Withers expands US reach with Texas launch

The UK firm's 10th US practice aimed primarily at wealthy Americans moving from US east and west coast to Texas

Withers has opened an office in Texas in a bid to expand its private client and tax capabilities in the US. 

The practice will be led by Houston-based private client and tax partner Kevin Keen, who joined the firm earlier this year from Dallas business law firm Winstead PC. Keen, who has previously held roles at Baker McKenzie, Holland & Knight and PwC, is qualified and maintains an active practice across both Texas and Florida. 

Withers, which currently operates nine other offices across the US, said the Texas practice will focus on services relating to US and cross-border tax, estate and trust and mobility matters. Keen’s experience with domestic and international estate planning for ultra-high net worth individuals and families with interests in the US and abroad ties into the London-based firm’s plans for its new venture in the lone star state, which it said is a ‘natural extension’ of its existing on-the-ground locations in the US. 

Keen’s practice also covers working with multinational families and non-US citizens on wealth transfer planning, pre-immigration and expatriation, asset protection, family office and private trust company formation and operation, as well as general tax minimisation planning matters. 

Jay Dinwoodie, chief executive of Withers’ global private client and tax division, said the firm was drawn to Texas’ attractive business climate and competitive tax rates compared to other states — two factors that lend themselves to drawing in ‘successful families’ to the area. 

As we increasingly see families and businesses relocate to Texas from states such as California and New York, our new presence allows us to bring high quality planning advice to those clients,” Dinwoodie explained. 

“Kevin’s expertise and relationships make him a natural fit for Withers’ premiere private client and tax team as we strategically enhance our bench strength to continue addressing the needs of our global client base."

A number of other firms have opened bases in Texas this year, including Latham & Watkins, O’Melveny & Myers, Kirkland & Ellis and Silicon Valley firm Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian

Withers also bolstered its US presence by adding a Boston office in February with a team of life sciences and venture capital lawyers from Burns & Levinson, as well as patent specialist Kristina Scandore from Hamilton Brook Smith & Reynolds. 


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