Top Trends in the 2023 High Net Worth Legal Market

The Chambers High Net Worth research team discusses the main market trends they found during this year's research into the Chambers High Net Worth 2023 Guide.

Published on 8 August 2023
Written by Simon Christian
Simon Christian

Tight market for private client lawyers

We have discussed in previous High Net Worth launch presentations that private wealth work, which is inherently non-cyclical, offers an attractive prospect for law firms who are otherwise at the mercy of ebbs and flows in dealmaking volume.

This interviewee highlights the appeal of steady, stable, long-lasting mandates advising High Net Worth Individuals. The only two certainties in life are death and taxes, and trusts and estate work for clients with the means to pay big law firms’ fees keeps private wealth practice groups busy even when other departments aren’t. 

As a result, the lateral market for private client lawyers remained tight this year. Around the world, but especially in the United States, our interviewees reported particular difficulty in hiring experienced trusts and estate lawyers. The head of department quoted here said that, while their law firm had been able to secure the associates and paralegal staff that they needed, they considered this to be a “blessing” and described it as “a pat on the back with a healthy dose of luck as well.” 

No change to the federal estate tax exemption limit

In last year’s presentation, I talked about how US estate planning professionals had spent a significant portion of 2021 planning for a change to the federal estate tax exemption limit which did not eventually pass in Congress. Some clients were apparently upset at having to undertake extensive revisions to their estate plans in anticipation of tax changes which ended up not happening, even if, as this interviewee says, they understand their advisers can’t predict the future. 

In our UK research, we heard a lot about the rising use of Family Investment Companies as an alternative to onshore trusts. Research Analyst Daniel Thacker has written an article with some of his research findings on this subject.

Here you can read The Rise of Family Office Direct Investing article.


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