers on behalf of their insurer. Clients are also able to benefit from the strength of the firm's other teams, such as tax and family, with the firm seeing an increase in tax professional negligence claims in recent years. Head of the team, Eleni Polycarpou, specialises in professional negligence and regularly advises on high profile matters for Bar Mutual and its insured. Her broader practice includes commercial disputes and art litigation.
Other key lawyers:
Christopher Coffin; Caroline Thompson; Joshua Swift
‘An excellent team. A very thorough knowledge of disclosure techniques and the tools required for litigation generally. Great team to work with. Very understanding. Excellent client skills. Excellent at managing all the arrangements for virtual trials and hearings.’
‘A very experienced and well-regarded team within a leading firm with wide range of expertise to draw on.’
‘Withers frequently act in high-value, complicated, multi-party professional negligence cases. They also handle a significant amount of professional negligence claims against barristers and clearly have the trust of Bar Mutual.’
‘The team is extremely supportive of one another and of the client, which makes them very easy to deal with and there is a flow of knowledge that means everyone is aware of the issues on the case and able to respond intelligently to issues as they arise. This inspires a considerable degree of confidence.’
‘Eleni Polycarpou is very sensible and always keeping the bigger picture in focus. Has a good feel for likely outcomes and pragmatic and practical in getting there.’
‘Joshua Swift is very bright and diligent, with an appreciation for tactics more in keeping with someone much more senior.’
‘Eleni Polycarpou is a tenacious litigator who leaves no stone unturned in pursuit of tactical advantage for her clients. She has natural and deep understanding of the dynamics and commercial drivers of a dispute, whilst remaining involved in the detail.’
Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund and various parties
- Acting for a successful entrepreneur in a £10m claim against their former solicitors, arising out of a complex shareholder dispute following the sale of a successful business.
- Acting for Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Limited and individual barristers in negligence claims made against them.
- Acting for Barrowfen Properties Limited in a derivative action against a former director and his legal representation in respect of various claims including forgery, conspiracy and professional negligence.
Withers LLP's HE practice sits within the dedicated charity and philanthropy team, and draws on a core group of employment, immigration, IP, tax and real estate specialists. The group is highly recommended for international clients, with strong links to Asia and the US; dual-qualified partner Alana Petraske in New York works closely with the team. James Shaw handles spin-out activities for UK universities, while Chris Priestley has experience with large-scale projects, and Alison Paines focuses on strategic and governance advice. Philip Reed joined from Farrer & Co.
Alison Paines; Alana Petraske; Chris Priestley; James Shaw; Philip Reed
Other key lawyers:
‘Great industry knowledge.’
‘Chris Priestley is an outstanding education partner.’
Morningside Venture Investments Limited
University of Illinois Foundation
University of Pennsylvania
Withers LLP specialises in advising academies, handling conversions, restructurings, governance work and operational issues as well as employment, safeguarding and reputational mandates. EdTech and UK-US education work, led by Alana Petraske from the New York office, are key specialisms. Chris Priestley heads up the charities and philanthropy team, which houses the education practice. Philip Reed joined from Farrer & Co.
Chris Priestley; Philip Reed; Alana Petraske
‘Great ethos. Very can-do attitude, will work with you to find the best solution.’
Fig Leaf Productions Limited (t/a Maths – No Problem!)
All Saints Church, Binfield
American School in London Foundation
Employment > Immigration Tier 5
Withers LLP's key strengths are in advising on global immigration programmes for financial and media companies - as well as a growing roster of technology sector clients - and acting for senior executives and founders of major international companies. The team has expertise in niche sectors including Formula One, football and tennis, and regularly provides post-Brexit immigration advice to UK-based organisations. Practice head Tracy Evlogidis is highly experienced in all areas of UK immigration law, while senior associate Gemma Goodhead has been particularly active in advising on sponsor licences.
Other key lawyers:
Employment > Employers Tier 6
Under the leadership of Meriel Schindler, Withers LLP’s practice has expertise in domestic strategic projects and advisory issues. It is regularly instructed in severance negotiations, TUPE issues, disciplinary processes and restructurings. Claire Christy notably acts for a preponderance of UK subsidiaries of Italian companies, inspiring 'confidence and loyalty in her clients’, whereas Hugh More takes the lead on many matters for large charities.
‘The team has provided valuable assistance on a number of challenging assignments. They adapted quickly as the engagements evolved and provided clear and thoughtful advice on some unique issues. We had absolute confidence in the advice and recommendations from the team.’
‘I work with Claire Christy, a fabulously able partner, who is supported by a team of very able associates. The head of group is Meriel Schindler, and she too is incredibly strong.’
‘Very well regarded employment team not only for employers but also for individuals.’
‘Meriel Schindler is a brilliant tactician, who rightly installs great confidence in her clients.‘
‘Elaine and Libby provided clear and thoughtful advice to some unique issues and we had absolute confidence in their advice and recommendations.’
GB News (All Perspectives Limited)
REDD Intelligence Ltd.
Galileo Global Education
Aston Martin Racing Cognizant (formerly Racing Point UK Limited)
Kensington Mortgage Company
Winton Capital Management Limited/ Winton Group
Edward James Foundation
Syracuse University (London Program)
Mustard Seed Capital
- Advised GB News on a full range of employment matters, including talent & employment agreements for on-air and editorial staff.
- Advising the Galileo Global Education group in the acquisition of Regent’s University London.
- Advising Aston Martin Racing Cognizant (formerly Racing Point UK Limited) on all aspects of employment law, including its contracts, day-to-day HR issues and post-termination restraints
Withersworldwide's 'outstanding' litigation practice represents its impressive roster of clients (which includes funds, brokers, investment managers, small businesses and high-net-worth individuals) in claims against banks. 'Ferociously intelligent' Andrew Wass has particular expertise in financial mis-selling claims; and Harvey Knight has a breadth of expertise in financial regulatory issues. Joshua Swift is a senior associate to note for claims against banks relating to complex derivatives and other financial products.
‘An outstanding practice – depth of knowledge in key areas of banking and finance law, including complex derivatives transactions.‘
‘Andrew Wass – banking partner. Extremely knowledgeable with broad investment banking / foreign exchange / financial services market experience. An outstanding litigator with excellent commercial nous.’
‘A solid presence in the market with great strength in depth.’
‘Andrew Wass – banking partner – comes from a banking background; he worked for many years for a well-known investment bank out in the Far East. A hugely clever and creative lawyer and extremely personable‘
‘It’s a strong team and clearly going from strength to strength. Associates are, as one would expect, dedicated and always available, and they’re delightful to deal with.’
‘Andrew Wass is charm itself, whilst also being ferociously intelligent. A perfect mixture of intellectual insight and charisma, he makes consultations a real joy for barristers and clients alike. Working with Andrew is a genuinely pleasurable experience, and a rare oasis of calm in the maelstrom of commercial litigation.’
Decisive Capital Management SA
- Acting for Decisive Capital Management as the claimant in a dispute under a Facility Agreement and associated Guarantee, related to the financing of a substantial property development project.
‘What sets Withers apart is its truly global coverage. It is very common for a high-value commercial matter to be proceeding before the courts of the BVI, involving a company owned by e.g. a Russian or Chinese client.’
‘Niki Olympitis is a tactically excellent and experienced litigator who has good judgment, and an instinct for how judges in the BVI will receive arguments.’
‘Sara-Jane Knock is a fantastically hard-working, highly competent and personable lawyer, Sara-Jane is an absolute delight to work with. With Sara-Jane, clients will receive partner-level service from a Senior Associate.‘
‘Lauren Peaty is a relatively new but excellent addition to the team in the BVI office. She is a star lawyer in the making. Incredibly incisive, and quick to get to the nub of an issue, which I am sure that clients love. Also shows wisdom and good judgment.’
‘Niki Olympitis has great experience and leads the BVI team very well.’
Attorney General of the Virgin Islands, Premier of the Virgin Islands, Ministers and Junior Ministers of the Virgin Islands, Cabinet of the Virgin Islands
Scholz Recycling GmbH and Scholz Hong Kong Limited
Government of the Virgin Islands (British)
Baylove International Limited
Hartree Partners Power & Gas Company Limited
Keyside Holdings Limited
- Instructed by The Government of the Virgin Islands to provide advice and representation in relation to a Commission of Inquiry launched by the then Governor of the BVI (in Jan 2021) to establish whether corruption or abuse of office may have taken place in the BVI in recent years.
- Instructed by two private individuals based in the BVI who are bringing a challenge to the decision to implement a Publicly Accessible Register of Beneficial Ownership in the BVI pursuant the UK’s Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act.
- Instructed by the trustees of two BVI trusts worth in excess of $400m, who are currently undergoing a restructuring exercise involving assets in multiple jurisdictions.
At Withers Bergman LLP, the tax-exempt organizations practice is housed within the larger private client and tax group and is skilled in advising both donors and charities. The group is headed by William Kambas in New York, and handles domestic and international gift planning matters, operational issues, and investments. The team comprises Alana Petraske who advises clients on fiscal, and regulatory issues, and Lawton Leung who handles international tax planning work. On the west coast, co-chair of the team Michael Brophy in California represents charities and trustees in litigation pertaining to estates. Key names include San Diego-based Steven Chidester who specialises in sanction issues and representing tax-exempt organizations in IRS audits. The group has bolstered its personal tax offering with new arrivals; Victoria Diaz and Whitney Barton who joined from Deloitte LLP and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP respectively.
Withers LLP > Firm Profile
The firm: Withers is one of the world’s first international law firms dedicated to the business, personal and philanthropic interests of successful people, their businesses, families and advisers. With over 170 partners and more than 950 other staff members in 17 offices across Europe, the US, Asia Pacific and the Caribbean, Withers has unparalleled expertise in the key legal issues facing individuals, their families and their businesses. Its clients’ interests span 80 countries and the firm has acted for 70% of the top 100 UK ‘Sunday Times Rich List’, and a significant number of the US ‘Forbes List’ of Richest Americans and the Asian ‘Hurun Rich List’.
Principal areas of work
Private client: Withers has one of the largest and most comprehensive private client practices in the UK. Whether you require advice on legal and tax structuring for your business and investments, family and business governance, tax and estate planning, immigration, pensions or help with a vulnerable person in your family, Withers will deliver tailored solutions to meet your specific needs. Many of its clients’ interests are purely domestic, whilst others are international families with interests in a number of locations. In a fast-moving and increasingly compliance focused world, the need for integrated advice that reaches across borders has never been greater. Withers’ clients have achieved success in many fields, from senior executives to multi-generational families, owners, managers and investors in private capital.
Family: As one of the largest, longest established and most experienced teams in the world, there are few situations the practice has not handled. The family team predominantly acts for high-net-worth individuals, founders and senior professionals, frequently advising on cross border and complex financial cases. A central aim is to help clients avoid a traumatic and protracted court battle, securing the best possible outcome and a fair and appropriate settlement. Withers has also been instrumental in shaping and setting precedents in family and divorce law in the UK and Hong Kong.
Dispute resolution: The firm has defended the interests of successful individuals, businesses and brands for many years, pursuing matters swiftly and robustly where necessary. With over 180 lawyers globally, Withers has an established international dispute resolution practice acting in complex multi-jurisdictional cases and is well known in the art, sport, fashion, luxury assets and natural resources sectors. Specialisms include international arbitration, public international law, tax controversy, media and reputation management, employment and regulatory, white collar investigations, professional negligence, board and shareholder disputes, insolvency and fraud. Their BVI office is a particular strength in cross border litigation, focusing on insolvency, asset tracing and recovery. With a disputes portfolio valued at $11bn, it has pioneered the use of arbitration and mediation for commercial disputes and, more recently, trust disputes.
Real estate: Withers’ real estate team has completed commercial, residential and non-profit deals for some of the most prominent individuals, families and institutions in the world, helping them to expand both domestically and internationally, offering specialist insight into both day-to-day real estate investments, as well as complex development projects. The firm’s dedicated team also assists with tax structuring, dispute resolution and finance.
Corporate: Clients benefit from the team’s depth and diversity of knowledge when advising on issues that arise over the entire life cycle of a company, from securing investment, to structuring executive equity incentives and completing mergers and acquisitions. Working with successful people and organisations around the world means that the team understands the unique legal issues surrounding private capital, which can range from investment, structuring and control of cross border investments to the corporate and personal tax issues created.
Charities: The charities and philanthropy team actively engages with and shapes legal reform and developments in the charity sector. Withers has one of the largest portfolios of charity clients in the country, acting for over 50% of the UK’s top 50 charities by income. Clients range from leading national charities to small private foundations. The firm has worked in the not-for-profit sector for decades and has one of the most comprehensive teams in the UK legal sector, who also offer US/UK, cross border charity advice.
Technology: The technology team known as Withers tech includes professionals from across the globe in areas including intellectual property, corporate restructuring, venture capital, employment law and finance. The team’s comprehensive legal offering is designed to meet the unique needs of entrepreneurs, a diverse range of investors and high growth technology companies in a number of industries including life sciences, fintech, cleantech, adtech and emerging technology sectors such as blockchain, crypto, and artificial intelligence.
|Chief executive officer||Margaret Robertson|
|Agricultural and rural affairs||Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall|
|Agricultural and rural affairs||Matthew Woods|
|Art and cultural property||Eleni Polycarpou|
|Civil fraud||Stephen Ross|
|Commercial litigation and dispute resolution||Roberto Moruzzi|
|Commercial property||Jeremy Wakeham|
|Commercial property||Paul Brecknell|
|Contentious trust and probate||Stephen Richards|
|Corporate (AIM)||Azlinda Ariffin-Boromand|
|Corporate finance||Ben Simpson|
|Court of protection||Julia Abrey|
|Court of protection||Stephen Richards|
|Data protection||Kenneth Mullen|
|Data protection||Richard Penfold|
|Financial services and funds||Harvey Knight|
|Intellectual property||Kenneth Mullen|
|Intellectual property||Richard Penfold|
|International arbitration||Hussein Haeri|
|International arbitration||Eleni Polycarpou|
|Life sciences||Susanna Stanfield|
|Luxury brands||Graham Webster|
|Luxury brands||Lesley Timms|
|Personal tax, trust and probate||Dora Clarke|
|Personal tax, trust and probate||Christopher Groves|
|Privacy law and defamation||Jo Sanders|
|Professional negligence||Eleni Polycarpou|
|Property litigation||Andrew Chesser|
|Public international law||Hussein Haeri|
|Residential property||Henry Stuart|
|Restructuring and insolvency||Roberto Moruzzi|
|Tax investigations||Maurice Martin|
|Venture capital||James Shaw|
|Elaine Aarons||Partner. With over 35 years’ experience, Elaine is an acknowledged leader in…||View Profile|
|Julia Abrey||Head of elder law. Partner dealing with probate, succession and post-death tax…||View Profile|
|Azlinda Ariffin-Boromand||Azlinda is a Consulting Partner in the Corporate Group at Withers Worldwide.…||View Profile|
|Georgina Bayley||Special Counsel. Georgina specialises in heavyweight commercial disputes, both international and domestic,…||View Profile|
|Claire Blakemore||Partner. Claire’s predictions of outcome are spot on and she delivers the…||View Profile|
|Paul Brecknell||Head of real estate department specialising in commercial property (in particular acting…||View Profile|
|Richard Cassell||Partner in wealth planning group specialising in US and international tax and…||View Profile|
|Claire Christy||Claire advises individuals and organisations on employment, shareholder and partnership law…||View Profile|
|Dora Clarke||Dora specialises in all aspects of probate, succession and tax planning, both…||View Profile|
|Christopher Coffin||Christopher is a commercial litigator with 30 years’ experience of major and…||View Profile|
|James Copson||Partner. James has far-reaching experience in all areas of family breakdown, with…||View Profile|
|Clive Cutbill||Now occupying a management role but continuing to provide conultancy on charities’…||View Profile|
|Hugh Devlin||Consultant dealing mainly with businesses in the luxury goods, fashion and retail…||View Profile|
|Sophie Dworetzsky||Sophie advises on all aspects of sophisticated private client planning, with an…||View Profile|
|Camilla Gambarini||Dual qualified as an Avvocato (Italy) and as a Solicitor (England &…||View Profile|
|Dawn Goodman||Partner. Dawn has a wealth of experience litigating and working proactively with…||View Profile|
|Michael Gouriet||Partner. Michael advises on all aspects of divorce and family law (including…||View Profile|
|Christopher Groves||Partner in the funds, investment, tax and trusts group, dealing particularly with…||View Profile|
|Hussein Haeri||Partner and co-head of the International Arbitration practice. Hussein leads Withers’ international…||View Profile|
|Murray Hallam||Consultant: trusts, wills, charities, tax planning and heritage property.||View Profile|
|Paul Hewitt||Partner. Paul specialises in domestic and international trust and succession disputes. Described…||View Profile|
|Bertie Hoskyns-abrahall||Partner in the real estate department, specialising in the sale and purchase…||View Profile|
|Steven Kempster||Partner. Steven specialises in the resolution of disputes relating to trusts and…||View Profile|
|Harvey Knight||Partner. With some 30 years’ experience, including 6 years advising the Financial…||View Profile|
|Dr Robert Kovacs specialises in public international law, international arbitration and business…||View Profile|
|Katharine Landells||Partner. Katharine has an abundance of energy, which drives her efficient and…||View Profile|
|Julian Lipson||Partner. Julian is considered one of the best family lawyers of his…||View Profile|
|Maurice Martin||Partner specialising in all forms of tax investigations, negotiation and litigation.||View Profile|
|Paul McGrath||Paul is a partner in the corporate team. He advises on a…||View Profile|
|Amber Melville-brown||Amber leads the global media and reputation team. She is uniquely placed…||View Profile|
|Tatiana Menshenina||Tatiana is an experienced commercial litigator, working on both court cases and…||View Profile|
|Patricia Milner||Patricia is co-head of our wealth planning department in Europe. She focuses…||View Profile|
|Hugh More||Hugh advises employees and employers at all stages of the employment relationship,…||View Profile|
|Roberto Moruzzi||Roberto is experienced in dealing with commercial litigation and arbitration involving international…||View Profile|
|Kenneth Mullen||Partner dealing with intellectual property (non-contentious); data protection; technology and outsourcing; e-commerce…||View Profile|
|Niki Olympitis||Niki has over 30 years of legal experience. Niki advises on all…||View Profile|
|Alison Paines||Alison is a partner in the charities team. She has over 25…||View Profile|
|Diana Parker||Partner. Diana is well known as one of London’s divorce lawyer elite.…||View Profile|
|Adele Pledger||Adele works in all areas of family law, including divorce and financial…||View Profile|
|Eleni Polycarpou||Partner and co-head of International Arbitration. Eleni is a litigation and arbitration…||View Profile|
|Chris Priestley||Head of the firm’s charities & philanthropy practice. Particular areas of expertise…||View Profile|
|Aniruddha Rajput||Dr. Aniruddha Rajput is a Member of the UN International Law Commission…||View Profile|
|Stephen Richards||Partner. Stephen heads the trust and succession disputes team at Withersworldwide. He…||View Profile|
|Margaret Robertson||Managing director. Experienced in fraud and international asset tracing (particularly offshore); termination…||View Profile|
|Stephen Ross||Partner. Stephen heads the global fraud team and is described as ‘imaginative…||View Profile|
|Jo Sanders||Partner and head of UK media, reputation and privacy team. Jo joined…||View Profile|
|Meriel Schindler||Meriel is head of the global employment team and advises both employers…||View Profile|
|Ben Simpson||Ben works as special counsel in the corporate team. He advises on…||View Profile|
|Natasha Stourton||Senior Associate. Natasha advises on a wide range of trust and succession…||View Profile|
|Henry Stuart||Head of residential property team dealing with high-value residential transactions of London…||View Profile|
|Tim Taylor||Tim is a partner in the corporate team. He advises businesses and…||View Profile|
|Julie Teal||Partner.||View Profile|
|Caroline Thompson||Caroline’s practice is varied and covers both commercial disputes and media law…||View Profile|
|Lesley Timms||Lesley trained with Withers and became a member of the Commercial Litigation…||View Profile|
|Suzanne Todd||Suzanne leads the family and contentious trusts and succession teams in Europe…||View Profile|
|Alice Tomlin||Alice acts for charities, private individuals and institutions in relation to all…||View Profile|
|Jeremy Wakeham||Jeremy specialises in commercial real estate. He advises investors, developers and landowners…||View Profile|
|Andrew Wass||Andrew is a commercial litigator, focusing on financial services disputes. After university,…||View Profile|
|Penelope Williams||Partner specialising in cross-border estate planning for private clients in both the…||View Profile|
|Laura Winterbottom||Laura advises on all family law issues that flow from separation, divorce…||View Profile|
|Peter Wood||Peter has 30 years of experience and is currently the lead partner…||View Profile|
|Matthew Woods||Joint head of the landed estates group. Focuses on the mitigation of…||View Profile|
Staff FiguresNumber of global partners : Over 170 Number of UK partners : 70 Number of other UK lawyers : 187
LanguagesMore than 60
Student (The Lex 100 )
The Lex 100 VerdictA ‘leading private client and family firm with growing media department’ that 'specialises in Italian clients’ with an ‘opportunity for a Milan secondment’ describe Withers. A City stalwart in the private client space, the firm takes a personal approach to training. One trainee said that ‘I wanted to work at a very people-focused firm both in terms of culture and work. I also wanted broad experience with international work which not all private firms had to offer’. Beyond a strong UK client list, ‘the firm's international credentials are genuine and lived day-to-day. It pervades both the type of work we do, the clients we assist and the team, and makes Withers a really good environment to work in’. The firm is known for its ‘proportion of female partners, and the track record of keeping trainees and eventually making them partner’, a major recruitment priority of the firm. Despite being private client-focused, the firm works across multiple sectors and can ask a lot of trainees. Work/life balance is cited as an area which could be improved, as well as remuneration reflecting the hours. If you are looking for an international-facing private client firm with supportive and hand-on training, Withers is a strong contender.
- Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market
- Employment > Senior executives
- Private client > Agriculture and estates
- Private client > Charities and not-for-profit
- Private client > Contentious trusts and probate
- Private client > Court of protection
- Private client > Family
- Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate
Top Tier Firm Rankings
- Corporate and commercial > M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m
- Dispute resolution > Public international law
- Private client > Family: mediation
- Real estate > Residential property
- TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Reputation management
- Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cambridge
- Corporate and commercial > Financial services: contentious
- Corporate and commercial > Venture capital
- Private client > Art and cultural property
- Crime, fraud and licensing > Fraud: civil
- Dispute resolution > International arbitration
- Insurance > Professional negligence
- Public sector > Education: institutions
- Public sector > Education: schools