• You are now in...
  • UK

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
  • Joint CEOs Sonya Leydecker, Mark Rigotti
  • UK Number of partners 155
  • Other fee-earners 720
  • International Number of partners 452
  • Other fee-earners 1842

The Firm 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, full-service 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.

Principal Areas of Work
Corporate & Commercial:
Herbert Smith Freehills’ Corporate Practice provides clients with marketleading legal advice on their most important commercial transactions, including significant cross-border mergers and acquisitions, ground-breaking projects, complex capital markets fundraisings, financial regulation, inward investment, governance and risk management for companies’ boards and corporate tax advice. Clients include the world’s leading corporates, banks, financial buyers, governments and public sector bodies and its role frequently puts the firm at the heart of industries that are reshaping, restructuring and expanding into the world’s emerging markets. The diversity of the group allows it to advise on transactions across a wide range of industry sectors and the firm is acknowledged as providing world-class legal advice to energy and infrastructure, technology, media and telecoms, and financial services clients. The firm’s expertise is reflected by its consistently high ranking in the global league tables of major 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 its London, Hong Kong, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Singapore and Australia offices.
Dispute Resolution: The firm has a formidable reputation for domestic and international litigation, international arbitration and alternative dispute resolution – a pre-eminent position it has held for decades. It is the breadth of the firm’s 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. As a firm, Herbert Smith Freehills is strongly committed to the development of its advocacy practice. The firm’s unique in-house advocacy unit provides a number of benefits for clients, including ease of instruction and reduction in cost. The firm’s disputes office in Belfast, which is focused on the document review often found in major contentious cases, enables it to offer clients an attractive combination of quality, efficiency and pricing.
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 pre-eminent 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 Finance Ewen Fergusson
  • 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
  • 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 Patrick Mitchell
  • 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 Nick Pantlin
  • Leisure & Sport Stephen Wilkinson Alan Watts
  • Life Sciences David Wilson Sophie Rich
  • Litigation Tim Parkes
  • M&A Stephen Wilkinson James Palmer
  • Pensions Daniel Schaffer
  • PFI/PPP Patrick Mitchell
  • Planning & Environment Matthew White
  • Private Equity Gavin Davies
  • Project Finance John Balsdon
  • Real Estate Donald Rowlands
  • Retail Ben Ward
  • Restructuring & Insolvency Kevin Pullen
  • Securitisation Michael Poulton
  • Tax Isaac Zailer
  • Telecoms Nick Elverston
  • Trusts & Charities Robert Hunter
  • WTO/World Trade Law Craig Pouncey


Banking & Finance - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Illustrious client roster on the borrower and bank side, regularly representing FTSE 250 companies and household-name banks. Strong track record on reserve-based lending deals and energy finance. Noted for its emerging markets offering and particular focus on India, Russia and Africa.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We were very impressed. We like working with them because they're very attentive; you get a lot of partner attention and involvement."

Work highlights Acted for Northgate on the £428 million refinancing of its existing US private placements, bank facilities and institutional loans. The financing comprised senior multicurrency term and revolving facilities.  

Advised Deutsche Bank in its capacity as agent on an ECA-backed loan of USD234 million to Bharti Airtel, for the purpose of funding its acquisition of telecoms equipment from Nokia Siemens.

Notable practitioners  

Head of finance for the UK and EMEA Malcolm Hitching possesses significant experience in the market. He represents lenders and borrowers in a range of transactions and has notable expertise in Islamic financings.

Ewen Fergusson is known to clients as "a very affable guy - he relates very easily to both the businesspeople and our clients." He took the lead acting for Northgate on its complex £428 million refinance.

Ian Yeo acted on the provision of an ECA-backed loan by Deutsche Bank to fund Bharti Airtel's purchase of certain telecoms equipment. He frequently handles multi-jurisdictional transactions.

Significant clients Standard Bank, BNP Paribas, hibu, Perenco, Lonmin.

Banking Litigation - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Broad practice with related strengths in contentious regulatory and financial crime cases. Reputable profile, with substantial instructions relating to interest rate swaps mis-selling and the Libor scandal.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I have a high regard for them; they're very effective litigators. They take a proactive stance in using the procedural weapons available to achieve results and also have the intellectual capabilities to service their clients' needs."

"When we need strategic advice, they're our go-to firm. They're sensitive to our internal procedures and are nuanced in their approach."

"I think the team is extremely good. They have a combination of being very competent and very personable. An extremely high-quality team."

Work highlights Act for Credit Suisse on a claim against Stichting Vestia Groep regarding multiple interest rate swaps transactions and breach of the Credit Support Annex under the ISDA Master Agreement.

Represented Standard Bank in defence of claims brought by PetroSA Ghana regarding the terms of loan facilities provided by the bank and claims of breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

Notable practitioners  

Damien Byrne Hill leads the department and is adept at representing banks in high-profile and complex proceedings. According to clients, he is "a real expert in this area of law. He's fantastic at explaining technical points and tailoring it to his audience."

Simon Clarke shows strength in cases relating to structured products and regulatory advice. Clients regard him as "focused and diligent, with a good eye for detail."

Significant clients UBS, RBS, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Coutts. 

Capital Markets - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Offers expertise across the spectrum of DCM and ECM matters. Able to advise on a multi-jurisdictional basis, covering locations such as Greece, India and the UAE. Skilled in work involving investment funds, financial institutions and energy and natural resources.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're in that league of firms you go to who provide good-quality advice. They're extremely competent, highly professional and of a high standard. Considerable depth of resources and very up to date in terms of current practices."

"We're very happy and pleased with the work. I would agree with their marketing perception that they offer magic circle quality service for a bit lower cost, which is appreciated in this market." 

Work highlights Advised Emirates NBD Capital, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Société Générale on the English and US law aspects of their role as lead managers on the issuance of USD250 million notes by AKLease.

Advised Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and BNP Paribas, the underwriting banks, on Piraeus Bank's EUR8.429 billion rights issue.

Notable practitioners  

The widely admired Steve Thierbach, global head of capital markets at the firm, frequently advises on US law aspects of DCM and ECM matters. Clients praise him for being "extremely knowledgeable, very approachable, friendly and calm."

Charles Howarth recently advised Citi, Deutsche Bank and others on the IPO and London listing of Damac Real Estate Development. Sources praise him as "a good operator who has significant experience in the area, and a very agreeable person to deal with."

The highly experienced James Palmer is respected for his capital markets and M&A practice, which has seen him handling many high-profile transactions. Sources describe him as a "professional and high-quality" lawyer, who has "the gravitas as well as the intellectual backup to his advice."

According to sources, Christopher Haynes is a "very sensible, measured and experienced equities practitioner, who has the respect of the banks." He recently advised Barclays and Citi on the USD885 million IPO of Platform Acquisition.

Greg Mulley has a broad capital markets, M&A and corporate finance practice in which he advises companies and investment banks. Sources state: "Greg is logical, articulate and clear in helping define issues that need to be addressed. His calmness and ability to distil and prioritise are very impressive." 

Andrew Roberts is a DCM lawyer who is regarded as being "very experienced and practical" by the market. He recently advised Great-West Lifeco on English law aspects of its issue of EUR500 million 2.5% bonds.

Significant clients Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Lonmin, Standard Chartered Bank, UBS.

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

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

What the team is known for Flourishing securitisation and structured finance practice, engaging in high-end and multi-jurisdictional transactions. Robust derivatives practice is primarily OTC-focused and covers areas including equities, commodities and credit derivatives.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We've worked with them over the years on various structures, and they've always been great - fast, responsive, and clever at coming up with solutions to complex problems. It couldn't have gone any better than it did."

"They're very good at spotting gaps in the documentation. They're an extremely efficient team who went above and beyond."

Work highlights Advised the BIS on the £160 million auction sale of a portfolio of mortgage-style student loans originated by the Student Loans Company.

Counselled BlueBay Asset Management on the creation of a EUR450 million collateralised note programme for BlueBay Ireland Corporate Credit I (BICC), a newly incorporated vehicle.

Notable practitioners  

Michael Poulton recently advised J.P. Morgan on a £420 million RMBS by West Bromwich Building Society. A client remarks: "His technical knowledge is superb, and he's very commercial as he understands what the issuer is there to do."

Jake Jackaman's recent work highlights include advising BlueBay Asset Management on the creation of a EUR450 million collateralised note programme for BICC. Sources state: "He's very technically able, and extremely knowledgeable in every aspect of structured finance."

Dina Albagli focuses her practice on structured products, derivatives and regulatory capital. She frequently advises financial institutions, investment funds and corporates on a variety of cross-border matters.

Significant clients Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan. 

Competition/European Law - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Advises on a broad range of competition matters, from merger control to state aid. Particular strength in contentious matters.

Work highlights Advised Gala Coral on the Competition Commission investigation into the proposed sale of the majority of its casinos in the UK.

Notable practitioners  

Solicitor advocate Stephen Wisking is highly regarded for his competition litigation expertise. He has particular expertise in the media, telecoms and oil and gas sectors.

Kim Dietzel focuses on litigation and represents a number of large corporations from the transport and aviation sector. She is admired by clients for her straight-to-the-point advice.

Head of department James Quinney is described by clients as "an excellent lawyer who takes his time to reflect on things." His practice encompasses contentious and non-contentious matters.  

Susan Black advises on market investigations, merger clearances and strategic behavioural matters. Clients say: "She understands our market very well and gives astute advice within a short timeframe." 

Veronica Roberts represents clients from a range of sectors including travel, retail, post, telecoms, financial services and media. She has a broad competition practice.

Solicitor advocate Elizabeth McKnight is a consultant to the team. Her recent work includes advising a client in relation to the abuse of a dominant position.  

Jonathan Scott gains significant praise for the depth of his competition litigation experience.

Significant clients Royal Mail, BSkyB, Virgin Atlantic, Reckitt Benckiser, Coca-Cola.

Construction - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Pre-eminent practice, offering a full service for domestic and international projects. Works with a range of clients from the energy, property development, transport and infrastructure sectors. Also handles contentious matters, and is a first choice for many high-value disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are technically excellent and provide strong commercial advice."

"I think they're absolutely excellent. They understand the way in which we work; I enjoy working with them."

"Global reach – it's a big player internationally." 

Work highlights Advised Capital & Counties Properties on its £5 billion redevelopment of Earls Court and Olympia.  

Acted for Petronas on procurement and construction matters relating to its USD25 billion development of an integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex in Johor, Malaysia.  

Notable practitioners  

Nicholas Downing earns client praise for his "strong technical and market abilities." He heads the non-contentious practice and advises on domestic and international projects.

Ann Levin specialises in dispute work, including litigation, adjudication and arbitration. One client notes: "She immediately grasped the issue and brought the strategic approach we were looking for."

Mark Lloyd-Williams heads the contentious construction practice and is highly regarded by peers. Insiders highlight him as "a heavyweight lead disputes lawyer" who is "terrific – really excellent."

Senior associate Tim Healey has a broad non-contentious practice. Sources appreciate his "excellent client service and pragmatic advice."

Significant clients Brookfield Multiplex, EDF, URS, Marubeni, Transport for London and London Underground.

Corporate/M&A - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Highly adept corporate practice which effectively undertakes deals, whether domestic or international, across the full spectrum of industry sectors. Features a strong global network to complement its substantial London presence.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"A core and trusted adviser in relation to corporate matters. Very responsive and pragmatic."

"We like their style a lot. They don't make things complicated and don't take an aggressive stance where they don't need to."

"I have found them an extremely good and very user-friendly firm. In particular, they make a very good team and come across as credible and effective."

What's new? New client wins include Aberdeen Asset Management and CapVest. New panel appointments include Etisalat and Heathrow Airports Holdings.

Work highlights Worked with Lloyds Banking Group on its disposal of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership to Aberdeen Asset Management in a share deal worth £560 million.

Assisted Cazenove Capital with its recommended takeover by Schroders. The value of the deal was £424 million.  

Notable practitioners  

James Palmer is "one of the doyens in this space," say sources, who describe him as "a very astute technical lawyer" and a "supreme transactional partner." He advised Lloyds Banking Group on its deal with Aberdeen Asset Management to sell Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.

Malcolm Lombers "goes the extra mile" for clients, while other sources comment that he is "approachable and easy to deal with." He works for major clients in a range of cross-border and domestic transactions.

David Paterson is respected by peers for the strength of his corporate practice, particularly in the public space. Of late, he assisted Hanover Acceptances in the merger between Refresco and Hanover's subsidiary, Gerber Emig.

Stephen Wilkinson is noted for his "fantastic industry knowledge" and "incredible stamina." He advised Severn Trent on an approach from a consortium concerning a potential £5.3 billion takeover. He is the firm's global head of M&A.  

"You are in safe hands" with Gillian Fairfield, say sources, describing her as "very hard-working, smart and reliable." She acts across a range of corporate matters, including particular expertise in the consumer products area.

Alan Montgomery is a "responsive and very hard-working" lawyer who "gets the job done," say clients. He has expertise working with Indian clients, including advising Strides Arcolab on its disposal of Agila Specialities for USD1.6 billion.

Significant clients Ministry of Defence, Transport for London, Guinness Peat Group, Strides Arcolab, EDF.

Employment - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Best known for the strength of its litigation advice, with a great deal of experience advising employers on whistle-blowing claims. Regularly works on transactional support and advisory matters including industrial relations issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"If I want to do something that is not straightforward they do not sit on the fence, and will give you a feel for the risks involved." 

"They are extremely committed to furthering the interests of their clients."

Work highlights Advised hibu on the employment elements of its restructuring following administration. The team also assisted with an investigation relating to the company's US subsidiary.

Notable practitioners  

Peter Frost is a "superb litigator" who has been at the forefront of the use of arbitrations to settle employment disputes. His recent highlights include a high-profile whistle-blowing defence and advice on industrial relations issues.

Andrew Taggart is "very focused on the objectives of the client and sincere in providing an answer which will meet their needs." He is noted for his High Court litigation expertise as well as his experience of conducting investigations.

Sources consider Tim Leaver to be "commercial in his advice and happy to stick his neck out and give us the most appropriate way forward, as well as the pros and cons." He works on contentious and non-contentious matters and is recommended as being "good for critical work."

Significant clients Michael Page, Stagecoach Group, BSkyB, IBM, EDF.

Environment - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Recognised for its expertise on regulatory and transactional matters with a focus on the energy and water sectors. Has skill in infrastructure projects, policy issues and the defence of Environment Agency investigations and prosecutions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)  

"If I give someone a call, within five minutes I have the information I need. If I need to go further they are very responsive and helpful."

"Very open, friendly and helpful; they make things work easily and quickly."

Work highlights Advised the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers on EU and domestic shale gas regulation.

Advised the lenders to the South Stream Project on compliance with the Equator Principles.

Notable practitioners

Julie Vaughan provides clients with advice on compliance, transactions and the defence of regulatory enforcement actions. An impressed client said: "She is good at influencing people and manoeuvring people so that they avoid legal hurdles."

Significant clients BP, Cuadrilla Bowland, Chevron, BHP Billiton, EDF. 

Financial Crime - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Outstanding corporate crime practice. Impressive experience acting for large multinationals in internally led and government investigations. Increasing international capacity with the expansion of its New York office.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They consistently do a very good job quickly and to the point."

Notable practitioners  

Susannah Cogman is recognised for her investigations expertise. She has experience advising on bribery and sanctions issues.

Rod Fletcher is considered to be one of of the leading business crime lawyers in London and has experience advising corporations and individuals. Sources recommend him highly, reporting that "he has tremendous knowledge and command of the subject matter, and knows the relevant players in government."

Daniel Hudson has particular expertise in anti-bribery issues and corporate investigations. Clients say: "Daniel is extremely practical and commercial."

Graham More is a consultant in the corporate crime and investigations team, whose background at the SFO gives him a unique insight into the mind of the prosecutor. Clients praise him for "explaining complex matters in simple language and showing a good understanding of the commercial issues."

Information Technology - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Highly regarded and multifaceted IT offering supported by standout dispute resolution and TMT practices. Stellar client base, regularly instructed on complex IT projects and disputes. Multidisciplinary approach and international reach.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Outstanding commercial and intellectual clout."  

"What was really useful to us was their in-depth industry knowledge. They were able to provide advice on industry best practice which we should consider." 

What's new? ACCA, Friends Life and Royal London were secured as clients.

Work highlights Provided counsel to BAT on matters including software licensing relating to its SAP platform. 

Advised ElectraLink on its contract for services with HP.

Notable practitioners  

Outsourcing expert Nick Pantlin is acknowledged for his ability to clarify and simplify complex issues. He is co-head of IT in the UK and Europe, and routinely works on cross-border transactions. Recent highlights include guiding UBS on data centre and IT platform negotiations.

Highly experienced, Mark Turner is a much-admired practitioner who produces high-quality IT work in a broad scope of areas, including telecommunications and e-commerce. He recently acted for ElectraLink on contractual matters with HP.

Nick Elverston is described as "terrific," with one source asserting: "I think he's very understanding, very proactive and user-friendly." He leads the TMT practice and offers expert advice on the intersection of technology and media, with further in-depth knowledge of joint ventures and IT compliance.     

"Absolute star" James Farrell employs "a very professional approach." He focuses on disputes involving IT infrastructure and systems implementation, and is regularly engaged by global clients on both the supplier and customer sides.

Significant clients Man Group, Vodafone, Transport for London, Financial Services Compensation Scheme, UBS.

Intellectual Property - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for A true one-stop shop for IP matters involving all manner of rights, particularly strong in life sciences and hi-tech electronics patent litigation.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are always responsive and give us the confidence that their strategic advice is thorough and precise."

"Very good on strategy." 

Work highlights Acted for Unilever in the UK and key European jurisdictions in a patent infringement dispute with Procter & Gamble and various subsidiaries concerning liquid laundry capsules.

Represented Japanese pharmaceuticals company Eisai in pan-European patent litigation to protect Aricept, its leading Alzheimer's treatment, from challenges by generics manufacturers.

Notable practitioners  

Sophie Rich is joint head of the firm's life sciences practice and focuses mainly on patent litigation in that sector. She is adept at co-ordinating disputes across multiple jurisdictions.

Mark Shillito is the firm's global IP department head. He concentrates mainly on contentious matters, usually trade mark and patent disputes. He also advises on commercial agreements and manages the firm's relationships with a number of key clients.

Joel Smith focuses on copyright, confidential information, designs and trade mark matters. He is, according to sources, "multi-talented - strong in a fight, but also a very good overseer of transactions."

David Wilson is well respected as a patent litigator with particular expertise in chemicals and life sciences disputes. Sources find that "his technical expertise and quick responsiveness are impressive."

Andrew Moir is praised by clients for his "exceptional" knowledge of software copyright and patents. He is a much sought-after expert on IP litigation concerning all manner of electronics, telecommunications and computing. 

Sebastian Moore focuses on patent litigation within the life sciences sector. Sources commend his "excellent client-oriented advice" and his "very good understanding of pharma businesses' needs."

Significant clients AbbVie, Apple, BSkyB, Google, Sanofi.

Litigation - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-54 partners
-281 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Long-standing reputation as one of the top firms for commercial litigation, and acted on a number of high-profile and substantial cases over the past year. Represents well-known names in the banking arena as well as asset managers and technology clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“A real breath of fresh air. They are so able.”  

“A great litigation firm.” 

Work highlights 

Represented Bernie Ecclestone in defence of bribery and unlawful conspiracy claims brought by Constantin Medien, which alleged that Mr Ecclestone procured the sale at an undervalue of shares in Formula One.

Acted for VTB Capital on its dispute with Konstantin Malofeev before the Supreme Court.

Notable practitioners  

Peers hold Damien Byrne Hill in “very high regard” for his commercial litigation practice, praising him as an “effective” lawyer who “knows his stuff.” He is particularly known for his representation of banking and finance clients, including international banks, investment funds and private equity firms.

Philip Carrington is an experienced litigator with a broad commercial practice, spanning company law cases, contractual disputes, civil fraud, professional negligence and warranty claims. He was lead partner for VTB Capital on its high-profile dispute with Konstantin Malofeev.

Alan Watts is a well-regarded litigator with “a client list to die for” and a strong reputation in the London commercial market. He maintains a broad litigation practice, encompassing company and commercial, professional negligence, sports, and media and entertainment cases.

Sonya Leydecker acts as joint chief executive officer of the firm and is a well-established name in the commercial litigation market. Her practice focuses on the representation of banking clients and financial institutions.

Significant clients BAE, UBS, London Underground, Royal Sun & Alliance, RBS.

Pensions - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Tackles the full gamut of trustee advisory and transactional matters, as well as having an established reputation for handling a wide variety of insolvency and restructuring pensions issues. Draws upon the support of its global network representing multinational clients in both private and public sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very accommodating and won't just do what the client wants, but what the client needs."

"They really understand our business and they are great at helping us to think how we can do something and telling us when we really can't do something."

What's new? Samantha Brown, who was recognised last year as a star associate, has been promoted to partner. New clients include Sanofi-Aventis Groupe, NSG UK Enterprises and Recall Holdings.

Work highlights Assisted Pension Insurance with a £1.5 billion de-risking buyout of the EMI Group Pension Fund, covering 20,000 members.

Worked with Lloyds Banking Group on the pensions elements of the sale of its Scottish Widows Investment Partnership subsidiary to Aberdeen Asset Management.

Notable practitioners  

The "very energetic" Daniel Schaffer "is very good at making difficult pensions issues understandable and relatable," clients state. He heads the firm's practice and regularly advises clients such as E.ON and the Railways Pension Trustee Company on a range of complex pensions matters.

Roderick Morton assisted Lloyds Banking Group with the sale of one of its subsidiaries to Aberdeen Asset Management. He is held in high regard by clients, one of whom states: "He has a very sensible approach and is very good at picking out pragmatic solutions."

Alison Brown regularly works with Time Warner on a variety of pensions issues, with recent highlights including advice on auto-enrolment and a number of challenges arising from the proposed spin-off of Time. She has a broad practice, assisting employers and trustees on scheme management and transactional matters.

Samantha Brown "is one of the best lawyers to have on the opposite side of a transaction," according to market sources, who add: "She is very practical and collaborative." She worked with Pension Insurance on a £1.5 billion buyout and is praised by commentators for her "complex and cutting-edge work."

Isobel Carruthers is held in high regard by clients for her pensions capabilities: "She is a fantastic technician - a very committed and hard-working member of the team who adds fantastic value." She is part of the team that assists Railways Pensions Trustee Company on various pensions matters.

Ian Gault works as a pensions consultant at the firm, advising clients on the full range of transactional matters. He has a wealth of experience and particular expertise on scheme governance.

Charlotte Cartwright was part of the team that has been assisting Time Warner and the Railway Pension Trustee Company on their auto-enrolment arrangements.

Significant clients Guinness Peat Group, Tui Travel, Chevron, ENI SpA, Linpac Group.

Planning - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Known for acting on tall building development in prime London locations. Also fields a highly experienced team on energy infrastructure projects. Contentious planning applications are a key focus for the group.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"My general impression is one of excellence; I rate them extremely highly. They're very good to deal with and their advice is excellent."

"Very good practical advice. They don't just give us the legal interpretation – they think about things from the practical side as well."

What's new? Cuadrilla is a new client.

Work highlights Acted for EDF Energy on its development of a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C, securing a development consent order for this nationally significant infrastructure project.

Advised on the high-profile redevelopment of the Southbank Centre, including on the controversial Festival Wing application which has received widespread media coverage.

Notable practitioners  

Patrick Robinson is a regular presence advising on high-value central London developments, such as the Ram Brewery site in Wandsworth for landowner Minerva. One enthusiastic client described him as "a very original thinker who is very clear and very detailed, with a nice style in negotiation."

Matthew White "has a good strategic overview of our project and is also very good on the detailed legal points," stated one client. In the past year White has advised on a number of commercial development matters, and he also garners accolades for his work on infrastructure projects in the energy and rail sectors.

Associate Catherine Howard was rated as "excellent" by one client, who went on to say: "She gives very good advice, and she has a good eye for detail but can make issues more understandable. She is one of the best lawyers I've come across."

Significant clients Stanhope, Chelsfield, BSkyB, Lend Lease, The Carlyle Group, Stanley Sidings.

Professional Negligence - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Pre-eminent firm acting on the full spectrum of professional negligence matters. Noted for its expertise in insurance-related claims. Regularly acts on high-value, complex cross-border claims.

What's new? Tom Leech QC has joined the firm's advocacy group from Maitland Chambers.

Work highlights Acted for Credit Suisse in a £42 million mis-selling dispute. 

Advised in the £250 million Keydata litigation between the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and various independent financial advisers.

Notable practitioners  

Sources say Paul Lewis is "very clever - he cuts to the chase quickly." He is recommended for insurance-related claims.

David Reston is noted for his expertise in high-value and technically complex construction cases. Sources say: "He's a senior player in the market."

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

Public International Law - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for High-calibre PIL team with a distinguished background in arbitration, complemented by a broad caseload encompassing state-to-state disputes, Africa-related energy matters and enforcement of foreign judgments. Highly sought after for its strong sanctions practice.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have an extremely strong tradition in PIL." 

Notable practitioners  

According to sources, Matthew Weiniger QC is "a hands-on lawyer who will think through all the issues and apply his sharp reasoning to every issue." He is further lauded for his excellent advocacy in BIT arbitrations and is highly active in Russia-related mandates.

Christian Leathley maintains an admirable market presence, particularly in arbitration matters. His practice includes a particular focus on Latin American instructions, aided by his fluent Spanish and well-respected work on "cutting-edge issues." 

Significant clients BP Exploration, Chevron, Republic of Tunisia, Standard Chartered Bank, Kingdom of Spain.

Real Estate Finance - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Well-regarded practice in the finance space with a broad range of real estate expertise. Particularly strong on lender-side mandates, and frequently advises property and insurance companies on debt facilities and refinancings.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They apply themselves to dealing with problems and employ very clear, transparent communication. There's real commitment there and they continue to invest in the relationship by supporting us on transactions that don't materialise, as well as those that do."

"I think they're a heavyweight, impressive and well-integrated team across the board. They pull together very effectively."

Work highlights Advised Omni Capital Partners on the structuring of £127 million to fund the acquisition of a residential development site.

Represented US investment fund Kennedy Wilson, and joint venture partner Varde, on the £162 million acquisition funding to purchase a portfolio of shopping centres.

Notable practitioners  

Joint head of department Simon Chadney is a well-known practitioner in the real estate finance market, acting for both borrower and lender clients. His practice covers restructurings and acquisition finance. Clients find "his technical knowledge is outstanding and his ability to negotiate our side of the argument on the legal aspects is very good as well."

The "exceptionally thorough" Gary Hommel co-leads the department, specialising in structured property finance transactions. He acts for a broad range of clients, who state that he is "very strong - completely all over the detail, yet aware of the big picture and the commercial sensitivities."

Helen Hagan has a broad range of experience on lending transactions and debt restructurings. She continues to impress with her "good attention to detail and work ethic."

Significant clients Blackstone, Deutsche Bank, Helaba, Hammerson, United Overseas Bank. 

Real Estate Litigation - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Handles high-value litigation for blue-chip clients. Able to provide advocacy resource through its team of solicitor advocates. Advises on development issues and asset management matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The team are all very approachable and provide good, solid advice. They manage to provide a service that feels professional yet personal."

"Extremely good litigators and very hands-on."

What's new? Tom Leech QC joined the firm from Maitland Chambers.

Work highlights Acted for Valero Energy on its defence of a £57 million breach of contract claim relating to an agreement to develop the airspace over a number of petrol stations which were subsequently sold.

Represented Standard Life in a landlord and tenant case against TUI over arrears of rent and surrender of lease.

Notable practitioners  

Sources regard Matthew Bonye as "a real force to be reckoned with," citing his "particular eye for detail and tenaciousness." He specialises in representing clients in development disputes.

Significant clients Hammerson, Westfield Group, TAG, Blackstone, Heathrow Airport.

Real Estate - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for International firm with a strong base of cross-border investor clients including sovereign wealth funds. Handles trophy single asset acquisitions and portfolio transactions, as well as property development. Also acts for public bodies on infrastructure projects and regeneration schemes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have a good appreciation for our business and our appetite for risk, and they have a very clear conception of what we want which puts them in a better position to sit alongside us."

"They are property people, they understand the assets and they know the market. They are specialist in what they do and they buy into the client relationship long-term."

What's new? Travis Perkins is a new client.

Work highlights Assisted Hammerson with the formation of a joint venture with the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board. The team also acted for the joint venture partners on their £307 million acquisition of an additional interest in the Birmingham Bullring shopping centre.

Advised Transport for London on the property and financing aspects of the Northern Line Battersea extension project.

Notable practitioners  

James Barnes handles landmark infrastructure projects in the transport and energy sectors. "He can explain really complex real estate issues in a way that I can understand," reports one client; "he's very good at giving information in a way that a layman can take a view on."

Donald Rowlands leads the firm's UK and EMEA real estate teams. He regularly acts for international pension funds and major domestic property companies on big-ticket sales and acquisitions.

Sources regard Ian Cox as "extremely good at leading on transactions, co-ordinating the clients and their professional advisers." He acts on high-value single asset and portfolio transactions in addition to his responsibilities as UK and US managing partner.

Richard Forsdyke specialises in development work including joint ventures and financing issues. Clients say: "Richard is very commercial, knowledgeable and good at anticipating issues. He's also a very good communicator and gets a lot of respect from counterparties."

Peers regard Jeremy Walden as "excellent." He acts for cross-border private equity and sovereign wealth funds on prime London acquisitions.

David Rosen recently advised the Greater London Authority on its £1.5 billion Silvertown Quays development. Clients describe him as "really responsive - you can send him an e-mail any time and he'll always get back to you make sure it's sorted."

Julian Pollock recently acted for Standard Life on the £100 million sale of Whiteleys Shopping Centre, London. He advises on investment sales and acquisitions including complex structured deals.

Simon Price focuses on investment, development and corporate structuring for property companies. His clients include institutions and private equity, including international funds.

Significant clients Blackstone, Chelsfield, AXA Real Estate Investment Managers, EDF, Benson Elliott.

Restructuring/Insolvency - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Recognised strength in litigating contentious insolvency issues, as well as a well-established and proficient transactional offering. Established expertise in financial services, energy and real estate augments its restructuring offering.

Work highlights Advised Card Protection Plan on a transformative scheme of arrangement to enable the company to compensate eligible customers who had bought a range of the company's products.

Acted for Cyprus Popular Bank in the UK, in tandem with the special administration and bailout of the bank in Cyprus. This instruction involved splitting the bank's UK operation into two, and managing the transfer of substantial funds to other Cypriot banks.

Notable practitioners  

Laurence Elliott acts on debt and bond restructurings, as well as acting for insolvency practitioners on a wide range of situations. He recently advised Petroleum Equity on the acquisition of ATP Oil & Gas from its insolvent American parent company.

Kevin Pullen is singled out by sources for his "incisiveness on restructuring law," which inspires confidence in his clients. He is recognised as a practitioner who is willing to "take the weight onto his shoulders" in a transaction. He acts for debtors, creditors and insolvency practitioners in a variety of domestic and international situations.

Significant clients Ernst & Young, CPPL, hibu, Petroleum Equity, BDO.

Tax - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Capabilities extend across a wide range of corporate matters involving direct and indirect tax issues. Sector specialisms include utilities and energy, property, insurance and investment funds. Strong on the contentious and non-contentious sides.

Work highlights Advised EDF Energy on tax issues arising from its application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission regarding the development of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project.

Advised Cazenove Capital Holdings on a recommended £424 million takeover bid by Schroders.  

Notable practitioners  

Heather Gething "is very good and great fun to work with," say interviewees. She is a respected tax practitioner in both the contentious and non-contentious contexts.

Isaac Zailer is head of the firm's global tax practice. Observers note that he "has just got an acute analytical brain – he cuts through things like a hot knife through butter."

Sources say Howard Murray "is charming to deal with - very sensible and commercial." He is adept at providing general corporate tax advice, and has extensive experience in advising clients operating in the energy and utilities and insurance sectors. 

Neil Warriner has good experience in real estate taxation issues relating to a wide variety of land and property transactions. He is also respected in the field of indirect taxation, and leads the firm's indirect tax and VAT practice.

Significant clients BlackRock, BAT, Friends Life, G4S, O2 Telefónica. 

Administrative & Public Law - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Offers superb advice and representation across the spectrum of administrative and public law issues. Equally nuanced and robust service when acting for commercial entities or governmental bodies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"They are very thorough, with a very good grip of the law. They are also pragmatic and try to see things in context and assess their practicality." 

"They are excellent at what they do and provide very high-quality advice with a quick turnaround."

Work highlights Advised Cuadrilla Resources on its position in the emerging regulatory environment concerning fracking operations in the UK.

Acted for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme on the defence of a judicial review brought by a private investor in a fraudulent tax relief scheme who had been refused compensation for tax loss.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Lidbetter's expertise ranges from judicial review and human rights to regulatory frameworks and data protection. Sources praise him for being "bright, quick to get to the facts and unafraid of giving an opinion."

Nusrat Zar is noted for her ability to understand her clients' business cultures and commercial strategies. She maintains a broad practice in public law, acting for commercial and public sector clients in judicial reviews, Freedom of Information Act matters and ECHR issues.

Significant clients Horserace Betting Levy Board, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, BIS, Transport for London, UCL.

Data Protection - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Regularly advises on FOI mandates, subject access requests, data transfers and breaches. Strong in online privacy matters, including cookie issues. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They really help us out with client-friendly advice in phone calls and concise memos, and they have flexibility and commerciality in helping us to our desired outcome."

"They go above and beyond the call of duty for us - they project manage each step and liaise with each country seamlessly."

Work highlights Advised Moneysupermarket.com on a data-sharing initiative allowing the insurance industry to access information from the DVLA database.

Advised e-reader brand Kobo on data protection and e-marketing issues.

Notable practitioners  

Amanda Hale is a key contact.

Significant clients ElectraLink, BSkyB, BAT, Marubeni, Orica Australia.

Employee Share Schemes & Incentives - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Advises UK-based and international companies on all aspects of share schemes and incentive arrangements. The team undertakes a broad mixture of advisory and transactional work for both private and public companies, notably in the financial services sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Very pragmatic and very user-friendly, and the communications were excellent. They were very good at not fighting battles for the sake of it."

"The thing that we really like about them is that they give us advice in the way in which we want it. We get the advice quickly, we'll get a phone call to clarify anything and then get it confirmed in writing and it's very tailored and in the manner in which we want it."

Work highlights Advised Cazenove Capital on the incentive scheme implications of its £424 million acquisition by Schroders. This matter was complicated by the high levels of employee ownership at Cazenove Capital before the takeover.

Assisted Michelin with the creation and implementation of a bespoke, tax-efficient incentives scheme for its UK employees that mimicked the constituents of its existing global share plan. 

Notable practitioners  

Mark Ife has particular expertise on remuneration issues relating to the financial services. He is highly valued by his clients, who state that his advice is always tailored to their circumstances: "There was a personal touch to the service he provided – he went the extra mile," said one. Another client commented that "he seeks to understand the clients' needs and priorities and deals with those, rather than just answering legal questions."

Paul Ellerman is global head of remuneration and incentives at the firm, and is described by one source as being "tremendously knowledgeable and on top of his game." He has recently worked for hibu, Valiant Petroleum and BP.

Bradley Richardson is praised by clients, who appreciate the accessible nature of his work. One source labels him a "brilliant communicator," and another notes that "his ability to explain issues clearly without all the legal jargon was extremely helpful." Richardson has worked for Cazenove Capital and Michelin on various incentive agreements.

Significant clients Man Group, G4S, Hammerson, BlueBay Asset Management, BSkyB.

Energy & Natural Resources - UK-wide

What the team is known for Acts for clients across the world as part of the firm's global mining group. Advises banks, mining companies and governments on issues such as transactions, disputes, capital markets and project finance and development.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They absolutely understand our business." 

Work highlights Advised Lonmin on an USD817 million rights issue and refinancing.

Counselled Credit Suisse and Lazard as Rule 3 advisers to the Independent Committee of ENRC in the £3.04 billion takeover of ENRC by Eurasian Resources Group.

Notable practitioners

Greg Mulley is a key contact.

Significant clients BHP Billiton, Strand Partners, Rio Tinto, Ferrexpo, government of Sierra Leone.

Energy & Natural Resources - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 46 partners
- 131 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Strength across power and oil and gas matters. Supported by a reputable energy disputes team. Acts on upstream development and acquisitions in relation to onshore and offshore assets. Well regarded for its capabilities on nuclear.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have commercial awareness and the ability to anticipate some of the stresses and strains of the deal and navigate a path through - very impressive."

"In nuclear they are the leaders."  

"Very seamless between departments; they clearly talk to each other as a team."

What's new? New client wins include Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and BTG Pactual.

Work highlights Advising EDF in relation to the development of Hinkley Point C, a UK nuclear newbuild power station.

Acted for BHP Billiton Petroleum and Eni in a Commercial Court dispute concerning a long-term gas supply agreement.

Notable practitioners  

Paula Hodges QC is a well-respected arbitrator who recently took silk. She regularly acts for energy companies in disputes. One impressed peer said: "She is an incredibly well-prepared advocate; if I had a problem I would want her on my side."

Matthew Weiniger QC is a solicitor advocate who took silk in 2014. He has a varied practice which includes handling significant energy disputes. Sources describe him as a "class operator," and an "extremely good advocate."

Mark Newbery is head of the firm's energy group. He has been at the forefront of the firm's work for EDF on its development of the Hinckley Point C nuclear power station. Sources describe him as a "talented energy lawyer who is very experienced in M&A transactions."

Julia Pyke concentrates her practice on nuclear development work. She has acted for EDF in connection with its newbuild project at Hinkley Point C.

Henry Davey is a "very smart lawyer" who advises in the energy sector. He has a good track record acting for gas and electricity clients in project development and M&A transactions.

Craig Tevendale acts in international arbitration and commercial litigation and has a good deal of experience acting for energy clients. One client says: "He is very clever and he really knows the market and the way around the court system."

Anna Howell is an experienced oil and gas partner who has practised in Europe and Asia. She acted for China National Petroleum in its acquisition of natural gas interests in Mozambique. Sources say: "She is experienced in the energy sector and quick to get key points."

Stephen Murray is head of the firm's oil and gas group. Sources highlight his depth of market knowledge and describe him as "a very good technical lawyer who is very sensible, pragmatic and helpful."

Simon Tysoe is a corporate lawyer with an extensive energy practice. One impressed client said: "He understands our business, and he is very sensible and gives us a steer in how to mitigate our risks."

John Balsdon frequently advises clients in connection with project finance and reserve-based lending deals. Clients find him "very collegial and friendly and always willing to chat and make himself available at odd hours."

Steven Dalton is a corporate lawyer who practises in the energy sphere. He led the team acting for BP on the trans-Anatolian natural gas pipeline project. Sources say: "He has a deep knowledge of the market, he is very commercial and he is very good at drilling down into the detail of what gains value."

James Quinney advises clients in the water sector. His practice focuses on UK and EU competition law and regulatory law.

Significant clients Cuadrilla Resources, BNP Paribas, Chevron, Standard Chartered, BHP Petroleum. 

Financial Services - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 40 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for An impressive and integrated team of reputable industry experts. Offers a strong capability in both contentious and non-contentious financial services for retail and corporate banking clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Excellent. They give a very good service. They're responsive, very helpful and very commercial."

"My experience has been very positive; clearly a firm with expertise. Good regulatory experience and level of service."

What's new? The team has been bolstered this year as Hywel Jenkins has been promoted to partner and William Hallatt has joined from Linklaters. This was followed by the addition of Andrew Procter, the former global head of compliance at Deutsche Bank.

Work highlights Advised Laiki Bank on the restructuring of its UK arm, including advice on regulatory compliance as part of the EU bailout of Cypriot banks.

Advised Cazenove Capital on its acquisition by Schroders for £424 million including regulatory advice and co-ordination of the change of control process in the UK, Jersey and Hong Kong.

Notable practitioners  

Clive Cunningham specialises in giving non-contentious advice with a particular focus on payments law and compliance matters for wealth management clientele. Clients admire him for his unassuming manner and comment: "He approaches things in great detail and doesn't leave any stone unturned."

Jenny Stainsby focuses on contentious regulatory disputes. One client praises her by saying: "In regulatory inquiries, Jenny is very experienced and provides commercial, practical, legally astute advice."

Significant clients UBS, RBS, Credit Suisse, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley.

Fraud - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Retains its position as a market-leading practice with an excellent reputation for handling major civil fraud cases on behalf of claimants and defendants.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have a huge number of phenomenally talented people." 

Work highlights Acted for Bernie Ecclestone in a dispute arising out of the sale of shares in the Formula 1 Group in 2006.

Advised Fern Advisors in relation to a freezing order against one of its former directors, who was accused of fraudulent misrepresentation leading to the misappropriation of £15 million of the company's money.

Notable practitioners  

Robert Hunter heads the department and is highly sought after for his expertise in fraud and asset tracing. "He is absolutely exceptional. He is the benchmark we all measure ourselves against," said one interviewee.

Health & Safety - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Geared towards clients who suffer major incidents that risk sizeable fines and status damage, and particularly recognised for its work on accidental death and corporate manslaughter investigations. Advisory support is also core to the practice. Taking on an increasing amount of international work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They represent excellent value."  

Work highlights Acted for Chevron on the explosion that led to four deaths and several serious injuries at Pembroke Refinery.

Advised BP during the high-profile inquest into deaths resulting from the terrorist attack at a natural gas facility in the town of In Amenas, in Algeria.

Notable practitioners  

Howard Watson has strong credentials in HSE litigation and particular experience in the energy, construction, manufacturing and consumer products arenas. Clients say he has an "impressive ability to grapple with the detail while providing a thoughtful and strategic approach."

The highly experienced Rod Fletcher continues to be renowned for his health and safety work in investigations before regulators and prosecutors, acting for a wide range of corporate and individual clients.

Significant clients Chevron, BP, London Luton Airport Operations.

Hotels & Leisure - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Recognised for its proficiency in multi-jurisdictional matters. Has significant experience across a range of matters in the sector, including corporate acquisitions, development, hotel operating agreements and debt financing. 

Work highlights Acted for AIT Leisure Enterprises on the high-value sale of Fulham Football Club to Shahid Khan.

Represented Omani Hospitality in its acquisition and subsequent development of Kempinski The Wave, Muscat in Oman.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Price is the lead partner for the hotels group.

Significant clients Brookgate, Carlyle Group, Ennismore, Moorfield, Resolution Property.

Insurance - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Services the high end of the market and counts major global insurers, reinsurers, intermediaries and policyholders among its many clients. Particularly strong on catastrophic international property damage, offshore oil and gas, professional indemnity and financial lines work.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Within the firm you always find quality people who are very bright and very, very good."

"They are good value and produce excellent reports fast."  

Work highlights Advised RSA on its framework governing the repair of policyholder motor vehicles. The team is litigating in the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal in respect of subrogated recovery claims arising out of the operation of the framework.

Acted for Assurant on a dispute over who is liable to compensate customers of Carrington Carr Home Finance following the mis-selling of PPI products.

Notable practitioners  

"One of the stars for insurance work," Alexander Oddy is an offshore energy insurance specialist and one of the top solicitors for large policyholder clients facing huge claims. He is also active in other types of offshore and financial lines work. Sources say: "He is very good at explaining often complex technical insurance law issues to in-house clients." 

David Reston leads the insurance team at the firm and is a key relationship partner for a number of global insurers and brokers. Interviewees describe him as "an absolutely superlative insurance lawyer," with a "really strong litigator's mind."

Paul Lewis is a "fabulous lawyer" who has a fantastic practice in the brokers' negligence and financial institutions space. He "is very knowledgeable, really knows our business inside out and is so accessible – he is available 24/7," said one client. 

Christopher Foster is equally adept at insurance and reinsurance, and is frequently instructed on headline-grabbing cases for blue-chip clients. A source described him as "client-friendly, astute and highly intelligent. He is able to analyse complex matters, arrive at sensible solutions and explain his findings with clarity and brevity."

Martin Bakes serves as general counsel for the firm and continues to assist the team with more challenging, international litigation for both insurers and policyholders. Peers say he "knows his onions and can communicate well." 

Tony Dempster specialises in litigating large property damage and business interruption cases on an international basis. He is also an adept practitioner of both facultative and treaty reinsurance. Sources said that he displays "excellent knowledge and is good on his feet and personable, and can explain complex legal issues very clearly."

Significant clients Marsh, Gen Re, Aviva, Global Aerospace Underwriting, Faraday Underwriting.

Insurance - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for A vibrant life insurance practice with experience in dealing with portfolio transfers, reinsurance agreements, restructurings and the regulatory issues that surround them. Offers clients particularly strong service in the area of compliance with Solvency II.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"I find that they do offer good value for money, take a flexible approach and are both pragmatic and practical in terms of fees."

"I felt that we got good value and the support we received was good right across the project."

"They are good and the depth they have adds value to our business and keeps us on the right track."

Work highlights Advising on an £8 billion Part VII transfer of insurance business from Friends Life WL to Friends Life Ltd and Friends Life & Pensions.

Retained by Lloyds Banking Group on the sale of its Scottish Widows Investment Partnership to Aberdeen Asset Management (AAM) for £560 million. The deal will give Lloyds a 9.9% stake in AAM and make AAM the largest independent fund manager in Europe.

Notable practitioners 

Team head Geoffrey Maddock is an adept and experienced non-contentious insurance lawyer whose skills run the gamut of the sector. Clients praise his skills and ability to "look at the opposing side and quickly inform us of the issues that we are likely to come across, which saves us exploring unnecessary things. He is also very clear and concise and knows the regulatory view, which I find incredibly helpful."

Significant clients Royal London, Pension Insurance Corporation, Resolution, Swiss Re, Partnership Life.

International Arbitration - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Houses an impressive group of arbitration specialists with extensive geographical expertise and advocacy experience. Offers its high-profile energy, telecoms and financial services client base notable resources from its London and Paris offices.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"What stands out is how responsive they are to work with." 

Notable practitioners

"Brilliant" head of global arbitration Paula Hodges QC practises with a particular focus on energy disputes in African states, and also has significant experience in manufacturing and media disputes. Clients recognise that "she has the experience to really understand and anticipate the position that the other party will take."

Matthew Weiniger QC is renowned for his expertise in investment treaty arbitrations, and often works from the Moscow office, giving him a clear understanding of Russian commercial disputes. One source comments that he "understands the tactics, and the commercial and political issues, as well as the technical legal points." 

Christian Leathley is described as "one of the brilliant stars of the next generation." His fluency in Spanish sees him play a central role in Latin American arbitrations, while also offering experience in investor-state arbitrations across Russia and Europe.

Significant clients BP, Kingdom of Spain, Chevron, BHP Billiton, ExxonMobil.

Investment Funds - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Remains at the front and centre of the closed-end listed funds market. Admired for the breadth of its offering, which also takes in hedge, real estate and private equity funds. Highly active participant in the Specialist Fund Market (SFM), acting for numerous high-profile clients trading on the SFM. Commended for the depth of its bench in this area, as well as the significant backing supplied by the firm's regulatory and tax specialists.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very flexible in their approach - willing to go the extra mile, and they really do partner with us. We find them very easy to work with and solutions-oriented."

"Yes, they are a class act. A good firm with a good reputation in the area - they've done very well." 

What's new? The team gained F&C Asset Management and Aberdeen Asset Management as new clients this year.

Work highlights Acted for Cazenove Capital Holdings on a recommended takeover by Schroders, worth £424 million.

Advised Goldman Sachs on the IPO of CVC Credit European Opportunities.   

Notable practitioners  

Nigel Farr was mandated by key client Aberdeen Asset Management to assist with its purchase of a majority stake of two subsidiaries of SVG Capital. He maintains an impressively broad practice, regularly advising on hedge, real estate and closed-end funds. One interviewee would "single him out as a leading lawyer in closed-end funds," while another outlines his key qualities: "He's just really easy to work with, very client-focused, very pragmatic and very engaged - he made a point of understanding us."

Tim West is "able to do cutting-edge work in a pragmatic and proactive manner," according to one impressed client. He leads the team's relationships with some of its biggest clients and recently assisted Cazenove Capital Holdings with the investment funds aspects of its takeover by Schroders.  

Scott Cochrane is well known for his proficiency in closed-end funds matters, and also handles work for hedge and real estate funds and managers. He led on the IPO of Doric Nimrod Air Three, and is characterised by one client as "incisive and robust - he is prepared to give a view and back it up, and is technically excellent."

Significant clients Man Investments, BlackRock, HarbourVest, Polar Capital, Neuberger Berman.

Life Sciences - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Highly skilled and experienced patent litigators, particularly admired for their handling of disputes relating to their innovator clients' flagship biotech and pharmaceutical products.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Well known for their excellent advice." 

Work highlights Advising Hoffmann-La Roche on a patent dispute before the High Court concerning Xeloda, a chemotherapeutic agent used to treat various cancers.

Acted for AbbVie in a UK patent dispute with Janssen Biotech concerning the validity of Janssen's patent for Stelara, a psoriasis treatment.

Notable practitioners  

Sophie Rich is head of the firm's life sciences practice and is best known for her handling of heavyweight biotech and pharmaceutical patent disputes, including AbbVie's battle with Janssen Biotech regarding psoriasis treatment Stelara.

David Wilson is a leading IP litigator with a particularly strong grasp of multi-jurisdictional patent cases, partly due to his previous career in immunodiagnostics.

Sebastian Moore impresses sources with his representations in patent disputes, such as Sanofi's defence of its hypertension drugs Aprovel and CoAprovel and SPCs covering the treatments. He is praised for his "excellent client-oriented advice."

Significant clients AbbVie, Gilead, Reckitt Benckiser, Hoffmann-La Roche, Takeda.

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 Focused on high-value transport infrastructure projects for public sector bodies. Also works on large regeneration schemes for local authorities and groups in the private sector, with notable work relating to judicial reviews. 

Work highlights Acted for Elizabeth House on judicial review proceedings related to the development of the proposed Elizabeth House site in London.

Represented the GLA on defence of a judicial review challenge connected with regeneration of Crystal Palace Park.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Lidbetter is a dispute resolution specialist and regularly advises local authorities and other public sector groups on judicial reviews. He was recently part of the team that worked on a wide-ranging redevelopment project for Sheffield City Council.

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 
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for A go-to team for large domestic and multinational clients, offering buyer and vendor side support. Offers complementary in corporate, regulatory, competition and IT, among others.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Excellent client service - they are very responsive to e-mails and requests, and they often try to predict what we may need next, and plan accordingly. They are also really good at getting to grips with the specifics of our organisations and the area of the business in question, to ensure the advice is sound and comprehensive."

"My experience of Herbert Smith Freehills has been incredibly positive. Their client service and ability to respond at short notice with content experts is excellent."

"I have a high regard for the firm arising from its expertise, its commerciality, its ability to understand our objectives and collaborative working strategy, and its speed and thoroughness of response."

Work highlights Advising BAT on a range of sourcing projects, including e-payment services and large-scale business processes.

Supported ElectraLink on the extension of its IT outsourcing service agreement with HP. 

Notable practitioners  

Nick Pantlin continues to be active for high-profile clients across a diverse range of sectors, and has recently advised BAT on strategic outsourcings. Sources commend him for his "excellent technical ability" and for being "very customer-focused and providing excellent input in assisting on negotiation options."

Highly rated associate Edward du Boulay is identified by market commentators as a rising star of the outsourcing space. Clients praise his "very good and very pragmatic" advice.

Significant clients Transport for London, Lloyds Banking Group, Man Group, Friends Life, Vodafone.

Partnership - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 20 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: London

What the team is known for Strong team handling a broad range of partnership matters, from transactions on an international scale to employment and regulatory work. Adept in LLP agreements, tax advisory work, partner moves and remuneration. Represents major accountancy firms, law practices, investment funds and pension funds.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're very good. You expect that of a top law firm, but the thing that stood out for me was the way they manage to produce the best outcome whilst appreciating the differing interests of the company."

"They're good at what they do." 

Work highlights Advised Resolution Limited on its revised corporate governance structure.

Represented Phaestos, Mindimaxnox, IKOS CIF and IKOS Asset Management in a matter involving claims regarding the ownership of the bespoke trading software used by the IKOS hedge fund business.

Notable practitioners  

"Tough negotiator" Alan Watts is known for his contentious partnership expertise. Areas of strength include matters involving LLP agreements, remuneration and property.

Significant clients PwC, KPMG.

Pensions Litigation - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Active on major litigation for an impressive array of clients. Expertise includes professional negligence work and cases involving the Pensions Ombudsman.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have a substantial litigation presence and they're terribly good."

Work highlights Represented the administrators of the Nortel Group in a successful appeal to the Supreme Court, establishing the status of a financial support direction (FSD) as an administration expense in the context of a pension scheme deficit.

Acted for the Guinness Peat Group on an investigation by the Pensions Regulator, advising on whether the latter's moral hazard powers can be used to compel provision of financial support by GPG and associated companies for three UK pension schemes.

Notable practitioners 

Daniel Schaffer is a key contact at the firm.

Significant clients Mercer, Railways Pension Trustee, E.ON UK, TUI Travel, Trustees of the National Trust Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme.

Projects - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Impressive strength across a range of areas, including power, transport, waste and defence. Represents public sector clients, sponsors and lenders both domestically and internationally.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're very responsive, and when we needed out-of-the-box thinking we've been happy with their performance and the output from the team." 

What's new? New client wins include Uberior Infrastructure Investments (SWIP) and Allianz Global Investors.

Work highlights Advised the lenders on the USD200 million KISCOL Sugar Complex in Kenya.

Advised EDF and NNB on issues relating to debt financing and the IUK Guarantee scheme arising from the Hinkley Point C programme.

Notable practitioners

Adrian Clough heads the infrastructure department and is a key contact.

Significant clients Transport for London, London & Continental Railways, Standard Bank, QinetiQ, Highways Agency.

Private Client - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Notably strong at handling the full range of complex trusts and asset recovery disputes. Frequently acts for high net worth individuals, banks and trust companies. Renowned for its abilities on international and multi-jurisdictional matters.

Work highlights Worked with Fern Advisors in a dispute with a former company director accused of fraudulent misrepresentation and the misappropriation of £15 million of company funds.

Notable practitioners  

Robert Hunter heads the firm's trusts litigation, civil fraud and asset tracing practice. Sources indicate that he is "a leading figure in the market" and "a guru in this area," with "a phenomenal reputation." Others state: "His strategy is particularly perceptive and he is very good at managing clients' expectations." 

Private Equity - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Acts for a range of large private equity clients across the globe, utilising its strong international network to establish and strengthen relationships. Key areas of expertise include TMT, energy and real estate.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I'm always very impressed by the calibre of associates working on the deals but also how involved the lead partners are."

Work highlights Advised Blackstone Group on its purchase of St Enoch shopping centre from Ivanhoé Cambridge, in a deal worth £190 million.

Worked with Carlyle on its sale of a number of properties in London.

Notable practitioners  

James MacArthur is a "very well liked" practitioner and a "very good guy in the private equity world," according to commentators. He led the firm's representation of Carlyle in the disposal of parts of its London property portfolio.

Significant clients KKR, Antin Infrastructure Partners, Cabot Square Capital, Dasym, Hannam & Partners.

Product Liability - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Strength across a number of different areas including pharmaceutical, tobacco and manufacturing matters. Offers multinational clients the benefit of its ability to handle product work across multiple jurisdictions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"We were very happy. We got good bang for our legal budget as we needed someone of their skill on such a difficult case."

Work highlights Advised tobacco company BAT Italia on a class action suit filed by consumer association Codacons alleging dangerous activity by manufacturing cigarettes.

Acted for Diageo regarding long-standing issues relating to thalidomide distribution in the 1950s and 1960s. 

Notable practitioners  

Insurance practitioner Anthony Dempster advises both insurer and non-insurer clients on recall and regulatory issues. A client says: "We instructed him on a very complicated and technical piece of work. He just got to grips with it and was a safe pair of hands that could be relied on completely to guide us in the correct way."

Significant clients Pilkington, RSA, Zurich, XL Insurance, Tata Group.

Professional Discipline - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 20 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: London

What the team is known for City-oriented practice, regularly instructed to prosecute on behalf of regulatory bodies. Defends individuals from the accountancy and financial sectors.

Work highlights Advised the Executive Counsel to the Financial Reporting Council on a professional conduct investigation and disciplinary proceedings concerning the collapse in share price and AIM delisting of Worthington Nicholls.

Notable practitioners  

Rod Fletcher advises on disciplinary matters in the financial sector, with a particular focus on cases with criminal aspects. Sources admire his depth of knowledge and praise his flexible approach.

Andrew Lidbetter is an experienced dispute resolution lawyer noted for his regulatory advice in the financial sector. "He's clever, has a good eye for detail and is a very good team organiser and leader," say interviewees. 

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

Projects - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 30 partners
- 75 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Expertise across oil and gas, mining, infrastructure and power work, bolstered by the firm's status as an energy heavyweight. Frequently instructed on work in Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa by an impressive roster of lender and sponsor-side clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The service is very personal and seamless between different departments - they clearly talk to each other as a team."

What's new? Appointed to Crédit Agricole's panel.

Work highlights Acted as lenders' counsel on the financing for the offshore section of the South Stream pipeline project.

Acted for BP in its participation in the TANAP project, including advising on its acquisition of a 12% stake in the project.

Notable practitioners 

John Balsdon heads the energy finance practice and is a key contact.

Significant clients Government of Nepal, EDF, Petronas, Standard Bank, Woodside.

Public Procurement - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Regularly instructed by public bodies on high-value tendering processes and contentious work. Particularly active on utilities sector matters. Also retained by suppliers.

Work highlights Advised the Greater London Authority on the regeneration of Silvertown Quays, including a competitive dialogue process to appoint a development partner.

Acted for Transport for London on its re-tender for service providers to administer the London congestion charge, and associated traffic enforcement work.

Notable practitioners 

James Quinney is a key contact.

Significant clients Royal Mail Group, Stagecoach South West Trains, EDF Nuclear New Build, King's College London, London & Continental Railways.

Retail - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Strong team advising on a full range of retail work. Notable for its work on high-end real estate transactions. The UK team is boosted by the firm's international strength.

Work highlights Acted for Hammerson over its part in a £300 million joint venture, purchasing a share in the Bullring Shopping Centre through a Jersey unit trust.

Advised Barclays, J.P. Morgan and Investec on Cineworld's £504 million acquisition of Cinema City.

Notable practitioners

Ben Ward is the head of the retail practice.

Significant clients Standard Life, Blackstone, Jimmy Choo, Card Protection Plan, Kurt Geiger.

Tax - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Experienced team with a history of assisting corporate organisations with HMRC investigations, as well as appearances before courts and tribunals. Further strength lies in matters relating to EU law and the implications for UK tax regulations.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are extremely professional, understand clients' needs and are very up to date with the latest taxation, legal and judicial positions." 

Work highlights Represented the British Aggregates Association in its attempts to have the EC investigate and rule that the UK Aggregates Levy constitutes an instance of unlawful state aid. 

Acted for Bristol & West, part of Bank of Ireland, on its appeal to the Upper Tribunal. The appeal concerned a First-tier Tribunal decision relating to derivative contract rules and their interpretation in the context of intra-group transactions. 

Notable practitioners  

Sources highlight Heather Gething for her "good intellect," and add that she is "a no-nonsense person, who is always looking for a practical solution."

Michael Hunt is dual-qualified as a solicitor and an accountant. He has a notable track record in working on significant contentious tax matters for a number of impressive clients. 

Significant clients G4S.  

Telecommunications - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for A broad offering in the telecoms space, covering, among other things, high-level M&A, regulatory advice and competition disputes. Lauded for an extensive bench and impressive global footprint.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"A first-class service." 

"Their report was accurate and considered in great depth." 

Work highlights Represented BSkyB in all aspects of its high-profile acquisition of Telefónica's broadband and fixed-line telephone business in the UK.

Advised a syndicate of lenders on the USD234 million financing for the acquisition of telecoms equipment by Bharti Airtel. The transaction is backed by export credit agency Finnvera.

Acted for a major international telecoms group on its proposed entry into an emerging market.

Notable practitioners  

Widely acknowledged as a leader in the field, Nick Elverston heads the firm's global TMT group. On top of breadth and depth in expertise, sources praise him for "a commercial approach in negotiations and an innovative mind." Recent work includes advising a major international telecoms company on a significant acquisition.

Competition practitioner Stephen Wisking continues to act for significant sector clients. Recent work includes acting on a variety of contentious competition matters for BSkyB including its acquisition of Telefónica O2's broadband portfolio.

Amanda Hale is highlighted for her "fantastic industry knowledge" and is lauded as "very user-friendly." Of late, she has been advising BSkyB on its high-profile acquisition of Telefónica O2's broadband business and other key corporates on regulatory matters in the sector.

Elizabeth McKnight is considered "superlative in the field of competition." Over an esteemed career, she has undertaken a number of key mandates for telecommunications clients.

Significant clients Axiata, Bharti Airtel, Tata Communications, Telenor.

Transport - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 25 partners
- 60 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Known for its extensive work on franchising and infrastructure projects. Also noted for its real estate and contentious work within the rail sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They provide us with clear, easy-to-understand advice that identifies the key commercial issues."

"They understood the subject and the way they delivered it was accessible."

Work highlights Advised Stagecoach on its bid for the combined Thameslink Southern Great Northern Franchise.

Notable practitioners  

Adrian Clough has particular expertise in the transport sector, and advises public and private sector organisations. One client notes: "He has knowledge we can draw upon to gain advice on a strategic level."

Senior associate John Williams receives significant praise from clients for his excellent knowledge of the rail industry.

Significant clients Virgin Trains, Transport for London, HS1, Haramain High-speed Rail.