The private wealth team at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has been highly ranked in the 2021 Chambers and Partners High Net Worth (HNW) guide, published last week (Friday 23 July).

Chambers HNW focuses specifically on the international private wealth market. Published annually, the guide covers private wealth management work and related specialisms in key jurisdictions around the world, featuring leading lawyers and law firms of choice for individuals and families.

WBD is recognised in London, Bristol, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland. This is the first time the team is ranked for its private client capabilities outside of England, following the recent promotion to partner of Richard Pike, a dispute resolution private client lawyer based in WBD's Edinburgh office, who specialises on disputes about trusts and inheritance.

WBD is ranked as a top tier firm in the North East and Yorkshire with the guide highlighting WBD as a 'leading provider of private client services' in the region with its large Newcastle and Leeds-based teams of "straightforward and efficient" solicitors advising clients on tax and estate planning matters, trusts and estate administration.

In Bristol the firm is also highly ranked and is praised by clients for 'continuously providing a first-class service' to high net worth individuals on both contentious and non-contentious matters. The team is also described as 'quick to respond', 'practical' and 'proactive'.

The guide recognises eleven of the firm's lawyers as leading individuals:

Edinburgh-based Richard and Emily Pike. Richard is praised for handling complex cases often involving a multi-jurisdictional element and clients describe him as 'pleasant, helpful and efficient'. Emily is known for providing 'clear, pragmatic advice on what steps would simplify her clients' affairs'. 

Neil Long and Alexander Dickinson from the London office. Neil leads WBD's nationwide private capital team; 'he is clever, thinks laterally about problems' says a client; whilst another praises him for his 'relentless work' and 'going forward in his client's interest almost regardless of how much effort he's having to put in'. Alexander is praised for his 'very rare skill set which makes him invaluable' and is also 'empathetic to clients and fiercely intelligent'.

Christopher Kerr-Smiley, Mark Woodward and James Radcliffe are all recognised as notable practitioners in Bristol. Christopher is regarded as 'always very technically brilliant' and another client finds 'his technical abilities to be faultless'; Mark 'is absolutely excellent' and 'a highly experienced individual who gives consistently good advice to private clients'. Finally, James, who joined the firm last September, is described by clients as 'reliable, knowledgeable and a pleasure to deal with' and as someone who 'takes a refreshingly pragmatic approach to solving complex client issues'. 

In Newcastle Deborah Jude, George Lyall and Helen Tavroges are also highlighted in the guide. Deborah is described as 'outstanding' in her work for clients on agricultural holdings, wills and trusts; George is 'excellent for complicated trusts issues' and 'brings a vast amount of experience to his private client work'; and Helen is 'excellent in private client wills and trust planning work' and has 'great attention to detail'.

Susan Maxey is ranked in Leeds and handles estate planning and capital tax planning matters. She is described as 'really sharp', 'diligent and thorough' and as someone who 'works well with others'.

David Dale, Head of Private Wealth at WBD, comments:

"WBD's private wealth practice has been advising families and their businesses for over 200 years, combining legal expertise, commercial advice and local knowledge. We've helped clients across generations navigate difficult times caused by wars and financial crises and are supporting our clients through the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our sophisticated financial planning and investment expertise coupled with the wider support and resources of the whole firm means we provide an integrated, innovative and comprehensive service to ensure our clients’ interests are protected.

"We’re proud to have so many colleagues once again top-ranked in the Chambers HNW Guide and to see our talented team recognised by clients with some fantastic testimonials highlighting our technical expertise, pragmatism, diligence and attention to detail."

Ranking in the UK's top 20 law firms, WBD provides legal services across eleven sectors of expertise from seven UK and 19 US offices. The firm was also commended at this year's e-private client awards in the best private client law firm category.