UK - Private Wealth Disputes Lawyers & Law Firms - HNW - Chambers and Partners
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HNW Guide

Private Wealth Disputes — UK

Band 1

From the HNW guide

Baker McKenzie is recognised for its ability to act in high-value and multi-jurisdictional private wealth disputes. A market insider explains: "They have a very significant presence in this market and offer a really strong international offering. They have experts based all over the world, which is really useful when dealing with global HNW clients." The firm often deals with large offshore disputes and also has extensive experience of acting for banks, trust companies and other fiduciaries. A legal adviser reveals that "they are at the highest end of this market."

Sources highlight the firm's strength and depth in this area. One noted expert reports: "I am impressed by the size, strength and quality of their team. It is a really big team focused on contentious trusts and is at the forefront of such matters." Another wealth adviser says: "They are just absolutely fantastic. They have all the expertise and resources in the world to handle the largest and most complex cases."

Notable practitioners

Anthony Poulton has extensive experience of very high-profile trust litigation cases, and has "a consistent track record of acting on some of the most interesting and high-value private wealth disputes." He regularly represents HNW individuals and families, as well as fiduciaries, institutional banks and international wealth advisers. One market insider reports: "I love to work with him. He is inscrutable and the other side will never know what move he is going to make next. He is also a very good listener and always ensures he understands the client's issues." Another peer adds: "He is an incredibly reasonable litigator to deal with, and a first-class practitioner who always gets good results for his clients." An industry insider enthuses: "He is very well connected within this industry and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him if conflicted out. He has a very good reputation for cross-border work and is a terrific lawyer with a really strong understanding of private wealth disputes."

Gemma Willingham acts on a range of private wealth disputes, often with a major offshore element. "She is a real star and really knows her stuff," commends one source, while another peer notes that "she has excellent technical skills." Willingham frequently acts for trustees and beneficiaries in high-value trust cases. One lawyer says: "She is very meticulous and charismatic, and knows how to handle HNW clients."

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Band 1

Boodle Hatfield LLP

From the HNW guide

Boodle Hatfield is seen as "one of the pre-eminent and leading firms for private wealth disputes." It acts for HNW individuals and families in complex trust disputes, and one market insider highlights that "they have some fantastic clients and do some really interesting work." The firm also has expertise in multi-jurisdictional tax, family business and governance matters, asset protection and succession issues.

The team is praised for its in-depth knowledge of trusts litigation, particularly for traditional UK clients. A wealth adviser explains: "They are real experts on domestic trusts and very immersed in the HNW world. Nobody knows more about large landed estates than Boodle." The firm also acts for major trust companies and international ultra-wealthy individuals and families. An interviewee enthuses that "they have a fantastic client base and I know that people hold them in very high regard. They are vaunted for their client care and personal approach."

Notable practitioners

Simon Rylatt has a "massive reputation in private client disputes." He often deals with large trust and estate disputes for both domestic and international clients. "He is very smart and a real clear thinker who can always see the big picture," commends one source, who continues: "He is articulate, sensible and clients immediately trust him. He makes his arguments very carefully and they are very well thought-out." His client handling skills are also praised. One industry expert reports: "The way he deals with clients is superb. He is always very thoughtful and clients are hugely appreciative of his straightforward and respectful manner." Rylatt is equally adept at dealing with a broad range of estate and tax planning matters, and is seen as "a superb lawyer on both contentious and non-contentious matters." Another peer adds: "He has a fantastic client base and works on some major matters of huge value. You don't get to represent those sorts of clients by accident."

Andrea Zavos often acts for HNW individuals, trustees and trust companies in both domestic and international disputes. One interviewee says: "She is a good lawyer; she is intelligent, patient and knows the law inside out. She really knows her way around the most sophisticated disputes." Zavos also advises wealthy families on succession planning and acts as a court-appointed administrator. Her ability to engage with clients is also recognised. A market insider explains: "She is very charming, a great communicator and really orientated to help clients. She has a really good bedside manner." A peer adds that "she is a calm and sensible litigator, and very much seen as a trusted adviser by HNW clients."

New partner Mark Lindley is widely agreed to be one to watch in this market. He deals with a wide range of high-value and complex private wealth disputes, both onshore and offshore, and is seen as "a real star in the making." One fellow litigator says: "He is young, ambitious and dynamic, and also has good experience." Another industry insider reports: "His technical skills are not in doubt and he is already a very accomplished lawyer in this field. He has a very clear and calm approach, and cuts through the unnecessary issues to get to the heart of a case."

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Band 1

From the HNW guide

Farrer is seen as a leading a firm in trust and estate disputes, with a stellar reputation in the private client market. A market observer enthuses: "I have them down as one of London's leading teams, with a real gold-standard client base. They are one of the first names to come to mind for both onshore and offshore trust disputes." Another litigation specialist adds: "We certainly rate them; they know the private client industry inside out and nobody here is disputing that they are a quality firm."

The firm regularly deals with high-value and complex litigation, often involving multi-jurisdictional elements. A wealth expert explains: "They are a solid team with quality running all throughout. They have a real presence both in the UK and internationally. They're a real blue-blood firm and are always involved in the biggest cases." Sources further highlight the firm's formidable track record in this field and one says: "They are vaunted for their unquestioned experience in the area of private wealth disputes."

Notable practitioners

Sources praise Jeremy Gordon as "a first-class litigator" who is in "a league of his own." He advises both private and corporate clients on a wide range of contentious trusts and estates matters. "Clients see him as a font of knowledge and understanding," enthuses one peer, "he has so much experience in this area that he has an instinctive feel for matters and the court system." Gordon handles both domestic and international cases, and is further praised for his "exceptional judgement," as well as his "astute commercial brain." One fellow lawyer states: "He is very authoritative in terms of his opinions on the law and the industry in general. He is a market leader and really knows his stuff."

Toby Graham leads the firm's contentious trusts and estates team, and is described as "a robust litigator at the top of his game." He is involved in many complex and high-value matters and is regarded as "a very polished and accomplished practitioner with a wealth of experience." One private wealth litigator enthuses: "He is a maestro of contentious trusts matters - he is extremely detailed and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the legal issues. He is just so bright that he knocks the spots off his competitors." Graham is often involved in multi-jurisdictional litigation and has extensive experience of handling offshore disputes. One source enthuses that "he is very fair, reasonable and has a strong knowledge of international trusts issues." Another interviewee notes that "he is one of the big beasts of this industry."

Industry insiders see Joanna Poole as "a real up-and-comer," a "class act" and "an emerging force" in this market. Poole advises on a comprehensive range of onshore and offshore contentious matters, including international succession disputes and large trust litigation. One peer says: "She knew what she was doing and was provided good assistance in the case. She was a sensible and calming presence on the team."

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Band 1

From the HNW guide

Macfarlanes deals with a wide range of high-value trust litigation, and is recognised as being "outstanding in this area." The team acts for individuals and institutions on complex disputes, including offshore and international matters. A market source says that "they have incredible strength in depth and all the lawyers there are exceptional." The source continues: "They have incredible technical expertise and all the related corporate and tax knowledge to help clients in these matters."

An industry insider enthuses that "they are very polished and provide a real blue-chip service to their clients." The team acts for wealthy families, trustees, financial institutions and entrepreneurs, and is noted for having "some superb clients on their books." One fellow trusts practitioner says: "Personally, I think they are the crème de la crème. They have a whole raft of lawyers who are absolutely excellent in this area."

Notable practitioners

Charles Lloyd is regarded as "a hugely experienced litigator who can deal with complex disputes," and is seen as "a very big player in this area." He has extensive experience of handling both domestic and international disputes for HNW clients. A legal expert reports: "He is the outstanding figure in the firm. He has huge experience and is an incisive thinker. He has strategic awareness and is very charming and totally unflappable." Another source describes Lloyd as "tough and persistent while also being fair and sensible." His reputation in the market is well documented; one interviewee highlights his "gravitas and air of calm reassurance, which helps quell client distress," and another industry insider enthuses: "He has a statesmanlike aura about him. He can rise above the petty issues of a case to see it from a different angle. He is a master of detail and is very wise."

Up-and-coming partner Jonathan Arr acts on a broad range of contentious trust matters, and is praised for producing "top-quality work" that "belies his experience." He deals with domestic and international cases and is recognised for his specific expertise in offshore matters. "He is highly intellectual, sensible and very commercial," says one source, and another notes that "he has a sharp mind and a great feel for litigation." "The whole industry likes him, but he also can be firm and very clever," reports one well-regarded trusts practitioner, adding: "He's very nice but not a softy. He is calm and easygoing in difficult situations."

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Band 1

From the HNW guide

Withers acts for UHNW clients in numerous private wealth disputes and is lauded for its worldwide capabilities. "They are a real pick for high-value London private client work that has a major cross-border element," reports one source, who adds: "They are a gold-plated firm with an impeccable list of clients." Withers' clients include major financial institutions, wealthy families and some of the leading charities in the UK.

The firm is noted for providing clients with "a strong and comprehensive service." It is also recognised for its strength when acting for major charities, with sources noting that "they have real expertise in charity law." A market insider reveals: "They have sufficient strength and depth to deal with many complex cases, and you will see them acting on many high-profile matters."

Notable practitioners

Dawn Goodman has "a superlative reputation in this market" and is considered to be "peerless in this area of law." She has extensive experience of handling complex cases both in the UK and in major offshore jurisdictions. One source enthuses: "She is just phenomenal in every aspect. She is very calm under immense pressure and demanding situations, and she always thinks clearly and analytically." Her robust and effective litigation style is praised, and one interviewee notes that "she is a hugely tenacious advocate who will go the extra mile for the client. You know she will give 110% in any case." Another impressed lawyer concludes: "She really does stand out in this market. When you match a talent like her with a big firm like Withers, the results are very positive. She is superb in every way and a real market leader."

Paul Hewitt focuses his practice on trust and estate disputes and also leads the firm's charity litigation work. "He is a strong litigator and is excellent at handling complex cases," says one source, while another enthuses that "he is very knowledgeable and has a deep understanding of this market." Hewitt is also noted for his work on international disputes, and is praised for his "very down-to-earth approach, as well as his great commercial instincts." An impressed peer reports: "He is very impressive and he always has a great grasp of his cases. He is always well prepared and handles sensitive clients very well."

Steven Kempster acts on a range of UK and international trust disputes, and is described as "a safe pair of hands and a strong tactician ." He is also noted for his expertise on conflict of law issues in cross-border trusts cases. One peer reports: "He is very reasonable, affable and sensible, and demonstrates good judgement." "He is very technical and quick-witted, and smart as a whip," reveals one source, adding that "he has a very nice bedside manner, which certainly endears him to high-level clients."

Stephen Richards is recognised as "an intelligent and resourceful" litigator. He deals with all aspects of private wealth disputes, including succession issues, Court of Protection cases and domestic and cross-border trust disputes. An industry insider says: "He is young but has a wealth of experience. I know people in the industry have major respect for him." Another insider notes that "he is smart, practical and always advises the client well."

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Band 2

Charles Russell Speechlys

From the HNW guide

Charles Russell Speechlys has a highly regarded contentious trusts team with a number of dedicated specialist lawyers. "They have huge resources," notes one legal insider, who adds: "They are a very effective firm, and clients find their services very useful. They all have supreme knowledge of the area." The firm is noted for handling complex and high-value disputes, often involving multiple overseas and offshore jurisdictions. A wealth adviser reports: "They have some real fantastic cross-border expertise and that lets them do the really big fights. They also have very good traditional private client litigators."

The team also deals with asset tracing and fraud matters, and probate litigation. An industry expert reveals: "They have valuable experience with UHNW clients and huge experience of the private wealth world as a whole. They are a very sensible team with real attention to detail and strong client care. Their experience really comes to the fore."

Notable practitioners

Graeme Kleiner is "a huge name in the market" and "an absolutely first-rate lawyer," sources say. He represents ultra-wealthy individuals and families, as well as trustees, executors and beneficiaries, in a comprehensive range of private wealth disputes. "He is an excellent litigator, with a real in-depth understanding of contentious trusts and probate," states one interviewee. Kleiner is also noted for his expertise in cross-border disputes and international trust law. A market insider notes: "He has real international expertise and a very calm and reassuring presence. He is one of the finest private wealth litigators in the UK, and has tons of experience in a wide variety of disputes." Another impressed peer enthuses: "He has almost legendary status in this area. He has the ability to pour oil on troubled waters – that is so crucial in this area when dealing with emotional family disputes. He is exceptional at making sure clients don't fight the wrong battles, and is a supreme tactician."

Duncan Elson focuses on large and complex domestic trust disputes. One peer enthuses: "He is perfectly sensible and good at resolving difficult disputes. He is firm but fair." Another wealth expert notes that he has "tons of experience and an impeccable standard of work." Elson also acts as a professional trustee and an independent administrator in contentious estates. "He can sit down with clients and work through any problem," says an industry insider. "He has a very calm, measured approach and talks them through it very well."

Roberta Harvey is "a marvellous lawyer and always has her eye on the ball," a source says. Harvey has specific expertise in offshore trust disputes and regularly deals with worldwide freezing injunctions, disclosure matters and asset tracing and recovery. "She is really adept at dealing with very difficult and substantial cases," reports one peer, while another source adds that "she has great attention to detail and is very thorough." She is further praised for having "a very soothing bedside manner with clients."

Tamasin Perkins is recognised as "a good young partner – a star in the making." She handles complex international trust disputes, as well as succession disputes and litigation connected to fraud, forgery and undue influence. A market insider explains: "She has always worked on very high-profile cases and has handled difficult cases in a very assured manner. She is really calm under fire and meets the opposing side's aggression with a calm and sensible demeanour."

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Band 2

Harcus Sinclair LLP

From the HNW guide

Harcus Sinclair is a well-established name in contentious private client work. One litigator reveals: "They are a very niche firm with total commitment to private wealth disputes. They are a formidable boutique outfit with a number of fully dedicated specialist lawyers in this area." The team handles contentious probate and Inheritance Act claims. The firm deals with a lot of sophisticated and high-value disputes and also has extensive experience of acting as Privy Council agents on behalf of offshore firms.

Sources highlight that the firm has "a real depth of expertise" in its litigation team and an "excellent client base."

Notable practitioners

Alison Meek acts for a plethora of HNW clients in both domestic and international trust disputes. "She is a real heavyweight in this area," enthuses one peer, adding: "She is always involved in the large trust disputes in some capacity." A legal expert comments: "She has a real skill to understand the details of a case; she really has the most in-depth understanding of all her cases." Another industry insider reports: "She is certainly tenacious and fights hard for her client. She is a persuasive and powerful advocate with the ability to stand her ground on a point of principle."

Jon Beresford acts for private clients in a wide range of contentious work. He deals with trust and probate litigation and also handles commercial disputes involving HNWIs. "I rate him highly," notes one market observer. Another peer reports: "He is very practical and down to earth, but he is aggressive when he needs to be and very good at client handling."

Damon Parker has a strong contentious trusts experience and is noted for his expertise in offshore matters. "He is super-bright and thinks outside the box," comments one industry expert, "he is a very creative thinker and brings some innovative ideas to private wealth disputes." Parker is best known for acting on group litigation matters, often backed by third-party litigation funding, and his clients in these cases include charities, trustees and private clients. He is further praised for being "excellent in terms of legal skills" and "very responsive."

Henry Hickman is a dedicated private wealth disputes litigator and seen as "a rising star in this area." He deals with many contentious trust matters, including cross-border disputes. He also has significant experience acting for offshore law firms in Privy Council appeals. He is described as "a real gentleman, through and through." A peer notes: "He is a very nice guy and always on the ball. He serves his clients well."

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Band 2

Mishcon de Reya LLP

From the HNW guide

Mishcon has "a huge reputation for private client disputes" and is known to "approach litigation in a robust and forthright way." The firm has considerable experience acting for wealthy individuals, family businesses and trust companies in a broad range of complex and high-value disputes. A market insider notes: "They are a strong team and they really know their stuff. They attract some very serious HNW clients."

The firm is noted for handling both domestic and international disputes and has significant litigation experience in a variety of foreign and offshore jurisdictions. One wealth adviser reports that "they have huge resources and their strength and depth is clear." Another industry source observes: "They are a formidable team and I refer certain types of clients to them. They can deliver for these clients in fraught and difficult disputes. They have a reputation for ferociously defending their client and his interests."

Notable practitioners

Mark Keenan leads the firm's private wealth disputes team and regularly represents ultra-wealthy clients in high-value and sophisticated cases. One interviewee describes him as "a fantastic strategist who really fights hard for his clients." He frequently deals with complex offshore disputes, which often involve worldwide freezing injunctions and asset recovery issues. A market expert remarks: "He is a robust litigator who really understands the tactical issues at play. He grinds opponents down with his tenacity." Other sources recognise his reputation in the industry and describe him as "formidable – he always does a cracking job and you know he won't let you down." Another wealth insider sums up: "If you need a tough lawyer, you go to him."

Peter Steen is regarded as "a top lawyer in this area," and deals with a broad range of private client litigation, especially offshore disputes. Sources note that "he is a superb technical lawyer" and "a very well-known name in the market." One legal expert enthuses: "I think he is brilliant. He is a consummate litigator in trusts. He is excellent with clients and is very thorough. A pleasure to work with."

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Band 2

From the HNW guide

Taylor Wessing provides HNW clients with a comprehensive service in the area of contentious trusts and estates. The firm regularly acts on significant private wealth disputes and is seen as one of the market-leading practices for this work. The team often acts for wealthy families, trustees and beneficiaries, and one source notes that "they have a reputation for handling some very prominent clients."

The team is recognised for its expertise on multi-jurisdictional matters. An industry expert reports: "They have a large presence in the field of cross-border disputes. They are one of the best firms in this area." A noted offshore adviser remarks: "We rate them quite highly and are very impressed with their extensive global coverage. We always consider them for this type of work."

Notable practitioners

Emma Jordan heads the contentious trusts team and is considered "a proper trust litigator," with a "formidable reputation" for this work. Jordan handles complex private wealth disputes and regularly acts for corporate trustees and beneficiaries in high-value litigation. "She is a litigator to her bones," says one industry insider, "she knows all the tricks in the book and has a thriving private wealth disputes practice." Jordan is also a qualified Jersey advocate and is best known for handling offshore trusts cases. An offshore wealth adviser says: "We particularly like the fact that she is dual qualified in England and Jersey, and understands the court process in both jurisdictions. That is hugely helpful."

Andrew Hine is recognised as "a consummate private client man with real strong experience with disputes in this area." He frequently handles contentious probate and trust matters and also advises on multi-jurisdictional probates where there are conflict of law issues. He also acts as a court-appointed administrator. A peer says: "He is a suitable person to deal with new trustees in a big dispute where you need a steady hand." Another trusts litigation specialist notes that "he is fantastically good at pouring oil on troubled water," and praises his ability to deal effectively with combative opposing solicitors and counsel.

Kirstie McGuigan focuses her practice on domestic and international trust and estate disputes. Sources regard her as "an up-and-comer" and "a real star of the future." One lawyer enthuses: "She has a very good instinct for finding the right answer. She is very meticulous and her research is always impeccable." Another peer reveals: "She has a good handle on sensitive issues and was very accommodating to a very demanding client. Her legal knowledge is also totally sound and she clearly knows this area."

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Band 3

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

From the HNW guide

Berwin Leighton Paisner is highly regarded for the quality of its private wealth disputes team, with peers noting that "they are involved in a number of important and high-value disputes." The team acts for a range of HNW clients, in the UK and internationally, and it is seen as "a popular firm with clients."

Sources laud the firm for providing a dedicated level of service. One market observer reveals: "They are very collegiate and you always get the right advice from the right person. They provide a really good and holistic service." Another market insider says: "They have really good strength in depth, and can deal with sophisticated cases."

Notable practitioners

Rupert Ticehurst leads the private client litigation team and is noted for his extensive experience in this area. A peer reports that "he is seen as one of the foremost litigators in this area, and has seen it all. His comprehensive experience of such disputes will be of immense value to his clients." Ticehurst is said to have "an effective combination of being highly commercial with considerable technical skills, and a substantial grasp of human nature and the personalities in any given dispute." He is often involved in complex and high-value disputes most of which have a major international element. He is "unquestionably one of the leading individuals" in this area, says another wealth expert, adding: "He enjoys a scrap as much as any lawyer but is also very clever at negotiating and strategy. He is really battle hardened, but also good to deal with."

Jessica Henson specialises in trusts and estates litigation and related matters. One source notes that "she is pretty junior but has made a big name for herself," while a peer remarks that "she is young, talented and really knows her stuff." Another trusts specialist calls her "absolutely brilliant" and reports that "she just knows this area of law inside out. She knows the answer to all questions and is just so on top of everything."

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Band 3

Clifford Chance LLP

From the HNW guide

Clifford Chance maintains its impressive trusts disputes offering, and is able to deal with the highest-profile and most complex disputes. "They attract big-ticket, complex international matters and have a team who can deal with that level of work," says one source, while another interviewee remarks that "they do masses of the highest-quality litigation work."

The team acts for many institutional clients and ultra-wealthy individuals on offshore and international trusts disputes. A market insider notes: "They are very solid. They are sensible litigators who will handles cases in a reasonable way."

Notable practitioners

Jeremy Kosky is seen as "hugely experienced and able to deal with very high-value and multi-jurisdictional disputes." He often acts on high-profile trust disputes for trustees, beneficiaries and protectors. Another peer adds: "He is highly respected in this market and is known for his tenacious and tough style." He handles breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and undue influence cases and is also recognised for his experience in pure commercial disputes. A wealth expert reports: "He is very clever, aggressive when he needs to be, but also very sensible and has a statesmanlike ability to see the big picture."

Maxine Mossman is known for her work in contentious trust and estate matters. She has acted on many significant disputes both in the UK and in various offshore jurisdictions. One peer remarks: "She is highly regarded. She is very analytical and methodical in her approach." Another source notes: "She is very bright and runs cases very well. She has a lot of experience in a range of disputes and complex litigation."

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Band 3

Edmonds, Marshall, McMahon Ltd

From the HNW guide

Edmonds, Marshall, McMahon enters these rankings for the first time this year, having brought in Robert Hunter and Sofie Hoffman to develop its practice in this area. Their trusts litigation, commercial fraud and asset tracing expertise complements the firm's specialist offering in private prosecutions. HNW clients can use the firm's strength in this niche area to broaden their options in resolving complex disputes.

A market insider notes that the firm has "real heavyweight lawyers." Sources also recognise that the firm has a quite unique offering in this market. One wealth adviser says: "They do some very high-level work and have a real focus on fraud matters. They are building a really interesting practice."

Notable practitioners

Robert Hunter has extensive experience in trust litigation and is also known for his expertise in fraud and asset tracing. He is desribed as "a real star, and one of the greatest fraud lawyers ever. He has real expertise in private prosecutions. He has been involved in some of the biggest cases in history. He is one of the most capable litigators and knows trust law inside out." A peer enthuses: "He's the real deal. Incredibly bright, and if you have a very tough case, you know he will get to bottom of it." Hunter is also an experienced solicitor advocate and can represent clients at trial. One source remarks that "he is an outstanding lawyer and a big player in this market," adding: "He has legendary status and is one of the best in the business."

Sofie Hoffman is a well-established litigator who specialises in contentious trust and probate work. "She is an exceptional lawyer," says one source, "she can deal with particularly difficult cases, and can put forward the problems in an articulate way and communicate with parties in a calm and easy manner." This interviewee adds: "Her knowledge and technical skills are very strong. No matter how complex the work, nothing fazes her." She is also seen as "a real expert in fraud and asset tracing."

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Band 3

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP

From the HNW guide

McDermott's worldwide private wealth disputes team is focused on international trusts litigation, and is "a stellar global offering for private client work, for HNW clients with multi-jurisdictional issues." The firm has built out its UK capabilities in this area significantly in recent years. A source notes that "they are a building a real strong team there – they have top lawyers."

The firm is noted for its specific expertise dealing with offshore disputes, as well as trust matters with a US element. One industry insider says: "They are excellent in terms of their knowledge of international trust law." Another advisor adds: "They have worked on some truly top-level disputes with big-money clients."

Notable practitioners

Nicholas Holland is a well-recognised lawyer with plenty of cross-border experience. Sources note that "he is a real expert in offshore work" and say that "he knows international matters inside out." He has been involved in many high-profile cases and is considered "a stellar name in the area with a huge amount of respect and clout in the market." "He is incredibly commercially and pragmatically minded, without losing sight of the legal position," reports an interviewee, who also says: "He is absolutely fantastic with clients – they really love him."

Ziva Robertson is noted for her international expertise, and described as "a wonderful lawyer with strong technical skills." She has extensive experience of dealing with offshore matters, and is highly regarded for her willingness to take novel approaches to this work. Many interviewees cite the recent Dawson-Damer case, where Robertson used English data protection law to compel the Bahamian trustees' London solicitors to give the beneficiaries access to the personal data they held about them. One interviewee notes: "She is a real player and tough litigator. I can't tell you how much I admire the sort of tactics she employs in major cases." Another market insider reports that "she has a very loyal client base – they swear by her, as she is very comfortable doing ultra high-value offshore work. She is a go-to expert for UHNW trust disputes."

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Band 4

From the HNW guide

Bircham Dyson Bell provides a full array of services in connection with private wealth disputes. One client says: "I am very impressed with their ability to deal with diverse range of cases, and they have a strong understanding of HNW clients' needs and requirements."

Various sources praise the firm as "a wonderful practice with a real boutique feel" and note that "they have experienced litigators with good private client skills." An impressed client adds: "From top to bottom, they were very helpful. I have nothing but praise for them."

Notable practitioners

Geoffrey Kertesz is head of the will and trusts disputes team, and acts for a range of individual and institutional clients in this market. "He knows this area of law inside out and has lots of experience with large-scale trust disputes," enthuses one source, adding: "He is very strategic in his thinking and can help to manoeuvre lawyers and firms in a good way." "He was fantastic," a client enthuses, "he cut through all the rubbish and identified the core issues. I felt he was there for us 100%. He went above and beyond. Some solicitors can be a bit stuffy, but he was very personable while being very professional."

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Band 4

From the HNW guide

Forsters regularly acts on complex and sensitive private client disputes, and is recognised as "a solid and well-established firm, particularly on trust and probate disputes." The team frequently acts for UHNW individuals and families, as well as trustees and executors.

The firm has recently brought in Catherine Bell and her team from Gowling WLG, and several market sources say this addition will strengthen its offering in the disputes practice. Another source notes: "They are a top-level firm who do some very high-quality work."

Notable practitioners

Emily Exton leads the firm's dispute resolution team and is recognised for her expertise in private wealth litigation. A market expert remarks: "She is brilliant; she gets to grips with cases very quickly and can always see the wood for the trees. She has a very penetrating intellect and yet is always on top of the human and personal side of the case. Clients love her." Another peer comments: "She is very tenacious and very experienced in litigation. She is also very sensible and has good judgement as to what is in the client's best interest."

Catharine Bell is noted for her expertise in contentious trust and estate matters, and is recognised as "a well-known name with an established repuation for doing high-quality work." One source enthuses: "She has a real measured approach. She doesn't get carried away, and she has an ability to navigate very tricky and technical cases." She is also known for her wealth planning experience, and one source remarks that "she is very good at both contentious and non-contentious work - she really knows her stuff."

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Band 4

Kingsley Napley LLP

From the HNW guide

Kingsley Napley has been developing its contentious trust practice in recent years, and enters these rankings for the first time this year. "They always produce consistently high quality work and I feel they have the ability to deal with complex and sophisticated disputes," says one source, while another lawyer notes: "They are very good at getting on top of things quickly and efficiently to achieve an advantageous settlement."

With a strong heritage in commercial disputes, criminal law and defamation matters, and an impressive base of HNW clients, the firm is well positioned to do contentious trusts work. An industry expert explains: "They have a well co-ordinated private client offering and provide a holistic service as they are also good in reputation management and defamation, so they are also very good at HNW dispute work."

Notable practitioners

Ryan Mowat acts on a wide range of private wealth disputes and is described by one peer as "a big hitter in this area who really knows his stuff." Another industry insider says: "What always strikes me is his ability with clients; he just oozes confidence and clients just adore him. He will give stark advice in such a way that they just lap it up." He is further praised for his technical skills and commerciality, with one source remarking that "the most valuable thing he did was to be able to see the big picture. He made sure the client got what he wanted to achieve. He has great commercial awareness."

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Band 4

From the HNW guide

The Payne Hicks Beach contentious trusts and probate team acts for HNW families, trustees, protectors, wealthy beneficiaries and landed estates in range of private wealth disputes. One source comments: "They are a traditional firm who will have a real focus on private client issues and will have many experienced litigators in the team."

The firm also has experience handling offshore disputes and is specifically recognised for acting some of the UK's oldest and largest landed estates. A market expert reports that "they represent some seriously wealthy clients and will have a stellar track record of achieving favourable settlements for a long list of HNW clients over a long time."

Notable practitioners

Rosamond McDowell regularly acts for wealthy families, agricultural landed estates, trustees and individuals in range of disputed matters. "She is extremely experienced in international disputes and knows a lot about important overseas and offshore jurisdictions," says one source, adding: "She is also fluent in many languages, which is incredibly helpful." Another lawyer says McDowell is "fantastic. She is quietly tenacious and just keeps going to achieve the right result for her client. She will always go above and beyond for her clients."

Stephen King deals with many significant trust disputes on both a domestic and international basis. "He is excellent," says one source, "he has a real eye for detail and clients are comforted by the fact he will look into matters with such care. You really get a good service from him." King also has extensive experience in Inheritance Act claims. An impressed client enthuses: "He was always right and literally knew how the case would play out. He is very experienced, very measured and knew what he was doing. He is superb at negotiation and proved to be very shrewd."

Sources note that Richard Manyon is "a real rising star in the area" and "a leader of the future." He focuses his practice on contentious trusts and estates, and handles both onshore and offshore disputes. A source says he is "very intellectual and knew arcane parts of the legal system." Another interviewee adds: "He is very bright. He gets things very quickly and puts things very succinctly."

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Band 4

Stephenson Harwood LLP

From the HNW guide

Stephenson Harwood deals with a wide range of private wealth disputes and can offer related expertise in fraud, insolvency, regulatory and tax matters. Its offering in this area is boosted by the arrival of well-regarded litigators from a leading private client boutique, and sources see this as giving the firm "more gravitas and depth" in this practice.

The team can act on complex international disputes and is praised for having "real pedigree in big-ticket litigation." A market insider adds: "They have some experienced litigators with good private client skills."

Notable practitioners

Jenny McKeown leads the firm's private wealth disputes team and acts for HNW clients on many complex and high-value trust disputes. One wealth expert reports: "She is very conscientious and diligent. What stands out for me is her temperament and the fact she always has client's best interest at heart." She is noted for her expertise in multi-jurisdictional matters. Another peer notes: "She has the tools to deal with really complex and fast-moving cases."

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Star Individuals

Withers LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Dawn Goodman has "a superlative reputation in this market" and is considered to be "peerless in this area of law." She has extensive experience of handling complex cases both in the UK and in major offshore jurisdictions. One source enthuses: "She is just phenomenal in every aspect. She is very calm under immense pressure and demanding situations, and she always thinks clearly and analytically." Her robust and effective litigation style is praised, and one interviewee notes that "she is a hugely tenacious advocate who will go the extra mile for the client. You know she will give 110% in any case." Another impressed lawyer concludes: "She really does stand out in this market. When you match a talent like her with a big firm like Withers, the results are very positive. She is superb in every way and a real market leader."

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Star Individuals

Edmonds, Marshall, McMahon Ltd

From the Chambers HNW guide

Robert Hunter has extensive experience in trust litigation and is also known for his expertise in fraud and asset tracing. He is desribed as "a real star, and one of the greatest fraud lawyers ever. He has real expertise in private prosecutions. He has been involved in some of the biggest cases in history. He is one of the most capable litigators and knows trust law inside out." A peer enthuses: "He's the real deal. Incredibly bright, and if you have a very tough case, you know he will get to bottom of it." Hunter is also an experienced solicitor advocate and can represent clients at trial. One source remarks that "he is an outstanding lawyer and a big player in this market," adding: "He has legendary status and is one of the best in the business."

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Farrer & Co LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Sources praise Jeremy Gordon as "a first-class litigator" who is in "a league of his own." He advises both private and corporate clients on a wide range of contentious trusts and estates matters. "Clients see him as a font of knowledge and understanding," enthuses one peer, "he has so much experience in this area that he has an instinctive feel for matters and the court system." Gordon handles both domestic and international cases, and is further praised for his "exceptional judgement," as well as his "astute commercial brain." One fellow lawyer states: "He is very authoritative in terms of his opinions on the law and the industry in general. He is a market leader and really knows his stuff."

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Farrer & Co LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Toby Graham leads the firm's contentious trusts and estates team, and is described as "a robust litigator at the top of his game." He is involved in many complex and high-value matters and is regarded as "a very polished and accomplished practitioner with a wealth of experience." One private wealth litigator enthuses: "He is a maestro of contentious trusts matters - he is extremely detailed and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the legal issues. He is just so bright that he knocks the spots off his competitors." Graham is often involved in multi-jurisdictional litigation and has extensive experience of handling offshore disputes. One source enthuses that "he is very fair, reasonable and has a strong knowledge of international trusts issues." Another interviewee notes that "he is one of the big beasts of this industry."

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Withers LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Paul Hewitt focuses his practice on trust and estate disputes and also leads the firm's charity litigation work. "He is a strong litigator and is excellent at handling complex cases," says one source, while another enthuses that "he is very knowledgeable and has a deep understanding of this market." Hewitt is also noted for his work on international disputes, and is praised for his "very down-to-earth approach, as well as his great commercial instincts." An impressed peer reports: "He is very impressive and he always has a great grasp of his cases. He is always well prepared and handles sensitive clients very well." 

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Mishcon de Reya LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Mark Keenan leads the firm's private wealth disputes team and regularly represents ultra-wealthy clients in high-value and sophisticated cases. One interviewee describes him as "a fantastic strategist who really fights hard for his clients." He frequently deals with complex offshore disputes, which often involve worldwide freezing injunctions and asset recovery issues. A market expert remarks: "He is a robust litigator who really understands the tactical issues at play. He grinds opponents down with his tenacity." Other sources recognise his reputation in the industry and describe him as "formidable – he always does a cracking job and you know he won't let you down." Another wealth insider sums up: "If you need a tough lawyer, you go to him."

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Charles Russell Speechlys

From the Chambers HNW guide

Graeme Kleiner is "a huge name in the market" and "an absolutely first-rate lawyer," sources say. He represents ultra-wealthy individuals and families, as well as trustees, executors and beneficiaries, in a comprehensive range of private wealth disputes. "He is an excellent litigator, with a real in-depth understanding of contentious trusts and probate," states one interviewee. Kleiner is also noted for his expertise in cross-border disputes and international trust law. A market insider notes: "He has real international expertise and a very calm and reassuring presence. He is one of the finest private wealth litigators in the UK, and has tons of experience in a wide variety of disputes." Another impressed peer enthuses: "He has almost legendary status in this area. He has the ability to pour oil on troubled waters – that is so crucial in this area when dealing with emotional family disputes. He is exceptional at making sure clients don't fight the wrong battles, and is a supreme tactician."

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Clifford Chance LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Jeremy Kosky is seen as "hugely experienced and able to deal with very high-value and multi-jurisdictional disputes." He often acts on high-profile trust disputes for trustees, beneficiaries and protectors. Another peer adds: "He is highly respected in this market and is known for his tenacious and tough style." He handles breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and undue influence cases and is also recognised for his experience in pure commercial disputes. A wealth expert reports: "He is very clever, aggressive when he needs to be, but also very sensible and has a statesmanlike ability to see the big picture."

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Macfarlanes LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Charles Lloyd is regarded as "a hugely experienced litigator who can deal with complex disputes," and is seen as "a very big player in this area." He has extensive experience of handling both domestic and international disputes for HNW clients. A legal expert reports: "He is the outstanding figure in the firm. He has huge experience and is an incisive thinker. He has strategic awareness and is very charming and totally unflappable." Another source describes Lloyd as "tough and persistent while also being fair and sensible." His reputation in the market is well documented; one interviewee highlights his "gravitas and air of calm reassurance, which helps quell client distress," and another industry insider enthuses: "He has a statesmanlike aura about him. He can rise above the petty issues of a case to see it from a different angle. He is a master of detail and is very wise."

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Anthony R Poulton

Baker McKenzie

From the Chambers HNW guide

Anthony Poulton has extensive experience of very high-profile trust litigation cases, and has "a consistent track record of acting on some of the most interesting and high-value private wealth disputes." He regularly represents HNW individuals and families, as well as fiduciaries, institutional banks and international wealth advisers. One market insider reports: "I love to work with him. He is inscrutable and the other side will never know what move he is going to make next. He is also a very good listener and always ensures he understands the client's issues." Another peer adds: "He is an incredibly reasonable litigator to deal with, and a first-class practitioner who always gets good results for his clients." An industry insider enthuses: "He is very well connected within this industry and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him if conflicted out. He has a very good reputation for cross-border work and is a terrific lawyer with a really strong understanding of private wealth disputes."

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Boodle Hatfield LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Simon Rylatt has a "massive reputation in private client disputes." He often deals with large trust and estate disputes for both domestic and international clients. "He is very smart and a real clear thinker who can always see the big picture," commends one source, who continues: "He is articulate, sensible and clients immediately trust him. He makes his arguments very carefully and they are very well thought-out." His client handling skills are also praised. One industry expert reports: "The way he deals with clients is superb. He is always very thoughtful and clients are hugely appreciative of his straightforward and respectful manner." Rylatt is equally adept at dealing with a broad range of estate and tax planning matters, and is seen as "a superb lawyer on both contentious and non-contentious matters." Another peer adds: "He has a fantastic client base and works on some major matters of huge value. You don't get to represent those sorts of clients by accident."

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Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Rupert Ticehurst leads the private client litigation team and is noted for his extensive experience in this area. A peer reports that "he is seen as one of the foremost litigators in this area, and has seen it all. His comprehensive experience of such disputes will be of immense value to his clients." Ticehurst is said to have "an effective combination of being highly commercial with considerable technical skills, and a substantial grasp of human nature and the personalities in any given dispute." He is often involved in complex and high-value disputes most of which have a major international element. He is "unquestionably one of the leading individuals" in this area, says another wealth expert, adding: "He enjoys a scrap as much as any lawyer but is also very clever at negotiating and strategy. He is really battle hardened, but also good to deal with."

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Band 2

Edmonds, Marshall, McMahon Ltd

From the Chambers HNW guide

Sofie Hoffman is a well-established litigator who specialises in contentious trust and probate work. "She is an exceptional lawyer," says one source, "she can deal with particularly difficult cases, and can put forward the problems in an articulate way and communicate with parties in a calm and easy manner." This interviewee adds: "Her knowledge and technical skills are very strong. No matter how complex the work, nothing fazes her." She is also seen as "a real expert in fraud and asset tracing."

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McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Nicholas Holland is a well-recognised lawyer with plenty of cross-border experience. Sources note that "he is a real expert in offshore work" and say that "he knows international matters inside out." He has been involved in many high-profile cases and is considered "a stellar name in the area with a huge amount of respect and clout in the market." "He is incredibly commercially and pragmatically minded, without losing sight of the legal position," reports an interviewee, who also says: "He is absolutely fantastic with clients – they really love him."

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Band 2

Withers LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Steven Kempster acts on a range of UK and international trust disputes, and is described as "a safe pair of hands and a strong tactician ." He is also noted for his expertise on conflict of law issues in cross-border trusts cases. One peer reports: "He is very reasonable, affable and sensible, and demonstrates good judgement." "He is very technical and quick-witted, and smart as a whip," reveals one source, adding that "he has a very nice bedside manner, which certainly endears him to high-level clients."

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Harcus Sinclair LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Alison Meek acts for a plethora of HNW clients in both domestic and international trust disputes. "She is a real heavyweight in this area," enthuses one peer, adding: "She is always involved in the large trust disputes in some capacity." A legal expert comments: "She has a real skill to understand the details of a case; she really has the most in-depth understanding of all her cases." Another industry insider reports: "She is certainly tenacious and fights hard for her client. She is a persuasive and powerful advocate with the ability to stand her ground on a point of principle."

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Band 2

Stewarts

From the Chambers HNW guide

James Price of Stewarts Law LLP specialises in disputes relating to private wealth, trusts and succession. "He is a big name in the market and has lots of experience in a wide variety of cases from traditional trusts to fraud," says one source, who adds: "He has great commercial instincts. He is very sensible and reasonable to deal with." He has significant experience dealing with major offshore disputes. He is praised for his "ability to get straight to the nub of any issue," by another interviewee, who also says: "He always works out all the details of any issue and approaches things from many different angles. He thinks outside the box."

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Band 2

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Ziva Robertson is noted for her international expertise, and described as "a wonderful lawyer with strong technical skills." She has extensive experience of dealing with offshore matters, and is highly regarded for her willingness to take novel approaches to this work. Many interviewees cite the recent Dawson-Damer case, where Robertson used English data protection law to compel the Bahamian trustees' London solicitors to give the beneficiaries access to the personal data they held about them. One interviewee notes: "She is a real player and tough litigator. I can't tell you how much I admire the sort of tactics she employs in major cases." Another market insider reports that "she has a very loyal client base – they swear by her, as she is very comfortable doing ultra high-value offshore work. She is a go-to expert for UHNW trust disputes."

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Band 3

Charles Russell Speechlys

From the Chambers HNW guide

Duncan Elson focuses on large and complex domestic trust disputes. One peer enthuses: "He is perfectly sensible and good at resolving difficult disputes. He is firm but fair." Another wealth expert notes that he has "tons of experience and an impeccable standard of work." Elson also acts as a professional trustee and an independent administrator in contentious estates. "He can sit down with clients and work through any problem," says an industry insider. "He has a very calm, measured approach and talks them through it very well."

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Band 3

Forsters LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Emily Exton leads the firm's dispute resolution team and is recognised for her expertise in private wealth litigation. A market expert remarks: "She is brilliant; she gets to grips with cases very quickly and can always see the wood for the trees. She has a very penetrating intellect and yet is always on top of the human and personal side of the case. Clients love her." Another peer comments: "She is very tenacious and very experienced in litigation. She is also very sensible and has good judgement as to what is in the client's best interest."

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Band 3

Charles Russell Speechlys

From the Chambers HNW guide

Roberta Harvey is "a marvellous lawyer and always has her eye on the ball," a source says. Harvey has specific expertise in offshore trust disputes and regularly deals with worldwide freezing injunctions, disclosure matters and asset tracing and recovery. "She is really adept at dealing with very difficult and substantial cases," reports one peer, while another source adds that "she has great attention to detail and is very thorough." She is further praised for having "a very soothing bedside manner with clients."

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Band 3

Taylor Wessing LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Andrew Hine is recognised as "a consummate private client man with real strong experience with disputes in this area." He frequently handles contentious probate and trust matters and also advises on multi-jurisdictional probates where there are conflict of law issues. He also acts as a court-appointed administrator. A peer says: "He is a suitable person to deal with new trustees in a big dispute where you need a steady hand." Another trusts litigation specialist notes that "he is fantastically good at pouring oil on troubled water," and praises his ability to deal effectively with combative opposing solicitors and counsel.

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Taylor Wessing LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Emma Jordan heads the contentious trusts team and is considered "a proper trust litigator," with a "formidable reputation" for this work. Jordan handles complex private wealth disputes and regularly acts for corporate trustees and beneficiaries in high-value litigation. "She is a litigator to her bones," says one industry insider, "she knows all the tricks in the book and has a thriving private wealth disputes practice." Jordan is also a qualified Jersey advocate and is best known for handling offshore trusts cases. An offshore wealth adviser says: "We particularly like the fact that she is dual qualified in England and Jersey, and understands the court process in both jurisdictions. That is hugely helpful."

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Band 3

Rosamond McDowell

Payne Hicks Beach

From the Chambers HNW guide

Rosamond McDowell regularly acts for wealthy families, agricultural landed estates, trustees and individuals in range of disputed matters. "She is extremely experienced in international disputes and knows a lot about important overseas and offshore jurisdictions," says one source, adding: "She is also fluent in many languages, which is incredibly helpful." Another lawyer says McDowell is "fantastic. She is quietly tenacious and just keeps going to achieve the right result for her client. She will always go above and beyond for her clients."

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Herbert Smith Freehills

From the Chambers HNW guide

Richard Norridge leads the trusts and estates disputes practice at Herbert Smith Freehills. He is noted as being "a clever strategist" who "really understands trusts disputes," and is also recognised for his expertise in matters concerning Asia and the Middle East. A wealth insider states: "He is excellent when confronted with a large international dispute. He is very familiar with worldwide procedures and this is massively helpful experience. He proposed a very unique and positive course of action in our case and it helped us achieve favourable result."

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Boodle Hatfield LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Andrea Zavos often acts for HNW individuals, trustees and trust companies in both domestic and international disputes. One interviewee says: "She is a good lawyer; she is intelligent, patient and knows the law inside out. She really knows her way around the most sophisticated disputes." Zavos also advises wealthy families on succession planning and acts as a court-appointed administrator. Her ability to engage with clients is also recognised. A market insider explains: "She is very charming, a great communicator and really orientated to help clients. She has a really good bedside manner." A peer adds that "she is a calm and sensible litigator, and very much seen as a trusted adviser by HNW clients."

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Band 4

Wilsons

From the Chambers HNW guide

James Aspden of Wilsons receives recognition from the market for his "very high-profile success" in the Ilott v Blue Cross case in the Supreme Court. He also acts for a variety of HNW clients on a range of private client and charity disputes. A market expert reports: "He is just fantastic and is regularly involved in high-value trust work. He does a comprehensive range of trust and probate cases." The expert continues: "He is a leading practitioner and seen a very big player in this market."

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Forsters LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Catharine Bell is noted for her expertise in contentious trust and estate matters, and is recognised as "a well-known name with an established repuation for doing high-quality work." One source enthuses: "She has a real measured approach. She doesn't get carried away, and she has an ability to navigate very tricky and technical cases." She is also known for her wealth planning experience, and one source remarks that "she is very good at both contentious and non-contentious work - she really knows her stuff."

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Harcus Sinclair LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Jon Beresford acts for private clients in a wide range of contentious work. He deals with trust and probate litigation and also handles commercial disputes involving HNWIs. "I rate him highly," notes one market observer. Another peer reports: "He is very practical and down to earth, but he is aggressive when he needs to be and very good at client handling."

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Penningtons Manches LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Michael Cash of Penningtons Manches LLP specialises in domestic and international trust and estate litigation. He has particular expertise in disputed wills, breach of trust issues and Inheritance Act claims. One source says: "His work is always of high quality and he is always very thoughtful when considering complex legal issues." Another peer adds: "He is a really good guy. Easy to deal with. He knows his stuff and ensures his opponent won't get an easy ride. He really understands the sensitive personal issues that arise in our market."

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Frydenson & Co Solicitors

From the Chambers HNW guide

Henry Frydenson of Frydenson & Co Solicitors is recognised by his peers as "an extremely well-connected and well-informed lawyer" who is "widely admired throughout the private client world." One insider explains that he is "critically important in our industry and has been for decades." Another source adds: "He is a very forthright advocate and is also a skilled mediator."

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Hunters Incorporating May, May & Merrimans

From the Chambers HNW guide

Richard Kershaw of Hunters Incorporating May, May & Merrimans acts on a range of private client disputes. One industry insider reports: "He deals with complex cases very effectively and is a confident and knowledgeable lawyer in this area of law." Another peer notes: "He has a lot of nous and is a very popular choice with clients. They really trust him." He has particular expertise in trusts issues in matrimonial matters. One source says he is "a formidable litigator with a nuanced understanding of the private client world."

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Bircham Dyson Bell

From the Chambers HNW guide

Geoffrey Kertesz is head of the will and trusts disputes team, and acts for a range of individual and institutional clients in this market. "He knows this area of law inside out and has lots of experience with large-scale trust disputes," enthuses one source, adding: "He is very strategic in his thinking and can help to manoeuvre lawyers and firms in a good way." "He was fantastic," a client enthuses, "he cut through all the rubbish and identified the core issues. I felt he was there for us 100%. He went above and beyond. Some solicitors can be a bit stuffy, but he was very personable while being very professional."

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Payne Hicks Beach

From the Chambers HNW guide

Stephen King deals with many significant trust disputes on both a domestic and international basis. "He is excellent," says one source, "he has a real eye for detail and clients are comforted by the fact he will look into matters with such care. You really get a good service from him." King also has extensive experience in Inheritance Act claims. An impressed client enthuses: "He was always right and literally knew how the case would play out. He is very experienced, very measured and knew what he was doing. He is superb at negotiation and proved to be very shrewd."

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Womble Bond Dickinson UK LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Neil Long of Bond Dickinson acts for HNW individuals, families, charities and other advisers in a variety of trust and estate disputes. "He is intelligent, thoughtful and knows how to manage difficult cases," reports one source, while another peer notes that "he can get creative and think outside the box to best serve the client's interest." A wealth expert adds: "He is technically strong, and has a real astute feel and instinct for how the litigation is going and the direction the case is headed."

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Stephenson Harwood LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Jenny McKeown leads the firm's private wealth disputes team and acts for HNW clients on many complex and high-value trust disputes. One wealth expert reports: "She is very conscientious and diligent. What stands out for me is her temperament and the fact she always has client's best interest at heart." She is noted for her expertise in multi-jurisdictional matters. Another peer notes: "She has the tools to deal with really complex and fast-moving cases."

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Band 4

Clifford Chance LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Maxine Mossman is known for her work in contentious trust and estate matters. She has acted on many significant disputes both in the UK and in various offshore jurisdictions. One peer remarks: "She is highly regarded. She is very analytical and methodical in her approach." Another source notes: "She is very bright and runs cases very well. She has a lot of experience in a range of disputes and complex litigation."

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Band 4

Kingsley Napley LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Ryan Mowat acts on a wide range of private wealth disputes and is described by one peer as "a big hitter in this area who really knows his stuff." Another industry insider says: "What always strikes me is his ability with clients; he just oozes confidence and clients just adore him. He will give stark advice in such a way that they just lap it up." He is further praised for his technical skills and commerciality, with one source remarking that "the most valuable thing he did was to be able to see the big picture. He made sure the client got what he wanted to achieve. He has great commercial awareness."

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Band 4

Irwin Mitchell

From the Chambers HNW guide

Paula Myers heads Irwin Mitchell's contentious trust team and is described as "a very effective litigator and will always be very thorough and meticulous in her handling of cases." She often deals with will challenges, undue influence and financial provision claims on behalf of beneficiaries. A wealth expert explains: "She is a unique blend of ferocious litigation prowess and compassionate client care. In this field, that mix is important."

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Band 4

Royds Withy King

From the Chambers HNW guide

Amanda Noyce leads the inheritance and trust disputes team at Royds Withy King. She focuses her practice on contentious probate and trust matters. A market insider comments: "She is at the top of her game. She is very experienced and diligent, and she really brings her wealth of experience to bear on the cases. She provides an excellent service to clients. She is very pragmatic and won't waste people's time and money on unnecessary claims. She's good at settling pragmatic solutions."

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Band 4

Harcus Sinclair LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Damon Parker has a strong contentious trusts experience and is noted for his expertise in offshore matters. "He is super-bright and thinks outside the box," comments one industry expert, "he is a very creative thinker and brings some innovative ideas to private wealth disputes." Parker is best known for acting on group litigation matters, often backed by third-party litigation funding, and his clients in these cases include charities, trustees and private clients. He is further praised for being "excellent in terms of legal skills" and "very responsive."

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Band 4

Withers LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Stephen Richards is recognised as "an intelligent and resourceful" litigator. He deals with all aspects of private wealth disputes, including succession issues, Court of Protection cases and domestic and cross-border trust disputes. An industry insider says: "He is young but has a wealth of experience. I know people in the industry have major respect for him." Another insider notes that "he is smart, practical and always advises the client well."

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Band 4

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards)

From the Chambers HNW guide

Michelle Rose of Veale Wasbrough Vizards is praised as "a specialist lawyer with detailed and in-depth knowledge in this area." She regularly deals with wills, probate and trust litigation, and is "highly rated in this market." Another interviewee says: "She is a safe pair of hands. She is sensible and very commercial in her approach to the case."

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Band 4

Mishcon de Reya LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Peter Steen is regarded as "a top lawyer in this area," and deals with a broad range of private client litigation, especially offshore disputes. Sources note that "he is a superb technical lawyer" and "a very well-known name in the market." One legal expert enthuses: "I think he is brilliant. He is a consummate litigator in trusts. He is excellent with clients and is very thorough. A pleasure to work with."

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Up and Coming

Macfarlanes LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Up-and-coming partner Jonathan Arr acts on a broad range of contentious trust matters, and is praised for producing "top-quality work" that "belies his experience." He deals with domestic and international cases and is recognised for his specific expertise in offshore matters. "He is highly intellectual, sensible and very commercial," says one source, and another notes that "he has a sharp mind and a great feel for litigation." "The whole industry likes him, but he also can be firm and very clever," reports one well-regarded trusts practitioner, adding: "He's very nice but not a softy. He is calm and easygoing in difficult situations."

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Up and Coming

Harcus Sinclair LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Henry Hickman is a dedicated private wealth disputes litigator and seen as "a rising star in this area." He deals with many contentious trust matters, including cross-border disputes. He also has significant experience acting for offshore law firms in Privy Council appeals. He is described as "a real gentleman, through and through." A peer notes: "He is a very nice guy and always on the ball. He serves his clients well."

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Up and Coming

Boodle Hatfield LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

New partner Mark Lindley is widely agreed to be one to watch in this market. He deals with a wide range of high-value and complex private wealth disputes, both onshore and offshore, and is seen as "a real star in the making." One fellow litigator says: "He is young, ambitious and dynamic, and also has good experience." Another industry insider reports: "His technical skills are not in doubt and he is already a very accomplished lawyer in this field. He has a very clear and calm approach, and cuts through the unnecessary issues to get to the heart of a case." 

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Up and Coming

Payne Hicks Beach

From the Chambers HNW guide

Sources note that Richard Manyon is "a real rising star in the area" and "a leader of the future." He focuses his practice on contentious trusts and estates, and handles both onshore and offshore disputes. A source says he is "very intellectual and knew arcane parts of the legal system." Another interviewee adds: "He is very bright. He gets things very quickly and puts things very succinctly."

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Up and Coming

Taylor Wessing LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Kirstie McGuigan focuses her practice on domestic and international trust and estate disputes. Sources regard her as "an up-and-comer" and "a real star of the future." One lawyer enthuses: "She has a very good instinct for finding the right answer. She is very meticulous and her research is always impeccable." Another peer reveals: "She has a good handle on sensitive issues and was very accommodating to a very demanding client. Her legal knowledge is also totally sound and she clearly knows this area."

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Up and Coming

Charles Russell Speechlys

From the Chambers HNW guide

Tamasin Perkins is recognised as "a good young partner – a star in the making." She handles complex international trust disputes, as well as succession disputes and litigation connected to fraud, forgery and undue influence. A market insider explains: "She has always worked on very high-profile cases and has handled difficult cases in a very assured manner. She is really calm under fire and meets the opposing side's aggression with a calm and sensible demeanour."

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Up and Coming

Farrer & Co LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Industry insiders see Joanna Poole as "a real up-and-comer," a "class act" and "an emerging force" in this market. Poole advises on a comprehensive range of onshore and offshore contentious matters, including international succession disputes and large trust litigation. One peer says: "She knew what she was doing and was provided good assistance in the case. She was a sensible and calming presence on the team."

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Associates to watch

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

From the Chambers HNW guide

Jessica Henson specialises in trusts and estates litigation and related matters. One source notes that "she is pretty junior but has made a big name for herself," while a peer remarks that "she is young, talented and really knows her stuff." Another trusts specialist calls her "absolutely brilliant" and reports that "she just knows this area of law inside out. She knows the answer to all questions and is just so on top of everything."

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Associates to watch

Baker McKenzie

From the Chambers HNW guide

Gemma Willingham acts on a range of private wealth disputes, often with a major offshore element. "She is a real star and really knows her stuff," commends one source, while another peer notes that "she has excellent technical skills." Willingham frequently acts for trustees and beneficiaries in high-value trust cases. One lawyer says: "She is very meticulous and charismatic, and knows how to handle HNW clients."

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