Steven Kempster

+44 (0)207 597 6196

Steven Kempster

Partner   |  Withersworldwide
JURISDICTION

England and Wales

TOP 3 AREAS OF EXPERTISE

International trust disputes
Cross-border probate disputes
Asset protection advice

Enhanced Q&A

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

Over the past 12 months I have resolved some fascinating and very challenging cases out of court, much to the clients' satisfaction of having avoided a long and public family dispute, but unfortunately this means I cannot say anything about them! Particular highlights have included a number of cases where I have been working with our private client and litigation colleagues around the world, from our offices in California to Asia and also back in Europe (and in one case this involved joining up a team in the US, Hong Kong and Switzerland).

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

If you are on the private client advisery side, try to get some trusts and estates litigation experience. It will hugely improve your skills and advice to clients in both areas.

Vice versa, trusts and estates litigators should make sure they have some experience of advisery work and setting up structures, so that they understand how and why they are set up in different ways, which can be very relevant when litigating or preventing litigation over a trust.

What is your favourite quote?

"The floggings will continue until morale improves". Attributed to Captain Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty I think, but I had it on a poster I brought back from a visit to a prison in Australia. It was framed and hung in my office, which may have caused some concern for the trainees who sat with me.

Where have you seen growth in your practice over the last year?

A significant number of cases in the last 12 months involve families in Asia. And these have been coming from a wide range of jurisdictions, not just the usual - Hong Kong and Singapore. I think this is partly a reflection of us having significant offices in the region with local qualified lawyers and also that it is a region of the world that has been growing and has been less adversely affected by the pandemic in terms of economic activity than certain other parts of the world have been.

Can you identify any new areas you have developed within your practice to further benefit your clients?

The possibility of trusts disputes being submitted to arbitration (ad hoc or mandatory) is an area I have been promoting by speaking at conferences and working with arbitration bodies (for example the ICC) and trustees. Many clients – whether its families or trustees - are interested in how to avoid court processes and deal with disputes more quickly and confidentially. It's an area that raises various legal and practical questions and so always stimulates a lively debate amongst trust lawyers and professionals!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Always look on the bright side, even if a pandemic ever comes along.


James Price

+442079368090

James Price

Heads of Trust and Probate Litigation Department  |  Stewarts
JURISDICTION

United Kingdom

TOP 3 AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Dispute resolution
Family business governance
Other, contentious trusts

Enhanced Q&A

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

We have had some great new instructions on high value matters over the last 12 months but I think my highlight has to be the nomination of Emma Holland as Star Associate and the team as Contentious Trusts and Estates Team of the Year at the Chambers HNW Awards. We went on to win the team award which only 4 years after I set the department up has been a real feather in our cap.

Where have you seen growth in your practice over the last year?

We’ve seen a notable increase in contentious probate matters and have brought in partner Geoff Kertesz, along with two additional associates, to add further strength and depth to this part of our practice. We have also seen a very significant growth in contested trust restructuring matters.

What is the main area of growth you predict for the next 12 months?

We predict continued growth in our involvement in large scale, international contentious trust restructuring, whether in the UK or as co-counsel with firms we know well and use in a number of offshore jurisdictions.

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

Although Stewarts has significant experience in remote hearings (having dealt with the first fully remote trial back at the start of the first lockdown), my team is instructed on an offshore matter which will go to trial for 19 weeks in 2021. As there is a 12 hour time difference between the jurisdictions where most of the witnesses are and where the legal teams will be, I am anticipating some late nights, early mornings and other logistical challenges!!


Russell Cohen

+442033757144

Russell Cohen

Partner  |  Farrer & Co
JURISDICTION

England and Wales

TOP 3 AREAS OF EXPERTISE

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.


Helen Ratcliffe

+442077833657

Helen Ratcliffe

Senior Partner  |  BDB Pitmans
JURISDICTION

England and Wales

TOP 3 AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Tax and structuring for international families
Personal and estate planning
Residency and domiciliation

Enhanced Q&A

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

The sheer variety of work – moving between two Variation of Trust Act applications, a tax mediation with HMRC, a piece of difficult trust litigation, estate planning and other aspects for international families and individuals has been challenging and interesting.

How did you get into private client?

I loved tax and dealing with people. At Freshfields, I wanted to have a career which combined both of these and this career did that for me.

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

I am not sure I can – if you like people and problem-solving, you will find your niche and everyone has their own style.

What is your favourite quote?

“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tomb." George Eliot.

Do you have any outside interests or hobbies?

My interests are my family, history and gardening at our house in France. I’m a church warden and a trustee of lots of charitable trusts outside of work.

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

We missed having a large 40th wedding anniversary this year – so we are going to The Goring to celebrate.

What is the main area of growth you predict for the next 12 months?

Continuing increase of work on residence for individuals, trusts and companies both because of involuntary change (pandemic restrictions) and voluntary change (response to the pandemic), clients wishing to simplify affairs and to bring long-running projects to a conclusion (again a pandemic catalyst), and tax planning triggered by tax changes to meet the costs of the pandemic.

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

Keeping in touch with clients, contacts and colleagues if remote working continues, then, if restrictions ease, balancing the team’s agile working wishes and needs with providing client services, and continuing to cope with tax and regulatory changes.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

You will never stop learning.


Jonathan Conder

+44 (0)207 849 2253

Jonathan Conder

Partner  |  Macfarlanes
JURISDICTION

England and Wales
Bermuda

TOP 3 AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Family business governance
Philanthropy and charitable giving
Family offices

Enhanced Q&A

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

Heading the Private Client department for 12 years until 2017 and making the transition to a full time fee-earning partner over the last 12 months.

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

Work hard.

What is your favourite quote?

“Put not your trust in money but put your money in trust,” Oliver Wendell Holmes.

What is the main area of growth you predict for the next 12 months?

For the next 12 months the biggest area of growth I predict will be as more movement of people in and out of the UK, while the biggest challenges will be in how best to adapt to changes caused by the pandemic after it is under control; reengaging with contacts; tax increases.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t worry, things turned out ok; charge by value not time; continue to take risks.

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

Do more yourself; but use it where possible to involve trainees more than you can normally; stay in touch even if you are not working on a project for them; use video as much as they will tolerate.


Michael Cash

+442078728615

Michael Cash

Partner  |  Penningtons Manches
JURISDICTION

England and Wales

TOP 3 AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Administration of estates and trusts
Succession planning
Dispute resolution

Enhanced Q&A

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

Working with parents of adult children at war and using mediation skills to get a consensus on the future ownership and management of the family wealth. This is closely followed by finalising two related estates after years of family conflict.

How did you get into private client?

Whilst I was training, I did a seat in private client and a seat in litigation. Quite a bit of the litigation seat was about private client disputes, which I found fascinating. I was then fortunate enough to work with very good firms who specialised in private client moving forward.

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

It is not a cushy option, as the demands on you will tend to increase year on year. That said, the work can be hugely stimulating and rewarding, provided you remember who pays the bills and why.

What is your favourite quote?

“There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit." Ronald Reagan.

Do you have any outside interests or hobbies?

Playing tennis, coaching hockey and singing.

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

Where have you seen growth in your practice over the last year?

Growth has been seen in multi-jurisdictional issues, capacity issues and estate disputes.

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

Establishing the extent to which we meet clients and contacts remotely as opposed to in person. Managing the team while working remotely. Joining up delivery of different legal services for the benefit of the client.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Resilience is essential for a career in law because you will face plenty of adverse situations. Build resilience by recognising where the adverse party is coming from, and by using your experience and your support network.


Jenny McKeown

+442078092172

Jenny McKeown

Partner  |  Stephenson Harwood
JURISDICTION

England and Wales

TOP 3 AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Trust litigation, tax litigation & dispute resolution
Family business governance
Asset protection

Enhanced Q&A

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

A really big highlight has been working seamlessly with our HK private wealth colleagues. We’re seeing a large uptick in litigation for HK based clients across various offshore jurisdictions. One of the things we’ve done really well over the past 3 years at Stephenson Harwood has become a truly global practice.

How did you get into private client?

I was a litigator many years ago at Allen & Overy and worked with Robert Hunter – which inevitably meant I did private client trust and fraud litigation!

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

Keep a sense of humour and always ensure that you are on top of recent legal developments.

What is your favourite quote?

"This too shall pass."

Do you have any outside interests or hobbies?

Keeping fit- and juggling my family!

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

Sticks & Sushi, Kings Road with my children and Scott’s with a group of girlfriends.

Where have you seen growth in your practice over the last year?

Over the last 12 months I have seen a significant uptick in trustees needing assistance to resolve complicated tax issues which have arisen because of negligent tax advice being provided by lawyers and/or accountants. This has resulted in consideration of applications to set aside the transactions giving rise to the tax consequences and negligence claims against the advisors. I have also become involved in a number of Hong Kong trust disputes, working alongside Hong Kong solicitors and counsel to set the strategy in those cases.

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

The greatest challenge to all global elite members is the current restrictions on travel which are unlikely to lift until the later part of 2021. Otherwise, whilst I can foresee the clients we act for facing a number of challenges arising out of ever increasing geopolitical risks and the inevitable tax rises which will be brought in to pay for the Covid pandemic, such challenges will lead to increased work for those who advise them.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Not to have children if home schooling is going to continue to be a part of everyday life! More seriously, to be flexible and not to be overly concerned with mapping out your future career.


Beatrice Puoti

+441179022765

Beatrice Puoti

Partner  |  Burges Salmon
JURISDICTION

England and Wales
Italy

TOP 3 AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Cross Border administration of estates and trusts
Residency and domiciliation
International Tax and Trust advice

Enhanced Q&A

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

Our private wealth sector in the firm has gone from strength to strength and now comprises over 80 lawyers throughout the firm. It has been one of the busiest years, even though in the Pandemic, and the work has been interesting and challenging. I was delighted to win Lawyer of the year, for myself and the team, as I would not be achieving without them.

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

Do this job if you love the technical challenges every day, and people. It is a demanding, fulfilling job, but clients will want 100% all the time, and the complexity of what we do means that you are always under pressure. Get to know your competitors.

What is your favourite quote?

“Success is never final and failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts." Winston Churchill.

Where have you seen growth in your practice over the last year?

- In the past year many clients all over the world, who have been locked down during the pandemic, have wanted to make sure that their affairs are in order and therefore there has been a lot of cross border estates planning, drafting of wills and powers of attorney. Also there has been a lot of work aimed at structuring for the next generation. - People have also been misplaced by the pandemic, therefore there has been an increased need of tax residence advice for individuals and companies. - Litigation relating to trusts and estate has also been very active. - Immigration and tax consequences of moving in and out of the UK has also increased

What is the main area of growth you predict for the next 12 months?

I think the above trends will continue on to the next year. Also, as the tax policies to pay for the pandemic will become clear in the UK and abroad, I believe there will be a lot of work in dealing with clients’ affairs because of it.

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

- The Continuing Pandemic, and our inability to meet clients and colleagues and to travel is a challenge for Business Development of all.
- Uncertainty can create work for us, but can also cause actions to be “suspended” until there is more clarity and this could happen if the pandemic continues.
- There is uncertainty as to how the job market will evolve in the medium term and this creates uncertainty as to the available talent pool for the purposes of recruiting.


Anthony Poulton

+442079191760

Anthony Poulton

Partner  |  Baker Mckenzie
JURISDICTION

England and Wales

TOP 3 AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Trusts litigation
Fraud
Family governance

Enhanced Q&A

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

High profile litigation in Bermuda concerning the validity of certain purpose trusts. Recent summary judgment on a $500m claim in relation to one of the trusts has just been overturned on appeal, but we applied for leave to appeal to the Privy Council. It is interesting, dealing with questions of whether powers in a trust are to be interpreted to reference to the beneficial core, substratum or whether the words in a trust deed simply mean what they say regardless of the original intention, purpose and who it was set up for.

How did you get into private client?

I was an associate at Macfarlanes, where I was involved fairly early in my career in a case for Kodan Trust in Bermuda. The client was Alec Anderson of Conyers and it was to do with an Ecuadorian fruit and shipping family, with litigation in London. It was fascinating and after that, I was hooked- I wanted to deal with litigation.

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

Represent your client's interests faithfully and uncompromisingly, but always be respectful of the professional relationships you develop with others. Those relationships will sustain your practice in the future and help you to better serve your clients.

What is your favourite quote?

"Once, during Prohibition, I survived for days on only food and water!" William Claude Fields.

Do you have any outside interests or hobbies?

Farming. Literature. Theatre. Concerts. Environmental issues, including energy systems. Cycling.

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

Spring at Somerset House, London.

Where have you seen growth in your practice over the last year?

Asset tracing and recovery litigation, including trust busting, inspired by (a) Covid lockdown-related divorces and (b) the growing jurisprudence around "illusory trusts".

Can you identify any new areas you have developed within your practice to further benefit your clients?

For those clients involved in family owned companies, and for family offices that invest via corporate acquisitions, there is enormous momentum behind the ESG movement and more and more enterprises and governments are waking up to the challenges of implementing sustainable, socially responsible and environmentally sound governance in traditional settings. This is an area we see more and more activity around. In pure litigation terms, we now routinely embed project management resource into our litigation teams, to reduce cost for clients, improve efficiencies and give better support for our lawyers.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Learn to touch type properly, you idiot.


Raul-Angelo Papotti

+3902721571

Raul-Angelo Papotti

Partner  |  Chiomenti
JURISDICTION

Italy

TOP 3 AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Succession planning
International tax
Planning trusts

Enhanced Q&A

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

Tax planning for a number of foreign trusts Trust and succession litigations.

How did you get into private client?

Curiosity...

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

Study, study and study. Be curious about everything. Talk with people and listen to what they are saying. You always have something to learn. And when you learn something everyday, in 20 years time you won’t be a rising star anymore, but the sun.

What is your favourite quote?

I have two or three I think of on many occasions:
“When you pray for the rain, you have to deal with the mud too.”
“Do not forget those who helped you on the way up.”
“What I need does not cost any money.”

Do you have any outside interests or hobbies?

Golf and art.

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

Ristorante Bellavista in Surlej.

Where have you seen growth in your practice over the last year?

Lots of work I handled related to foreign trust with Italian beneficiaries as well as the Italian resident non dom regime. A substantial part of my work related to dispute resolution matters in trust structures, in civil or tax litigations.

What is the main area of growth you predict for the next 12 months?

Audits and dispute resolution. Also, the Italian resident non dom regime seems to maintain string appeal. The next 12 months will be about keeping up with the changes we see in the world. Quick adaptability is definitely one of the most salient aspects in this pandemic environment.

Can you identify any new areas you have developed within your practice to further benefit your clients?

Sport law (soccer – formula one – etc,) and immigration law.