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With over 20 years’ experience in charity law, advising a broad range of not-for-profit institutions and those engaging with them, Sam is able to draw on a deep pool of technical expertise and sector insight. He is publicly recognised as a leading lawyer and one of only a small number of true sector specialists.

Sam works with many well-known charities and not-for-profit organisations,  universities and schools. He also advises private companies and philanthropists on structures for charitable giving, and overseas organisations on their involvement in the UK and European not-for-profit sectors.

His work covers the full range of laws governing charities, including their establishment, tax, constitutional and governance affairs, through to contentious issues. He regularly leads complex projects for clients, including major reorganisations, deploying expertise from across the firm on a range of issues from intellectual property to employment.

Clients value Sam for his technical knowledge and genuine commitment to the sector. He enjoys working closely with clients and providing advice on their most critical and sensitive issues, including those involving the Charity Commission.

Outside of his practice, Sam is a regular speaker for sector bodies, and serves as a Trustee of the National Foundation for Educational Research.


"Sam regularly advises on top-level school work." (Chambers UK 2024)

"He is a great intellect who demonstrates good judgement and client service." (Chambers UK 2024)

"Sam was invaluable to us. He was informed, quick to move with the ever-changing picture, and his advice helped us greatly" (Chambers UK 2023)

"Sam Macdonald – responsiveness, composure, patience, experience." (Legal 500 2023)

"Sam is an excellent shepherd through the minefield that is trustee and charity law." (Chambers UK 2023)

"He's really excellent on technical charities law matters."(Chambers UK 2023)

"He's an excellent shepherd through the minefield that is trustee and charity law."(Chambers UK 2023)

"He is a fantastic adviser for independent schools." (Chambers UK 2022)

"He is very experienced in acting for charities and independent schools. He provides considered, pragmatic advice and his speed of response is excellent." (Chambers UK 2022)

"He is good at finding a clear way through very complex situations and gives clear, reliable advice." "He is able to grasp the issues quickly and understands the ins and outs of the sector." (Chambers UK 2021)

"Sam Macdonald is a leader of the charity and education fields. His depth of knowledge and experience is enormous. He is client-focused and always pragmatic." (Legal 500 2021)

"He is always a pleasure to deal with, practical and sensible." (Chambers UK 2021)

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