February 3, 2021
Womble Bond Dickinson has a local heritage in the North East, a national network of offices and an international outlook since its transatlantic combination in 2017.
Together, these bring unrivalled expertise to clients in the region.
Will begins with a focus on being local.
He is a lawyer advising a variety of private clients, mainly the owners of businesses and rural estates, as well as trustees, wealthy individuals and families.
He says: “I’m proud to have been here for my whole career.
“When I joined as a trainee, we were a two-office firm.
“Now, we have eight offices in the UK and 19 in the USA. That’s a lot of growth but Newcastle is still our largest office.
“I had grown up in the North East and studied at Newcastle University.
“I then went to London for a spell, like many graduates, but I soon realised the quality of life back home was far better.
“Added to that, I feel passionate about the North East and it really matters to me that people in the North East do well, that businesses thrive here, providing opportunities for great jobs and, put simply, I want us to do better than other regions.
“Being part of a team in the North East, which is able to provide excellent advice in the region, is therefore really important to me.”
Will goes on to describe his early career as a corporate lawyer.
“I began working mainly with business owners and entrepreneurs on buying and selling businesses, equity investments and strategies for growth.
“I also worked on several deals to take over and run rail franchise businesses, which gave me a lot of experience in complex commercial contracts and broadened my commercial thinking.”
Why then the move to being a private client lawyer?
Will has a simple answer.
“I have always worked with the owners of businesses
and rural estates on strategic projects.
“That meant working very closely with the private
wealth team and it was a natural step to move into that team in 2019.
“I’ve had to develop new skills but one of the reasons this job is really interesting is the wide variety of clients and the need to keep learning all the time.”
The private wealth team at WBD traces back its roots to advising families and their businesses in the North East for more than 200 years.
Will continues on that theme. “We have a great team in Newcastle,” he says, “with all the depth and breadth of expertise needed to advise private clients in the region.
“What we do best is work closely with clients to help them achieve their long-term goals and retain as much flexibility as possible in their planning.”
“Looking ahead, I think 2021 will be a huge turning point for many people.
“The kinds of big picture topics my team’s clients are looking at are, firstly, the combined ongoing effects of COVID-19 and Brexit on all aspects of business, rural and personal life.
“Secondly, how to protect their core business or investments against a fast-changing set of risks or how to diversify in order to make the most of new opportunities.
“Thirdly, in the near future, they are looking at strategies to mitigate the effect of possible tax changes in the March Budget, particularly to inheritance tax and capital gains tax.
“The damage to the economy has been enormous over the past year, but I see signs for optimism in 2021, as vaccination brings confidence and change brings opportunity, particularly for us in the North East.”