LONDON (10 September 2009) – International law firm McDermott Will & Emery LLP has today announced the expansion of its global private client practice with the hire of two partners Martyn Gowar and Andrew Vergunst to establish an international private client team in the Firm’s London office. Martyn Gowar brings a wealth of experience to McDermott as a leading London private client solicitor, including his service as former senior partner of Lawrence Graham LLP (LG) and consultant to Penningtons. Andrew Vergunst joins the Firm from the London office of Maitland, where he held positions as group director, law partner and the head of their private client department and is rapidly establishing a reputation as a leading lawyer. Both are counsel to some of the leading families and private businesses in the world.
McDermott’s London private client practice will work closely with the highly-regarded and well-established private client team in the United States. The 2009 edition of the leading law firm guide, Chambers USA, ranked McDermott’s wealth management practice as one of only two U.S. firms with a Tier 1 U.S. national practice rating and singled out more McDermott partners as leading individual private client lawyers than in any other firm. The hiring of Gowar and Vergunst in London further extends the Firm’s international capabilities in all aspects of U.S. and UK law in serving wealthy international families, charitable institutions and private companies.
Commenting on the appointments, Carol Harrington, head of the Firm-wide private client group said, “We are delighted that Martyn and Andrew have decided to join us to establish our first dedicated private client capability outside of the United States. London was the obvious choice for us because it is pivotal for a firm with a focus on international estate planning. Our goal is to provide our international clients with best in class private client advice in a choice of jurisdictions from which to manage their affairs. Having two lawyers with Martyn’s and Andrew’s expertise and capabilities will allow us to do that with confidence.”
The hiring of Gowar and Vergunst follows the high-profile appointment of Henry Christensen III as head of the New York private client group of McDermott in August 2007. Widely acknowledged as one of most prominent private client lawyers in New York, Christensen is particularly well-known in the area of international estate planning. He represents some of the wealthiest individuals, families and private companies in the United States and around the world and is head of the Firm’s international private client practice. He noted, “For many of my clients, international estate planning is a key concern. The addition of Martyn and Andrew to the team means that McDermott is now the first major U.S. firm to put in place an international private client team in London, the acknowledged centre of international advice. I look forward to working with them both. Together, we do not plan to engage in a domestic practice of English law, but rather a true international practice.”
“My decision to return to full-time practice was influenced by the highly-regarded U.S. team and the ambition of the group to support its international private clients and their businesses in the United Kingdom," said Gowar. Agreeing with Gowar, Vergunst added, “For me, the existence of a reputable U.S. practice was a critical factor in my decision. My focus on the international tax planning and estate management of wealthy international clients and private companies will be enhanced by the presence of this team.”
Both Gowar and Vergunst will join McDermott’s London office on 1 October 2009.
The establishment of the international private client team in London is the first dedicated team outside of the United States. Private client capability exists within the German offices of McDermott Will & Emery Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater LLP via the services of the leading tax team there, and in the Italian offices of McDermott Will & Emery Studio Legale Associato.
McDermott Will & Emery is an international law firm (amongst the top 20 both in the United States and globally) with more than 1,000 lawyers who practice from the Firm's offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Rome, San Diego, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., and a strategic alliance in Shanghai with MWE China Law Offices.