McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Private Wealth Law Department

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McDermott Will & Emery has a superb reputation for handling highly complex trusts and estates matters across the USA. "They remain at the very top end of the market," observes an attorney, adding: "They made a real effort to concentrate on the very top of the high net worth market and they continue to be a big player."

The strength of the firm's nationwide presence is emphasised by industry sources, with one stating: "They have a massive, massive footprint and hire tons of good lawyers. There is no denying their depth and bench size, and those people are the best of the best. They are extremely prominent and well-respected attorneys across the group." Anotherinterviewee says: "Nationally, I would think that they are a leader," before adding: "They have well-known people in the industry based in Chciago, New York and DC. That is a deep bench."

Notable practitioners

Carlyn McCaffrey
is a hugely respected trusts and estates practitionerwho is described by a fellow attorney as "a really terrific lawyer." Another interviewee describes McCaffrey as a "superstar" and says: "If I ever get a document sent from her I know it'll be perfect."

Carol Harrington
has a national reputation for her trusts and estates work, and is described by a commentator as "one of the gurus of generation-skipping transfer tax." Another interviewee says: "I think the world of her and she is an incredible attorney," before adding that she "knows her stuff, is a good team player and is great."

David Baker
is "very well respected in trust and estate litigation," according to a commentator. He heads the firm's estate, trust and guardianship controversy group, and is described by a peer as "a hugely respected name and well known for these cases."

David Herpe
advises on a wide range of private wealth matters, including business succession and estate planning. "He's very collaborative, one of the most congenial partners in the community," reports a source. Market commentators also say that he is "very capable" and that he has a "very good reputation."

Ellen Harrison
advises wealthy clients on contentious and non-contentious tax matters, as well as estate planning and administration. "She's an excellent estate planner with an exceptional stable of clients," according to a source. Another interviewee describes her as "a household name with a big reputation."

Julie Kwon
represents a broad array of high net worth clients and is recognised for her strong estate planning skills. "She is a very trusted adviser in estate planning," according to a commentator, and other sources state that she is "very good" and a "well-known lawyer in the area."

Leigh-Alexandra Basha
is noted for her in-depth expertise in cross-border estate planning and is described by an attorney as having "an exceptional depth of experience in international matters." Another interviewee says: "She is a very, very smart lawyer and a very good choice for many families who need that level of expertise."

Read Moore
has longstanding experience handling international estate planning matters. "He is very experienced with cross-border work," says a source; "he is my go-to guy for international matters. He is very thorough, he will track down every issue in every jurisdiction applicable to my client."

Nicole Pearl
advises on a wide range of wealth and tax planning matters, and is described by a source as "brilliant." The same source also says: "She is a top-level lawyer and I would see her as a national figure, as she is so smart and well versed in all the issues clients face."

Richard Lang
has many years' experience in tax and wealth planning matters. "He is a very fine attorney," says a fellow estate planner, adding: "He has great respect in the community. He is very bright, very fair and personable."

William Butler
advises wealthy families and their family offices on estate planning and administration matters, and also assists with closely-held business issues. "He is a very fine lawyer and a very good practitioner," reports one industry source, while another commentator says that "he has a very good reputation."