A five-lawyer Linklaters private client team is leaving to join Fieldfisher, just three years after the Magic Circle firm started rebuilding the practice.
Leading the exit is Linklaters’ head of trusts, Peter Golden, who will be accompanied by managing associate Alistair Robertson who joins Fieldfisher as a partner, as well as three other fee-earners and a personal assistant, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The move will take place in October, the person said.
For Linklaters, the exit marks the end of a three-year private client revival, after the firm hired former Withers lawyer Golden from Mayfair-based Forsters in 2016. This move follows a broad retrenchment during the past decade and will leave the Magic Circle with little presence in the private client world.
However, a spokesperson at the firm told Legal Week: “Linklaters will maintain its trusts practice as it existed before Peter joined the firm, with a number of senior individuals in the team advising longstanding trust clients.”
They added: ”Peter has made a valuable contribution to the firm and he goes with our best wishes.”
Linklaters’ hire of Golden followed the departure of the firm’s former U.K. trusts head Jonathan Evans, who left One Silk Street in 2015 to join Deloitte. The hire was seen as a move against the tide, at a time when the Magic Circle firms were largely withdrawing from the private client and trusts sector to focus more on corporate interests.
Golden trained and practised at private client stalwart Withers before moving to Forsters in 2010, becoming partner a year later. After six years at the firm, he made his Magic Circle move, joining Linklaters as head of trusts. He focuses on drafting wills and trusts, and managing estates for both U.K. and offshore individuals.
At the time of his hire, Linklaters’ global head of corporate Matthew Middleditch said: “Peter is highly experienced in establishing trusts for U.K. and offshore individuals and assists in the ongoing management of clients’ assets, affairs and estates. I am excited about the breath of fresh air he will bring to the trusts practice at Linklaters.”
For Fieldfisher, the team hire represents a significant coup and is the latest in a string of expansive London moves in 2019. Earlier this year, the firm hired an eight-strong construction law team from London rivals RPC and also brought in Stephenson Harwood investment funds partner James Tinworth, among others.
Headed up by partner Penny Wotton, Fieldfisher’s private client team has acted in several high-profile cases recently, including advising a couple with tax-resident status in Russia and Switzerland on structuring the purchase of a high-value French property. It also advised a media personality on financial settlements and confidentiality agreements, and a high-profile former government minister on tax and estate planning for his U.K. property portfolio.
Commenting on Peter’s appointment, Fieldfisher’s head of tax and structuring Derek Hill said: “Fieldfisher is fortunate to be able to attract such high-calibre individuals as the firm continues to go from strength to strength.”
Earlier this summer, Fieldfisher reported a 17% rise in turnover to £242 million for the 2018-19 financial year – its third successive year of double-digit growth.