Russell Cohen

Partner  |  Farrer & Co

England and Wales


International structuring
UK tax planning
Knowing when to involve other lawyers!

Enhanced Q&A

What has been the highlight of your practice over the past 12 months?

Seeing clients come to us with a very broad brief rather than asking narrow questions.

How did you get into private client?

I started my legal life at Slaughter and May and got a taste for private client work with a tax case which went to the Special Commissioners. I was hooked! Which was lucky, as I was close to packing it all in and becoming a teacher!

What advice would you give rising stars/new lawyers in the private client world?

Do the work you enjoy most with the professionals you like most, and everything else will follow.

What is your favourite quote?

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit” [Harry S Truman]

Do you have any outside interests or hobbies?

I enjoy running (slowly!) and photography (I like to think I show promise….). I enjoy sports but have to re-think now my teenage sons can beat me.

When the restaurants reopen, where would you like to go?

Anywhere, so long as it’s with good friends.

What do you think will be the biggest three challenges in your practice for the next 12 months?

1. Mentoring juniors in a virtual environment.
2. Deciding whether face-to-fact meeting and international travel is safe as (hopefully) the world begins to return to some kind of normal. We will have to balance the interests of clients and duty of care to other employees.
3. Learning to make the London Underground (which is noisy and smelly) part of my everyday life again.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how you respond to them, and learn from them, which defines you.

What are three top tips for dealing with your clients remotely?

1. Persuade them to use video technology. It makes a difference to the rapport you can establish.
2. Pace meetings. You wouldn’t expect to have a 3 hour meeting in person without comfort breaks and food; factor these into virtual meetings. The worst decisions are made on low blood sugar!
3. Remain in contact. It may be just to drop them an email asking how they are. They will be grateful you are thinking of them.