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Simon Weil

Partner  |  BDB Pitmans

England and Wales


Private wealth planning, both UK and international


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

In 2020 I was due to act for the families involved in the National Fund. It is a £500m fund, which has built up since the late 1920s and was intended as a gift to pay off national debt, under a charitable trust. The argument prepared to run was that it is a purpose incapable of achievement, therefore the charity should fail and the gift should revert to the estate of the settlor, which follows the line of devolution under the will. Once COVID19 struck, they thought it would be morally repugnant to continue.

How did you get into private client?

I entered the profession a long time ago in 1978 in Bircham & Co. The only segregated department was litigation at that time, otherwise partners carried a general practice. I did a bit of everything, but majored in property law for many years, including private client. Later, when we had evolved into proper departments, the Head of Private Client asked me to take over the department. From then on, I was a private client lawyer but I also have a great interest in charities and philanthropy, which became a part of my practice.

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

Never allow yourself to be pressured into giving advice on the hoof in the age of email/text without being absolutely sure of your ground.

What is your favourite quote?

“Brevity is the soul of wit” - Alexander Pope.

Do you have any outside interests or hobbies?

I am currently Chair of the Handel House Trust, which occupies the house where Handel lived in 25 Brook Street, where he composed many of his masterpieces and we also own the house next to it. Jimi Hendrix later took up residence and discovered that Handel lived in the house next door and took a real interest in him. Apparently, he claimed to have seen Handel’s ghost at one point! We are currently trying to bring the whole of Handel’s house back together again to try to make it as he lived in – with live music in both.

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

The Ritz, London.