Star individual Murray Clayson remains a "cut above" the majority of his peers in the market, according to interviewees. Sources are quick to acknowledge that he is one of the leading figures in the world of international tax. His recent highlights include working alongside lawyers in the firm's US offices to advise RBS on the refinancing of Center Parcs through a whole business securitisation and a high-yield bond.
David Taylor is a "leading light" in the market. Interviewees note his "technical expertise and experience," while peers state that "people will go to him for advice even if they are not using the firm." He is well placed to advise on a range of M&A and capital markets-related taxation issues, and is particularly experienced in handling work in the private equity sphere. ConocoPhillips recently utilised his expertise in the demerger of its marketing and refining business.
Richard Ballard leads the London office's corporate tax team. He is noted for his commercial approach and continues to be regarded as one of the leading figures in the market. He assists clients with a broad range of tax matters, including advising UK Financial Investments and Northern Rock on the UK government's disposal of Northern Rock to Virgin Money.
Sarah Falk "really stands out" in the market, sources say. Interviewees highlight her "invaluable and impressive ability to cut through things" to get to the heart of the matter. She recently worked with lawyers in Freshfields' Amsterdam office to assist BG Group with the sale of its 60.1% holding in Brazilian gas company Comgás to Cosan for BRL3.4 billion.
Colin Hargreaves heads the firm's worldwide tax practice. His understanding of complex international tax matters, particularly those involving emerging markets, is considered to be a particular strength. His expertise encompasses taxation issues surrounding M&A, joint ventures, capital markets, restructurings and real estate.
Paul Davison is described as "a great technician" and a "class act." He is perhaps best known for his work on behalf of financial institutions.
The "tremendously bright" Helen Lethaby is "very hard-working and commercial," sources say. Peers note her "collaborative" approach and clients describe her as one of the main reasons they instruct the firm. She assisted Barclays with the sale of Barclays Private Equity to its management team to be relaunched as Equistone Partners Europe; this transaction also involved lawyers in the firm's Paris, Berlin and Frankfurt offices.
The "technically excellent" David Haworth is recognised for his expertise in finance tax matters.
Yash Rupal is a "definite star," according to his peers in the market. He heads the firm's UK tax group and is a bona fide legend in his fields of finance and transactional work. He has been a key member of the team advising Vodafone with regard to enquiries concerning its controlled foreign companies tax settlement with HMRC.
Martin Lynchehan is a "good lawyer" whom opposing lawyers are "happy to see on the other side," thanks to his collaborative and sensible approach. His practice has a strong focus on real estate and financing matters.
Michael Hardwick is an outstanding tax adviser across the gamut of corporate matters. He recently advised a trustee of the Uniq pension scheme on the restructuring of the company.
Mark Kingstone also advised on the Uniq matter. He is an acknowledged expert on finance matters and heads the firm's investment funds tax practice.
Lynne Walkington excels at handling high-end transactional and restructuring matters. She is described as "pragmatic" and "very good at what she does." Her recent work highlights have included advising Glencore on a tax-efficient restructuring prior to its IPO.
Dominic Winter is an "excellent all-round tax professional" who advises on both contentious and non-contentious matters. On the non-contentious side, he focuses predominantly on corporate tax planning and transactional work.
Steve Edge is a legend in the market and is described as "one of the go-to guys" for high-end complex cross-border work. Peers agree that he "deserves every accolade," having been at the top of his game for a number of years. His recent workload has seen him advise Aviva on its GBP1 billion sale of RAC to The Carlyle Group.
Tony Beare is a "great practitioner," whom peers see as "impressive and sensible." He heads the tax group and is especially well known for advising clients on the tax aspects of structured finance matters. He has been working alongside Slaughter and May's 'best friend' firms, Uría Menéndez in Spain, and Hengeler Muller in Germany, to assist handheld computer manufacturer Psion in connection with Motorola's GBP129.3 million recommended cash offer for the company.
Sara Luder is admired by peers, who consider her to be a "reliable" advocate for her clients' interests. She recently advised Old Mutual on the proposed sale of its Nordic business for approximately GBP2.1 billion. Her international workload has also included advising CNH Global on its proposed merger with Fiat Industrial, which involved working alongside lawyers at Dutch firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, with which Slaughter and May maintains a close relationship.
Graham Iversen has a broad practice that encompasses structured finance matters and corporate and finance transactions. He recently advised Kesa Electricals on its highly structured sale of the Comet group.
Peers are full of praise for William Watson's intellect, with one describing him as "desperately clever." Arguably his core area of expertise is the real estate sector, while he has recently been handling a greater number of contentious matters.
Sources value the fact that Mark Middleditch is "clear and concise in the way he communicates tax issues." He is best recognised for his expertise in asset finance tax matters.
The firm's head of tax Michael Wistow remains one of the most highly regarded individuals in the market. Sources say he is "commercially focused and business-driven," and a "thoughtful and innovative leader of his team." He led the team advising RBS on the structuring of Project Isobel, the disposal of commercial real estate debt to a UK fund structure, which included investment from RBS and Blackstone.
With "excellent tax knowledge and business acumen," John Overs is appreciated by clients for his well-rounded advice. He heads the corporate tax team and has recently been advising Tesco on a programme of transactions aimed at realising the value of its real estate portfolio.
The "impressive" Gary Richards has built a thriving practice that focuses on corporate transactions, particularly those with a real estate element.
Neal Todd has developed a significant client following, and perhaps the standout aspect of his practice is his focus on cross-border matters.
Property and stamp duty expert Neville Wright recently advised Oxford Property Group on the tax structuring of its acquisition of Green Park business park from Prudential Assurance Company; the transaction involved Jersey holding vehicles, while the financing was sourced from Germany.
Jonathan Elman is described as "very smart" and "very able," and continues to impress with his broad knowledge of corporate and financial taxation. He recently advised RBS on the disposal of its aviation leasing unit, RBS Aviation Capital; due to the multi-jurisdictional location of both corporate entities and leased aircraft, this matter required the involvement of lawyers in the firm's New York, Sydney, Tokyo and Shanghai offices.
David Harkness heads the firm's global tax group, and is widely recognised as one of the most outstanding individuals in the market. He was a key figure in the team's advice to Citi on its acquisition and disposal of EMI, working alongside a number of key partners in Clifford Chance's New York office.
Douglas French specialises in advising clients on the tax issues connected with corporate and commercial transactions.
Dan Neidle is hailed as another extremely strong member of the team and has been particularly active over the past twelve months. He played a significant role in advising on Citi's purchase and sale of EMI.
The "hard-working and capable" Sarah Squires is well known for her expertise in financing matters. Her work on Islamic finance matters is a key feature of her recent workload, as are tax issues surrounding real estate investment trusts.
Anthony Stewart is "professional and organised, and approaches negotiations with the other side very well." He recently advised on the formation of Equistone Partners Europe, following an MBO and subsequent spin-off from Barclays Private Equity. This work was conducted in concert with lawyers based in the firm's Munich, Milan and Paris offices.
John Watson is particularly expert in funds and transactional matters.
Richard Palmer attracts significant praise for his advice on international taxation matters.
Heather Gething has a well-rounded practice and is recognised for both her contentious and non-contentious expertise. She heads the firm's tax planning and tax disputes departments. Her recent workload has included advising CNOOC Group on UK tax issues surrounding its sale of an interest in the Offshore North West Java production sharing contract, through the disposal of shares in Malaysian entity CNOOC ONWJ to a subsidiary of Indonesian energy company Energy Mega Persada.
The "impressive" Bradley Phillips recently advised G4S on the tax issues arising from its GBP5.2 billion proposed acquisition of Danish company ISS A/S. He also assisted The Martin Brower Company LLC with the UK tax aspects of its USD400 million purchase of assets from Marfrig Alimentos.
Neil Warriner is "strong technically" and notable for his "commercial awareness," sources say. He is praised for his work on international real estate matters. He recently worked alongside lawyers in the firm's Madrid office to assist Chevron with tax issues concerning its sale of multiple Spanish, Irish and UK interests to US energy company Valero Energy.
Isaac Zailer heads the tax group here, and has wide-ranging expertise in business-focused taxation. His workload encompasses a range of international transactions, including the recent representation of BP in its sale of companies in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia. He has also advised Ernst & Young in its role as administrator of Nortel Networks' EMEA entities, as well as the USD7.5 billion disposal of Nortel's business.
Corporate tax expert Howard Murray is another well-regarded member of the team, and has notable experience in the energy and insurance sectors. He recently advised Canada Life on tax issues surrounding its landmark EUR490 million reinsurance of Santander's Spanish and Portuguese life insurance business with Deutsche Bank. This multi-jurisdictional matter involved the UK, Spain, Portugal, Canada and Barbados.
Leading partner Mark Baldwin is "commercial, technically excellent, and good at leading transactions." He recently advised Montague Private Equity on the structuring of its fourth European buyout fund and related investor tax matters, which involved issues concerning Germany, France, Sweden and Poland.
Ashley Greenbank earns praise for his "exceptional technical knowledge," and is also described as "one of the best commercially focused tax advisers in the country." He led the team's advice to the Virgin group on its sale of a stake in Virgin Active, a business which extends across the UK, South Africa, Australia, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
Dominic Stuttaford is "pragmatic and good at negotiating on the client's behalf," in addition to having a "sound technical understanding." Market sources also describe him as "one of the nicest men you'll ever deal with." He represented AXA in the GBP2.75 billion sale and restructuring of its life insurance business through a Part VII transfer, a deal involving France and the Channel Islands.
Louise Higginbottom has earned the respect of her peers, and is the firm's global head of tax. Asset and corporate finance are her key areas of expertise. She has recently been working with lawyers in the firm's Sydney and Amsterdam offices to advise US private equity firm Denham Capital Management LP on its partnership with Spain-based renewables company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures. This deal will see the partnership use Dutch investment vehicles to invest in solar energy in multiple jurisdictions, including Australia, South Africa and parts of South America.
John Challoner is a "solid lawyer" who has a "good reputation" in the market. He is an expert in stamp duty land tax, and also has considerable experience in Islamic finance matters.
Chris Bates is picked out as a key individual by clients, and is especially well known for his expertise in structured finance matters.
Richard Stratton is a "very amiable tax lawyer with an eye for detail and extensive knowledge of tax issues." Sources say he "demonstrates a strong focus on finding practical solutions for problems faced by clients' businesses."
Head of tax Kathleen Russ has a strong track record in the field, and mirrors the strengths and focus of the team as a whole in undertaking a high proportion of private equity work.
The "very clever" Simon Yates is best known for his expertise in real estate-related matters. Sources say he "has that extra edge of being commercial" and "has a real understanding of how tax law is evolving and applies that knowledge really well."
Karen Hughes remains the team's most high-profile individual, and is praised for her broad expertise in corporate tax matters. She recently advised SABMiller on its strategic alliance with Anadolu Efes, which involved the transfer of its Russian and Ukrainian beer businesses to Anadolu Efes, and SABMiller taking a 24% equity stake in Anadolu Efes. This matter involved working alongside colleagues in the firm's Düsseldorf and Amsterdam offices, as well as tax lawyers at other firms in Turkey and Switzerland.
Kevin Ashman is well recognised for his expertise in real estate matters. He recently advised AXA on its sale of Denplan to the Simplyhealth Group.
Ian Taplin's practice focuses on the team's core strengths and encompasses corporate, funds and restructuring work. His international workload has included working in concert with colleagues in the firm's Chicago office to advise Bain Capital on its USD487 million acquisition of Physio-Control.
Sean Finn is highly regarded for his handling of a range of corporate tax matters. He recently worked in concert with lawyers in the firm's Los Angeles, Washington, DC and Hamburg offices to assist Avery Dennison with the USD550 million sale of its office and consumer goods business to 3M.
Daniel Friel is a qualified chartered accountant and is best known for his work on complex, cross-border tax planning and transactions. Friel worked with Washington, DC-based colleagues to advise SABMiller on tax aspects of its USD11.2 billion acquisition of Fosters.
Head of department Mark Joscelyne has a wide-ranging practice that encompasses transactional and tax planning matters both domestic and international. Recent work highlights include advising Shine Limited on its GBP293 million sale to News Corporation.
Sources highlight Graham Chase's ability to provide "clear, commercial advice." He represents an impressive range of clients, including Kaupthing and Heron.
Paul Hale has a wide-ranging corporate tax practice and is equally well regarded for his work on direct and indirect tax. He advises a prestigious list of investment managers, including Barclays Wealth, Brevan Howard, Lansdowne Partners and Tudor Capital.
Nick Cronkshaw recently assisted Nova Capital Management Limited with fund formation and the acquisition of Canadian manufacturing subsidiaries for around CAD140 million. In this matter, the London tax team worked closely with the firm's Amsterdam office in the use of a Dutch vehicle, and also worked with Canadian firm Stikeman Elliott.
Martin Shah recently advised BlueCrest Capital Management LLP on tax aspects of its USD633 million purchase of Man Group's 25.5% stake in BlueCrest.
Clients are full of praise for Heather Corben's "commercial awareness" and her consequent ability to discuss legal matters in business terms. She recently advised The British Land Company on its GBP179 million acquisition of 17 Virgin Active racket clubs from New Esporta Holdings.
Peers rate Tim Sanders as a "very good" and "thoughtful" lawyer. He recently worked alongside lawyers in the firm's New York office to advise the Colfax Corporation on its USD2.4 billion acquisition of Charter International.
Private capital expert James Anderson also enjoys the respect of the market, and recently advised Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse on the redomiciling of the Evraz Group from Luxembourg to the UK. He is particularly well regarded for his handling of tax matters with US aspects, and recently worked alongside lawyers in the firm's New York and São Paulo offices to advise Banco BTG Pactual and BTG Pactual Participations on their USD1.95 billion IPO.
The "very well-respected" Brenda Coleman has a wide-ranging corporate tax practice. She recently assisted Edwards Group with tax aspects of its IPO on NASDAQ, and has also represented Littlewoods in its case against HMRC concerning the tax treatment of refunded excess VAT payments and related interest.
Andrew Norwood is considered to be a "wonderful specialist" in his core area of structured finance, derivatives and securitisation tax. He recently advised Barclays Capital and Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets in a USD4.88 billion Reg S/Rule 144A transaction under the Gracechurch RMBS programme.
Sarah Priestley is particularly well known for her representation of private equity houses. She has worked alongside Coleman in many of the firm's key highlights, including its work for Edwards Group and advising the Joint Special Administrators of MF Global UK.
Addleshaw Goddard's tax practice is particularly strong in the real estate sphere. Recent international work in this field has included advising Stadium Group on the tax issues surrounding its part-sale of an interest in a German shopping centre, and the subsequent joint venture with the purchaser, a Canadian pension fund. Peter Sayer is a key contact in the firm's tax practice.
Lyubomir Georgiev is a Zürich-based tax specialist, who is qualified in England and Wales and has considerable expertise in UK tax law.
Clients are full of praise for Nicholas Noble's "technical skills." He is a chartered tax accountant and specialises in business taxation.
This firm's London team is part of an impressive global outfit. With offices across the world, the firm is a natural choice for clients with cross-border issues. Noted fields of expertise include transactions, reorganisations, structured finance and tax planning. The team's impressive client list includes Unilever, Nomura, Lloyds Banking Group and Petrobras. Peter Steiner heads the tax team in London.
Department head Michael Cant is seen as a "very strong individual." He specialises in corporate tax, and is especially well regarded for his indirect tax advice on VAT.
Clients appreciate Drew Scott's "ability to understand the needs of business and to draft agreements which anticipate and protect clients against future disputes." His recent workload has included advising Western Union on its purchase of the Global Payments Business from Travelex; this deal involved 14 jurisdictions, and saw the involvement of the firm's offices in Washington, DC, Chicago, Hong Kong and Japan.
Graeme Harrower is particularly focused on the structuring of complex financial transactions, often involving US entities.
of Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP is described as a "solid pair of hands
." He has a wide-ranging international practice focusing on all aspects of corporate tax. Sinclair is a key figure in the firm's representation of various creditors of Icelandic banks Glitnir, Landsbanki and Kaupthing in the restructuring of the banks and related implications of Icelandic tax reforms.
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP's Adam Blakemore
is an "unstuffy and accessible
" lawyer who is praised for the fact that he "offers a well-rounded and highly informed approach to matters.
" He recently led the team advising Aon Benfield Securities on two separate issues of catastrophe bonds by Tramline Re and SCOR. The former transaction involved both UK and Swiss tax issues, and was a complex cross-border matter involving a Bermuda-based special purpose insurer, Tramline Re, the synthetic transfer of securitised risks by a Swiss reinsurer, and the location of collateral in the UK.
of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP focuses on corporate tax and tax planning.
of Dechert LLP is "solid and pleasant to deal with
," say sources. He is praised for his "depth of knowledge
," and takes the lead on much of the team's complex cross-border work.
chairs DLA Piper's international VAT group. Sources praise his "collaborative
" approach, and describe him as a "nice guy
" who is "well informed.
of Gide Loyrette Nouel LLP has an excellent reputation for handling European cross-border deals, particularly those involving France and French clients. He has recently acted for such high-profile clients as SNCF, Europcar and BNP Paribas.
of Johnson Allen Tax has a long track record in the field and is a highly regarded expert in the field of structured finance.
of Jones Day is described as "practical and efficient,
" and is well regarded by peers thanks to her "pragmatic and reasonable
" style. She recently advised US company Ryder System on the tax aspects of its acquisition of truck leasing company Hill Hire from Lloyds Bank.
Laytons' Marc Selby
is especially well known for his handling of tax matters in the real estate sector.
Memery Crystal LLP houses leading individual Tim Crosley
, who is "extremely approachable and affable
," in the view of interviewees. He is also praised for having "very good attention to detail and the ability to deliver highly complex drafting.
" Clients also appreciate the fact that he is "highly practical and focused, and not prone to long and complicated legal verbiage
." He recently advised IDOX on its acquisition of CTSpace, in a cross-border deal which involved entities in five separate jurisdictions.
of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP "is technically very good and very commercial, and has built an ongoing personal relationship with us,
" according to clients. He played a key role in the firm's advice to the Sahara Group on its GBP470 million acquisition of the Grosvenor House Hotel, in a transaction involving the UK, Mauritius and India.
of NGM Tax Law LLP is highly experienced in the field of international tax planning, and his corporate tax practice includes particular specialisations in the funds and real estate sectors.
of O'Melveny & Myers LLP recently worked alongside lawyers in the firm's New York and California offices to advise Impax Asset Management on the final close of its second clean technology fund.
of Osborne Clarke "gets down and dirty with detail but still gets to the point and doesn't waste clients' time
." He has a strong background in the field and is a recent arrival from Allen & Overy.
of Ropes & Gray is a corporate tax expert whose practice focuses on fund formation and restructuring matters. His recent work highlights have included acting for Altamont Capital Management LLC on its purchase of insurance loss adjusters McLarens Young International and Airclaims, a transaction which involved both US and English law.
Corporate taxation expert Iain Scoon
of Shearman & Sterling LLP handles a wide range of domestic and international matters on behalf of the firm's clients. He advised Deutsche Bank on tax issues concerning its divestiture of asset management activities to Guggenheim Partners, acting as part of a team of lawyers in the firm's London, New York, Frankfurt and Washington, DC offices.
heads the tax team at Stephenson Harwood. He is highly regarded by peers, and has developed an excellent reputation in his core field of asset finance tax. He has also recently been advising a number of shipping sector clients on tonnage tax issues.
Also at Stephenson Harwood, Maryanna Sharrock
focuses primarily on transactional work. She led the team's advice to financial services client Duff & Phelps on the tax implications of its acquisition of MCR.
of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is a "very good operator
" who "knows his stuff
," peers say. He recently advised ING Groep on tax issues concerning the sale of its real estate investment management business ING REIM.
of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP advises clients on US taxation matters and is particularly highly regarded for his experience in the Japanese market.
heads the Spanish group at Fladgate LLP and is well placed to advise clients on a range of corporate tax matters, including M&A and property tax.
heads the tax practice in the London office of Loyens & Loeff and is highly experienced in tax issues concerning the Netherlands.
of McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP is widely regarded as an expert in tax matters concerning South Africa. He is qualified in South Africa and speaks English, Dutch and Afrikaans.
of Miller Rosenfalck LLP is qualified in England and Wales and is also a Danish advokat with considerable experience in corporate tax matters.
Mandarin speaker Winnie Pang Xiaofang
heads the international tax department and the Chinese group at Noronha Advogados.
US-qualified tax specialist Jenny Wheater
of Proskauer Rose LLP is noted for her handling of cross-border matters concerning the UK and the USA. She regularly advises on tax issues in the hedge fund, private equity and venture capital spheres.
of SNR Denton is noted in particular for his expertise on tax issues in African jurisdictions, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. He recently advised Spinlet on its attempts to establish a pan-African mobile music download service. He also assisted Addax Bioenergy with tax issues surrounding its development of a sugarcane ethanol biofuel power plant in Sierra Leone, which is projected to supply 20% of the country's grid-based energy; this work included negotiations with the government of Sierra Leone on a tax incentives agreement.
heads the tax department at SNR Denton and has developed a profile in the market for his work on a range of commercial and real estate matters. His practice involves a considerable volume of Middle East-related work and he has particular expertise in tax issues concerning Shari'a-compliant funds.
is a US tax partner in Sullivan & Cromwell LLP's London office. He recently advised Silver Lake Partners and Skype Global on tax matters concerning the sale of the latter to a subsidiary of Microsoft for USD8.5 billion.
heads Taylor Wessing LLP's India group and is an expert in corporate tax matters. Clients state that they are "very impressed by her – she can give perspective on things happening around the globe.
of Withers LLP is highly accomplished in US taxation matters, advising a range of corporate clients on issues arising from acquisitions and disposals, funds and investment structures.
Foreign Experts (Based Abroad)
splits his time between Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's Geneva and London offices. He is a UK solicitor and assists corporate and private clients with domestic and international tax matters. Clients say he is "supportive, easy to communicate with, and quick in his responses
is based in the New York office of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. His broad-based practice covers a range of international transactions, frequently within the private equity funds field, as well as tax work for clients in the insurance industry. He draws particular praise for his expertise in matters involving the UK.