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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP


Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP - London
  • 65 Fleet Street
  • London
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC4Y 1HS
  • UK  
  • Senior Partner William Lawes
  • Managing Partner Ted Burke
  • Executive Partner Stephan Eilers
  • Number of partners 440
  • Number of lawyers 2500

THE FIRM Freshfields is a commercially savvy, innovative law firm that will help you navigate the most complex issues, wherever you want to do business. Its clients say that Freshfields has five main strengths that mark it out from other firms: nunparalleled international delivery;
• a winning track-record for when it matters most;
• business-relevant judgement and know-how;
• great people understanding; and
• absolute client commitment.
Freshfields is one of the world’s 10 largest law firms, with over 2,500 lawyers worldwide.

PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORK Freshfields has a particularly strong international focus. It has advised on more cross-border M&A in the past four years than any other law firm. In 2012 alone it worked on almost 250 deals, with a value of $256b. Since 2010 Freshfields has advised on half the in-depth merger investigations by the European Commission. The firm also advises on some of the most high-value arbitrations in the world, with pending cases totalling over $80b. Sector experience: Freshfields’ lawyers tailor their advice for particular sectors. These include private equity, consumer and healthcare, energy and natural resources, insurance and financial institutions. The firm also focuses on the industrial, infrastructure and transport sectors, leisure, real estate, and telecoms, media and technology. Services for clients: Freshfields is a market leader in M&A and capital markets, competition, finance, regulatory work, disputes, restructuring and insolvency, tax, employment, real estate and intellectual property. Its new ‘global campaigns’ combine skills from across the firm’s network to support clients on their most upto- date business concerns. The campaigns include easy-to-navigate guides to help clients move into highgrowth markets, avoid risks and manage crises.

CLIENTS Freshfields advises corporations, financial institutions and governments around the world. Clients include AstraZeneca, BAE Systems, HSBC and Rolls-Royce. It has advised its oldest client, the Bank of England, for over 250 years.

INTERNATIONAL Freshfields is a truly ‘worldwide’ firm. It works in some of the world’s most challenging legal environments. In the last three years Freshfields has helped clients in over 200 jurisdictions, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, and Greenland to Guyana. The firm has experienced ‘country teams’ and ‘country partners’,who focus on markets that are important for clients. The teams also develop relationships with local law firms and regulators, so they’re ready at short notice to give you the best advice anywhere in the world.

RECRUITMENT Freshfields has a strong diversity policy – ability and talent drive progression, not background, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age or impairment. The firm encourages lawyers to go on client secondments and trains staff to build specific industry knowledge and skills so they can adapt to clients’ and markets’ changing needs.

  • Antitrust, Competition & Trade Rod Carlton
  • Corporate Julian Long
  • Dispute Resolution Christopher Pugh
  • Employment, Pensions & Benefits Simon Evans
  • Finance Ken Baird
  • Real Estate John Fordham
  • Tax David Haworth


Banking & Finance - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Premier destination for high-end borrower-side work, and recognised for its impressive sponsor and lender mandates. It is at the forefront of market developments in bank/bond financing, infrastructure finance and debt restructuring.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
 Commercial awareness: "High-quality advice with a good understanding of the client's business and perspective. They are commercial – a firm you turn to for something complex."

Bench strength: "I like the whole team – they have a very deep bench and good quality of lawyers, from associates right the way through to partner."

Client service: "They stand out as providing a good service to borrowers."

What's new? Michael Steele and Geoff O'Dea were promoted to partner.

Work highlights Acted for CVC Capital Partners on the all-senior debt financing portion of its USD1.8 billion acquisition of Ahlsell.  

Advised Techem Energy Services, a German portfolio company of Macquarie, on its EUR1.3 billion refinancing of existing debt. 

Notable practitioners 

Sean Pierce offers "high-quality advice with a good understanding of the client's business and perspective." He is recognised for his work on behalf of sponsor clients, recently leading the team on the financing of CVC's purchase of Ahlsell.

Alex Mitchell receives extensive praise, with one source commenting: "He is probably the most commercial lawyer I've worked with." Mitchell has recently worked on a debt restructuring for Haymarket Financial, ING Bank and M&G Investments, and has been described as a "very diligent, detailed lawyer who is very thorough and cognisant of pressure points."

Peter Hall's recent work includes advising on a syndicated multicurrency revolving loan facility of EUR1 billion for Japan Tobacco International. He is well known for his experience in handling matters involving the regulated industries.

Experienced practitioner Martin Hutchings has had a busy year acting on a revolving credit facility of USD1.2 billion for client Petrofac, which involved a syndicate of 14 banks and close co-ordination with the firm's Dubai office.

Michael Steele receives glowing praise for his performance, with sources highlighting his "tremendous amount of energy," "fantastic service" and willingness to "do whatever it takes to get a deal across the finish line." He has recently worked on major mandates from Cinven and a group of lenders including Goldman Sachs, Rabobank and Jefferies Group.

Significant clients Lloyds Banking Group, Prudential M&G, Cinven, Morgan Stanley, HSBC.

Banking Litigation - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 11 partners
- over 50 associates

What the team is known for Sizeable group renowned for its ability to handle complex litigation in the field, both domestic and cross-border. Expertise across the full spectrum of banking-related litigation, including mis-selling, investigations and disputes arising out of insolvencies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "Freshfields always comes back very promptly and completes jobs in a very timely way. All round a very good service."

Market standing: "It is the premier litigation outfit. The quality of people Freshfields has is outstanding."

Bench strength: "An impressive firm in terms of its ability to put together a team to deal with the huge cases that come up in the area."

Work highlights Acted on behalf of Deutsche Bank in a significant litigation against Sebastian Holdings, seeking to recover USD250 million and defending a counterclaim brought by the defendant.

Successfully defended Credit Suisse in a multifaceted action alleging breach of statutory duty and recompense sought for losses in relation to investments made in structured financial products.

Notable practitioners  

Described as a "Rolls-Royce performer," Andrew Hart is highly regarded in the banking litigation market. Sources say he is "very focused on looking after the client and on client satisfaction, as well as very experienced and highly responsive."

Simon Orton has extensive experience acting on behalf of retail and investment banks and major financial institutions. He is admired by peers and clients. Sources say he is "highly thorough, cares about the clients and is very passionate."

"Clever, pragmatic and great to deal with," Sarah Parkes has notable experience advising major clients on structured products and derivatives.

Ian Taylor is described as "a really sensible and commercial lawyer with brilliant judgement." He is widely recognised as a leader in the field and has extensive experience dealing with complex, high-value banking litigation matters. 

Significant clients HSBC, Barclays, JPMorgan, Lloyds TSB, Nomura.

Capital Markets - London (Firms)

 - 20 partners 
 - 60 associates

What the team is known for Maintains its position as one of the leading ECM practices in the market, demonstrating its broad capabilities acting on some of the most high-profile IPOs of recent years. Also has strong expertise on the debt and high-yield side, with significant experience advising on MTN programmes, liability management transactions and standalone bond issuances, often in emerging markets. Remains an active participant in industry development discussions, often working in conjunction with regulators and exchanges. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "Geared up for deals across the spectrum in terms of size, they're equipped to handle even the largest deals."

Technical ability: "They're very good technically and help to drive the transaction through to a very successful conclusion."

Work highlights Advised Xstrata in connection with a USD 4.5 billion Yankee bond offering.

Acted for a syndicate of banks with regard to their role as joint bookrunners for MegaFon's USD1.7 billion IPO. This included the undertaking of particularly complex due diligence matters.

Notable practitioners  

The "very experienced and very capable" Julian Makin is regarded as a "go-to person on mining and ECM work." He is co-head of the firm's mining and metals team, and offers expertise in both DCM and ECM.  

Sources are full of praise for ECM specialist Sarah Murphy commenting that she is "obviously completely at the top of her game," and particularly admiring that "when it's a complicated matter she's good at taking charge and heading forward with it."

Highly experienced ECM practitioner Tim Jones brings "exceptional" experience and gravitas. He recently advised on DS Smith's £466 million rights issue, on behalf of sole sponsor and bookrunner JPMorgan Cazenove.

Mark Austin frequently acts for investment banks and corporates, advising on a variety of matters, including public and private securities offerings. Commentators find him "very hands-on and very considered" in his approach.

Significant clients Techem, Barclays, Severstal, Commerzbank, Xstrata.

Since publication, Tim Jones has retired from this practice.

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

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

What the team is known for Well known for its securitisation expertise, with significant recent experience handling major, cutting-edge infrastructure and whole business projects for key players in the market. Also demonstrates strength on CMBS and conduit transactions. Maintains a key focus on emerging markets, such as North Africa and Brazil, particularly for strategic equity transactions.

Work highlights Acted on behalf of Vitus Group in connection with its EUR754 million CMBS, used to refinance its German multifamily housing portfolio.  

Advised Center Parcs in relation to the £1 billion whole-business securitisation of a portfolio of four UK holiday parks. In addition to the securitisation, financing was raised through a high-yield bond.  

Notable practitioners  

Department head Marcus Mackenzie is particularly noted for his expertise in whole-business securitisations. He recently advised Center Parcs in connection with its £1 billion securitisation of its UK holiday parks. He has extensive experience advising on project financing for infrastructure, as well as in the leisure and retail sectors.

The "very experienced" Simeon Rudin is recognised for his strength and experience in the derivatives and structured products market. He offers in-depth knowledge across a range of issues, but largely focuses on more complex transactions that require an innovative approach.

Significant clients ABP, HS1, Telereal, Center Parcs, Heathrow Funding.

Competition/European Law - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 15 partners
- 40 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Heavyweight expertise at the forefront of the competition market with an unrivalled bench strength. Talented in all areas of competition law and involved in the most sophisticated and complex market investigations and damages actions. Frequently advises on large mergers with a significant impact on the industry sectors involved.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "They are so impressive in this space. Their strength, breadth and depth and just the sheer number of high level, elite and quality advocates that they have makes them stand out as leaders."

Strategic planning: "They have the ability to sift through data then take a step back and come up with a strategic view in a very short space of time. They are meticulous in dealing with a topic and leave no stone unturned." 

Work highlights Advised Pearson on an agreement with Bertelsmann to create the world's leading consumer publishing organisation by combining two leading publishers, Random House and Penguin.

Advised InterContinental Hotels Group on the OFT investigation into alleged breaches of competition law occurring in the supply of room-only hotel accommodation by online companies.

Represented Deloitte in the Competition Commission investigation into the supply of statutory audit services.

Notable practitioners 

Jon Lawrence is singled out as "a star individual" and "an excellent and very experienced litigator." He is specifically adept at defending a swathe of clients in follow on-damages claims, including representing ABB in a high-profile claim made by National Grid.

Sources say Deirdre Trapp is "head and shoulders above the competition."  Viewed as "intellectual, very impressive and someone who works hard to get results," she typically handles complex market investigations on behalf of major clients.

David Aitman is seen as an expert in European competition work and is well respected by peers. He has experience of working with companies from the highly regulated water and energy industries.  

Highly driven Rod Carlton is viewed by clients as "an energetic and dynamic partner" who "is acutely commercially sensitive, has great judgement and is an outstanding strategist." His track record includes securing unconditional clearance for high-profile mergers.

Paul Lomas is often seen leading the litigious aspects of the group's most complex competition cases. His background in general commercial dispute resolution is seen as a useful asset in defending action by the regulators and competitors. 

With a vast amount of experience to his name, John Davies demonstrates a deep understanding of the field. He is viewed as a key contact by the group's clients and splits his practice between London and Brussels.

Simon Priddis is accomplished at managing the needs of his clients and has a strong understanding of the regulator's mindset. He has considerable experience of complex competition issues arising out of mergers and acquisitions.

Dispute resolution partner Bea Tormey is experienced in representing clients before major domestic regulatory bodies as well as the European competition authorities. She is currently involved in investigations into the rigging of the Libor rate.

James Aitken counts several major multinational corporations amongst his competition clients. He recently acted on a complex merger in the highly regulated water industry.

Nicholas French is commended by sources who say "his organisational skills are excellent and his analytical skills are exceptional," alongside which "he is very strategic and knows what is best to protect the business." He is experienced in all areas of competition law, with particular expertise in advising Chinese companies on doing business in Europe.

Peers credit Mark Sansom with the ability to become one of the leading names in the competition field. Sources say "he has the judgement, common sense and communication skills, and combines them with flair." He has recent experience of advising clients on complex merger cases.  

Emerging talent Alastair Chapman has had a great year in the competition arena. He was lead partner to Pearson in negotiating its joint venture with Bertelsmann.

Alexander Potter is described as a "very impressive lawyer who can get a deal through the process very quickly." He is particularly strong in merger clearance work and has in-depth experience of Chinese competition law.  

Significant clients BP, Tesco, Anheuser-Busch InBev, BHP Billiton, BG Group.

Corporate/M&A - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-48 partners
-229 other lawyers

What the team is known for Represents clients in market-leading transactions of the highest profile, including those of the utmost sophistication and intricacy. Maintains its outstanding reputation on worldwide cross-border transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Excellent quality at all levels, flexible and commercial, and innovative in its service offering."

Responsiveness: "They gear up and respond very quickly and are multi-disciplinary."

Partner involvement: "One of the things that struck me is they make their senior people and top-drawer talent available."

What's new? New clients include the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).

Work highlights Represented Xstrata in its USD70 billion all-share merger with Glencore International.

Advised Pearson on its agreement with German multinational media company Bertelsmann to combine Penguin and Random House.

Advised Logica on the £1.7 billion recommended cash acquisition of Logica by CGI.  

Notable practitioners  

Mark Rawlinson is "extremely intelligent," and "cuts through processes to achieve business objectives," clients say. He is the managing partner of the London office.

Edward Braham recently advised UGL on its £78 million acquisition of the trading operations of DTZ from its administrators. He heads the worldwide corporate practice.

Will Lawes is "really first rate" and "has the confidence of the board," impressed sources report. He is the firm's senior partner.

Barry O'Brien recently advised Invensys on the proposed £1.7 billion disposal of its rail division to Siemens together with a proposed £625 million return of capital to shareholders of Invesys. He is highly respected by market sources for his experienced and commercial approach on transactions.

The "excellent" Julian Long is praised by market sources for his abilities on a range of complex cross-border transactions. He acted for Aon on its redomiciliation from the US to the UK.

Claire Wills has a good and growing reputation for her advice to financial institutions and retail companies on high-profile deals. Her recent highlights include advising ING on its disposal of the UK branch of ING Direct to Barclays.

Ben Spiers is "highly commercial and highly sensible," and one client said: "His corporate law knowledge is just excellent." He advises clients on public and private M&A transactions, restructurings and securities matters, with a focus on the TMT sector.

Lauren Honeyben is "calm and resourceful," "gives you a real sense of confidence and comfort," and her "early preparation is impressive," clients say. She is a senior associate.

Significant clients BAE Systems, Barclays Bank, E.ON, Deutsche Bank, Tesco.

Since publication, Barry O'Brien has moved in-house.

Employment - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 7 partners
- 26 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Underpinned by a market-leading corporate department, and pre-eminent in its ability to advise on the employment implications of major transactions. Experienced in dealing with tribunal litigation.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "They have some really high-quality work, particularly in acting for financial institutions and hedge funds."

International capability: "They're very effective at handling multi-jurisdictional matters. They're better than anybody else that I've come across in that space."

Work highlights Assisted The Rank Group with the employment aspects of its £205 million purchase of 26 casinos from Gala Coral.

Represented the Vita Group in litigation before the Employment Appeal Tribunal concerning an unfair dismissal claim.

Notable practitioners  

Nicholas Squire is perceived as a "standout" lawyer in this area, capable of drawing upon years of experience in order to ensure that clients receive a superlative level of advice. "He ensures that the commercial goals of a client are taken into consideration" and is comfortable acting on major corporate transactions.

Lauded for her empathetic approach, Caroline Stroud adopts a commercial style that is of immense benefit to her impressive stable of clients. She represented Vita Group in the Employment Appeal Tribunal concerning an unfair dismissal claim. 

Significant clients Deloitte, E.ON, General Dynamics, Rolls-Royce, Westfield Group.

Environment - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Leading environmental litigators, allied to a transactional and corporate support practice. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "From newly qualified lawyers to senior partners they were high-quality people who knew what they were doing."

Market standing: "A star firm for environment litigation." 

Notable practitioners  

Jonathan Isted is an experienced litigator with a practice that includes defending multinational companies facing environmental litigation. Sources say: "He has a huge depth of experience that he uses in an effective but understated way." 

Paul Bowden has a varied practice that includes a strong element of environmental litigation. Sources also mention his good reputation in the nuclear world, and describe him as a "very good analytical lawyer." 

Daniel Lawrence aids clients on transactions and provides regulatory environmental advice. Sources describe him as a "very good technical lawyer."

Significant clients DECC, Sellafield, Nuclear Industry Association, Aston Martin, European Investment Bank.

Fraud - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Impressive experience of advising corporate clients in relation to large-scale fraud claims. Considerable international investigations capacity.

Work highlights Acting for three KPMG partners who are the court-appointed receivers of the assets of Mukhtar Ablyazov, the primary defendant in the BTA Bank litigation.

Notable practitioners  

James Kennedy is the key partner in the firm's civil fraud practice.

Hotels & Leisure - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Particularly known for handling corporate and real estate transactions in the hotels market.

Work highlights Advised Dalian Wanda Group on the acquisition of a hotel development site in London.

Notable practitioners

Mark Wheelhouse is a key contact. 

Information Technology - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Advises on commercial technology contracts, high-profile litigation matters, and the IT and systems implications of large-scale mergers, acquisitions, disposals and other corporate transactions.

Notable practitioners

Richard Lister leads the IP and IT practices in London. He also heads the firm's outsourcing group and has strong specialist expertise in carve-out and business separation projects.

Avril Martindale advises clients from myriad industry sectors on a range of IP and technology issues, such as data protection, the exploitation and protection of IP rights, and outsourcing deals.

Intellectual Property - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners

What the team is known for A strong presence in patent litigation, yet also litigates for and advises blue-chip clients on soft IP matters. Acknowledged expertise in the IP aspects of corporate transactions. 

Notable practitioners  

Sources "very much rate" Justin Watts, saying he is "creative in his approach to litigation." His primary area of practice is patent litigation, mainly in the pharmaceutical and electronics arenas.

Avril Martindale is known for her abilities in handling transactional matters, including the licensing and protection of acquired IP rights.

International Arbitration - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 20 associates

What the team is known for Maintains an enviable presence in international arbitration. Regularly handles high-profile and particularly challenging disputes, often involving emerging markets and politically sensitive subjects. Works closely with colleagues in Paris.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "They have a good synergy and a strong team."

International strength: "Freshfields is a fantastic global practice, possibly the best in the world."

Work highlights Advised a multinational energy company against a South-East Asian country regarding tax assessments concerning an offshore development project.

Acted for Econet Wireless Group in multibillion-dollar proceedings involving the client's interests in Zain Nigeria (now part of Bharti-Airtel Group) and a contested liability award.

Notable practitioners  

Nigel Rawding is highlighted by peers as a "very good lawyer" and is particularly commended for his advocacy skills. He has acted on a range of complex arbitrations of late, including both UNCITRAL and ICC proceedings.

Sylvia Noury draws praise from market sources for her skills in this area. She regularly acts before ICC, AAA, LCIA, ICSID and UNCITRAL tribunals, and recently advised a multinational telecoms business on a potential high-value UNCITRAL arbitration.

Significant clients ConocoPhillips, MTN, BG Group, Deutsche Telekom, Eni.

Litigation - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Excellent reputation continues to generate some of largest mandates in the market. Superior command of commercial litigation demonstrated by its status as trusted adviser to some of the world's most prestigious companies.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "They are undoubtedly a first-class litigation team." 

Bench strength: "Impressive in terms of being able to put together a team to deal with the huge cases that come up."

Breadth of services: "Freshfields can compete effectively across a broad range of disputes."  

Work highlights Acted for Deutsche Bank on a USD250 million claim against Sebastian Holdings and on the defence of a substantial counterclaim made against it.

Represented RBS in litigation against Thomas Hicks and George Gillett, the former owners of Liverpool FC, relating to the takeover of the club.

Notable practitioners

Ian Terry is renowned as a "hugely experienced and very clear strategic thinker," with one source adding that he is simply "amazingly good." He spearheads the team representing Vasily Anisimov in spin-off litigation to the high-profile Berezovsky case.

The "very well-regarded" Christopher Pugh consistently impresses market observers with his depth of experience in large-scale international disputes.

Ian Taylor "has the ability to think strategically and a thirst and appetite for detail," according to one interviewee. He is a go-to adviser to numerous investment and retail banks and is described as "absolutely excellent." 

Raj Parker has earned a strong reputation for his work on disputes across a variety of industry sectors, including banking, leisure, transport and media.

Sources laud Paul Lomas as a "brilliant, very responsive and persuasive" litigator with a "superbly analytical mind." His clients include major household names such as Tesco.

Simon Orton is a talented litigator mainly operating in the banking and financial services spheres. He acts for investment and retail banks and also has experience in regulatory investigations.

Matthew Bruce is "extremely good" and picked out by one source as "a potential star going forward." He has a broad commercial litigation practice and is able to handle issues arising from complex internal investigations for corporate clients.

Regarded by one source as "fabulous," Geoff Nicholas has made a positive impression on the market through acting on cases such as the USD4.2 billion lawsuit brought in the USA against client MTN, an African mobile operator.

Significant clients BP, KPMG, Tesco, Smith & Nephew, Siemens.

Pensions - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 7 partners
- 26 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Draws particular praise for advising corporate clients on sophisticated scheme restructuring and de-risking activities. Part of the firm's global employment, pensions and benefits practice. Clients praise the firm's ability to provide seamless service across different practice groups.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "Freshfields' commitment to driving thought leadership is second to none."

Bench strength: "Freshfields has a very active team with leading lawyers."

What's new? New client wins for the firm include Aston Martin, Mitsui OSK Shipping Lines, Metro Group and De Vere.

Work highlights Advised ConocoPhillips on the pensions aspects of the demerger of the company, which split its refining and production businesses into two distinct legal entities. 

Acted for Goldman Sachs and its life assurance subsidiary, Rothesay Life, on a number of complex buyout, buyin and longevity swap deals, including a £230 million bulk annuity buyin with the General Motors Retirees Pension Plan trustees.

Notable practitioners  

David Pollard advises both companies and trustees, and is recognised as being "exceptionally knowledgeable." His work highlights include advising Mouchel on the pensions elements of its recent restructuring.

Charles Magoffin recently advised the UK government on the transfer of Royal Mail's £37.5 billion legacy pensions liabilities to the state to allow for the privatisation of the company. Sources describe him as "calm, methodical and a very safe pair of hands."

Dawn Heath moves up a band this year having been praised by commentators as "an excellent lawyer" with "a bright brain." She has recently acted for clients such as Metro Group and Mouchel.

Andrew Murphy recently advised on the pensions elements of the demerger of Sara Lee. One impressed client states: "He analysed problems well."

Significant clients Goldman Sachs, BIS, BT, The Phoenix Group, Mars.

Public International Law - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Widely acclaimed as one of the leading PIL practices. Particular strength in BIT work. Excellent track record handling boundary disputes and offers highly regarded sanctions expertise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
International capability: "Uniquely placed to locate various talents in different places because of their international network."

Problem solving: "They have an exceptional appreciation of how to deal with problems facing foreign states."

What's new? Associate Tariq Baloch joined the London team from the group's Paris and Dubai offices, further strengthening the practice.

Work highlights Assisting the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry's investigation into the disturbances in Bahrain that arose out of the regional Arab Spring protests.

Acting for Rusoro Mining in its ICSID Additional Facility arbitration, worth over USD2 billion, against the government of Venezuela emanating from the expropriation of its investments in the gold mining sector.

Notable practitioners  

Malcolm Forster is a noted leader in the field, notably in the area where PIL intersects with environmental law.

Significant clients The Kingdom of Bahrain, Chile, Global Fund, ConocoPhillips, Union Cycliste Internationale.

Real Estate Finance - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-5 partners
-16 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Offers a diverse range of real estate finance services. Well known for its expertise on high-value, intricate transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "I think they are absolutely first-class. Very commercial, strong partners leading the work and a very capable team below the partners."

Efficiency: "A key thing is clarity of advice. There's no hesitation in giving advice and no sitting on the fence, and the advice when given is always delivered in a clear and considered way."

Work highlights Acted for TPG Capital and Ivanhoe Cambridge as a joint venture on the acquisition and financing of the Woolgate Exchange in London, for a total deal value of £265 million.

Acted on the £432.5 million restructuring of a CMBS issuance for Bruntwood, which involved extending the final maturities of the CMBS notes and the underlying loan agreements.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Johnson attracts plaudits for his accessibility and breadth of knowledge. Clients say he is "very strategic and commercial. He provides real clarity when giving advice."

Jeffrey Rubinoff is revered for his technical ability, with one source describing him as "very valuable. He is so clever and spotted things we did not see. His fresh perspective was great."

David Trott recently advised Morgan Stanley Mortgage Services on the restructuring of a £535 million loan secured against CityPoint. He is a highly experienced practitioner with a good depth of experience in structured finance.

Significant clients Blackstone, TPG Capital, JPMorgan, Brookfield, Host Hotels.

Real Estate - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Handles high-profile and high-value real estate transactions for domestic and international investors and developers. Noted for expertise in joint venture arrangements.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They are an intellectual law firm. We use them on the more complicated property stuff. When you use intelligent lawyers on complicated things, it takes them a quarter of the time."

Client service: "Top-notch. Everyone we worked with understood property law but was also able to fit in very well with our team."

Commercial awareness: "Whenever you get them on a transaction they are a pleasure to deal with: they're bright, know what they're trying to do and have a good awareness of wider issues, like corporate and tax issues."

What's new? Reappointed to Land Securities legal panel.

Work highlights Advised Land Securities on the establishment of a 50:50 joint venture with CPPIB to redevelop a 5.5 acre site near Victoria station.

Acted for Government of Singapore Investment Corporation on the establishment of a new joint venture with UNITE to invest £330 million in the development of student accommodation in London.

Notable practitioners  

Chris Morris is an "experienced lawyer who gets the commercial perspective on the totality of the deal." His practice covers development and landlord and tenant matters, with additional expertise in PFI and transport work. He acted for RREEF grundbesitz europa on its £150 million acquisition of Park House, which included due diligence relating to the nearby Crossrail development.

Head of London real estate John Fordham is highly regarded by both peers and clients. Recent work includes Brookfield's acquisition of Hammerson's London office portfolio and London Wall development site, as well as the establishment of a joint venture with Oxford Properties to develop the latter. One client praises his ability to "balance a hands-on role in the transaction with our requirements for strategic and commercial legal advice."

Mark Wheelhouse focuses on investment, development and joint ventures, with experience in the hotel and leisure sector. He recently advised National Car Parks on its £500 million restructuring.

Client say Alex Watt combines "excellent attention to detail with maintaining a commercial approach." His practice focuses on investment and corporate real estate, with an emphasis on domestic and international funds.

Emma Kendall's practice centres on development, infrastructure, joint ventures and risk-sharing arrangements. Sources appreciate her capacity for detailed work and "clear understanding of our objectives as a client."

Significant clients TPG Capital, Scottish Widows, Almacantar, Minerva, Morgan Stanley.

Restructuring/Insolvency - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 12 partners
- 30 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Strongest full-service offering in the restructuring and insolvency market, with the ability to offer high-quality consultation to a wide breadth of clients. Pre-eminence in company-side representation. Experienced in handling highly intricate, Europe-wide transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "They have this ability to staff a deal with all the resources, bodies and expertise you could ever need – an excellent network and a firm at the top of its game." 

Market standing: "They have a great reputation and are number one for company-side insolvency advice - in that field they are the best you could have."

Work highlights Acted for the ad hoc group of noteholders on the highly complex stressed rescheduling of Deutsche Annington, Germany's largest private landlord and Europe's largest CMBS. This was achieved by an English scheme of arrangement.

Acted for HSBC Bank as senior agent and the co-ordinating committee for senior lenders in the recapitalisation of the Biffa waste management group.

Notable practitioners  

The hugely accomplished Ken Baird draws substantial praise for his long-standing presence in the market. "He is very wise, he has a lot of experience and is an excellent sounding board," said a source.

Several sources highlight Adam Gallagher as the first port of call for complex restructuring and insolvency advice, praise which is understandable when considering market feedback: "He embodies everything about the firm; he is diligent, commercial, really quite incredible" and "he is one of the most creative individuals I have worked with."

US and UK-qualified Nick Segal continues to draw praise from clients for his vast knowledge of the field. One source states: "I am not sure I have worked with a solicitor who knows more and thinks more about a subject, he is so on top of every case he handles."

Neil Golding is described as being "creative, insightful and focused on delivering the right results." He is particularly proficient at handling cases with an insurance element and working on schemes of arrangement.

Emerging talent Ryan Beckwith is singled out as "one to watch" by sources: "He is commercial, creative and has great knowledge." He advises both lenders and borrowers, and recently acted on both the Travelodge and Clinton Cards restructurings.

Sources say Sean Lacey earns his place in this year's rankings as "he understands the commercial purpose of what we do and narrows analysis to salient points." He has advised clients on a number of restructurings, including the Biffa Group and UK Coal.

Ian Wallace is praised for his ability to be "very commercial and focused on the big issues." Clients value the way in which he "instils confidence in his abilities and acts as a safe pair of hands."

At the absolute forefront of the market, Richard Tett is endorsed as "one of the most technically sound restructuring lawyers in the market." Clients say he is "phenomenally creative at problem-solving." He was lead partner on the Deutsche Annington matter.

Significant clients Blackstone, Rothschild, Lazard, Deloitte, Ernst & Young.

Tax - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for High-quality team valued for its strength in depth, providing clients with a broad international network and a diverse knowledge base for complex technical matters. Praised for its transfer pricing group which is seen as a unique and first-rate offering.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "Counsel who can deal with highly complex matters – they are very clever and highly impressive in the tax market."

Client service: "They are responsive and always provide an all-round full service to clients."

Work highlights Provided tax advice to Xstrata during its merger with Glencore International, via a court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement.

Advised Pearson on the tax issues related to its joint venture with Bertelsmann, which aimed to merge publishing houses Penguin and Random House.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Ballard heads the corporate tax group. His recent work includes advising on tax matters related to joint ventures, acquisitions and takeovers. Sources note that he "is very good and heads an exceptionally strong team."

Sarah Falk is singled out as an expert in corporate tax matters. She regularly handles complex cross-border transactions and has recently worked on a number of high-value mergers, acquisitions, sales and joint ventures.

Colin Hargreaves offers considerable expertise in international and cross-border tax work. He has a broad range of experience with an emphasis on transactions in the corporate and real-estate sectors.

Peers recognise Paul Davison for being "technically great, someone who does a good job for his clients." His practice focuses on tax in structured finance and leasing transactions.

Head of the finance tax group, David Haworth regularly advises financial institutions and corporate clients on the UK tax regime. He recently advised an underwriting syndicate on MegaFon's USD1.7 billion IPO.

Clients value Helen Lethaby as "she has a very thorough and practical understanding of the area." Interviewees describe her "technical ability" as "second to none." She has particular expertise in fund structuring and fund management matters.

David Taylor is described as being "really fantastic" in tax matters. He heads the firm's private equity tax offering, regularly advising clients on their investment activities.

Murray Clayson is recognised for his leading expertise in international tax matters. His broad practice encompasses the full range of financial and corporate transactions. He stands out for his niche expertise in transfer pricing.

Sources describe Jill Gatehouse as "very user-friendly, very sharp on the documentation and innovative on the structuring side of things." Her practice focuses on corporate finance.

Significant clients Chevron, Mouchel Group, BAE Systems, Cinven Group, AEA Investors.

Administrative & Public Law - UK-wide

What the team is known for Handles a variety of public law matters arising from shifts in regulatory legislation. Noted for its global expertise and the ability to respond to changes in both UK and EU law.

Notable practitioners  

Paul Bowden handles a variety of public law disputes. "I rate him very highly. He is very authoritative and extremely well informed, and has some excellent clients," said one interviewee.

William Robinson advises on an array of regulatory issues relating to EU law. His areas of expertise include sport, gambling and technology.  

Significant clients Airlines for America.

Asset Finance - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners 
- 1 counsel
- 12 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Exceptionally strong rail finance practice, which frequently advises the Department for Transport on rolling stock procurement. Also has a highly commended aviation finance practice, which acts for a range of airlines, manufacturers, operating lessors and banks, as well as advising the Aviation Working Group.

Work highlights Advised the Department for Transport on the £4.5 billion Intercity Express Programme, which involved the procurement of almost 600 high-speed rolling stock vehicles. Also advised on the £1.85 billion Thameslink Rolling Stock Project.

Advised Transport for London on the procurement of a train operator to provide passenger services on the Crossrail route.

Advised Aercap on its USD160 million term loan facility for the acquisition and lease of five Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Notable practitioners  

Robert Murphy is unanimously respected in the aviation finance market, and is described as "fantastic" and "energetic" by impressed sources. He acted for Dubai Aerospace Enterprise on the USD550 million refinancing of a portfolio of 19 aircraft.

Simon Hall is well respected in the rail finance market for his long-standing experience and excellent practice. He recently advised DB Schenker Rail on the purchase of 30 freight locomotives for use in the Channel Tunnel.

Significant clients Avolon Aerospace, Etihad Airways, HS1, Lufthansa, UK government.

Construction - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for An expanding team providing comprehensive construction law advice on major UK and international projects and disputes. Has earned prominence in various sectors, including energy and natural resources, transport, infrastructure and property development. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "My experience with them is very positive. They were responsive, which is very important, and they were hands-on when negotiations were quite tough."   

Work highlights Advised The Supreme Committee for Qatar 2022 on a range of construction matters, including the appointment of the Programme Management Consultant. 

Acted for Brookfield Office Properties on construction aspects arising out of its £518 million acquisition of the London Wall development site and Hammerson office portfolio.

Notable practitioners  

Well-known Sally Roe "knows her market, is very experienced, and is therefore easy to deal with and constructive in her approach," according to sources. She is often seen on major cases and has recently acted for Defra in relation to the ongoing Thames Tideway Tunnel project.

Market commentators speak highly of Jane Jenkins, who has recently acted for Land Securities on high-value developments in London. She has built an impressively broad practice through her extensive experience in construction law.

Significant clients National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, the government of Tanzania, URENCO, Food & Rural Affairs, Almacantar, Department for Transport (UK). 

Corporate Crime & Investigations - UK-wide

What the team is known for Well equipped to handle multi-jurisdictional criminal investigations and internal issues arising out of the Bribery Act.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "Good when it comes to taking a practical and commercial approach to resolving issues."

Breadth of services: "They provide very high-quality advice and have deep pools of specialism which you can draw on to manage most legal issues to conclusion."

Client service: "Responsiveness is always excellent." 

Notable practitioners 

Internal investigations expert Paul Lomas is singled out as an "unflappable" practitioner with an intellect "as sharp as a surgeon's scalpel." 

Sources identify Raj Parker as a "good communicator" with a "deep knowledge of cases involving cross-border issues." Clients value his insight into the legislative environment and SFO policy.

Employee Share Schemes & Incentives - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Strong track record in assisting global corporations with the implementation of bespoke share scheme plans. Additionally acclaimed for its ability to advise on the share scheme aspects of large transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
International capability: "Their huge advantage is their overseas offering. They'll be able to do massive matters for big global conglomerates."

Technical ability: "They are a very strong team and a pleasure to work opposite." 

Work highlights Assisted Wolseley with the drafting of several new share incentive plans to be implemented across multiple countries.

Assisted BT Group with the share scheme aspects of its acquisition of Tikit Group.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Simon Evans is perceived as a "technically rigorous" practitioner whose practice is founded on his "strong commercial awareness." He led the team that advised SportsDirect International on a large vesting of its bonus share scheme awards for employees.

Jocelyn Mitchell is widely commended for her "comprehensive grasp of all aspects of remuneration work." She advised BT Group upon the share scheme implications of a recent acquisition.

Alice Greenwell attains recognition after an active year that saw her involved in many of the firm's largest mandates. She was part of the team that advised Wolseley in its multi-jurisdictional implementation of several new share schemes.

Significant clients Xstrata, Pearson, Invensys, LSE, Reed Elsevier.

Energy & Natural Resources - UK-wide

What the team is known for A steadfast team with considerable experience in oil and gas and nuclear work. A wide-ranging reach across the globe and formidable corporate expertise in the energy sector.

Strengths (Mainly quotes from clients)
Technical ability: "I really like them for natural resources work - they are sensible people coming up against difficult issues, and able to give very good advice."

Industry knowledge: "Lots of firms have oil and gas experience, but Freshfields has a combination of both oil and gas and M&A experience and we like them for that."

What's new? Tim Pick, formerly of Shearman & Sterling, joined the team.

Work highlights Advised Petrofac on its strategic alliance with oil exploration company Bowleven, enabling development in the Etinde Permit area off the coast of Cameroon.

Acted on behalf of ArcLight Capital Partners in its acquisition of Teesside Gas Processing Plant at Seal Sands.

Notable practitioners  

Head of the global dispute resolution practice and co-head of the oil and gas subsector group, Christopher Pugh maintains a high profile in the energy disputes field.

A relatively new addition to the Freshfields team, commentators note Tim Pick's "good combination of commercial and legal skills." He brings significant expertise and experience on a range of energy matters.

Significant clients BP, BG Group, Total, ConocoPhillips, Chevron. 

Energy & Natural Resources - UK-wide

What the team is known for First-rate commercial knowledge of mining transactions and adeptness at advising on sector-related M&A, corporate and commercial, and dispute issues worldwide. Significant financial expertise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "They provide clear, concise, commercial advice and are very responsive."

Work highlights Acted for SouthGobi Resources in a proposed takeover bid for a stake in the company by Aluminium Corporation of China.

Notable practitioners  

Clients describe their "excellent working relationship" with Julian Makin, who represented Xstrata in its USD70 billion merger with Glencore.

Significant clients Severstal, Metalloinvest, Polymetal, Bumi, Mitsui.

Financial Services - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 11 partners
- 1 counsel
- Over 50 other qualified lawyers 
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Continues to be a strong choice for both contentious and non-contentious work, with market-leading practitioners in each area. Retains its position at the forefront of the market in large-scale investigations involving multiple jurisdictions, drawing upon its expertise relating to the USA, Europe and Asia. Represents clients at the top end of the financial services sector, frequently handling the most complex issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "A personable team that is good to work with."

Bench strength: "Good strength in depth. Certainly a strong team."

Work highlights Advised the Bank of England on numerous matters, including the reform of the regulatory framework in the UK and the enhanced regulatory powers that the Bank will subsequently gain.

Advised the UK government on the regulatory aspects of the transfer of the Royal Mail pension scheme to the government, as well as the restructuring of the Royal Mail. 

Acted on behalf of the London Stock Exchange with regard to the EUR463 million acquisition of a majority holding in LCH.Clearnet Group, which involved obtaining regulatory approval.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Orton is regarded by commentators as "a great legal strategist." He regularly handles complex investigations, enforcement actions and litigation on behalf of leading investment and retail banks.  

Michael Raffan heads the non-contentious financial services group. He is "very good at applying the technical aspects to particular situations in a pragmatic way." He advises the Bank of England on a range of financial services matters, including the reform of the regulatory system in the UK.

David Scott is an expert in financial services and banking litigation, with a particular focus on the retail sector. He is well regarded in the market, and has acted in several high-profile FSA proceedings.

Andrew Hart is co-leader of the firm's global financial institutions sector group. He advises on a wide range of financial services disputes on behalf of a leading client base.

Non-contentious regulatory specialist Mark Kalderon was the lead partner on the Royal Mail pension scheme and restructuring matter, which involved £28 billion of restructured assets. His clients include some of the world's largest and most prominent investment and commercial banks.

David Rouch's broad non-contentious regulatory expertise encompasses insurance, wealth management and the structuring, manufacture and distribution of products. Clients appreciate that he is "always very responsive."

Ian Taylor brings a wealth of experience across the spectrum of contentious regulatory matters, including litigation and investigations. He is popular amongst interviewees, who comment: "He just knows how to deal with a problem - the biggest problems are the ones that you would want Ian working on." 

Sources find non-contentious specialist James Smethurst to be "personable and practical" in his approach. One recent highlight saw him lead the team on the London Stock Exchange's EUR463 million acquisition of a majority holding in LCH.Clearnet Group.

Significant clients Bank of England, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Barclays, Deutsche Bank.

Insurance - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: London

What the team is known for Conducts high-level insurance and reinsurance litigation, frequently with an international dimension, regularly acting for leading insurers, brokers and policyholders. Key areas of expertise include energy, product liability and D&O claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "There's some amazing talent in Freshfields. They have extremely bright people who know the market very well indeed."

Notable practitioners  

Raj Parker is particularly proficient in insurance matters relating to the financial services sector. He is praised as a "high-quality" lawyer who "impresses clients.

Ali Sallaway has expertise in a broad range of insurance and reinsurance matters, with a focus on advising clients from the finance sector. She is noted for her handling of property and business interruption claims.

Significant clients Alico, Aon, Ironshore Insurance, Marsh & McLennan, XL.

Insurance - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 10 partners 
-  21 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Advises on high-profile transactions, restructurings and the disposal of non-core assets. Possesses deep knowledge of regulatory matters, in particular regarding Solvency II. Strength in cross-border work, especially regarding the USA and Europe.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "I've been on the other side of them regularly and they're a firm to be respected."

International capability: "Freshfields have the international platform."

Work highlights Advised Admin Re, part of Swiss Re, on its £1.6 billion acquisition of selected life insurance assets from American Life Insurance Company, a MetLife subsidiary.

Represented Guardian Financial Services on its acquisition of £5 billion of annuity portfolios from the Phoenix Group.

Notable practitioners  

The "commercial and pragmatic" Ian Poynton has a well-established corporate and regulatory insurance practice. He is an expert on Solvency II issues, where he advises a range of companies on preparation for the new regulations.

Robert Stirling draws high praise from peers and clients, who describe him as "a good negotiator and a clear communicator," and someone who is "extremely commercial, incredibly responsive and has outstanding technical knowledge." His broad practice involves advising on a range of regulatory and commercial matters for some of the firm's largest insurance clients.

Significant clients AIG, Phoenix Group, Allianz, XL Insurance Group, Marsh & McLennan.

Investment Funds - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Adept in the representation of sponsors and investors across a broad spectrum of asset classes. Known for its innovative approach to fund structuring and the creation of tax and regulatory efficient vehicles.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "Top-class firm, well resourced and very reliable. Particularly useful for large transactional work when time is limited."

International capability: "Freshfields' global reach is very useful when dealing with cross-border matters." 

Work highlights Advised Land Securities Group on its entry into a joint venture with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, offering guidance on fund structuring and regulation.

Acted on behalf of Henderson Global Investors as sponsor and investment adviser to a new joint venture company created to acquire and develop luxury outlet malls in China.  

Notable practitioners  

Karen Fountain is a respected funds practitioner, recognised for her work with a variety of fund types, including real estate, infrastructure and private equity funds.

Key client BACIT mandated Jonathan Baird to act on its IPO and London listing, which raised a total of £200 million. His work is noted as "accurate, commercial and extremely responsible." Clients also note the benefit of his dual UK and US qualifications when handling cross-border matters.  

Mark Watterson led the team handling Land Securities' joint venture with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. He continues in his role as head of the department.

Significant clients BACIT, OMERS Strategic Investment, Brevan Howard, Grosvenor, Grainger.  

Outsourcing - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department 

- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Recognised for advising corporate clients on their outsourcing requirements. Known for its expertise in major contractual, procurement and regulatory matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The team did a great job for us in a very large contractual negotiation. They knew the contract inside out and provided invaluable support. It was an excellent experience."

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Richard Lister is considered to be a leading figure in the market.

Projects - UK-wide

What the team is known for International and domestic PPP and infrastructure group handling projects in sectors such as rail, health and roads. Acts on projects throughout the UK, Europe, North America and Asia.

Work highlights Advised the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure of British Columbia on a rapid transit project.

Advised the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the Thames Tideway Tunnel sewer project.

Notable practitioners 

Nicholas Bliss a well-known PFI and infrastructure partner. He advised the Department for Transport on the Thameslink rolling stock PPP.

Alex Carver is a "really straightforward and efficient lawyer" in the firm's infrastructure team. He advised a lender consortium on the Western High-Speed Diameter road PPP project in Russia. Sources say: "He is a good negotiator; he laid his arguments out very clearly and it was difficult for the other side to argue with his logic."  

Significant clients European Investment Bank, Petrofac, European Bank for Research and Development, E.ON, Macquarie.

Private Equity - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 18 partners
- 39 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Full-service representation of an array of substantial clients on complex and cross-border transactions. Esteemed choice on novel and high-profile transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The firm is dynamic. It is first-class, professional, but friendly and approachable."

Client service: "The service is exceptional and they have very high-quality people."

Bench strength: "Freshfields is differentiated by its deep bench. Well-regarded people across the board."

Work highlights Represented Cinven in its acquisition of Turkish company Pronet Guvenlik Hizmetleri Anonim Sirketi.

Represented Hellman & Friedman in its purchase of energy and mining research and consulting business Wood Mackenzie for a total of £1.1 billion.

Notable practitioners  

David Higgins is "a brilliant tactician" and a "highly intellectually able commercial adviser," according to impressed clients. He is co-head of the global financial investors group, and is the relationship partner for several key clients.

Significant clients Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Advent International, Blackstone, Apax, Permira.

Product Liability - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Remains a dominant practice with a strong base of global clients. Particularly impresses with its client-oriented approach and strong track record in litigation and regulatory guidance.

Work highlights Advised Anheuser-Busch InBev on the enhancement of its policies against the unlawful trading of its products.

Represented British Sugar in the High Court as it sought repayment of monies paid as part of the EU sugar regime, aspects of which had recently been annulled.

Notable practitioners  

Paul Bowden is highly regarded by peers for being a "congenial and pragmatic solicitor, filled with common sense." He also maintains his strong reputation with clients, one of whom calls him an "extremely capable litigation partner, good at handling difficult problems in the right manner. Even when delivering bad news he's always thinking a couple of steps ahead as to what the next move should be."

Tom Snelling heads up the practice and often leads the team on transactions. Peers regard him as "a safe pair of hands," reporting that "he certainly knows the non-contentious side well."

Significant clients Premier Foods, HJ Heinz, Burger King, Danone, The Consumer Goods Forum.

Product Liability - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Offers a product liability service spanning a range of sectors, including electricals and consumer products. Also maintains an international product regulation network operating in around 150 markets worldwide, making it a go-to destination for cross-border mandates.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They're always very professional and extremely responsive to concerns. They're bright people and it's easy to resolve any disputes."

Work highlights Acted for tobacco client JTI International and its Canadian affiliate JTI Macdonald against claims brought by individuals for the recoupment of healthcare costs in relation to problems allegedly caused by smoking.

Notable practitioners  

Paul Bowden is recommended by market observers for his gracious and adaptable approach. One peer calls him "a confident, robust individual with a good reputation in the field." He advised on the JTI International matter described above.

Head of department John Blain is praised by clients for being "hard-working, understated and very easy-going - he's not what you would expect a partner from a top-ranking magic circle firm to be like. He's humble, self-effacing and funny but very bright."

Significant clients Smith & Nephew, AB InBev, HJ Heinz, Tesco.

Projects - UK-wide

What the team is known for Advises clients on project finance, both domestically and internationally. Strengthened the team with a new partner hire this year.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "They are very knowledgeable and also are active in terms of deadlines and timetables."

What's new? Tim Pick joined the firm from Shearman and Sterling in 2013. 

Work highlights Advising Premier Oil on a carbon capture and storage project in the UK.

Notable practitioners 

Tim Pick is a new addition to the projects team. He handles project finance work, particularly in the energy sector, in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Sources say: "Tim understood the local context and knows how to get deals done. A very pleasant person to deal with."

Alan Rae Smith is a project finance partner focusing on the energy and infrastructure sectors. Sources say: "He is commercial. He is prepared to look at the overall picture and take a view on risk and what is sensible. You can have pedantic people driving deals into the cupboard and he is not one of them."

Significant clients European Investment Bank, European Bank for Research and Development, Petrofac, Gazprombank.

Public Procurement - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 19 other qualified lawyers.
- Office locations ranked: London 

What the team is known for Advising on large-scale social and transport infrastructure procurement and major challenges to contracts. Engaged by bodies from both the public and private sectors, including central government.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "The key magic circle firm in this area; they are really excellent."

Work highlights Advised the Department for Transport on the procurement of rolling stock and maintenance depots for the Thameslink railway.

Advised Defra on the procurement and financing of the Thames Tideway Tunnel, a project valued in excess of £4 billion.

Notable practitioners  

One source says of Sally Roe: "She is excellent at minimising risk for her clients." She leads the firm on a number of its major advisory engagements, including the Thameslink railway rolling stock matter.

Jane Jenkins is active in both contentious and non-contentious matters and leads the firm's London-based engineering, construction and procurement group. She is frequently engaged in high-profile bid challenges.

Highly regarded associate Laura Wisdom acts on behalf of both public and private sector clients. One interviewee said Wisdom is "one of the most able associates I've ever worked with."

Significant clients Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems, Siemens.

Retail - UK-wide

What the team is known for Pre-eminent corporate practice sought after for some of the largest corporate and commercial transactions in the sector. Sources emphasise the firm's visibility on high-end transactions.

Notable practitioners  

Claire Wills heads the retail group and is the main contact.

Tax - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 16 associates
- Recommended office locations: London

What the team is known for Highly respected corporate tax dispute resolution offering, covering tax relief, VAT, structured finance tax and transfer pricing. Impressive global resources allow the effective representation of both domestic and international clients in UK and cross-border tax disputes.

Work highlights Advised Eclipse Film Partners (No.35) LLP on a tax relief dispute concerning film financing, upon which over £110 million of tax was at stake.

Represented UK Storage in its successful appeal against HMRC concerning the VAT status of letting storage space.

Notable practitioners  

Helen Buchanan heads the London and international tax disputes and investigations team and is highly regarded by market observers. She handles a broad range of matters including advising on tax relief concerning film financing, and structured finance arrangements.

Significant clients Eclipse Film Partners, UK Storage, Proteus and Samarkand, Terra Nova Partnership

Telecommunications - UK-wide

What the team is known for Maintains a substantial M&A practice with a reputable competition law offering.

Notable practitioners  

Natasha Good remains a respected name in telecommunications law. One client states: "She doesn't speak for the sake of it, but when she does she gets it right every time." 

Transport - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for A market leader on large PPP infrastructure projects. Noted for its experience advising public bodies in the rail space.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Public sector reputation: "Freshfields has a very good record on the public sector side, and it is quite capable of guarding that record." 

Notable practitioners  

Jason Chamberlain "works extremely hard" for his clients, according to sources. His practice covers an array of rail matters, including franchising, rolling stock, regulatory concerns and infrastructure.

Simon Hall "is a force to be reckoned with" when it comes to rolling stock work, according to market sources.