Macfarlanes LLP

Private Wealth Law Department

London (Firms)
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Macfarlanes is "an exceptional firm," says a source. The team advises on a comprehensive range of private client matters. Another interviewee comments that "they are head and shoulders above anyone else."

A private client lawyer explains: "They are the strongest team in London and probably in the world. I have never seen a firm like it in private client. Every partner I have worked with there has been absolutely superb. They have the deepest private client practice in London and it has to be the best in the world."

Notable practitioners

Charles Gothard advises individuals and families as well as family offices and trust companies on wealth structuring. A source describes him as "brilliant - he is really smart. He is great, very proactive and very considerate." The source continues: "Gothard has a brilliant network of connections. He thinks about everything carefully and he is excellent for clients." Another interviewee says: "He is very, very commercial and practical; he is very commercially driven."

Edward Reed advises wealthy clients on trusts, tax and estate planning. A source says: "He is very good technically, and actually because of his French background his European knowledge is very strong, which gives him an added string to his bow." Another interviewee also notes Reed's French expertise, saying that "he is really on top of his game in that respect."

Isobel Morton advises domestic and international clients on trusts and succession issues. A US source enthuses: "She is by far the most knowledgeable and efficient lawyer in private wealth law that I have ever worked with. She is extremely thorough and direct. She is an exceptional lawyer and human being."

Jennifer Smithson is "a superb lawyer," according to one source. She advises on estate and succession issues for private clients, and has particular expertise in international tax issues. A source says: "She is excellent at what she does and clients really get on with her."

Jonathan Conder advises wealthy UK and international clients on private client matters. A source explains: "He cuts through all the nonsense and distractions with clients and gets to the key issues. He gives creative advice." A fellow solicitor comments that "he has been at the top of his profession for ten years and is very experienced."

Nicholas Harries advises high net worth clients on estate and succession planning. A source comments: "He is extremely good and has a really good understanding of trusts law issues. He has an extremely good client manner." A fellow solicitor describes him as "really exceptionally technically able," adding: "He is one of the cleverest private client lawyers around, but hides it by being good with clients."

The "very impressive" Oliver Court advises high net worth individuals and families on tax and estate planning. A source enthuses: "He is an extremely good lawyer, extremely good technically. He has an absolute understanding of all relevant issues. He really is a superb lawyer."

Piers Barclay is "your all-round perfect private client lawyer," says a source, who continues: "He is amazing at clients, incredibly technical and great at looking after and training other lawyers." He is highly sought after for complex and high-value matters. One interviewee calls him "a superstar in the private wealth arena." A solicitor adds: "He has a very fast-thinking brain and is very, very good on clients. He really thinks beyond what is being asked of him in a very creative way."

Robin Vos advises high net worth clients on trusts, tax and estate planning. "Two-brains Vos" advises families, trustees and financial institutions. A source says: "He is just a great practitioner. He's one of the best technical lawyers in the country when it comes to private client matters and is widely recognised as such."

Sebastian Prichard Jones is "in a league of his own," enthuses a source. A lawyer says: "He is the single best international private client lawyer in London. He is an English lawyer but he knows more about US tax law than many, many US experts do. He is an extraordinary lawyer." Another interviewee comments that "he is clearly a very good lawyer, but he also handles people very well - two words and he gets everything done."