Forsters LLP > London, England > Firm Profile

Forsters LLP
31 HILL STREET
LONDON
W1J 5LS
England

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 1

Henry Cecil leads a large and specialist team at Forsters LLP that is recommended for its vast experience of handling both transactional and strategic matters including complex tax and estate structuring advice and disputes. It has real strength in depth with key practitioners such as Penny Elliott; Christopher Findley and Andrew Lane. Catherine Hill and Rupert Mead also garner praise for their expertise on tax and trusts matters. Clients include sizeable landed estates, families and trusts with significant property and chattels as well as domestic and international private and commercial investors, wealthy individuals and landowner groups. Other strengths include advising on the establishment of holding structures for family wealth through companies, partnerships and trusts in addition to acting for landowners in relation to development work. It is also rated for its work on capital tax planning matters and on all aspects of the acquisition and disposal of estates, farms and country houses. It is a team of 'problem solvers'.

Practice head(s):

Henry Cecil

Testimonials

The breadth of knowledge and expertise within the team, the willingness to take on technically challenging instructions and complex property matters combined with client care. Unlike other firms there is a willingness to be proactive from day one and to talk to clients as well as communicating by email. During the pandemic Zoom/Teams meetings have been held often at short notice for the benefit of all concerned. There is an underlying desire to bring matters to a conclusion whilst acting in the best interests of their clients rather than allowing things to ‘drift’ which is becoming all too common elsewhere‘.

‘Christopher Findley – outstanding knowledge of all matters associated with agricultural tenancy legislation, partnerships and other business structures. Definitely one of the County’s leading experts. Henry Cecil – excellent professional advice, knowledge and practical support when it comes to all rural property transactions. He seeks to ensure that “deals” are completed whether acting for vendors or purchasers‘.

‘Excellent team that understands the market and has the experience and skill to work alongside its clients and wider team members to get the best result. I have enormous trust in the individuals and know that when they commit to something it will get done. I also believe that they provide best in class advice‘.

‘The team is very experienced in this field and offers a service beyond all others. The lawyers are prompt, communicative and pragmatic in their advice to clients. They work very closely as a team and support each other enormously. Henry Cecil is my main point of contact and is always available, I have known him to step out of a family wedding to take my call! He goes above and beyond for my clients and this clearly filters down amongst his team‘.

First choice firm in the rural and landed estate sector. Efficient, focused and client orientated. Henry Cecil‘.

A responsive and extremely knowledgeable team more than able to assist on all property law coupled with a desire to do its best for the client and an excellent approach to strategic planning for rural property owners of all shapes and sizes. Very strong on focusing on the individual needs of the client whilst maintaining the ability to consider issues at the micro and macro levels at all times‘.

‘Henry Cecil – combines an incredibly keen legal mind with a wealth of experience in rural property and the ability to drill down to the key issues without fuss’.

Excellent experience in all fields required for a complex estate purchase. Andrew Lane and Henry Cecil are extremely knowledgeable on their specialist subjects, also very practical, always available, and able to explain difficult matters in a way all can understand‘.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

Forsters LLP has a strong track record in this area and advises fiduciaries, protectors and beneficiaries on the full remit of disputes involving trusts, trust structures, wills and estates both in  an onshore and offshore context. Other key clients include high-net-worth/high-profile individuals, charities and other professionals and intermediaries. The international side of its practice continues to thrive under the direction of Roberta Harvey. Other key figures include Emily Exton, who is praised for her handling of disputes in the private wealth arena. Catharine Bell is an international private client lawyer with specialist expertise in contentious trusts and estates, as well as wealth structuring, family governance and advice to family offices. The team is skilled at advising high-net-worth individuals, family offices, trustees and protectors on trust vehicles and other succession planning structures.

Practice head(s):

Roberta Harvey

Other key lawyers:

Emily Exton; Catharine Bell; Charlotte Evans-Tipping

Testimonials

‘A great combination of experience, commerciality and very, very bright people who are excellent to work with. They adopt a genuinely collegiate approach for the benefit of clients. Roberta Harvey is a stand out force to be reckoned with. She brings passion, intellect and unswerving dedication to her clients’ matters. One who keeps her cool and humour intact whilst deep “in the trenches” in the early hours during mediations!.’

‘Dependable, commercial and very approachable. Experienced both in onshore and offshore (Jersey) trust law matters. Catharine Bell is my immediate go-to person when needing advice on contentious trust law matters. Highly responsive and dependable who will consistently provide clear and commercially minded advice. Catharine’s experience of working in Jersey and her familiarity with Jersey trust law and doing business in Jersey has proved invaluable.’

‘The Forsters’ team is a pretty youthful, diverse and dynamic one of excellent lawyers who really know their way around trusts and estates litigation of all sorts. Roberta Harvey is undoubtedly one of the best contentious private client partners in London, incredibly down to earth and hardworking, she has real care both for her client and for the law, with excellent judgment and total integrity in all she does.’

‘Forsters is one of the best contentious trusts and estates teams. Roberta heads up a busy and expanding team, with disputes ranging from English probate disputes to large-scale international matters. Roberta Harvey is the best contentious trusts and estate practitioner out there, great with clients, constantly searching for the edge in any case and always available.’

‘Forsters has one of the strongest private client teams, both contentious and non-contentious in London. Roberta Harvey is superb. She has a depth of experience and insight that is unrivalled.’

Catharine Bell – always constructive in her approach to resolving disputes.’

The lawyers quietly, smoothly and efficiently secure their clients results, in some of the most complex multi-billion multi-jurisdiction litigation the planet has to offer. Despite all the many difficulties, stresses and strains this inevitably involves, as they used to say of the Rolls-Royce, the loudest noise is the ticking of the clock. Catharine Bell: astute and unflappable. Charlotte Evans-Tipping: always goes the extra mile needed to secure the right result.’

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 1

Under the leadership of Xavier Nicholas the team at Forsters LLP advises a broad range of domestic and international clients in the HNW and UNHW sphere with particular strength in advising international and multi-generational families on complex cross-border issues. Nicholas is adept at advising wealthy families on a range of matters, including family trusts, regulatory issues and tax residence matters, and also works closely with the real estate team to advise clients on the tax implications of UK property ownership and investment. Catharine Bell is another known name for her work on wealth structuring, family governance and advice to family offices. Carole Cook is also a key figure who is particularly strong at advising entrepreneurs. Nicholas Jacob advises many UNHW Asian families, while Anthony Thompson is well-regarded for his work with Middle Eastern UNHW clients. Rupert Mead is recognised for his work on rural property and landed estate matters. Patricia BoonJeremy Robertson and George Mitchell have been promoted to the partnership. 'Each person is exceptionally experienced and committed to doing the best for the client, and to thinking constructively and around issues in order to provide a solution.'

Practice head(s):

Xavier Nicholas

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Great quality technical people but with a sense of humour/human element. Again – no huge ego in any of the team members and this comes from the top down through Anthony Thompson and Nick Jacob. They are unstuffy and really fun to deal with but also technically brilliant’.

‘The knowledge, accessibility and responsiveness of the team instils a great deal of confidence to refer clients, who are always very positive about their experiences of dealing with the team. There is some serious legal weight to the experienced team and it is exceptionally always a safe pair of hands. Nick Jacob is always a pleasure to work with – exceptionally knowledgeable whilst retaining a down to earth ability to guide clients through often finely balanced issues. Patricia Boon has developed over the years from a trusted associate to an excellent partner in her field. An excellent technical mind, she is approachable yet professional‘.

‘Guy Abrahams – very friendly, good to work with, collaborative, excellent knowledge. Rupert Mead – his trust knowledge is exceptional and he is also pragmatic in his approach so I have total trust in him. Kelly Noel Smith – genuinely cares about her clients’.

‘Every person I have engaged with at Forsters has been collaborative, dynamic, proactive and a pleasure to work with. As a fellow professional, I value hugely the team mindset and enjoy working with Forsters knowing that our clients are receiving the very best, combined advice. Catherine Hill is an exceptional lawyer, inspiring confidence in her colleagues and clients due to her deep technical expertise and pragmatic approach to advice. Jeremy Robertson is a team player who consistently keeps his clients’ best interests at the centre of what he does. He is both an expert in his field and an expert relationship builder which makes him a fantastic individual to work with as a fellow professional adviser‘.

‘Emma White & George Mitchell are the main partners who I work with and are both excellent. They have done a sterling job in developing their profile in the US/UK market‘.

‘Dependable, commercial and very approachable. Experienced both in onshore and offshore trust law matters. Always on hand to provide practical guidance or information when relatively routine administrative queries arise on trust structures. Catharine Bell is my immediate go to person when needing advice on English trust law matters. Highly responsive and dependable who will consistently provide clear and commercially minded advice. Catharine’s experience of working in Jersey and her familiarity with Jersey trust law and doing business in Jersey has proved invaluable‘.

The team has depth of knowledge across all areas of private client tax work, including UK, offshore and trusts. Daniel Ugur – extremely thorough, clever and very practical in his advice. Patricia Boon is a real rising star‘.

‘The team at Forsters provides an exceptional service, and provides great expertise in a vast range of services. The team I have dealt with in the private client sector had a great understanding of the clients when it came to a restructuring of an offshore structure for UK clients. The individuals I have dealt with at Forsters are extremely knowledgeable and most importantly approachable. Transactions are dealt with in a well structured manner’.

Real estate > Residential property Tier 1

Forsters LLP has a strong pedigree across the full spectrum of residential property work, which includes high-value acquisitions, sales and financings of prime real estate in London and elsewhere in the UK. It is also highly active in large-scale residential projects in London. Lucy Barber leads the team, which has a well-established reputation among high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, and serves prestigious clients such as The Crown Estate and The Phillimore Estate. In addition to Barber, another key individual in the group is Helen Marsh, whose expertise includes conveyancing and secured lending. Henry Cecil focuses on farms and country houses. Charles Miéville and Robert Barham are recent arrivals from Cripps.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Barber

Other key lawyers:

Helen Marsh; Henry Cecil; Charles Miéville; Robert Barham; Anna Marie-Short; Anna Jassani; Adam Whitfield-Jones; Poornima Andrews; Samantha Tomczyk

Testimonials

‘They were incredibly quick and efficient with their work and went above and beyond to take as much stress and responsibility off the negotiations from me.’

‘I worked with Anna Jassani for most of the project. She was probably the most organised and efficient person I have ever worked with. She was also just very easy to speak with and ask questions to without feeling embarrassed of sounding ignorant. She made everything digestible, whilst also being completely professional.’

‘First-class service, reliable partners and associates, good judgement calls when needed.’

‘I have used Anna Marie-Short for a number of transactions and have been delighted with the result. She has been willing to offer difficult advice where needed and I am entirely content with the outcomes.’

‘Their knowledge in this field is exceptional and was the main reason I was able to purchase my main residence, as the seller knew that the transaction would be quick and without unnecessary delays.’

‘I have worked with Poornima Andrews for many years and i have always found her professional, meticulous and thorough in her work. This has also been echoed by the estate agents during these transactions.’

‘Samantha Tomczyk went above and beyond throughout a difficult and lengthy transaction, demonstrating an exceptional level of professionalism and knowledge. Always very efficient, responsive and conducted with a friendly, relaxed manner.’

Key clients

The Crown Estate

The Trinity Estate

The Phillimore Estate

Northacre

Land Securities

Clivedale Limited

JP Morgan Private Bank

Banque Havilland

Nationwide Pension Fund

Knight Dragon

Private client > Family Tier 2

Forsters LLP is frequently instructed by high-profile and UHNW individuals who are well-known figures in the arts and sports sectors as well as acting for financiers and entrepreneurs. It advises on a wide range of complex matters with particular specialisms in ultra-high-value and international nuptial agreements. It is also skilled at advising on cross-border child arrangements as well as negotiating financial settlements for children. Joanne Edwards leads the team and is seen as a leading advisor for big-ticket litigation and complex mediation. Edwards is ‘achieving great things for her team’.  Rosie Schumm is also experienced at negotiating bespoke nuptial agreements often with international aspects.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Edwards

Other key lawyers:

Rosie Schumm; Simon Blain; Matthew Brunsdon Tully; Dickon Ceadel; Amanda Sandys

Testimonials

Fosters’ family team continues to go from strength to strength under the leadership of Jo Edwards. The team can offer real strength and  depth and for such a young team is doing incredibly well. It has fabulous work and is well supported by its private client team. Jo Edwards is an impressive leader. She works incredibly hard not only on her cases but also in managing the team and undertaking various business development initiatives‘.

‘Rosie Schumm is very talented, loyal and much respected by her peers. She is also very well liked and as a consequence has built a huge practice. In my view she is one of the best up-and-coming partners in the family law world and I would have no hesitation in recommending her to clients’.

‘Great team in a Central London location, offering stellar legal services to all clients in all cases, simple or complex. A real competitor in the top tiers of the family law solicitor market‘.

J Edwards, Rosie Schum, Simon Blain and Matthew Branston all excellent and very complimentary as a team. Simon Blain in particular is gaining gravitas and vg reputation in the market’.

‘Extremely hardworking.  Always available for swift responses.  Excellent communications with client.  Extremely supportive and empathetic.  First class in private law children cases. Matt Brunsdon Tully.  Practised as a barrister for many years.  A strong advocate offering excellent strategic advice. Dickon Caedel.  Very considered and realistic advice‘.

Jo Edwards and Rosie Schumm have managed to create a successful team that provides clients with a great service but with lawyers who are a pleasure to work with. This is no mean feat and there are not many firms in this category. They are innovative (podcast) and able to act for the full spectrum of clients. Joanne Edwards works tirelessly for clients and eats, sleeps and breathes family law. Dickon Ceadel is known for pre-nuptial agreements and finds creative solutions to clients’ issues‘.

‘Forsters has real depth and is a presence in the market.  Jo Edwards’ forward facing approach to getting the message out is a lesson for other firms.  In consequence of that and the quality of the member of its team the firm has a profile which its size belies. The team is very client focused and ambitious.  Jo Edwards is rightly very highly regarded amongst her peers.  She is fast becoming one of the notable senior figures within the ranks of solicitors.  She is a fine lawyer: astute and knowledgeable.  She is thorough and tenacious, mixing a collaborative approach with a fierce sense of what she wants to achieve. The other partners in the family department, Simon Bain and Rosie Schumm, have a well deserved reputation for excellence‘.

‘This family department has the benefit of an excellent private client practice as well as a firm in which there is a great deal of expertise on other matters. The partners in the family department are all very well informed, highly competent and a pleasure to deal with. Jo Edwards draws on her considerable experience in both financial and children matters to run a very effective and well regarded practice. Simon Blain is empathetic, thoughtful and retains the confidence of his clients even under fire. Matthew Brunsdon Tully is energetic, empathetic and can always see the big picture’.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 2

With the arrival of counsel Nichola Padget from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP in April 2020, Forsters LLP has added to its residential and commercial property litigation expertise, while the addition of senior consultant Damian Greenish, who joined from Cripps in September 2020, brings additional residential leasehold reform capabilities. ‘Hugely experienced and very talented‘ team head Natasha Rees is another key contact for leasehold enfranchisement and residential property disputes. The team of ‘first-class lawyers‘ acts for a large number of landowners, estates and funds alongside property companies, developers and occupier clients. Its workload is equally diverse and has recently included easement and service charge disputes, dilapidation claims, forfeitures and other issues arising from CVAs and insolvencies, in addition to development matters concerning rights to light, vacant possessions and an increasing number of cladding-related instructions. Jonathan Ross‘ commercial property litigation expertise extends to associated professional negligence claims, while senior associate Anna Mullins is a key contact for landlord and tenant matters.

Practice head(s):

Natasha Rees

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

Forsters are an extremely approachable and client-friendly property litigation practice. They combine expert knowledge of the law with an acute awareness of and sensitivity to the particular needs of their clients, particularly private individuals. I have encountered nothing but professionalism and charm at both partner and associate level.

Ben Barrison has the best strategic and commercial eye and instinct of any property litigation partner that I have encountered in my practice so far. He is also extremely fair but firm, and dogged in the pursuit of his clients’ interests whilst also being unfailingly calm, courteous and level-headed.

Real strength in depth and huge experience in the private wealth/landed estate field. Really top property litigation team.

Natasha Rees is hugely experienced, very talented and steely.

Filled with first-class lawyers who blend the high quality one would expect of a leading Mayfair outfit with a likeable, progressive approach.

Ben Barrison is a great technical lawyer, both in his knowledge of the substantive law and in his command of procedure. He is strong but flexible – astute enough never to lose sight of what his clients are really after.

‘They are specialists, particularly in leasehold enfranchisement.

I have worked with Forsters extensively over the last few years and have been hugely impressed with the way it has adapted to the pandemic. Not only has the quality of legal services not dipped at all, but the firm clearly has a strategy for the broader pastoral development of its staff and its relationships with related professionals within the real estate sector.

Key clients

The Phillimore Estate

Lawrence Wharf Limited

Aldford House Freehold Limited

Giles Fearn and Others

The Crown Estate

British Airways Pension Fund

PATRIZIA

The Mercers Company

The Corporation of Trinity House

Aberdeen Standard Investments

LaSalle Investment Managers

Monckton Properties Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for a number of tenants of Neo Bankside, an architect-designed apartment complex, in a dispute with the Tate Gallery, its neighbour.
  • Acted for the leaseholders of a large building in Park Lane known as Aldford House in relation to two significant disputes.
  • Assisting the Phillimore Estate with the transition to the Estate’s new CEO, Tristan Phillimore, as well as advising on all aspects of management for the Central London Estate and liaising closely with the Estate’s asset managers, Savills.

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 3

The charities and philanthropy team at Forsters LLP forms part of the firm’s private wealth practice and provides charity advice to a range of clients such as operational and grant-making charities, public bodies and individuals seeking to develop their philanthropic plans.  It has an established track record of providing charity and tax law advice to wealthy clients in the context of donations to and the establishment of charities in the UK and elsewhere. Head of team Neasa Coen has considerable experience of social impact investments. Fiona Smith is also well-regarded.

Practice head(s):

Neasa Coen

Other key lawyers:

Real estate > Commercial property: corporate occupiers Tier 3

A single office West End firm with a strong focus on real estate, Forsters LLP represents a number of household names in the corporate occupier space. Glenn Dunn acts for major players in the media, finance and banking sectors with clients citing the ‘remarkable leadership’ with which he oversees the practice. Another key name is Helen Streeton, who provides the group with distinguished expertise in acting for entities from the oil and gas and chemicals industries. Examples of recent work include major headquarter relocations, lease assignments and several landlord and tenant matters including terminations and disputes. The practice is also highly regarded for its investment and development expertise, the latter being a particular forte of Victoria Towers.

Practice head(s):

Glenn Dunn

Other key lawyers:

Helen Streeton; Sarah Cook

Testimonials

‘A firm focused on property law matters. The firm has good diversity (an important topic for us). Practical advice with clear guidance to clients.’

‘Expertise and availability. Proactive and thoughtful advice.’

‘I had the good fortune to work with Forsters on a very difficult deal with tight timeframes and complex terms. We faced many unexpected hurdles and many changes of our internal stakeholders. I was extremely impressed by their pragmatism, ability to adapt to changing circumstances, ability to explain complex legal issues clearly to foreign counsel and internal stakeholders, flexibility, determination and hard work.’

‘Glenn Dunn showed remarkable leadership and good cheer in diving into a matter over a holiday break when more junior lawyers were unavailable. He managed to cut through all manner of complexity in deals, explain UK law and COVID signing requirements to opposing US counsel, counsel our clients on the best ways to resolve difference and get our deal done by its impossible deadline.’

‘Anna Penn was a delight to work with; she explained things clearly, escalated matters when appropriate and turned redlines rapidly and well.’

‘Very good team – they are responsive and understand our business.’

‘Glenn Dunn puts the right people on the specific project, but is also there to support when needed.’

Key clients

Columbia (Sony Pictures)

Warner Media (Warner Bros.)

Netflix

RELX Group

Publicis Groupe

MUFG Bank

Warner Music

Sony Music/ATV

Fujitsu Services

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company

Dow Chemical Company

Auto Trader

HR Owen

TI Media

BritanniaGlobalInvestments

Future plc

Telstra Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acting for a global corporate occupier in relation to acquiring 80,000 square feet of prime office space in one of the largest deals of 2020.
  • Advised Britannia Global Investments in relation to taking c.22,500 square feet at the iconic Scalpel in the City, a transaction that was delivered in a very tight timescale.
  • Acting for an international corporate occupier in relation to its exit from a landmark London building, with a deal value in excess of £10m.

Real estate > Commercial property: development Tier 3

A single office West End firm with a strong focus on real estate, Forsters LLP represents a number of household names in the corporate occupier space. Glenn Dunn acts for major players in the media, finance and banking sectors with clients citing the ‘remarkable leadership’ with which he oversees the practice. Another key name is Helen Streeton, who provides the group with distinguished expertise in acting for entities from the oil and gas and chemicals industries. Examples of recent work include major headquarter relocations, lease assignments and several landlord and tenant matters including terminations and disputes. The practice is also highly regarded for its investment and development expertise, the latter being a particular forte of Victoria Towers.

Practice head(s):

Glenn Dunn

Testimonials

‘A firm focused on property law matters. The firm has good diversity (an important topic for us). Practical advice with clear guidance to clients.’

‘Expertise and availability. Proactive and thoughtful advice.’

‘I had the good fortune to work with Forsters on a very difficult deal with tight timeframes and complex terms. We faced many unexpected hurdles and many changes of our internal stakeholders. I was extremely impressed by their pragmatism, ability to adapt to changing circumstances, ability to explain complex legal issues clearly to foreign counsel and internal stakeholders, flexibility, determination and hard work.’

‘Glenn Dunn showed remarkable leadership and good cheer in diving into a matter over a holiday break when more junior lawyers were unavailable. He managed to cut through all manner of complexity in deals, explain UK law and COVID signing requirements to opposing US counsel, counsel our clients on the best ways to resolve difference and get our deal done by its impossible deadline.’

‘Anna Penn was a delight to work with; she explained things clearly, escalated matters when appropriate and turned redlines rapidly and well.’

‘Very good team – they are responsive and understand our business.’

‘Glenn Dunn puts the right people on the specific project, but is also there to support when needed.’

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 4

A go-to practice for funded litigation, Forsters LLP's team handles a wide range of commercial disputes, including major international multi-party actions. It was recently particularly active in shareholder litigation, investment claims, and corporate and post-transactional litigation. Benedict Walton, who leads the practice, is regularly seen in substantial cross-border disputes. Another practitioner with experience of international disputes is Andrew Head, whose work covers complex financial cases and high-value professional negligence claims. Providing key support are senior associate Caroline Harbord and senior solicitor Bryan Shacklady.

Practice head(s):

Benedict Walton

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

Forsters is a focused, creative and nimble practice with a rare richness of experience in group litigation.

Strength in depth and very client focused, and the firm is proactive, well organised and responsive.

They have high-quality and friendly people with great commercial sense.

The contentious team are active thought leaders, particularly in relation to financial services matters concerning issues of fraud and mis-selling.

Ben Walton is clever, creative, committed and pragmatic – a very strong strategist and shows real leadership on cases. On a more personal level, and perhaps most importantly, he is honest and loyal.

Andrew Head is unusual for a partner, in that he gets seriously into the detail of a case. He has good tactical sense and never misses an opportunity for marginal gains.

Caroline Harbord is certainly a senior associate to watch – deeply organised, responsive, diligent, and with strong instincts – she will no doubt go very far indeed.

Bryan Shacklady is a senior solicitor who often runs his own cases, could easily be, and surely soon will be, a partner in the firm.

Key clients

GPF (In Liquidation)

Work highlights

  • Acting for GPF, one of 14 defendants in a factually complex, international multi-party action, which involves allegations of breaches of a series of contracts.

Industry focus > Hospitality and leisure Tier 4

Andrew Parker, who has considerable experience in hotel sector construction, heads Forsters LLP' hotel and leisure team. The group provides a broad range of contentious and non-contentious advice to hotel owners, operators, developers and financiers on developments in London and the UK. The practice also boasts extensive expertise in luxury and boutique hotels. Key areas of work include hotel acquisitions, lease agreements, financing and planning.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Parker

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Edwards; Ben Brayford

Testimonials

‘Very commercial and client-focused.’

‘The firm is active in the hotels market, and team is proactive in dealing with matters, taking their cue from the commercials of a transaction to get the deal the client wants.’

‘The property team at Forsters LLP works tirelessly in providing the right outcome for their clients.’

‘Strong understanding of hotel sector and how property interlinks.’

‘Ben Brayford is a very pragmatic real estate lawyer, while retaining an eye for detail.’

‘Andrew Parker heads up the property team at Forsters and is a wonderful ambassador for the practice. Andrew’s construction knowledge and calm manner make him an ideal lawyer to have on your side.’

Key clients

Consolidated Developments Limited

Southrop Estates Limited

Wrenbridge Sport and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority

OakNorth Bank

Reignwood UK Limited

Bursha Holdings

Joint Treasure International

PATRIZA

Soho House Limited

The Grove Hotel and Golf Course

Wentworth Golf Club

Hillbrooke Hotels

Private client > Art and cultural property Tier 4

The art and cultural property group at Forsters LLP comprises a cross-disciplinary team of lawyers who have extensive experience of advising on art matters on behalf of artists, collectors, auction houses, dealers, museums and charities. It advises on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious art and cultural property matters, often involving niche areas of law and complex trust and ownership issues. Catherine Hill heads the team and has particular expertise in advising living artists on legacy, succession and taxation issues. Rupert Mead specialises in advising on the taxation of heritage property (both chattels and historic land and buildings).

Practice head(s):

Catherine Hill

Other key lawyers:

Rupert Mead; Rebecca Welman

Testimonials

This firm has an excellent client list of landed estates and offshore work. It runs a dedicated art team both through private client and litigation. Catherine Hill and Rupert Mead‘.

Forsters is a great firm for contentious trusts and estates work. I believe it is developing an art practice and I have assisted it with one very interesting (and high value) matter‘.

Rupert Mead is very professional and approachable. His knowledge of tax and heritage is excellent and he is absolutely my go-to person on this subject‘.

‘Real depth of experience in art and cultural sector particularly in the context of country house collections and heritage assets‘.

Real estate > Commercial property: investment Tier 4

A single office West End firm with a strong focus on real estate, Forsters LLP represents a number of household names in the corporate occupier space. Glenn Dunn acts for major players in the media, finance and banking sectors with clients citing the ‘remarkable leadership’ with which he oversees the practice. Another key name is Helen Streeton, who provides the group with distinguished expertise in acting for entities from the oil and gas and chemicals industries. Examples of recent work include major headquarter relocations, lease assignments and several landlord and tenant matters including terminations and disputes. The practice is also highly regarded for its investment and development expertise, the latter being a particular forte of Victoria Towers.

Practice head(s):

Glenn Dunn

Testimonials

‘A firm focused on property law matters. The firm has good diversity (an important topic for us). Practical advice with clear guidance to clients.’

‘Expertise and availability. Proactive and thoughtful advice.’

‘I had the good fortune to work with Forsters on a very difficult deal with tight timeframes and complex terms. We faced many unexpected hurdles and many changes of our internal stakeholders. I was extremely impressed by their pragmatism, ability to adapt to changing circumstances, ability to explain complex legal issues clearly to foreign counsel and internal stakeholders, flexibility, determination and hard work.’

‘Glenn Dunn showed remarkable leadership and good cheer in diving into a matter over a holiday break when more junior lawyers were unavailable. He managed to cut through all manner of complexity in deals, explain UK law and COVID signing requirements to opposing US counsel, counsel our clients on the best ways to resolve difference and get our deal done by its impossible deadline.’

‘Anna Penn was a delight to work with; she explained things clearly, escalated matters when appropriate and turned redlines rapidly and well.’

‘Very good team – they are responsive and understand our business.’

‘Glenn Dunn puts the right people on the specific project, but is also there to support when needed.’

Real estate > Construction: non-contentious Tier 4

With strong connections to high-profile real estate clients, Forsters LLP acts on a number of high-value construction matters. Its experience is multisectoral, covering logistics, office, retail, leisure, sport and multi-use projects. The highly experienced Sarah Cook leads the team, acting on significant matters for industrial and residential providers. Emily Holdstock, who has strength in restaurant and logistics developments, was promoted to partner.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Cook

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘This practice specialises in property and all staff that we have encountered in the construction department are knowledgeable and commercial. They respond quickly, often advising us what to do rather than simply quoting the law.’

‘Sarah Cook is pragmatic, knowledgeable, efficient and fun.’

‘Excellent people and great service delivered in a friendly and timely manner.’

Key clients

Warner Bros.

British Airways Pension Fund

LaSalle Investment Management

Aberdeen Standard Investments

The Crown Estate

Reignwood Group

Mayfair Capital

PATRIZIA UK

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Fiera Real Estate UK/Wrenbridge Land/Wrenbridge Sport

The Mercers’ Company

Work highlights

  • Advised Consolidated Developments in respect of the procurement of Outernet and its hotel elements.
  • Acting for Menta Regeneration in relation to a £250m regeneration project adjacent to East Croydon Station.
  • Advising specialist real estate lender and investor Octopus Real Estate in connection with the construction aspects of its acquisition of a care home portfolio.

Real estate > Planning Tier 4

The planning team at Forsters LLP acts for a range of clients, including major developers, real estate funds and institutional investors. The team specialises in large-scale urban regeneration projects, and is led by Victoria Du Croz, who has extensive experience of providing strategic advice on planning applications, including the negotiation of s106 agreements. Counsel Matthew Evans provides support in judicial review proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Du Croz

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Evans; Lauren Archer; Laura Parrish; Alice Gordon-Finlayson

Testimonials

‘They work collaboratively together on projects and provide clear advice.’

‘Matthew Evans, Victoria Du Croz and Lauren Archer are a great planning team who understand planning matters, respond to matters quickly and provide valuable advice. They are fun but professional to work with.’

‘Victoria Du Croz is knowledgeable, professional, and a commercial problem-solver.’

‘Forsters have proven to be very responsive, practical, available, and accessible. The team is also friendly and professional, working efficiently to meet priorities.’

‘The team are very together – joined-up thinking across the board is definitely a strength.’

‘Matthew Evans and Alice Gordon-Finlayson have worked extremely closely with us and have been an very effective team, demonstrating an in-depth knowledge in achieving all our planning requirements.’

‘Victoria Du Croz is my reason for working with Forsters. Having met and worked with Victoria in her previous role, she was a very personable individual, who was hard working and exceptionally bright. Matthew Evans is also personable, with a real practical approach to his role and when engaged with his counterpart. Lauren Archer is very capable, with a firm appreciation of client aspirations.’

‘I feel they go the extra mile to get the deal across the line.’

Key clients

Knight Dragon

Hondo Enterprises Ltd.

British Airways Pension Fund Trustees Ltd

Aitch Group

Fairview New Homes

British Airways Pension Investment Management Limited and General Projects (development partner)

City & Suburban Homes

General Projects

Menta Redrow (II) Limited

Fairview New Homes Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Acting for Knight Dragon on a range of matters, including the ongoing provision of strategic planning advice; advising and negotiating with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, GLA, TfL on a s106 agreement across existing and proposed new masterplans for the area.
  • Advising Hondo Enterprises in connection with the regeneration of Brixton Market and the redevelopment of a nearby site on Pope’s Road in central Brixton.
  • Acting for long-standing client British Airways Pension Fund Trustees Ltd in connection with the planning aspects of a £500m development near Kings Cross, London.

Real estate > Construction: contentious Tier 5

Forsters LLP provides support to a range of real estate clients, with a particular emphasis on the hotel sector. It also has experience acting for clients in disputes in other key sectors, including sport, retail and logistics. Andrew Parker leads the practice, handling disputes including delay and defect claims, and is supported at partner level by the newly promoted Emily Holdstock.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Parker

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘A boutique firm with immense experience of the domestic construction industry. Their knowledge and eye for adjudication and litigation work is very strong. They work as well as any Magic Circle construction firm.’

‘Andrew Parker is very experienced in construction matters. Calm under pressure. Exceptionally attentive to the client’s needs. Sees the bigger picture. A top choice for High Court and adjudication work.’

‘Forsters have understood each issue we have brought to them and resourced appropriately with the right level of seniority and experience. We feel know we can bring a range of issues to them. They have nurtured the relationship well and provided considered opinions on a range of matters.’

Key clients

Warner Bros.

British Airways Pension Fund

LaSalle Investment Management

Aberdeen Standard Investments

The Crown Estate

Reignwood Group

Mayfair Capital

PATRIZIA UK

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Fiera Real Estate UK/Wrenbridge Land/Wrenbridge Sport

The Mercers’ Company

Work highlights

  • Advised Southrop Estates Limited, a prominent landed estate, in respect of delay, defects and an oil spill caused by a contractor.

Real estate > Social housing: local authorities and registered providers Tier 5

The social housing department at Forsters LLP advises on a full range of matters for clients, including land acquisitions, developments and onward sales, as well as disputes. The practice offers 'a unique combination of expert legal services balanced with a commercial understanding', particularly when advising on the development of large mixed-use development sites and regenerations. Anne O’Neil and Sara Branch jointly lead the team.

Practice head(s):

Anne O’Neill; Sara Branch

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Preece

Testimonials

‘The social housing team at Forsters understand the complexities of social housing, the nuanced relationship between social purpose, regulation and commercial performance. The team at Forsters are second to none in the quality of the advice and the expert drafting of agreements and contracts. Forsters has a true team, they understand that to succeed all must contribute at the highest level and like all great teams they have their star performers.’

‘Anne O’Neill is my go to lawyer, she gets things done. Anne has the ability to find a clear path through the most difficult issues and secure a consensus. Anne is an excellent communicator and a first-class lawyer. Sara Branch is an excellent negotiator with great commercial acumen. Sara has the legal craftmanship to put you in the best possible commercial position while ensuring all regulatory obligations are nailed down.’

‘The real estate team provide a unique combination of expert legal services balanced with a commercial understanding of both our organisation and each individual transaction. Taking the time to understand the client commercial goals has been fundamental to many successful negotiations. The commercial savvy and negotiation skills are underpinned by top-class legal knowledge and advice.’

‘Anne O’Neill, Jonathan Preece, Sara Branch. All three are excellent communicators whether it is chairing large rooms or page turning complex documents to clients. They are expert negotiators and always available.’

‘Forsters’ residential team have provided advice to us, in various guises, for over 20 years and are our first port of call for complex residential transactions and joint ventures. Forsters know our business very well and understand our key drivers and limitations. continuity of staff has been exceptional, which saves a lot of time and effort.’

‘Anne O’Neill, Sara Branch and Jonathan Preece are excellent lawyers who provide not only well thought out legal advice, but also practical opinions as to the best solutions.’

‘The partners have excellent experience of advising registered providers on development transactions. They understand our processes/needs and tailor their service to accommodate them. The team works effectively and efficiently, is readily accessible and focused on finding solutions for their clients.’

‘Sara Branch and Anne O’Neill are highly experienced solicitors and are leaders in their field. They are professional, approachable and responsive, and their knowledge of housing development is unparalleled. They are excellent negotiators and adopt a strategic and problem-solving approach to issues.’

Key clients

Armada 1 South Development LLP

Chobham Farm North LLP

Gallions 2A Development LLP

Gallions 2B Development LLP

Hastoe Housing Association

Notting Hill Genesis (Notting Hill Housing Group merged into this entity)

Project Light Development 1 Limited

Project Light Development 2 Limited

TLD Kidbrooke LLP

Spray Street Quarter LLP

Work highlights

  • Acted for longstanding client Menta Regeneration on a £250m regeneration project adjacent to East Croydon Station. The project involves the construction of two 25 storey towers comprising 338 flats and ancillary commercial space, as well as 188 affordable housing units.
  • Acted for Notting Hill Genesis on the disposal of a seven-acre mixed-use commercial retail and residential development site with planning for in excess of 1,000 residential units at Canada Water Dock, Southwark to a German investor.

Real estate > Property finance Tier 6

The real estate finance team at Forsters LLP handles development financings, acting for traditional and challenger banks in the hotel, care home and purpose-built student accommodation sectors. Department head and 'excellent negotiatorVictoria Edwards is skilled in residential development mandates, as is Rowena Marshall, who was promoted to partner in April 2020. The 'commercially orientatedSimon Collins is also a notable team member who is adept at loan-on-loan transactions.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Edwards

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘A very good professional team with understanding of both practical and technical matters.’

‘The team has provided us with consistently reliable legal advice over the years. The advice has always been clear and and the service has always been prompt.’

‘Simon Collins is commercially orientated, and his legal advice is clear and balanced. He has always been accessible and quick to respond.’

‘Victoria Edwards is an excellent negotiator and strongly supports her clients.’

Key clients

OakNorth Bank plc

Pluto Finance

Santander UK plc

Rothschild Bank

Savills Investment Management

J.P. Morgan International Bank Limited

United National Bank Limited

Secure Trust Bank

WMG

Fiera Real Estate

Q Investment Partners

The Clivedale Group

Knight Dragon

Work highlights

  • Acted for Notting Hill Genesis on the disposal of a seven-acre mixed-use commercial retail and residential development site with planning for in excess of 1,000 residential units at Canada Water Dock, Southwark, to a German investor.
  • Advised OakNorth on a bespoke debt finance package to a leading UK house builder to accelerate growth ambitions to build over 500 homes per annum over the next 36 months.
  • Advising Manex Properties on a £49m loan to convert Drury House in London’s Covent Garden into a 141-bedroom Amano Covent Garden hotel.

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

Steered by Craig Thompson, the growing corporate team at Forsters LLP handles a range of deals for various domestic and Asian market entities, most notably in the financial services, technology, and private wealth spaces.

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.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Senior partner Smita Edwardssmita.edwards@forsters.co.uk
Managing partner Emily Extonemily.exton@forsters.co.uk
Commercial Real Estate Andrew Crabbieandrew.crabbie@forsters.co.uk
Private Client Xavier Nicholasxavier.nicholas@forsters.co.uk
Landed Estates Henry Cecilhenry.cecil@forsters.co.uk
Residential Property Lucy Barberlucy.barber@forsters.co.uk
Divorce and Family Joanne Edwardsjoanne.edwards@forsters.co.uk
Charities Neasa Coenneasa.coen@forsters.co.uk
Dispute Resolution Benedict Waltonbenedict.walton@forsters.co.uk
Corporate Craig Thompsoncraig.thompson@forsters.co.uk
Property Litigation Natasha Reesnatasha.rees@forsters.co.uk
Tax Elizabeth Smallelizabeth.small@forsters.co.uk
Planning Victoria Du Crozvictoria.ducroz@forsters.co.uk
Construction Sarah Cooksarah.cook@forsters.co.uk
Banking and finance Victoria Edwardsvictoria.edwards@forsters.co.uk
Hotel and leisure Andrew Parkerandrew.parker@forsters.co.uk
Commercial Litigation Benedict Waltonbenedict.walton@forsters.co.uk
Contentious Trusts and Estates Roberta Harveyroberta.harvey@forsters.co.uk
PhotoNamePositionProfile
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 Consultant 
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
Joanne Edwards  photo Joanne Edwards Partner and Head of Family
Victoria Edwards  photo Victoria Edwards Partner and Head of Banking and Finance
Smita Edwards  photo Smita Edwards Senior Partner
Katherine Ekers  photo Katherine Ekers Partner
Penny Elliott  photo Penny Elliott Consultant
Matthew Evans photo Matthew EvansCounsel
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
Xavier Nicholas  photo Xavier Nicholas Partner
Kelly Noel-Smith  photo Kelly Noel-Smith Partner
Anne O'Neill photo Anne O'NeillPartner
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
Craig Thompson  photo Craig Thompson Partner and Head of Corporate
Anthony Thompson  photo Anthony Thompson Partner
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

Forsters boasts ‘excellent service, interesting work, friendly people and promotes a healthy work/life balance’. High-quality work and ‘practice areas with many accolades’, such as private client and property, enticed trainees, as did the enviable office location in London’s Mayfair. Recruits feel that they get ‘closer involvement with clients’ than they would at larger firms, feel ‘better supported’ and ‘undertake more interesting work’. The firm offers ‘varied opportunities and seat rotations – I have been able to sit in the practice area I wanted every time’. The people at Forsters are ‘amazing’; there ‘aren’t big egos’ and the firm ‘really cares about its people’. ‘There’s no one at the firm I have not enjoyed working with’, said one trainee. Gripes include the ‘lack of secondment opportunities’, in particular the lack of an international office, and that the ‘NQ qualification process is quite daunting’. Starting their training contracts remotely because of the pandemic has also been difficult, although some recruits have still managed to ‘attend far more client meetings than I was expecting’. ‘Speaking with a QC on my second day’ and ‘having a detailed research note I produced forwarded by a partner to a senior barrister, who agreed with my findings’ and ‘being trusted to draft documents’ were best moments. Among the worst moments were ‘reviewing years’ worth of client correspondence for a subject data access request’ and ‘having to keep on top of very high email traffic’. For a firm which ‘has a reputation for combining high-profile work with a good work/life balance’, take a closer look at Forsters.