Manchester, United Kingdom
Tax, wills & trusts
Business and Consumer Services
Wealth Management & Private Banking
‘There is a tipping point in a client relationship when you go from being “just the lawyer” to becoming the go-to person for all and any manner of things that happen to be on your client’s plate,’ says Yorke Eaton, a partner in Addleshaw Goddard’s private client team. ‘The first time that happened, over a decade ago, was a defining moment for me – albeit a slightly nerve-racking one. It involved the client chatting casually with me about his plans, which required dealing with a substantial restructuring of his business, balancing the interests of the trustees, the family, the tax and regulatory authorities, and others. At the end of the chat, he simply said, “Pull together who you need and bring me in on the things you don’t already know”.’
Since that fateful call, his practice has seen a steady rise in the number of UHNW family office clients, with Eaton increasingly acting as that all-important trusted adviser. It’s an approach reflected in his description of his role, which he says is to ‘understand clients’ objectives, strategy, asset structures, family dynamics and concerns’.
A third-generation private client lawyer, Eaton’s particular specialism lies in providing capital tax planning advice to entrepreneurs and business owners, UHNWs and their families, in particular on succession planning, family governance protocols, complex will drafting, powers of attorney, and on trust formation and restructuring.
‘When acting for a client, my role is to find the most appropriate solutions for the issue in hand, introducing other skill-sets, expertise or personalities when needed to achieve the best outcome for that client,’ he says. ‘I am driven by an ethos of integrity, honesty, commitment and transparency with a bit of humour thrown in, which I hope leads to a mutually trusting relationship with my client and their advisory team.’
Being a first-rate private client lawyer means protecting clients against ‘unexpected surprises’, while ensuring you can communicate difficult messages to them where necessary. Being able to build trust is equally crucial, he adds.
‘I work with lots of inspiring, demanding and successful clients and I need them to open up to me,’ he says. ‘And often at different generational levels within the same family too.’ It is only by building those relationships, he adds, can he put himself in their shoes – and deliver the most tailored and appropriate solution.