1 October 2021

Forsters continues with top tier ranking in the 2022 edition of The Legal 500

Forsters, the leading London real estate and private wealth law firm, has been ranked in its key practice areas and is delighted to report that for the first time its market leading Residential team has been promoted to the top tier, noting that "their knowledge in this field is exceptional”.

“Strength in depth and very client focused, and the firm is proactive, well organised and responsive.” The Legal 500 2022

In the latest edition, Forsters is profiled as follows:

  • Ranked in 18 practice areas
  • Top ranked in four areas: private wealth, contentious trusts and probate, residential property and agriculture and estates
  • 70 'Recommended Lawyers' which includes:
    • Nine Partners in the ‘Hall of Fame’
    • Eight ‘Leading Individuals’
    • Three ‘Next Generation’ Partners
    • Seven Counsel and Senior Associates recognised as ‘Rising Stars’

Our highest ranked areas are set out below.

Agriculture and estates - Tier 1

Henry Cecil leads a large and specialist team at Forsters LLP that is recommended for its vast experience of handling both transactional and strategic matters including complex tax and estate structuring advice and disputes. It has real strength in depth with key practitioners such as Penny Elliott, Christopher Findley and Andrew Lane. Catherine Hill and Rupert Mead also garner praise for their expertise on tax and trusts matters. Clients include sizeable landed estates, families and trusts with significant property and chattels as well as domestic and international private and commercial investors, wealthy individuals and landowner groups. Other strengths include advising on the establishment of holding structures for family wealth through companies, partnerships and trusts in addition to acting for landowners in relation to development work. It is also rated for its work on capital tax planning matters and on all aspects of the acquisition and disposal of estates, farms and country houses. It is a team of 'problem solvers'.

Contentious trusts and probate - Tier 1

Forsters LLP has a strong track record in this area and advises fiduciaries, protectors and beneficiaries on the full remit of disputes involving trusts, trust structures, wills and estates both in an onshore and offshore context. Other key clients include high-net-worth/high-profile individuals, charities and other professionals and intermediaries. The international side of its practice continues to thrive under the direction of Roberta Harvey. Other key figures include Emily Exton, who is praised for her handling of disputes in the private wealth arena. Catharine Bell is an international private client lawyer with specialist expertise in contentious trusts and estates, as well as wealth structuring, family governance and advice to family offices. The team is skilled at advising high-net-worth individuals, family offices, trustees and protectors on trust vehicles and other succession planning structures.

Personal tax, trusts and probate - Tier 1

Under the leadership of Xavier Nicholas the team at Forsters LLP advises a broad range of domestic and international clients in the HNW and UNHW sphere with particular strength in advising international and multi-generational families on complex cross-border issues. Nicholas is adept at advising wealthy families on a range of matters, including family trusts, regulatory issues and tax residence matters, and also works closely with the real estate team to advise clients on the tax implications of UK property ownership and investment. Catharine Bell is another known name for her work on wealth structuring, family governance and advice to family offices. Carole Cook is also a key figure who is particularly strong at advising entrepreneurs. Nicholas Jacob advises many UNHW Asian families, while Anthony Thompson is well-regarded for his work with Middle Eastern UNHW clients. Rupert Mead is recognised for his work on rural property and landed estate matters. Patricia Boon, Jeremy Robertson and George Mitchell have been promoted to the partnership. 'Each person is exceptionally experienced and committed to doing the best for the client, and to thinking constructively and around issues in order to provide a solution.'

Residential property - Tier 1

Forsters LLP has a strong pedigree across the full spectrum of residential property work, which includes high-value acquisitions, sales and financings of prime real estate in London and elsewhere in the UK. It is also highly active in large-scale residential projects in London. Lucy Barber leads the team, which has a well-established reputation among high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, and serves prestigious clients such as The Crown Estate and The Phillimore Estate. In addition to Barber, another key individual in the group is Helen Marsh, whose expertise includes conveyancing and secured lending. Henry Cecil focuses on farms and country houses. Charles Miéville and Robert Barham are recent arrivals from Cripps Pemberton Greenish.

Family - Tier 2

Forsters LLP is frequently instructed by high-profile and UHNW individuals who are well-known figures in the arts and sports sectors as well as acting for financiers and entrepreneurs. It advises on a wide range of complex matters with particular specialisms in ultra-high-value and international nuptial agreements. It is also skilled at advising on cross-border child arrangements as well as negotiating financial settlements for children. Joanne Edwards leads the team and is seen as a leading advisor for big-ticket litigation and complex mediation. Edwards is ‘achieving great things for her team’. Rosie Schumm is also experienced at negotiating bespoke nuptial agreements often with international aspects.

Property litigation - Tier 2

With the arrival of counsel Nichola Padget from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP in April 2020, Forsters LLP has added to its residential and commercial property litigation expertise, while the addition of senior consultant Damian Greenish, who joined from Cripps Pemberton Greenish in September 2020, brings additional residential leasehold reform capabilities. 'Hugely experienced and very talented' team head Natasha Rees is another key contact for leasehold enfranchisement and residential property disputes. The team of 'first-class lawyers' acts for a large number of landowners, estates and funds alongside property companies, developers and occupier clients. Its workload is equally diverse and has recently included easement and service charge disputes, dilapidation claims, forfeitures and other issues arising from CVAs and insolvencies, in addition to development matters concerning rights to light, vacant possessions and an increasing number of cladding-related instructions. Jonathan Ross' commercial property litigation expertise extends to associated professional negligence claims, while senior associate Anna Mullins is a key contact for landlord and tenant matters.

Our Insights

"Dynamic, totally focused and punchy, the Forsters Dispute Resolution practice extends from complex private client disputes to multi-million pound international commercial claims. The firm is a real alternative to the Magic Circle."  
QC, Maitland Chambers