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Herbert Smith Freehills


Herbert Smith Freehills - London
  • Exchange House
  • Primrose Street
  • London
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC2A 2EG
  • Senior Partner Jonathan Scott
  • Deputy Senior Partner Mark Crean
  • JointCEOs   David Willis, Gavin Bell
  • UK  
  • Number of partners 161
  • Other fee-earners 609
  • Number of partners 469
  • Other fee-earners  1904

With more than 2,800 lawyers, operating from over 20 offices across Asia Pacific, EMEA and North America, Herbert Smith Freehills is at the heart of the new global business landscape providing premium quality, fullservice legal advice. The firm provides many of the world’s most important organisations with access to market- leading dispute resolution, projects and transactional legal advice, combined with expertise in a number of global industry sectors, including energy, natural resources, infrastructure and financial services.

Corporate & Commercial:
Herbert Smith Freehills provides a comprehensive range of legal services across all areas of corporate and commercial activity. Frequently, its role puts it at the centre of industries that are reshaping and it is well known for its innovative work on groundbreaking deals and restructurings. It has a long-standing reputation for advice on mergers, acquisitions and takeovers and is highly regarded for its expertise in corporate finance. Other areas of corporate expertise include: competition law; corporate recovery; employment; European law; insurance; investment funds; media; telecoms; pensions and share schemes; trusts and charities. Herbert Smith Freehill’s expertise is reflected by its consistently high ranking in the major league tables of top law firms.
Banking & Finance: Herbert Smith Freehills’ growing Finance Practice is known for the distinctive quality of its debt finance capability, advising on international and domestic deals in the bank lending (including acquisition finance and property finance), securitisation and capital markets, asset finance and project finance markets as well as on corporate recovery matters. Its experience of acting for parties on all sides of transactions, and its reputation for innovation gives the global legal entity a broad and original perspective when approaching deals, particularly those that are complex. With a focus on service delivery Herbert Smith Freehills has a full finance offering across Asia-Pacific and EMEA.
Dispute Resolution: Herbert Smith Freehills enjoys a formidable reputation for its expertise in both domestic and international litigation, arbitration and ADR – a pre-eminent position it has held for several decades. It has consistently been ranked as the leading international entity for commercial litigation in EMEA and Asia-Pacific. It is the breadth of the Herbert Smith Freehills’ practice and the experience and quality of its practitioners that distinguish it from its competitors.
Areas of specialism include commercial litigation, international arbitration, advocacy, ADR, banking and regulatory disputes, intellectual property, insurance litigation, private wealth and charities, international public law, competition litigation, fraud and investigations, health and safety, professional negligence and trusts litigation.
Herbert Smith Freehills has experience before every type of court and tribunal, and conducts arbitrations in all parts of the world. It increasingly uses ADR procedures and several of the partners are accredited mediators. Herbert Smith Freehills is strongly committed to the development of its advocacy practice. Its unique inhouse Advocacy Unit provides a number of benefits for clients including ease of instruction and reduction in cost.
Real Estate: Herbert Smith Freehills has a reputation for executing the largest and most complex real estate deals with accuracy and at speed. Its broad practice covers development, investment, infrastructure/projects, corporate occupier, planning, construction and property litigation.

CLIENTS Herbert Smith Freehills represents many of the world’s leading corporations and most of the preeminent investment banks. Its client base includes a growing number of blue-chip multinationals in Asia- Pacific, EMEA and North America.

INTERNATIONAL The firm has offices spanning Asia Pacific, EMEA, North America and Australia. Its formal association with Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung in Jakarta provides further expertise in Asia, while its capability in the Middle East now covers Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. In 2012, the global legal entity expanded into America by opening an office in New York which solely focuses on disputes work, with particular emphasis on cross-border investigations, international arbitration and cross-border litigation. In 2013, Herbert Smith Freehills also opened its first two offices in Germany (Frankfurt and Berlin) and in South Korea (Seoul).
Other offices: Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Beijing, Belfast, Berlin, Brisbane, Brussels, Doha, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Madrid, Melbourne, Moscow, New York, Paris, Perth, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Jakarta (associated firm).

  • London/Europe  
  • Advocacy Unit Ian Gatt
  • Acquisition 
  • Administrative & Public Law Andrew Lidbetter
  • Arbitration Paula Hodges
  • Asset Management Nigel Farr
  • Banking Litigation Damien Byrne Hill
  • Construction & Engineering Mark Lloyd-Williams, Nicholas Downing
  • Consumer Goods Gillian Fairfield
  • Corporate Crime Rod Fletcher
  • Corporate Fraud Rod Fletcher, Robert Hunter 
  • Debt Capital Markets Andrew Roberts, Jake Jackaman
  • Derivatives Dina Albagli
  • Employee Incentives Paul Ellerman
  • Employment Andrew Taggart
  • Energy, Natural Resources & Utilities Paula Hodges, Mark Newbery
  • Entertainment & Media Stephen Wilkinson, Alan Watts, Nick Elverston
  • Equity Capital Markets Chris Hayne, Steve Thierbach
  • EU, Competition & Regulation James Quinney
  • Finance & Banking Malcolm Hitching
  • Financial Institutions Alex Kay, Damien Byrne Hill
  • Financial Services Regulatory Clive Cunningham
  • Infrastructure Adrian Clough
  • Insurance Geoffrey Maddock
  • Insurance & Reinsurance Litigation David Reston
  • Intellectual Property Mark Shillito
  • International Law Adam Johnson, Dominic Roughton
  • Investment Funds Nigel Farr
  • IT & E-commerce Mark Turner
  • Leisure & Sport Stephen Wilkinson, Alan Watts
  • Life Sciences David Wilson, Sophie Rich
  • Litigation Sonya Leydecker
  • M&A Stephen Wilkinson, James Palmer
  • Pensions Daniel Schaffer
  • PFI/PPP Patrick Mitchell
  • Planning & Environment Patrick Robinson, Louise Moore
  • Private Equity Gavin Davies
  • Project Finance John Balsdon
  • Real Estate Donald Rowlands
  • Retail Ben Ward
  • Restructuring & Insolvency Kevin Pullen
  • Securitisation Michael Poulton, Isaac Zailer
  • Tax Bradley Phillips
  • Telecoms Nick Elverston
  • Trusts & Charities Robert Hunter
  • WTO/World Trade Law Craig Pouncey


Banking & Finance - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for High-end practice balanced between borrower and lender-side work. Experienced bench of lawyers with expertise in Islamic finance, acquisition, project and infrastructure finance.   

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
 Initiative: "The main strength is that they take a proactive approach to providing advice and making suggestions; they don't wait to be asked."

Client service: "They build good relationships at an individual level."

Breadth of services: "They have substantive finance and cross-border practices."

What's new? Appointed to the panels for Sberbank and Credit Suisse. Reappointed to the panels of Standard Chartered, Lloyds, RBS and Bank of Ireland.

Work highlights Acted for a 27-bank syndicate extending a USD3.5 billion reserves-based credit facility to Tullow Oil.

Advised a group of 25 lenders on a secured loan and letter of credit facility for Lundin Petroleum, worth USD2.5 billion in total.   

Notable practitioners 

Malcolm Hitching has an excellent reputation in the finance sphere, and continues to serve a wide range of clients on corporate financing, LBOs and restructurings.

Highly rated partner Ewen Fergusson's recent highlights include advising Petroceltic International on a USD300 million senior secured revolving facility. His practice has a particular slant towards acting for public companies.

Ian Yeo acted for Credit Suisse International as arranger on the provision of an unsecured USD145 million facility to the International Bank of Azerbaijan. He is a well-established player in the market and is recognised for his work in emerging markets financing.

Significant clients BNP Paribas, Severn Trent, Weir Group, Credit Suisse, RBS.

Banking Litigation - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Broad dispute resolution capabilities within the banking and financial services sector, with a notable upturn in high-profile cross-border matters. Significant experience advising on mis-selling claims. 

Work highlights Represented Credit Suisse Securities in connection with a USD30 million mis-selling claim brought by a high net worth individual.

Acted on behalf of UBS defending claims brought by multiple Icelandic banks following their collapse.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Clarke focuses his practice on disputes in the banking and financial services sector. One client describes him as "an excellent commercial litigator" who is "focused, technical and client-friendly."

Head of department Damien Byrne Hill has vast experience representing major banks and financial institutions and enjoys a stellar reputation amongst peers in the field. A "standout individual," sources describe him as "razor-sharp."

Significant clients RBS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Financial Services Compensation Scheme, Pioneer Freight Futures.

Capital Markets - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
 - 13 partners 
 - 40 associates

What the team is known for Particularly strong on the equity side, regularly acting on behalf of an impressive roster of investment bank and listed clients. Operates as part of an international network of offices, drawing upon expertise across Europe, China, the UAE and Singapore. Also offers significant experience on domestic and multi-jurisdictional offerings of debt and equity-linked securities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "They have exceptionally strong senior associates"  

What's new? Following a term as senior partner of the firm's corporate division, James Palmer returned to the team. He brings a wealth of ECM experience that bolsters the group's offering in London.

Work highlights Acted for platinum producer Lonmin in connection with its USD817 million rights issue. This involved a renegotiation of its existing debt facilities, and the team advised on both UK and US law elements.  

Represented Morgan Stanley with regard to the £300 million sale, by Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit, of an 11.5% stake in the London Stock Exchange.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Roberts has a wealth of experience in debt capital markets. He recently advised Severn Trent on the issuance of a £75 million retail bond under its MTN programme.

Charles Howarth is described as a "very good technician, with very good legal knowledge." He offers expertise across both DCM and ECM, and was one of the key partners involved in the aforementioned Lonmin rights issue.

Global head of capital markets Steve Thierbach is "exceptionally well regarded for his technical knowledge and his ability to work on transactions." He is an expert in US securities law and also acts on DCM and ECM transactions, especially those involving the Turkish market. He recently advised on Energy Assets Group's £30 million flotation on the LSE.

Christopher Haynes "has a very balanced, common-sense approach to things," which clients appreciate, along with his "knowledge and his ability to serve the wider industry points." His significant ECM experience includes advising on rights issues, IPOs and further equity offerings.

ECM specialist James Palmer advises clients on a broad range of issues, from securities offerings to corporate governance. He recently re-joined the team after spending two years as global head of the firm's corporate department.  

Greg Mulley combines knowledge of ECM with significant corporate law expertise. He handles equity transactions, M&A deals and joint ventures on both a domestic and international level.

Significant clients Hammerson, Standard Chartered, UBS, The Weir Group, Deutsche Bank.

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

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

What the team is known for Offers a diverse securitisation practice acting for both arrangers and originators, concentrating largely on unique transactions. Focuses on OTC products in the derivatives space, with experience of advising on equity, credit and commodities deals. 

What's new? The group was successfully appointed to the panel for Sberbank, and also received instructions from key new client Blackstone.

Notable practitioners  

Michael Poulton "brings a robust, clear and independent view" to matters. Sources also highlight the fact that he is very commercial, which is partly informed by previous experience as a banker. He advises clients across the full spectrum of structured finance and securitisation matters.

Department head Jake Jackaman wins praise for being "very bright, very practical and always available." He is an expert in derivatives and structured credit, and regularly advises a client base of portfolio managers and investment banks.

Dina Albagli advises corporates, financial institutions and funds across a wide range of structured products and derivatives transactions. She also has significant experience in the area of regulatory capital. 

Significant clients Bank of Ireland, JPMorgan, Blackstone, Citi, Barclays.

Competition/European Law - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Offers an excellent level of client service across the full range of domestic and European competition issues. Particularly strong on EU competition litigation. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client-facing skills: "They are very good in front of clients. They can explain complicated issues in business terms."

Capabilities: "They have the strength and depth to handle massive pieces of competition work."

Work highlights Advised Virgin Atlantic on several important competition instructions, including the acquisition of a 49% stake in the company by Delta Air Lines, the OFT investigation into alleged anti-competitive information sharing on the London to Hong Kong route, and passenger fuel surcharge investigations.

Represented CNOOC in the takeover of energy company Nexen. This involved general competition advice as well as applications for merger clearance from the European authorities.

Notable practitioners

Stephen Wisking is viewed as being not just "sharp, calm and astute," but also "a great man at reassuring clients" and "a stable hand at the tiller." He is highly sought by blue-chip companies and recently acted for BSkyB.

Kim Dietzel is applauded for her pragmatic approach, with one source stating that she "is very thorough and has a good way of translating complex issues to give practical advice." She was the lead partner on the Virgin Atlantic matters.

Leading the group is James Quinney, who "always provides very sound and balanced advice." Clients value his dedication to his work and his clients. He recently advised on a number of complex, high-value transactional matters.

Susan Black is praised for her approach, with market observers commenting that "she argues her corner very well" and "gives straight advice" to "let you know where you stand." She regularly provides strategic competition advice to clients including Gala Coral.

Veronica Roberts is singled out for her business-focused attitude. Sources say "she just gets the commercial context so well" and has "an excellent feel for the issues." She advises Royal Mail on various competition and regulatory matters.

At the senior statesman level, both Elizabeth McKnight and Jonathan Scott continue to play the role of trusted adviser on competition matters to key clients and the team in general.

Sources say Andre Pretorius "has great knowledge and a commercial mind." He demonstrates particular strength in providing strategic competition advice.

Significant clients BAA, BSkyB, EDF, Pilkington, Reckitt Benckiser.

Corporate/M&A - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-52 partners
-170 other lawyers

What the team is known for Handles high-value and complex public and private M&A transactions for substantial international clients. An emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They are highly dedicated and highly innovative in their thinking."

Bench strength: "As a team they are a class act."  

Client service: "Herbert Smith Freehills make it their business to understand what makes their clients tick."

What's new? New clients and panel wins include Bodycote, Chemring, Weir, UCC.  

Work highlights Represented Cable & Wireless in its £1.04 billion takeover by Vodafone.

Advised Morgan Stanley as financial adviser and sponsor to the London Stock Exchange on its initial and revised recommended offer for a majority stake in LCH Clearnet.

Advised Precision Capital on its EUR1 billion acquisition of KBL European Private Bankers.

Notable practitioners  

"Heavy hitter" James Palmer is rated by clients for his "impressive mind" and his "overall grasp of the commercial drivers for clients." He is further praised by sources for his ability to provide strategic advice to boards.

David Paterson advises several FTSE companies on matters such as governance, regulation and transactions. He has notable expertise on public takeover transactions.

Malcolm Lombers advised Morgan Stanley as financial adviser to Shell on its £1.1 billion recommended cash bid for Cove Energy. He specialises in international partnerships and cross-border private and public M&A.

Stephen Wilkinson has "relentless drive and stamina," "very strong legal skills" and "strong commercial acumen," impressed clients say. He represented BSkyB in several transactions, including the £18 million acquisition of Parthenon Media.

Gavin Davies gives "very clear and categorical advice" and is "highly impressive technically and highly experienced and down to earth," clients say. His highlights include advising Godrej Consumer Products on its acquisition of 51% of the Darling Group's manufacturing and distribution business in Kenya.

Gareth Roberts advised Virgin Atlantic on the sale of Singapore Airlines' 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic to Delta Air Lines for USD360 million, and on a new joint venture between Virgin Atlantic and Delta. Clients say he "knows his stuff and is able to anticipate challenges in advance," and "is able to effortlessly energise his team."

Alan Montgomery recently advised United Breweries on the sale of a 19.3% stake in United Spirits to Diageo. Sources speak with approval of his rising profile in the market.

Significant clients BAT, easyJet, Lonmin, Moneysupermarket.com, Stagecoach.

Employment - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 17 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A core option for large multinationals seeking an experienced team capable of handling multi-jurisdictional matters. Works closely with international banks on a variety of complex mandates.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They're notably strong at dealing with sensitive matters. You always get a thoroughly thought-through approach from the firm."

Market standing: "I think they are the quintessential high-end employment practice. They have great partners."

What's new? The latest incarnation of the firm was created in October 2012 after the merger between Herbert Smith and Freehills.

Work highlights Provided advice to JJB Sports on the employment aspects of its administration and the subsequent sale of 40 outlets to a competitor, Sports Direct.

Advised on the application of TUPE legislation over Chinese energy conglomerate Sinopec's acquisition of 49% of Talisman Energy's North Sea enterprise.

Notable practitioners  

Peter Frost is seen as being "one of the best employment solicitors around for complex, high-value litigation." He undertakes potentially ground-breaking test cases, as was evinced in his representation of the Church Commissioners in a matter that determined the employment status of Church of England priests.

Newly-appointed head of department Andrew Taggart is singled out by peers on account of his strong grasp of FSA regulations. He is considered to be a "sensible and tough litigator" who displays an appropriate degree of tenacity as and when required. He was also lead partner in the firm's representation of JJB Sports.

According to one client, the quality of Tim Leaver's advice is "excellent. Not only is he a very good lawyer, his advice is always of a very commercial nature and has a healthy dose of reality attached. He recognises that we're running a businesses and tailors his advice accordingly."

Significant clients BG Group, The Church Commissioners, UBS, Marsh, Société Générale.

Environment - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Strong on transactional and regulatory advice. Particularly well regarded in the energy sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "They represent their clients' interests forcefully, but they are sensible and it is a pleasure dealing with them because they know what they are doing."

Market standing: "Herbies are going great guns."  

Bench strength: "They have a nice core team and they seem to be doing some interesting work in the energy sector especially."

What's new? New clients include Transport for London, QinetiQ and Sinopec. 

Work highlights Advised Energy Capital Partners on its USD1.1 billion acquisition of EnergySolutions, a nuclear and environmental services provider. 

Advised NNB Generation Company on environmental issues related to plans submitted for a new nuclear power station at Hinckley Point.

Notable practitioners  

Howard Watson is a key contact for the department.

Significant clients BP, Gazprom, EDF, Mitsui, Chevron.

Fraud - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Viewed as a market-leading practice. Well equipped to handle large-scale litigation, worldwide injunctions and asset tracing for corporate clients and high net worth individuals.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Strategy: "Members of the team shine in their long-term strategic thinking on a case, and their knowledge of who the players are and the dynamics of those players. They manage to get into the mindset of the other side and can predict with unnerving accuracy the types of reaction there would be to various proposed modes of action."

Work highlights Advised VTB Capital on its appeal to the Supreme Court, which arose out of an alleged fraud of over USD200 million. This much-publicised case overruled a High Court decision on piercing the corporate veil and established a precedent that has significant implications for claimants attempting to recover misappropriated assets.

Notable practitioners  

Robert Hunter has a stellar reputation in the civil fraud market. He receives glowing praise for his "extraordinary intellect," "immense patience" and "considerable skill as an advocate."

Sources characterise Gary Milner-Moore as a "persistent and thorough" litigator and a "really good tactician." He is a well-regarded commercial litigator, with experience of advising on fraud-related issues.

Hotels & Leisure - London (Firms)

What the team is known for A well-regarded real estate practice handling acquisitions, sales and development of hotels. Also advises clients on the appointment of branded operators.

Work highlights Advised Omani Hospitality Company on the acquisition and development of Kempinski, the Wave Hotel Resort in Muscat, as well as the operating agreements.

Acted for an Asian investor on the acquisition of the Holiday Inn Hotel and Staybridge suites next to the Olympic Stadium, Stratford.

Notable practitioners 

Stephen Wilkinson is a key contact.

Information Technology - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Comprehensive IT offering co-ordinating ambitious projects and advising major financial institutions on their systems. Supported by a first-rate litigation arm. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "A strong team in IT project disputes."

Work highlights Advised the London Stock Exchange on IT outsourcings of its direct market access and its agreements with members for use of exchange controls systems.

Advised Spirax-Sarco Group on the negotiation of a framework agreement for data and IT infrastructure services with Verizon UK.

Notable practitioners  

Nick Pantlin advises on e-commerce, cloud computing, data centre, outsourcing, IT systems implementation, software development and licensing matters, often spanning multiple jurisdictions. Sources say he is "easy to work with."

Mark Turner has extensive and market-leading experience in IT and e-commerce transactions, and has acted for major infrastructure operators, financial institutions, telecoms networks and software suppliers.

Nick Elverston leads the firm's TMT sector group. He is a seasoned veteran of all manner of communications network sharing arrangement deals, outsourcing contract negotiations and regulatory matters. 

James Farrell has extensive experience in oil and gas projects, and has in recent years applied this knowledge to advising on major IT implementations such as computer control systems and data centre agreements.

Significant clients BP, Chevron, Man Group, Transport for London, UBS.

Intellectual Property - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Widely known for its impressive reputation in patent litigation. Also houses an accomplished non-patent practice with experience in transactional IP and trade mark issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "A quality outfit. One of the big City firms with a proper intellectual property litigation practice."

Commercial awareness: "They understand the client's needs and the industry. They think outside the box and provide real-world, practical solutions."

Technical ability: "They have provided really strong, technical and strategic advice."

Work highlights Acting for Sanofi on enforcing Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) covering two anti-hypertension drugs.

Advising Virgin Atlantic over a new joint venture with Delta Air Lines following Delta's purchase of Singapore Airlines' stake in Virgin.

Notable practitioners  

Sophie Rich is noted by sources for applying her fierce intellect to patent litigation. She is particularly strong in the pharmaceutical and life sciences arena, with recent representations including the Sanofi matter listed above.

Mark Shillito is "outstanding at commercial matters and strategy," according to sources. He is known for his expertise in both patent and soft IP litigation, and recently acted for Eisai in a patent case concerning a drug to treat Alzheimer's.

Joel Smith is commended for his strategic mindset and "practical and commercial" advice. He represented BSkyB in a passing-off, trade mark infringement and database right case.

David Wilson is a patent litigator with a particular emphasis on life sciences and pharmaceuticals. He acts for Unilever in a case concerning employee compensation for inventions made during their employment with the client.

Sebastian Moore is another of the firm's high-quality patent litigators, whom clients describe as "outstanding." He is a life sciences specialist and worked with Sophie Rich on the Sanofi patent infringement matter.

Significant clients Microgaming, Google, Reckitt Benckiser, Heinz, Abbott.

International Arbitration - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Regularly advises states and high-profile energy companies on complex arbitrations, often regarding investment, contract and development disputes. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "The team's legal opinions are always comprehensive and enlightening, illustrating high strategic acumen."

Notable practitioners  

Paula Hodges QC co-chairs the firm's international arbitration practice. Her practice emphasises African and energy disputes, in addition to arbitrations across a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, technology and aviation. Clients say they "respect her views and judgement." 

The "fantastic" Matthew Weiniger QC is described by peers as a "very strong investment arbitration practitioner." He has significant expertise in handling international disputes, and has a specialism in Russian and Eastern European commercial disputes, though regularly handles cases in Africa and wider Asia as well.

Christian Leathley predominantly handles complex investment treaty claims and energy disputes with a cross-jurisdictional element. He is admired by peers and clients alike for his strength in international arbitration, and is described as "a really smart lawyer and very user-friendly." Clients praise him as "one of the best lawyers around, and highly thorough."

Significant clients BP, Standard Chartered Bank, Kingdom of Spain, IBM, Renaissance Capital. 

Litigation - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Remains one of London's first-choice litigation practices despite recent shake-ups in its contentious group. Formidable group acting on some of the world's most challenging contentious mandates. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "Herbert Smith has a tremendous dispute resolution practice." 

Work highlights Acting for UBS on a range of matters relating to the USD2.3 billion loss to its investment bank division, caused by rogue trader Kweku Adoboli.

Advising VTB Capital on its claim against Konstantin Malofeev and others in connection with a loan made by VTB to Russagroprom, which was allegedly induced by fraud.  

Notable practitioners

Damien Byrne Hill is identified as a "terrific" litigator and "a very clever guy." He had a leading role advising UBS on matters connected with the high-profile unauthorised trading matter that caused it a loss of USD2.3 billion.

Operating a broad commercial practice, Philip Carrington regularly represents multinational corporations, banks and professional services firms in a range of disputes. A recent highlight saw him acting for VTB Capital on its multimillion-dollar claim against Konstantin Malofeev.

Alan Watts is a "respected player in the market" and is commended for his responsive approach, with one interviewee noting that he is "always accessible, no matter what time of the day" and a "good listener." 

Head of the global dispute resolution team, Sonya Leydecker is "well known in the market" and respected for her work on behalf of some of the world's most prestigious financial institutions.

Since publication Julian Copeman has moved to the firm's Hong Kong office.

Significant clients London Underground, BAE Systems, RSA, Chevron, BSkyB.

Pensions - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 1 consultant
- 12 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Part of the firm's global employment, pensions and incentives group. Possesses breadth and depth to tackle complex matters for leading clients. Noted for its central role in industry development and debate.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "The group finds workable solutions within the legal framework that are effective for our business."

Client service: "HSF has been patient and accommodating."

Market standing: "Star performers."  

What's new? New clients for the team include British Gas, Bluebay Asset Management and UCC Holdings.

Work highlights Advised the UK Cabinet Office on the outsourcing of its pension scheme's administration to a mutual joint venture project.

Advised Cable & Wireless on pensions issues arising from Vodafone's takeover of the company, such as funding negotiations and agreeing on guarantees and security arrangements.

Notable practitioners  

Daniel Schaffer is an extremely well-regarded lawyer and is described as "very commercially aware and responsive." Clients include the UK Cabinet Office, Railways Pension Trustee Company and BAT.

Roderick Morton recently acted for United Breweries (Holdings) on the sale of a 19.3% ownership stake in United Spirits Limited (USL) to Diageo, a transaction worth around £1.285 billion. Peers state: "He's a great lawyer to work with."  

Alison Brown is "capable, experienced and knowledgeable," say clients. She acts for companies such as Time Warner and Railways Pension Trustee Company.

Ian Gault has more than 30 years of experience, and has built up a wealth of pensions law knowledge. He remains an important presence at the firm in a consultancy role.

Isobel Carruthers is a well-regarded senior associate at the firm. Her clients include Railways Pension Trustee Company.

Samantha Brown achieves star associate status this year, having earned unanimous praise from peers. She is a "joy to work with," according to sources.

Significant clients Railways Pension Trustee Company, Pension Insurance Corporation, Time Warner, PwC, Tui Travel.

Planning - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-2 partners
-10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Celebrated planning strategists sought for town planning advice and Section 106 negotiations. Frequently works in concert with the firm's property and energy groups.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "They provide high-quality advice on complex, large-scale planning applications. The team has significant strength and depth."

Market standing: "The team is very professional and diligent. They are also very user friendly, responsive and co-operative. They have very good relationships with clients and the professional teams. They are well known and respected in the market."

Work highlights Acted on behalf of EDF Energy on two new nuclear development projects, Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.

Advised London and Continental Railways and Lend Lease on the International Quarter, a £1.3 billion mixed-use development in Stratford.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Patrick Robinson is described by sources as "very good at strategic thinking and dealing with large projects." Robinson has acted for The Carlyle Group, advising on planning for the redevelopment of Sampson House and Lugate House in Southwark.

Matthew White led on the EDF nuclear development projects. Clients praise him: "Matthew is very responsive and provides high-quality advice. He is very approachable and amenable to discussions about how to solve problems."

Catherine Howard has also had significant involvement in planning matters surrounding Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.

Significant clients Stanhope, Chelsfield, BSkyB, Stratford City Business District, Stanley Sidings.

Professional Negligence - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 14 partners
- 45 other qualified practitioners

What the team is known for Strong across the board with particular expertise in defending insurance coverage claims. Also regularly acts for banks and law firms on deflecting potential claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "We use Herbies for complex, high-value claims. The team's forte is in large pensions and other financial type claims which can be very complex."

Market standing: "Herbert Smith just does the hard stuff, only the most high-end litigation."

Work highlights Advised Credit Suisse on claims brought by the newspaper magnate Richard Desmond relating to the alleged mis-selling of a financial product.

Notable practitioners  

David Reston is known for his expertise in working with large insurers on a wide range of claims. Highly regarded in the insurance field, he is praised for his commercial astuteness.

Paul Lewis is known for his work on complex, insurance-related disputes and regularly defends claims against brokers.

Significant clients RSA, Mercer, Coutts, Marsh, Willis.

Public International Law - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Praised for its expertise on investment treaty matters and experienced acting in ICSID arbitrations. Strong in the mining and energy sectors, regularly representing clients in matters arising from the ECT. Advises on sanctions and state and international organisation immunity.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "A team of good, solid players." 

What's new? Herbert Smith merged with the Australian firm Freehills in October 2012, dramatically increasing the firm's capacity and enhancing its strength in the Asia-Pacific region.

Christian Leathley has been promoted to partner.

Work highlights Acting for the Republic of Tunisia in ICSID arbitration concerning the alleged expropriation of interests in a Tunisian bank.

Notable practitioners  

The "smart and savvy" team head Matthew Weiniger QC is best known for his investment arbitration work. Described as "thorough and thoughtful," he is also praised for his writings on investment arbitration.

A fluent Spanish speaker, Christian Leathley divides his time between London and Madrid and is credited with building the practice's solid Latin American investment arbitration practice.

Significant clients The Kingdom of Spain, Standard Chartered Bank, Republic of Tunisia.

Real Estate Finance - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-13 partners
-17 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Weighted towards structured real estate finance mandates. A go-to law firm for high-value, technically challenging transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client care: "We have a good working relationship with them. They're easy to get on with and have an appreciation of what we need as a client. Good strength and depth across the department."

Technical ability: "Their technical ability is very good and they are good at turning things around if speed is necessary."

Work highlights Acted on the £105 million refinancing of 23 Savile Row, representing Deutsche Pfandbriefbank as lender for a consortium of investors.

Advised Deutsche Bank on numerous UK-based deals with a total value of £252.5 million, co-ordinating with the firm's real estate and tax teams.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Chadney is admired for his negotiation skills and is described as "a class act" by clients. "He's level-headed and doesn't get too worked up when opposing lawyers are difficult. He sticks to the point and reaches quick and reasoned conclusions."

Gary Hommel's commercial awareness wins him plaudits from market observers. Clients say he is "very practical, very aware of what's happening in the market and very commercial about making decisions and getting deals done."

Rising star Helen Hagan is described as "very bright" and "responsive." She is further commended for her "understanding of our commercial requirements and her organisation in getting deals done."

Significant clients Helaba, Macquarie, United Overseas Bank, Aviva Commercial Finance, Bank of Ireland.

Real Estate Litigation - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Acts for major corporate clients on development strategies and handling large-scale contentious real estate disputes. The team includes five solicitor advocates, qualified with full rights of audience to act on matters in the higher courts.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Manages to provide a service that feels professional yet personal, which seems to be a pretty rare combination."

Technical ability: "Very professional, committed and technically very competent."

Responsiveness: "Very professional and responsive and good communicators, know their stuff."

Work highlights Successfully defended Chevron in a multimillion-pound High Court claim by Ridgewood over an alleged repudiatory breach of contract.

Represented Standard Life Investments in a complex case brought against Topland concerning the sale of and lease arrangements for a high-value central London property. Standard Life settled part way through trial, receiving substantial compensation.

Notable practitioners

Matthew Bonye heads the firm's property litigation practice, and sources acknowledge his "carefully considered, reflective advice." He is instructed by such clients as Chevron, Standard Life and KPMG.

Significant clients Hammerson, Harrods, Lend Lease, London & Continental Railways, Standard Life.

Real Estate - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 17 partners
- 90 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A leading firm in the London real estate market acting for both domestic and international clients. Known for its ability to handle large and complex transactions, and for its talented individual lawyers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
 Client service: "Exceptional client care."

Breadth of services: "They have a very joined-up practice across tax, corporate, real estate and debt."

Bench strength: "The quality of the individuals is very good and the senior people there are very capable of handling themselves well in negotiations."

Work highlights Acted on Hammerson's sale of its London office portfolio to Brookfield Office Properties for £518 million.

Acted for CPPIB on its 50:50 joint venture with Land Securities to own and redevelop a 5.5 acre site near Victoria station.

Notable practitioners 

James Barnes focuses on the real estate aspects of infrastructure and regeneration projects. His expertise includes joint ventures and financing. Sources say he is "very nice and very sensible."

Donald Rowlands is head of real estate for UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. His practice encompasses lettings, acquisitions, disposals, development and finance. Clients say he "knows the law as well as anyone, but also provides pragmatic, commercial advice to get quick solutions." Peers add that he is "very easy to work with and extremely focused on the bigger issues."

Ian Cox focuses his practice on advising overseas investors and property developers. Clients say he is "very good at managing both his team and the project in an efficient way," and appreciate that he is "very good at calming difficult situations."

Jeremy Walden acts for investors, developers, occupiers and property companies. His practice covers joint ventures and structured real estate acquisitions and disposals.

Richard Forsdyke specialises in investment and development, as well as financing. Clients appreciate that he "will always try to find a solution." He recently acted on CarVal Investors and Orion's four-way joint venture to develop 100 Cheapside.

Simon Price is praised by clients for his "thoroughness, adaptability, expertise, commerciality and entrepreneurship." He specialises in structured investment, acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and property-owning corporate structures.

David Rosen's clients include property companies, investors, corporate occupiers and public sector bodies. He specialises in structured investment, joint ventures and development work. He was a lead on the CarVal Investors/Orion's Cheapside joint venture.

Julian Pollock advises an array of clients on structured investment, joint ventures and development. He was a lead partner on Hammerson's London office portfolio sale.

Significant clients Standard Life Assurance, EDF, Blackstone, London & Continental Railway, Rockpoint.

Restructuring/Insolvency - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 12 partners
- 25 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Solid roots in bank-side and administrator-focused representation. Adapting to market trends to establish additional expertise in debtor representation. Adept at casework in the financial services sector. Experienced in both domestic and cross-border transactions.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They are very thorough; they are prepared to do additional research and not just accept the norm and shy away from alternative solutions."

What's new? Recent panel appointments include Standard Chartered Bank.

Work highlights Acted for KPMG on its role as administrator of JJB Sports, which included advising on a pre-pack and negotiating with stakeholders.

Advised hibu on its £2.3 billion debt restructuring.

Notable practitioners  

Sources say Laurence Elliott "has a good knowledge of the market and can advise on different strategies." He has a broad practice, with experience of the financial services and insurance sectors as key strengths.

Kevin Pullen is praised for being "very strong technically, a deep legal thinker who is prepared to break new ground and do things differently." He is regularly part of teams advising on highlight mandates, and was key partner on the JJB administration.

Significant clients Ernst & Young, Findus Group, National Australia Bank, Card Protection Plan, FSCS.

Tax - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-6 partners
-11 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Houses strong expertise in both direct and indirect tax matters, frequently acting on cross-border matters, wherein the team benefits from the firm's global network of offices. Particular expertise in the energy, insurance, investment funds and real estate sectors, amongst others.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "They are willing to be available at all times – even with sudden developments they are always contactable." 

What's new? New clients include Kogas.

Work highlights Advised Sinopec on its USD1.5 billion acquisition of a 49% stake in Talisman Energy's UK North Sea business.

Advised Temenos, a Swiss-listed, banking software provider on its proposed merger with Misys.

Notable practitioners  

Heather Gething is a key tax practitioner at the firm. She has recently advised on a number of joint ventures with significant tax aspects, and she is also noted for her contentious tax expertise.

Bradley Phillips "knows his stuff inside out and is powerful at the negotiating table," according to sources. He regularly advises on corporate tax matters, with recent work highlights including advice to Cable & Wireless Worldwide on its £1.04 billion takeover by Vodafone.

Neil Warriner is expert at handling the tax aspects of real estate transactions, including a recent instruction from the joint venture partnership of Rockpoint and ADIA on its £337.5 million disposal of Devonshire Square Estate to Blackstone.

Global head of tax Isaac Zailer has led the firm's tax advice on a number of recent mergers and acquisitions, including assisting Sinopec on its purchase of a 49% stake in Talisman Energy's UK North Sea business.

Howard Murray handles a diverse array of corporate tax matters, and is especially well known for his advice to clients in the energy and insurance sectors. One source notes that: "His judgement is key, you can really trust his advice."

Significant clients Blackrock, BP, Time Warner, Essar, Lazard.

Since publication, Bradley Phillips has moved in-house.

Administrative & Public Law - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 10 other lawyers

What the team is known for Offers outstanding advice and representation across the entire range of administrative and public law. Noted for particular expertise in matters concerning transport, pensions, financial services, telecoms and media.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "I would put them at the top. They have a good reputation and do a lot of the big cases."

Responsiveness and expertise: "They are very efficient and offer very high-quality advice."

What's new? New client and panel wins include Royal Mail, Civil Aviation Authority, Transport for London, QinetiQ and the Railway Pensions Trust.

Work highlights Acted successfully for Virgin Trains in a challenge to the Secretary of State for Transport's decision to award the West Coast Mainland rail franchise to First Group.

Successfully defended the Horserace Betting Levy Board from a judicial review challenge brought by William Hill. The challenge concerned the Levy Board's decision not to seek levies from users of betting exchanges.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Lidbetter is head of the firm's dispute resolution and administrative and public law team, and is regarded by market sources as a "phenomenally bright and capable" practitioner. Clients describe him as a "highly responsive, highly expert and very experienced" individual who "inspires a high degree of trust and confidence." 

Nusrat Zar specialises in regulatory and public disputes across a range of sectors. "I have been very impressed by her strategic focus and her efficiency," states a market source: "She runs a very tight team and is relentlessly focused on getting results for her clients."

Significant clients Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Financial Services Compensation Scheme, CIMA, Ofgem, Pension Protection Fund. 

Construction - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Dedicated and busy construction and engineering team offering comprehensive services for domestic and international matters. Assists clients from a large assortment of sectors, including energy, nuclear, commercial property developments, transport and infrastructure.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They are no strangers to construction disputes and have carefully tailored their legal advice to the practicalities of the project wherein the dispute lies."

Bench strength: "I enjoy working with HSF and the team spirit is very well established." 

What's new? The team received new instructions from clients such as Deloitte & Touche, Brookfield Multiplex, Standard Life Investments, Deutsche Bahn.

Work highlights Advised NNB Generation on various construction law elements relating to its new nuclear programme in the UK. 

Acted for Petroliam Nasional on the development of a refinery and petrochemical complex in Malaysia.

Notable practitioners  

Sources say Nicholas Downing is "super thorough, super knowledgeable and responsive, and he has his finger on the pulse." His practice centres around non-contentious matters.

Ann Levin concentrates on handling all forms of construction-related alternative dispute resolution. She has extensive experience in the field and acts as the firm's construction and engineering representative in India.

Mark Lloyd-Williams "provides concise and clear advice," according to sources. He has extensive experience in handling construction-related disputes, and clients appreciate that "in negotiations he projects an image which is both firm and persuasive, without a hint of arrogance."  

Significant clients EDF, Visagino Atomine Elektrine, Capital & Counties, Qatar Petroleum, Oxford University Hospital Trust. 

Corporate Crime & Investigations - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Viewed as a leading practice. Considerable experience in advising companies on investigations brought by the SFO and former FSA, anti-corruption controls and international sanctions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They keep a commercial head and are able to advise on commercial issues."

Client service: "They have an excellent team. They are well-staffed, well-resourced and committed."

What's new? Rod Fletcher has joined the firm from Slater & Gordon, significantly enhancing its white-collar credentials.

Notable practitioners 

"A true expert in her field," Susannah Cogman is recommended for her insight into Bribery Act compliance and sanctions issues. Sources characterise her as a "talented" and "astute lawyer," who "knows what corporate clients need."

"Highly experienced" practitioner Graham More heads up the firm's corporate crime and investigations team. Clients highlight his ability "to explain complex legal issues in an easy, understandable manner."

Dan Hudson is a respected anti-bribery lawyer, with significant experience of advising corporates on cross-jurisdictional investigations. Clients single him out as "someone who's strong intellectually and technically, but has good common sense and a no-nonsense approach." 

Rod Fletcher is singled out as an "excellent" white-collar practitioner, who "can be relied on to bring good judgement and common sense, and take good points." He acts for corporate clients in relation to SFO corruption investigations.

Data Protection - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Operates on a wide range of mandates with a team drawn from across the firm. Members of the practice group come from departments as diverse as competition, IP, litigation and public law.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The team was fantastic. It totally got the risks we were facing and dealt with the issues beautifully.”

Market reputation: “The data protection team is very approachable as a team and very focused on providing a solution to issues.”

What's new? Kate Brimsted has taken over the leadership of the team following the departure of Christopher Rees.

Work highlights Providing advice to moneysupermarket.com on issues connected to its participation in the Insurance Industry Access to Driver Database.

Assisted Refuge on a pro bono basis with its data protection responsibilities.

Notable practitioners  

Kaman Tsoi is a key contact at the practice.

Significant clients Agco, Atmel, BAT, BSkyB, Kobo.  

Employee Share Schemes & Incentives - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Skilled in handling the share scheme aspects of major transactions. Particularly renowned for its ability to advise clients on the application of the FSA remuneration code.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They're excellent from a technical perspective and they're always available."

Strategic planning: "They treat urgent matters accordingly and they're very good at what they do."

Problem solving: "They help us come to the right answers instead of just providing transactional advice." 

Work highlights Assisted Cable & Wireless Worldwide with the share incentive aspects of its £1 billion takeover by Vodafone.

Assisted BlueBay Asset Management in its attempts to preserve existing incentive plans as it converted to LLP status.

Notable practitioners  

Practice head Paul Ellerman is lauded as "personable and easy to deal with." Sources note that he has key expertise in handling international matters. He led the team that represented Cable & Wireless Worldwide in its £1 billion takeover by Vodafone.

Clients are unanimous in praising Mark Ife for quality of his advice and, in particular, his ability to "encapsulate the key points in a very succinct manner." His representation of Lonmin on the impact of a large debt refinancing on existing share plans served as a particular highlight.

Bradley Richardson is hailed as a "very professional and knowledgeable" associate who typically responds to queries with a laudable sense of pragmatism. He was part of the team that advised BlueBay Asset Management on the matter above.

Significant clients BAT, G4S, Lonmin, Hibu, BSkyB, Michael Page. 

Energy & Natural Resources - UK-wide

What the team is known for Leading City firm with the people power to match, and a disputes team with substantial clout. A significant presence in Asia and a leader for nuclear power and financings in the oil and gas sector.

Strengths (Mainly quotes from clients)
Commercial awareness: "Well-educated, reasonable, very commercial lawyers."

Visibility: "Herbies has always been very active in North Sea matters."

What's new? The group has seen internal partner promotions for William Arrenberg and Christian Leathley. Anna Howell and David Clinch have switched offices, with Anna relocating to the London office and David taking up residence in Hong Kong. Jason Fox has moved to Bracewell & Giuliani and Ted Greeno has departed for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Work highlights Represented Sinopec on its USD1.5 billion acquisition of a 49% stake in Talisman Energy's North Sea business.

Advised Chinese oil company CNOOC on the EU and UK elements arising out of its USD15.1 billion takeover bid for Nexen.

Notable practitioners  

A recent addition to the London office, Anna Howell, noted for her strength in oil and gas, acted on the Sinopec matter set out above.

Chambers sources comment on Paula Hodges QC's very active practice and rate her highly: "Paula is a really good advocate - she's scary because she's so good."

Craig Tevendale's practice continues to grow with his handling of significant arbitrations in the oil and gas arena.

The "established" Simon Tysoe was heavily involved in the takeover bid for Nexen by CNOOC.

Head of the global energy practice, Mark Newbery is picked out by commentators as "a massive figure" in the power market. He has been assisting NNB Generation with its plans for newbuild nuclear projects in the UK.

The "incredibly commercial" Henry Davey maintains a steady practice dealing with notable power matters. 

Julia Pyke led on the work for NNB Generation, a joint venture between EDF and Centrica, which has entailed providing advice on all the preparatory work for a new nuclear power station to be built at Hinkley Point.

Matthew Weiniger QC has advised on public law aspects of the Hinkley Point nuclear power station newbuild.

Stephen Murray has acted on BG Group's disposal of its USD352 million equity interest in GNL Quintero, a Chilean LNG regasification terminal.

Since publication, Caroline Kehoe has relocated to the firm's Dubai office.

Significant clients BP, Chevron, Crédit Agricole, Woodside, Mitsui.

Energy & Natural Resources - UK-wide

What the team is known for Offers expert advice across a range of minerals matters, including those involving M&A, capital markets, operational agreements and project development. Specific knowledge of francophone Africa and iron ore supply agreements.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They have the most experience in iron ore contracts and developing-country risk government contracting."

Work highlights Represented Lonmin in its equity capital raising and debt refinancing, which involved a rights issue of USD817 million.

Notable practitioners

Greg Mulley is a key contact.

Significant clients BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, JPMorgan Cazenove, Ministry of Mines of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Glencore.

Financial Services - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 30 other qualified lawyers 
- Office locations ranked: London.

What the team is known for Houses an integrated team of specialists adept at handling both contentious and non-contentious matters. Significant sector expertise in the retail and corporate banking sectors, as well as private wealth and asset management. Remains a go-to firm for representation in significant FSA investigations.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The service has been absolutely first rate - a top-drawer service." 

Work highlights Advised Moneysupermarket.com on regulatory aspects of its £87 million acquisition of the MoneySavingExpert business from Martin Lewis.

Advised Precision Capital SA in relation its EUR1 billion acquisition of KBC Group NV's private banking subsidiary KBL European Private Bankers. 

Notable practitioners  

Sources find Jenny Stainsby "incredibly measured and practical in her approach." She primarily focuses on advising commercial and retail financial institutions on regulatory and compliance issues, with particular strength in contentious matters.

Non-contentious specialist Clive Cunningham is described as "an absolutely top-rate lawyer." He has particular expertise in payment services and wealth management, and was recently involved in leading the team on the Moneysupermarket.com acquisition.

Significant clients UBS, Morgan Stanley, Bank of Ireland, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas. 

Health & Safety - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 5 partners
- 11 qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Solid contentious expertise. Handles investigations and prosecutions for market-leading industrial, manufacturing and energy clients.

What's new? Respected practitioner Rod Fletcher joined the practice from Slater & Gordon, reinforcing its regulatory crime strengths.

Work highlights Advises Chevron in connection with the fatal explosion at Pembroke Refinery.

Notable practitioners 

Admired regulatory and personal injury lawyer Howard Watson often acts for the defence in high-stakes matters. He had a lead role on the Pembroke Refinery matter.

"Standout partner" Rod Fletcher is known for his considerable knowledge in white-collar criminal matters, and is described as "one of the leaders in the profession" as well as a "safe pair of hands." His key clients include manufacturers and local authorities.

Insurance - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 21 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: London

What the team is known for Represents brokers, insurers, reinsurers and corporate policyholders in significant, high-profile insurance and reinsurance work. Expert in litigation concerning natural disasters, professional indemnity, D&O and political risk. Has a strong international capability, particularly in Asia and Australia, where it has notable offices.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Pragmatic advice: "They're extremely technically good, but then convert that to very clear formal opinions and advice. Equally if they give advice, it's very clear and authoritative."

Technical ability: "They produce excellent results for us. In litigation and contentious matters, they're really quite excellent. They know our business very well

Market standing: "Herbert Smith is fantastic. They have a terrific practice - high-profile, high-value insurance disputes."

Work highlights Recently represented Pilkington in an USD11 million claim brought by AFG Industries, regarding the loss and damage to its float glass furnace.

Recently advised RSA on a significant case regarding the policy of repairing policyholders' motor vehicles.

Notable practitioners  

The "absolutely first-rate" Anthony Dempster commands respect from clients and the market for his insurance and reinsurance practice. Key areas of expertise include product liability, business interruption and natural disasters. One client states: "He's commercial and cost-effective. We've never looked elsewhere."

Christopher Foster has a widely respected insurance and reinsurance practice. "Chris's strength is dissecting complex reinsurance facts and getting to the heart of a problem very quickly," remarks one client.

The "excellent" Alexander Oddy represents policyholders in claims, with a focus on the energy sector. Clients describe him as "very thorough and user-friendly, and he turns things around quickly." 

Sources state that the "incisive, charismatic and knowledgeable" David Reston has "an extraordinary reputation in the insurance field, and a well-deserved one." He is particularly skilled in professional indemnity and D&O matters, and in handling varied and significant reinsurance cases.

The eminent Martin Bakes is a long-standing presence in the insurance market, and has acted on major cases both domestically and abroad.

Paul Lewis acts on complex insurance litigation cases for some of the team's most prominent clients, with a focus on professional indemnity matters. One client attests: "Having Paul as your lawyer gives you an enormous sense of reassurance, and he delivers pragmatic advice of the highest quality."

Significant clients RSA, Marsh, Gen Re, Noreco, Aviva.

Insurance - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Highly regarded for its expertise in the life insurance sector, including complex M&A deals, restructurings and life insurance tax expertise. Adept in corporate matters across the whole insurance sector, including capital markets, distribution arrangements and demutualisations. Expert in providing regulatory advice, with a particular specialism in Solvency II matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "Their work was excellent. They have a very in-depth understanding of their subject. They are pretty much at the top of the game in doing these things."

Technical ability: "For structured solutions, Herbert Smith would be amongst the first people we'd call."

Work highlights Advised Pension Corporation regarding a £400 million investment in the company by Reinet Fund.

Advised Friends Life on a Part VII transfer involving £32 billion of reserves transferred.

Notable practitioners  

The "outstanding" Geoffrey Maddock is praised as "a very good technical lawyer in the insurance field," and someone who is "very commercial, but has also got a grasp of the finer detail." He has a wide-ranging practice, including expertise in demutualisations, M&A, regulatory advice and securitisations.

Significant clients Zurich, Swiss Re, Partnership Life, Royal London, RSA.  

Investment Funds - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Heavy-hitting closed-ended funds practice with a long track record in the innovation and development of capital, tax and regulatory structures. Frequently the recipient of high-profile mandates in the hedge and real estate funds sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They have shown a huge amount of tenacity and endeavour, but also innovation in how we structure things and achieve our commercial goals in a legally robust way."

Problem solving: "Good and creative in finding solutions in unusual differentiated funds - questions which others have not encountered before, which take a bit more thinking about."

What's new? The team has gained several new clients, including Goldman Sachs, Lend Lease, Investec, RREEF, CarVal, F&C and Aberdeen Asset Management.

Work highlights Advised Guernsey-domiciled registered closed-ended investment fund BlueCrest BlueTrend on its IPO.

Acted for Moorfield Group on the launch of the Moorfield Real Estate Fund III with a fundraising target of £250 million.

Notable practitioners  

The "unflappable" Nigel Farr receives glowing reviews from interviewees, who cite his balance between being "creative and innovative" and "commercially sensible" as a key draw. Among numerous significant mandates, he recently advised Aqua Resources Fund on its restructuring. Clients note that he is a go-to lawyer for strategic advice thanks to his "years of experience and contacts." 

Tim West's recent work includes acting for Qannas Investments on the IPO of a closed-ended investment fund, domiciled in Jersey and listed on AIM. He is known as a "very good technician" and "very pragmatic."

"No-nonsense and totally in command of the law," is how interviewees describe Scott Cochrane. Of late, he has acted for Sherborne Investors on its £207 million IPO and admission to AIM.

Significant clients Man Investments, Neuberger Berman, JPMorgan, CQS, Aberdeen Asset Management.

Life Sciences - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Life sciences litigation is the key focus here thanks to a set of skilled patent litigators. Specialisms include acting for innovator companies on obtaining and enforcing Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs).

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "I feel we're getting very high-quality advice and the service and support we need."

Bench strength: Sources commend the team for its strength across the ranks and its thorough approach to case preparation.

Work highlights Represented Sanofi in enforcement and protection of SPCs granted to Aprovel and CoAprovel.

Co-ordinated patent infringement litigation for Eisai concerning two of its blockbuster drugs.

Notable practitioners  

Sophie Rich is widely regarded as one of the leading patent litigators in the UK, and is "doing fantastic work," according to sources. She has been co-leading the firm's representation of Sanofi in the Aprovel and CoAprovel cases.

Sebastian Moore is a "very thoughtful and very diligent" practitioner who "always impresses" commentators. His recent work includes acting for Reckitt Benckiser on private damages actions following an OFT decision relating to its Gaviscon product.

David Wilson is a life sciences specialist who has been representing Abbott in patent infringement and revocation cases.

Significant clients Takeda Pharmaceutical, Daiichi-Sankyo, Hoffmann-La Roche, Gilead.

Local Government - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Major redevelopments and large-scale regeneration projects are the mainstay of the practice, which has a strong profile for judicial reviews and other contentious matters. 

Work highlights Defended the Greater London Authority in a challenge against its decision to regenerate Crystal Palace Park. Also advises the authority on the redevelopment of Silvertown Quays and the Royal Albert Dock.

Represents the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership in a large-scale regeneration programme.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Andrew Lidbetter brings his public law expertise to bear on a variety of local government matters. He routinely handles judicial review cases. 

Significant clients Transport for London, London Borough of Southwark, Sheffield City Council.

Outsourcing - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers
- 1 of counsel
- Office locations ranked: London 

What the team is known for Strong in advising both customers and suppliers on all manner of outsourcings, with notable expertise in telecoms, funds and regulatory matters. Experienced in public sector projects, where it advises clients on the government side.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Practical advice: "They were excellent at focusing us on the key commercial issues in the contract, advising us on the strict legal perspective, but also working with us to identify areas of manageable risk."

Technical ability: "The project was niche, novel and intricate and they showed a huge amount of tenacity and innovation in the structure of the arrangement to achieve our goals."

Client service: "The team persevered, and the personable geniality never changed even when there were problems. They kept us on the right track and moved the whole thing forward."

Work highlights Advised Spirax on a framework agreement for an outsourcing of infrastructure and data centre services to Verizon.

Notable practitioners  

Sources say that Nick Pantlin "bought technology outsourcing expertise to the table and applied that model to our industry to say what works well in practice." Sources comment on his commercial awareness and experience in the financial services and public sectors.

Significant clients BP, BAT, Lloyds TSB, Man Group, Transport for London.

Partnership - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- Cross-practice team with 9 partners.

What the team is known for Recommended for its disputes practice and international partnership work. Especially active in private equity and hedge funds.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "I am impressed by the team's ability to provide more than just the legal."

Work highlights Representing two ex-partners of Rubicon Fund Management in a dispute brought by their former partnership, in which the fund manager alleged the ex-partners had committed conspiracy and breached their duties in establishing a new hedge fund.

Notable practitioners 

Litigator Alan Watts is described as "an experienced street fighter," with clients appreciating his "commercial strategic approach." He is advising Mark Abell on his high-profile exit from Field Fisher Waterhouse to a rival firm.

Significant clients KPMG, PwC, IKOS Asset Management.

Pensions Litigation - UK-wide

What the team is known for Combines the strength of the firm's pensions and commercial litigation practices. Attracts an impressive client list and advises on a broad range of pensions disputes.

Work highlights Continues to advise Ernst & Young, the administrators of Nortel Networks UK, on the pensions aspects of the administration, which has involved advising on a Supreme Court application seeking clarification of where financial support directions and contribution notices rank as priorities in insolvency proceedings.

Notable practitioners  

Daniel Schaffer is the key contact.

Significant clients RPTCL, Mercer, Stagecoach, E.ON, United States Department of Justice.

Projects - UK-wide

What the team is known for Advises on domestic and international PPP/PFI projects. Active in a wide variety of areas including water, health, defence and transport.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "Their understanding of the sector, skill of negotiation and quality of documents were all very good."

Commercial awareness: "The team has performed excellently, providing good commercial advice and effective drafting, allied with their ability to provide quick and clear responses to the many complex issues arising in respect of such a project."

What's new? Appointed to the panel of Transport for London, HS1 Limited and EDF Energy 

Work highlights Advised 2Balans on the English law aspects of the financing of the A1 and A6 motorways in the Netherlands.

Acted for FCC Construcción in connection with its bid for the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital PFI.

Notable practitioners

Adrian Clough is a key contact. 

Significant clients London & Continental Railways, QinetiQ, Haramain High Speed Rail Consortium, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Private Client - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Established City credentials and a global presence make it a firm of preference for high net worth individuals operating across multiple jurisdictions. Typically acts on a range of probate and trust disputes in the UK and offshore.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "When you say that the firm is acting for you, people gulp. The team is at the top."

Notable practitioners  

Robert Hunter maintains his market-leading position for contentious trusts work and is an expert in disputes involving elements of fraud. Observers enthuse: "He is absolutely fantastic – brilliantly clever and very calm. He has immense patience and clients love him."

Private Equity - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
-4 partners
-15 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Advising global clients such as private equity, sovereign wealth and infrastructure funds on a range of deals. Notable sector expertise in real estate, infrastructure and energy.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They did an excellent job on a very complicated deal - a capable, proactive team."

Client service: "They were excellent - with Herbert Smith we got the individual attention of the partner."

Work highlights Represented UCC in its acquisition of United Coffee from CapVest, co-ordinating with colleagues in Paris, Tokyo and Madrid.

Acted for Aberdeen Asset management on its purchase of a 50.1% stake in SVG Capital's subsidiary SVG Advisors.

Notable practitioners 

James MacArthur is a key contact at the firm.

Significant clients Blackstone, KKR, Antin Infrastructure, Carlyle, Cabot Square.

Product Liability - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Advises on many related facets of product liability, including dispute resolution and insurance as well as risk management and product recall. Consolidates its practice with support from its international offices.

What's new? Philip Pfeffer joined from Chadbourne & Parke. He is a partner in the London dispute resolution practice and has particular expertise in dealing with matters related to the religious certification of food products.

The firm gained BAT as a new client.

Work highlights Defended Diageo in high-profile group litigation surrounding the distribution of thalidomide in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Acted for insurers RSA, Ocean Marine, Zurich and XL Insurance in regards to significant claims made against Rolls-Royce over its 'Mermaid Pods' propulsion system.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Anthony Dempster is a partner in the firm's insurance disputes group with a wealth of experience in handling product liability and recall work for his insurer clients. He led the team acting for Rolls-Royce's insurers over the 'Mermaid Pods' propulsion system.

Significant clients Pilkington.

Professional Discipline - UK-wide

What the team is known for Expertise in financial services and accountancy regulation. Handles complex and high-profile matters. Acts for regulators, professional organisations and individuals. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "What we look for is a firm with strong experience and understanding of litigation, and Herbert Smith has that."

What's new? Former Russell, Jones & Walker (now Slater & Gordon) business crime and regulation head Rod Fletcher joined the team in February 2013.

Work highlights Advised the former chief executive of UBS's UK wealth management business on misconduct allegations made by the Financial Services Authority. It was found that the chief executive had acted reasonably and the FSA was directed to take no action against him.

Notable practitioners  

Rod Fletcher is highly regarded in the field: "He is Mr Reliable – he is so well respected in this area of work and they are lucky to get him."

Andrew Lidbetter is the leader of the professional discipline team. Sources say: "He is a very good lawyer on judicial review issues, which we always have to be aware of - it is a real advantage to us to have him available."

Significant clients Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Financial Reporting Council, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Projects - UK-wide

What the team is known for A well-regarded team that acts for both sponsor and bank clients on project financing mandates. Particularly strong in the Asia-Pacific region, and also handles work in Africa, Europe and domestically. The strength of the firm's energy practice translates into large projects in that area, in addition to projects in areas such as infrastructure, power, petrochemicals and transport.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They were tough but fair in negotiations, they struck a really good balance. In terms of their knowledge of the contract I was very impressed." 

Work highlights Advised Petronas on the development of a USD25 billion refinery and petrochemical complex in Malaysia.

Advised the Investment Board of Nepal and Adam Smith International in relation to the financing of hydropower projects in Nepal.

Notable practitioners John Balsdon is a key contact. 

Significant clients Woodside, Transport for London, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC.

Public Procurement - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

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

What the team is known for Strengths in advising the public sector and regulated industries, particularly transport and utilities companies. Frequently acts on both procurement challenges and non-contentious matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "They bring an extra element of quality with their involvement."

Responsiveness: "Very good turnaround times." 

Work highlights Advising the Greater London Authority on the procurement of a development partner for the regeneration of the Silvertown Quays area.

Notable practitioners  

James Quinney and Andrew Lidbetter are key contacts for procurement disputes.

Significant clients Stagecoach South West Trains, Ofgem, NNB Generating.

Retail - UK-wide

What the team is known for Receives significant praise for its competition law expertise, in addition to its active corporate restructuring and transactional practice. Handles some of the most significant M&A and capital markets transactions in this industry. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Problem solving: "They're just very good, give commercial advice and come up with solutions."

Work highlights Acted for JJB Sports on its restructuring and refinancing, including its pre-pack administration and the sale of around 40 shops to Sports Direct.

Advised Michael Kors on employment matters such as employment documentation drafting, recruitment and termination, following its launch in the UK

Notable practitioners  

Ben Ward heads the retail practice and is a key contact.

Significant clients Michael Kors, Harrods, Selfridges, JJB Sports.

Tax - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: London

What the team is known for Strong expertise in handling a wide range of disputes with HMRC on behalf of corporate clients. Also noted for its adept handling of challenges to UK tax legislation under EU law.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "The firm takes care to understand its clients' businesses and wider tax strategies when giving advice. This means that advice is not only technically first class, but also tailored to the profile of the business."

Work highlights Successfully acted for the British Aggregates Association in a European High Court case concerning the legality of the UK's Aggregates Levy under EU State Aid law. 

Represented Philips Electronics UK in ECJ proceedings relating to whether UK loss relief rules are compatible with EU law.

Notable practitioners  

Heather Gething heads the firm's tax investigations and disputes team. Sources note that she "is able to bring a strategic insight to contentious issues which adds an extra dimension to her always valuable technical assessment of the case." She took a lead role in the British Aggregates Association matter. 

Michael Hunt is "the epitome of a good tax adviser," say sources, who also note his intelligence and attention to detail. He is dual-qualified, as an accountant and solicitor.

Significant clients British Airports Authority, Pacificorp, Law Society of England and Wales, Philips Electronics UK.

Telecommunications - UK-wide

What the team is known for Premier team for telecoms M&A and joint venture projects. Further noted for its competition, litigation and regulatory offering.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "For an in-house lawyer, it is important to show to management that the law firm provided the expected results in time and on budget. This firm enables me to do that."

Technical ability: "The team has very strong legal skills and strong commercial acumen." 

Work highlights Acted for Telefónica O2 on the creation of a joint venture with Everything Everywhere and Vodafone UK aimed at providing mobile marketing and payment services.

Represented Cable & Wireless Worldwide in its £1.04 billion takeover by Vodafone.

Notable practitioners  

Nick Elverston's recent highlights include acting on major network sharing joint venture projects. He is also an expert in francophone African telecoms work. "He impresses me every time we meet," says one client. 

The "extremely knowledgeable and calm" Stephen Wisking receives enthusiastic praise from peers and clients alike for providing strong regulatory support. This expertise has earned him significant instructions from key operators at the Court of Appeal and CAT in a series of pricing disputes.  

Interviewees highlight Amanda Hale's acumen for identifying the commercial drivers in a transaction and provide tailored advice. She has considerable experience in helping clients with regulatory issues, both domestic and foreign. 

Elizabeth McKnight is a senior competition specialist within the team. She is a widely respected figure in this sector and continues to act as legal consultant to telecoms clients on the relevant application of UK and EU law.

Significant clients BSkyB, Ericsson, Tata Communications, Telefónica O2.

Transport - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- Office locations ranked: London 

What the team is known for Involvement in a number of high-profile franchising matters and large-scale infrastructure projects. Particularly noted for its light rail expertise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Flexibility: "What I like is that they are very thorough and think of all the angles, and they are also willing to take the client's view on board."

Work highlights Acted for Virgin Trains in its high-profile bid for the InterCity West Coast passenger rail franchise, including the subsequent interim franchise negotiations with the DfT following its withdrawal of the award to First Group.

Advised Stagecoach South Western Trains on its alliance with Network Rail designed to improve efficiency and service in the South and South West of England.

Notable practitioners  

Adrian Clough is a projects lawyer with an excellent understanding of the UK rail industry. According to sources, "he knows the players and the regulations, and he keeps his cool in negotiations."

Significant clients Arriva, East Midlands Trains, HS1, Transport for London, London & Continental Railways.