The Lawyer UK 200 Rank61

Forsters was founded in 1998 as a spin-off of the venerable City firm Frere Cholmeley Bischoff, which had encountered financial difficulties and was about to merge with Eversheds. Ten partners broke away to start their own firm focusing on private client and real estate. They included Paul Roberts – still managing partner almost 20 years later – and current senior partner Smita Edwards. The Forsters name came not from any living partner but from John Forster, one of the lawyers

Forsters was founded in 1998 as a spin-off of the venerable City firm Frere Cholmeley Bischoff, which had encountered financial difficulties and was about to merge with Eversheds.

Ten partners broke away to start their own firm focusing on private client and real estate. They included Paul Roberts – still managing partner almost 20 years later – and current senior partner Smita Edwards. The Forsters name came not from any living partner but from John Forster, one of the lawyers who had founded Frere Cholmeley in the 1700s.

The first senior partner, David Willis, was a private client specialist of the old school: when asked by The Lawyer if he would have done anything differently in the first year of Forsters’ life he declared he “would have planted a different variety of hydrangea,” in the firm’s terrace garden.

Flowers aside, Forsters did indeed enjoy a successful first year, handling deals such as the sale of three of London’s most well-known restaurants, The Ivy, Le Caprice and Sheekeys, to the Belgo Group, and taking a role in forming the partnership that owns the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.

Since then the firm has grown steadily, exuding an old-fashioned aura from its Mayfair townhouse despite its relative youth. It stuck to its guns through the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession, declining to make lawyers redundant and betting on its strengths in private client and real estate. It emerged relatively unscathed and has been steadily climbing the UK 200 rankings ever since.

Revenue surpassed £50m for the first time in 2018 while profit per equity partner typically hovers around the £500,000 mark.

Forsters managing partner and senior partners 1998 to present

Managing partner Senior partner
1998 Paul Roberts David Willis
2001 Sophie Hamilton
2008 Guy Jordan
2014 Smita Edwards