Firm Profile > Withers LLP > London , London

Withers LLP
20 Old Bailey

Living Wage

Agriculture and estates Tier 1

Withers LLP acts for over 130 landed estates across England and Wales on all aspects of rural property transactions. The department is regularly instructed by clients who are entering the rural UK property market for the first time and also has a number of clients who are resident or domiciled abroad. Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall co-heads the landed estate group and focuses on advising landowners and estates on a wide variety of management and succession issues. Matthew Woods also heads the group and is skilled at providing tax and succession planning advice to the owners of rural property. The team is also well-placed to advise on all aspects of trusts and cross-border planning.

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

Withers LLP has lawyers in London, the US, Hong Kong and Singapore to assist clients on high-value and multi-jurisdictional trust and succession planning disputes. The large team acts for individuals, families, fiduciaries and charities on every aspect of contentious trusts and succession work as well as Court of Protection matters. Other clients include blue-chip financial institutions. Under the leadership of Stephen Richards the excellent group works closely with its private wealth colleagues and its family and reputation management teams to assist its clients. Key team members include Dawn Goodman, Steven Kempster and Paul Hewitt.

Court of protection Tier 1

Withers LLP advises families and the appointed representatives of older and vulnerable people as well as regularly acting for trustees, executors, charities and other professional groups. The team is experienced at advising on disabled trusts and on advance decisions to refuse medical treatment (also known as ‘living wills’). Julia Abrey co-heads the elder law team and has particular expertise in cross-border mental capacity issues. Stephen Richards frequently acts for both applicants and respondents in the Court of Protection in applications for statutory wills, lifetime gifts, contested registrations of powers of attorneys as well as health and welfare decisions and deputyships.

Employment: senior executives Tier 1

Withers LLP boasts an impressive client roster of bank executives, partners, business owners and leaders and employers, and continues to act on novel issues of law both in an advisory and litigious capacity. Recent work highlights range from advising on day-to-day operations to large-scale, high-profile litigation across a wide array of industry sectors including sports, luxury, financial services and charities. Under the leadership of Meriel Schindler the team has continued to assist those dealing with Brexit-related uncertainty, and dedicated regulatory partner Harvey Knight has recently assisted clients with issues arising from regulatory changes within the financial services sector. Elaine Aarons is also a key name within the practice; she often intervenes in cross-border matters and has an outstanding record representing bank chief executives. Claire Christy and Hugh More jointly lead the employer-side practice.

Family Tier 1

Withers LLP has a vast amount of experience in complex international cases with its 18 offices worldwide. It continues to act in major reported and significant family law cases. Suzanne Todd heads this excellent team and her practice spans complicated international financial remedy work as well as multi-jurisdictional pre-nups and private international children and family matters. The firm fields a large team of family and divorce lawyers that is well–equipped to handle the most complex international and high-value cases. Diana Parker 'remains in the very top rank of family lawyers'. Suzanne Kingston is now at Mills & Reeve LLP.

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 1

Withers LLP has a large team that specialises in all areas of private client work from elder law and landed estates through to international probate, international trusts and tax investigations. Other areas of expertise include advising on philanthropy and it also has a significant number of US-qualified attorneys in the London office. It acts for just over half of the individuals and families in the 2018 Sunday Times UK Rich List. Its international probate expertise is also well recognised as it deals with complicated cross-border issues, and manages estates where property and family members are spread across different countries. Jeremy Arnold heads the team in London. Alessia Paoletto and Lara Crompton were promoted to the partnership.

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2

Alison Paines at Withers LLP is renowned for her expertise in governance and regulatory investigations, as well as her role in advising healthcare charities. Chris Priestley is the legal adviser to many of the largest operating charities in the country and is well known for his work on governance, mergers, commercial and fundraising projects for charities. The department is regularly involved in large cross-border matters and has been carving out niche expertise in cryptocurrency as well as advising a number of clients on the introduction of blockchain technology.

Family: mediation Tier 2

The key partners for mediation at Withers LLP are Suzanne Todd and Claire Blakemore . Todd has recently conducted a mediation in Italian.  Both Todd and Blakemore are highly recommended and mediate in both financial and children issues. Diana Parker is also recommended. Suzanne Kingston is now at Mills & Reeve LLP .

Residential property Tier 2

Withers LLP's 'highly proactive and experienced' team acts on the buyer side of high value transactions in prime central London and across the UK, as well as advising on landlord and tenant matters, enfranchisement, funding arrangements and the tax position of overseas buyers, many of who are based in the Middle East. The team's expertise covers pre-emption agreements, farming tenancies, planning permission, construction, financing and investigations to determine title. Henry Stuart handles transactions for UK and international clients purchasing properties across England and Wales, whereas Nicholas Vaughan has particular expertise advising investors from Europe, the Middle East, South America and Asia on their acquisition of prime central properties.

Venture capital Tier 2

Withers LLP has a nascent capability in the venture capital arena as a result of its merger in August 2018 with boutique UK tech law firm JAG Shaw Baker. The resultant seven-partner offering draws upon the strengths of the legacy firm, particularly for early-stage company side work within the fintech and AI space, and enhances the offering as a result of the ability to leverage significant complementary practice areas including IP and commercial, as well as international offices in the US and Asia. James Shaw  and Erika McIntyre  jointly head the seven-partner team that also includes very well-respected US and UK-qualified partner Tina Baker, whose recent work included advice to London-based open source security company Snyk on its $22m Series B venture funding round led by Accel.

Art and cultural property Tier 3

Clients of Withers LLP benefit from its network of international offices. It has a long-established reputation in tax and estate planning work particularly for the owners of major art collections and works on a broad mix of contentious art matters, from restitution, to disputes about title, contested provenance and contractual issues. Eleni Polycarpou is a known name for her work on contentious art law. Celia Lloyd-Davidson is a notable practitioner for non-contentious art matters and for her work in the creative sector working closely with commercial galleries, museums and artists. Simon Chadwick is also recommended.

Financial services: contentious Tier 3

Withers LLP is focused on acting for individual senior executive and non-executive clients, as well as their owner managed businesses, in the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) regulated sectors. Harvey Knight leads the practice and specialises in PRA and FCA enforcement cases involving individuals. In a high profile example, his team acted for former Barclays Wealth COO Andrew Tinney, who challenged  a proposed FCA decision notice that attempted to ban him from carrying out any senior management role in any regulated financial service provider.

Public international law Tier 3

Withers LLP's public international law practice was strengthened by the arrivals of consultant Aniruddha Rajput, who is a member of the UN International Law Commission, and senior associate Robert Kovacs, who joined from Volterra Fietta and has broad experience in public international law, human rights and international arbitration. The practice advises sovereign governments, multinational companies and individuals on matters ranging from international investment law, human rights, sanctions, WTO law, maritime law and state immunities. Hussein  Haeri is an experienced advocate in state-state and investor-state disputes and arbitrations under the auspices of the PCA, UNICTRAL and ICSID.

Reputation management Tier 3

The 'very good and professional' Withers LLP has a long-established practice providing a variety of clients with pragmatic and holistic advice on communication, information and reputation management issues. The team almost exclusively represents claimants in their cases against the media. The 'clever and thoughtfulJo Sanders joined from Harbottle & Lewis LLP to head the UK department while Amber Melville-Brown has taken the lead of the firm's global media and reputation team based in the US, effectively offering clients a round-the-clock service. Another name to note is associate Andrew Fremlin-Key, who is building a specialist focus in the sports sector.

Education: institutions Tier 4

At Withers LLP, the education team is included within the charities department and advises on a broad range of areas, such as employment, real estate, tax and data protection, often with an international element. Core members of the team include Alison Paines, who has vast expertise in advising public sector clients on governance procedures; newly made-up partner Alana Petraske, whose specialisms include advising international universities; Richard Cassell, who handles international tax and trusts; and Chris Priestley.

Fraud: civil Tier 4

Withers LLP's private client focused practice advises on international fraud cases involving contentious trusts, offshore structures, asset tracing, freezing orders, search and seize orders, art and cultural assets, as well as multi-jurisdictional cases involving blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The firm handles work emanating from Russia, the CIS, Asia, Cyprus and the UK, and works closely with its BVI office in order to trace assets. Stephen Ross - who 'makes the work he does seem effortless' - heads the team and focuses on asset freezing and recovery cases, commercial litigation and regulatory disputes.

Professional negligence Tier 4

Withers LLP defends and brings professional negligence claims against lawyers, valuers, accountants, tax advisors, engineers and investment advisors; the team acts for insurers and claimants. It is particularly noted for its experience in defending claims brought against barristers and it is regularly instructed by Bar Mutual. The team is 'committed and determined to get the best results for its clients' and it is an 'experienced team in the professional liability field'. Consultant Christopher Coffin, who heads the team, led advice for the claimants (Anchor Hedge Fund (in liquidation), Galaxy Fund Inc (in liquidation), Futuresone Diversified Fund (in liquidation), all acting by their liquidator John Greenwood of Baker Tilly (BVI)), on a claim to recover substantial settlement proceeds arising from a dispute between the claimants, associated companies and Société Générale. Associate Caroline Thompson is experienced in handling claims against legal professionals.

Banking litigation: investment and retail Tier 5

Withers LLP's relatively conflict-free practice has 'expertise in banking litigation that is a useful complement to the firm's private client practice'. It acts for both high-net-worth individuals and small companies in international banking litigation disputes. The names to note are global dispute resolution division CEO Peter WoodAndrew Wass, Christopher Coffin, Harvey KnightRoberto Moruzzi, and Eleni Polycarpou.

Commercial litigation Tier 5

Withers LLP' London lawyers are 'extremely patient, caring and attentive, and understand different cultural differences'. The team is focused almost exclusively on cross-border matters and houses experts in complex, international asset recovery cases. It also has specific expertise in the fields of art, brands, fashion and sport. Peter Wood is global CEO of dispute resolution, Tatiana Menshenina acts for Russian and CIS clients, and Roberto Moruzzi heads the Europe litigation and arbitration team. Also key to the group are Niki Olympitis, Christopher Coffin and Andrew WassLesley Timms was recently made partner.

Education: schools Tier 5

Withers LLP has a vast international education practice, with work concentrated strongly in the Asian and American markets, and advises clients on the full spectrum of matters, including establishing international schools, mergers and complex restructurings. Overseen by Chris Priestley, the practice group also draws on the firm's non-profit and employment expertise. Alana Petraske, who focuses on UK-US education issues, has moved to the New York office to expand the team there. Alison Paines remains a key contact and is recommended for her experience in advising charities and other non-profit bodies.

Employment: employers Tier 5

Withers LLP boasts an impressive client roster of bank executives, partners, business owners and leaders and employers, and continues to act on novel issues of law both in an advisory and litigious capacity. Recent work highlights range from advising on day-to-day operations to large-scale, high-profile litigation across a wide array of industry sectors including sports, luxury, financial services and charities. Under the leadership of Meriel Schindler the team has continued to assist those dealing with Brexit-related uncertainty, and dedicated regulatory partner Harvey Knight has recently assisted clients with issues arising from regulatory changes within the financial services sector. Elaine Aarons is also a key name within the practice; she often intervenes in cross-border matters and has an outstanding record representing bank chief executives. Claire Christy and Hugh More jointly lead the employer-side practice.

International arbitration Tier 5

Withers LLP 'impresses clients with the quality of the team it assembles and the hard work that everyone puts in'. The group is well known for its experience in the energy, infrastructure and mining and metals industries, and for acting for and against sovereign states in investor-state arbitrations, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. The firm is also historically recognised for arbitration work in the hotels and luxury sectors, and it has a strong focus on arbitration in Russia and CIS countries. Hussein Haeri and Eleni Polycarpou are the co-international arbitration heads; Tatiana Menshenina is also an experienced practitioner, while Robert Kovacs and Camilla Gambarini are the associates to note.

M&A: lower mid-market deals, £50m-£500m Tier 5

Withers LLP is best known for advising on IP-rich transactions, particularly in the luxury brands, sport, pharmaceuticals and technology sectors. Within these, clients range from individuals and family offices to large corporates, with work often cross-border. The most notable recent development is the firm's merger with technology boutique JAG Shaw Baker, which expanded Withers' expertise in this sector and added a number of new clients, as well as additional partners, including the co-founder of JAG, James Shaw. The corporate practice is headed by Paul McGrath.


Withers LLP acts for corporate clients and employers on a range of immigration issues. It is regularly engaged on sponsorship applications and compliance issues. The team is also instructed by high-net worth individuals and well-known personalities on personal immigration matters. Tracy Evlogidis heads the London practice.


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 160 partners and more than 850 other staff members in 17 offices across Europe, US, Asia Pacific and the Caribbean, Withers has unparalleled expertise in the key legal issues facing individuals and their families. Its clients’ interests span 80 countries and the firm has acted for 63% 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 HNW clients, 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 160 lawyers globally, Withers has an established international dispute resolution practice acting in complex multi-jurisdictional disputes and is well known in the art, sport, fashion and luxury assets sectors. Specialisms include international arbitration, public international law, tax controversy, media and reputation management, employment and regulatory, 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 $10 billion, 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.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chairman Justine Markovitz
Chief executive officer Margaret Robertson
Agricultural and rural affairs Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall
Agricultural and rural affairs Matthew Woods
Art and cultural property Eleni Polycarpou
Art and cultural property Celia Lloyd Davidson
Banking Xanthe Lok
Charities Alison Paines
Charities Chris Priestley
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
Construction Julie Teal
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
Employment Meriel Schindler
Family Suzanne Todd
Financial services and funds Harvey Knight
Immigration Tracy Evlogidis
Intellectual property Kenneth Mullen
Intellectual property Richard Penfold
International arbitration Hussein Haeri
Life sciences Susanna Stanfield
Luxury brands Graham Webster
Luxury brands Kenneth Mullen
M&A Graham Webster
Partnership Tim Taylor
Partnership Paul McGrath
Pensions Gillian Johnson
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
Sponsorship Ben Simpson
Tax investigations Maurice Martin
Technology James Shaw
Venture capital James Shaw
Photo Name Position Profile
Ms Margaret Robertson photo Ms Margaret Robertson
 Stephen Richards  photo Stephen Richards
 Paul McGrath  photo Paul McGrath
 Tim Taylor  photo Tim Taylor
 Stephen Ross  photo Stephen Ross
 Suzanne Todd  photo Suzanne Todd
 Ben Simpson  photo Ben Simpson
 Dawn Goodman  photo Dawn Goodman
 Steven Kempster  photo Steven Kempster
 Peter Wood  photo Peter Wood
 Christopher Coffin  photo Christopher Coffin
 Roberto Moruzzi  photo Roberto Moruzzi
 Alison Paines  photo Alison Paines
 Julia Abrey  photo Julia Abrey
 Henry Stuart  photo Henry Stuart
 Paul Brecknell  photo Paul Brecknell
 Hugh Devlin  photo Hugh Devlin
 Penelope Williams  photo Penelope Williams
 Chris Priestley  photo Chris Priestley
 Patricia Milner  photo Patricia Milner
 Richard Cassell  photo Richard Cassell
 Clive Cutbill  photo Clive Cutbill
 Jeremy Wakeham  photo Jeremy Wakeham
 Christopher Groves  photo Christopher Groves
 Murray Hallam  photo Murray Hallam
 Matthew Woods  photo Matthew Woods
 Dora Clarke  photo Dora Clarke
 Bertie Hoskyns-abrahall  photo Bertie Hoskyns-abrahall
 Kenneth Mullen  photo Kenneth Mullen
 Sophie Dworetzsky  photo Sophie Dworetzsky
 Maurice Martin  photo Maurice Martin
 Julie Teal  photo Julie Teal
 Amber Melville-brown  photo Amber Melville-brown
 Elaine Aarons  photo Elaine Aarons
 Andrew Wass  photo Andrew Wass
 Claire Blakemore  photo Claire Blakemore
 Diana Parker  photo Diana Parker
 Eleni Polycarpou  photo Eleni Polycarpou
 Harvey Knight  photo Harvey Knight
Mr Hussein Haeri  photo Mr Hussein Haeri
 James Copson  photo James Copson
 Jo Sanders  photo Jo Sanders
 Julian Lipson  photo Julian Lipson
Mrs Katharine Landells  photo Mrs Katharine Landells
 Meriel Schindler  photo Meriel Schindler
 Michael Gouriet  photo Michael Gouriet
 Paul Hewitt  photo Paul Hewitt
 Azlinda Ariffin-Boromand  photo Azlinda Ariffin-Boromand
 Niki Olympitis  photo Niki Olympitis
 Claire Christy  photo Claire Christy
 Alice Tomlin  photo Alice Tomlin
 Caroline Thompson  photo Caroline Thompson
 Natasha Stourton  photo Natasha Stourton
 Lesley Timms  photo Lesley Timms
 Camilla Gambarini  photo Camilla Gambarini
 Hugh More  photo Hugh More
Number of global partners : Over 160
Number of UK partners : 70
Number of other UK lawyers : 164