Withers LLP > London, England > Firm Profile

Withers LLP
20 Old Bailey

Living Wage

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 1

Withers LLP's London team 'has a standout cross-cultural, cross-jurisdictional ability that is unique in the mid-market'. Acting for HNW individuals, major brands and large corporate entities, the commercial litigation practice has longstanding experience in complex, international disputes; and the group's expertise ranges from banking litigation, white-collar matters, and fraud and asset recovery, to insurance claims, professional negligence, insolvency, and contract and company disputes. Peter Wood is the firm's global dispute resolution CEO; Roberto Moruzzi is a 'vastly experienced senior-level partner'; Tatiana Menshenina acts in cross-border disputes, shareholder and construction claims, and the enforcement of judgments and arbitral awards; and Andrew Wass is a financial mis-selling claims expert. Also highly regarded are civil fraud leader Stephen RossEleni Polycarpou, who has a specialist practice in art-related disputes; the 'extremely hands-on' Lesley Timms; and contentious insolvency, fraud, asset recovery and enforcement expert Sinead Harris.

Practice head(s):

Peter Wood


‘The team has a standout cross-cultural, cross-jurisdictional ability that is unique in the mid-market. It can understand common law and civil code perspectives, as well as navigate the complexities that arise; and it avoids the arrogance of the larger organisations that do this work.’

‘Peter Wood knows his stuff and is great to work with.’

‘Eleni Polycarpou worked successfully on a difficult litigation in the High Court, managing client expectations very well.’

Sinead Harris is hardworking and on top of all the issues.

‘Sinead Harris brings cross-border insights from her experience in working in other jurisdictions.’

‘Roberto Moruzzi – vastly experienced senior-level partner, who has conducted a wide range of commercial disputes, and with specialist knowledge of sports disputes.’

‘Lesley Timms is extremely hands-on, knowledgeable and on top of the file.

‘Stephen Ross is very experienced. A safe pair of hands with excellent client skills, and who has clients’ commercial objectives firmly in mind.

Key clients

WRM CapInvest


Barrowfen Properties

Paper Mache


Transomas Investments

Broadcasting Investment Group

Visual Investments International

Decisive Capital Management

Investors and shareholders of Variti Management Services


Work highlights

  • Instructed by Raffaele Mincione, WRM CapInvest and WRM to bring declaratory relief proceedings against the Secretariat of State of the Holy See.
  • Acting for two technology entrepreneurs, James Kinsella and Robert McNeal, in their claim against a Swiss company and a Liechtenstein family foundation.
  • Acts for a family-run company that invests in commercial and industrial properties in London, and is subject to a longstanding dispute between members of the Patel family.

Employment > Senior executives Tier 1

Combining expertise in employment, regulatory, white-collar crime, reputation management and immigration mandates, Withers LLP is able to advise top-tier executives, high-net worth individuals, partners and founders across the spectrum of employment issues. Key strengths include high-value contract negotiations, whistleblowing cases and discrimination matters. Meriel Schindler leads the team and ‘is professional, an expert in employment law and has experience of partnership law’. Another key name in the practice is Elaine Aarons, who focuses on senior executive work and is ‘undoubtedly one of the best lawyers within her field’. Senior associate James Hockin and consultant Lisa Lewinsohn are also active in the area.

Practice head(s):

Meriel Schindler

Other key lawyers:

Katie Williamson; Elaine Aarons; James Hockin; Melissa Paz; Lisa Lewinsohn


‘The team I had on my case included the Head of Employment Law and the head of Reputation Management supported by other lawyers and associates. What was fantastic for me was I had their full attention and time. Their key strengths – a very good combination of employment law, partnership law, media and reputation management law; deep expertise; use of some great technology which enabled speed in responding.’

‘My primary lawyer was Meriel Schindler. Hands down she is the best lawyer I know of – she is professional, an expert in employment law and has experience of partnership law which was important in my case.’

‘Outstanding people who worked together as a great team. Head and shoulders above other teams that I have dealt with in this area of practice.’

‘Katie Williamson and Meriel Schindler are each excellent in their own right and, together, are a formidable team. They combine first class professional expertise with a clear, intuitive understanding of the business context and the commercial skills to get the deal done.’

‘Direct contact with whoever is doing the work, no multiple layers of senior individuals trying to justify their pay. You get what you ask for, ie an efficient team working hard for you in a very transparent manner. Collaboration is also very good with every specialist of the firm without any wasted time, bureaucracy, straight to the point.’

‘Very good at understanding the issues of the matter, very efficient and clear in establishing the strategy without forgetting the emotional impact on the client. Partner and Associate with very technical knowledge, large experience but excellent compassion and empathy.’

‘I’ve worked with the senior leaders in this practice for more than 20 years. They are highly professional, clear and hugely knowledgeable. Senior executives I know using their services have achieved record settlements and exceedingly favourable terms. The legal advice is superb – with the solicitors anticipating potential issues and using their experience to strategise intelligently and execute flawlessly.’

‘Elaine Aarons and Meriel Schindler are exceptional Employment Solicitors. They are both sharply insightful and straightforward in their guidance. Their decades of experience are put to excellent use, as they advise comprehensively, always focused on the best practical outcomes for their clients.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for the CEO of G4S plc in respect of the negotiation of a complex and multi-jurisdictional high value new contract following takeover of G4S by Allied Universal.
  • Acted for the CEO of RSA Insurance on his exit from RSA.
  • Acted for the incoming CEO of The Arch Company.

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 1

Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall and Matthew Woods co-head a thriving practice at Withers LLP that acts for over 130 landed estates across England and Wales. Clients include historic landowners and successful individuals from around the world. In addition it is regularly instructed by clients entering the rural UK property market for the first time. The group is skilled at handling all aspects of rural property transactions from advising on VAT and stamp duty land tax to advising on complex trusts, cross-border planning and succession issues. Hoskyns-Abrahall also advises forestry investors and increasingly clients who are looking at carbon capture opportunities as well as biodiversity offsetting. Woods is recommended for his advice to clients about how to retain the family assets and business and on their effective transfer to successive generations. Edward Jarron deals with a broad range of property matters including the buying and selling of country houses and agricultural estates as well as development sites and renewable projects.

Practice head(s):

Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall; Matthew Woods

Other key lawyers:


‘The strength and depth of the Withers team is particularly impressive. Other firms often have one or two stand out lawyers but when they are not available, the cracks start to appear. At Withers the whole team has very good operators, including Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall and Edward Jarron’.

‘Excellent resource across a number of areas. Clear aims and very responsive’.

‘Outstanding client focus’.

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

The ‘committed; available; detailed and attentive’ team at Withers LLP under the leadership of Chris Priestley is ‘highly effective’ and its ‘knowledge of the sector is second to none’. With Priestley ‘there’s nothing that he doesn’t know and nothing that he wouldn’t do to help you out as a client’. He is highly recommended for his expertise in governance matters as well as mergers and commercial projects for charities. The group acts for 65% of the top 50 charities in the UK. The practice also has a significant international reach and is regularly instructed on charity matters spanning multiple jurisdictions. Alison Paines (who has ‘excellent technical skills') has particular expertise in board strategy, structuring and governance for national and international charities as well as significant strength in regulatory matters. It has a large UK tax team that advises on income derived from legacies that is led by Paul Hewitt.

Practice head(s):

Chris Priestley

Other key lawyers:

Alison Paines; Paul Hewitt; Roger Waite; Amy Carter; Emma Flower


‘Real specialists able to communicate complex issues and who work together. Chris Priestley is exceptional. Very calm approach and brings in specialists to make a seamless delivery team. Leads, takes responsibility and listens’.

‘The Withers team has a breadth of experience that they apply in a pragmatic manner which really helps when they have given us advice in really complex situations. They understand the sector very well and what impacts it and us as a charity. Chris Priestley is incredibly approachable and knowledgeable about the sector. I value his insight and advice’.

‘The Charities and not-for-profit team in Withers has provided exceptional advice to our company for years. The lawyers have a vast knowledge of the sector and no problem or issue was ever too much for them to answer. The team is very capable and once contacted will get back with answers / recommendations in a very short time period. If the requests were urgent, this was a never a problem for Withers’.

‘Our main point of contact in Withers has been Chris Priestley and he and his team have provided excellent service over the years. Chris and his team (Emma Flower) guided us and ensured that all angles were covered from a legal, taxation and regulatory perspective. I believe that Withers is and has always been value for money compared to competitors’.

‘Emma Flower and Chris Priestly are both extremely helpful, clear, highly knowledgeable and efficient. I would never hesitate to ask for their opinion / assistance. They answer what they can immediately and do further research if required’.

‘Withers is without doubt one of the most trusted of all our legal partners and in reality, probably the best. What makes it unique is the lawyers’ accessibility, always up to date knowledge and the whole solutions-focussed ethos of the firm. A credit to the legal profession’.

Alison Paines and Paul Hewitt are leading practitioners in their field and are stand-out performers, capable of dealing with the most complex cases.’

‘Alison Paines has a profound knowledge of charity law and the sector, and is marvellous at finding solutions to problems. Chris Priestley is also exceptionally knowledgeable and impeccably thorough. Roger Waite is a rising superstar among the associates, very hardworking and great with clients’.

Key clients

National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)

The British Red Cross Society

The Donkey Sanctuary

Cancer Research UK

The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply

Start Network

Royal Society

NHS Charities Together

Work highlights

  • Advises NCVO for all of the charity’s legal work. NCVO is a major national charity and helps to guide the sector as a whole on governance and other essential matters.
  • Continues to act as standing legal adviser to the British Red Cross and assisted in its continuing support of beneficiaries during the pandemic.
  • Acting as the standing legal advisers to Cancer Research UK and in the past year has advised on a wide range of issues under the following headings: Governance, fundraising, regulatory, tax, international work, pensions, property, health and safety, employment and structuring.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

Clients of Withers LLP say ‘over the years we have come to rely on the team for providing exceptional service that has helped us navigate the difficult and PR sensitive aspects of litigation. This team is precisely the team that you would want by your side when you come up against difficulties’. Its trusts, estates and inheritance disputes team is excellent due to the sheer volume of experts it has to deal with all aspects of contentious trusts and probate disputes both nationally and internationally. Paul Hewitt ‘is the gold standard when it comes to trust litigators’ and has a particular interest in representing clients with connections to the sub-continent. Senior counsel Dawn Goodman is highly recommended for her work on trust litigation. Steven Kempster is a ‘tenacious and talented litigator’. It is a ‘stand out firm’ where the lawyers provide ‘excellent, forward thinking and pragmatic advice’.

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Todd

Other key lawyers:

Dawn Goodman; Paul Hewitt; Steven Kempster; Stephen Richards; Natasha Stourton; Sarah Aughwane; Alice Tomlin; Richard Walker; Julia Schtulman


‘Some of the most experienced and best trained litigators specialising in this field. Paul Hewitt is an experienced, hands on, determined litigator who thinks hard about strategy and is highly respected. Stephen Richards is a very similar – experienced, determined, strategist. Steven Kempster is an experienced, sensible offshore litigator’.

‘This is a team which is at the top of its game-real depth of expertise and experience, handling the highest profile and most valuable cases. it is also excellent with clients-always trying to do the best for them and looking for a negotiated settlement where possible’.

‘Paul Hewitt is something of a legend in this area. Renowned as tough, he always looks for a good deal for his client. He knows the law backwards and is an excellent tactician. Stephen Richards is an excellent lawyer with huge experience’.

‘Paul Hewitt – supreme tactician. Sarah Aughwane – streetwise, superb judgment and knowledge’.

‘One of the best, if not the best. An amazingly impressive client base is testament to their qualities. Must absolutely terrify their opponents’.

‘Paul Hewitt – understands the area deeply. Understands the landscape intimately and like a chess player can see all the moves in advance. Could not work harder’.

‘Stephen Richards – will be top of the tree for the next 20 years, such is his ability and reputation. Incredibly down to earth, he can get on with any client, not least because they trust and respect him’.

‘What stands out about Withers is that they have the expertise to deal with estates that have complex international or tax complexities. They have teams in the US/Europe so they have the expertise in the relevant jurisdiction’.

Key clients

Chan, Shee Khow

Two BVI Private Trust Companies

Smith, Michael Alexander James and Philpot, Simon Craig

Jah, Mukarram (aka His Exalted Highness the Nizam VIII of Hyderabad)

Klein, Elena

McAlpine, Executors of Ingrid

Etroy, Stephane Roland and RBC Trust Company

Board member of various entities and former CFO of leading oil producer

Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind

Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for an ultra-high net worth family in their application to reverse historic transfers of luxury London properties (c £25m) into a Jersey trust structure, which had resulted in unintentional and substantial tax liabilities.
  • Successfully represented Prince Mukarram Jah, His Exalted Highness Nizam VIII of Hyderabad, in a dispute over c. £40m funds frozen at Natwest Bank for over 70 years.
  • Successfully acted for two high net worth individuals, working with Isle of Man advocates, in their application to set aside a previous transfer of shares into an Isle of Man trust structure, which mistakenly resulted in adverse tax consequences.

Private client > Court of protection Tier 1

Withers LLP is ‘well known and well-regarded’ for its ‘excellent work with the internationally wealthy’. Praised for being ‘at the absolute top of the tree – from partners down to trainees, the team oozes quality’. It works with families and appointed representatives of older and vulnerable people and regularly acts for trustees, executors, charities and other professional groups. In addition it advises on disabled trusts and advance decisions to refuse medical treatment (living wills). Julia Abrey is particularly known for her elder law expertise and is ‘smart, creative and energetic’. The ‘phenomenal’ Stephen Richards co-heads the team and is a ‘very clever operator and a very nice guy to boot’. Paul Hewitt is adept at handling trust, estate and inheritance disputes. It is a ‘responsive, friendly and hugely knowledgeable’ group that is ‘truly the leader in the field when it comes to high end and bespoke mental capacity advice, particularly when it has a cross-border element’.

Practice head(s):

Julia Abrey; Stephen Richards

Other key lawyers:

Paul Hewitt; Natasha Stourton; Alice Tomlin


‘The Court of Protection team specialises in high-net-worth individuals often with multi-jurisdictional assets and complex family dynamics. Julia Abrey’s energy and commitment to getting the best outcome for her clients is impressive. Her elder law specialty practice in the UK is unique’.

‘My team at Withers LLP has supported me successfully through two Court of protection cases. Their vast knowledge of the processes and possible outcomes gave me the confidence to embark on these endeavours without any concerns. Their huge collective experience meant that my objectives were reached through their utter professionalism’.

‘I have known Julia Abrey and Alice Tomlin for many years now. Over these years I have felt utterly supported by each of them professionally and the thing that has been outstanding to me is the way in which they have each made every dealing with me a personal one too. I have felt able to reach out to them about many things and I cannot thank them enough’.

‘The Court of Protection team at Withers is a truly expert and niche practice, offering support to individuals with highly complex (often with cross border) issues. I work particularly with Julia Abrey and Alice Tomlin. Julia is a market leading expert but will always find time to support and mentor fellow professionals. She is a huge support and inspiration to me’.

‘Put simply – they care. They genuinely take the time to engage with us and learn as much as they can about our work, our ethos, our weaknesses, our strengths. Over the years we have come to consider them as colleagues and friends that we can trust to provide excellent service.’

‘Stephen Richards has a through and practical approach to his work. He clearly knows his stuff and also realises the importance of working with others to reach the best outcome. He has excellent negotiation skills’.

‘Stephen Roberts has an exceptional ability to cut to the key issues and is clear about how to resolve them. He is personable and easy to build a rapport with too. Alice Tomlin is approachable, a great team player and achieves her goals, with charm and efficiency.

‘They are trusted by national and international charities and high net worth families to represent their interests and rightly so – they just get how this jurisdiction works’.

Private client > Family Tier 1

Withers LLP is the ‘Rolls Royce firm for dealing with UHNW clients’ with its ‘exceptional service levels – you know you are getting a first-class service with Withers. Super efficient’. It is led  Suzanne Todd  who is an’ outstanding lawyer who can fluidly manage complicated divorces across multiple jurisdictions’. Diana Parker  is another key practitioner who is a ‘true strategist and a super star’. Its strong international offering and ‘global reach‘ mean that it is well-placed to handle complex and multi-jurisdictional cases. It continues to be active in landmark cases that set precedents. Claire Blakemore  is also well-regarded for her work on complex financial claims as well as high conflict children disputes.  Julian Lipson  has the ‘perfect combination of legal knowledge and compassion‘. Brett Frankle; Michael Gouriet  and Katharine Landells  are all seasoned practitioners  - clients say that ‘all the partners are exemplary in the quality they offer. An unrivalled level of expertise and experience – they have been involved in a vast number of the most difficult and ground breaking cases in the field’.

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Todd

Other key lawyers:

Diana Parker; Claire Blakemore; Brett Frankle; Michael Gouriet; Katharine Landells; Laura Winterbottom; Adele Pledger; Julian Lipson; Jennifer Dickson; Paulina Sandler; Oliver Guest; Sarfraz Ali; Alex Breedon


‘It is a beautifully run team with seamless coordination. The customer service is flawless and the billing is clear and itemised.  Katherine has a first class intellect and mindset; with a bright dynamic and sense of humour. She deciphers and navigates the fast-shifting, unpredictable complexities of divorce as they unfold. A lighthouse for stormy times’.

‘Brett Frankle. Totally outstanding. Never known a solicitor to be so super efficient and prompt. He doesn’t take any nonsense but manages to maintain a fair view on things without making the client feel pressured into anything. He is firm but fair. Amazingly knowledgeable. And above all, compassionate with a great understanding of the clients’ needs. I would recommend him to anyone’.

I would particularly mark out Adele Pledger, who is as clever as she is charming. Highly efficient, strategically skilled and a great solicitor to have fighting your case. Julian Lipson is one of the top solicitors in this field. He is exceptional in every respect; highly intelligent, very understanding of the emotional nuances and excellent at strategy. Also extremely sensible and well liked’.

Suzanne Todd. An outstanding solicitor who has a refreshingly honest and humane approach. Highly intelligent she is able effortlessly to simplify the most complex of cases. With years of experience she can hone in on the optimal outcome for clients. Popular with and highly regarded by her peers, her reputation is an enormous asset to clients: clients start one up in any negotiations’.

‘All the team is very good but I would pick out Claire Blakemore. In my view she is one of the best family lawyers in London. She is very intelligent and thoughtful and in my experience always brings something new to the case. I value her insights and input hugely. Julian Lipson and Michael Gouriet are 2 of the best family lawyers in London. Michael Gouriet is an incredible all rounder, with perfect judgment – loved by his clients and respected by all the top family law firms and lawyers’.

‘Withers provides a complete service for wealthy individuals with family law issues. My particular experience of the team is in cases involving international issues. I have found them to be innovative, dedicated and knowledgeable. Particularly, though, they are always focused on achieving the best possible outcome and are able to advise in relation to various different means by which the best outcome can be obtained, including by avoiding litigation where appropriate.’

‘Withers is a leading law firm with a strong global presence. It is valued in the industry for its high calibre of service and its expertise in complex legal disputes with particular experience representing high net worth individuals and international clients. Its client service is second to none. Jennifer Dickson is a rising star who specialises in legal issues arising from relationship breakdown. She is valued for her pragmatic and sensitive approach to her clients. She gives focussed, no-nonsense advice but is not afraid to fight tenaciously for her clients. In an outstanding firm, she is one to watch’.

‘Julian Lipson and Diana Parker have set the bar very high over many years in terms of the standards they bring to their work. The result of that is that the more junior partners and associates, trained by them and working with them on big cases, develop skills and expertise that their peers in other law firms simply do not have’.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 1

Withers LLP is a very large full-service UK law firm that is dedicated to the needs of private clients. This high-end practice is focused on the ultrawealthy/billionaires as well as prominent UK individuals and families. It has acted for 70% of the individuals and families in the Sunday Times Top 100 UK Rich list and has a dedicated US-qualified private client team in London. 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 affairs. Dora Clarke  specialises in all aspects of probate, succession and tax planning for both domestic and international high-net-worth families and family offices. Patricia Milner  has significant experience in advising family businesses and landed estates on succession and capital tax issues, governance issues, and education matters. Hannah Wailoo joined the practice from Trowers & Hamlins LLP.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Groves; Dora Clarke

Other key lawyers:

Philip Munro; Ceri Vokes; Claire Harris; Lauren Rapeport; Hannah Wailoo; Charlie Tee; Patricia Milner


‘Best in class private client legal advice. A collaborative approach and willingness to operate as part of an advisory team’.

‘Phil Munro is extremely bright and commercial, with plenty of international experience in Hong Kong and Singapore’.

‘Charlie Tee is my ‘go to’ adviser on complex international testamentary arrangements’.

‘The team has huge strength in depth and combines experienced partners with able associates .They deliver rounded and practical advice . They are committed to engaging in the wider private client community and have a very strong knowledge of cross-border issues. They also produce the ‘industry standard’ suite of will and trust precedents which is a big value add’.

‘Philip Munro – very strong on cross-border issues, exceptionally hardworking and a consummate team player. Lauren Rapeport-junior associate who punches well above her weight and shows great maturity. Chris Groves- a very able head of department who has strong technical expertise and a good commercial awareness ; he builds deep relationships with clients’.

Key clients

Wealthy blockchain founder, scientist, and non-profit founder

Multiple ultra-high-net-worth Italians

Work highlights

  • Advised a wealthy blockchain founder, scientist, and non-profit founder on his US and international tax and estate planning, and with regard to the implications of US tax on non-US individuals.
  • Advising ultra-high-net-worth Italian individuals providing joined-up UK-Italian advice on exiting the UK tax net, domicile review, matrimonial asset planning (including advice on potential pre/post-nuptial agreement) and estate planning, as well as the ordinary tax and residence advice, ensuring a coordinated approach.

Corporate and commercial > M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m Tier 2

Withers LLP’s corporate team has expertise across numerous sectors, including pharmaceuticals and life sciences, technology, hospitality, sport, and luxury brands. Team head Paul McGrath  has a particular focus on closely-held businesses and their owners, such as entrepreneurs, families or family offices. Graham Webster uses his private equity experience to provide premium advice to senior executives on their equity and incentivisation arrangements, often in the context of a primary or secondary M&A buyout. Sharon Whitehouse , qualified both as a solicitor in England and Wales and as an Italian avvocato, leads the firm’s English law team in Milan. Tim Taylor has particular experience in dealing with limited liability partnerships in professional/financial services and in relation to joint ventures in the hotel and hospitality sector. The team has recently been strengthened by a number of new recruits from Brown Rudnick LLP - Philip Watkins, Victoria Rodley and venture capital specialist Sarah Melaney.

Practice head(s):

Paul McGrath

Other key lawyers:

Graham Webster; Sharon Whitehouse; Tim Taylor; Jamal Saleh; Mark Lynch; Philip Watkins, Victoria Rodley; Sarah Melaney


‘Every aspect of the deal support process was great. Great communication, very thorough advice, great work with other teams within the firm for structuring.’

‘Jamal Saleh – very knowledgeable, extremely professional.’

‘Vast experience and a very switched-on, sharp team with diverse expertise of different jurisdictions and industries/businesses supported by a firm with high calibre branches/associates all over the world.’

‘Graham Webster is one of the shrewdest of legal minds in this area. His ability to weed out issues both legally, business-wise and team wise during the due diligence process is unparalleled. I not only value his legal advice but his business acumen as well – he can see the whole picture both now and pitfalls in the long term and is very straight and honest when giving counsel. Not only is he brilliant at negotiating but a joy to work with – his lightning fast thinking is a plus when speed is of the essence.’

Key clients

Entrepreneurs Fund

Funds managed by Beringea

Environmental Technologies Fund


Environmentla Innovation Fund

Galileo Global Education UK Limited

Flowerbx Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Entrepreneurs Fund and funds managed by Beringea on their exit from their investment in a world-leading manufacturing business.
  • Acted for Environmental Technologies Fund and Hermes Environmental Innovation Fund in respect of the sale of their shares in Telensa Holdings to Dutch company Signify.
  • Acted for Galileo Global Education UK Limited on their acquisition of majority stake in Liverpool Media Academy (‘LMA’).

Dispute resolution > Public international law Tier 2

Experienced and knowledgeable across a wide range of PIL areas‘, Withers LLP‘s London PIL team has a highly active investor-state practice, representing both sovereign states, as well as foreign investors. The group also maintains a robust practice in international human rights litigation, state immunities, enforcement issues and sanctions. The team is jointly led by Hussein Haeri, ‘one of the top PIL experts working from a law firm‘; and consultant global counsel Sir Geoffrey Cox KC, the former Attorney General of England and Wales. The second line of key practitioners includes consultant Aniruddha Rajput, an expert in general international law, investor-state arbitration, boundary disputes, the Law Of The Sea and international trade law; special counsel Robert Kovacs, a specialist in PIL, international arbitration, and business and human rights; and senior associate Camilla Gambarini, who assists with PIL matters and investor-state arbitrations.

Practice head(s):

Hussein Haeri; Sir Geoffrey Cox KC

Other key lawyers:


‘Experienced and knowledgeable across a wide range of PIL areas, especially investment-state arbitration, but increasingly on inter-state disputes too.’

‘Hussein Haeri is one of the top PIL experts working from a law firm.’

‘Excellent experience across a wide range of disputes.’

‘Hussein Haeri – outstanding lawyer & provides excellent client care.’

Key clients

The Government of the British Virgin Islands

The Government of Ukraine

Zhongshan Fucheng Industrial Investment Co

Frazer Solar


Scholz Holding

Center for Reproductive Rights

Clooney Foundation for Justice

Work highlights

  • Representing the Government of the Virgin Islands, in relation to a Commission of Inquiry constituted in 2021 by the former Governor of BVI to establish whether corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty, in relation to officials, may have taken place in recent years.
  • Representing the Government of Ukraine in an UNCITRAL arbitration initiated by Olympic Entertainment Group AS (Estonia), arising out of alleged breaches of substantive treaty protections under the Estonia-Ukraine bilateral investment treaty.
  • Representing Zhongshan Fucheng Industrial Investment Co against the Federal Republic of Nigeria in a claim for expropriation, and breaches of fair and equitable treatment and other standards.

Private client > Art and cultural property Tier 2

Withers LLP has an excellent reputation for its work with the owners of significant art collections. It is adept at advising on funding issues relating to the purchase of art in a tax efficient manner. Under the direction of Eleni Polycarpou it is skilled at handling a whole host of complex contentious matters as well as having considerable strength on a wide array of other issues such as advising on complicated estate planning measures. It also garners praise for its considerable cross-border capabilities. The practice was pleased to add Sarah Barker to its ranks from Lee & Thompson LLP. Overall it is ‘superb at understanding and delivering on the client’s objectives’.

Practice head(s):

Eleni Polycarpou; Diana Wierbicki

Other key lawyers:


‘The firm is a pioneer in representing clients for matters relating to Art and culture property, and in particular on NFT and digital assets disputes, stolen art, restitution matters, contractual disputes. They are very cooperative and approachable but extremely professional at the same time’.

‘Eleni Polycarpou is very professional, hands on, experienced partner of the firm. Very approachable, organised, knowledgeable, skilled, fighter where need be, with great results’.

‘High profile team with strong expertise in the art market and litigation. Eleni Polycarpou leads the practice with outstanding skills. Her responsiveness and strategic mind make her stand’.

‘Withers, as a global firm, has for many years been leading lights on high profile international art and cultural property matters. Much of its profile in the industry has come from the efforts of Withers’ partners in New York and LA but they have always also had a strong UK team looking after private client and commercial matters for clients operating in the art and cultural property space’.

‘Sarah Barker has built up an excellent reputation in the world of art law over many years. She has recently joined Withers – it adds to Withers in the UK as far as being heavyweight in the art and cultural property space. She works with artists, galleries and collectors and her knowledge, approachability and deep interest in the sector lead to referrals’.

‘Very swift responses and very up to date on the information of the case. Eleni Polycarpou is very hands-on, responsive and approaches the file in a pragmatic manner’.

‘The team is very competent, knowledgeable in law and jurisprudence, friendly and accessible. It works efficiently and quickly. I have worked several times with Eleni Polycarpou, who is an outstanding lawyer, with a sharp eye on the files, a pragmatic approach and an excellent understanding of the issues’.

‘The practice can draw on Withers experience and expertise in its private client and commercial practices to provide an excellent all round service in this area. Eleni Polycarpou is brilliant with clients and has in-depth knowledge of the market’.

Key clients


Client purchasing a Banksy


Victoria Miro Gallery

Heir to spoliated art

Work highlights

  • Acting for an heir to an owner of Nazi looted art in a dispute between them and a company which provides services for the recovery of looted art which is the subject of ongoing proceedings in the Canadian courts.
  • Providing a range of legal advice to Vortic (Vortic XR), a technology start-up which is the art world’s leading extended reality platform offering galleries and museums an opportunity to exhibit works of art and host exhibitions online using advanced AR and VR technology.
  • Instructed by Victoria Miro Gallery on a wide variety of matters across the firm including contract, copyright, anti-money laundering compliance, dispute resolution, property/real estate and tax and advice in respect of an artwork from one of the gallery’s artists that had been stolen and recently resurfaced at an auction house.

Private client > Family: mediation Tier 2

Withers LLP has a first-rate team of experienced and respected mediators that is led by Suzanne Todd. Todd is considered to be a ‘go to’ practitioner in London for divorces with an Italian theme as she is fluent in Italian. Claire Blakemore and Diana Parker are among the other prominent members of the team. Parker is also an arbitrator for financial disputes on divorce. Blakemore mediates on both financial and children issues and has significant international experience.

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Todd

Other key lawyers:


‘Suzanne Todd is good on technical finances and has so much litigation experience she is great on understanding and explaining what outcomes would be like. Italian speaker too’.

‘Withers is well known and is of course an industry leader. Suzanne Todd offers exceptional value for the complex cases. She has presence and calm and so provides the perfect environment for difficult situations’.

Suzanne Todd, head of the team but maintains an active legal and mediation practice, is super flexible in her approach so appeals to all types of clients. Very warm but steely and very solution focused’.

‘Claire Blakemore works incredibly hard for her clients, and equally good as a lawyer and mediator. Particularly good on finances’.

‘Withers’ family team is one of the strongest in the country and also offers family mediation as part of its excellent all round service. Suzanne Todd is a stand out mediator in the field’.

‘Suzanne Todd – her breadth of knowledge and experience of clients in the high-net-worth market combined with her natural approachability mean that she is first choice for mediation in this field. She is creative and finds solutions for clients in a pragmatic and direct way’.

‘Withers is a full service firm so has the capability to advise in every area which is of great value to clients’.

‘Claire Blakemore is a fantastic lawyer, astonishingly efficient and on top of the detail in financial cases. She brings her legal skills to her mediation practice where she is also empathetic and constructive. Clients love her’.

Real estate > Residential property Tier 2

Henry Stuart  heads the department at Withers LLP. Stuart focuses on residential real estate transactions for UK and international individuals and institutions and is also adept at providing related tax and structuring advice on these transactions. Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall advises landowners and estates on a wide variety of management and succession issues. In addition Hoskyns-Abrahall has a wealth of experience at advising on agricultural matters and on the commercial aspects of these deals. Nicholas Vaughan is recommended for his work on the sale and acquisition of real property while Edward Jarron deals with a broad range of complex property matters with a particular concentration on the landed estates sector. It was pleased to add Pervaze Ahmed to its ranks from Howard Kennedy LLP. The team is also skilled at assisting in the purchase of commercial property which is then converted into residential property.

Practice head(s):

Henry Stuart

Other key lawyers:


‘The team at Withers is fantastic. User friendly, knowledgeable and incredibly good at their job. Nick Vaughan & George Coleman are great. Slick, smooth and fun to deal with‘.

Ed Jarron in particular is extremely easy to work with but he has a strong and pragmatic team behind him. He is a great communicator and isn’t afraid to pick up the phone rather than hiding behind emails’.

‘Efficient, always contactable and a good communicator. Never a problem, always a solution. Always on hand even in fraught transactions – remaining calm and positive. Henry Stuart – star performer. Nick Vaughan – wealth of experience‘.

‘Fast, efficient and highly responsive to queries. Always available on the phone for queries and updates’.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Reputation management Tier 2

Withers LLP's broad media and reputation practice advises a range of international clients including large corporates, heads of state and politicians, NGOs, and high-profile individuals in the media sector. Practice co-head and 'outstanding' practitioner Amber Melville-Brown is dual qualified in New York, making her a go-to lawyer for complex cross-jurisdictional defamation and reputation matters. Joint team lead Jo Sanders has considerable expertise dealing with reputation crises and major data breaches, particularly focusing on clients who tend to avoid publicity such as UHNWIs. Senior associate Andrew Fremlin-Key is also recommended for his specialisms in contentious tax litigation and multi-jurisdictional investigations, including Unexplained Wealth Orders.

Practice head(s):

Amber Melville-Brown; Jo Sanders

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Fremlin-Key; Laura Mattar; Chloe Flascher; Caroline Thompson


‘The team at Withers is extremely professional and so on top of the law (global, EU and UK). Whether it was the unique circumstances they were helping me navigate, or advise on managing social media, or the EU ‘right to be forgotten’, I felt I was in very good hands – from both an expertise and strategy perspective. In contrast, the UK magic circle law firm on the other side seemed very naive about reputation management – as such I felt I had an advantage since I had hired specialists to help me through my case.’

‘Amber Melville-Brown as the leader of the practice was working directly on my case and she is outstanding. She is a true expert in the field, she was always quick at responding, she is very detailed leaving no room for gaps in understanding the law, she is well versed with US, UK and EU law, and most importantly she has a high level of empathy with her clients. For me the mix of law and objectivity with empathy and understanding was what gave me the confidence day after day for the entire time that Amber was engaged by me.’

‘Jo Sanders is phenomenal and provides a fantastic service on behalf of her team. Approachable and precise in her advice.’

‘International depth and range. Ability to steer clients through complex cases including multi-market litigation with multiple international stakeholders.’

‘Amber Melville Brown is absolutely who you want in your corner to navigate difficult and turgid media coverage in the US. She has great judgement, is outstanding with clients, completely committed to getting a result for them and succeeds in doing so. Jo Sanders is an extremely tough and well regarded lawyer. She is also someone who provides pragmatic and highly commercial advice in order to resolve matters for her clients.’

‘A large team with excellent experience across the board and who all work well together to deliver excellent results for their clients.’

‘Jo Sanders – exceptional lawyer, strategic thinker and a superb understanding and knowledge of the law in this area. Brilliant with her team and leads it well. Would make a superb barrister as she argues her cases for her clients with skill and very persuasively.’

‘Andrew Fremlin-Key – An excellent lawyer. Very efficient and effective. Excellent at drafting legal documents and had a very good manner with clients.’

Key clients

Novak Djokovic

Aston Martin Racing (formerly Racing Point)

Paulo Dybala

Mary Katrantzou

Members of the Javanshir family

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Metigen Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Raffaele Mincione (founder of WRM Group, a leading investment firm) in libel proceedings against two Italian newspapers (RCS MediaGroup S.p.A. and GEDI Gruppo Editoriale S.p.A.) regarding false allegations of fraud arising from the client’s high-profile dispute with the Vatican.
  • Defended Metigen Limited, a PR company accused of breaching confidence in its disclosure of a regulatory report into the activities of Credit Suisse. The action was part of a major dispute involving the PR firm’s client and the Swiss bank.
  • Succeeded in overturning an application by the National Crime Agency for Account Forfeiture Orders over various UK bank accounts held by the family members of Dr Feyziyey (a prominent independent Azerbaijani politician, chairman of the UK-Azerbaijan All Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, co-chair of the EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Co-operation Committee and successful businessman).

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 2

At Withers LLP, 'the advice is strategic and well explained' and clients praise the firm's 'good range of skills and experience, with individuals who have good scientific knowledge'. The Cambridge office is a key hub in the firm's global venture capital and technology practice, which advises disruptors and innovators in the technology and life sciences sectors. Lead partner Susanna Stanfield is 'an amazing lawyer, extremely smart, kind and very commercial'. She advised local joint venture partnerships Medovate on distribution agreements with French and US distributors. Senior associate Sharmela Kalmer handles both IP and corporate matters for biotech, medtech, and foodtech companies. She is 'responsive, knowledgeable, to-the-point and accurate'.

Practice head(s):

Susanna Stanfield

Other key lawyers:

Sharmela Kalmer; Mary Harley


‘The Withers team have been very helpful to us – efficient and courteous. They also were tolerant and accommodating to our needs with regard to delayed billing and invoicing during Series A fundraising.’

‘We worked with a female-led team, which facilitated a positively nuanced and calm experience. Susana Stanfield was particularly helpful, responsive and competent.’

‘Withers brought the appropriate expertise and guidance to give us confidence in our position and reassurance.’

‘Sharmela Kalmer and Mary Harley have been responsive, knowledgeable, to-the-point and accurate.’

‘Strong team with agility and experience in transactions for businesses our stage. Have managed multiple deals for us in tandem professionally and calmly.’

‘Advice is strategic and well explained. Other firms we tried weren’t able to pull of rigour and agility in the same way. We’ve used their IP and deal teams for funding and acquisitions.’

‘Susanna Stanfield is an amazing lawyer. Extremely smart, kind and very commercial. Very responsive and thorough. Highly commercial. Give great confidence the interest of the company will be well represented and that any risk area will be flagged. Access to legal counsel in all areas.’

‘The practice has a good range of skills and experience, with individuals who have good scientific knowledge, which is helpful to underpin the legal and drafting advice given. Advice is available in a range of areas which spans our needs across our business. GDPR advice has been a particularly helpful addition to the day-to-day.’

Key clients

30Mhz B.V.

Activum SG Ventures SCSp

Altruistic Innovations Ltd

Audiense Limited

Bonsai Partners Fund I FCR

Cambridge Respiratory Innovations Limited

CellCentric Limited

Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Climate Edge Limited

Clowdy Group Limited

Coople UK Limited

Codebay Solutions Limited (trading as Lodgify)

Critical Pressure Limited

Diligen Holdings LLP

Doctify Limited

Emerge Venture Lab Ltd

Entrepreneurs Fund General Partner Ltd

ETF Partners LLP (Previously ETF Manager LLP)

Fig Leaf Promotions Limited

Fourthrev Ltd

HE Feeds Ltd

Hermes GPE LLP

ICF Venture Tech II FCRE

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)

Meatable B.V.

Medovate Limited

Melico Sciences Limited


Mologic Ltd.

Morningside Venture Investments Limited

Nature Metrics Ltd

Octeract Limited

Oja Global Ltd

Papier Ltd

Parcelly Limited

PsiOxus Ltd

Parkinson’s Disease Society

Regenerate Ventures Limited

Relayer Ltd

Skiller Whale Limited

Snap HR Limited (formerly Circalit Limited)

Solveteq Ltd

Start Codon Ltd

Story Terrace Ltd

Stress Point Health Limited

Synthesized Ltd

Testcard Ltd

THS Group Limited

VaxEquity Ltd

YLD Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Nature Metrics on Series A investment round raising £6.5m to expand their biodiversity data business.
  • Advised CellCentric in respect of its further funding from existing investor Morningside Venture Investment Limited and American Cancer Society’s impact venture capital fund BrightEdge.
  • Advised Aztec on their Series A investment round raising £17M to further its efforts to bring programmable privacy to Web 3 transactions.

Corporate and commercial > Venture capital Tier 3

Withers LLP provides ‘very responsive and helpful’ advice to both investors and investees on mandates throughout the investment lifecycle, particularly within the life sciences and technology sectors. The team is also able to leverage the firm’s private client strength, of particular importance due to the growing involvement of family offices investing in the asset class. In addition, practitioners based in Boston and San Francisco ensures that the team is well-placed to take advantage of the flow of technology and capital across the Atlantic. James Shaw has longstanding experience throughout the funding lifecycle for entrepreneurs and investors and heads up a team that also includes the ‘extremely smart and very commercial’ Cambridge-based Susanna Stanfield, who acts for a number of Cambridge-based companies to help them commercialise their scientific discoveries or technology.

Practice head(s):

James Shaw

Other key lawyers:

Susanna Stanfield; Iain Cockburn; Sarah Melaney; Matt Peplow; Neil Jones


‘The team is very responsive and also very helpful.’

Advice is strategic and well explained.’

Withers in Cambridge has strong links with Cambridge University, where a lot of innovative ideas and startups are coming from.’

Susanna Stanfield is an amazing lawyer. Extremely smart, kind and very commercial.’

Matt Peplow is highly commercial and responsive.’

Key clients

Automata Technologies Ltd

Digital+ Partners

Molten Ventures PLC

SEEK Group

CellCentric Limited

Nature Metrics


Lick Home Ltd


ETF Partners

Mosaic Ventures

Collectiv Foods

Eight Roads Ventures Europe III LP

Oja Global Ltd (Restricted Group – Excl)

Cambridge Respiratory Innovations Limited

Medovate Limited


Altruistic Innovations Ltd (Restricted Group)

LocalGlobe XI, LP

Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Critical Pressure Limited

Angular Ventures I LP

BioGeneration III Services BV

Mologic Ltd

Honey Badger Capital Ltd

Good Harvest Ventures Management S.a.r.l.

Digital Horizon GP Limited

InsureStreet Limited

C the Signs


Giano Capital

Spilsbury Holdings Limited

Elasmogen Limited

Nature Metrics Ltd

Skiller Whale Limited

Project Provenance Limited

Codebay Solutions Limited (t/a Lodgify)

Synthesized Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Molten Ventures (formerly Draper Esprit) on its investment into Thought Machine as part of the company’s $200M Series C financing.
  • Advised Automata Technologies Ltd on its $50m Series B financing.
  • Advised Digital+ Partners, as lead investor in the $42m Series B financing into Zencargo, with participation also from HV Capital.

Corporate and commercial > Financial services: contentious Tier 4

Withers LLP directs a distinct level of focus towards representing senior employees, chief executives and non-executive directors involved in PRA and FCA-led matters. The team is led by Harvey Knight who notably spent six years at the FCA as its lead authorisation and approvals lawyer; his key fields of expertise encompass regulatory perimeter affairs, permissions and approvals, supervisory issues and enforcement investigations.

Practice head(s):

Harvey Knight

Crime, fraud and licensing > Fraud: civil Tier 4

Withers LLP offers ‘a rare combination of excellent legal knowledge, tactical expertise and humanity’. The team covers a wide gamut of civil fraud matters for corporations, individuals and their businesses, and is well equipped to handle cross-border engagements, particularly in offshore jurisdictions. Practice head Stephen Ross advises on international asset freezing and recovery cases. Associate Laura Mattar is another key contact in dishonesty, fraud and asset recovery cases.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Ross

Other key lawyers:

Roberto Moruzzi; Laura Mattar; Joshua Swift


‘A relatively small but really effective team, with great knowledge and experience and a really practical approach. A rare combination of excellent legal knowledge, tactical expertise and humanity.’

‘Stephen Ross – superb. Great legal knowledge, but most of all tactically brilliant. Always calm and measured, inspiring others to raise their game.’

‘Withers is notable for its expertise across a range of sectors, geographies and legal systems.’

‘Top tier civil fraud practice – highly experienced team offering the very best service to clients. Accustomed to dealing with very urgent matters, including applications for freezing injunctions, and heavyweight litigation.’

‘Strength in depth and foreign language capabilities, worldwide.’

‘The firm has a large pool of solicitors working on civil fraud matters and is therefore able to offer a depth of experience.’

‘Stephen Ross heads up the Fraud team. He is very hands on and gives clear instructions to his team. He is also very easy to work with and places a strong emphasis on cohesion and collaboration. He is also extremely calm under fire – a rare quality in a solicitor, particularly one who heads a department with many demanding clients.’

‘Laura Mattar – an associate to watch, she is always at the top of her game. Fantastic with clients and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Transworld Aviation FZE

Barrowfen Properties Limited

Transomas Limited and Transomas Investments Limited

Church Bay Trust Company

Work highlights

  • Advising an individual and his investment vehicles in an alleged multi-million investment fraud.
  • Advising Barrowfen Properties Limited in fraud and professional negligence proceedings, successfully lifting legal professional privilege based on the iniquity exception.
  • Advising CPOD SA in fraud proceedings against a trusted adviser which ultimately resulted in a significant settlement for the benefit of the client.

Dispute resolution > International arbitration Tier 4

One of the top acts for international arbitration worldwide‘, Withers LLP handles both major investment treaty and international commercial arbitrations. The international arbitration practice is jointly led by Hussein Haeri, who focuses on assisting clients from the Middle East, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa regions; and ‘strategic thinkerEleni Polycarpou. Also key to the group are CIS-related arbitration specialist Tatiana Menshenina; special counsel and international commercial and investor-state arbitration expert Robert Kovacs, and senior associates Camilla Gambarini and Ruzin Dagli.

Practice head(s):

Hussein Haeri; Eleni Polycarpou


‘One of the top acts for international arbitration worldwide.’

The international arbitration team is thorough, pays attention to detail, and is well versed on legal issues and client friendly.

‘Excellent lawyers with huge knowledge and experience in arbitration.’

‘Diverse team with the ability to translate the arbitral process in a way that clients from a number of sectors can understand.’

‘Hussein Haeri in London is at the top of his game in terms of expertise, judgement and team leadership.’

‘Hussein Haeri stands out from his peers through his mastery of the facts of a case, articulation of the client’s position, and clear communication with the client.’

‘Hussein Haeri is an excellent speaker, and a very smart and talented lawyer.’

‘Eleni Polycarpou – a strategic thinker who is very easy to work with.

Key clients

Zhongshan Fucheng Industrial Investment Co

Fraser Solar

Government of Ukraine

Scholz Holding


Qatar National Bank

Work highlights

  • Representing Frazer Solar, (FS) a German company in the renewable energy sector, in worldwide enforcement proceedings over a €55m award issued in FS’s favour against the Kingdom of Lesotho.
  • Representing Gesenu, an Italian waste management company, in ICSID arbitration proceedings against Egypt.
  • Representing Scholz (large metal recycling company) in an ICSID investment treaty arbitration against the Kingdom of Morocco, the dispute involving issues of expropriation and discrimination.

Insurance > Professional negligence Tier 4

Withers LLP advises clients bringing complex claims against a wide range of professionals, including lawyers, accountants, tax advisors, architects, real estate professionals, engineers, physicians and hospitals, handling both claimant and defendant work. Eleni Polycarpou leads the team, having built a diverse practice acting for various claimants and defendants, especially in the legal and financial realm. Roberto Moruzzi  has over thirty years experience dealing with professional negligence claims, and has been instrumental in building the firm's UK/Italian practice. Senior associate Joshua Swift is a name to watch.

Practice head(s):

Eleni Polycarpou

Other key lawyers:

Roberto Moruzzi; Stephen Ross; Joshua Swift; Peter Leckey


‘Prepared to fight cases where necessary, keeping in mind the commercial (and personal) reality for the client.’

‘Eleni Polycarpou: excellent strategist and great with clients.’

‘Withers shows great dedication to its clients and fights tenaciously for their interests. Withers have the benefit (rare in my experience among professional negligence firms) of having fee earners who are very experienced in commercial litigation and arbitration, so bring that perspective also to the table, which is very helpful.’

‘Peter Leckey is a tenacious and formidable lawyer, who seeks to obtain every possible advantage for his clients. Eleni Polycarpou is extremely commercially aware and brings huge practical experience to the team.’

‘A very effective time team that understands the tensions – and commercial realities – for client in this area.’

‘The team is unique because they bring both fraud/breach of trust and professional negligence to the table with considerable experience of those areas. There are few firms that can combine that expertise.’

‘Stephen Ross has a wealth of experience, is extremely calm even under fires that the other side are determined to keep lighting. There are few partners that can withstand onslaughts of this nature. But he does marvellously.’

Key clients

Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund and Nicholas Yell

Barrowfen Properties

Etroy, Stephane Roland and RBC Trust Company

Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund and Colm Nugent

Work highlights

  • Acting for a successful entrepreneur in a £10m claim against his former solicitors, arising out of a complex shareholder dispute following the sale of a successful business.
  • Instructed by Bar Mutual’s insured, Nicholas Yell, in a claim made by his ex-clients against him and his instructing solicitors, who alleged in broad terms negligence on the part of both Mr Yell and his instructing solicitors as regards a trial the ex-clients were defendants in some years ago.
  • Acting for Barrowfen Properties Limited in a derivative action against a former director and his legal representatives in respect of various claims including forgery, conspiracy and professional negligence.

Public sector > Education: institutions Tier 4

Withers LLP advises a range of institutions on employment, immigration and charity matters, including some cross-border work with international universities, primarily those in the US. The team is jointly led by Alison Paines, whose work includes advising charities and non-profits, with a focus on independent schools, Chris Priestley, who leads the charities and philanthropy team, advising multi-academy trusts in particular on joint ventures and collaborations, and Philip Reed, who advises independent schools and academy trusts on governance, mergers and fundraising.

Practice head(s):

Alison Paines; Chris Priestley; Philip Reed


‘Excellent delivery, from briefing to the end of projects. A team effort with good leverage and bright people.’

‘Brilliant individually and as a team. Excellent thought leadership, at times venturing into new areas and quickly got on top of issues and delivered without exception. I have worked with this team a number of times and they are consistent and outperform colleagues in other firms.’

Key clients

University of East Anglia

University of Pennsylvania

Work highlights

  • Advising the University of East Anglia relation to a contentious estate matter.
  • Advising the University of Pennsylvania on a range of legal issues with US and UK aspects.

Public sector > Education: schools Tier 4

Withers LLP advises schools in relation to property, data protection and reputation management. Its work with academy trusts dates back to advising the first academy conversion back in 2003. The team is led by Alison Paines, who advises charities and non-profits, Chris Priestley, who handles commercial projects, and Philip Reed, who advises independent schools, academy trusts and other education providers on critical issues including governance, strategic advice and restructuring.

Practice head(s):

Alison Paines; Chris Priestley; Philip Reed


‘What is unique is having US charity specialists in London and UK charity specialists in New York. You don’t get sent from pillar to post (which happens with other firms who also ‘claim’ a dual-qualified mix).’

Work highlights

  • Advised SEEK Group, as lead investor in the GBP 15M Series B financing into MyTutor, with participation from existing investors.

Employment > Immigration Tier 5

Withers LLP‘s immigration practice is especially notable for its global immigration programmes and its ability to align immigration and tax advice for corporate clients. Led by Tracy Evlogidis, the team has particular expertise advising high-net-worth and sports and entertainment clients, as well as companies in the fashion, retail, and technology sectors. Senior associate Gemma Goodhead is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Tracy Evlogidis

Other key lawyers:


‘Tracy Evlogidis is a first-rate lawyer – she knows the law well and gives timely and practical advice. She managed to secure an exceptional outcome for a client on securing UK citizenship through perseverance, charm, and good old-fashioned lawyering.’

‘The group has a strong profile in the market and brings the wider tax awareness of the wider Withers team.’

‘The uniqueness is due to Tracy Evlogidis who has guided me on immigration matters over the last 20 years. Her expertise and ability to deliver a solution no matter how complex is second to none.’

Employment > Employers Tier 6

Leading the employment practice at Withers LLP, Meriel Schindler is a trusted counsel to household name charities, financial services businesses and fashion/luxury brands, advising on a range of matters, from contract negotiations to sensitive investigations and disputes. Other key partners Claire Christy and Hugh More are are particularly active in partnership disputes and day-to day support on matters arising out of the pandemic.

Practice head(s):

Meriel Schindler

Other key lawyers:

Claire Christy; Huge More


‘Very knowledgeable as you would expect, but practical and focused on the best commercial outcome for their client.’

‘Claire Christy is outstanding: calm, measured, commercial, always looking to the desired outcome.’

‘Incredible strength and depth at all levels of the team, and highly experienced.’

‘They have a wide range of high quality employer clients.’

‘Meriel Schindler is very experienced, excellent with clients, possessed of an incisive mind, she has excellent judgment and is calm under pressure.’

‘Claire Christy is excellent. Very bright and clients love her. Always gets a great deal in negotiations, Claire knows what buttons to push but remains able to maintain pragmatic relationships with opponents.’

‘Employment team with particular expertise in litigating high value dispute for individuals.’

‘Hugh More has provided us with great and very sensible advice during a difficult period. He was always very supportive and his guidance was much appreciated.’

Key clients


REDD Intelligence Ltd

Galileo Global Education

Aston Martin Racing Cognizant (formerly Racing Point UK Limited)

Guide Dogs

Winton Capital Management Limited/ Winton Group

Edward James Foundation

Octo SpA


Work highlights

  • Provided employment advice on TUPE and Covid-dispersed employees, amongst others to NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations).
  • Continue to work with Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team on a diverse range of sensitive, high-profile and technically demanding employment matters.
  • Advised Galileo Global Education on the acquisition this year of Liverpool Media Academy.

Dispute resolution > Banking litigation: investment and retail

United States > Tax > Not-for-profit (nonprofit and tax exempt organizations)

The tax-exempt practice at Withers Bergman LLP is housed within the firm’s wider private client practice group and excels in domestic and international non-profit work. Led by William Kambas in New York, the team advises cross-border gift-giving, investments and estate planning; recently promoted partner Helen Cheng in San Diego who is ‘excellent’ according to clients, is the key name for this area. Steven Chidester in San Diego represents organizations in IRS audits and handles charitable giving. Co-chair of the practice Michael Brophy  handles estate litigation, from Los Angeles. Other key contacts include Alana Petraske in New York who has a specialty advising charities to attain tax-efficient status both in the US and the UK, and Lawton Leung  in New Haven.

Practice head(s):

William Kambas; Michael Brophy

Other key lawyers:

Alana Petraske; Helen Cheng; Steven Chidester; Lawton Leung


‘The team is very responsive and knowledgeable.’

‘Helen Chang is our lead contact and an amazing attorney who seems to genuinely care about her clients.’

Work highlights

  • Advising a not-for-profit organization to help register it as a charity so that it can drive forwards its vital fundraising work in response to the pandemic.
  • Advising an innovative tech entrepreneur and philanthropist in utilizing their trust to gift billions of dollars towards education, while also saving significantly in estate taxes.

British Virgin Islands > Dispute resolution

Withers‘ ‘local knowledge and presence is underpinned by market-leading expertise‘ offered by the London team, with which the BVI-based group often collaborates. Practitioners are particularly sought out by clients engaged in international fraud, asset recovery, and enforcement cases. The department’s broad service offering also covers trust litigation, commercial disputes, and insolvency work. The team experienced a change in leadership in April 2022 when recently promoted partner Sara-Jane Knock took on the role of former practice head Niki Olympitis, who is now a consultant at the firm. Knock, whose expertise encompasses contentious trusts and probate matters, is recommended for being ‘very efficient at marshalling a substantial litigation team‘. Associate Lauren Peaty, who focuses on shareholder disputes and fraud work, is the other name to note in the BVI office.

Practice head(s):

Sara-Jane Knock

Other key lawyers:


‘Outstanding team – very closely attuned as to how best to represent the client’s interests.’

‘Niki Olympitis – good strategic overview of a case.’

‘Local knowledge and presence underpinned by market-leading expertise in London office.’

‘Sara-Jane Knock – a pleasure to work with and knows her stuff, very practical and pragmatic and understands the way the local courts work and what’s achievable.’

‘The team stands out for their strength in advocacy and the insight, quality and breadth shown in their analysis of litigation problems, whether on matters of law, procedure or evidence.’

‘Niki Olympitis led with imperturbable calm, which he maintained whatever the intensity of the pressure generated by the case or the tribunal before which he was appearing. He combined this with efficient and charming client care. He is plainly a highly experienced litigator, proactive in identifying points to be made for the client at every stage.’

‘Sara-Jane Knock is very efficient at marshalling a substantial litigation team and effectively delegating tasks. Sara-Jane leads with a ‘no nonsense’ ‘can do’ attitude, whatever the scale of the problem. This is coupled with a patient but infectiously energetic and positive approach when dealing with clients, perfectly calculated to keep up morale in the face of high pressure and to enable the production of evidence with sensitivity and speed. She is a robust and courageous advocate, showing unswerving dedication to putting forward her client’s position, in the face of a challenging tribunal.’

‘Lauren Peaty has an outstanding ability to produce consistently excellent evidential and legal analysis, together with draft submissions and evidence, often under extreme time pressure. She has excellent judgment and client handling skills and provides empathetic, well-directed, invaluable assistance in client meetings.’

Key clients

Attorney General of the Virgin Islands, Cabinet of the Virgin Islands

Zhongshan Fucheng Industrial Investment Company Limited

Government of the Virgin Islands (British)

Goods Tech

Scholz Recycling GmbH and Scholz Hong Kong Limited

Work highlights

  • 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 and to make recommendations on good governance issues.
  • Advised and represented Zhongshan Fucheng Industrial Investment Company Limited on the enforcement of an arbitral award against the Republic of Nigeria.
  • Continuing to act for an individual and his father in relation to a dispute over ownership of a BVI company, which holds a London property.

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.

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
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
International arbitration Eleni Polycarpou
Life sciences Susanna Stanfield
Luxury brands Graham Webster
Luxury brands Lesley Timms
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 Richard Penfold
Tax investigations Maurice Martin
Technology James Shaw
Venture capital James Shaw
Elaine Aarons photo Elaine AaronsPartner.  With over 35 years’ experience, Elaine is an acknowledged leader in…
Julia Abrey photo Julia AbreyHead of elder law. Partner dealing with probate, succession and post-death tax…
Azlinda Ariffin-Boromand photo Azlinda Ariffin-BoromandAzlinda is a Consulting Partner in the Corporate Group at Withers Worldwide.…
Claire Blakemore photo Claire BlakemorePartner. Claire’s predictions of outcome are spot on and she delivers the…
Nicolette  Bostock photo Nicolette BostockNicolette is a Partner at Withers LLP. Nicolette is an expert in…
Paul Brecknell photo Paul BrecknellHead of real estate department specialising in commercial property (in particular acting…
Richard Cassell photo Richard CassellPartner in wealth planning group specialising in US and international tax and…
Claire Christy photo Claire Christy  Claire advises individuals and organisations on employment, shareholder and partnership law…
Dora Clarke photo Dora ClarkeDora specialises in all aspects of probate, succession and tax planning, both…
Christopher Coffin photo Christopher CoffinChristopher is a commercial litigator with 30 years’ experience of major and…
James Copson photo James CopsonPartner.  James has far-reaching experience in all areas of family breakdown, with…
Clive Cutbill photo Clive CutbillNow occupying a management role but continuing to provide conultancy on charities’…
Hugh Devlin photo Hugh DevlinConsultant dealing mainly with businesses in the luxury goods, fashion and retail…
Sophie Dworetzsky photo Sophie DworetzskySophie advises on all aspects of sophisticated private client planning, with an…
Camilla Gambarini photo Camilla GambariniDual qualified as an Avvocato (Italy) and as a Solicitor (England &…
Dawn Goodman photo Dawn GoodmanPartner. Dawn has a wealth of experience litigating and working proactively with…
Michael Gouriet photo Michael GourietPartner.  Michael advises on all aspects of divorce and family law (including…
Christopher Groves photo Christopher GrovesPartner in the funds, investment, tax and trusts group, dealing particularly with…
Hussein Haeri photoMr Hussein HaeriPartner and co-head of the International Arbitration practice.  Hussein leads Withers’ international…
Murray Hallam photo Murray HallamConsultant: trusts, wills, charities, tax planning and heritage property.
Paul Hewitt photo Paul HewittPartner.  Paul specialises in domestic and international trust and succession disputes. Described…
Bertie Hoskyns-abrahall photo Bertie Hoskyns-abrahallPartner in the real estate department, specialising in the sale and purchase…
Steven Kempster photo Steven KempsterPartner.  Steven specialises in the resolution of disputes relating to trusts and…
Harvey Knight photo Harvey KnightPartner.  With some 30 years’ experience, including 6 years advising the Financial…
<div>Robert</div> Kovacs photoDr
Dr Robert Kovacs specialises in public international law, international arbitration and business…
Katharine Landells photoMrs Katharine LandellsPartner.  Katharine has an abundance of energy, which drives her efficient and…
Julian Lipson photo Julian LipsonPartner.  Julian is considered one of the best family lawyers of his…
Maurice Martin photo Maurice MartinPartner specialising in all forms of tax investigations, negotiation and litigation.
Paul McGrath photo Paul McGrathPaul is a partner in the corporate team. He advises on a…
Amber Melville-Brown photo Amber Melville-BrownAmber leads the global media and reputation team. She is uniquely placed…
Tatiana Menshenina photo Tatiana MensheninaTatiana is an experienced commercial litigator, working on both court cases and…
Patricia Milner photo Patricia MilnerPatricia is co-head of our wealth planning department in Europe. She focuses…
Hugh More photo Hugh MoreHugh advises employees and employers at all stages of the employment relationship,…
Roberto Moruzzi photo Roberto MoruzziRoberto is experienced in dealing with commercial litigation and arbitration involving international…
Kenneth Mullen photo Kenneth MullenPartner dealing with intellectual property (non-contentious); data protection; technology and outsourcing; e-commerce…
Niki Olympitis photo Niki OlympitisNiki has over 30 years of legal experience. Niki advises on all…
Alison Paines photo Alison PainesAlison is a partner in the charities team. She has over 25…
Diana Parker photo Diana ParkerPartner.  Diana is well known as one of London’s divorce lawyer elite.…
Adele Pledger photo Adele PledgerAdele works in all areas of family law, including divorce and financial…
Eleni Polycarpou photo Eleni PolycarpouPartner and co-head of International Arbitration.  Eleni is a litigation and arbitration…
Chris Priestley photo Chris PriestleyHead of the firm’s charities & philanthropy practice.  Particular areas of expertise…
Aniruddha Rajput photoDr Aniruddha RajputDr. Aniruddha Rajput is a Member of the UN International Law Commission…
Stephen Richards photo Stephen RichardsPartner.  Stephen heads the trust and succession disputes team at Withersworldwide.  He…
Margaret Robertson photo Margaret RobertsonManaging director. Experienced in fraud and international asset tracing (particularly offshore); termination…
Stephen Ross photo Stephen RossPartner.  Stephen heads the global fraud team and is described as ‘imaginative…
Jo Sanders photo Jo SandersPartner and head of UK media, reputation and privacy team.  Jo joined…
Meriel Schindler photo Meriel SchindlerMeriel is head of the global employment team and advises both employers…
Ben Simpson photo Ben SimpsonBen works as special counsel in the corporate team. He advises on…
Natasha Stourton photo Natasha StourtonSenior Associate.  Natasha advises on a wide range of trust and succession…
Henry Stuart photo Henry StuartHead of residential property team dealing with high-value residential transactions of London…
Tim Taylor photo Tim TaylorTim is a partner in the corporate team. He advises businesses and…
Julie Teal photo Julie TealPartner.
Caroline Thompson photo Caroline ThompsonCaroline’s practice is varied and covers both commercial disputes and media law…
Lesley Timms photo Lesley TimmsLesley trained with Withers and became a member of the Commercial Litigation…
Suzanne Todd photo Suzanne ToddSuzanne leads the family and contentious trusts and succession teams in Europe…
Alice Tomlin photo Alice TomlinAlice acts for charities, private individuals and institutions in relation to all…
Jeremy Wakeham photo Jeremy WakehamJeremy specialises in commercial real estate. He advises investors, developers and landowners…
Andrew Wass photo Andrew WassAndrew is a commercial litigator, focusing on financial services disputes. After university,…
Penelope Williams photo Penelope WilliamsPartner specialising in cross-border estate planning for private clients in both the…
Laura Winterbottom photo Laura WinterbottomLaura advises on all family law issues that flow from separation, divorce…
Peter Wood photo Peter WoodPeter has 30 years of experience and is currently the lead partner…
Matthew Woods photo Matthew WoodsJoint head of the landed estates group. Focuses on the mitigation of…
Number of global partners : Over 170
Number of UK partners : 70
Number of other UK lawyers : 187
More than 60