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Business Owners

Charles Russell Speechlys is pre-eminent in its ability to offer market-leading integrated legal services to business owners, their families and their businesses.

Before the merger of Charles Russell and Speechly Bircham, both firms were known for their rare emphasis on supporting the owners of UK and international businesses; our merger has further consolidated our strengths in this area.

We are now one of only a handful of major international law firms which combine a leading private wealth practice with a significant business law capacity - offering a 'joined-up' service for wealthy individuals, entrepreneurs, family offices, wealth managers and large, privately held businesses throughout the UK and across the world.

As a result of our long experience in this area, we understand business owners’ unique requirements and the issues that drive family businesses. Unlike others, we are relationship rather than transaction driven - we have acted as the trusted advisor to businesses and their owners for generations and we work hard to build strong, long-lasting relationships with our clients, so that we can support them through inevitable periods of transition, for example when the interests of founding shareholders differ, management and ownership is passed down one or more generations or even outside the family, or when additional investors are introduced. During such times we are particularly adept in advising on the ownership, tax, governance and succession issues, recognising the often complex interaction between business, family and personal interests. We understand the importance of pre-empting many of these potential challenges and how to make the most of the opportunities they offer, as well as addressing the occasional pitfalls and tensions that can arise.

With successful businesses, no two scenarios will be the same. Our dedicated and specialist business owners group consists of lawyers from across our corporate, commercial and private client legal teams, allowing us to adopt a genuinely integrated approach when advising clients to provide solutions that are commercial, client-focused and, most importantly, secure the interests of all of the different stakeholders in the business.


Latin American family

Advised on and implemented a major trust and corporate group reorganisation for a multi-billion dollar industrialist family with manufacturing and retail businesses throughout the Americas. The reorganisation was prompted by a need to accommodate changes in US tax and reporting rules for the benefit of US family members and a need to establish family governance procedures to allow for orderly ownership exits by family members of this family now in its third and fourth generation of business ownership.

UK entrepreneur

Advised the shareholders of a technology business on a capital reorganisation to effect capital gains tax and inheritance tax savings and on the £40m sale of the business, achieving significant tax savings and wealth protection for the owners.

UK manufacturing company

Advised on a dispute between the shareholders as to the management of the company, and on the resulting settlement which included the sale of shares from one shareholder to another.

Major UK family

Advised several generations of a family which owns around £2 billion of mixed-use property. For the company, we have advised on equity and debt restructurings, property and construction matters, contractual disputes as well as employment issues and management incentivisation. The company is owned by around 20 family members and their trusts, for whom we provide wealth protection and succession planning advice. This integrated commercial and personal advice has helped preserve the family's wealth for more than 150 years.

Greek family

Advised wealthy family, whose involvement in the shipping industry can be traced back over 150 years, on the establishment of a £50 million private family investment business.

UK Hotel business

Advised the individual owner of a leading hotel on the possibility of selling his hotel business, in particular advising on terms, reviewing documentation and developing a plan for effecting the proposed sale tax effectively, whilst maximising the benefit to his wider family and protecting the individual from liabilities.

UK retail business

Following on from inheritance tax planning advice to a family of significant wealth, we have reviewed the corporate governance documentation surrounding their family business assets, advised them on succession planning for the business (including changes to shareholders agreement and memorandum and articles of association) and reviewed the various lending arrangements for the business.

International Fashion family business

Our employment team have advised an international family business retailer of luxury children’s fashion on a number of contentious issues, including the exit of a very senior member of management and the resignation of another employee, avoiding a tribunal claim.