Firm Profile > Forsters LLP > London, England

Forsters LLP
31 HILL STREET
LONDON
W1J 5LS
England

Agriculture and estates Tier 1

At Forsters LLP, Henry Cecil leads a large specialist team that advises institutional and individual landowners and groups of landowners on a wide range of matters. The team covers the full spectrum of issues from capital tax and succession planning to planning and development projects and the preservation of heritage property. Other key areas of focus include the establishment of holding structures for family wealth, as well as farm business tenancies and the drafting and administration of trusts. Christopher Findley has a broad practice and is particularly adept at reviewing estate and farming partnership structures for tax and generational planning. Andrew Lane has a particular focus on capital taxation and succession issues for the owners of landed estates. Rupert Mead is known for the drafting and administration of wills, trusts and powers of attorney, and Penny Elliott acts for a range of clients, from overseas investors to landed estates and institutional property owners.

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

Roberta Harvey heads the team at Forsters LLP, which advises fiduciaries, protectors and beneficiaries, as well as high-net-worth individuals and high-profile charities, on the full remit of disputes. Such disputes centre on trusts, trust structures, wills and estates, both in the UK and offshore. The team has noticed a marked increase in the volume of complex international trust work, as well as receiving a steady flow of instructions in its well-established domestic practice. Other names to note include Emily Exton, who is adept at handling disputes in the private wealth sector, and Catharine Bell, who regularly advises on high-end international trust and estate disputes that span multiple jurisdictions with complicated conflict of law issues. Bell also advises high-net-worth individuals and their trustees on the creation and fortification of trust vehicles and other succession planning structures for asset protection and wealth preservation.

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 1

Catherine Hill and Xavier Nicholas now co-head the team at Forsters LLP, which advises on the full range of high-net-worth sectors, including international wealth, family offices and family business succession. It acts predominantly for serial entrepreneurs, landed estates and titled individuals, as well as public personalities, and routinely advises clients from Asia, the Middle East, US and South America. Carole Cook has particular expertise in advising on offshore and onshore trust creation, will drafting and charity matters such as charity creation. Nick Jacob is another name to note for his advice on family succession, the protection of family businesses and all aspects of international family governance, especially for families in Asia. At senior level, Emma White was promoted to the partnership recently, but the team also saw the departure of former practice head Patrick Harney to Mishcon de Reya LLP.

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Testimonials

Daniel Ugur has excellent knowledge of the Asian market, a good client base and a good way with clients and advisers. He simplifies matters’

Daniel Ugar provides very clear and pragmatic advice

Commercial property: corporate occupiers Tier 2

Forsters LLP is reputed for its work on complex long-term redevelopment schemes, headquarter relocations, portfolio management, landlord and tenant matters and leasehold transfers. The team has recently gone through a period of transition, with the departure of former practice head Matthew Swainston to Taylor Wessing LLP and the arrival of Anne O’Neil from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP, where she fronted the real estate practice. She joined alongside several key members of her previous team including Andrew Denye and Sara Branch. Andrew Crabbie is now overall head of commercial real estate, while a key name to note for development projects in the logistics sector is Victoria Towers.

Commercial property: development Tier 2

Forsters LLP is reputed for its work on complex long-term redevelopment schemes, headquarter relocations, portfolio management, landlord and tenant matters and leasehold transfers. The team has recently gone through a period of transition, with the departure of former practice head Matthew Swainston to Taylor Wessing LLP and the arrival of Anne O’Neil from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP, where she fronted the real estate practice. She joined alongside several key members of her previous team including Andrew Denye and Sara Branch. Andrew Crabbie is now overall head of commercial real estate, while a key name to note for development projects in the logistics sector is Victoria Towers.

Family Tier 2

Joanne Edwards leads the team at Forsters LLP, which offers clients the full spectrum of process options, covering mediation, litigation, private financial dispute resolution and arbitration. It has earned an excellent reputation for its work in complex financial cases, often involving multiple jurisdictions where there are often complicated trusts and other structures. In addition, it is frequently instructed by high-profile individuals in schedule 1 proceedings, and advises clients on relocating to England pre-marriage or during their marriage. The group also continues to develop its expertise in niche areas such as surrogacy, adoption, cohabitation and international child abduction. Other key members of the team include Rosie SchummSimon Blain and Matthew Brunsdon Tully.

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Testimonials

‘Forsters continues to go from strength to strength’

‘Joanne Edwards is indefatigable’

‘The team also has some excellent associates coming through, including Jamie Gaw and Dickon Ceadal’

‘It has high-quality lawyers who are doing superb work’

Property litigation Tier 2

Forsters LLP covers all aspects of commercial and residential property litigation. Its team is led by Natasha Rees, who is particularly active in residential property disputes and leasehold enfranchisement matters. Other key individuals include commercial property expert Jonathan Ross and senior associate Anna Mullins, who is regularly called upon in landlord and tenant disputes.

Residential property Tier 2

Acting for high-net-worth individuals, investors, developers and banks, Forsters LLP provides a full real estate service. The team advises on lease agreements, bulk sales, freehold transfers, title issues, secured borrowing and lending. Lucy Barber leads the practice; Helen Marsh is notable for structuring work and secured lending transactions.

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Testimonials

‘Charlie Mieville is very strong. Very approachable, gives good practical advice and is very solution driven. Widely respected in the market, and very strong work ethic.’

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 3

The charities and philanthropy practice at Forsters LLP advises medium and large charities (both grant makers and operational charities), and public sector and commercial clients. It also acts for high-net-worth individuals with an interest in charitable giving and philanthropy and has witnessed increased instructions from primarily US philanthropists. Other growth areas include providing charitable planning advice to landed estates, such as advising on ways to make heritage assets more available for public display. The team has also been active in advising on the restoration of monuments and on the preservation of buildings of architectural significance. Fiona Smith heads the team.

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Commercial property: investment Tier 3

Forsters LLP is reputed for its work on complex long-term redevelopment schemes, headquarter relocations, portfolio management, landlord and tenant matters and leasehold transfers. The team has recently gone through a period of transition, with the departure of former practice head Matthew Swainston to Taylor Wessing LLP and the arrival of Anne O’Neil from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP, where she fronted the real estate practice. She joined alongside several key members of her previous team including Andrew Denye and Sara Branch. Andrew Crabbie is now overall head of commercial real estate, while a key name to note for development projects in the logistics sector is Victoria Towers.

Art and cultural property Tier 4

At Forsters LLP, the arts and cultural property team is led by experienced estate planning lawyer Catherine Hill. The team has strong relationships with specialist valuers, art advisers and institutions, and acts for various living contemporary artists as well as families and trustees who own masterpieces and chattels of national importance. Rupert Mead advises the owners of landed estates and has a particular interest in the taxation of heritage property (both chattels as well as historic land and buildings).

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Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 4

At Mayfair law firm Forsters LLP, the commercial dispute resolution group is headed by Benedict Walton. Walton's areas of expertise include breaches of warranty, competition litigation, breaches of directors’ duties and shareholder disputes, along with negligence, fraud, investment disputes and group actions. Key recent work has included a series of multimillion-pound cross-border claims, often featuring particularly complex elements. The team, which works with corporates, banks, trustees, insolvency practitioners, investors and high net worth individuals, was bolstered during 2019 by the hire of senior associate Caroline Harbord from Mourant. Other key figures include experienced litigator Andrew Head, who, like Walton, has particular expertise regarding litigation funding and ATE insurance, and contentious trusts and estates head Roberta Harvey.

Planning Tier 4

The planning practice at Forsters LLP is led by Victoria Du Croz and covers the full range of matters in the area, including section 106 agreements, CPOs and contentious issues. The firm works with institutional investors, property developers and local authorities. Counsel Matthew Evans adds strong support in judicial reviews as well as all aspects of planning, highways and public law.

Construction: contentious Tier 5

Forsters LLP acts on a variety of contentious construction matters relating to defects, loss and expense and delay. Andrew Parker is the key contact at the practice; he handles a range of disputes, including delay and defects claims caused by poor workmanship and negligent design.

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Construction: non-contentious Tier 5

Forsters LLP acts for a broad range of clients across sectors including commercial, residential and leisure. Sarah Cook, who leads the team, has more than twenty years of experience of advising on non-contentious construction issues; she also acts on procurement and construction management matters.

Practice head(s):

The firm: Forsters is a leading London law firm based in Mayfair which delivers exceptional legal advice to clients principally drawn from the real estate and private wealth sectors. Taking a joined-up approach we seek out solutions that embrace the unique needs of each individual or company. We believe our engaged, approachable manner combined with the delivery of concise, clear and commercially-led advice is what helps us develop long-term client relationships. Forsters has 63 partners, 240 fee-earners and over 165 support staff. The firm has an incredibly strong reputation in its chosen markets; Real Estate and Private Wealth.

Areas of work undertaken:

Forsters is widely recognised by commentators, clients and the wider market as one of the leading real estate and private client law firms in London. Our service is crafted to meet the needs of each client whatever their matter or transaction. We frequently advise real estate funds, property companies, high net worth individuals, investors, property companies, developers, family offices and entrepreneurs. We explain complex legal issues clearly and look for the best solution for each client by providing advice which is practical, commercial, and always discrete.

The firm is structured around four core areas:

Real Estate

Real estate, in all of its various forms, sits at the heart of the Forsters business – it is the sector on which the firm was founded and is our largest practice area. With over 100 lawyers specialising solely in real estate, we are well positioned to guide our clients through every situation whether it be an acquisition, disposal, development or property dispute. We work with our clients, ranging from real estate funds to overseas investors across all sectors including commercial property, residential, hotels, retail, industrial and landed estates.

Private Wealth

Our expert Private Client and Wealth Management lawyers provide advice on all aspects of wealth planning to a range of clients including; individuals, trustees, family offices and private banks. Our clients are both domestic and international. We have a strong reputation in the US, Asia and other global wealth centres. Our partner-led approach combined with our ability to find practical solutions is what matters to clients. Our advice is tailored to meet our clients’ objectives – that might be tax efficiency, asset protection or succession planning.

Dispute Resolution

With a team of bright and highly experienced lawyers, Forsters Dispute Resolution team consistently achieves commercial and practical results for its clients. Applying a tactical and discreet approach, we recognise how important it can be to protect the reputation of our clients. Working with corporate and individual clients, the team has the expertise to deal with every type of dispute.

Corporate

With a strong sector focus, the Corporate team regularly works with real estate companies, family offices and individuals. Additionally the group has a growing reputation as one of the leading hotel advisory firms. Our approach is pragmatic and commercial. We adapt to each transaction, with in depth experience on a wide-range of matters, from M&A, to finance and tax.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner Smita Edwards smita.edwards@forsters.co.uk
Managing partner Emily Exton emily.exton@forsters.co.uk
Commercial Real Estate Andrew Crabbie andrew.crabbie@forsters.co.uk
Private Client Xavier Nicholas xavier.nicholas@forsters.co.uk
Landed Estates Henry Cecil henry.cecil@forsters.co.uk
Residential Property Lucy Barber lucy.barber@forsters.co.uk
Divorce and Family Joanne Edwards joanne.edwards@forsters.co.uk
Charities Neasa Coen neasa.coen@forsters.co.uk
Dispute Resolution Benedict Walton benedict.walton@forsters.co.uk
Corporate Craig Thompson craig.thompson@forsters.co.uk
Property Litigation Natasha Rees natasha.rees@forsters.co.uk
Tax Elizabeth Small elizabeth.small@forsters.co.uk
Planning Victoria Du Croz victoria.ducroz@forsters.co.uk
Construction Sarah Cook sarah.cook@forsters.co.uk
Banking and finance Victoria Edwards victoria.edwards@forsters.co.uk
Hotel and leisure Andrew Parker andrew.parker@forsters.co.uk
Commercial Litigation Benedict Walton benedict.walton@forsters.co.uk
Contentious Trusts and Estates Roberta Harvey roberta.harvey@forsters.co.uk
Photo Name Position Profile
 Guy Abrahams  photo Guy Abrahams Partner
 Lucy Barber  photo Lucy Barber Partner and Head of Residential Property
 Robert Barham  photo Robert Barham Partner
 Ben Barrison  photo Ben Barrison Partner
 Joe Beeston  photo Joe Beeston Counsel
 Catharine Bell  photo Catharine Bell Partner
 Simon Blain  photo Simon Blain Partner
 Patricia Boon  photo Patricia Boon Partner
 Sara Branch  photo Sara Branch Partner
 Ben Brayford  photo Ben Brayford Partner
 Matthew Brunsdon Tully  photo Matthew Brunsdon Tully Partner
 Henry Cecil  photo Henry Cecil Partner
 Neasa Coen  photo Neasa Coen Counsel
 Simon Collins  photo Simon Collins Partner
 Carole Cook  photo Carole Cook Partner
 Sarah Cook  photo Sarah Cook Partner and Head of Construction
 Heather Corben  photo Heather Corben Partner
 Andrew Crabbie  photo Andrew Crabbie Partner and Head of Commercial Real Estate
 Andrew Denye  photo Andrew Denye Partner
 Victoria Du Croz  photo Victoria Du Croz Partner and Head of Planning
 Christine Dubignon  photo Christine Dubignon Partner
 Glenn Dunn  photo Glenn Dunn Partner
 Victoria Edwards  photo Victoria Edwards Partner and Head of Banking and Finance
 Joanne Edwards  photo Joanne Edwards Partner and Head of Family
 Smita Edwards  photo Smita Edwards Senior Partner
 Katherine Ekers  photo Katherine Ekers Partner
 Penny Elliott  photo Penny Elliott Consultant
 Matthew Evans photo Matthew Evans Counsel
 Emily Exton  photo Emily Exton Managing Partner
 Christopher Findley  photo Christopher Findley Partner
 Howard Gill  photo Howard Gill Partner
 Emma Gosling  photo Emma Gosling Counsel
 Roberta Harvey  photo Roberta Harvey Partner
 Magnus Hassett  photo Magnus Hassett Partner
 Stuart Hatcher  photo Stuart Hatcher Partner
 Andrew Head  photo Andrew Head Partner
 Catherine Hill  photo Catherine Hill Partner
 Emily Holdstock  photo Emily Holdstock Partner
 Nick Jacob  photo Nick Jacob Partner
 Alastair Laing  photo Alastair Laing Partner
 Andrew Lane  photo Andrew Lane Partner
 Ronan Ledwidge  photo Ronan Ledwidge Partner
 Helen Marsh  photo Helen Marsh Partner
 Rowena Marshall  photo Rowena Marshall Partner
 Eugene McMahon  photo Eugene McMahon Partner
 Rupert Mead  photo Rupert Mead Partner
 Charles Miéville  photo Charles Miéville Partner
 George Mitchell  photo George Mitchell Partner
 Chris Myers  photo Chris Myers Partner and Head of International Residential Real Estate
 Xavier Nicholas  photo Xavier Nicholas Partner
 Kelly Noel-Smith  photo Kelly Noel-Smith Partner
 Anne O'Neill photo Anne O'Neill Partner
 Andrew Parker  photo Andrew Parker Partner
 Sarah Pass  photo Sarah Pass Consultant
 Dearbhla Quigley  photo Dearbhla Quigley Partner
 Julia Ramsden Gunduz  photo Julia Ramsden Gunduz Counsel
 Natasha Rees  photo Natasha Rees Partner and Head of Property Litigation
 Jeremy Robertson  photo Jeremy Robertson Partner
 David Robinson  photo David Robinson Consultant
 Jonathan Ross  photo Jonathan Ross Partner
 Rosie Schumm  photo Rosie Schumm Partner
 Peter Selwyn  photo Peter Selwyn Counsel
 Anna Marie Short  photo Anna Marie Short Counsel
 Elizabeth Small  photo Elizabeth Small Partner
 Fiona Smith  photo Fiona Smith Partner
 Helen Streeton  photo Helen Streeton Partner
 Anthony Thompson  photo Anthony Thompson Partner
 Craig Thompson  photo Craig Thompson Partner and Head of Corporate
 Victoria Towers  photo Victoria Towers Partner
 Naomi Trinh  photo Naomi Trinh Partner
 Daniel Ugur  photo Daniel Ugur Partner
 Benedict Walton  photo Benedict Walton Partner and Head of Commercial Dispute Resolution
 Emma White  photo Emma White Partner
Number of UK partners : 63
Number of other UK fee-earners : 240

The Lex 100 Verdict

'The firm's beautiful Georgian offices in Mayfair', 'the emphasis it places on developing trainees' and 'the fact that it is highly-ranked in a few niche areas' were all factors which drew trainees to Forsters LLP. A boutique property, private client, corporate and dispute resolution firm, Forsters has an international outlook and a strong reputation for training. One trainee was attracted here because it is 'a mid-size, reputable firm, offering high-profile work and early responsibility, coupled with a collegiate support structure'. The firm operates a six-seat training structure with only one compulsory continuous seat. Trainees applaud being given 'more responsibility' than peers elsewhere, particularly 'drafting opportunities and transaction management experience'. The firm's 'really friendly culture' is highly praised, one trainee adding that 'fee earners really want you to learn and develop and they spend time getting you involved and giving you constructive feedback. I know that help is always there if I need it'. The social side of things stands out, with trainees mentioning that 'preparing and performing a Christmas performance with the entire trainee intake at the firm's party was a great bonding activity'. For real estate and private client-minded trainees looking for high-level work in smart Mayfair with a small intake, Forsters must be a top choice.