Melissa is a Wealth Protection partner, and leads the national High Net Worth team. She also spearheads Shoosmiths Private Wealth, the firm’s innovative multi-disciplinary offering for high net worth clients. Additionally, she is joint head of Shoosmiths’ Thames Valley office.
Melissa has over twenty years’ experience advising high net worth clients on the long-term protection and devolution of their assets. She uses sophisticated structures to mitigate tax and safeguard wealth for successive generations and their trustees, but she is also concerned to protect and preserve the values that generated that wealth. Her strength is in understanding her clients, who report that her ‘delightful interpersonal skills …win her high praise and loyalty.’
She has also created a niche advising business entrepreneurs, directors, property owners and developers as part of corporate deals as well as advising companies on life assurance and pension schemes. Chambers High Net Worth directory and Legal 500, in both of which she is ranked, note Melissa’s ‘ability to take legal jargon and make it quite accessible’ and comment that ‘she is highly technical and her knowledge is unsurpassed.’
Melissa is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, and alongside her practice she is joint head of the firm’s Thames Valley office.
Recent work highlights include:
- Successfully co-ordinating a rectification claim in respect of a Will which was incorrectly drafted by the deceased’s advisers resulting in an inheritance tax saving of circa £60m for the client.
- Working in conjunction with offshore trustees and HMRC to vary wording in an existing Employee Benefit Trust to bring it within legislative requirements and negate a substantial (circa £10m) tax charge.
- Advising in relation to the structuring of a property transaction in order to protect the anonymity of a high profile ultra high net worth family.
Melissa completed a music degree at Cardiff University undertaking her legal qualification thereafter at the College of Law in Guildford. She trained at niche London firm, Rooks Rider, qualified in 2001 and remained with the firm until 2005. More recently Melissa has held positions at Henmans Freeth and Oxfordshire firm, Hedges Law where she was a director and head of Private Client prior to joining Shoosmiths in 2016.