Criminal Lawyers




Advice type

Criminal defense

High-profile cases

Private office

Serious crime

Sexual offences

White-collar crime

Client Types

High-profile clients


Sports people


Sector Focus

Artists, Writers and Performers

Legal Advisory Services

Sports & Leisure

City professionals

Geographical Focus


United States

United Arab Emirates


Customer Type


Phil Smith

Spear’s Review

Likeable and highly effective, Simons Muirhead Burton’s head of crime and regulatory department Phil Smith attracts a broad range of HNWs seeking a professional and discreet service.

With deep expertise in UHNW matters, his department specialises in representing clients on allegations of criminality, fraud and corruption from the point of their initial arrest and detention at the police station, or wherever they may be, and upon being questioned by the investigatory authorities. He also acts for HNW clients in reporting crime and fraud to the authorities.

Adviser Profile

With more than a quarter century of experience, Phil Smith is a dab hand at all matters of criminal law. Praised by a peer as ‘able to get on top of the most detailed case extremely quickly and has a fantastic personable manner – someone who engenders immediate trust and respect’, clients approach Smith for his professionalism and discretion, from international elite sports stars and recording artists to property tycoons, bankers and doctors.

Smith’s department blends its service with essential crisis management, co-ordinating with PR specialists and the firm’s defamation team to tackle issues of reputational fallout from the criminal case, recognising that ‘the early engagement of lawyers well-schooled in the dual disciplines of high-stakes, high-profile criminal investigations and reputation management is imperative’. He is used to countering charges at the pre-trial stage to stave off publicity, although some of his cases were in the public domain before he was brought in, such as that of late heiress Eva Rausing, who was arrested in the American Embassy for possession of crack cocaine.

Smith is the ‘go-to’ lawyer for a number of UHNW global business owners, family offices, and members of global political elites. The spike in investigations into allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour by those in positions of power and authority continues to be reflected in his caseload, which this year included the high-profile acquittal of a German tech tycoon charged with sexual assault.

‘You really have to understand your clients. Clients appreciate someone telling them how it is,’ says Smith, one of whose clients describes ‘his ability to communicate and provide advice on complex legal issues in language that clients can understand’ as ‘without equal’.

Rank: Top Recommended

Top Recommended 2023, Criminal Lawyers


87-91 Newman Street London W1T 3EY 87-91 Newman Street, London, W1T3EY

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