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Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP


Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP - London
  • Adelaide House
  • London Bridge
  • London
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC4R 9HA
  • Number of UK partners 184
  • Number of other UK fee-earners 510
  • Total number of staff 1521

THE FIRM BLP is a leading international law firm with over 850 fee-earners, including more than 210 partners. With offices in Abu Dhabi, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Moscow, Paris and Singapore, the firm’s international presence was extended further by opening offices in Dubai in 2012 and Beijing in 2013, meeting the needs of clients in an increasingly internationalised market. The firm’s expertise covers all aspects of commercial law; competition, EU and trade; construction, engineering and procurement; corporate finance; dispute resolution; employment, pensions and incentives; finance; intellectual property; private client; real estate; regulatory and compliance; restructuring and insolvency; and tax. One of the fastest growing top 20 UK law firms in recent years, BLP continues to recruit and promote leading individuals as part of an ambitious programme to employ top-ranked legal experts globally. Its real estate capabilities are the most highly regarded in the UK, it has the largest and broadest tax team in the City, its real estate finance practice has worked on some of the biggest securitisations deals of the past number of years, and in 2011 its financial services practice won an FT Innovative Lawyer Award for their work helping to shape the Bribery Act. The firm has also strengthened its teams in corporate finance, competition, EU and trade, employment, finance, and litigation and dispute resolution. BLP is also renowned for responding creatively to the challenges clients face. For example, Lawyers On Demand provides a high-quality pool of over 120 flexible, freelance lawyers offered to clients at low cost as and when needed, while Managed Legal Services enables clients to use BLP to manage their legal needs under a long-term, fixed-price deal with guaranteed levels of service.

PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORK BLP lawyers are ranked in almost 70 areas of legal expertise and have extensive experience across numerous industry sectors. Their industry experience includes: energy and natural resources; financial institutions; healthcare; infrastructure; hotels, sport and leisure; outsourcing and business services; public sector and not for profit; real estate; retail; security, defence and aerospace; and transport.

INTERNATIONAL As well as its own offices of which there are eleven in total, BLP has strong relationships with a non-exclusive panel of the leading independent local law firms around the world.Via its preferred firm network, the firm has access to more than three times as many tier-1 ranked legal practices in Asia and Europe than any ‘global’ law firm. Across Europe, these relationships enable BLP to call upon 230 tier-one ranked practices, meaning the firm can deliver the highest quality local advice in a flexible, seamless way that reflects the circumstances of each jurisdiction and the requirements of each matter. As a result, BLP successfully supports clients across 130 different jurisdictions, and was short-listed for a Managing Partners Forum Award for Best International Collaboration across Frontiers in 2012 and Best Managed International Firm in 2013. The firm embraces diversity and is committed to social responsibility, with 33 per cent of BLP employees taking part in corporate responsibility activities during working hours last year – more than twice the London Benchmarking Group member average. In 2012 the firm was listed in The Times report - Top 50 ‘Employers for Women’, and the firm’s trainee retention rate for September 2013 is 86 per cent, with all trainees offered a newly qualified position accepting.

Further details are available via the firm’s website, www.blplaw.com, or via Twitter: @BLPLaw.

Other offices: Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Moscow, Paris, and Singapore.

Areas of Practice

  • London  
  • Real Estate 26%
  • Corporate 24%
  • Dispute Resolution 19%
  • Finance 15%
  • Tax 9%
  • Other 7%
  • Asset Finance Russell Clifford
  • Aviation Keith Wilson
  • Banking & Capital Markets Matthew Kellett
  • Betting & Gaming David Collins
  • Charities Janet Turner QC
  • Commercial Mark Lewis
  • Construction & Engineering Bob Maynard
  • Corporate Finance David Barnes
  • EU & Competition David Harrison
  • Employment Fraser Younson
  • Energy & Infrastructure Mark Saunders
  • Environment Tim Pugh
  • Financial Services Sidney Myers
  • Food, Health & Safety Law Craig Baylis
  • Hotels Andrew Little
  • Insolvency & Corporate Recovery Ben Larkin, David Leibowitz
  • Insurance/Reinsurance Jonathan Sacher, Anthony Lennox
  • Insurance Corporate Regulatory Jacob Ghanty, Adam Bogdanor
  • Intellectual Property Simon Clark
  • International Arbitration Nic Fletcher
  • Investment Funds Antony Grossman
  • Leisure Craig Baylis
  • Licensing Craig Baylis
  • Litigation & Dispute Resolution Nathan Willmott
  • Outsourcing Mark Lewis
  • PFI/PPP Tessa Kimber
  • Pensions & Incentives Norman Russell
  • Planning Tim Hellier, Tim Pugh
  • Private Equity David Barnes
  • Pro Bono Michael Goldmeier, Alison Klarfeld
  • Project Finance Tessa Kimber
  • Public Sector Andrew Yates
  • Real Estate Chris de Pury
  • Real Estate 
  • Real Estate Finance Laurence Rogers
  • Retail John Bennett
  • Restructuring Ben Larkin
  • Tax Corporate, International, Contentious John Overs, Michael Wistow, Liesl Fichardt
  • Technology & Media Simon Harper
  • Trademarks Ian Gruselle
  • Transport Mark Richards, Russell Clifford
  • Trusts & Personal Tax, Private Client Jonathan Kropman, Water Keith Stella


  • Adelaide House,
  • London Bridge,
  • London,
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC4R 9HA
  • Tel (020) 3400 1000 (020) 3400 1111
  • Fax (020) 3400 1111
  • DX 92 London Chancery Lane WC2
  • Email : info@blplaw.com
  • Website : www.blplaw.com

Banking & Finance - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Successfully caters to corporate borrowers, lenders and sponsors. Noted for its aptitude on transactions requiring co-ordination with other departments such as real estate, capital markets and private equity.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
 Bench strength: "The lawyers are knowledgeable, technically excellent, good communicators, good negotiators and pleasant to deal with."

Professionalism: "A very professional and experienced team - they had a very constructive working relationship with the management team, who responded well to them."

What's new? The team gained Intermediate Capital Group and Metric as new clients.

Work highlights Advised Intermediate Capital Group on the £125 million secondary buyout of food manufacturer Symington's from Bridgepoint Capital.  

Acted on a group refinancing for Hellenic Petroleum, involving EUR830 million facilities provided by five banks in England and Greece.  

Notable practitioners 

Long-standing partner Marc Palley is widely respected in the market and is able to advise on an impressive variety of banking transactions.

Emma Howdle-Fuller receives enthusiastic praise, with sources noting her "very practical and very pragmatic" approach. Key mandates have come from Tesco and Private and Commercial Finance Group (PCF) of late, allowing her to demonstrate her strong "negotiation skills and commercial outlook."

Significant clients Tesco, Thames Water, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank.

Banking Litigation - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Strong banking litigation practice supported by a highly regarded dispute resolution group. Diverse client base and recognised multi-jurisdictional capability.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They've been brilliant. The service I get from them is very good. They are very commercial and very responsive. Really spot-on when it comes to commerciality."

Technical ability: "Systematic, thorough and detailed preparation of processes and documentation."

Work highlights Acting for Eurosail 3BL in a high-profile Supreme Court case concerning a structured finance transaction and interpretation of the Insolvency Act 1986.

Successfully defended HSBC in a long-running USD300 million breach of duty action brought by a claimant who alleged the client failed to follow his instructions.

Notable practitioners  

"Top-drawer" Segun Osuntokun is described by sources as "logical" and "a really effective litigator." He specialises in cases involving elements of fraud.

"Creative and commercial," Richard Power is particularly active in retail banking and insolvency disputes. He has specific expertise in the IT and oil and gas industries. Clients appreciate his responsiveness.

"A sensible litigator," Oliver Glynn Jones is regularly involved in complex corporate disputes often with a banking slant and international in nature. He has particular expertise in structured finance litigation.

Significant clients Morgan Stanley, Citi, Barclays Bank, Intercontinental Bank, National Australia Bank.

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

What the team is known for Increasing prominence in the securitisation sphere, acting for a broad client base, including originators, funds, arrangers and trustees on a range of transactions. Strong capabilities on the structured finance side covering CDOs, ABCP Conduits and debt funds, amongst other products.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "A solid team on the CMBS side." 

Notable practitioners  

Securitisation specialist Paul Severs acts on behalf of a diverse client base comprising trustees, arrangers, funds and originators, amongst others. His broad experience covers a range of asset classes, such as commercial and residential mortgages, whole businesses and revolving credits.

Sources find Jayne Black to be "knowledgeable and commercial." Her practice largely centres around advising on CMBS programmes, for a broad range of interested parties. 

Charities - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Highly proficient in large-scale transactions. Sought out by philanthropists, charities and private clients for innovative tax relief and structuring advice.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "The team has a complete command of the relevant charity and trust law."

Work highlights Advised on the merger of charitable care homes Nightingale and Hammerson House in relation to Charity Commission, FSA and Care Quality Commission regulations, creating a charity with combined net assets of more than £52 million. 

Advised The Jewish Community Centre in Finchley Road on all aspects of its proposed activities and particularly in relation to corporate tax. 

Notable practitioners 

Janet Turner QC has recently been appointed as head of the charities team. Clients appreciate her grasp of complex matters and her strong knowledge of the Charities Commission. 

Name partner Martin Paisner's charities work is informed by his background in advising private clients, and he has amassed a strong following. According to sources, he "offers utter integrity and is generous with his time."

Associate director Neasa Coen "takes the time to understand us as clients as well as probing to ensure that she provides advice which is relevant to our situation," sources say. Her recent highlights include advising on the complex Nightingale and Hammerson House care home merger.

Significant clients University of Cambridge, Wolfson Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Tesco.

Competition/European Law - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Provides clients with strong representation across the spectrum of competition law. Utilises close ties with the firm's litigation team to offer comprehensive expertise in contentious competition matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Service: "They are timely and professional, and demonstrated an intelligent approach to competition issues."

Strategy: "They are inspired in terms of tactical judgement and have the ability to spot all of the detail."

Work highlights Representing BDO in the Competition Commission's market investigation into the audit services market.

Advised trade association AFME on the European Commission's investigation into the proposed merger between Deutsche Borse and NYSE Euronext.

Notable practitioners 

David Harrison has a broad practice with the ability to turn his hand to both contentious and non-contentious work. He recently advised Agility Logistics on an EC investigation into the freight forwarding market.

Andrew Hockley is viewed by interviewees as a "very approachable lawyer" who likes to roll up his sleeves and work hard for clients. He also earns praise for the quality of his work.  

Sources say Adrian Magnus "has an impressive knowledge of the competition process" and that his "keen intelligence" is highly valued by clients. He is the lead partner advising BDO on the matter mentioned above.

Significant clients Thames Water Utilities, Agility Logistics, Amlin, The Financial Times, Sage.

Corporate/M&A - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-23 partners
-39 other lawyers

What the team is known for Represents an impressive list of substantial clients in a range of complex and high-profile transactions. A growing presence in emerging markets.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They are responsive, have stamina and expertise, and were very good at keeping the momentum going in the transaction."

Commercial awareness: "They are diligent, smart and commercial."

Efficiency: "The advice was highly pragmatic."  

What's new? Catherine Shirley joins from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Julian Stanier from Norton Rose, and Michael Weir was made up to partner internally.

Work highlights Advised Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen on the £200 million acquisition of the corporate entities that owned 10 Gresham Street in London.

Represented the management team of Mercury Pharma on the USD465 million secondary buyout of the company by Cinven.

Notable practitioners  

"Incredibly hard-working lawyer" John Bennett is "highly competent" and "good on strategy," market sources say. He heads the firm's corporate team and is the relationship partner for a number of key clients.

David Collins is a "terrifically bright and commercial lawyer" who is "a pleasure to deal with," impressed sources say. He heads the firm's corporate department.

Keith Stella is "good at managing his team" and "giving sound advice," clients say. He is an experienced M&A practitioner with particular expertise in the hotels and leisure sector.

Significant clients Tesco, Balfour Beatty, Raven Russia, Playtech, Roundhill Capital.

Employment - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 5 partners
- 27 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Renowned for its innovative approach to high-profile employment litigation. Capable of assisting its broad client base with matters that entail a cross-border element.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
International capability: "They have a very broad-based practice and can offer an international perspective."

Problem solving: "I've been impressed with their problem-solving ethic."

Market standing: "They were the firm that impressed us the most last year. They were neat, tidy and avoided the histrionics." 

Notable practitioners  

Heralded as a "strong strategic thinker," the "exceptional" Rebecca Harding-Hill impresses clients with her ability to provide advice that is both "commercial and practical." "She factors in the element of risk that a company must take in a real-life situation," observes one enthusiastic source.

Lisa Mayhew draws praise for her solutions-oriented approach to engagements. She is said to "grasp the commercial elements of cases very quickly" and to be "very constructive to work with." She has deep expertise in dealing with respondents from the financial services sector.

Rob Eldridge is a skilled and respected practitioner within the employment arena and counts LVMH and Panmure Gordon amongst his clients.

Marian Bloodworth is acclaimed for both her strong work ethic and commercial approach to engagements. Clients praise the ease with which she familiarises herself with the intricacies of their business, whilst others remark positively upon her pragmatism.

It was clear to one source that senior associate Catherine Turner provides clients with "fantastic advice."

Significant clients UBS, Thames Water, BAT, Deutsche Bank, SAICA Packaging.

Environment - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Capable team with well-attested expertise in waste and sewage work. Increasing reputation in contentious matters, including the defence of odour nuisance claims.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "Very good grasp of the law and its practical application to our business, pragmatic advice and a clear sense that they were on our side all through the process."

Efficiency: "Tight and well-run, they got us exactly the outcome we hoped for."

Bench strength: "For environmental litigation they have a critical mass of good people."

Work highlights Advised Thames Water Utilities in an Environment Agency prosecution related to environmental permitting.

Engaged by the International Underwriting Association of London to write an environmental insurance guide.

Notable practitioners  

Aidan Thomson leads the team on both non-contentious and contentious environmental work. Clients praise his writing skills and describe him as a "very focused, effective and client-friendly lawyer." 

Isabelle Laborde is an associate with a planning and environment practice. Her environment work includes advising on transactions, contaminated land matters and regulatory issues such as REACH. Clients appreciate her "sharp and clear advice and strong sense of commercial realities." 

Significant clients Chartis, Steelcase, Tesco, ACE, National Grid.

Fraud - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Sought after to advise financial institutions on fraud issues. Civil practice complemented by recognised corporate crime and anti-money laundering expertise.

Work highlights Advised Nigerian financial institution Access Bank on claims against its former CEO amounting to over £900 million, which involved allegations that he had misappropriated assets belonging to the bank.

Continued to represent the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago in relation to the recovery of around USD1 billion, alleged to have been stolen from policy holders of Colonial Life Insurance.

Notable practitioners  

Segun Osuntokun is a noted commercial litigator with particular expertise in fraud cases arising in African jurisdictions. Sources report that he has "very good litigation judgement and gets straight to the heart of the issue."

Significant clients HSBC Private Bank, Intercontinental Bank, National Grid, BGC Brokers, Thames Water.

Hotels & Leisure - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Highly regarded for real estate work in the hotels sector. Also has expertise in M&A, management and franchising agreements and service agreements.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "I think of Berwin Leighton Paisner as being pre-eminent in hotels."

Visibility: "They do a lot of work in this sector and have a good practice."

What's new? Cadogan Estate and Aareal Bank are new clients.

Work highlights Advised Puma Hotels on the transfer of operational control of 20 hotels back from Barceló Corporación Empresarial, for a reverse premium of £20.25 million.

Advised Westmont Hospitality on the rebranding of Threadneedles Hotel in London and The Glasshouse Hotel in Edinburgh.

Notable practitioners

Peers have "a great deal of respect for" Andrew Little, who is described as "an established figure" and "completely charming." He heads the hotels group at the firm and advises on sales and acquisitions of hotel businesses; management, operating and franchising agreements; development financing; and joint ventures.

Karen Friebe recently joined from DLA Piper. She focuses on acquisition, development and disposal of hotels and leisure real estate. Peers say she is "an absolute pleasure to deal with."

Significant clients Guoman Hotels, Morgans Hotels Group, RBS, Park Plaza Hotels, Westmont Hospitality.

Information Technology - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 6 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Excellent capacity to run big-ticket, cutting-edge deals across multiple jurisdictions. A large, full-service firm with ample resources in real estate, tax, employment and corporate finance, and a world-class client list.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "I find that one of their key strengths is the ability to partner in-house legal capability with best market practice to produce a commercial and value-oriented outcome."

Industry knowledge: "They have an acute understanding of the commercial and technical facets of these projects as well as the law."

Work highlights Advised Lloyds Register Group on an agreement with Infosys to implement an offshore application development project.

Notable practitioners  

Mark Lewis leads the firm's outsourcing team and is widely respected in the market. He has been at the forefront in developments relating to online banking, financial services IT systems and offshore outsourcing projects.

Richard Chapman is well liked by clients as a "good negotiator for hammering out complex commercial arrangements," and is "particularly useful at countering the arguments of the other party's lawyers." He has much experience the insurance and retail industries, where he has a loyal client following.

Significant clients Balfour Beatty, National Grid, Lloyds Register Group, Tesco, Services, Travelex. 

Intellectual Property - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Focuses its well-established practice on copyright, trade mark and design right matters. Particularly experienced in handling matters that intersect with new and increasingly popular technologies such as digital copyright.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "A class outfit working on cutting-edge cases."

Work highlights Acted for the NLA in its digital copyright case against Meltwater, which reached the Supreme Court in February 2013.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Clark is praised by sources for his expertise in design right cases. He also undertakes copyright and trade mark matters, and led in the firm's representation of the NLA in its Supreme Court case.

Ian De Freitas is a "dyed-in-the-wool intellectual property lawyer who knows all the cases and the judgments." Sources also call him a "solution finder" who stands out for his client management skills.

Senior associate Toby Headdon is "one to watch," according to commentators, who note that he is "very astute." He has particular expertise in internet-related IP concerns.

Significant clients The Financial Times, Tesco, National Grid, Balfour Beatty, BAFTA.

International Arbitration - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 1 QC
- 10 associates

What the team is known for Has an increasing presence in the international arbitration market. Strong relationship with the firm's Moscow office ensures attractive expertise in Russian arbitration matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Responsiveness: "They respond in a timely manner and their advice is solid, practical and detailed."  

Notable practitioners  

Nicholas Fletcher QC "has the ability to get on well with everyone, has a fantastic eye for detail and has the ability to be the glue which holds a case together," according to one source. Fletcher leads the international arbitration team and has a wide range of experience in multi-jurisdictional matters.

Clients praise Carol Mulcahy for her ability to be "responsive, focused on the advice and very practical when approaching issues." Her practice focuses exclusively on international casework.

Peers recognise Michael Polonsky for his wealth of experience in international arbitration. He regularly advises foreign clients on a range of commercial arbitration issues.

Significant clients AES, Soletanche-Bachy, Qatar Electricity & Water Company, State of Lagos, Water and Sewage of Trinidad & Tobago.

Licensing - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners (4 gambling, 1 liquor licensing)
- 12 other qualified lawyers (11 gambling, 1 liquor licensing) 

What the team is known for Offers a comprehensive range of services in both the liquor and gambling spheres. Maintains its own advocacy capability concerning licensing instructions, and handles both online and bricks-and-mortar issues for gambling clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "One of the strongest firms in London with a focus on and in-depth experience of the gaming sphere."

Value for money: "Excellent: good value for money and the breadth of services makes it an easy one-stop shop."

Work highlights Represented Tesco in a licensing hearing concerning a new Express store in a Romford cumulative impact zone. 

Acted for London's Hippodrome Casino on ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements prior to its summer 2012 opening. Related transactional issues and the securing of a Sexual Entertainment Venue licence for certain attractions were also handled.

Notable practitioners  

Craig Baylis heads the licensing department and is widely respected and recommended by both clients and fellow practitioners. One source characterises him as "exceptional: diligent, efficient and highly effective," adding that "he has an entrepreneurial, commercial approach, takes enough time to understand what is needed and then combines sound legal practice with good management to produce the best result." Baylis recently secured licences for London's new St James Theatre. 

Jeremy Bark is an associate director of the betting and gaming group, and is recognised for his prominent profile in the field. He acted for Tesco on the Romford matter and successfully defended the licence of another of the company's branches in a review. He also advised lottery games creator Roboreus on its application to the Gambling Commission for an operating licence and on other regulatory requirements. 

Significant clients Corney & Barrow, Gamesys, Marriott Hotels, Playtech, T.G.I. Friday's.

Litigation - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Widely regarded as a prominent presence in commercial litigation, attracting a host of major new clients of late and increasing its profile in international disputes. Expertise spans the energy, financial services and real estate construction sectors in particular.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "Very good, practical and commercial. They know what they're doing and get straight to the issue." 

Efficiency: "A hugely efficient team that provides very high-quality advice." 

Work highlights Represented the shareholders in Bumi on a Takeover Panel (TOP) investigation into the running of one of its subsidiaries, Bumi Resources.

Acted for Tesco in a considerable claim against estate agent group SpicerHaart and joint venture company Indigo, regarding the breakdown of its relationship with the joint venture, an online property website.  

Notable practitioners

Graham Shear led the team advising Bumi's shareholders on in-depth TOP investigations into subsidiary Bumi Resources. His commercial litigation experience extends across multiple jurisdictions and dispute types, including defamation, professional negligence and contractual disputes.

Oliver Glynn Jones earns considerable praise for his tactical awareness and judgement. He took a major role in the high-profile Eurosail litigation, successfully defending Eurosail in this landmark case on what constitutes balance sheet insolvency. Sources comment that he is "pragmatic and has a very cool head." 

Significant clients HSBC, Intercontinental Bank.

Pensions - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Compact team able to provide the full pensions offering with the support of specialists in other practice areas. Regularly handles complex investment issues, restructurings and benefit changes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "BLP members are accessible; I can pick up the phone to them, and fees are reasonable." 

Work highlights Advised the trustees of Sara Lee UK Pension Plan on the demerger of Sara Lee, which split its international coffee business and North American operations. Also advised on various investment management agreements and swaps arrangements.

Advised the trustees of Sira Group Pension Scheme on their re-application for Pension Protection Fund entry following a deterioration of the scheme's funding position.

Notable practitioners  

Clients praise David Dennison as being "very competent and helpful," and "very efficient." He advises both employers and trustees, covering issues such as pension plan mergers, pension plan wind-ups, the pensions aspects of corporate transactions and ombudsman claims.

Head of the pensions team Norman Russell has recently advised the trustees of Roche Products Pension Fund on a range of issues, from investment matters to automatic enrolment to the change from RPI to CPI. One client describes him as "accessible and user-friendly."

Significant clients Thames Water, Roche Pension Fund trustees, Sara Lee Pension Fund trustees, Ricoh Europe Pension Fund trustees, Lockheed Martin Pension Fund trustees.

Planning - London (Firms)

What the team is known for One of the largest planning teams. Long-standing reputation for significant involvement in large projects and broad expertise in this sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "The standout firm of the past year. They have a big team and work flows to them with justification."

Visibility: "They have significant involvement in a large number of projects. We regularly come across them."

Work highlights Instructed by Thames Water Utilities to advise on the Thames Tunnel and Lee Tunnel projects.

Notable practitioners  

Head of the planning and environment department, Tim Hellier advises on planning matters arising in some of London's most cutting-edge development projects.

Sources are eager to affirm that Timothy Smith is "clever, quick and to the point. He has the ability to think strategically."

Tim Pugh acts for National Grid and has a particular focus on nationally significant infrastructure projects and major urban regeneration.

Peers note that James Good is "very capable." Good has led in advising Thames Water Utilities on planning matters arising from the Thames and Lee tunnel projects.

Sarah Beattie is described by sources as "really fab, experienced and liked by clients very much."

Christian Drage's raised profile in the London planning sector sees him join the rankings this year. Drage's particular focus is on large mixed-use schemes. 

Vicky Fowler has worked with Tesco on various mixed-use schemes.

Significant clients HCA, Land Securities, Westfield, Taylor Wimpey, Aviva.

Private Client - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Complex trust structuring is the mainstay of its practice, acting for both wealthy individuals and institutional wealth managers. Particular expertise in voluntary tax disclosure under the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Pragmatic advice: "The quality of work is exceptionally good and so is its presentation. The advice is practical and the team is highly skilled." 

Problem solving: "Turnaround time is always very good, as is the ability to find solutions for problems - the team is technically strong."

Notable practitioners  

Martin Paisner combines expertise in estate planning with his specialist knowledge of the charities sector. Sources say that "he gets wide recognition for his tact, politeness and ability to read clients and their requirements."

Rupert Ticehurst is a go-to trusts and estates lawyer for international clients. He is eminently popular for both contentious and non-contentious work. Clients comment: "He is commercial in his approach, practical and level-headed."

Paul Whitehead specialises in international wealth structuring. He is described as "very personable and able to engage with clients. He explains matters in an appropriate way and has a good commercial outlook."

Simon Phelps enters the rankings this year on the strength of his practice advising on tax, trust restructuring and non-domicile issues.

Real Estate Finance - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-6 partners
-25 lawyers

What the team is known for Recognised for its work on high-value cross-border transactions. Its extensive client roster features leading financial institutions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "A proactive approach and good understanding of the transactions, taking a common-sense and commercial view when required."

Client service: "The lawyers I've dealt with are very approachable and very easy to get hold of.”

What's new? Claire Watson joined the practice from Linklaters, where she was head of real estate finance.

Steve Clark is a new addition to the team at BLP, joining from Dechert. 

Work highlights Acted on the £415 million funding and purchase of the Nido student residence business for Round Hill Capital.

Advised Oriana on a £195 million loan from a consortium of lenders, which is being used to refinance and redevelop part of the Oxford Street property on which the loan is secured.

Notable practitioners  

Claire Watson is highly regarded for her efficiency and communication skills. Clients praise her as being "very thorough and very commercial."

Naveen Vijh's ability to project manage is much appreciated by clients, who note that he is "commercial and proactive," and "brought deals to closing on time and on budget without anyone falling out of love with each other."

Significant clients HSBC, MGPA, ING, Aviva, Carlyle.

Real Estate Litigation - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Pre-eminent in the property litigation field. Instructed by high-profile commercial clients in a range of high-value cases, with particular expertise in rights of light work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They are particularly capable on rights of light and I've been impressed by their ability, intelligence and professionalism."

Bench strength: "The team there is very strong and it has a very good reputation," and "the calibre of the people they've got is just amazing."

Work highlights Acted for the Olympic Delivery Authority on obtaining an injunction at short notice to prevent protestors from impeding the development of key sports facilities.

Instructed by a group comprising British Land, Hammerson, Land Securities and Intu in a complex landlord and tenant case arising out of the Game administration, which holds significant implications for real estate and insolvency law.

Notable practitioners  

Roger Cohen leads on property disputes at the highest level, recently advising on a joint venture dispute regarding a high-value central London office building. Sources say that he is "top of his tree, amazingly bright," and "excellent at running the team."

Joanna Lampert's clients include the Olympics Delivery Authority, achieving the delivery of a last-minute injunction against protestors at the Leyton Marsh site. Clients describe her as "creative, hard-working and a strong advocate," who "magnificently" leads her team.

Wendy Miller is described by sources as "one of the strongest lawyers in the area, hugely intelligent," and is acknowledged by her clients as being "top of the game." She is particularly well known for advising on rights of light issues in major London developments.

Michael Metliss handles property disputes for major clients such as Tesco, British Land, Hammerson, Land Securities and the Railway Pension Fund, overseeing a complex landlord and tenant case with far-reaching implications. He is praised by sources for his "robust approach," which is considered "effective and strong."

Akhil Markanday, a rising star of the firm who advises corporate occupiers and developers, is acclaimed by sources as being "fantastic, very bright, capable, professional – very good at getting things across – he's superb."

Significant clients Canary Wharf Group, Great Portland Estates, Land Securities, Olympic Delivery Authority, Tesco.

Real Estate - London (Firms)

What the team is known for A heavyweight in the London investment, development and real estate financing market, with significant international clients. Notable for multidisciplinary approach to complex and high-value transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "Top-drawer. Never had any problems. The quality of their work is fantastic." 

Market standing: "They have experience on bigger deals. For some of the bigger, more complicated transactions, I would probably go to Berwin Leighton Paisner first."

Commercial awareness: "Very pragmatic, commercial and just want to get the deal done. I certainly rate them very highly."

What's new? Recent client wins include Norges Bank, KWAP and Quintain Estates & Development.

Chris de Pury takes over as head of real estate.

Work highlights Acted on the purchase of 10 Gresham Street for Kumpulan Wang Perasaraan (Diperbadankan), in a joint venture with CPPIB.

Acted for Blackstone on its £330 million acquisition of Devonshire Square from Rockpoint.

Notable practitioners  

Head of real estate Chris de Pury is praised by peers and clients alike, who describe him as "very responsive, commercial and practical." He specialises in structured real estate and recently acted for Round Hill Capital on the £415 million acquisition of the Nido student accommodation business. Sources say: "He keeps the client's best interests at the forefront of negotiations."

James Knox is an experienced real estate practitioner with a practice focus on domestic and international investment, joint ventures, distressed real estate and real estate finance. He recently advised Norges Bank Investment Management on the £170 million purchase of a 50% stake in Sheffield's Meadowhall shopping centre.

Robert MacGregor is a well-known and highly regarded figure in the London real estate market. He recently acted for Quintain Estates & Development on its acquisition of interests in the Greenwich Peninsula joint venture and on a new joint venture with Knight Dragon. Clients praise his "hugely strategic" approach to transactions.

Peter Rudolf has a strong and long-standing reputation in the market, with sources naming him as "an absolutely superb lawyer." His practice covers a range of real estate matters, with a particular focus on development.

In addition to a general commercial real estate practice, David Battiscombe specialises in development, with expertise in planning, scheme structuring and funding. Sources say he is "a genuine pleasure to deal with."

Claire Milton acts for developers, investors and corporate occupiers. Clients include Oxford Properties and Derwent London.

Andrew Sanders's commercial approach to negotiation is widely praised by peers, who say: "He is all about the deal and he gets things done. A very good problem solver." His practice covers investment, development, financing and joint ventures.

Alan Wight specialises in City development and investment work. He recently advised Canary Wharf Group and Land Securities on the pre-letting of 20 Fenchurch Street, also known as the 'Walkie-Talkie'.

Significant clients Great Portland Estates, Land Securities, Qatari Diar, The Carlyle Group, Credit Suisse.

Since publication, Veronica Metter has left this practice.

Restructuring/Insolvency - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 16 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Specialists in advising banking clients on a wide range of restructuring and insolvency matters. Recognised as the go-to team for expertise in real estate matters. Viewed as a primary choice in complex enforcement deals.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They are hugely commercial. They recognise the reality of a situation and the strengths and weaknesses of our position. They are not theoretical; the advice they give is always relevant."

Pragmatic advice: "They are very good at communicating legal arguments that are relevant for our transactions, as well as articulating what is and what is not important to us."

Work highlights Represented the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation on its £370 million exposure to the Q Hotels Group and that company's restructuring.

Advised RBS, as agent, on the restructuring of the European Directories Groups debt.

Notable practitioners  

David Leibowitz specialises in insolvency litigation, and continues to establish a practice focused on mainstream work as well as insurance-related matters. Sources say: "He has a good ability to prioritise when things are urgent and when not. He is very experienced and draws on his skills well to provide us with the right options."

Significant clients Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays Bank, Standard Bank, Macquarie, Cantor Fitzgerald Europe.

Since publication, Ben Larkin has joined Jones Day

Social Housing - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Offers a range of services relevant to all aspects of housing and development, including planning and environment, as part of a broader real estate practice.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "They are able to provide a breadth of experience rather than advice limited to niche social housing matters."

Client service: "We always find them to be proactive, practical and intellectual without being precious!"

What's new? The last year has seen the arrival of a new head of charities at the firm, Janet Turner QC, who brings a wealth of experience in social finance and social care.

Work highlights Continued representation of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) in key projects, including Get Britain Building, Northstowe (Oakington Barratts) and Berkeley Homes Private Rental Fund. 

Acted for Olympic Delivery Authority on the sale of the Olympic Village adjacent to the Olympic Park in Stratford, a sizeable matter involving the disposal of 2,818 new homes, valued at £557 million.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Yates heads the firm's regeneration housing and public sector group. Sources describe him as a creative practitioner who "is always very responsive, attentive and very much alive to our constraints and market needs." In addition to his involvement with the HCA matter mentioned above, he has continued to advise London Borough of Tower Hamlets on the Blackwall Reach regeneration.

Significant clients Notting Hill Housing Association, Greater London Authority, Barking Riverside, Octagon Housing.

Tax - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-11 partners
-18 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Large team singled out for its leading expertise in real estate tax work. Experience in handling both contentious and non-contentious tax issues, and active in an increasing number of cross-jurisdictional transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "They have an excellent profile and great experience."

Client Service: "They have a high quality of service - they are proactive, well-organised and nice to deal with."

Work highlights Advised Royal Bank of Scotland on the tax aspects of a disposal of commercial real estate debt, originated by RBS, into a UK securitisation structure.

Advised Norges Bank Investment Management on the purchase of a 50% stake in Sheffield's Meadowhall Shopping Centre which included significant tax advice related to a joint venture between a REIT and non-REIT.

Notable practitioners  

Sources say John Overs is "always a pleasure to work with and very knowledgeable." He is experienced in a broad range of matters across the spectrum of tax and indirect tax and demonstrates considerable knowledge in the property sector.

Peers highlight Neal Todd as a "very good and very focused" practitioner. He concentrates on international-scale transactions and regularly advises on structured and asset finance matters.

Alan Sinyor is singled out by market interviewees as "he has a wide knowledge base, and stands out as a strong adviser." He demonstrates first-rate skills across the indirect tax market and advises clients on both contentious and non-contentious issues.

Head of department Michael Wistow continues to play a major role in many of the firm's standout mandates. He has a broad range of experience handling the full range of tax matters. Recent highlights include advising RBS on the debt disposal matter.

Gary Richards is particularly adept at handling property-based corporate tax matters. He demonstrates experience in both domestic and cross-border transactions and handles both mainstream and litigious work.

Significant clients Land Securities, Tesco, GE Capital Bank, Credit Suisse, Round Hill Capital.

Asset Finance - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Strong rail finance practice which is particularly praised for its expertise in working for rolling stock operating companies (ROSCOs), as well as key lenders, assisting with the procuring and leasing of rolling stock across the European continent. Also maintains a strong shipping finance practice with particular experience in advising major banks on shipping transactions, as well as assisting with offshore oil and gas financing work.

What's new? Jamie Wiseman-Clarke was promoted to partner.

New client wins include CIT, Comac, DekaBank, Go Airlines India, IT International Telecom and the Office of Rail Regulation.

Work highlights Advised Angel Trains on all matters relating to the Greater Anglia refranchising to Abellio.

Advised Pacific Drilling on the USD2 billion financing of four new ultra-deepwater drillships.

Advised DVB Bank on the refinancing of MS Lisa Schulte, a container vessel.

Notable practitioners  

Russell Clifford maintains his excellent position in the rail finance sphere, receiving acclaim from all corners of the market.

Jamie Wiseman-Clarke is widely regarded as an up-and-coming lawyer in the rail finance market. Sources describe him as "part of the next generation." He recently led the team advising Angel Trains on a number of matters.

Adam Longney is widely regarded as a key associate to watch. He is described by sources as an "excellent" lawyer for rail finance matters.

Significant clients Beacon Rail, Bombardier, Deutsche Bank, ICBC, Investec Bank, Pacific Drilling, Vibrac.

Capital Markets - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

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

What the team is known for Continues to be a top choice for clients looking for a team with a wealth of expertise acting on behalf of companies, stockbrokers and banks, on AIM-related matters. Offers particular strength in a variety of core sectors, including healthcare, financial services, and oil and gas.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "A high-quality and commercial firm."

Work highlights Acted on behalf of both Investec and Deutsche Bank, in connection with the placing of shares for dual-listed Coal of Africa, a coal producer based in South Africa.

Advised online gaming software and services supplier Playtech with regard to its move from AIM to the Main Market.

Notable practitioners  

Department head David Collins plays a central role in handling many of the group's key relationships, and he has particular expertise in advising gaming clients, as well as companies in the metals and mining sector.

Murdoch Currie advised Cenkos Securities in connection with two secondary fund-raisings for Pursuit Dynamics. Commentators describe him as a "top-quality" lawyer in this field.

Alexander Keepin impresses interviewees with his "ability to advise on cross-border issues." He has notable expertise in natural resources, and handled the aforementioned Coal of Africa placing. 

Significant clients Investec, JPMorgan Cazenove, Cenkos Securities, Terrace Hill, Liberum Capital.

Commercial Contracts - UK-wide

What the team is known for Dedicated commercial and TMT practice with expertise in supply chain and services agreements. Active in hospitality, financial services and energy. Particularly strong in media and retail matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Peers recognise the firm as a key player in the commercial contracts space.

What's new? Thomas Miller Investments and RBS are recent client wins.

Work highlights Acted on the Financial Times' purchase of Bow Print Works – following the administration of its print provider – and follow-on printing arrangements.

Advised The Guardian on promotions contracts, new apps, and the terms and conditions for combined newspaper and digital content subscriptions.

Notable practitioners

Richard Shaw is well known in the commercial contracts space. He acts for retail and financial services clients on product distribution and transaction processing arrangements.

Significant clients Aegis Media, Balfour Beatty, Barclays Bank, National Grid, Tesco and Tesco Bank.

Construction - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for An impressively broad construction practice with an increasing international presence. The team acts on significant contentious and non-contentious matters. Its construction law expertise in property developments is boosted by the firm's renowned real estate practice.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They are always well considered and very clear. They understand us as a customer – our language and the processes we have to go through – so advice is always tailored to us."   

Work highlights Advised Canary Wharf Group/Qatari Diar on their joint venture related to the Shell Centre development in London. 

Advised The University of Cambridge in connection with a 120 hectare mixed-use development.

Notable practitioners  

Highly regarded practitioner Marc Hanson is described as "very thorough and very tenacious," and a "top-drawer commercial negotiator." His areas of expertise within the construction and engineering arena include contractual advice and procurement.

"Solution-oriented" John Hughes-D'Aeth is a well-known figure in the construction sphere. One client reflected on his performance as "absolutely fantastic – I couldn't ask for more." 

Bob Maynard is "a professional to his fingertips and assiduous in protecting his clients' interests," according to sources. Clients appreciate his technical and commercial astuteness. He concentrates on contentious matters. 

Terry de Souza spends the majority of his time working on construction disputes with international elements. Peers admire him for being "calm and completely unflappable, with a real command of the case and the detail."

Stella Mitchell is praised for being "hugely personable and very easy to get on with." Clients appreciate that "her advice is very contextualised, very specific and tailored." She recently advised The University of Cambridge on construction matters related to a mixed-use development.

Michael Gibson has extensive experience in construction and engineering matters. He acts for a variety of different clients on the purchaser side of transactions, and has international experience particularly in the Middle East.

Commentators note Nazir Dewji's commercial acumen and say that he is "always a pleasure to work with, very clever and very hands-on." He is highly regarded for his experience in working on cases with a Middle East connection.

Caroline Pope returns to the UK after a stint in the firm's Abu Dhabi office. She is described by peers as being "on the ball, straightforward, sensible, very commercial and practical."

Significant clients Land Securities, Hellenic Petroleum, Thames Water Utilities, Soletanche Bachy, Andritz. 

Corporate Crime & Investigations - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Well-regarded practice group with experience of advising on criminal proceedings, internal investigations and anti-corruption controls.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They are entrepreneurial and creative, and think beyond the straightforward, standard approach."

Client service: "They are very responsive. They return calls and emails very quickly and anticipate the client's needs."

Notable practitioners 

Aaron Stephens is regularly called upon to advise on internal investigations and anti-bribery policy. Clients describe him as an "analytical" and "communicative" solicitor "with a wealth of experience in the UK and US jurisdictions." 

Daren Allen is best known for representing financial institutions in relation to criminal issues and compliance. Sources value his "down-to-earth approach" and report that "he is fast acquiring a reputation as a go-to solicitor for banks."

Defamation/Reputation Management - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Acts for individuals as claimants and advises corporate clients on reputation management and defamation concerns. Expertise in handling internet privacy matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "High-quality, reliable, well-expressed advice that is delivered with client budgets and needs in mind."

Work highlights Acted for a number of high-profile individuals affected by News of the World voice mail interception, including Peter Crouch, Ashley Cole and Kieron Dyer.

Notable practitioners  

Graham Shear has a broad libel and privacy practice, and is best known for his work for sports clients. He led the team that worked on the phone hacking cases and also personally gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. Sources note that he "shows great courage in difficult litigation."

Significant clients Abbey Clancy, Lord and Lady Kinnock, Andrew Marr, Stephen Kinnock, Gareth Bale.

Energy & Natural Resources - UK-wide

What the team is known for Cohesive relations with the Russian wing of the firm in addition to a solid bank of UK domestic utilities work. Further expanding international reach as a result of new office openings in recent years, and noteworthy oilfield services and disaster response practice.

Strengths (Mainly quotes from clients)
Strategic planning: "They are very deal-savvy on transaction structuring and documentation, and they focus on the important stuff, be that a diligence effort, a farm-out or a drilling contract."

Work highlights Acted for Oil Spill Response on the acquisition of four preventative subsea oil capping sticks valued at approximately £250 million, for the purpose of providing global response capability in the event of a large subsea oil spill.

Provided advice to Basra International Oil & Gas Hub in relation to the creation of an oil and gas free zone at Khor Al-Zubair.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Mark Saunders took the lead on behalf of the aforementioned acquisition by Oil Spill Response. One extremely impressed client refers to Saunders as "the consummate energy and natural resources lawyer in the UK."

Adam Dann is singled out by one client for his "extensive experience in the energy and oil and gas industries."

Significant clients Hellenic Petroleum, National Grid, Premier Oil, JPMorgan Cazenove, E.ON. 

Financial Services - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Fully integrated contentious and non-contentious teams provide a seamless service to clients, with particular sector expertise in insurance regulation and asset management. Increasingly involved in cross-border work, frequently acting alongside leading US firms.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "We've been impressed by the quality and level of information they provide, as well as the turnaround time."

Technical ability: "They're always on the front foot in being really pro-active."

Work highlights Acted as an FSA-approved Section 166 Skilled Person for the National Australia Group in the process of reviewing 4,000 potentially mis-sold interest-rate hedging products.

Advised on the £40 million takeover of Invista Real Estate Investment Management Holdings by the firm's client Palmer Capital.

Notable practitioners  

Sources find head of department Sidney Myers an "absolute delight to work with" noting that he "is very knowledgeable and very understanding, and understands our industry very well." He was part of the team involved in the aforementioned National Australia Group work, and is generally considered to be a leading figure in contentious regulatory matters. 

The "very impressive" Nathan Willmott has notable experience in representing insurers, brokers, listed companies and banks in complex regulatory investigations and litigation.

Significant clients AXA, Panmure Gordon, Aviva Investors, Munich Re, Bank Hapoalim.

Healthcare - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Experts in public and private sector M&A and commercial mortgage-backed securities transactions. Deep expertise in all aspects of private nursing homes, fund-raising and commercialisation in the medical device and technology space. Active on major health PFI projects.

Work highlights Assisted Lombard Medical Technologies, a medical devices client, with the issue of a convertible loan note to raise £3 million.

Advising the Barchester Group on an ongoing basis in relation to its partnership with Nottinghamshire Healthcare, which is aimed at assisting suffers of Huntington's, dementia, and alcohol-induced brain damage.

Notable practitioners  

Michael Anderson is a key contact.

Significant clients Blackstone Group, Barchester Healthcare, Barclays Bank, Balfour Beatty, Bondcare.

Since publication, James Buchanan has relocated to the firm's Dubai office. 

Insurance - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Advises on high-level insurance and reinsurance litigation cases. Acts for many of the world's key insurers, reinsurers and brokers on matters across the globe. Key specialisms in Bermuda Form arbitrations, as well as complex political risk, kidnap and ransom issues, and claims arising from natural disasters. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "They're excellent. Jonathan and Anthony make a really good team."

Visibility: "They always crop up one side or another. They're prolific now."

Work highlights Advised Walsham Brothers on a USD20 million claim brought against the company by Equitas, relating to monies allegedly owed to Equitas by Walsham.

Recently acted for insurers and reinsurers on a large claim arising from the Arab Spring.

Notable practitioners  

Cited as a "tenacious litigator," Anthony Lennox is head of the firm's insurance and reinsurance group. He is commended for his skill in both insurance and reinsurance disputes, and sources state he is "very good under pressure" and "commands a great client base in the market."

Jonathan Sacher is held in high regard by the market for his expertise in insurance and reinsurance cases. One source remarks: "He has a core of clients who come back to him."

Significant clients AIG, Munich Re, The Travelers Companies, Amlin, CNA.  

Insurance - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Offers both corporate and regulatory services to insurance clients, with key areas of expertise including M&A and Lloyd's market transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Their training seminars are some of the best I've been to."

Industry knowledge: "Excellent financial services expertise." 

Work highlights Advised BBVA on a £700 million quota share life reinsurance and security transaction, in a cross-border deal that covered Ireland, Spain and the USA.

Notable practitioners  

Adam Bogdanor is the key contact at the firm.

Significant clients Amlin, Munich Re, Tesco Bank, CNA Europe.

Investment Funds - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 6 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highlighted as a dominant presence in the real estate funds space. Full-service practice offering support on tax, structured finance and real estate aspects. Attracts mandates from some of the most high-profile funds and financial institutions in the market.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Strategic planning: "They are able to use experiences from the past. They are innovative when they need to be but can also draw on their resources when they need to."

Responsiveness: "You can access the partners and senior associates at all times and find someone who knows what you are talking about."

What's new? New client wins include Frogmore, Pears Family Group, Mountgrange Investment Management and Clearbell Property Partners.

Work highlights Acted on behalf of X-Leisure Fund in connection with the £140 million sale of a controlling interest in X-Leisure Unit Trust by Land Securities.  

Advised Hermes on the restructuring of property management company Argent Estates.

Notable practitioners  

Renowned partner Antony Grossman "is able to come up with clever but simple solutions others can't see," according to impressed sources. He is characterised by one interviewee as "a well known and respected funds lawyer who is focused, responsive and cuts through to the real issues in a commercial manner." 

Victoria Henry assisted client Hermes with the transfer of Argent Estates to new fund management vehicle Argent (Development Services), working closely alongside the firm's real estate and real estate finance lawyers.  

Significant clients Aviva, BlackRock, M&G, Schroders, UBS.

Local Government - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Historically noted for its strength in housing and regeneration work, drawing on the sterling reputation of its real estate department. Competitive processes, planning law and compulsory purchase are noted as areas of particular expertise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Pragmatic advice: "The team offers straightforward, practical legal advice delivered by engaging individuals who make themselves available and take the time to understand the decision-making environment in which we operate." 

What's new? Janet Turner QC joins the team from Taylor Vinters and adds depth to the firm's local government offering.

Work highlights Represented the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in the Blackwall Reach regeneration project.

Advised the Homes and Communities Agency on the transfer of Housing Regulatory Functions.

Notable practitioners

Andrew Yates is a key contact.

Significant clients Greater London Authority, Bath and North Somerset Council, London Borough of Islington, Epping District Borough Council.

Media & Entertainment - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Best known in the media sector for its representations of publishers, computer games companies and broadcasters seeking to maximise their returns from digital platforms. Experienced in handling e-gaming concerns.

Work highlights Advised the Financial Times on its insourcing of printing arrangements formerly handled by its main UK printer.

Advised The Guardian on a number of innovative software and online content agreements concerning mobile phone apps and key projects for the company's website.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Harper supports clients embracing new technologies, particularly digital content and online publishing. He also oversees the firm's Lawyers on Demand service. 

Significant clients Channel 4, Deluxe MediaCloud, The Newspaper Licensing Agency, PRS for Music, BAFTA.

Outsourcing - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 5 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers

- Office locations ranked: London 

What the team is known for Highly regarded for ITOs, with an excellent base of clients from both supplier and customer sides. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "It was clear BLP had negotiated these kinds of deals before and could bring the added dimension of market experience into the discussion."

Problem solving: "BLP worked to the wire and knew where they could go."

Pragmatic advice: "The contracts are clear, commercial and drafted in a way that pragmatically makes sense. The team takes account of the business behind the clause."

Work highlights Advised Aegis Media on a transformation IT project that included provisions for a data centre, end-user computer services and a service desk.

Assisted Tesco with a multi-jurisdictional project for the installation and maintenance of computer equipment across all stores and European distribution centres.

Notable practitioners  

Mark Lewis is commended for his deep-set record in outsourcing. "He clearly has a lot of experience, and with that comes a level of independence and pragmatism."

Marcus Pearl impresses sources, who say: "He is client-oriented and looks further than the project at hand. He really listens to you."

Significant clients Barclays Bank, National Grid, TCS, Travelex, Williams Lea.

Parliamentary & Public Affairs - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Comprehensive advisory and legislative drafting work on planning and real estate matters. Strong emphasis on infrastructure projects. Maintains a leading reputation for development consent orders.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The overall level of service is excellent. The team's advice is highly valued and represents excellent value for money." 

Work highlights Advises Thames Water Utilities on the high-value Thames Tunnel development, defending the bill for the project against ministerial opposition.

Notable practitioners  

Daniel Greenberg is revered for his skills in legislative drafting, which complements his significant advisory expertise. Sources enthuse: "He always makes you feel you are his number-one priority. He has a ferocious intellect, a forensic eye for detail and great charm."

Significant clients Thames Water, Homes and Community Agency, National Grid, Halite.

Projects - UK-wide

What the team is known for Broad practice advising funders and bidders in a wide variety of areas. Acts on PFI/PPP projects in sectors such as water, rail, transport, defence and social housing throughout the UK, Europe and the Middle East. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "They provided a good understanding of what is a technical and complex area and they were knowledgeable and turned around things as quickly as possible."

Work highlights Advised Ascent Flight Training on the UK Military Flight Training System (MFTS) PPP Project.

Advised Nord LB, the lender, on a social housing PFI.

Notable practitioners 

Mark Richards is an experienced PFI lawyer, well known in the industry. He acted for the Co-operative Bank and Nord LB on the funding of the Wrexham waste PFI. 

Robert Gross acts for lenders and sponsors on PFI and PPP deals in sectors such as defence and health. He has been active on a number of international road projects.

Significant clients Aviva Hadrians Wall Debt Infrastructure Fund, National Grid, Thames Water Utilities, Balfour Beatty Capital, Barclays Corporate Bank.

Private Equity - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Good reputation for advising private equity houses, corporates and management teams on a range of transactions. Particular expertise in the energy and natural resources, real estate and healthcare sectors.

What's new? New clients include Intermediate Capital and Metric Capital.

Work highlights Represented Intermediate Capital in its secondary buyout, from Bridgepoint Capital and its management team, of manufacturer Symington's.

Advised the Robert Dyas group of companies and its board on the acquisition of parent company Cleeve Court Holdings by Gladys Emmanuel.

Notable practitioners  

Alan Paul is highly respected for his experience representing private equity houses. He is a senior consultant at the firm.

Significant clients Blackstone, Intermediate Capital, Patron Capital Management, Texas Pacific, Mid Europa Partners.  

Public Procurement - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 6 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for A procurement practice supported by the firm's strengths in the utilities, real estate, transport and projects sectors. Experience in acting for both private and public sector bodies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They were prompt and extremely supportive under pressure."

Work highlights Instructed by AG Quidnet Hounslow in challenging the London Borough of Hounslow's procurement and development of a major local site.

Advised Thames Water on a number of procurement matters including the Deephams Sewer upgrade.

Notable practitioners  

Warsha Kalé is a key contact for the firm's procurement practice.

Significant clients Transport for London, University of Cambridge, The Royal Parks Agency, Angel Trains.

Retail - UK-wide

What the team is known for Advises on a wide range of matters, including property, IP, litigation, licensing and e-commerce. Well recognised for its real estate strength and emphasis on tenant representation. Long-standing relationship with Tesco. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "Good cross-functional collaboration as there is a team of experts devoted to our work across a number of different specialisms."

Commercial awareness: "They are really experienced, know our business inside out and provide practical commercial solutions in a responsive way."

Work highlights Handled numerous real estate and development projects for Tesco Stores, including superstores and multi-phase and mixed-use developments.

Managed worldwide trade mark portfolios for numerous clients, such as Fat Face, Tie Rack and The Wine Society.

Notable practitioners  

John Bennett heads the retail department and is a key contact.

Significant clients Tesco, Sports Direct, Apple Retail UK, John Lewis, Monsoon.

Sports Law - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Strong reputation for contentious matters as well as non-contentious cases, especially with regards to finance and general corporate issues. Noted real estate focus, acting on a large number of sports developments and sports ground relocations. Equally recognised for its reputation management expertise. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "They are efficient and commercial, and understand the industry very well. They are a very professional outfit and it's a pleasure to use them." 

Work highlights Advised Investec on the financing of payments under player transfer contracts for Premier League football clubs and various Dutch and Italian clubs.

Notable practitioners  

Graham Shear specialises in lending and financing transactions but also acts for players, clubs and agents, predominantly on football-related matters. One source said he is "very pragmatic, commercial and well connected."

Significant clients Ashley Cole, Peter Crouch, Carlos Tevez, West Ham Football Club, Barclays.

Tax - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Highly respected contentious tax practice, part of one of London's most comprehensive tax offerings. Strong expertise in disputes concerning corporate tax, National Insurance, VAT and income tax.

Work highlights Acted for ITV in a highly publicised tax appeal against HMRC, concerning National Insurance contributions for television entertainers.  

Acted for Vaccine Research Limited Partnership in a case concerning tax relief claimed on £193 million expenses incurred for medical research.

Notable practitioners  

Kate Ison is a key contact at the firm.

Significant clients ITV, Aegis Group, The Football Association, British Land, Dreams.

Telecommunications - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 6 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Healthy practice assisting real estate owners with the introduction and upgrading of telecommunications infrastructure. Specialist payment services practice also provides legal advice on mobile and contactless payment.

What's new? Significant new client gains over the past year include Aegis Media, Cisco and Huawei.

Work highlights Advised voxclever on the contractual arrangements with COLT in its managed network services across the UK.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Chapman is a key contact for this practice area.

Transport - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- Office locations ranked: London 

What the team is known for Advises financiers and lessors in rolling stock matters. Market-leading planning practice capability also extends to rail projects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Dependable: "A reliable firm with good quality and depth."

Work highlights Acting for Alpha Trains Group on the acquisition of Lloyds TSB's rolling stock business.

Notable practitioners  

Russell Clifford heads the asset finance group and has extensive experience in rolling stock mandates.

Adam Longney is turning heads with his rolling stock practice, where he acts for banks, lessors and train operators. Sources describe him as a "rising star."

Significant clients Angel Trains, Beacon Rail Leasing, London Underground, Transport for London.