International law firm Withers has announced promotions for 12 lawyers to partner from across its Asia, UK and US west coast offices with effect from 1 January 2021.

The new partner appointees are drawn from all three of the firm's business divisions and include four tax planning lawyers from around the world, three trust and estate litigators and a member of the firm's London head office.

San Diego

  • Helen Cheng is a private client and tax lawyer advising on international tax planning, as well as charitable planning. Cheng joined the firm in 2015.
  • Matthew Owens is a trust and estate litigator, representing clients on trust disputes, elder abuse actions and fiduciary claims. Owens joined Withers in 2015.
  • Catherine Swafford is a trust and estate litigator advising on will and trust disputes, conservatorships and breaches of fiduciary duty. Swafford joined the firm in 2015.


  • Connie Yik Kong is a US-qualified private client and tax lawyer advising on cross-border estate and trust planning, as well as real estate investment and immigration matters. Kong joined Withers in 2013.
  • Kenneth Szeto combines a practice advising on banking and finance transactions and corporate and residential real estate deals. Szeto joined Withers in 2017.


  • Steven Wheeler is a US-qualified and foreign registered attorney advising on corporate and commercial real estate matters, as well as bank lending, corporate structuring and restructuring. He has been with Withers since 2018.


  • Sinead Harris is a litigator who advises on cross-border commercial disputes and insolvency matters. Harris joined Withers in 2017.
  • Mara Monte is a private client and tax lawyer who frequently advises European clients on issues under English common law and European civil law, including tax, trust and estate planning. Monte has been with Withers since 2009.
  • Natasha Oakshett is a private client and tax lawyer advising on wealth planning, with a particular focus on representing asset managers and entrepreneurs. She joined the firm in 2006.
  • Adele Pledger is a family law specialist, advising on divorce, cohabitation, pre and post nuptial agreements and children matters. Pledger has been with Withers since 2009.
  • Natasha Stourton is a trust and estate litigator advising on onshore and offshore disputes including probate and trustee matters and professional negligence in trust administration. Stourton joined the firm in 2007.
  • Ben Williams is an intellectual property expert in the Withers tech team, focused on helping a wide range of technology-based clients protect their innovations and resolve IP disputes. Williams joined the firm in 2013.

Margaret Robertson, chief executive of Withers, commented: "We are delighted to be able to make up such a large international group to partner this year."

"These appointments reflect the equal importance of our three key geographical regions and how our clients around the world are seeking expert advice in the management of private capital, wealth succession and the skilled resolution of problems. Well-deserved congratulations to them all."

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