There aren’t too many private client lawyers out there with solid experience in finance, but Chris Moorcroft, partner at Harbottle & Lewis, is one of them. ‘After qualification I went to Barclays Wealth, where I met Jonathan Burt. It was a fairly cut-throat environment, but it taught me commercial acumen.’
But it was at Harbottle where he really found his rhythm (‘I never looked back’). He was made partner after three and a half years: ‘I deal with clients from all over the world, but I have a particular interest in Africa, which marks me out a bit.’
Moorcroft is an exceptionally forward-thinking solicitor. Not only does he have an impressive client base in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda (‘security is a big concern – if you’re wealthy it marks you out as a client’), he also has a niche in fiduciary risk: ‘It’s an area I learned a lot about at Barclays.’
But it’s when looking at the UK tax regime that Moorcroft can seem particularly prophetic, and he is open to the possibility of the end of the remittance basis: ‘Under Ed Miliband Labour said they’d pull the remittance basis completely, so it’s not that difficult to envisage. We need to be prepared for the day it disappears.’
This is a lawyer focused on creating an international tax client base – not just because it’s interesting work, but also because the world is changing and a tax lawyer needs nous to survive.