Withers Bergman Continues Major U.S. Growth with Addition of Nine Partners and Three New Offices in California

SAN FRANCISCO--()--International law firm Withers, operating as Withers Bergman LLP in the U.S., continues its dramatic U.S. expansion by welcoming nine partners and a further 17 fee-earners in California and opening new offices in San Diego, Los Angeles and Rancho Santa Fe in the process.

The majority of the new team joins the firm from the Private Client Services Group at McKenna Long & Aldridge and consists of well-respected and highly experienced trusts and estate planning, charitable giving and trusts and estate litigation lawyers. Withers Bergman’s California practice is also enhanced by litigation partner Michael Brophy, who joins from Russ August & Kabat, and Counsel Christine Steiner, who joins the firm from Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton.

The extended California team joins Withers Bergman shortly after the arrival of five corporate, litigation and IP partners from Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, who are based in Connecticut.

“Our new California team provides a huge boost to our U.S. capabilities and, in addition to our recent East Coast hires, grows our American partnership size by nearly a third,” said Managing Director Margaret Robertson. “Our San Francisco office opened at the start of 2014, and an integrated technology, estate planning and real estate practice is winning work across the north of the state. The new team allows us to significantly extend our footprint across California, as well as provides real weight and strength for our clients in, and with interests in, the state.”

“We are extremely fortunate to have this large group of esteemed lawyers join our expanding West Coast team,” adds Chairman Ivan Sacks. “Their arrival, coming shortly after our exciting growth in Australia and Singapore, further enhances our international strengths and our strategic aim to be the world’s leading firm for advising owners and investors of private capital.”

New California offices

The new team will be based across California, joining Withers Bergman’s San Francisco office, as well as establishing new offices in Los Angeles, San Diego and Rancho Santa Fe, a high net worth community located northeast of San Diego, and will join with nine further non-legal professionals.

The Rancho Santa Fe partners are:

  • Fred Vandeveer, who focuses on estate planning for large estates, complex probate and trust matters, charitable giving and representing tax-exempt organizations.
  • Jeremy Crickard, who focuses on estate planning, including family wealth and transfer tax planning, probate matters, business succession planning and charitable planned giving.
  • Michelle Graham, who focuses on international estate planning and tax planning strategies, as well as representing family businesses in succession planning and structuring transactions.
  • Steve Chidester, who focuses on estate planning, trust and estate administration, charitable giving and representing tax-exempt organizations.

“Withers Bergman is a natural home for our team, with its focus on working with all aspects of private capital,” said Michelle Graham. “We are very excited at the prospect of building on the firm’s California practice, which holds a huge amount of promise, considering the scale of the private wealth held across the state.”

The San Diego partners are:

  • Carol Kao, who focuses on family wealth transfers, estate and gift tax planning, trust and probate administration and charitable giving.
  • Jeremy Moffit, who focuses on trust, estate and fiduciary-related litigation, including trust and probate administrations, will and trust contests, accountings, fiduciary representation, creditor’s claims proceedings, conservatorships, and elder abuse matters.
  • Carol and Jeremy will be joined by Of Counsel Mary Gillick, who will lead the trust and estate litigation team and has particular experience in complex, intra-family disputes, conservatorships, and counseling and defending fiduciaries.

The Los Angeles partners are:

  • Elizabeth Bawden, who focuses on family wealth transfers, estate and gift tax planning, charitable giving, family private foundations, succession planning, trust and probate administration and advising tax-exempt organizations.
  • Michael Brophy, who focuses on trust, estate, fiduciary and succession litigation. Mike has worked closely with Elizabeth and Mary in the past and also has broad experience in complex business litigation, probate litigation, IP, entertainment and employment law.
  • Counsel Christine Steiner also joins the Los Angeles office and will bolster Withers’ Art Law practice through her experience of advising on intellectual property, visual arts transactions and general arts business matters.

In San Francisco, partner Diana Hastings focuses on domestic and cross-border estate planning, estate and trust administration and transfer and income tax strategies.

About Withers Bergman

Withers Bergman (known as Withersworldwide collectively with its affiliated global entities) is an international law firm dedicated to entrepreneurs, successful people and their businesses.

With over 150 partners and more than 450 other lawyers, we have unparalleled expertise in commercial, tax, trusts, estate planning, financial services, litigation and arbitration, real estate, charities, employment, family law and other legal issues facing individuals and their families. The firm has advised 42% of the top 100 UK Sunday Times Rich List and over 20% of the top 100 US Forbes list, as well as numerous families in Asia.

Withers Bergman has 16 offices worldwide in London, New York, New Haven, Greenwich (Connecticut), San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Rancho Santa Fe, the British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Geneva, Zurich, Milan and Padua.

For more, visit www.withersworldwide.com


Infinite Spada
Jesse Dungan, 415-732-7881


Infinite Spada
Jesse Dungan, 415-732-7881