Chambers HNW Awards: 2018

The Chambers High Net Worth Awards 2018 were held at BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly on Thursday 22nd November.

The evening was sponsored by Asset Risk Consultants, Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth, Keystone Law, McDermott Will & Emery, Meyerlustenberger Lachenal, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and Risk Assured.

Shortlisted firms and lawyers in ten categories were drawn from across the UK and offshore jurisdictions.

The awards drew on the research for Chambers HNW 2018, reflecting the winners' pre-eminence in key practice areas, notable achievements over the past 12 months, strategic growth and excellence in client service.

We also celebrated Robin Vos of Macfarlanes, the first-ever recipient of our award for Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession.

Chambers video now available.

Chambers HNW Awards


Non-Contentious Private Client Team of the Year

Boodle Hatfield LLP
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Charles Russell Speechlys
Forsters LLP
Macfarlanes LLP

The winner:

Macfarlanes has the most individual rankings of any firm in this category in Chambers HNW 2018, with virtually every senior member of its private client team listed in the guide. The firm also has more Band 1 individuals than any other in the Private Wealth Law category; Jonathan Conder, Sebastian Prichard Jones and Charles Gothard consistently achieve top-of-market feedback in this highly competitive practice area. One international private wealth specialist said: “In my view, they're the premier firm to deal with on private wealth in the UK.”


Contentious Trusts and Estates Team of the Year

Baker McKenzie
McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Withers LLP

The winner:

The Baker McKenzie contentious trusts team in London, led by Band 1 partner Anthony Poulton, handles some of the highest-value and most fiendishly complex international trusts and estates cases in the world. “They are a great team – they are top of the market,” said an international lawyer. “They have the resources and expertise to deal with the biggest and most complex disputes.” A UK competitor called Baker McKenzie “a powerhouse firm in terms of its ability and quality of clients” in this practice area.


Private Client Tax and Trusts Set of the Year

XXIV Old Buildings
Pump Court Tax Chambers
Serle Court
5 Stone Buildings
Wilberforce Chambers

The winner:

5 Stone Buildings, long known for its top-tier expertise in traditional Chancery, has further developed its impressive practice in private client tax work. Amanda Hardy QC and Oliver Marre joined in 2017 from a specialist tax chambers, and their expertise in income and Inheritance Tax and the taxation of trusts complements the set's traditional strength in trust and estates. The set has “increased their positions with the new hirings,” says one tax barrister, and is seen as a “very good set.” 5 Stone remains “the go-to set for contentious probate disputes,” according to one instructing solicitor, who adds that “every single barrister there is very good and the clerks are also very helpful. I never want to go anywhere else; I just want to use them.”


Out of London Law Firm of the Year

Brodies LLP
Mills & Reeve LLP
Stevens & Bolton LLP
Wrigleys Solicitors LLP

The winner:

Wilsons' private client department handles excellent work, building out from its traditional strength in landed estates, charities and agriculture work with more international matters for ultra high net worth clients and family offices. The firm's contentious trusts and estates practice was especially praised this year for James Aspden's work on the Ilott case. It is “simply one of the best private wealth disputes firms outside London,” said a top Chancery barrister, adding that “they are great outfit.”


Offshore Law Firm of the Year

Conyers Dill & Pearman
Harney Westwood & Riegels
Mourant Ozannes

The winner:

Conyers Dill & Pearman achieves Band 1 rankings in Chambers HNW 2018 in the Cayman Islands and in Bermuda, where it also gains a ranking for Conyers Trust Company.  The firm has “a strong bench” and “critical mass on the island” said a Bermuda-based fiduciary. Conyers is particularly well rated for contentious trusts work, and receives praise from many top-rated contentious trusts practitioners in the UK and the US. An international lawyer said Conyers is a “very capable firm with a lot of depth,” explaining that “they have a lot of very large international families that they look after” and describing it as “one of the leading international trust firms, by quite a measure.”


Emerging Practice

Edmonds, Marshall, McMahon Ltd
Harbottle & Lewis LLP
Newton Kearns

The winner:

Harbottle & Lewis' family and private client team has made some seriously impressive hires in recent years. Highly-rated private client partner Jonathan Burt joined the firm this year from a specialist practice, and the arrival of Catherine Bedford's family law team in 2017 gave Harbottles a strong presence in the big-money divorce market. While still best-known for media law, Harbottles has a notable practice in working with international ultra high net worth individuals as well. The firm is particularly praised for its forward-thinking approach to this work. A well-regarded London private wealth adviser said that “what I like the most is their targeted operational model – they set goals, go through milestones, keep you always updated; it's an old-fashioned way of doing things, with a very entrepreneurial spirit.” Another interviewee echoed this sentiment, saying that “they have an entrepreneurial approach – they're a friendly and approachable group of lawyers.”



Residential Property Lawyer of the Year

Sarah Conway – Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP
Thomas Moran – Charles Russell Speechlys
Tristan Ward – Macfarlanes LLP 

The winner:

Maurice Turnor Gardner partner Sarah Conway is “someone completely plugged in to the London property scene, who knows everyone who needs to be known,” said one interviewee. Conway and her team have worked on some of the highest-value London market residential acquisitions this year, and Conway wins praise for her ability to work with these often demanding buyers. “In terms of client relationships, Sarah is great,” said a fellow property lawyer. “She really goes out of her way and clients love her. That is her massive strength. She is very approachable and speaks the same language that clients do. She is a very warm solicitor and that comes across very well with private individuals.”


Family Lawyer of the Year

Joanne Edwards – Forsters LLP
Emma Hatley – Stewarts
James Stewart – Penningtons Manches LLP

The winner:

Penningtons Manches partner James Stewart handles super high-value international divorce work. Stewart, who jointly leads his firm's private wealth sector, is known for working on cross-border cases of the highest complexity, usually with enormous values on the line. “He brings in international work,” said a fellow lawyer; “he isn't phased by complexity, but he knows how clients just don't want to litigate in public. He is very commercial.”


Private Aviation and Yachts Lawyer of the Year

Elinor Dautlich – HFW
Paul Jebely – Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Rex Rosales – Herbert Smith Freehills
Paul A. Turner – Clyde & Co LLP

The winner:

Paul Jebely, partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, “is extremely commercial and has a very good business head on his shoulders,” said an interviewee. “He is quite unique in his commercial attributes and also having a technical understanding of the aircraft. He is very practical, efficient and thinks outside of the box. He represents the law of the future. I'm a big fan of Paul; he definitely has my endorsement.”


Rising Star

Frederick Bjørn – Payne Hicks Beach
Charlotte Fraser – Farrer & Co LLP
Emily Osborne – Stephenson Harwood LLP
Jennifer Smithson – Macfarlanes LLP
Gemma Willingham – Baker McKenzie

The winner:

Stephenson Harwood partner Emily Osborne is seen by sources as an integral part of the firm's growing private client practice. One interviewee said Osborne is “excellent technically, understands tax law extremely well and has a really good knowledge of the way tax interacts with law.” She is an expert on UK and international tax, domicile and residency law.

Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession

Industry sources agree that Robin Vos has “an exceptional mind” and a “huge depth of knowledge.” In addition to his private practice at Macfarlanes he sits as a Tax Judge and gives lectures around the world.