Portrait Solicitors merged with BDB Pitmans on 1 August 2022. The firm started in June 1995 against a backdrop of a number of large City of London firms closing their private client departments in order to follow their strategic aims of commercial law practice. That move resulted in a number of private client lawyers relocating outside London building up the strength of regional private client practices. Denton Hall (as it was at the time) had a thriving private client department headed by Judith Portrait who had joined the firm with a number of other partners from the firm of Oppenheimers.
Conscious of the trend in private client work in the City of London Judith, along with Dominic Flynn, made the move to establish Portrait Solicitors working in association with Denton Hall. This was an ideal scenario for both firms in that Denton Hall could call on the expertise in private client and charity matters, while Portrait Solicitors was able to establish as a boutique law firm focused purely on the needs of the firm’s private and charitable clients. It was fortunate that Portrait Solicitors were already occupying a smaller more intimate office next door to the main firm which made the ideal setting for private clients. A further advantage was that those clients whose family companies were being advised by the main firm, knew that their private matters were remaining confidential within Portrait Solicitors.
Over time, Portrait Solicitors, expanded to three partners with Helen Johnston and five solicitors ably supported by two PAs, has evolved as a stand-alone firm celebrating 25 years in existence in June 2020.
Since the firm was established there has been a huge explosion in private wealth in London and private client law is now back in the mainstream of service provision for City law firms, so it is the ideal time for the merger with BDB Pitmans which will greatly enhance the services available to clients.
The core practice areas of Portrait Solicitors are:
- estate planning;
- charities with a strong emphasis on philanthropy;
- the administration of estates;
- residential and agricultural property matters; and
- lasting powers of attorney and deputyships.
As with a number of other private client practices, building personal relationships with families has been a particular strength. The firm advises different generations of family clients many of whom go back to the time when Judith Portrait was at Oppenheimers.