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CMS

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CMS - London
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  • Managing Partner Duncan Weston
  • Senior Partner Dick Tyler
  • UK  
  • Number of partners 136
  • Associates 337
  • Other fee-earners 165
  • INTERNATIONAL   
  • Number of partners 72 
  • Associates 250
  • Other fee-earners 85

THE FIRM CMS immerses itself in its clients’ business, enabling it to deliver the most effective legal and tax solutions. Leading domestic and major global corporations work with CMS’ 2800 lawyers across their 54 offices in Europe, Russia, China, North Africa and South America. Clients select CMS because it has the most extensive footprint in Europe of any firm. It provides local and industry sector insight, global project management and its specialist teams work hard to add value to their projects, wherever they are taking place. Each CMS firm is well-established in its own jurisdiction and is well-versed in collaborating with colleagues on multi-jurisdictional projects. Its clients expect the best and CMS strives to deliver the best. It is all part of creating and maintaining strong relationships built on trust. The firm’s expertise has been recognised through a number of recent awards, these include:
• Legal Business - Energy & Natural Resources Team of the Year (2013)
• The Lawyer Hot 100 - Penelope Warne, Rita Lowe and Joanne Wheeler (2013)
• FT Innovative Lawyer Awards - Award for Most Innovative International Corporate Strategy (2012)
• European Women in Business Law Awards - Best Gender Diversity, Best Talent Management, Best International Firm (2012)
• HealthInvestor Awards - Leading Legal Advisors, Private and Transactional categories (2012)
• Finance Monthly - Dealmaker of the Year (2012)
• Professional Pensions UK Pensions Awards - Pensions Lawyers of the Year (2012)
• FT Innovative Lawyer Awards - Award for Law Firm Efficiency (2011)
CMS has 54 offices across 29 countries, including ten member firms. CMS member firms are: CMS Adonnino Ascoli & Cavasola Scamoni (Italy); CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo (Spain); CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre (France); CMS Cameron McKenna LLP (UK); CMS DeBacker (Belgium); CMS Derks Star Busmann N. V. (The Netherlands); CMS von Erlach Henrici Ltd (Switzerland); CMS Hasche Sigle (Germany); CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz Rechtsanwälte GmbH (Austria) and CMS Rui Pena, Arnaut & Associados RL (Portugal).

CMS offices and associated offices: Aberdeen, Algiers, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Belgrade, Berlin, Bratislava, Bristol, Brussels, Bucharest, Budapest, Casablanca, Cologne, Dresden, Dubai, Duesseldorf, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Kyiv, Leipzig, Lisbon, Ljubljana, London, Luxembourg, Lyon, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sarajevo, Seville, Shanghai, Sofia, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Tirana, Utrecht, Vienna,Warsaw, Zagreb and Zurich.

PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORK CMS offers a wide range of expertise through seventeen practice area and sector groups, providing advice on local, national and international issues. These expert groups are firmly established across Europe.Main areas of practice include: banking and finance; commercial; competition and EU; consumer products; corporate; dispute resolution; employment and pensions; energy; hotels and leisure; infrastructure and project finance; insurance and funds; intellectual property; life sciences; private equity; real estate and construction; tax; technology, media and telecoms. For information on recent work, member firms, publications and full contact details please visit: www.cmslegal.com.

CMS History: CMS was established on July 1, 1999 with the objective of creating a professional multi-jurisdictional legal and tax service organisation, headquartered in Europe.
The founders included the UK, German, Austrian, Dutch and Belgian firms. In 2000, Swiss firm Von Erlach Klainguti Stettler Wille joined CMS.
In 2001, French firm Bureau Francis Lefebvre joined CMS. In 2002, Italian firm Adonnino Ascoli & Cavasola Scamoni joined CMS.
In 2005, Spanish firm Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo joined CMS. In 2005, Belgian firm CMS Lexcelis merged with DeBacker creating CMS DeBacker.
Later that year, CMS von Erlach Klainguti Stettler Wille merged with Henrici, Wicki & Guggisberg creating CMS von Erlach Henrici.
In 2008, CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz merged with the corporate law firm Dallmann & Juranek.
In 2009, CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre, CMS Cameron McKenna and CMS Hasche Sigle merged their operations in Moscow creating CMS, Russia.
This merger creates one of the most experienced and largest international law firms in Russia with over 130 lawyers, including 26 partners.
In 2012, Rui Pena & Arnaut (RPA) became a CMS member.
RPA is a full service Portuguese law firm with over 45 years of experience, headquartered in Lisbon.

    Contacts
  • Advertising & Marketing Susan Barty
  • Asset Management Ash Saluja
  • Banking & Finance Will Meredith
  • Banking & Finance (CEE) Paul Stallebrass
  • Commercial (CEE) Iain Batty
  • Construction & Development Mark Heighton
  • Consumer Products Louise Wallace
  • Corporate Finance/IPOs Sean Watson
  • Corporate Tax Richard Croker
  • Dispute Resolution Guy Pendell
  • Employment Anthony Fincham
  • Energy & Projects (CEE) Andrzej Blach
  • Energy & Utilities Penelope Warne
  • Environment Paul Sheridan
  • EU/ Competition Susan Hankey
  • Financial Institutions & Services Stephen Tester
  • Financial Services Regulation Simon Morris
  • Health & Safety Jan Burgess
  • Hotels & Leisure Thomas Page
  • Infrastructure & Project Finance Paul Smith
  • Insolvency Duncan Aldred
  • Insurance & Reinsurance Ed Foss
  • IP Nick Beckett
  • Life Sciences Nick Beckett
  • M&A Andrew Sheach
  • M&A (CEE) Helen Rodwell
  • Media Complaints Tim Hardy
  • Pensions Nigel Moore
  • Planning Chris Williams
  • Product Liability Shuna Mason
  • Project Finance Andrew Ivison
  • Real Estate Mark Heighton
  • Real Estate (CEE) Gabor Czike
  • Real Estate Disputes Danielle Drummond-Brassington
  • TMT Chris Watson
  • Transport Jonathan Beckitt
  • Venture Capital/Private Equity James Grimwood
  • Water Robert Lane

Branches

  • Mitre House,
  • 160 Aldersgate Street,
  • London,
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC1A 4DD
  • Tel (020) 3673000
  • Fax (020) 7367 2000
  • DX 135316 BARBICAN 2
  • Email : info@cms-cmck.com
  • Website : www.cms-cmck.com

Banking & Finance - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 23 partners
- 53 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Attracts a healthy volume of work from clearing banks, corporate borrowers and private equity houses. Maintains a prominent European presence and a clear focus on specific sectors such as TMT, hotels and leisure, and healthcare.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
 Market standing: "CMS' key strength is its strong position in the lower mid-market. The firm is respected and utilised by most of the banks in the market, simplifying club transactions that require a firm to be on multiple bank panels." 

Industry knowledge: "A well-known team in the marketplace, with knowledge of market developments and who is doing what."

Efficiency: "Proactive and responsive approach; ability to integrate across disciplines where required."  

What's new? Reappointed to the panels of RBS, Clydesdale, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds, Barclays and The Co-Operative Group.

Work highlights Assisted National Australia Bank throughout the transfer of approximately £6 billion of Clydesdale's corporate real estate portfolio assets.

Represented Enterprise Inns as borrower on £220 million worth of forward start facilities arranged by a syndicate of eight lenders.

Notable practitioners 

Peter Crichton is highlighted for his "thorough, proactive and collaborative approach" to transactions. He is well connected and well known in the market, and is frequently engaged on complex leveraged finance transactions.

John Naccarato recently assisted borrower client TT Electronics with the refinancing of its £75 million and USD40 million facilities, provided by a syndicate of US and UK lenders.

Will Meredith has a strong reputation in the market, particularly for his commitment to client service. His established relationships with key lender clients see him regularly mandated on some of the team's most significant deals.

Talented partner Alex Patience is "very down to earth, approachable and, above all, commercial," according to admiring interviewees. A syndicate including Bank of Scotland engaged him to assist on the provision of EUR250 million worth of loan facilities to C&C Group.

Significant clients RBS, Banco Santander, AIB, Bank of Ireland, Deutsche Bank.

Banking Litigation - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Diverse client base including major lending institutions and international businesses. Handles broad range of work, including mis-selling, recoveries, fraud and complex insolvency disputes. Significant European presence. 

Notable practitioners  

"Highly meticulous and able strategist" Duncan Aldred is highly regarded in the banking field. One source notes: "He's extremely able, a real insolvency expert. He fosters very good relationships with clients and he's very careful - a particularly good negotiator."

Significant clients National Australia Bank.

Capital Markets: Structured Finance, Securitisation & Derivatives - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
 - 9 partners 
 - 20 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Noted for its experience advising on longevity transactions involving pensions, housing practitioners who are particularly skilled in the area. Also strong in the derivatives space, acting for leading investment banks on a broad range of matters on a domestic and international level.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Very commercial, explain things concisely and match my personality in the way I deal with internal clients and lawyers."

Work highlights Acted on behalf of UBS with regard to its Prospectus Directive compliant Constant Maturity Commodity Index programme, designed for the issuance of exchange-traded commodities linked notes.  

Advised Zurich Assurance in connection with a number of liquidity swaps and subsequent related transactions.  

Notable practitioners  

The "fantastic" Will Dibble is very responsive, and is noted for his commercially aware advice, which is appreciated by clients. He is head of the structured finance and derivatives group and is well regarded in the market for his work on structured retail products.

Head of the securitisation practice Jason Harding is "very matter of fact, very down to earth and very commercial." Sources particularly highlight the fact that "he sticks to the point and doesn't over-lawyer." He recently advised on several liquidity swaps for Zurich Assurance.

Michael Munro acts for a number of financial institutions, advising on reinsurance and alternative risk transfer transactions. He is particularly active in the market for longevity risk and pensions.

James Parker's practice also includes a focus on pensions and longevity risk, and he advises on both a national and international level. His experience includes acting on large-scale bulk annuity 'backbook' reinsurance transactions, pension buyins and swaps.

Significant clients Abbey Life Assurance, Enterprise Inns, National Grid, Deutsche Bank, Insight Investments.

Competition/European Law - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Provides sector-focused competition advice to clients in the life sciences, energy and consumer products industries. Close ties with the firm's European offices provide extensive competition coverage across the continent.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They have taken the time to understand our business and the policies and processes that affect us, so when issues arise there is no need to educate them."

Knowledge: "They are very up to date with case law and procedural guidance."

Work highlights Advised a consortium led by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings (CKI) in relation to the acquisition of the Wales & West Utilities gas distribution network.

Acted for RWE on the sale of a joint venture, established to to develop new nuclear power stations, to Hitachi.

Notable practitioners 

Susan Hankey oversees the work of the firm's competition practitioners in Central and Eastern Europe. She led on providing competition advice in the CKI deal detailed above.

David Marks is singled out for his "sound knowledge" of EC competition compliance. He regularly advises clients on strategic competition issues.

Sources say senior associate John Markham is "very capable, not just with the law but with risk mitigation and the impact that decisions will have on our business." He counts Coca-Cola Enterprises and Amazon amongst his key clients.

Significant clients Royal Mail, National Grid, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, Pfizer.

Corporate/M&A - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-27 partners
-50 other lawyers

What the team is known for Active M&A practice, advising a range of clients on significant transactions. Notably stands out for work in the energy sector, and strong in the retail, leisure and technology areas. Central and Eastern Europe remains a key focus.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "They are straightforward and professional, and did a good job."

Professionalism: "They are professional and approachable." 

Client service: "The service is very good." 

What's new? New clients and panel wins include Alcimed, Diageo, GG Hospitality, Sodexo, Tempur.

Work highlights Represented RWE npower in the sale of Horizon Nuclear Power to Hitachi for £696 million.

Represented Nautical Petroleum on its £414 million acquisition by Cairn Energy.

Represented LGV Capital and Hutton Collins on their £100 million acquisition of Novus Leisure.

Notable practitioners  

Sean Watson is praised by sources for his expertise on a wide range of corporate finance transactions. His areas of expertise include M&A, public takeovers and corporate reconstructions.

Louise Wallace has "excellent analytic skills," is "incredibly commercial," "cares about her clients and is deeply committed," market sources report.  She heads the firm's consumer products group.

Charles Currier is "extremely commercial" and "a deal-maker," clients say. He represented Statoil and Statkraft in the acquisition of Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm Project.

Gary Green advised Corin on a recommended takeover of Corin by 2IL Orthopaedics. He advises clients on a wide range of domestic and cross-border M&A transactions.

Significant clients BP, MetLife, Royal Mail, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, National Australia Bank.

Employment - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acting on behalf of a wide array of respondent clients across the entire employment spectrum. Particular aptitude for handling complex, protracted High Court hearings.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "CMS are both commercial and practical. They offer sound guidance and, where possible, multiple options together with an assessment of the risk of each approach."

Client service: "They were fantastic throughout the whole process. They were incredibly supportive, very thorough and very professional."

Work highlights Assisted Complete Electric Solutions and All Electric Solutions with their ultimately successful attempt to overturn an injunction taken out by CEF Holdings in relation to a team move.

Provided CH2M Hill with advice in connection with the employment aspects of a recent acquisition. 

Notable practitioners  

Anthony Fincham is a recognised leader within the employment field, his successes in the High Court cementing his status as one of the strongest lawyers in the industry. One market commentator describes his technical expertise as being "invaluable," whilst another cites the "clarity of his advice" as a prime differentiator.

Significant clients Royal Mail Group, Allied English Banks, BAM Nuttall, Commerzbank AG, General Electric.

Environment - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 1 consultant
- 2 associates 

What the team is known for A strong team of experienced environmental specialists noted for expertise in the waste sector. Handles stand-alone mandates in areas such as environmental permitting, class action defence and contaminated land, in addition to supporting the firm's energy and corporate departments.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Problem solving: "I trusted their judgement, I was confident in their expertise and they were always able to produce constructive solutions to issues as they arose."

What's new? Olivia Quaid was promoted to the partnership.

Work highlights Defended Red Industries in an Environment Agency prosecution for alleged cyanide water pollution of the River Trent.

Provided a variety of major clients with regulatory advice related to REACH, the Restriction of Hazardous Substance (RoHS) directive, the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations and the WEEE directive.

Notable practitioners  

Paul Sheridan is noted for his depth of experience and his "great vision about the future direction of policy, regulation and the law." He handles contentious, administrative and non-contentious matters for his clients with equal ease. Sources say: "His skill in distilling issues simply provides immense confidence to us as clients that he is in complete control of the issue and can weave a clear path to a conclusion."

Kathy Mylrea is well regarded by peers, who particularly recognise her experience in contaminated land and waste management issues. Sources say: "She really thrives when she can really get to grips with the details and intricacies of a project."

Significant clients Akzo Nobel, Veolia Environmental Services, FCC, Quinn Glass, Sita.

Hotels & Leisure - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 1 consultant

What the team is known for A well-regarded hotels and leisure practice known for acquisitions and disposals, finance, management agreements and franchise agreements. Also active in restructuring-led sales and hotel debt portfolio work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "The CMS team is very strong."

Work highlights Represented LGV Capital and Hutton Collins joint venture in the acquisition of Novus Leisure, operator of 52 high-end bars including Tiger Tiger and Sway.

Acted for the administrative receivers on the sale of a portfolio of Marriott Hotels.

Notable practitioners

Thomas Page is head of the hotels and leisure practice group at CMS. He is experienced in corporate, joint venture and finance work, and handles major hotel portfolio transactions. Peers say that he is "a good lawyer" and a "sector specialist."

Peers name James Miller as "an expert" in the hotels sector. He focuses primarily on real estate matters, including financing, sales and purchases. He is also experienced in portfolio sale and manage-backs and sale and leasebacks. Clients praise him as "very pragmatic."

Sources say Louise Wallace "absolutely knows her onions" in relation to the hotels sector, where she handles M&A, corporate finance, and franchise and management agreements. Peers describe her as "sensible, commercial" and "a delightful individual."

Significant clients Jupiter Hotels, Accor, Quinn Property Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS.

Information Technology - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 12 partners
- 38 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Well known for its capabilities in outsourcing and telecoms. Acts for IT suppliers and customers, including leaders in energy and utilities, distribution, financial services and e-commerce.

Work highlights Successfully defended Avaloq in an action of alleged breach of confidence, breach of contract and copyright infringement brought by competitor 3i.

Notable practitioners

John Armstrong is highlighted by multiple sources for his big-ticket transactional work. He advises some of the firm's most significant clients on strategic and root-and-branch system implementation projects.

Significant clients Amazon.com, Atos, BT, National Grid, Royal Mail Group.

Intellectual Property - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 33 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A substantial practice with recognised strengths in copyright and trade marks. Experienced across a range of sectors, including life sciences, energy and telecoms.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "Their responsiveness is great - they always get back to us by the next day at the latest."

Technical ability: "It was quite an unusual situation but they worked very quickly and imaginatively, and produced some outstanding work." 

Industry knowledge: "What struck me was their knowledge of our industry and how prepared they were. We didn't have to explain what we did at all."

Work highlights Acted for Nestlé in a case against Cadbury alleging trade mark infringement related to the shape of Rolos.

Assisting Takeda Pharmaceutical on IP-related integration concerns following its acquisition of Nycomed.

Notable practitioners  

Tom Scourfield is an "impressive lawyer" who "knows what's important and talks solutions." He works mainly in soft IP, particularly in relation to consumer products, and led in the Nestlé v Cadbury case mentioned above.

Jeremy Morton is noted by clients for his "commercial nous" and as a "massively responsive" lawyer. He focuses on patent litigation.

Significant clients Colgate-Palmolive, Royal Mail, BT, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.

International Arbitration - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 12 partners
- 36 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for International arbitration group particularly recognised for expertise in Central and Eastern Europe. Specialist knowledge of infrastructure and energy markets. Recognised for its ability to work closely and efficiently with global offices.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "They are responsive and patient; even when dealing with a difficult client like us they will always listen and challenge us when they know better. They're a pleasure to work with."

Technical ability: "As well as being creative and proactive they have a readiness to help and an ease and friendliness in their approach."

What's new? New client wins include Atos.

Work highlights Advised MNSS and Recupero Credito Acciaio before ICSID on its claim against the Republic of Montenegro relating to the bankruptcy of state-owned steel plant Nikšić, the first investment treaty arbitration against the country.

Notable practitioners  

Guy Pendell is viewed as a core figure in the arbitration team and is praised for his "easy, friendly and thoroughly competent approach to problem solving." He regularly advises European clients on a range of arbitration matters.

Sources say senior associate Csaba Kovacs "is very diligent, handles senior lawyers well and can put his arguments on the table effectively. When he says something you can trust he has done the research."

Significant clients Viva Telecom Bulgaria, National Grid, H Clarkson & Co, Galp, Iberdrola.

Litigation - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department 
- 48 partners
- 126 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Identified as a highly active and visible outfit offering commercial advice to clients of all sizes. Strong support from complementary departments such as real estate, TMT and pensions. Sizeable and growing client list includes numerous household names.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They were fantastic throughout; incredibly supportive, very thorough and very professional." 

What's new? Avaloq, Zurich, BT and Atos are amongst the firm's new clients.

Work highlights Successfully defended YESSS against an injunction based on claims brought by CEF of misuse of confidential information, breach of restrictive covenants and unlawful enticement of employees to leave the claimant's company.  

Acting for Blu Mirage Action Group, comprising approximately 150 investors, in pre-litigation investigations regarding the alleged mishandling of the UAE-based Blu Mirage residential and retail development.  

Notable practitioners

"Client-focused and extremely responsive" is how sources describe Guy Pendell, who is further commended for his commerciality. He acted for YESSS on defending various claims brought by CEF, successfully bringing about the discontinuation of the proceedings.  

Tim Hardy is appreciated by clients for being a "sound, safe pair of hands." He led the team representing Blu Mirage Action Group on a matter relating to a development site in the United Arab Emirates.

Significant clients Royal Mail, Medtronic, Enterprise Inns, Diageo, National Grid.

Pensions - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 10 partners
- 24 associates

What the team is known for Sizeable team with experience in areas such as scheme mergers and demergers, investment management, and drafting scheme documentation. Frequently works closely with the firm's financial services and life, pensions and longevity risk teams. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The team is very helpful and personable. Nothing's too much trouble." "CMS is ambitious and energetic."

Bench strength: "An incredibly strong team."  

What's new? New senior associate recruits in the form of Gillian McGrath from Travers Smith and Caroline Smith from Freshfields strengthen the team's offering in pensions. Dominic Harris has been promoted to partner.

Work highlights Advised the trustees of the Aon Retirement Plan on a sectionalised merger with six other schemes, creating a single scheme with around £3 billion assets.

Worked in conjunction with the firm's financial services team to help the trustees of the Northumbrian Water Pension Scheme to set up complex investment arrangements, involving the use of over-the-counter derivatives.  

Notable practitioners  

Mark Atkinson is recognised as one of London's leading pensions experts. Sources describe him as "top drawer," "superb" and "very commercial."

Mark Grant is "adept at finding creative solutions," enthuse clients. He is head of the firm's pensions ombudsman unit.

Simon Pilcher is reported to be "extremely flexible and helpful, with a commercial attitude." He recently advised the trustees of the Selfridges Pension Scheme on the implementation of a complex asset-backed funding structure for the scheme.  

Neil Smith acts for clients such as the trustees of the Aon Retirement Plan and the trustees of the Northumbrian Water Pension Scheme. Commentators state that he is "very authoritative in his advice."

Peter Coyne rises up the rankings this year, having received excellent feedback from peers and clients. He recently advised Royal Mail on a complex matter involving the harmonisation of auto-enrolment with the company's existing contractual enrolment programme.

Mark Kowalik is noted for his extensive experience, having worked in CMS's pensions team for 25 years. He advises both trustees and employers on wide-ranging pensions issues.

Nigel Moore is described by one impressed client as "sensible, commercial and pragmatic." A recent work highlight was advising Pendragon on the merger of six schemes into a single scheme.

Victoria Mance recently joined the firm from Charles Russell LLP. She previously spent six months on secondment to the Pensions Regulator, giving her a greater understanding of the impact of pensions policy. 

Significant clients Aon, BAA, Barclays, Crédit Agricole, Coca-Cola.

Planning - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Section 106 negotiations and community infrastructure levy expertise. Expertise in acting for clients on urban redevelopment projects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "We go back to them because they give us good service. They offer value and are very good. We couldn't question the quality of their work."

Work highlights Instructed by BT to advise on the redevelopment of Keybridge House, situated in the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area.

Notable practitioners  

Chris Williams has acted for National Grid/Scottish Power Transmission on the preparation of application documents for the Western HVDC Link between Scotland and England.

Ashley Damiral has taken the lead on the Keybridge House redevelopment. Clients say: "Ashley is excellent and his good relationship with the property team means that together they provide very good service."

Significant clients citizenM Hotels, Sainsbury's, Imperial College London, The Berkeley Group, EDP Renováveis. 

Professional Negligence - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 12 partners
- 53 other qualified practitioners

What the team is known for Advises global insurance companies and their insureds on a variety of professional indemnity matters. Regularly acts for IFAs, insurance brokers and firms of solicitors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "CMS is very good. It's a good group of lawyers they've got there and they can field insurance matters very well."

Problem solving: "Their work has been exceptional. I can trust them to get on with things without having to be constantly supervised and they will do a good job for me."

Work highlights Represented Cooper Gay in a claim brought by Société Générale concerning alleged broker negligence relating to an all-risks policy.

Notable practitioners  

Martin Fox is "the benchmark lawyer for construction-related claims." A strong practitioner, he is commended for his effective approach to cases.

Edward Foss is a "first-rate tactician." He has "a great deal of expertise about broker professional indemnity matters and he's able to look at cases in a very incisive manner."

Significant clients Beazley Syndicate, QBE, AIG, Chubb, Catlin. 

Real Estate Finance - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-12 partners
-35 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acts for borrowers and lenders in equal measure. Has particular expertise in development finance and restructuring.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "CMS takes a commercial and innovative approach to transactions when required. If we need a specialist view on a different aspect of a deal, they source the expertise within the firm, providing us with a seamless approach."

Work highlights Acted for the lender, Bank of Scotland, in the refinancing of a large portfolio of healthcare assets owned by Quercus Healthcare Property Partnership.

Advised Nykredit Realkredit the lender on Cityhold's acquisition of 1 Kingdom Street, a prime piece of commercial real estate.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Johnston continues to impress in the market. Clients admire the fact that "he always remains very cool and calm in difficult negotiations."

Significant clients Lloyds, HSBC, Value Retail, Pramerica, Wells Fargo. 

Real Estate Litigation - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 6 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Handles any controversial matters faced by the firm's real estate practice client base. Acts for retailers, investors, corporate tenants and occupiers, and the leisure sector, focusing on insolvency-related property litigation.

Work highlights Instructed by Sainsbury's on its major Fulham Wharf development, serving numerous rights of light notices to secure a development agreement.

Appeared on behalf of The Wellcome Trust in the Upper Lands Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, and subsequently requested a judicial review challenging the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal's verdict that a flat leasehold enfranchisement rate should be used for all properties.

Notable practitioners  

The "brilliant" Danielle Drummond-Brassington "stands out" to sources for her application to her work and skill at "mastering the detail" of complex contractual agreements. Clients enjoy working with her, and value that she is "clear about whether to take things forward or not." She has recently issued an emergency injunction for Berkeley Homes, and handled a large dilapidations claim for Akzo Nobel.

Significant clients Berkeley Homes, BT, Prudential Assurance, Royal Mail, Sainsbury’s.

Real Estate - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 28 partners
- 125 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Offers expertise in the hotels and leisure sector, and in restructuring-led property work and development, in addition to general commercial property services.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They know their subject extremely well."

Client service: "They are very understanding of us as a client."

Value for money: "For the quality of service, the staff and the client care, there is a real pricing advantage to CMS."

What's new? Recent client wins include Persimmon, Delin Capital Asset Management and Gatehouse Bank.

Work highlights Advised Sainsbury's on the Fulham Riverside scheme, a mixed-use regeneration joint venture with Barratt Homes and London & Quadrant.

Advised Laing O'Rourke and Explore Investment on arrangements with London Borough of Barking & Dagenham for an affordable housing scheme comprising 477 units.

Notable practitioners 

Edward Benzecry is well regarded by peers and clients alike. He leads the real estate investment team and represents institutions, trusts and corporate occupiers. Recent work includes SWIP Property Trust's acquisition of the Broadwalk shopping centre in Edgware for some £70 million.

Mark Heighton is head of real estate at CMS and advises investors, developers and corporate occupiers. He also has expertise in joint ventures and collaboration agreements. Clients appreciate his commerciality and say that "work is always turned around extremely efficiently and to a high standard."

Adrian Wright has a broad practice, encompassing acquisitions, disposals, development, letting and institutional investment. Sources praise him as "in control of things, bright, understanding and able to ask the right questions." Clients are confident that "he'll be thinking about things like tax, corporate and planning issues" around the real estate transaction.

Significant clients PRUPIM, M&G Investments, Wellcome Trust, RREEF, Berkeley.

Restructuring/Insolvency - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 7 partners
- 16 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Traditionally recognised as a top-choice bank panel firm. Niche expertise in advising on insolvency cases in the professional services industry. Also experienced in acting for both administrators and companies in retail sector insolvencies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "They work well together as a team, they are technically sound and produce results in a timely manner."

What's new? Recent panel appointments include RBS.

Emma Riddle was made up to partner in May 2013.

Martin Brown rejoined the group in August 2013 after a year's stint at Ashurst.

Work highlights Advising joint administrators BDO on ongoing issues related to the Dewey & LeBoeuf insolvency.

Advised Lloyds Banking Group in relation to an amendment and restatement of a term and revolving credit facilities agreement with RSM Tenon Group.  

Notable practitioners  

Rita Lowe is described as being "extremely practical, very knowledgeable and fantastic to deal with." Clients value her ability to "blend what is important technically with commercial reality." She was the lead partner advising on the Dewey & LeBoeuf insolvency. 

Peter Wiltshire has a broad restructuring and insolvency practice and regularly advises both bank and corporate clients. His recent work includes advising Lloyds Banking Group on the RSM Tenon restructuring.

Martin Brown's return to the team can only be seen as a good thing. Interviewees were highly positive about the impact of his move to Ashurst, which lasted for one year. Sources say: "He has great commercial acumen and good focus when handling complex, multi-jurisdictional matters."

Significant clients HSBC Bank, Deutsche Bank, AIB Group, Bank of Ireland, Clydesdale Bank.

Tax - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Formidable reputation for indirect tax matters, and also noted for its extensive global capacity, which includes a presence across continental Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America and North America. Also advises on a range of transactional and finance matters, and is noted for his strong capabilities in property tax.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "They are a good example of a firm which advises across a wide range of work – they have the breadth."

Notable practitioners  

Richard Croker heads the corporate tax team at the firm, and he handles a range of direct and indirect tax matters.

Banking & Finance - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh

What the team is known for Thriving practice focusing on energy work, particularly in upstream oil and gas and renewables.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "I've been very happy with their performance - they have a very client-focused approach."

Commercial awareness: "They have a good balance of being technically good and very commercial."

What's new? Kate Marshall joins the Edinburgh office from a senior in-house role with Lloyds TSB. She brings 20 years of experience to the team.

Appointed to the panel of The Co-operative Bank this year.

Work highlights Acted for Melrose Resources in its merger with Petroceltic International. The deal involved advising on debt financing from the borrower side, valued in the region of USD300 million.

Notable practitioners  

Gordon Hay is highly regarded by both clients and peers as a "very good relationship manager" who "always deals with problems and is backed up by a very good team."

Significant clients Lloyds TSB, Clydesdale Bank, The Co-operative Bank.

Corporate/M&A - Scotland

Basic facts about the department:
- 3 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Aberdeen

What the team is known for Handles high-value work in the oil and gas sector, focusing on M&A transactions in both exploration and production areas.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "Working with them is effortless." 

Client service: "Very happy with immediate one on one access to the relevant partner."

Industry knowledge: "This corporate practice is known for servicing their core sector of oil and gas."

What's new? Iona Energy Company and West Oil Tools secured as new clients.

Work highlights Acted for Iona Energy on its acquisition of Carrzio Huntington UK from Carrizo Oil & Gas for USD184 million.

Advised on the £178 million sale of Sean Field by BP to SSE E&P.

Notable practitioners  

Frank Fowlie heads the practice and is praised by clients for his "calm and studied approach" to negotiations and his deep knowledge of the energy sector. He advises on all aspects of corporate work, particularly M&A for oil and gas companies and any reorganisations.  

Significant clients Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe, Halliburton, Talisman Energy, Petrofac, BrewDog.

Employment - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 4 other qualified solicitors
- Office locations ranked: Aberdeen 

What the team is known for A leading firm in the Aberdeen market, with a strong sector focus on the oil and gas industry. Regularly instructed to handle multi-jurisdictional work.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Excellent level of service. A very engaging team who understand our business and our challenges." 

Responsiveness: "They come back very quickly, almost always on the same day." 

Work highlights Represented Expro North Sea in the Employment Tribunal regarding a health and safety-linked dismissal, breach of contract and whistle-blowing claims.

Advised Talisman Energy in relation to a TUPE transfer of approximately 500 employees from its headline contractor to its own company.

Notable practitioners  

Alison Woods leads the employment team in Aberdeen. She is well thought of by her clients and is rated as "exceptional" and "first-class across the board." One client comments that "she knows the legislation inside out."

Significant clients BP, Premier Oil, ConocoPhillips, Lloyds Bank, Bristow Helicopters.

Energy & Natural Resources - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 13 partners
- 55 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A leader for handling acquisitions and divestments on behalf of oil and gas clients. This is a trusted team that peers would not hesitate to refer to.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "The top team for oil and gas in the UK, with an ability to provide solutions in very short timeframes. It has a deep team and great industry knowledge. Its international network works very well across the teams and practice areas."

Work highlights Represented BP in the disposal of a package of assets in the North Sea to TAQA for over USD1 billion.

Acted for Oil & Gas UK, providing vital support to the industry in negotiations with the government in respect of the availability of tax relief for decommissioning and the need for clarity surrounding relief.

Notable practitioners  

Impressed clients are quick to affirm that Stephen Millar is "one of the best oil and gas lawyers in the UK - he's very customer-focused, and has such broad knowledge and technical know-how." He led on the aforementioned BP disposal.

Sources enthusiastically state that Penelope Warne "is definitely a player in the area." She heads both the Aberdeen office and the energy team, and took the lead on the BP matter outlined above alongside Stephen Millar.

Judith Aldersey-Williams is a "strong name in the industry" and stands out for her work with Oil & Gas UK on decommissioning tax relief. Sources marvel at her intellectual prowess: "Judith is incredibly bright. For really complex problems she is the best, and has done an amazing job working on industry standards."

Norman Wisely has assisted BP with an asset sale in the Southern Gas Area of the North Sea, and clients note that he "has great depth in his knowledge of the industry and is a good deal maker."

Significant clients ConocoPhillips, BG, Talisman, Premier Oil, SSE.

Health & Safety - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 3 qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Aberdeen

What the team is known for A strong presence in the Aberdeen market, and enviable experience of associated offshore natural resources work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "A strong health and safety practice."

Work highlights Advised TAQA Bratani on a regulatory prosecution arising from an oil spillage that occurred in 2010.

Acted for an engineering company on an HSE investigation relating to a fatality.

Notable practitioners 

Jan Burgess is a solicitor advocate who is admitted to practice in England and Wales as well as Scotland. She divides her time between Aberdeen, London and Edinburgh. She is a high-profile practitioner who "works very well with her clients," and has a "good commercial outlook." Her key clients include TAQA Bratani.

Significant clients Integrated Dental Holdings, TAQA Bratani, Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe, Bureau Veritas UK, Low Carbon Services (UK).

Litigation - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh

What the team is known for Highly regarded commercial litigation team with a strong reputation in insurance-related dispute work. Increasing international capabilities particularly within the energy sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The team is very proactive, which is what we expect from our outside counsel. They make sure we are fully protected."

Technical ability:"They can explain the intricacies of the Scottish legal system." 

Notable practitioners  

"Always very articulate, professional and courteous," Robert Wilson focuses his practice on contentious energy and insurance matters. Sources say he is "very quick to understand what we need and excellent at clearly explaining our legal position and options."

Significant clients Halliburton, Ocean Rig, GMC, Markel International, Novae Syndicates.

Professional Negligence - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Recognised for its expertise in the construction sector. Represents a number of engineers, architects and surveyors across the region. Also appears on a number of prominent insurers' panels. Enjoys the benefits of a UK-wide network.

Notable practitioners  

Robert Wilson is admired by peers for his experience in the field, which includes arbitration and coverage advice. His activity stretches across the country and he has led a number of high-value cases in recent times.

Harriet Munro is largely involved in construction claims and property-related matters. She is a very active partner at the firm and attracts significant instructions from top clients.

Significant clients QBE, Chubb Group, Markel, W. R. Berkley, ACE.

Banking Litigation - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Represents major clients in the banking sector across a range of disputes including fraud, recoveries and insolvency disputes. Strong in professional negligence. Recent upturn in mis-selling claims.

Notable practitioners  

"Very careful and astute," Philip Woodfield is adept at handling large banking disputes. Sources describe him as "a real goldmine of knowledge when it comes to banking cases" and "well suited to complex claims." 

Ruth Greening regularly assists on complex and high-value disputes in the banking and finance sphere. Sources praise her abilities, and find her to be a "very technical lawyer."

Professional Negligence - South West

Capital Markets - UK-wide

What the team is known for Represents a varied client base comprised of retail banks, investment banks and substantial corporates. Also offers notable in-house US securities capacity. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "They were proactive in terms of the advice they gave and turned around documents very quickly." 

Client service: "The client service is good, they look after the clients, they're commercial and very happy to be available for ad hoc questions and things." 

What's new? James Parkes was made a partner. He has significant experience across a range of capital markets transactions.

Cristina Reichmann joined the team from Nestor & Nestor, further strengthening the group's capital markets offering.

Work highlights Advised Antisoma with regard to its move from the main market to AIM. This involved obtaining shareholder approval, both for the transfer and in relation to its investment policy.

Acted for Sinclair IS Pharma in connection with its agreement for exclusive distribution with a Valeant Pharmaceuticals International affiliate. This was followed by a placing to raise £9 million.

Notable practitioners  

Daniel Winterfeldt is "someone you want to have on your side" according to sources, who also highlight that he is "commercial and energetic." 

Significant clients Proximagen, Nautical Petroleum, Interior Services Group, Autologic, Software Radio Technology.

Commercial Contracts - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 19 partners
- 35 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Handles commercial contracts through the commercial, technology and procurement group. Expertise covers energy, financial services, technology, telecoms and life sciences.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Visibility: Peers in the commercial contracts space recognise CMS as an active player in the market.

What's new? Juan Crosby and Caroline Hobson promoted to partner.

Notable practitioners

John Armstrong is head of department and a key contact.

Significant clients Royal Mail Group and Post Office, National Grid, Amazon.com, Medtronic, BT.

Construction - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 20 partners
- 57 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Continues to be a major player in the construction arena. Its expertise covers a wide remit of services, and it is particularly active on significant energy and infrastructure projects. A network of overseas offices bolsters its portfolio of international arbitration work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
 Client service: "The team is reliable, has substantial resources and great capacity, they quickly delivered, and are generally very competent and clearly experts in their field."

Technical ability: "They handled a complicated deal supremely well."  

What's new? New clients include Punter Southall Group, National Infrastructure and Development Corporation of Trinidad & Tobago and Benfield & Loxley. 

Work highlights Acted for a joint venture on the development of the Western High Voltage Direct Current Link project.

Advised Hackney Empire Theatre and Lord Sugar in a high-profile dispute relating to the refurbishment of Hackney Empire Theatre.

Notable practitioners  

Recognised as an excellent solicitor and advocate, Rupert Choat is a "very wise head on a young body," according to a peer. Clients applaud his "very strong technical knowledge and close awareness of recent developments in case law."

Victoria Peckett is "really clued-up" and "always accessible and practical," according to sources. Clients also appreciate the straightforward answers she provides. As well as heading the team, she is active in the construction law community as a teacher and member of various committees.

Paul Smith is a "very able lawyer, and always very professional." He focuses on the construction elements of major PFI/PPP projects emanating from a wide variety of sectors.

Significant clients Prudential, National Grid, Iberdrola, GDF Suez/International Power, Royal Mail.

Since publication, Rupert Choat has joined Atkin Chambers

Data Protection - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 7 contentious partners
- 2 non-contentious partners
- 2 consultants
- 17 other fee earners

What the team is known for Covers a broad range of contentious and non-contentious data protection issues. A well-regarded presence on global projects, particularly for financial institutions, energy and utilities firms and technology companies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "It is a personable team." 

What's new? Juan Crosby has been promoted to partner.

Work highlights Advised Value Retail on the company's data protection policies across seven jurisdictions.

Notable practitioners  

John Armstrong heads the team.

Significant clients Amazon.com, Lloyds TSB, National Grid, Post Office, Transocean. 

Employee Share Schemes & Incentives - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for An increasing presence within the share plan arena, providing support to both public and privately held companies. Noted for its capacity to handle transatlantic mandates. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The firm is always quick to respond and is very thorough in its review of relevant documentation."

Commercial awareness: "They provide practical and pragmatic guidance, with impressive attention to detail."  

Work highlights Assisted Nautical Petroleum with the share scheme implications of its takeover by Cairn Energy.

Advised TT Electronics on the implementation of several bespoke share plans.

Notable practitioners  

Nicholas Stretch has, according to one client, "an encyclopaedic grasp of the share plan field and is a very influential figure within the industry." He is further lauded for his ability to "demystify share plans to the wider market."

Tair Hussain is frequently involved in the firm's most significant mandates. One client highlighted his ability to "pick things up quickly and respond speedily," whilst another was keen to remark upon his admirable levels of pragmatism.

Identified by sources as an approachable practitioner, Isabel Pooley remains one of the most impressive associates in the employee share schemes field.

Significant clients Advanced Computer Software, ISG, LDC, Informa, Puricore.

Energy & Natural Resources - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 16 partners
- 55 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Best known for its prowess in regulatory work within the energy sector, particularly in the power arena. Also able to take a leading role in UK-based and international oil and gas transactions, as well as at the forefront of oil and gas know-how, having developed many of the industry-standard documents used worldwide.

Strengths (Mainly quotes from clients)
Industry knowledge: "Some of the best UK practitioners in regulatory and grid work."

Specialist expertise: "Fabulous on electricity." 

Work highlights Acted for OMV on its sale of several UK continental shelf oil and gas interests to Apache.

Advised on numerous offshore wind projects including EDP Renewables on acquisition of a stake in the Moray Firth.

Notable practitioners  

Oil and gas specialist Bob Palmer commands great respect from his peers in this field and led on OMV's aforementioned sale of assets.

Robert Lane, known by some in the industry as "Mr Grid Code,"  has been advising National Grid on the electricity market reform proposals. One observer comments on his obvious gravitas: "Robert is a real leader - a natural spokesperson for a group."

Significant clients BP, BG Group, Cairn Energy, ConocoPhillips, Eni.

Financial Services - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London 

What the team is known for Remains highly regarded for its skill in handling both contentious and non-contentious matters for a stellar client base. Also provides sector-specific expertise in the insurance industry. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "The service has always been fantastic - they always provide good-quality lawyers, including junior and trainee lawyers."

Client service: "They have a very pro-active approach to complex problems - they're always available for the client and they always deliver on time."

Work highlights Advised MetLife on the complex reorganisation of its European group following its acquisition of Alico in 2010, involving the transfer of business between different insurance companies.

Advised Lloyds Banking Group on ensuring its compliance with the Retail Distribution Review.

Advised Reyker Securities on all the regulatory issues involved in its appointment as custodian and administrator of structured product plans by Merchant Securities.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Morris offers clients "a wealth of knowledge in terms of dealing with the regulator." He handles a mixture of contentious and non-contentious work, and recently advised a major UK bank on the implementation of changes required by MiFID.

Significant clients MetLife, Towers Watson, Lloyds Banking Group, Reyker Securities, Aon Hewitt.

Insurance - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 13 partners
- 53 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: London

What the team is known for Handles high-level domestic and international insurance and reinsurance litigation. Particular expertise in reinsurance disputes relating to the energy sector, and defending brokers in high-profile coverage disputes. Strong capacity across Europe thanks to its extensive network of offices, which spans the continent.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "They've got a large number of highly skilled partners on the team."

Technical ability: "They have some very good coverage lawyers."

Work highlights Advised Curzon Insurance on a coverage dispute with Asbestos Trust worth over USD500 million.

Represented Brussels Airport and its insurers ACE in civil and criminal proceedings in Belgium arising from a catastrophic fire in one of the airport's hangars.

Notable practitioners  

The "impressive" Belinda Schofield is widely respected in the market for her insurance practice, which includes professional indemnity claims and property disputes. Sources comment that she is "pretty fantastic" with "an incredible work ethic." She is currently managing partner of the firm’s Bristol office.

Vere Wheatley attracts acclaim for his experience in insurance and reinsurance matters. He is highly experienced in handling work involving both UK and US elements, and is particularly well regarded for work in claims against brokers and asbestos-related insurance matters.

Edward Foss is head of the insurance and reinsurance group. He has particular knowledge of handling matters for brokers and underwriters. One source remarks: "I'm always impressed by him. He was in-house at a broker so is practical - he understands the position clients are in."

Stephen Netherway has a strong insurance and reinsurance practice that includes a vast amount of multi-jurisdictional work. His areas of focus include disputes involving professional indemnity, credit risk and clinical trials.

Stephen Tester has a broad insurance practice that includes expertise in construction-related claims and D&O matters. According to one client, "Stephen is really fabulous. He was practical and fast in his advice and he drafts very quickly."

Reinsurance specialist Simon Kilgour recently joined the firm from RPC. Sources compliment him as a "very astute insurance lawyer," who is "extremely good - in a very competitive reinsurance market he's a top-ranked name."

Significant clients Beazley, QBE, Chartis, Chubb Group, Catlin.

Insurance - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department~
- 13 partners
- 24 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Advises across the full spectrum of non-contentious insurance work, with recognised expertise in complex M&A transactions, Part VII transfers and commercial contract development. Particularly adept in pensions and longevity de-risking matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "It was a big team, so if someone wasn't around, there was another person to deal with issues. They were so approachable and available."

Bench strength: "They threw a lot of resources at the project - I'm very pleased with what they did for us."

Work highlights Advised MetLife on the legal and regulatory aspects of its ongoing pan-European group reorganisation.

Advised Reliance Mutual on a creditor scheme of arrangement, which was the first instance in which one had been used to vary policyholders’ rights. 

Notable practitioners  

Paul Edmondson is a key contact at the firm

Significant clients Pension Insurance, Abbey Life/Deutsche Bank, SCOR Global Life, Zurich, Novae.

Life Sciences - UK-wide

What the team is known for Adept on the non-contentious side of life sciences with expertise in matters such as development agreements, transactions and competition law concerns, as well as general operational concerns.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "I really like the lawyers there, they're good people to work with – commercial and practical." 

Work highlights Advised Corin Group on a £30.5 million takeover offer by 2IL Orthopaedics.

Counselled Sinclair IS Pharma on a distribution arrangement concerning its Sculptra and New-Fill products.

Notable practitioners  

Sarah Hanson handles a range of transactional and non-contentious matters in the life sciences sector. According to one source, she has "a great approach to client care."

Shuna Mason has "great knowledge of the clinical and regulatory environment," say commentators, and it is there that the bulk of her work is focused. Sources add that she "is very thorough and applies the law extremely well."

Significant clients Takeda Pharmaceutical, Abbott, Medtronic, Eli Lilly, Smith & Nephew.

Media & Entertainment - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 16 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Advises advertising and marketing clients on major promotional campaigns targeted at home and overseas. Expertise in advertising litigation and specialised issues such as ambush marketing.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "Very well geared to our way of doing business." 

Work highlights Advised National Australia Bank and its UK entities on the regulatory requirements governing promotions of financial services to offshore clients.

Assists Johnson & Johnson on its 'Mouth Off' campaign on Twitter and YouTube regarding Listerine mouthwash.   

Notable practitioners

Susan Barty is a recognised leader in the world of advertising and marketing law. She is praised for her "fantastic" level of experience, and for her "excellent relations with the UK regulatory authorities," which "gives her advice an extra layer of insight."

Significant clients Amazon.com, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Nestlé, Royal Mail, Sara Lee.

Outsourcing - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 11 partners
- 26 associates
- Office locations ranked: London 

What the team is known for Maintains a strong market position for advising multiple industry sectors, including energy, financial services and life sciences. Noted for its strengths in handling ITOs. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Pragmatic advice: "They focused on key issues and did not get bogged down by the detail. Ultimately we established a workable contract."

Clarity: "CMS understands that communication is important."

Client service: "They know when to come to you with issues, when to subtly have a word or when to work alone. They point out potential problems and maintain overall visibility."

What's new? Emma Burnett is a newly promoted partner noted for her work on transformational business and IT outsourcing projects.

Notable practitioners  

Ian Stevens advises on a range of outsourcing and procurement projects, most notably in the financial services sector. One source says that "the difference he made to the project cannot be overstated. He ran the negotiations and talked through the regulatory issues important to us."

Sources say rising star Juan Crosby is "someone you would want on your team." He brings expertise of acting for the energy sector.

Department head John Armstrong is experienced in IT and commercial outsourcing projects. Sources say: "You can have an open discussion with him, bounce ideas and get his opinion. He gives commercial, strategic input."

Significant clients Amazon.com, British Gas, Lloyds TSB, National Grid, Royal Mail Group and Post Office.

Pensions Litigation - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 8 partners
- 24 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Leading team able to handle all types of pensions disputes. Regularly tackles both Part 7 and Part 8 claims. A popular choice with actuarial and benefit consultants and independent insurers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They are all hugely experienced, and provide completely joined-up, seamless expertise."

Bench strength: "A very strong team indeed."  

Work highlights Acted for Royal Mail and the Royal Mail Pension Trustees on an appeal of a Pensions Ombudsman’s determination by a scheme member. Grounds of appeal, which were not upheld, included claims of a conflict of interest.

Advising Royal Mail in a Part 8 application regarding the construction of a pension increase rule in Royal Mail's senior executive pension plan.

Notable practitioners  

Mark Grant has a stellar reputation for acting in Pensions Ombudsman determinations. Sources recognise him as a "standout practitioner."

Neil Smith handles an even split of non-contentious and contentious issues. He is a "great lawyer," according to impressed commentators.

Dominic Harris is a talented up-and-comer in the pensions litigation space. He has a broad practice, which encompasses many types of pensions disputes.

Mark Atkinson has particular strength in pensions-related professional negligence claims. He is noted as a "strong litigator" by interviewees.

Keith Webster is considered to be an "excellent" and "very technically capable" practitioner. He handles a broad array of rectification, professional negligence and Regulator matters.

Significant clients Aon UK, Buck Consultants, P&O, Barnett Waddingham, Towers Watson.

Projects - UK-wide

What the team is known for Acts for sponsors and lenders in UK and European PFI deals. Active in secondary market deals and the social infrastructure sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "We are happy with CMS and the level of support and expertise that was provided." 

Work highlights Acted for the lenders on the refinancing of the National Air Traffic Service PPP.

Advised the sponsors and investors on the West Yorkshire Police PFI, which included construction of a new headquarters and custody facilities. 

Notable practitioners 

Paul Smith is a well-respected solicitor, active in the PFI sector. He advised the project company on the Barking and Dagenham housing PFI scheme. Sources say: "He is very pragmatic and works with all parties to get the deal done."

Andrew Ivison is a well-known lawyer in the market, who advises lenders and bidders on infrastructure projects. He is especially visible in the secondary market sector. Sources say: "He is sensible and reasonable, very experienced and good to deal with."  

Jonathan Beckitt is active in domestic and international PFI/PPP projects. He acts on projects in areas such as waste, transport and social housing. Sources say: "He is very pleasant and constructive to deal with."

Jason Davies is a finance partner with a great deal of experience of PFI and PPP projects. Sources say: "He is an expert at closing PFI deals." 

Nancy Eller is a finance partner who has acted on many infrastructure and PPP deals. She acts on transport and secondary market deals. She advised Aviva Investors on its purchase of a tranche of the Bank of Ireland's project finance book.

Significant clients John Laing, Skanska, Strabag, Infrared Capital Partners, FCC.

Private Equity - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 10 partners
- 23 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A strong reputation for representing mid-market funds on UK deals. Key expertise in the healthcare, financial services and TMT sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "We have limited time when working on deals, so having a trusted adviser who comes to me if there are any problems is very valuable."

Work highlights Represented LGV Capital and Hutton Collins in their £100 million purchase of Novus Leisure.

Advised AMP Capital on its acquisition of a 49% stake in the holding company for Newcastle International Airport, NIAL.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Sheach is praised by clients for his experienced approach and his ability to advise clients on complex transactions. Recent highlights include advising Lloyds Development Capital on Bridgepoint Development Capital's purchase by secondary buyout of BigHand Holdings for £49 million.

James Grimwood "cuts to the chase on legal issues" and is "highly commercial," clients say. He advised Octopus Investments and other sellers on the disposition, to an MBO vehicle backed by The Carlyle Group, of Nature Delivered.

Jason Zemmel advised Sovereign Capital on the sale of FM Funerals to Duke Street for £37.5 million. He is "highly proactive, user-friendly" and "works very hard," clients say.  

Significant clients AAC Capital, Advent International, AnaCap Financial, GI, Greenhill Capital.

Product Liability - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 3 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Offers an impressive pan-European network and strong support from complementary departments such as IP and competition. Particularly notable for its work in risk assessment and crisis management including product recall.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "Excellent relations with the UK regulation authorities and they can leverage them very well. Very precise, clear and responsive - very well geared to our way of doing business."

Work highlights Acted for Nestlé in connection with Cadbury and Kraft's alleged infringement of the trade-marked shape and design of Rolos with the product Chocos.

Notable practitioners

Sarah Hanson is a key contact here.

Public Procurement - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 9 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Advising clients in highly regulated industries on procurement matters, particularly energy and life sciences. Acts on behalf of prospective bidders on both procurement disputes and non-contentious matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "They have a great team, with quality throughout."

Notable practitioners 

Susan Hankey and David Marks are the key contacts for this practice.

Significant clients Noble Energy, Post Office, National Grid.

Retail - UK-wide

What the team is known for Widely recognised for the quality of its retail property practice. Offers a strong network of offices across Europe to support clients looking to expand in the region. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They are reliable and professional, and possess in-depth knowledge and understanding of the documents."

Problem-solving: "The team demonstrated a good ability to negotiate with the other party and efficiency in managing the various transactions and following them up."

Breadth of experience: "I find working with the team to be very good. They have broad experience across the sector."

What's new? New clients include Lotus, Majestic Wines and QVC.

Work highlights Advises Sainsbury's on its £420 million Fulham Riverside project, which will be its largest superstore in central London.

Negotiated a lease agreement for Toys R Us' new head office in Maidenhead, and also handles all its property-related matters across England and Wales.

Notable practitioners  

Louise Wallace leads the retail practice and is the main contact.

Significant clients Sainsbury's, Toys R Us, Amazon.com, Sports Direct, EAT.

Telecommunications - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department 

- 9 partners
- 40 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Popular telecoms team within the utilities sector, handling roll-outs and regulatory issues. Remains a leading firm for satellite communications advice.

What's new? Juan Crosby has been promoted to partner. He has expertise in telecoms utilities and sourcing agreements.

Appointed to the panel of French telecoms firm Atos.

Work highlights Offered communications regulatory support to MIH Allegro on its acquisition of a controlling stake in Netretail. 

Appointed by the UK government as policy adviser to the 'IGS Restack' initiative, which is focused on the development of the space industry.

Notable practitioners  

Chris Watson commands great respect. Peers speak highly of his skills in tackling complicated or difficult issues. His practice spans transactional work and the establishment of service platforms. According to one client, "he is professional, competent and a pleasure to work with."

Joanne Wheeler "provides reflective and authoritative advice," sources say. She is a recommended specialist in satellite communications who is involved in policy work, and interviewees see her as "one of the very few who has a serious understanding of satellites." She also advises mobile companies on regulatory and licensing issues. 

Significant clients Avanti Communications, BT, Solaris Mobile.

Transport - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 7 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Focused on advising on rail infrastructure projects, both in the UK and overseas.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry experience: "What they provide isn't just a technically proficient lawyer, but also someone who has been around the block a bit and can provide a strategic view."

Work highlights Continued advising Tramlink Nottingham on the Nottingham Express Transit PFI project.

Acting on a potential PPP project for the government of India aimed at the redevelopment of the New Delhi railway station.

Notable practitioners  

Jonathan Beckitt "completely understands the politics involved in a deal and can provide you with wise, strategic advice," say commentators. He covers PPP and PFI projects in the UK and internationally.

Bill Carr co-heads the department with Jonathan Beckitt and impresses clients with his ability to "build relationships between counterparties and partners." He focuses on rail PPP and PFI projects.

Significant clients Eurostar.