gemma-willingham

Gemma Willingham

Partner
Baker & McKenzie LLP

Biography

Gemma is a partner and solicitor advocate with Baker McKenzie's Dispute Resolution team and our market-leading Trust Disputes group in London. Gemma specialises in advising clients engaged in disputes related to private wealth, succession and trusts. In such disputes, she acts for trustees, executors, protectors, beneficiaries and interested third parties and is very familiar with all the major offshore jurisdictions.

She has been recognized for the excellence of her practice in winning the Editor's Choice Award for Outstanding Individual of the Year at the CityWealth Future Leaders Awards 2016. Chambers & Partners cite clients who describe her as "extremely pleasant but also tough as nails," "a powerful advocate in difficult meetings," and "incredibly talented, hard-working and a delight to be around."

Gemma is a full member of STEP and ACTAPS, and a regular speaker at international conferences about wealth litigation.

Practice Focus

Gemma has extensive experience advising clients in relation to managing risks associated with exposure to wealth-related controversy, including dealing with corporate governance and family governance and resolving "private" family disputes. More generally, Gemma also has considerable expertise and experience in handling specialist pensions litigation and general commercial litigation.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Advising a major offshore trust company in relation to strategy and GBP 500 million litigation arising from allegations that it was invalidly appointed as trustee of many trusts.

  • Acting for Bermudian trustees in relation to a section 47 application to undertake a substantial reorganization of nineteen high-value offshore trusts holding complex business assets.

  • Advising a principal beneficiary of a number of very valuable trusts established under the law of Gibraltar in relation to a dispute as to his beneficial interests with the trustees and the other principal beneficiary.

  • Advising an English company in construction proceedings against the trustees of a pension scheme regarding the particular inflation index to be applied to pension increases in the scheme.

  • Acting for adult and minor beneficiaries of high-value UK family settlements in a successful court application to vary the terms of the trust to enable illegitimate children to benefit from the funds.

  • Acting for the representative beneficiary in a pensions dispute in challenging IMG's conversion of final salary benefits to money purchase benefits, including making a successful Court of Appeal application to approve a compromise. 

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • STEP - Member
  • ConTrA - Member
  • Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) - Member
  • Solicitor-Advocate (All Higher Courts) in England and Wales

Admissions

  • England & Wales~United Kingdom (2008)

Education

  • Nottingham Law School (Distinction) (2006)
  • Cambridge University (First [Law]) (2005)

Languages

  • English