30 September 2022

Forsters continues with top tier ranking in the 2023 edition of The Legal 500

Forsters, the leading London real estate and private wealth law firm, has been ranked in its key practice areas in the latest edition of the Legal 500 UK directory.

“Forsters is a firm that really nurtures and brings on its next generation, enabling them client contact and the ability to build their network and express themselves. This is quite unique. They pride themselves on providing a tailored and bespoke personal service where the client feels valued and they are very good at problem solving.”

“Its commitment to its clients is exceptional. Its style is communicative and collaborative.”

The Legal 500 2023

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’
    • Six ‘Leading Individuals’
    • Seven ‘Next Generation’ Partners
    • Four 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. 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

‘It is the level of expertise’ at Forsters LLP ‘combined with its ‘can-do’ attitude that attracts clients’ with Xavier Nicholas at the helm. It has a large private wealth practice with a pre-eminent reputation for its advice to domestic and international HNW and UNHW clients on a range of complex cross-border and high-value taxation, estate planning and trust structuring matters. It continues to enjoy a regular stream of instructions on multi-billion pound matters for its international client base. Clients include major entrepreneurs, multi-generational families, trustees of significant cross-border estates and well-known artists. Carole Cook is well-regarded for her work on complex tax and trust issues. Kelly Noel-Smith acts for some of the world's richest families, including Middle Eastern royalty, Greek shipping families and entrepreneurs. Anthony Thompson is among the leading advisers to Middle Eastern UNHW clients. James Brockhurst has recently been promoted to the partnership. ‘For such very clever people, they are also incredibly nice and easy to deal with’.

Residential Property - Tier 1

Under the excellent leadership of Lucy Barber the team at Forsters LLP continues to be active in transactions involving super prime and prime properties in London as well as on the sale and purchase of country houses. It has a diverse client base of wealthy clients who are based in the UK and abroad as well as prime residential developers, banks, property funds and investors. Charles Miéville is considered a 'go-to' adviser for particularly complex conveyancing and property financing matters for a client base that consists of a number of high-profile UHNW individuals and landed families. Robert Barham has been busy advising on various high-value transactions on behalf of international clients. Helen Marsh handles a broad spread of issues from high-value sales and purchases to advising on financing issues and landlord and tenant matters.

Family - Tier 2

The team at Forsters LLP is ‘incredibly well respected – and for good reason. The team does everything with real class’. It is led by Joanne Edwards who is a ‘dynamo’ and has a ‘good stable of associates’. It is continuing to see an increased flow of complex cross-jurisdictional work in nuptial agreements; child arrangements and financial cases (which often have complicated trusts and financial structures). Rosie Schumm is frequently instructed in complex litigation for families with substantial wealth across multiple jurisdictions. Simon Blain has a particular strength in difficult financial cases often involving trusts, family business and assets in more than one jurisdiction.

Property Litigation - Tier 2

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. Ben Barrison recently took over as head of the property litigation practice from Natasha Rees, who is now the firm's senior partner. Barrison is described as 'one of the very best property litigators around - great on the law, but does not let it distract him from seeing the bigger commercial and tactical picture.' Another reputable individual is Jonathan Ross; his specialisms lie within rent review and dilapidation claims. Anna Mullins was promoted to partner in April 2021, while the team was also recently boosted by the arrival of Julia Tobbell from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

Our Insights

“Superb senior solicitors who are proactive and commercial in advising clients of the smartest outcomes.”
The Legal 500 UK, 2023