Public Procurement: UK-wide
Addleshaw Goddard continues to be recognised as having one of the country's leading public procurement practices. The group has a truly national reach, with offices in Leeds, London and Manchester. It is traditionally well known for its depth of expertise in defence procurement, and has a strong following amongst utilities operators and healthcare organisations, as well as major suppliers. The firm's contentious work is also highly regarded by peers and clients alike.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jonathan Davey has a well-deserved reputation for his work in defence procurement. According to sources, he has a "strong sense of practicality and a very good manner."
Consultant Garth Lindrup is a public procurement, state aid and competition law specialist of long standing. He recently advised a client on its establishment of a GP commissioning framework.
Eversheds undoubtedly has one of Britain's best and most comprehensive offerings in this sector. Corresponding with a firm-wide commitment to the industry, the group has a strong practice within energy and utilities, as well as defence, education, health, local government, regeneration and transport. The lawyers excel at handling bidding and contract disputes for suppliers as well as purchasers of services. Clients include the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, Newcastle County Council and the Olympic Park Legacy Company.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Ruth Connorton concentrates mainly on non-contentious work, and also advises on approaches to litigation. She has a niche in providing long-term strategic advice on projects, notably for the Olympic Park Legacy Company.
Field Fisher's public procurement practice is renowned throughout the UK and Europe. It acts for all manner of public bodies, from central government departments to major executive agencies. The enviable client list also includes leading private service providers and high-profile names such as Accenture, the Association of British Healthcare Industries, the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Charles Whiddington leads the firm's EU competition and procurement group, and is regularly called upon to guide major projects through all stages of the procurement process.
This 16-strong team has the necessary depth to take on the largest and most sophisticated procurement instructions and challenges. It represents buyers in central government departments as well as private sector suppliers, and engages in high-value litigation, including Alstom Transport v Eurostar International and Siemens, the biggest such case in recent years. The team also advises on cross-border procurement and has played a crucial role in advising Olympic bodies on projects relating to the 2012 games.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sally Roe takes a lead in matters concerning road, rail and social infrastructure, and has a significant international practice. She typically, although not exclusively, acts for government and public sector clients.
Associate Laura Wisdom is gaining increasing recognition and praise for her procurement work, which has included assisting with the firm's representation of Siemens in the Alstom case.
Hogan Lovells rises to the top band this year on the strength of its powerful national and pan-European reputation and reach in procurement law. The team's litigation practice has been involved in the Alstom/Eurostar/Siemens case, and acts for central and local government bodies, executive agencies and international institutions as well as a host of well-known suppliers on non-contentious matters.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Kate Rees recently joined Hogan Lovells from Pinsent Masons and is highlighted as a great catch for the team. Sources describe her as "highly intelligent and practical," and praise her "great experience and insight."
With offices throughout the country, this firm has one of the most successful and comprehensive public procurement practices in the market. Strengthened by the 2012 merger with leading Scottish firm McGrigors, Pinsent Masons is equipped to handle big-ticket contract and contentious work for government and public bodies as well as private sector service providers. Clients include the CP, the Broadband Delivery UK unit of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Balfour Beatty and Vertex.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jennifer Robinson engages in litigation and non-contentious work, often with a utilities and infrastructure bent. More recently, her focus has extended into the telecoms sector, and she counts the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as a key client.
With offices in Birmingham, Exeter, London and Manchester, Trowers & Hamlins has the national reach to provide a comprehensive public procurement practice. The firm acts on behalf of central government departments, police authorities and metropolitan councils, and has a strong private sector following, notably in social housing. Clients include Alliance Homes, the London Borough of Newham and West Midlands Police Authority.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Helen Randall is an expert in procurement, EU and state aid law, and has a strong practice advising local authorities. Her work on municipalities' Building Schools for the Future (BSF) projects has been singled out for special mention.
Michael Mousdale specialises in local government law and its application to public procurement exercises. He has worked on high-value PFI/PPP projects in a variety of sectors, including waste disposal, schools and police accommodation.
Rebecca Rees impresses sources with her commitment to "getting a deal done in very challenging funding and market conditions."
This firm, with offices in Birmingham, Bristol and London, has an excellent reputation for assisting central and local government and public and private health sector organisations on all facets of the procurement process and associated challenges and litigation. A recent major project involved advising Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust on the award of contracts to build and maintain two new hospital sites in Oxford and Bicester. Other clients include Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham City Council and Hawk Protection.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Elizabeth Cooper heads the firm's procurement and EU team.
Burges Salmon has a fine reputation for handling leading outsourcing arrangements for central and local government bodies, energy giants, higher education institutions and transport operators. The group also has niche expertise in inner city regeneration and nuclear decommissioning. On the contentious side, it acted successfully for Eurostar on its £600 million dispute with Alstom. Other clients include the Ministry of Defence and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head John Houlden is "extremely pleasant and very sensible," according to interviewees. He advises bidders and authorities on bidding and litigation when arrangements go awry.
This large, dynamic group is looking to develop one of the world's first global government contracts and procurement practices, with help from its international platform. It has a particularly good reputation for advising central government bodies, and has taken a prominent role assisting the Olympic Delivery Authority on procurement issues. It also acts for the Equiniti Group, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and West Midlands Police Authority, amongst others.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Paul Stone is a key contact.
The public procurement practice at Nabarro is cross-disciplinary, giving clients access to a range of dedicated specialists. The group continues to consolidate its market presence in alternative energy and healthcare matters. Clients include Carbon Trust, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Sport England.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Cyrus Mehta acts for public bodies and contractors, taking them through the bidding process and attendant compliance issues. His clients include the Carbon Trust and Sport England.
Norton Rose's procurement team is a central plank of its competition law offering. It advises public bodies and private tenderers on PFI/PPP commissions, utilities, infrastructure and transport projects. The lawyers also counsel on contract compliance issues and handle challenges for buyers and suppliers. The team's prestigious client list includes Bombardier Transportation UK, the Department of Health and the Hellenic Republic.
KEY INDIVIDUALS According to clients, Totis Kotsonis combines an academic command of procurement law with a refreshingly pragmatic and commercial sensibility.
Head of department Mark Jones is valued by large institutional clients and their suppliers for the quality of his advice and his strategic vision.
As a major facet of the firm's international network, this London procurement group is sought after by European as well as British companies seeking guidance on tenders and challenges. The team has a strong track record in representing healthcare, pharmaceutical and defence contractors, as well as IT and outsourcing providers.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Ross Denton is the primary contact for procurement work.
This compact but effective team offers bespoke procurement advice informed by extensive experience and the firm's strengths in the adjacent discipline of EU law, as well as its office in Brussels, with which it has co-ordinated large-scale and cross-border projects in recent years. Defence procurement is a noted area of excellence for the firm.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Warsha Kalé is an expert on EU-wide procurement issues. "Warsha is very practical and has been willing to give initial advice with formal advice to follow, which is what you need when time is ticking," said one appreciative client.
Bircham Dyson Bell has a sound reputation for its procurement practice and presence in the sector. The team is particularly well regarded for its skill in construction, transport and infrastructure projects. It is traditionally known for its emphasis on public sector clients, but is increasingly representing suppliers as well.
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Mundy is head of the department.
Bird & Bird is renowned for its strength in IP, technology and telecoms-related legal advice, and so for some time has been seen as a go-to firm for IT procurement and outsourcing. That said, it has long handled sophisticated broadcasting, energy, health and defence-related matters as well. Demonstrating the firm's esteem in this area, it was retained by the Department for Energy and Climate Change to advise on its roll-out of a gas and electricity smart meter project.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients value Roger Bickerstaff's "carefully considered public procurement advice," particularly with regard to complex IT and communications projects.
CMS's public procurement practice tends to act for private contractors and central government departments, executive agencies and major utilities involved in large-scale projects. Areas of strength include NHS procurement, transport and infrastructure projects, urban development and sophisticated computing service contracts. Clients include Royal Mail, National Grid and Sainsbury's.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Susan Hankey is a key contact.
Dentons is particularly renowned for its public procurement expertise as applied to energy, infrastructure and urban regeneration projects, and acts for bidders and awarding authorities through all stages of the procurement process, including high-stakes litigation. A recent coup for the firm has been its instruction by the Department for Energy and Climate Change to advise on procurement issues relating to the UK's carbon capture and storage programme.
Subsequent to publication, SNR Denton LLP, Salans LLP and Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP merged to form Dentons in April 2013.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very helpful and pleasant" Mark Bassett leads the firm's procurement team and has extensive experience in advising on energy, infrastructure, regeneration and technology projects.
This Scottish firm has offices in London and a long-established reputation for public procurement matters. The group is particularly strong in handling major public infrastructure projects in Scotland, utilities procurement projects, healthcare commissioning, land redevelopment and matters concerning the universities sector. Clients include EDF Energy, National Grid and the Scottish government.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael McAuley has extensive experience in advising on all manner of procurements, typically high-value engineering, infrastructure transport and infrastructure projects.
Herbert Smith is well known in procurement circles for its work on large infrastructure projects. The team has recently been involved in major rail, regeneration, healthcare, energy and nuclear procurements, both at home and abroad. It recently advised the Lithuanian atomic agency on the legal issues surrounding the process to appoint a partner for the construction of a new facility at Vasiginas in Lithuania.
KEY INDIVIDUALS James Quinney heads the firm's competition, regulation and trade team.
Lawrence Graham maintains a strong position in the procurement market. Its eight-strong team advises private contractors and public sector awarding bodies on all facets of the procurement process and on challenges. It has recently been very active in the healthcare area, assisting Health Limited to become the first private company to be offered an operating franchise to run an NHS acute hospital trust in England, in this case Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust in Cambridgeshire.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Rosemary Choueka is the primary contact.
Mills & Reeve advises a host of major public bodies and government agencies on a variety of matters, and has a particularly well-deserved reputation for its procurement advice and litigation within the healthcare and universities sectors. The team is also increasingly working with private contractors, who benefit greatly from its in-depth knowledge of the public sector. Clients include the Environment Agency, NHS Commercial Medicines Unit and the University of East Anglia.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Ruth Smith, who joins from Pinsent Masons, is lauded as "one of the foremost procurement lawyers in the country." She recently counselled the Audit Commission on the outsourcing of its entire auditing practice.
Wragge & Co's procurement team is based mainly in Birmingham and London, and has a strong reputation for its work within the healthcare, construction and IT sectors, although it is well equipped to handle the most demanding projects in any area of industry or public service. It acts for NHS bodies, executive agencies, housing associations and leading technology companies, amongst other clients.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Christopher Brennan is the primary contact.
The procurement team at Allen & Overy advises large public and private sector entities on a wide range of matters, and is further bolstered by its international platform and ability to handle the most sophisticated, multi-jurisdictional projects.
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Wotton is a key contact.
The procurement team at Anthony Collins advises private contractors and public bodies on competitive tendering processes. It has a traditional strength in working with local authorities, housing associations and arms length management organisations (ALMOs). The team also advises private and public sector organisations on business and council services outsourcings, and is making strides in the renewable energy space.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Mark Cook is a partner specialising in economic, social and environmental responsibility in procurement exercises, and advises non-profit, private and public organisations.
Arthur Cox has offices in Belfast, Dublin and London, and is an acknowledged leader in public procurement law in Northern Ireland. The team advises some of the largest government and local authorities in the province, as well as private companies from Ulster and beyond bidding for service contracts.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peter Curran is a partner in the Belfast office and leads the firm's procurement capability.
Blake Lapthorn advises central government departments, local authorities, national regulators and public sector agencies across the spectrum of public procurement law, as well as private contractors. A measure of the firm's esteem in this area is its ongoing appointment to a government procurement panel concerned with information and communications technology, IP, and property and estates.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Southampton-based Peter Barber is a key contact.
This firm has a prominent position in Newcastle and the North East, and also has the resources to provide a national public procurement service. The ten-strong team acts for local authorities, executive agencies and public bodies as well as private companies, and has a particularly distinguished record within the healthcare, education, social housing and transport and infrastructure spheres.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "excellent" Deborah Ramshaw is head of the firm's procurement team, and is praised by clients for her "clear unambiguous advice given in lay terms."
Carson McDowell's dedicated procurement team has a reputation that resonates beyond Northern Ireland. The team advises awarding authorities and private tenderers on all aspects of the procurement process, as well as on EU regulations governing competition and state aid. Its strengths in higher education, social housing and utilities are particularly noteworthy.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Catherine Thompson has a particularly keen interest in advising clients within the education and social housing sectors.
Declan Magee heads the firm's procurement practice. His main area of focus is litigation, mainly in the form of mounting or defending challenges to the procurement process.
DAC Beachcroft has offices in London and Brussels housing specialists in EU, competition and procurement law. The team's clients are predominantly public sector organisations, with NHS trusts and healthcare bodies being very strongly represented, although it has a good track record advising private contractors as well. Royal Mail is a key client.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Dr Alexandra von Westernhagen is the primary contact.
As a leading City firm, Linklaters has the resources to take on the most demanding procurement instructions, whether concerned with compliance and the bidding process, or with litigating challenges. The team's clients tend to be major private service providers and large public sector bodies, ranging from utilities companies to central government departments and executive agencies.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Oliver Black leads on much of the firm's public procurement work, and is also an expert in the adjacent field of utilities regulation.
This strong Scottish firm has an admirable record in public procurement. The team's main areas of focus are infrastructure, construction and transport. It also handles medical services procurement and regeneration projects, and acts for police authorities. On the contentious side, the team handles challenges concerning the bidding process and contract disputes. Clients include City of Edinburgh Council, Network Rail and Scottish Enterprise.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Described as knowledgeable, approachable and pragmatic, David McGowan recently advised Network Rail on the procurement law issues affecting the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme.
MacRoberts has an impressive footprint in the public procurement arena, both in Scotland and beyond. The team acts for bidders and awarding authorities, and advises clients on both sides of the divide on procurement challenges. Areas of strength include procurements relating to construction, infrastructure, energy and utilities and waste management. NHS Lothian, Dundee City Council and Western Ferries are key clients.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Duncan Osler heads the department and is considered one of the leading procurement lawyers in Scotland. He is on the executive committee of the Procurement Lawyers' Association in the UK.
Osborne Clarke enters the rankings this year on the strength of its varied and sophisticated procurement practice. The team has a large following of businesses in the private healthcare industry, suppliers of TMT services and defence contractors, as well as companies and public bodies involved in transport, infrastructure, energy and utilities. Key clients include Dell, G4S and the Environment Agency.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Catherine Wolfenden "provides an absolutely excellent all-round service," according to senior legal sources, and is praised for her strategic edge and general acuity as a litigator in procurement disputes.
of Brodies LLP is a solicitor advocate and competition law expert. Sources say he is "very knowledgeable and experienced in the field of procurement and related matters, and is able to provide clear advice and solutions to very complex problems."
of Browne Jacobson LLP has strong experience of advising large metropolitan local authorities on all manner of procurement matters. Sources find him "enthusiastic, helpful and always willing to go the extra mile."
of Watson, Farley & Williams is a talented procurement and competition lawyer. Her practice has an emphasis on work concerning communications technology and regulated utilities.
, who joins Squire Sanders from DLA Piper, is one of the deans of this area of practice. "Steven's knowledge of regulated procurement is encyclopaedic. He is commercially intuitive and gifted at imparting knowledge,"
said one impressed interviewee.
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