9 March 2020

Forsters becomes first UK top 60 firm with 49% female partners

Forsters, the leading specialist real estate and private wealth law firm, is delighted to announce the promotion of three Senior Associates to Partner as of 1 April 2020. Emily Holdstock is promoted to Partner in the Construction team, Emma White in Private Client and Rowena Marshall in Banking and Finance. The promotions demonstrate Forsters’ continued commitment to the development of internal talent at the firm and bring the number of female partners to 30, representing 49% of the total partnership. Forsters is the highest-ranked firm to attain this degree of female representation at partnership level.

Forsters’ Real Estate offering, which encompasses expertise in both commercial and residential property with specialist Construction, Planning and Disputes teams, is at the core of the firm with over 100 dedicated lawyers. Having trained with the firm, Emily qualified into Forsters’ Construction team in 2010. Her promotion reflects the firm’s ongoing ambition to identify and invest in the future custodians of the firm as the wide-ranging Real Estate practice goes from strength to strength. Emily advises clients on both contentious and non-contentious construction matters, from the drafting and negotiation of building contracts to professional negligence claims. She also has extensive experience of working with clients in relation to strategic issues arising both on-site and after completion and is cited in a leading legal directory as: “very commercial in her advice with a clear focus.”

Market-leading private client advice is central to Forsters’ offering and the firm’s reputation in this area is cemented by its profile in both Chambers HNW Guide and The Legal 500, where it is top ranked. Having joined the team in 2011, Emma advises on a broad range of personal tax, trust and estate planning matters for UK and international clients, with a particular focus on tax and estate planning for US-connected families. She is a member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the professional body for advisers who specialise in inheritance and succession planning, and she is a regular speaker at STEP meetings and conferences in the US and elsewhere.

Sitting within the firm’s growing Corporate practice, Rowena has expertise in real estate finance, where she acts for lenders, borrowers and challenger banks, in relation to both commercial and residential property with regard to both investment and development. The Banking and Finance team works closely with the Commercial Real Estate and Residential teams to provide clients with a seamless full-service offering across all their needs. As such, Rowena’s client base encompasses both UK and foreign borrowers and includes funds, companies and individuals as well as a range of lenders including private and challenger banks, retail and financial institutions.

These promotions closely follow the appointment of Emily Exton as Managing Partner and signify the firm’s continued commitment to nurturing internal talent and growing its footprint in its core areas of private wealth, real estate, and connected services including real estate finance. With Emily as Managing Partner and Smita Edwards as Senior Partner, Forsters is the only law firm in the Top 100 with female leaders in both roles.

Emily Exton, Managing Partner, commented: “It is a great pleasure to welcome Emily, Emma and Rowena to the Forsters partnership. They are three talented and energetic individuals and their promotions underline our commitment to developing internal talent and to strengthening the high quality and integrated service we offer to clients.”

Emily Holdstock, Partner, Construction commented: “I am delighted to have been promoted to the partnership within our highly-regarded Construction team. Alongside my non-contentious practice, I have developed a particular expertise in providing strategic advice to clients on distressed projects. This work includes advising on the delivery of schemes which have suffered main contractor insolvency and those where remedial works are required to rectify fire safety issues, which is an extremely sensitive issue at the forefront of the construction industry. I look forward to working strategically with the partners in our market-leading Commercial Real Estate practice to ensure that we continue to deliver a first-class service to our clients.”

Emma White, Partner, Private Client commented: “It is a privilege to be made a partner in our highly-regarded Private Client group. I see enormous potential for the further development of our international practice, building on the fantastic reputation that the firm holds globally. In particular, I look forward to working alongside a strong network of colleagues and intermediaries to pursue the expansion of our US/UK offering.”

Rowena Marshall, Partner, Banking & Finance commented: “I am looking forward to continuing to support our real estate and private wealth clients on all their financing requirements including student accommodation developments, hotels and large scale residential schemes. We continue to grow our expertise and depth advising real estate lenders in the mid-market on investment and development real estate schemes.”

Our Insights

"They are very good people with a strong focus on real estate, and we've enjoyed working with them."
Chambers UK, 2021