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Pinsent Masons

London

Pinsent Masons - London
  • 30 Crown Place
  • Earl Street
  • London
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC2A 4ES
  • Tel:(020) 7418 7000
  • Fax:(020) 7418 7050
  • Web:Visit website
  • Senior Partner Chris Mullen
  • Managing Partner David Ryan
  • Number of partners  365
  • Qualified lawyers  1200

THE FIRM Pinsent Masons is an international law firm with a long-standing reputation for delivering a high quality service and adding value for clients. The firm’s approach to doing business is structured around developing long-term relationships with its clients, its people and its local and global communities.
With an international resource of over 1,500 lawyers - including 500 lawyers in its headquarters in the City of London - the firm delivers on the ground legal advice from 19 locations, advising clients on their businesses worldwide.
Working with major international and UK corporations, institutions and public bodies, the firm has strong global credentials in four sectors: advanced manufacturing and technology, energy and natural resources, financial resources, and infrastructure.
It also has considerable knowledge and expertise across a wide range of services which cover (for example) corporate, M&A, commercial, competition, litigation and arbitration, banking, restructuring, insurance, regulatory, construction, projects, pensions, property, planning and environmental, procurement, outsourcing, employment, share plans, technology and tax.
Pinsent Masons’ emphasis on listening, understanding and building strong working partnerships has proved essential to the firm’s many successful client relationships, evidenced by the large number of FTSE350 and similar clients for which the firm acts.

INTERNATIONAL OFFICES Aberdeen; Belfast; Birmingham; Edinburgh; Leeds; London; Manchester; Munich; Paris; Istanbul; Dubai; Qatar; Beijing; Hong Kong; Shanghai; Singapore

Branches

  • 30 Crown Place,
  • Earl Street,
  • London,
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC2A 4ES
  • Tel (020) 7418 7000
  • Fax (020) 7418 7050
  • DX 119516 Finsbury Square
  • Website : www.pinsentmasons.com

Banking & Finance - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Highlighted as a solid player on the lender side with a good profile in syndicated lending. Increasingly engaged on cross-border mandates and transactions involving the US private placement market.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
 Client service: "Very effective, first-class communication with the client."

Commercial awareness: "They've been very good, very commercial – they do what we ask them to."

Work highlights Acted for HSBC as mandated lead arranger on secured syndicated loan facilities provided to Safestore Holdings.

Advised Clydesdale Bank on the provision of £34 million towards the construction of the Kent Institute of Medicine & Surgery.  

Notable practitioners 

Christopher Tart has cultivated close relationships with many significant UK lenders, including HSBC, for which he acted on the provision of Safestore Holdings' loan facilities. He is recognised for his "commerciality and user-friendliness."

Practice head Martin Bishop is "not a point-winner – he's commercial and appropriate for the transaction," according to satisfied sources. His practice covers a broad spectrum of finance activity, including leveraged and acquisition finance.

Significant clients Caretech Holdings, Aereal Bank, Redefine International, Halfords Group.

Competition/European Law - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Active in a significant number of merger control matters. Experience of acting for clients working in the infrastructure and energy sectors.

Work highlights Advised DCC Energy on its acquisition of several businesses from Rontec, including successful negotiations with the Competition Commission to clear the deal. 

Advised Groupe Eurotunnel on a UK-based merger review and Competition Commission inquiry into the company's acquisition of former SeaFrance vessels. 

Notable practitioners 

Alan Davis has an extensive practice and excellent experience of representing financial institutions. Recent work includes advising a client on issues arising out of the Euribor and Yen Libor rate-setting investigations.

Guy Lougher is valued by sources as being "clearly very knowledgeable, direct and to the point." He frequently advises companies involved in complex mergers and was the lead partner on the DCC Energy matter.

Significant clients AMEC, DCC, Equifax, IMI, Galliford Try.

Corporate/M&A - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 23 partners/legal directors
- 32 other lawyers

What the team is known for Highly respected for advising clients on M&A transactions and takeovers. Particular focus on Asian transactions with a key focus on the Chinese market.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They are excellent and very commercial."

Industry knowledge: "They are a switched-on bunch." 

Client service: "They are highly responsive." 

What's new? New clients and panel wins include China ChainTek, Naibu Global International, Wishbone Gold, Lupus Capital and Retroscreen Virology.

Work highlights Represented IP Group in a recommended takeover offer by USL Pharma International UK for £356.8 million.

Advised Medicx Fund on its £91.9 million acquisition of the entire issued share capital of CSPC 3PD and its subsidiaries. 

Notable practitioners  

Jon Harris is "highly sensible" and "knows the points to pick up on," clients say. He has a focus on transactions relating to China.

Gareth Edwards has a "good understanding of our industry and what we need in corporate transactions," clients say. He counts a number of entrepreneurs among his clients.

Significant clients APR Energy, Falkland Oil & Gas, Jagal, Regal Petroleum, Sirius Minerals.

Employment - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 5 partners
- 16 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Admirable national strength, with the London office ably supported by an impressive regional network. Skilled in assisting clients from the infrastructure and retail sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Their newsletters keep me up to date on changes to UK legislation and I find that very helpful."

Bench strength: "They have a very broad practice and a number of smart, competitive and commercial lawyers."

Work highlights Provided counsel to Jack Wills on the employment aspects of closing one of its brands, including the redundancy process.

Notable practitioners  

Edward Goodwyn has "fantastic experience of the construction industry," according to one eminent peer. This view is ratified by other sources, who also highlight his impressive responsiveness and levels of client service.

Significant clients Alstom, Aon Corporation, John Lewis, Bombardier, LSE.

Environment - London (Firms)

What the team is known for London office of a strong UK-wide environment practice. Expertise in the energy sector, with a particular focus on nuclear-related matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Advice has been well targeted and succinct, and they have responded well to queries."

Breadth of services: "They do big work and small work with the same amount of skill and energy, and their attention to detail is great."

Work highlights Advised London Legacy Development on environment matters related to the Olympic Park.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Ford has a broad practice that encompasses planning, development and environment work. Sources praise his hard work and say that he is always ready to lead by example. Sources say: "He is extremely active and fizzing with ideas."

Paul Rice is a "very balanced lawyer," who primarily handles environment work in the energy and nuclear sectors. "He is very approachable and I find him very quick to respond," said one interviewee.

Significant clients Hanson Group, Koppers UK, NuGeneration.

Fraud - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Strong national presence with significant cross-jurisdictional experience. Primarily acts for claimants.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Team strength: "The team has strength in depth with ready access to a wide range of specialisms, which is essential in complex fraud cases."

Client service: "They were supportive every step of the way. They really held our hand through the process and kept us informed of our options all the way."

Work highlights Successfully defended the former FSA in an appeal against an 18-month committal order made by the Chancery Judge in relation to a Ponzi fraud which caused estimated losses of £20.3 million.

Notable practitioners  

Head of the firm's commercial fraud team William Christopher deals with a variety of fraud proceedings. Clients value his dedication and describe him as "intelligent, knowledgeable, tenacious, very hard-working and innovative."

Significant clients 4-Eng, Dilitas.

Hotels & Leisure - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Handles a wide range of services, including commercial and operational agreements, branding, licensing, IP and financing. Real estate, construction and development are key strengths.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: Peers highlight the firm's construction and development expertise as a strength.

What's new? New clients include Telereal Trillium, Sami Saad Holding and Girlguiding UK.

Work highlights Advised Accor on property acquisitions across the UK in relation to a number of its brands.

Advised The Portman Estate on the conversion of two terraced houses into a boutique hotel.

Notable practitioners

Claire Hughes is head of the international hotels practice and a recognised name in the industry. She handles real estate matters and commercial and operational agreements for hotel sector clients.

Significant clients Jumeirah Hotels, Rezidor Hotel Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotels, HSBC, RBS.

Information Technology - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 12 partners
- 30 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Pronounced technology focus. Demonstrates sector expertise in digital and social media, financial institutions, central and local government, and manufacturing. Routinely involved in some of the most significant transactions and litigation within this space. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "I have always been impressed by the client-focused service we have received."

Bench strength: "A very strong practice with excellent strength in depth."

Work highlights Acts as the sole outside counsel to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport with regard to its project to roll out ultra-fast broadband across the country, including in more remote areas previously neglected by commercial suppliers.

Advised Whitbread on the renegotiation of its IT outsourcing agreement with CSC with a view to upgrading to a new service model.

Notable practitioners  

Robert McCallough is a highly esteemed and "very hard-working" litigator specialising in IT, communications and outsourcing disputes of staggering scale and complexity. He has been busy over the past year with two confidential arbitrations, which in value terms are some of the biggest to date. 

Iain Monaghan is highly rated by clients and peers alike for his tireless efforts in managing sophisticated outsourcings and procurement deals, and is known for his ability to turn troubled projects around. He is described as a "wonderful, experienced and practical-minded lawyer."

David Isaac leads some of the firm's most strategic relationships, and is the key contact for a number of central government departments. He is an "extremely able negotiator" and is "very personable and charming" but also "very tough" when the situation calls for it.

David Barker is an accomplished dispute resolution specialist in the sector and has litigated some very high-value actions concerning systems implementations and outsourcings which have gone awry. He is also called upon to ensure contracts are as watertight and unambiguous as possible in order to stave off litigation further down the line.

An "out-and-out IT specialist," David McIlwaine is "incredibly hard-working and capable" and a "good organiser of a team." He has recently devoted much of his efforts to a vast and complicated arbitration between a government department and a supplier company. 

Significant clients AXA, Fujitsu, Home Office, Lloyds Banking Group, Telefónica.

Intellectual Property - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for A balanced practice with skilful practitioners in both patent and non-patent areas. Experienced at handling major litigation.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Pragmatic advice: "I rate them highly because they give practical, uncomplicated and commercially astute advice."

Responsiveness: "They come back in record speed with good, succinct advice."

What's new? Strengthened its life sciences expertise with the addition of four partners from Fasken Martineau in February 2013. 

Work highlights Acted for Interflora in its significant trade mark infringement case against Marks & Spencer.

Represented Teva in defence of a patent infringement case brought by Mylan concerning the drug Copaxone.

Notable practitioners  

Iain Connor is a "particularly helpful and proactive" lawyer who "inspires confidence," according to clients. His practice encompasses the full range of soft IP matters. He is the lead partner in the Interflora representation against Marks & Spencer.

Clare Tunstall is recognised by peers as a strong patent litigator, particularly in life sciences matters. She acted for Teva in the matter described above.

Senior associate Rebecca Mitton is noted by sources for her ability to "grasp points very quickly," and for her "approachability and clear manner." She was lead associate in the Interflora case.

Significant clients Dixons, Fujitsu, Getty Images, Pace, Actavis.

International Arbitration - London (Firms)

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.

Licensing - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 3 associates

What the team is known for Advises clients in both the online and bricks-and-mortar spaces on all betting and gaming issues. Able to cover matters arising across all UK jurisdictions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "We use them for high-end matters: they have a good knowledge bank in the gaming sphere and are always ready to bring in specialists in specific areas."

Commercial awareness: "They are by far the most commercially minded firm I have used. They understand business, not just the legal technicalities."

Work highlights Advised William Hill on the expansion of its online casino business into the Spanish and Italian markets, and on the supply of new technology to its UK betting offices.

Acted for financial market spread betting provider London Capital Group Holdings on the development of a new platform.

Notable practitioners  

Susan Biddle heads the London practice and has some 20 years' experience of both land-based and remote gambling matters. She is admired for her sharp mind, deep industry knowledge and sensitivity to commercial requirements, but attracts most comment for her "detailed scrutiny and understanding" of complex documentation and her exceptional diligence. As one client observes: "I have never known her miss even the shortest of deadlines, nor encountered any dispute over her interpretation of a contract."    

Significant clients Gala Coral Group, Genting Casinos, Paddy Power, Grosvenor Casinos, Mecca Bingo. 

Litigation - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Substantial team operating across a range of industry sectors. Growing focus on Russian and CIS-originated disputes. Sizeable list of high-profile clients. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
International capability: "Very strong litigation practice and good connections with major Russian and Ukrainian companies. They are establishing themselves as a major presence." 

Market standing: "They have got enormous strengths in the areas where they have traditionally concentrated, such as construction disputes and IT." 

Work highlights Acting for Dalriada Trustees, the independent trustee of the Mendip and Pennines pension schemes, on multiple High Court proceedings valued between £10–50 million 

Notable practitioners

Identified as an "extremely good organiser" Michael Fenn is reportedly "very good at handling complex matters and complex teams." He advised Aeroflot on its appeal of a struck out claim to enforce a Russian judgment against Boris Berezovsky and Nikolai Glushkov.

Yuri Botiuk is the recipient of positive commentary on his "excellent judgement" as well as his commitment to clients: "He is a man who works day and night for you and gets his team to do the same."  

Significant clients Ithaca Energy, BP, Aeroflot, Sui Southern Gas Company (Pakistan), the trustees of the Nortel Networks pension plan.

Pensions - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 8 partners
- 1 director
- 14 associates 

What the team is known for Part of one of the UK's largest pensions groups, offering seamless advice across the country. Offers expertise in both the non-contentious and contentious arenas. Sources praise the lawyers' ability to comprehend complex matters and explain them concisely.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "The depth and breadth of the firm's offering is substantial."

Technical ability: "The team's work is of a consistently high standard." 

Work highlights Worked in conjunction with Redington on a range of investment initiatives to help pension funds invest in infrastructure. This involved bringing together their construction clients and large pension funds.

Advised Legal & General on issues relating to automatic enrolment, particularly contract negotiations with clients with early staging dates.

Notable practitioners  

Carolyn Saunders is head of the firm's London pensions department and is well regarded for her experience in handling both contentious and non-contentious issues. According to clients she is "very thorough in her approach."

Christopher Berkeley remains involved in projects for the Babcock International Group pension scheme, while also serving as a director of the firm's independent trustee company.

Alastair Meeks is head of the firm's national group and focuses his practice on advising employers. One peer states: "He knows his stuff."

Raj Sharma is head of the firm's pension investment group. He recently played an important role in the aforementioned infrastructure investment initiatives for pension funds.

Matthew De Ferrars is "both responsive and proactive," according to an impressed source. Clients include Coca-Cola Enterprises and Lloyd's of London.

Significant clients Carl Zeiss trustees, Coca-Cola, Heinz trustees, Ericsson trustees, Atlas Copco trustees.

Planning - London (Firms)

What the team is known for An expanding group gaining significant ground in the planning sector. Experts in nationally significant infrastructure projects and advising on the community infrastructure levy.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "We've been very happy with the service they have provided. They work with us on high-profile matters and deal with the planning challenges within the fixed deadlines."

Commercial awareness: "They are very commercially aware. The advice they provide really demonstrates their commercial knowledge."

What's new? Robbie Owen joins from Bircham Dyson Bell to head the infrastructure planning and government affairs unit of the planning and environment team.

Work highlights Acted for the London Legacy Development Corporation on planning permissions, approvals and legal agreements for the London 2012 Olympic Park and Olympic Village.

Advised Capital & Counties Properties in connection with the £8 billion Earls Court and Olympia development projects.

Notable practitioners  

Sources are struck by group head Richard Ford's talent for planning strategy, describing him as "an impressive character" who stands "head and shoulders" above much of his competition. 

Richard Griffiths is singled out by clients for his excellent relationship handling: "Richard is highly knowledgeable, dependable and extremely professional in dealing with both the internal and external members of our team."

Marcus Bate has impressed clients and one source explains why: "He's my first port of call. I think he's excellent. He's a very bright guy and technically very able. He's able to communicate things in a clear and accessible way."

Robbie Owen receives praise across the board for his work on nationally significant infrastructure projects: “Robbie has had a stand out year and has done very well in building up infrastructure work.” Peers also note that he is “very easy to deal with.”

Significant clients Ballymore Properties, Veolia, London Borough of Croydon, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Berkeley Homes.

Professional Negligence - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 15 partners
- 27 other qualified practitioners

What the team is known for Busy construction and technology practice regularly dealing with claims relating to engineers, surveyors, and IT professionals. 

Notable practitioners  

Nicholas Bradley heads the group.

Significant clients Homeserve, Travelers, Hiscox, FSA, Legal & General.

Real Estate Finance - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-6 partners
-7 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A well-regarded practice focused on investment and development financing across a range of sectors, including commercial property, retail, social housing and the hotel industry.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They have the ability to deal with larger, more complicated transactions."

Client service: "They have a friendly approach, providing clear and strong guidance where we need to protect our interests."

What's new? Matthew Heaton relocated to the London office from Birmingham. He has an active London client list and a good depth of experience in acting on behalf of lender clients. 

Notable practitioners

William Oliver is a key contact here.

Significant clients HSBC, Lloyds, Santander, Redefine International, Aareal Bank. 

Real Estate Litigation - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Acts for high-end retailers and telecoms corporations on disputes arising from their real estate portfolios. Expertise in serving possession orders and protestor injunctions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "They are professional, user-friendly, and dealt with all the work expediently."

What's new? New clients and panel wins include Jones Lang LaSalle and Diageo.

Work highlights Advised Capital & Counties on party wall and boundaries issues relating to a proposed major development.

Advised The Portman Estate on vacant possession strategies for its future redevelopment and refurbishment work on hotels.

Notable practitioners  

The "very able" Stuart Wortley leads the firm's national property litigation team. Well established in the field, he continues to handle real estate litigation matters for such high-profile clients as Jones Lang LaSalle and Kier Construction. One source notes that he is "very knowledgeable – he knows his stuff."

Siobhan Cross is instructed by long-standing client Lend Lease on site acquisition for developments of residential properties. She is described as "hugely impressive in terms of both advice and client service."

Melissa Thompson has assisted senior partners in advising Lend Lease, Cushman & Wakefield and Jones Lang LaSalle on various matters. She receives acclaim from peers, who say: "She is really excellent – she is marvellous. She is truly conscientious – exceptionally hard-working and deeply committed."

Significant clients Investec, KPMG, Legal & General, Telefónica, Linden Homes.

Real Estate - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 11 partners
- 2 legal directors
- 16 associates and assistants

What the team is known for National firm with a good presence in the London real estate market, handling investment and large-scale developments. Active in the retail, hospitality and public sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Technical expertise: "I am always impressed by Pinsent Masons' sound technical knowledge and attention to detail."

Responsiveness:"They are particularly good at keeping the client updated as work progresses."

What's new? New clients include Tristan Capital, Trinova Real Estate and Burberry.

Work highlights Acting on Aviva Investors' £87 million sale of Princes House in Piccadilly.

Acting on the Earls Court project for Capital & Counties.

Notable practitioners  

Adrian Barlow acts for private and public sector clients, with sources highlighting his "extensive knowledge of property issues affecting the wider public sector." He also advises on portfolio management matters.

Nicholas Berry specialises in regeneration, PPP/PFI projects and disposals of problematic development sites. He also acts on management and investment matters.

Senior associate Michael Reid recently joined the firm from Freshfields. He focuses on development, investment, joint venture, lettings and pre-letting. Sources praise his "strong strategic and commercial skills."  

Significant clients Lend Lease, Redefine, Standard Life, Homes & Communities Agency, Union Investment.

Restructuring/Insolvency - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 8 partners
- 20 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Seen as an impressive, up-and-coming team in the market with a rapidly-growing presence. Traditionally recognised for representing many of the major UK clearing banks. Sector expertise in industries such as professional services and real estate.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They not only demonstrate high-quality legal knowledge, but also understand the economic, commercial and business points of a deal."

Problem solving: "They have a high-standards, rational approach, and are good at offering practical solutions to tackle complex solutions."

What's new? New panel appointments and reappointments include Santander, Dunbar Bank and Bank of Ireland.

Work highlights Advised Grant Thornton on the full range of issues related to the insolvency of Danoptra Group, a gaming and sports club company.

Advised investors Endless on the management buyout of Vion Food UK.

Notable practitioners  

Nicholas Pike is well respected by market observers. Clients value his "supportive, arm-round-the shoulder" approach in complex, highly charged situations. He is skilled at handling contentious and litigious work for a range of clients.

Steven Cottee is singled out as a highly active player in the market. Clients praise his niche understanding of insolvency cases in the professional services market. He regularly advises bank clients on their activities.

Tom Withyman has a solid reputation in the restructuring and insolvency market. His practice focuses on advising financial institutions and banks on recovery and workout solutions.

Richard Williams recently advised Hampson Industries on its distressed sale process and the pre-pack administration sale of its operating subsidies. He is particularly adept at handling matters in the real estate and construction sector. 

Significant clients HSBC Bank, LLoyds Banking Group, Investec Bank, KPMG, Deloitte.

Social Housing - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Focuses on larger, high-end regenerations in the social housing sector. Offers a variety of related services, including financing and employment.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "I feel like they're among the best in the field. They combine business, banking and property so well."

Work highlights Advised Morgan Sindall on its joint venture with Slough Borough Council to establish a local asset-backed vehicle for the regeneration of Slough, valued at £1 billion over 15 years.

Acting for the Homes and Communities Agency on a range of matters, including work related to Chesterfield Colliery, Connaught Barracks and Milford Hospital sites, involving regeneration and the creation of hundreds of homes.

Notable practitioners  

Anne Bowden heads the group.

Significant clients Capital & Counties, Ministry of Defence, Linden Homes, Ballymore.

Tax - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Advises across the full spectrum of corporate tax matters, including M&A, restructuring, joint ventures, property tax and investment funds. Strong client base in the financial services, energy and insurance sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Clarity: "The firm was focused on explaining issues and then recommending the best solution."

Work highlights Advised BAA on tax aspects of its £807.2 million sale of Edinburgh Airport to Global Infrastructure Partners.

Notable practitioners  

Eloise Walker is described by clients as "outstanding – strong technically, commercially very sensible, and worked very hard to ensure excellent client service." She has particular expertise in the financial services sector.

Significant clients KCA Deutag Drilling, APR Energy, HSBC, Agora Oil & Gas, Veolia.

Banking & Finance - Midlands

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 6 qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham.

What the team is known for Offers clients a full-service banking and finance practice, with national and cross-border experience. Continues to focus on leveraged and acquisition finance, and has expanded its asset-based lending work. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "Exceptionally good lawyers. You know they will be sensible, pragmatic and friendly."

What's new? Edward Sunderland, a capital markets, securitisation, and asset-finance specialist with over 14 years' experience, joined the team from Wragge & Co.

David Doogan joined the firm from SGH Martineau.

Work highlights Acted for Perfect Homes regarding an asset-based lending facility from Burdale Financial.

Advised Headlam Group on the refinancing of its existing banking facility by two UK Banks. 

Notable practitioners 

David Doogan enjoys a distinguished reputation among peers and clients. He is a "leading lawyer in the market," providing clients with a "pragmatic and commercial approach" to banking issues.

Significant clients HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Santander, BNP Paribas Commercial Finance.   

Construction - Midlands

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 4 associates/assistants
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham 

What the team is known for Strong, standout player in the market. Noted for its diverse client base, which includes healthcare, infrastructure and transport clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The team is client-focused, timely and has good knowledge of the sector."

Notable practitioners  

Anthony Bradley heads the contentious side of the practice. Clients praise him for being "extremely meticulous" and "responsive, effective and on our wavelength."

Nigel Blundell is a key partner for non-contentious matters. He acts for several large national contractors, as well as purchasers from the waste management and local authority sectors.

Significant clients Morgan Sindall, VolkerRail, Galliford Try, Kier, John Lewis.

Employment - Midlands

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 10 other qualified practitioners
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for A leading employment team in Birmingham that offers the full range of employment advice. Adept at handling key strategic matters as well as contentious issues such as whistle-blowing claims. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Client service is good and based on having an in-depth knowledge of how our company operates."

Problem solving: "I think their strength is that they have no weaknesses. They have always been able to deal with whatever employment issues we have given them no matter how unusual."

Notable practitioners  

The "pragmatic" Jonathan Coley is noted for providing excellent technical support and client service. He regularly advises on transactional employment issues.

Significant clients Fujitsu, Kraft, Aviva, HSBC, Serco.

Information Technology - Midlands

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for Assists a wide range of clients with substantial IT outsourcing projects. Adept at handling matters for both private and public sector clients.

What's new? New clients include the London Borough of Brent and the University of Southampton.

Work highlights Assisted the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on a domestic mobile infrastructure project.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Jon Fell is known for his ability to negotiate effectively with IT suppliers. His practice also embraces IT outsourcing matters, for which he garners further market acclaim.

Significant clients Arqiva, Argyll Business Centres, Homeserve

Intellectual Property - Midlands

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 1 legal director
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for The group continues to grow in size and scope, and is handling an increasing amount of work for large international companies. Noted for its close associations with major UK universities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "High quality, quick response times and very business-focused."

Client service: "The people are very nice to work with - professional but also friendly and helpful in explaining issues."

Work highlights Advising Silentnight Group on managing a range of IP concerns, including trade mark licensing.

Notable practitioners  

Cerys Wyn Davies is "a real superstar" who advises clients on both contentious and non-contentious matters. She "has great attention to detail, builds good relationships and progresses things proactively."

Significant clients Aviva, Bosch, London School of Economics, Plymouth University, University of Cambridge.

Litigation - Midlands

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for Recognised as one of Birmingham's market-leading commercial litigation practices. Called upon by multinational corporations to advise on high-value, large-scale disputes. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "I find the team is very commercial. They understand clearly what our objectives are through the process and are very switched-on."

Notable practitioners  

Sources report that Jonathan Fortnam "has a really nice way of dealing with clients" and inspires confidence in complex and important commercial proceedings. He is viewed as one of Birmingham's premier litigators.

Greg Lowson is an experienced disputes lawyer, who is "very well respected locally." Clients value his dedication to understanding their concerns.

Significant clients IMI, Homeserve, Unipart, Hill & Smith, Avon Cosmetics.

Pensions - Midlands

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers 
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for Key part of a popular national pensions team. Leads the firm's insured pensions practice out of Birmingham. Noted for its expertise advising insurance companies and product providers, as well as trustees and employers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Members keep on top of matters and we always get follow-ups."

Notable practitioners 

Simon Laight heads up the Birmingham team and the national insured pensions practice. Sources say: "His understanding of insurers and pension products is outstanding."

Nick Stones is recognised as "very capable and personable" and "a very user-friendly lawyer." He has particular expertise in advising charities and public sector clients.

Susan Andrews is a well-respected and experienced practitioner who advises clients on wide-ranging pensions issues. She also does a significant amount of work through Trustee Solutions, the firm's independent trustee company.

Solicitor Katie Vaughan wins glowing praise from sources, with one interviewee describing her as "extremely thorough and technically very good."

Daniel Shelley is a respected member of the team with a specialism in large schemes. He has more than 20 years of experience in pensions law.

Planning - Midlands

Basic facts about the department
-1 partner
-8 other qualified lawyers
-Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for Part of a strong national team advising on a wide range of planning issues. Adept in matters such as CPOs, Section 106 agreements and judicial reviews. Acts on residential and commercial developments, airports and roads.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They have a good combination of technical expertise, and clear, concise, understandable delivery." 

What's new? Rebecca Warren joined the Birmingham team from Clarke Willmott.

Work highlights Advised St George on the redevelopment of the former News International headquarters in Wapping.

Acted for Gallagher Estates in connection with a new town project near Cambridge. 

Notable practitioners  

Iain Gilbey leads the Birmingham planning group and is also active in the London market. He acted for the Homes and Communities Agency on the negotiation of a Section 106 agreement for the Icknield Port Loop development.

Rebecca Warren joined the firm this year, a move that market observers feel will further strengthen the practice. She is particularly noted for her strength in residential planning matters. She advised on the promotion of a residential scheme outside Bicester. Sources say: "She is tenacious, very well-organised and client-focused."  

Martin Damms impresses sources with his technical ability. He advised on a regeneration project centred on Earls Court in London. According to one satisfied client, "he clearly has an encyclopaedic knowledge of planning law and is academically very good."

Significant clients Berkeley Homes, St James Group, London Legacy Development, Ballymore Properties, Capital & Counties.

Real Estate Litigation - Midlands

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner 
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for Continues to act for household-name retailers and leisure sector operators. Also offers notable experience representing clients in the energy sector on property-related matters. 

What's new? New clients include Grosvenor Estates, Carpetright, Crabtree & Evelyn and Stobart Group.

Work highlights Provided strategic advice to JD Wetherspoon, which maintains an 800-plus property portfolio, on its campaign to reduce the insurance premiums charged by landlords.

Represented Royal Bank of Canada in its capacity as landlord, defending a £1 million claim stemming from an alleged failure to provide consent to assign, resulting in a loss of sale by the tenant.

Notable practitioners

"Very tenacious" department head Alicia Foo specialises in disputes connected with the provisions of the Electronic Communications Code. Sources describe her as a "very safe pair of hands" and particularly appreciate that she is "very good at giving us options in terms of what tactics to use."

Significant clients Arqiva, Alstom, NuGeneration, Laura Ashley, Waitrose.

Tax - Midlands

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partners
- 2 other qualified solicitors
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for Highly regarded for its ability to serve clients locally and nationwide on a range of corporate transactions and strategic tax planning. Offers clients the benefit of qualified solicitors, tax advisers, accountants and former HMRC officers.

Work highlights Provided strategic advice to Lafarge on SDLT matters and assisted with an SDLT audit.

Acted for MML Capital Partners on the tax structuring of its investment in Exploration Logistics Group and its acquisition of Frontier Medex.

Notable practitioners  

Head of tax Ian Hyde is well reputed among market sources as a strong corporate tax adviser and tax litigator. He was the key adviser to Lafarge on the SDLT work.

Significant clients Avon Cosmetics, AXA, Northgate, Halfords, Yattendon Group.

Banking & Finance - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Broad banking practice covering general corporate lending, leveraged finance, asset-based lending, property finance and project finance. Advises major banks, including HSBC, The Co-operative Bank, Lloyds TSB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. Strong sector-specific expertise in the construction and energy sectors, wherein the firm advises borrower-side clients such as Xcite Energy, RENERCO Renewable Energy Concepts, Speedy Hire and Sir Robert McAlpine Construction. Ranked offices in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Belfast.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
National capability: "We know we'll get the same service wherever we are because of all their offices."

"Now a very powerful national franchise in Scotland since the merger with McGrigors."

Notable practitioners  

Key contacts include David Doogan, Matt Morgan and John Maciver.

Construction - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Extremely strong construction practice, with significant matters carried out in offices right across the UK. Noted for advice provided in relation to high-profile PPP/PFI projects, with particular expertise in the education, health, transport, and power sectors. Key clients include the likes of Balfour Beatty, Carillion and Kier. Ranked offices in Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
National capability: "We use them because they service national clients on a local basis."

Notable practitioners Mark Harris and Michael Hopkins are key contacts.

Litigation - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Top-rated national practice and the only UK firm with leading litigation teams in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Particularly celebrated for its firm-wide construction and technology expertise. Clients include News Corporation, Imperial Tobacco, Mercer, Manchester United, BP, the Financial Services Authority and Siemens. Ranked offices in Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Belfast.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
National capability: "Personally I don't look too far beyond Pinsents. It is a quality outfit with a quality client base and quality work. They are shrewd operators and business-focused in their solutions." 

Notable practitioners Greg Lowson is a key contact.

Pensions - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Stellar national pensions team with a depth of talent across its UK offices. Showcases deep expertise, attracting such clients as Wilkinson Hardware, Mercer, Scottish Widows, Heineken, Heathrow Airport Holdings, HSBC and Co-operative Group, as well as numerous schemes, funds and trustees. Ranked offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham.

Notable practitioners

Stephen Scholefield is a key contact.

Planning - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Large national offering that regularly advises on planning issues arising out of major projects and developments. A key contact for local authorities, it also demonstrates strength in the housing, energy and transport sectors. Key clients include London Legacy Development Corporation, Berkeley Homes and Veolia Environmental Services. Ranked offices in Birmingham, Edinburgh and Leeds.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
National capability: "They work for us on a nationwide basis. The quality is always very high."

Notable practitioners 

Iain Gilbey is a key contact.

Tax - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Assists clients with a range of corporate and property tax matters, including M&A, VAT, restructurings and funds-related work. Also houses tax advisers, accountants and former HMRC officers, enabling the firm to provide comprehensive ongoing tax-planning services. Strong specific expertise in the energy, financial services and education sectors. Key clients include Allianz, AXA, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership and William Hill. Ranked offices in Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
National capability: "They are playing on a national scale."

Notable practitioners  

John Christian heads the firm's corporate tax department and is a key contact.

Pensions - North East & Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 1 director
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds 

What the team is known for Continues to act for significant clients on complex issues. Recognised for advising insurance companies on matters relating to automatic enrolment and bulk purchase annuity transactions.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "I was impressed with the depth and breadth of their knowledge. They have a lot of hands-on experience."

Commercial awareness: "The team understands the commercial realities of life."

Client service: "The team reacts well, delivers on time and gives good, practical advice."

Notable practitioners  

Jacqueline Timmins heads up the team in Leeds. One impressed client says: "I'm impressed with her ability to give reasoned arguments. She doesn't sit on the fence. She tells it as it is."

Tom Barton is expert on automatic enrolment issues, and is also noted for his experience in liability management projects. He is described as "helpful, practical and knowledgeable."

Significant clients Boparan Group, Wilkinson Hardware, Croda Pension Scheme trustees, Lonza Group, Mercer.

Social Housing - North East & Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Maintains its market standing on transactional advice, including support on PFI transactions and formation of asset-based vehicles.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They understand the market, they give good commercial advice, and they have an excellent network."

What's new? Blackpool Council and SMBC are new client wins.

Work highlights Assisted Gateshead Council with its local authority asset-backed vehicle to develop around 19 housing sites.

Advised a consortium of senior debt providers on a combined PFI-funded regeneration project, as well as on a property development project.

Notable practitioners  

Group head Anne Bowden handles housing development and regeneration projects. She recently assisted Westminster City Council with the procurement of a city-wide housing regeneration programme.  

Significant clients John Laing Investments, Homes and Communities Agency, Notting Hill Housing, The Co-operative Bank, Willmott Dixon Group.

Banking & Finance - North West

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers 
- Office locations ranked: Manchester

What the team is known for High-calibre client base, including panel relationships with major UK clearing banks. Full-service practice incorporating leveraged and syndicated finance and asset-based lending expertise.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "Matt Morgan is backed up by very able people, with good technical and structuring ability. They are good at getting to issues quickly and explaining them in layman's terms."

Strategic planning: "On the whole very easy to get on with and they consider before acting how best to do the deal - they take trouble to sort out their strategy before the transaction."

Work highlights Advised Lloyds TSB and Handelsbanken on the £49 million refinancing of the engineering group Renold.

Advised a club comprising Lloyds TSB, HSBC and Santander on the MBO of global energy solutions business Clarke Energy. This inter-jurisdictional deal involved the provision of facilities in Australia, France, China and India.

Notable practitioners  

Extremely well regarded by clients and peers alike, the "very proactive" Matthew Morgan is described by one client as "very approachable; he works on your level and pre-empts a major process by sitting down and making sure he understands what we want and then he layers his legal knowledge on top. He then continues to stay on top of that and drives the process forward."

Samantha Rollason is very experienced in both real estate finance and renewable energy finance and has advised on both the borrower and lender sides of transactions.

Significant clients The Co-operative Bank, Rothschild, Yorkshire Bank, HSBC, Santander.

Construction - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 19 associates/assistants
- Ranked office location: Manchester

What the team is known for The standout practice in the market, with an excellent reputation. Known for its handling of large-scale energy, education and health projects.

What's new? New clients include The Bank of England, Doosan Power Systems and Vinici Construction.

Work highlights Advised Initec Energia on the construction of a EUR262 million 517 MW power station in Parnaiba, Brazil.

Notable practitioners  

Michael Hopkins is a key partner in contentious matters and has over 25 years of experience in the field. He is highly respected by peers and has extensive expertise in litigation, arbitration and adjudication.

Head of department Graham Alty leads on several key transactional matters for clients such as transport and energy firms. Industry commentators note that he is "widely regarded as a great lawyer."

Mark Job specialises in transactional work and is leading on the practice's key international instructions.

Significant clients Balfour Beatty, Carillion, ISG, Capita Symonds.

Corporate/M&A - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Manchester

What the team is known for Renowned for quality, high-value and complex private equity transactions. One of the largest corporate groups in the North West.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They are very professional and very good at listening to what their clients want before they start their work."

Partner involvement: "The right eye had been cast over all the work to ensure that it was of the highest quality."

Work highlights Acted for AMEC on the £137 million acquisition of Serco Group's nuclear services business.

Represented Greenhous Group in the renegotiation of a significant business outsourcing agreement with General Motors UK, including issues relating to exit strategies and termination assistance.

Notable practitioners  

Gregg Davison focuses his corporate practice on private equity transactions. He recently acted for Dunedin on a £65 million disposal of its interest in WFEL.

Manchester office head Helen Ridge is well regarded by peers and clients alike. She was the lead partner on the AMEC matter. 

Significant clients Manchester United, University of Manchester, The Co-operative Group, Viking SeaTech.

Employment - North West

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 6 associates
- Office locations ranked: Manchester 

What the team is known for Maintains a strong national and international presence. Key clients are drawn from a diverse array of sectors, including sport, financial services and education.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They provide clear, concise and commercially focused advice. They are proactive, keep me up to date with the progress of transactions and make themselves available at very short notice."

Notable practitioners  

Neil Black recently transferred from the firm's Birmingham office. He provides excellent support on a range of employment concerns. He regularly advises the firm's construction clients.  

Significant clients RSA, Royal London, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, The University of Manchester.

Litigation - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 8 associates
- Office locations ranked: Manchester

What the team is known for Well-reputed ability to handle complex commercial litigation. Specific sector expertise in numerous practice areas including tax, pensions and sports law.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Julian Diaz-Rainey is widely recognised for his extensive experience in commercial litigation. Sources find him "personable, extremely bright and very hard-working." One client notes: "He's excellent at listening and reacting to our needs."

Significant clients Manchester United FC, CVS, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance, Spectrum Brands, Mercer.

Pensions - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Manchester

What the team is known for Stable Manchester-based group that operates as part of a large UK-wide practice. Able to advise on all aspects of pensions law and frequently acts for regional and national clients on high-value matters. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "The team has great attention to detail and its knowledge of pensions law is exemplary."

Pragmatic advice: "Members are practical and they help you to find solutions."

Responsiveness: "If an urgent response is needed, this is accommodated."

Notable practitioners 

Stephen Scholefield heads up the team in the North West and is well regarded by clients and peers. One source says: "He's at the top of his field and I have complete confidence in his legal opinions."

Pippa Read acts for both private and public sector clients on a wide variety of pensions issues. Sources praise her efficiency and responsiveness and say that she offers a "very good service and very good advice."

Rebecca Wood is noted as a "practical and pragmatic" associate with the ability to make the highly technical areas of law understandable to trustees.

Significant clients Royal Ordnance Pension Schemes, Balfour Beatty Pension Fund, Eurotunnel Pension Schemes, Rentokil Initial, Baxi Group Pension Schemes.

Real Estate - North West

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Manchester 

What the team is known for Strong across the commercial property spectrum, with notable offerings in real estate finance, high-value investments and residential and commercial development. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "It is an accurate, professional service. The communication is very, very good." 

What's new? New client wins include Peel Media Group, Miller Developments and Lancashire County Council. 

Work highlights Advised DHL on the acquisition of its new headquarters in London.

Acted for Morgan Sindall Investments on a town centre regeneration project in Towcester.

What the team is known for

"Commercial, well connected and proactive," Mike Edge "listens to what we want to achieve and makes sure we get there." Head of the property team in Manchester, he is well known for his work on development and investment matters.

Significant clients Homes and Communities Agency, Speedy Hire, Langtree Group, Barwood Developments, Bombardier.

Restructuring/Insolvency - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 10 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Manchester

What the team is known for A popular choice for bank-led restructuring work. Provides clients with the benefit of its national network. Regularly involved in large scale, high-profile administrations.

Work highlights Represented the lender and KPMG, as administrators of Global Investment Group and Llangollen Hotels, in various matters including the reduction of the group's property portfolio and the sale of core assets.

Advised aerospace group Hampson Industries on the sale of a subsidiary business, managed through fixed charge receivers.

Notable practitioners  

James Cameron is praised for being "very pragmatic and very approachable." Sources report that he is "well regarded" and that he "punches above his weight" in the market.

Significant clients Grant Thornton, HSBC Bank, Hilco, Lloyds Banking Group, BDO.

Tax - North West

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 1 other qualified lawyer
- 1 dual-qualified Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser 
- Office locations ranked: Manchester

What the team is known for Advises on corporate tax matters such as M&A, with particular expertise in assisting energy sector clients. Draws upon considerable, wider expertise in VAT, tax disputes and employee share schemes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "We were happy with the service received. They didn't waste time, and had the right people working for the right length of time."

Notable practitioners

Lynette Jacobs heads the tax group in the Manchester office.

Significant clients Allianz, Novae Group, William Hill, Speedy Hire.

Banking & Finance - Northern Ireland

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 6 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Wide breadth of services, including corporate lending, leveraged finance and syndicated finance. Possesses offices overseas as well as in all three jurisdictions of the UK, enabling an effective cross-jurisdictional capability. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "They've given us timely and excellent service.

Bench strength: "They do a good bit of our work. There's a good strength and breadth to their team.

What's new? This year the team has been appointed to the Bank of Ireland panel and gained new clients in the form of AIB Group, HSBC and Central Bank of Ireland. Associate Naomi Gaston joined the team from another well-regarded Belfast firm.

Work highlights Advised Danske Bank on the restructuring and reorganisation of facilities granted to a notable construction group in Northern Ireland. The matter required co-ordination with the firm's real estate and restructuring teams.

Advised Bank of Ireland on its involvement in a revolving credit facility provided to a leading energy utility. This complex transaction had to be completed within a tight timeframe.

Notable practitioners 

John Mciver is a key contact.

Significant clients Ulster Bank, Bank of England, Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, Rabobank, Triple Point Investment Management.

Competition/European Law - Northern Ireland

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

What the team is known for Specialises in competition matters affecting the public sector, energy companies and the utilities markets. Valued by clients for applying a commercial mindset.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial thinking: "Strong attention to detail. They understand the commercial realities of a case and keep us on the right track."

Service: "They are professional, on-time and in budget."

What's new? The team has been successful in attracting a number of new clients, including Schrader Electronics and Sellafield.

Work highlights Having advised North Down Borough Council on the procurement of an Olympic-standard swimming pool complex, the group is now advising on the process of appointing a private operator to run the centre.

Notable practitioners 

Richard Murphy stands out as a go-to figure for energy-related competition advice. Sources say "he is a great point of contact: he takes instruction well and knows exactly what to do without being prompted."

Significant clients Queen's University of Belfast, Strategic Investment Board, Phoenix Gas, Department of Finance and Personnel, Special EU Programmes Body.

Construction - Northern Ireland

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 4 assistants/associates

What the team is known for A prominent firm in the national and international markets, noted for its transactional and dispute resolution services.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "The team's breadth of specialist expertise is great."

What's new? New clients include Queen's University Belfast and Apex Housing Association.

Work highlights Advised the Port of Cairnryan on the design and build contract relating to the £13 million replacement of the Berth 1 Linkspan.

Acted for FMP Construction on the £13 million construction of two schools in Northern Ireland.

Notable practitioners  

Andrea McIlroy-Rose is primarily involved in non-contentious matters. She focuses on the retail and development sectors.

Clients describe senior associate Ed Kelly as a "good negotiator." He specialises in PFI/PPP matters.  

Significant clients London Borough of Croydon, Benmore Group, Belfast Education and Library Board, Graham Construction.

Corporate/M&A - Northern Ireland

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 1 legal director 
- 6 associates
- 1 other fee earner 

What the team is known for Acts for clients in core infrastructure and energy sectors, both locally and nationally. Offers wide geographical reach, advising on all key corporate matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They are proactive and keep you informed all through the process."

Commercial awareness: "It has a strong attention to detail and understands commercial realities."

What's new? Secured new clients Schrader Electronics and Quinn Group.

Work highlights Advised BAA, together with the Glasgow team, on the disposal of Edinburgh Airport to Global Infrastructure Fund in a deal worth £807 million.

Advised Phoenix Energy Group on the £21 million disposal of its gas supply business to SSE plc (Airtricity).

Notable practitioners 

Head of the Belfast office Paul McBride advises on acquisitions, MBOs, venture capital and project financing. He led on Phoenix Energy's disposal of its gas supply business. Clients appreciate that he is "alive to the business needs of corporate clients."

Significant clients SHS Group, Fane Valley, W&R Barnett, Medicare, Ulster Carpet Mills. 

Education - Northern Ireland

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 2 senior associates
- 2 other fee earners

What the team is known for Experienced in advising educational clients on employment law, IP, student admissions, judicial reviews, real estate law and commercial projects.

What's new? The team has been reappointed as advisers to Queen's University Belfast.

Work highlights The firm advised Northgate on the Education Network NI project to roll out ICT services to schools in Northern Ireland. 

Notable practitioners

Adam Brett is group head.

Significant clients Belfast Royal Academy, Linenhall Library, Belfast Education and Library Boards - Belfast Schools project.

Employment - Northern Ireland

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 1 associate
- Office locations ranked: Belfast

What the team is known for Advising corporate clients on all manner of employment issues. Offers a great deal of experience on industrial relations and TUPE matters. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "I think we have an outstanding working relationship with them. They have a young partnership and a good mix of experience, youth and vigour." 

Commercial awareness: "They have a strong attention to detail and understand the commercial realities."

Notable practitioners   

Clients admire Paul Gillen both for his ability to evaluate risk and for his level of service. He has a background in human resources and advises on all employment-related matters.

Significant clients Queen's University Belfast, Lagan Homes, Halfords, Phoenix Natural Gas, Ladbrokes.

Since publication, Adam Brett has joined Jones Cassidy Jones

Energy & Natural Resources - Northern Ireland

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners/directors
- 9 associates/assistants

What the team is known for Regional structure across the UK provides excellent support to the Northern Ireland team, enabling it to advise across a range of jurisdictions. Substantial past expertise benefits the team in providing advance warning of the potential pitfalls which may befall a client in the energy sector.

Strengths (Mainly quotes from clients)
Commercial awareness: "Commercial awareness is good, and the firm typically has a strong view on key market participants and developments."

Visibility: "The standout firm this year would be Pinsent Masons - they act for a lot of big energy clients and utilities."

What's new? The firm has welcomed associate David Trethowan, formerly at Arthur Cox.

Work highlights Represented Phoenix Energy Group in the sale of its gas supply business to Airtricity Gas Supply for approximately £20 million.

Instructed by TCI Renewables to advise on the sale of the 21 MW consented Dunmore Wind Farm by auction.

Notable practitioners  

Sources praise Richard Murphy for his technical knowledge and negotiation skills: "He has been efficient in progressing a number of transactions and has a sound understanding of the underlying energy policy frameworks."

Corporate specialist Paul McBride has energy sector expertise and worked on the aforementioned sale of Phoenix Energy Group's gas supply business.

Significant clients SSE Renewables, RES UK and Ireland, Bord Gáis, Mutual Energy Group, Simple Power.

Information Technology - Northern Ireland

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

What the team is known for National firm advising major public sector bodies and substantial companies on significant IT project work and outsourcings. Offers a full service on complex projects.

What's new? New clients and panel appointments include Translink, the Department of Finance Personnel, the London Borough of Croydon and the Department for Social Development.

Work highlights Advised NI Direct on the outsourcing of central government IT functions in Northern Ireland.

Advised Northgate Information Technology on the delivery of managed IT solutions to 12,000 schools as part of the Education Network NI project. 

Notable practitioners  

Paul McBride is a key contact at the firm.

Significant clients Raptor Photonics, Crossbows Optical, Ofcom, Colleges NI.

Intellectual Property - Northern Ireland

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 2 legal directors
- 4 associates

What the team is known for Acting for both local and international clients on matters ranging from commercialisation and transfer of IP rights to advising on infringement claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The client service has always been excellent. They're very responsive and extremely knowledgeable about the market."

Work highlights Advising Crossbows Optical on potential infringement claims in China concerning its software.

Acts for Schrader Electronics in relation to its IP portfolio in Europe.

Notable practitioners  

Paul McBride is a key contact.

Significant clients Northgate Technology, Raptor Photonics, Queen's University, QUBIS, Ulster Weavers.

Licensing - Northern Ireland

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

What the team is known for Acts across a wide range of matters, including alcohol licensing for both individual premises and chains, gambling and gaming licences and pharmacy licence applications. Fields an advocacy capability that frequently eliminates the need to instruct counsel, and combines intimate knowledge of the local environment with ready access to the UK-wide expertise of the Pinsent Masons brand. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "A very friendly, business-minded and pragmatic approach."

Client service: "We were feeling a bit vulnerable and they took an awful lot of worry away."

Work highlights Successfully acted for Sainsbury's on its contested application for a new licence at Bangor.

Assisted Philip Russell with its objection to a competitor's application for a new off-licence in Portaferry. 

Notable practitioners  

Samuel Beckett is acclaimed by sources as "a superb lawyer" who is "very knowledgeable in his field," "instils a great deal of confidence" and "gets everything done in time." He frequently exercises his rights of audience in the Northern Ireland courts in his clients' interests. 

Significant clients PizzaExpress, Royal County Down Golf Club, Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast Metropolitan College. 

Litigation - Northern Ireland

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 6 associates

What the team is known for A diverse client base and ability to handle complex commercial litigation. Broad experience in IP, professional negligence and commercial contract claims. Multi-jurisdictional reach.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "Very high standards and very professional. Very prompt and accessible. They have a good understanding of the parameters within which we work."

What's new? Associate Desmond Carr joined the team from Clarke Willmott.

New client wins include Schrader Electronics and Quinn Group.

Work highlights Represented the FSA in a matter valued at over £20 million on a committal order for imprisonment following a Ponzi scheme.

Notable practitioners  

Samuel Beckett is well respected by peers in the Northern Ireland market. He is experienced in professional indemnity and construction matters, and also has significant expertise in licensing law.

The "very effective" David Kirkpatrick has a broad commercial practice regularly advising on banking litigation, contractual issues, shareholder disputes and IP litigation.

Significant clients Kerry Group, BP, Belfast Harbour Commissions, Coca-Cola HBC, Queen's University Belfast.

Partnership - Northern Ireland

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 1 associate

What the team is known for Contentious and non-contentious practice. Acts for professional practices such as law firms, accountants, architects and real estate agents. 

Notable practitioners  

Paul McBride heads the team and is praised as a "very commercial individual, who approaches every transaction with a commercial head." He is a corporate partner by background and advises on a broad array of commercial matters, including M&A.

Significant clients Kevin Winters & Co, McGrady Scullion, MB McGrady.

Projects - Northern Ireland

What the team is known for Strong team advising on PPP-related matters in Northern Ireland and England. Active in areas such as waste and education.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "As the mergers have gone ahead they have got stronger and stronger with a far greater depth of experience."

Work highlights Advised E.ON on its bid for the arc21 waste PPP.

Advised a joint venture of Northern Irish contractors in relation to a Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project in Bradford.

Notable practitioners 

Adrian Eakin is an infrastructure partner with a good depth of experience when it comes to advising on PFI and PPP projects. Sources say: "He has a great wealth of up-to-date knowledge, and he has a wide sector experience, from waste to water, roads to education."

Ed Kelly is a senior associate who advises on the infrastructure field. Sources say: "His specialist knowledge was impressive, he was a good negotiator, and his attention to detail and service were good." 

Ciara Seymour is a legal director who advises private and public sector clients in the PFI and PPP sectors. Sources say: "She's excellent. She's tremendously personable, and extremely commercial in how she will deal with matters."

Significant clients NI Department of Finance and Personnel, London Borough of Croydon, Strategic Investment Board, North Down Borough Council, AmeyCespa. 

Private Client - Northern Ireland

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for An impressive range of work covering tax and succession planning, trust and estate administration and advising financial institutions on wealth management strategies. Offers an experienced bench in both Northern Ireland and other UK jurisdictions. Clients extend from local landowners to non-domiciled entrepreneurs.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They make you feel coveted. The promptness of responses and level of trust are high. I'm very happy with every aspect of their service."

Notable practitioners

Ian Huddleston commands respect from both peers and clients on the strength of his asset protection and management practice. Sources comment: "He is very quick to grasp the issues, he knows all the background and we have a good rapport. Expectations are well managed, the work is done to a high standard and he can see things from the client's perspective."

Public Procurement - Northern Ireland

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 1 legal director 
- 10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Represents a broad spectrum of public bodies in Northern Ireland, including local councils and central government, in addition to private sector clients. Works closely with its colleagues across the UK.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "Savvy, commercial players with a long-standing reputation."

Client service: "Happy to have sensible discussions as to how it can add value."

What's new? The firm merged with McGrigors in May 2012.

Work highlights Advised the Department of Finance & Personnel on the outsourcing of IT functions in Northern Ireland.

Notable practitioners  

Stuart Cairns heads the firm's UK-wide procurement department and divides his time between London and Belfast. Clients describe him as "sensible, thoughtful and pragmatic" and praise his commercial approach to matters.

Significant clients North Down Borough Council, London Borough of Croydon.  

Real Estate - Northern Ireland

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

What the team is known for Boasts a large national property team with a range of services offered in the Belfast office. Specialises in the energy sector, acting for major renewables companies and energy providers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They are commercial but they're also good at summarising the main issues; they understand what they need to do to get a deal done."

Client service:"Client service and value-added elements are strong."

Work highlights Acted for RES Group on the disposal of Altahullion wind farm.

Acted for Invest Northern Ireland in the development of television studios as part of a media village in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.

Notable practitioners

Head of department Ian Huddleston is noted for his expertise in large-scale development work and distressed portfolio management. Clients say that he "makes himself available at all hours" and is "very commercial." Clients include the Department for Social Development, Bank of Ireland and HSBC.

Andrea McIlroy-Rose leads the firm's national retail team, and acts for clients including The Co-operative, Matalan and Superdrug. She focuses on investment and development work.

Significant clients London Borough of Croydon, Bord Gáis, Benmore Group, Ulster Bank, West Register.

Real Estate Litigation - Northern Ireland

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 6 associates

What the team is known for High-profile practice known for its work in the retail, energy and education sectors. Works with well-known local entities as well as international retail brands.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Very high standards, and very professional, prompt and accessible."

What's new? New client wins include Queen's University Belfast.

Notable practitioners  

David Kirkpatrick is singled out for his experience and knowledge of the market. According to clients, he "is very practical and understands the concept of client service so well."

Sources are quick to praise Laura Gillespie, with one client saying: "I have a lot of trust and faith in her. I am always confident that she is representing us well and giving the best advice."

Significant clients Invest Northern Ireland, Presbyterian Mutual Society (In Administration), Bord Gáis Éireann, West Register (NI). 

Administrative & Public Law - Scotland

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

What the team is known for Focuses on offering advice in relation to infrastructure and procurement projects. Noted for its expertise in handling matters relating to IT and technology.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They are strong in administrative and public law infrastructure projects."

What's new? New client and panel wins include North Ayrshire Council, The Highland Council and the Department of Health.

Work highlights Advised EDI Group Scotland on its procurement of the regeneration of Edinburgh's Craigmillar district.

Advised North Ayrshire Council in connection with the construction of three new primary schools. The procurement involved simultaneous bundled procurement of a number of construction projects.

Notable practitioners  

Jamie McRorie specialises in offering public law advice in the areas of housing, healthcare and regeneration. His clients include the City of Edinburgh Council and the Department of Health.

Significant clients University of Aberdeen, Falkirk Council, British Waterways, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Inverness College.

Banking & Finance - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers 
- Office locations ranked: Aberdeen, Edinburgh

What the team is known for Remains an exceptional banking and finance hub in Scotland. Continues to provide services spanning the entire spectrum of financial sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "Now a very powerful national franchise since the merger with McGrigors."

Visibility: "Very good, professional and friendly. It has become a larger establishment, which has increased the capabilities and general reach of the firm."

What's new? Gained a host of new clients this year, including Green Power, Rabobank and Société Générale.

Work highlights Acted for Xcite Energy with regards to USD155 million development funding for the Bentley heavy oilfield.

Advised RENERCO Renewable Energy Concepts on funding for the development of three UK wind farms, a matter valued at approximately £80 million.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department John Maciver is well liked by clients for his personable and commercial nature. They say he "probably strives the most to have a good relationship with us and offers the most tailored service," adding that he is "very experienced, very engaging and very proactive. He helps us get a good perspective of the market."

Gillian Frew led the team representing Xcite Energy. One client reports: "She has proved to be highly experienced and subtle in negotiation and she provides good and pragmatic advice."

Iain Macaulay is an experienced operator in many different aspects of corporate finance. Clients indicate that "he was aware of the dynamics of this particular transaction and he's built up a good bank of knowledge. He is good to deal with, user-friendly, and tries to make it as simple as he can by translating legalese."

Michael Watson is highly experienced in a variety of finance matters, particularly in the energy and infrastructure markets.

Significant clients Lloyds TSB, The Central Bank of Ireland, HSBC, Cairn Energy, Ithaca Energy.

Banking Litigation - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 6 associates
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh

What the team is known for Sizeable group with significant experience in banking and financial services litigation. Handles a broad array of work including asset recovery, professional negligence and mis-selling claims. 

What's new? Senior associate Claire Thornber joined the team from DLA Piper.

Work highlights Successfully represented Luxembourg-based investment firm Hadrian opposing an injunction in relation to secured lender disposal powers.

Instructed by a large UK bank in connection with valuable payment protection insurance claims.

Notable practitioners

Jim Cormack is the key department contact.

Significant clients Lloyds TSB, Hadrian, Calgacus Capital.

Construction - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 9 partners
- 28 associates/assistants

What the team is known for Market leader in Scottish construction. Established as a go-to name for transactional and contentious matters. Notably strong in the renewables and energy sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "The team has a good understanding of our business and is able to tailor its advice to what we do."

Bench strength: "A large team to draw on to cover a plethora of issues."

What's new? New clients include SSC, Shepard Engineering Services and Total.

Work highlights Advised Viridor on construction matters related to the £160 million Glasgow Residual Waste Project.

Acted for Galliford Try in a high-value rail sector dispute with Lanes Group.

Notable practitioners

Clients and peers are quick to single out Fraser McMillan for praise. He leads on a number of the practice's highest-profile disputes.

Kenny Valentine is praised by clients for having the ability to "highlight potential pitfalls in an effective manner." He heads the contentious construction team and handles several significant disputes.

Michael Allan is noted by clients as being "very commercial and pragmatic" and "identifying the issues quickly." He lead the team advising Viridor on the Glasgow Residual Waste Project.

Colin Fraser is recognised for his work in the infrastructure sector. He is a key partner at the practice and is involved in a number of contentious matters. He represented Galliford Try in its dispute with Lanes Group.

Alastair Morrison is instructed on a number of contentious and non-contentious matters. He regularly works with some of the practice's key clients such as Balfour Beatty.

Brandon Nolan is described by sources as having "very extensive experience." He is a senior partner within the team and is involved on contentious matters.

Julia Maguire is noted for her work in the renewables and energy sector. She led the team advising Beatrice Offshore Wind on the development of a 1,000 MW Moray Firth wind farm.

Louise Forster is involved in a number of contentious issues. She is notably strong on international oil and gas matters.

Significant clients BP, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Morgan Sindall.

Corporate/M&A - Scotland

Basic facts about the department:
- 10 partners
- 3 legal directors
- 22 associates
- Office locations ranked: Glasgow Edinburgh, Aberdeen

What the team is known for Handles big-ticket M&A transactions and other significant corporate deals. Developing sector focuses on energy, infrastructure and life sciences.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Personable and collegiate - it gets the job done with minimal fuss."

Problem solving: "It both leads and remains open minded to options."

What's new? Secured Bridge Energy, Robert Bosch Ventures and Tetra Technologies as new clients.

Work highlights The Aberdeen team advised new US-based client Tetra Technologies on the acquisition of Optima Solutions Holdings.

Acted for the shareholders of the Garden Centre Group on the sale of the entire issued share capital to Terra Firma Capital Partners.

Notable practitioners  

Central belt group head Barry McCaig is "growing in gravitas," according to market commentators. Clients highlight his "strong attention to detail and focus on delivery." He specialises in corporate finance and recently acted for Garden Centre Group shareholders on selling the entire issued share capital to Terra Firma Capital Partners.

Rosalie Chadwick specialises in M&A and listed company work in the oil and gas sector. Clients recommend her "strong technical knowledge in oil and gas," and her "international experience."

A key partner in the Glasgow team, Derek Stroud advises on a wide range of corporate matters. His clients include Strathclyde Pension Funds, and commentators highlight his "innovation and pragmatism."

Alan Diamond advises both public and private companies on a broad range of corporate matters. Recent deals include acting on the USD100 million cross-border joint venture between Blake Oil & Gas and MND Group. Sources say that "he is clearly an expert in his field."

Kevin Devanny advises on acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures, private equity and corporate reorganisation. His recent experience includes advising BAA on the sale of Edinburgh Airport to Global Infrastructure Partners. Commentators highlight his "diverse skill set."

The "sharp" and "straight talking" Anna Brown is a key partner in the Edinburgh team. She is experienced in capital markets, with a particular specialism in fund-raisings in the life sciences and technology sectors.

Sources describe Jonathan Kirkwood as "dedicated and always available." He specialises in energy and university spin-offs, advising on a comprehensive range of corporate matters.

Significant clients Superior Energy, Strathclyde Pension Fund, Sparrows Offshore, West Coast Capital, Cenkos Securities.

Education - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 15 partners
- 3 legal directors

What the team is known for Delivering advice to universities and colleges in such areas as employment, governance concerns, tax and pensions, property and IP issues. Able to leverage a strong national and international network.   

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They have provided an excellent, commercially aware, specialist service."  

Work highlights Counselling the University of Edinburgh in its acquisition of a former hospital for conversion into student accommodation.

Represented the University of Aberdeen in respect of claims brought under the Equality Act. 

Notable practitioners

Victoria Miller is a key contact.

Significant clients Robert Gordon University, Inverness College, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, The City of Glasgow College, University of Aberdeen. 

Employee Share Schemes & Incentives - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 1 legal director
- 1 other qualified lawyer

What the team is known for Has extensive reach and the ability to draw on a broad team of share plan specialists. In-depth knowledge of the energy arena and experience of implementing bespoke share schemes for clients in this sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "I think they've been brilliant. They're really easy to deal with and the speed of delivery has been excellent."

Work highlights Advised Deo Petroleum on the share scheme aspects of its takeover by the Parkmead Group.

Notable practitioners  

Karen Davidson earns acclaim for her technical acuity and personable demeanour. Her strength on share schemes is interwoven with a strong tax practice, for which she is also recommended. She assisted Deo Petroleum in connection with the matter detailed above.

Share scheme specialist Christine Yuill "combines an excellent technical grasp with great commercial acumen," say interviewees. She was also involved in the aforementioned Deo Petroleum matter.

Significant clients Valiant Petroleum, Epistem, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, Iomart, Skyscanner.

Employment - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 24 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh, Glasgow 

What the team is known for Covers a full range of employment law matters and has particular sector expertise in financial services, construction and engineering, energy, recruitment agencies. A go-to practice for complex matters from tribunal litigation to significant restrictive covenants concerns.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They are proactive in coming to us with updates and matters that could affect our business, and not just waiting for a specific instruction. This level of service sets them apart from their competitors."

Responsiveness: "I rate Pinsent Masons because you get what you want, when you want it. They stand out."

Notable practitioners  

Diane Nicol leads the UK-wide employment team. She is singled out as being "excellent with clients." She handles high-value tribunal litigation and company restructurings. 

Peter Sharp is widely respected by his peers and noted as being a "strategic thinker and good at getting to the nub of the problem."  

Clients describe Stuart Neilson as "knowledgeable, pragmatic, sound and readily available." He brings significant experience of TUPE issues.

Significant clients BP, William Grant & Sons, Standard Life, Thomson Reuters, Sphinx Medical.

Energy & Natural Resources - Scotland

What the team is known for Market-leading knowledge of the renewable energy sector in Scotland. Expert negotiators of oil and gas joint venture and transportation agreements.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "The team work excellently together. They resource appropriately, and have strong sector knowledge and market insight."

Efficiency: "The group operates very well as a whole. Although our transaction primarily involved the oil and gas team, additional support was brought in at appropriate times."

What's new? Shirley Allen has been promoted to partner.

Work highlights Acted for Eneco in connection with the sell-down of 50% of its equity interests in the Navitus Bay offshore wind farm to EDF Energy, as well as following joint venture arrangements surrounding the project ongoing.

Represented Dana Petroleum in its acquisition from Hess of interests in assets situated in the Bittern and Triton fields.

Notable practitioners  

Sources praise Ian McCarlie for his "excellent sector knowledge and highly responsive client service." He is a renewables expert leading on many significant matters at the firm, including the Eneco sell-down and joint venture outlined above.

Head of energy and natural resources, oil and gas specialist and "world-class resource" Bob Ruddiman has thrilled clients with his drive to get things done: "His judgement is sound and grounded in broad experience in the UK. He sees through peripheral information to get to the core issues and has a knack for keeping large groups focused on what is vitally important, both commercially and legally."

Shirley Allen has a substantial reputation for handling matters on behalf of significant oil and gas clients, including Dana Petroleum. Sources state that she is "very capable" and "well respected."

Significant clients SSE Renewables, RES UK and Ireland, Renerco, BP Exploration, Shell UK.

Environment - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 12 other qualified solicitors
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh

What the team is known for One of Scotland's largest environment teams. Notably strong on waste, environmental litigation and regulatory matters.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Communication: "They are easy to deal with; they give good advice and make it easy to understand so you can make decisions."

Market standing: "A good firm with a professional reputation and attitude."

What's new? The team has gained several new clients, including Diageo Scotland, Severn Trent Water and Ravenscraig.

Work highlights Advised E.ON on environmental matters such as contaminated land and environmental litigation.

Advised BAA on environmental aspects of its sale of Edinburgh Airport to Global Infrastructure Partners.

Notable practitioners 

Jennifer Ballantyne has a broad property practice that includes advising on environmental matters such as contaminated land. Sources say: "She is a very impressive operator; she cuts through a lot of noise."

Gordon McCreath advises clients on contentious and non-contentious environment work. He has a particular focus on the waste and water sectors, and is identified as a "very knowledgeable, hands-on and capable" practitioner.

Senior associate Ross McDowall handles work related to waste, permitting and contaminated land. Sources say: "He knows what he is doing and he is commercial."

Significant clients BP, Forth Ports, DONG Energy, CALA, Zebec Biogas.

Health & Safety - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 11 associates
- Office locations ranked: Glasgow

What the team is known for Highly active in this practice area. Acts for admirable corporate and construction clients, and has a noted presence in offshore work via an Aberdeen office. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The client service is very good. It understands our needs and provides the appropriate solutions."

What's new? The legacy McGrigors practice completed a merger with Pinsent Masons in May 2012, giving the new firm great geographical distribution in the UK.

Work highlights Advised Scotpackaging on the appeal of a fire safety prohibition notice.

Advising on a police and HSE investigation into a fatality at the workplace of a high-profile client.

Notable practitioners 

Laura Cameron heads up the regulatory group at the firm and has built a high profile through chairing the Health and Safety Lawyers Association in Scotland. Sources were quick to note her as "a genuine expert in health and safety," as well as "very conscientious, with a fantastic manner with clients and very commercially focused." 

Thomas Stocker is admitted to practice in England and Wales as well as in Scotland. According to one admiring source, "his instructions are always very detailed and they disclose always, to my mind, a good grasp of the subject matter and the tactical sensitivities of the case. He is very able indeed." Stocker had a lead role on the Scotpackaging appeal.

William Park is a key health and safety lawyer in the Aberdeen office. His principal clients include the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Sources praise his "ability to understand technical aspects and address them in the context of an enquiry."

Significant clients DTZ, Land Engineering, Macdonald Hotels, Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Healthcare - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 11 associates
- Office locations ranked: Glasgow

What the team is known for Frequently advises public sector healthcare clients on new developments, infrastructure projects and IT procurement projects in the Scottish market. Offers credibility on large-scale healthcare projects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "The team demonstrated an excellent grasp of project hot spots, as well as wide market experience."

Work highlights Advised a consortium led by Equitex on the establishment of hub South West Scotland.

Instructed by NHS Grampian in relation to the design, building, financing and maintenance of the hub North-procured Aberdeen Community Health Village project.

Notable practitioners  

Stuart Barr is a key contact.

Significant clients hub South East Scotland, Scottish Futures Trust, Galliford Try Investments, Balfour Beatty Investments, NHS Highland.

Information Technology - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 14 associates
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh

What the team is known for National firm with an impressive track record of advising banking, energy and insurance clients on substantial projects. Maintains an excellent profile as an adviser to public sector and regulated industry clients.

What's new? New clients or panel wins include Balfour Beatty, Nucleus Financial Services and Aviva.

Work highlights Advised The Highland Council on the re-procurement of the Pathfinder North telecoms project.  

Notable practitioners  

Matthew Godfrey-Faussett focuses on advising clients on end-to-end system procurements, e-commerce and outsourcings. Clients say his "ability to defuse situations and get his point across was excellent," and he "always made himself available to us."

John Salmon advises clients in the global financial services sector. He frequently advises clients in the insurance sector on the procurement of new systems.

Yvonne Dunn is experienced in advising clients in the Scottish banking sector on IT contracts. She is praised by clients for her "straightforward, pragmatic and practical advice which is delivered in an understandable manner."

Susan McKiernan frequently advises clients in the insurance sector on a range of IT matters. She has notable expertise on matters relating to platforms.   

Significant clients Registers of Scotland Executive, KPMG, American Educational Telecoms International, Zurich.

Intellectual Property - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Non-contentious IP advice to clients from the life sciences, food and drink and energy sectors. Considerable expertise in contentious matters affecting the oil and gas industries.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "They are able to meet even the tightest deadlines where required. Their advice is solid and pitched at the right level for the audience."

Client service: "Excellent - not just filings with the court but also with memos to us."

Industry knowledge: "The quality of work is excellent and I appreciate the industry knowledge they have accumulated over the years."

Work highlights Advised biotechnology specialist Epistem Holdings on its recent sales and marketing deal with Indian-based Xcelris. 

Advised Skyscanner on a variety of different matters including multiple development agreements and consultancy agreements.

Continues to act for US-based Albaugh in its dispute in the Court of Session regarding remedies available for infringement following the expiry of a European Patent.

Notable practitioners 

Seona Burnett is an expert in non-contentious IP matters. She is best known for her work in life sciences and sports, and recently led the firm's work on behalf of Epistem Holdings. "She is an exceptional lawyer" because she is "very thorough" and "very tenacious for her clients. She has a real terrier-like approach in protecting her clients' interests."

Jim Cormack is a highly regarded litigator who continues to act in the long-standing Albaugh European Patent case. Clients praise him as "very practical" and "able to come up with solutions before we even see the problem."

Associate David Woods works in IP dispute resolution matters. Clients note that with Woods, "the quality of the advice is never in question."

Significant clients Jacobs & Turner, Scottish Rugby Union, Maxxium, William Grant & Sons, MG ALBA.

Licensing - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 1 legal director
- 1 senior associate
- Office locations ranked: Glasgow

What the team is known for Liquor licensing and gambling advice across Scotland and the ability to tap into UK-wide expertise. Also fields its own advocacy capability and strong litigation experience. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Problem solving: "My main reason for using them is their more positive attitude: they do their damnedest to get things done, but without being aggressive."

Responsiveness: "Any query is answered very, very quickly."

What's new? The practice recently acquired Accor UK & Ireland and GB Oils as clients.

Work highlights Acted for The Gondola Group, owner of the Ask, PizzaExpress and Zizzi restaurant chains, with regard to all licensing issues in Scotland, including the securing of licences for new premises in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Represented The Restaurant Group on all licensing issues affecting its Chiquito's, Filling Station and Frankie & Benny's chains in Scotland, including obtaining new licences in Edinburgh and Glasgow. 

Notable practitioners  

Audrey Ferrie attracts significant client and peer praise for her liquor licensing and gambling expertise. Comments include frequent references to her ability to "sum up situations and practical options very succinctly," and to her close reading of the workings of individual licensing boards and "good working relationships with the relevant officials." She is also applauded for her responsiveness, high efficiency and "fantastic wealth of knowledge," with one client remarking: "I've never had so much confidence speaking to somebody about licensing."    

Significant clients Hilton Worldwide, Molson Coors Brewing, Edinburgh International Conference Centre, YO! Sushi, Royal Yacht Enterprises.

Litigation - Scotland

Basic facts about the department 
- 6 partners
- 29 associates
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh 

What the team is known for Strength in depth following the merger with McGrigors. A flourishing Scottish practice supported by a leading national presence. Expertise across an array of commercial areas including contentious insolvency and property litigation.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Problem solving: "The team is very good at identifying issues, coming up with a solution and providing options. They're efficient in the way they operate."

Pragmatism: "A really excellent and knowledgeable team. A pragmatic no-drama approach – this is absolutely key. They're solution-focused."

Responsiveness: "Individuals have great communication and keep us up to date. Their work product is just excellent."

What's new? New client wins include Edinburgh Airports and Scottish Canals.

Work highlights Represented Imperial Tobacco in an appeal to the Supreme Court on a challenge to the new tobacco regulations in Scotland.

Acting on a professional negligence claim on behalf of land developer HJ Banks & Company.

Notable practitioners  

Craig Connal QC has a broad commercial practice spanning a wide range of practice areas. Well respected in the Scottish market, one source describes him as "the best dispute lawyer in Scotland – top of his profession."

"Clever, commercial and sensible," Jim Cormack is an experienced solicitor advocate who regularly appears in court. Clients appreciate his expertise and find him to be "very straightforward and highly knowledgeable."

Laura Cameron receives recognition from peers for her expertise in health and safety. Sources note that she is "extremely knowledgeable" within her specialism.

Jacqueline Harris has capabilities across a range of disputes including product liability, financial services and property litigation. She also had particular experience in public law challenges and judicial review proceedings.

Significant clients News Corporation, The Miller Group, PwC, Forth Ports, William Grant & Sons.

Local Government - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 22 other qualified lawyers
-  Office locations ranked: Edinburgh, Glasgow

What the team is known for Strong regional offering, providing high-quality local government advice. State aid and major projects work remains the bedrock of the practice. Established record of representing both local authorities and challengers in procurement matters.  

What's new? New client wins include The Highland Council and London Borough of Enfield.

Work highlights Advised The Highland Council on the Pathfinder North Partnership telecoms project, on matters of state aid and contract procurement.

Represented the City of Edinburgh Council in relation to the Craigmillar redevelopment project, offering guidance on state aid, procurement and financing matters.

Notable practitioners

Yvonne Dunn is the key contact.

Significant clients Dumfries & Galloway Council, Aberdeen City Council, North Lanarkshire Council.

Media & Entertainment - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Glasgow

What the team is known for Respected handling of film and television investment and production work. Noted strength in digital media and online gaming matters.

What's new? Creative Scotland is a new client win for the firm.

Work highlights Recently engaged by Creative Scotland to advise on a number of financings for independent film projects.

Advised MG ALBA on a suite of agreements in preparation for the realisation of a Gaelic language television channel, BBC ALBA, a joint venture with the national broadcaster.

Notable practitioners 

Yvonne Dunn has a flourishing film and television practice, which takes in all aspects of finance and production, including rights acquisition, cast, crew and investment agreements.

Significant clients Creative Scotland, Ludometrics, MG ALBA, New Media Partners, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Parliamentary & Public Affairs - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 2 fee earners
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh

What the team is known for Key advisory practice for big-name commercial clients in the Scottish market. Interprets legislative developments and provides strategic advice on how to approach such changes.  

Work highlights Advised the Forum of Scottish Claims Managers on the civil justice reforms implemented by the Scottish Government and encouraged a dialogue between the forum and the government to improve the reforms.

Notable practitioners 

Alastair Ross is a public affairs specialist whose clients readily appreciate his ability to combine expert knowledge of the parliamentary process with an understanding of the commercial consequences for their business.

Significant clients Babcock International Group, Association of British Insurers, Aviva, Sainsbury's.

Pensions - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 4 associates
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh

What the team is known for Remains a leading light in the Scottish pensions market. Offers experience in all types of pensions issues, from asset-based funding structures to automatic-enrolment to personal pensions. Able to draw on the strength of the firm's substantial national practice.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They are very communicative and helpful."

Market standing: "They're now part of a national firm. They have the biggest practice."

What's new? Mairi Black recently joined the firm from DWF Biggart Baillie.

Work highlights Advised BAA on the pensions elements of its £807 million sale of Edinburgh Airport. This required close collaboration with the company's deal team, its in-house pensions team and the corporate legal team.

Advised the trustees of Dawson International Retirement Benefits Plan on funding negotiations with the company, proposed negotiations with the PPF and eventually an enforcement of pensions liabilities that led to Dawson International going into administration.

Notable practitioners 

Ian Gordon is described by commentators as "the star of Scottish pensions law," with an ability to cut through complexity and explain issues in an extremely lucid manner. One client enthuses: "He's outstanding - he's probably the best lawyer in Scotland."

Ruth Tobias is a "very strong all-round pensions lawyer" who is able to advise on the full spectrum of pensions matters. One client states: "I absolutely trust her advice. It's accurate, considered and succinct."

Associate Mairi Black has a focus on personal pensions, with particular expertise in SIPPs. Clients appreciate her ability to provide "very clear, measured advice."

Senior associate Jae Fassam is recognised as "very technically able and commercial" and "a rising star in the pensions world." He is especially experienced in issues relating to public sector outsourcing contracts and the pensions aspects of corporate transactions. 

Significant clients HarperCollins, Finlays Pension Fund, Dawson International Retirement Benefits Plan trustees, Whyte & Mackay Pension Scheme, Heineken UK.

Projects - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Glasgow and Edinburgh

What the team is known for Part of a strong UK-wide group acting on PPP projects nationally. Advises on Hub and NPD projects in Scotland and possesses experience in sectors such as waste, roads and education.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "They are a very capable team, they are very responsive and they are competitive on fees. They spend a lot of time and energy on client care and client feedback, and they are good at developing long-term relationships with clients on an individual basis."

Client service: "I always know I can pick up the phone and speak to someone in a non-jargon sense."

Market standing: "The combined teams are a very good match and the firm is a force to be reckoned with. They are really up there, if not at the top of the tree."

What's new? Pinsent Masons merged with McGrigors in 2012.

Work highlights Advised five local authorities, under the umbrella of the Clyde Valley Waste Partnership, on a waste PPP procurement.

Advised the Connect Roads consortium on a number of NPD motorway projects. 

Notable practitioners 

Stuart Barr is a knowledgeable PPP solicitor noted for his work on a number of Hub schemes, particularly waste projects. He recently advised a consortium bidding on the Mersey Gateway bridge project. Sources say: "He is very effective, very hands-on, and does a no-nonsense job."

Drysdale Graham is perceived to be an "unflappable" lawyer, who "cuts through things and does a very good job for his clients." He recently led the team that advised the Connect Roads consortium on its bid for a NPD road project contract.

Department head Michael Watson is a finance lawyer with a great deal of experience in the PFI/PPP sector. According to sources: "He is a very experienced lawyer who is at the forefront of developments in the finance market."

Victoria Miller is a legal director in the infrastructure team. In a recent work highlight, she advised Inverness College on a project to deliver a new college campus. Sources say: "She is very good at breaking down what needs to be done into non-technical aspects so that clients can find out what the risks are."

Significant clients BAM PPP, Viridor Waste Management, Co-operative Bank, Hochtief Concessions, BAA. 

Planning - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh 

What the team is known for Acting on a range of large-scale development proposals and infrastructure projects for national and international clients. Particular expertise in the energy sector. Advises on Section 75 agreements and judicial review processes, and conducts advocacy at hearings, appeals and inquiries. 

Work highlights Continued to advise Lewis Wind Power on its application for a large-scale wind farm development valued at some £225 million, with consent being granted in 2012.

Notable practitioners

Jacqueline Harris is the key contact.

Significant clients BAA, Regeneco, Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils, DONG Energy, Eneco.

Real Estate - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 14 partners
- 67 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen

What the team is known for Highly regarded property practice in Scotland. Often instructed on commercial developments and noted for work in the energy sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "Very thorough and very quick. They are good to do business with and they turn things around very quickly. Attention to the client is always uppermost in their minds."

Client service: "Their unique selling point is the client service: they're prepared to go the extra mile for people. It's a nice organisation to deal with."

Work highlights Acted for Strathclyde Pension Fund on the sale of offices at 141 Bothwell Street, Glasgow for more than £70 million.

Advised Velocita Energy Developments on the property aspects of its investment in 2020 Renewables, a developer in the onshore wind sector.

Notable practitioners

Richard Linton acts on developments and investments, as well as landlord and tenant matters. Clients include The Co-operative Group.

Ewan Alexander is head of the Edinburgh office and focuses on development, investment, housebuilding and the leisure sector. Clients say: "He has a nice way of explaining legal things in non-legal ways when his client needs it."

Rodney Whyte acts for clients including CALA Management. Clients praise his "attentiveness," adding that "he gets things done and gives you a straight-shooting answer."

Katharine Hardie acts for developer clients including Stirling Development Agency. Clients say she is "excellent, on the ball and knows exactly how to handle herself in negotiations."

Russell Munro focuses on investment work for property companies and institutional investors. One happy client remarks: "He kept the process moving and made sure things ran smoothly." Clients include Forth Ports.

Significant clients ABZ Development, University of Aberdeen, HF Developments, RES Group, Miller Group.

Real Estate Litigation - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 6 associates
- 3 other fee earners

What the team is known for Covers a broad range of areas, utilising its practitioners' breadth of experience. Also notable for its innovative approach and bespoke client training.

What's new? Claire Thornber joined the team from DLA Piper as a senior associate.

New clients include JD Wetherspoon, SIG Trading, Commercial Estates Group, Costcutter Supermarkets Group and UIA.

Work highlights Acted for Diageo Scotland, defending against claims from around 400 individuals seeking compensation for the black coating left on buildings and cars near to Diageo's whisky maturation facilities, allegedly caused by ethanol released by the maturing whisky.

Acted for H.J. Banks and Company on a £1.5 million dispute against the client's former advisers, Dundas & Wilson, for failing to implement instructions to secure money owed to the former client following the sale of land to Manorlane, a development company that has since gone into administration.

Notable practitioners  

Key partner Craig Connal QC is a qualified solicitor advocate able to act in England and Wales as well as Scotland, and is well regarded for the difficulty and range of the real estate litigation he takes on.

Commercial litigator Laura Cameron is head of the regulatory group and leads the team. She is often asked to speak at conferences on a variety of areas in which she has experience.

Significant clients Stewart Milne Group, Dawn Developments, Co-operative Group, Miller, CALA.

Restructuring/Insolvency - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 1 legal director
- 4 associates
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh

What the team is known for Advises across a range of restructuring and insolvency matters, including high-value restructuring projects and businesses in financial distress.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "We find the team understanding of the commercial needs of our business. We also find them pragmatic and sensible."

Clarity: "They tell us our options and give recommendations in a punchy, business-friendly way."

What's new? Claire Massie joins from Dundas & Wilson, enhancing the team's restructuring offering to financial services.

Work highlights Acted for Cott Beverages on its acquisition of the business and assets of Sangs of Banff out of administration.

Notable practitioners 

Claire Massie has an excellent reputation in the market, and has been described by clients as "bright and knowledgeable, with a lot of experience," as well as "very easy to work with."

Significant clients Lloyds Banking Group, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young.

Retail - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- Office locations ranked: Glasgow  

What the team is known for Highly esteemed real estate practice representing a large stable of landlords, with a focus on the retail market. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They've got a good geographical reach, are very commercial and get the job done."

Client service: "They work hard, are personable and effective, perform to our requirements and accommodate our needs."

Work highlights Advised Scimitar PFS 1 on its acquisition of issued share capital of the Motor Fuel Group.

Acted for Forth Ports on its sale of the Ocean Terminal shopping centre in Edinburgh.

Notable practitioners Tom Ferrier heads the retail group and is a main point of contact.

Significant clients Wilkinson, Mamas & Papas, Martin McColl, Office, The Designer Retail Outlet.

Shipping - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 6 qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh

What the team is known for The legacy McGrigors practice continues to shine in this area. Sources highlight its strengths in the offshore and energy aspects of shipping work. Its Falkland Islands practice is also of note.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Very good, professional and friendly."

Work highlights Acted for AIM-listed Falkland Oil & Gas on negotiation of a drilling rig charter contract.

Advised a large UK bank on a USD150 million multicurrency revolving credit facility for Gulfmark Americas.

Notable practitioners

Gavin Farquhar leads the firm's Scotland shipping practice. He established the Falkland Islands practice, and had a lead role on the negotiation of a drilling rig charter contract for Falkland Oil & Gas. He is highlighted as an excellent negotiator in relation to contracts connected with the offshore and energy industry.

Significant clients Stimwell Services, Forth Ports, Byron Marine, Fortuna, Port of Cairnryan.

Tax - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 1 associate
- Office locations ranked: Glasgow

What the team is known for Advises on the tax aspects of high-value corporate transactions, as well as property deals, VAT, EIS and Venture Capital Trust matters. Represents clients across the UK and on a cross-border basis, and has notable expertise in the oil and gas sector.

Work highlights Assisted BAA with tax aspects of its £807 million disposal of Edinburgh Airport.

Advised Triple Point Investment Management in gaining EIS/VCT approval for a number of companies which the client had recently invested in.  

Notable practitioners 

Karen Davidson is regarded as a first port of call for many clients on corporate tax matters, as well as share incentives. She is described as "prompt and pragmatic" by satisfied clients.

Significant clients Energy Assets, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, West Coast Capital, British Waterways Board, Trinity Oil & Gas.

Environment - The North

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Leeds, Manchester

What the team is known for Part of a strong national environment group, the Leeds and Manchester offices of the firm cover a wide variety of environmental issues. Regularly engaged on corporate transactions and matters in the waste sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "Their advice was prompt, commercial and focused."

Bench strength: "They are very experienced and very well resourced, and the team is very joined up."

Notable practitioners 

Helen Peters is based in the Leeds office and advises on a broad spectrum of environmental law matters. Peers praise her technical ability and clients appreciate her big-picture approach to transactions: "She is willing not to just box herself into the environment corner – she thinks about what the deal needs as a whole." 

Significant clients Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, United Utilities, Saint-Gobain, Volker Rail, Carillion.

Competition/European Law - The Regions

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 5 other lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham 

What the team is known for Experienced in merger clearance, market investigations and cartel matters. Specialist industries include transport, infrastructure and construction. The team has close ties with the firm's London office to provide a consistent nationwide service.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "They have made excellent strides in competition work in the last few years, adding depth and demonstrating an adeptness to handle that work."

Work highlights Advised Ferrovial Servicios and its UK subsidiary, Amey, on the acquisition of Enterprise. This matter involved submissions to the European Commission.

Notable practitioners  

Birmingham-based Giles Warrington is recognised as being "very strong at taking a complex technical area and explaining it well." He has spent a significant amount of time advising clients on market investigations by various regulatory bodies.

Significant clients Keepmoat Group of Companies, The Go-Ahead Group, Hanson, IMI, Musgrave Budgens Londis.

Capital Markets - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 23 partners
- 32 other qualified lawyers 
- Office locations ranked: London, Edinburgh, Glasgow

What the team is known for Offers wide-ranging experience across a variety of AIM transactions, especially for clients operating in the natural resources and oil and gas sectors. Recognised for its proficiency in emerging markets, and particularly stands out for its substantial involvement advising Chinese companies on AIM IPOs. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "Their strength is in oil and gas - they can provide the whole remit of services on upstream and downstream."  

What's new? In 2012 the firm merged with McGrigors, substantially strengthening its offering across a variety of sectors. The merge also significantly expanded the firm's geographic footprint in the UK. 

Work highlights Advised Westhouse Securities and Grant Thornton with regard to the AIM IPO of an e-commerce service provider focused on China, which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands. The IPO raised £9.7 million.

Assisted Bridge Energy, a Norwegian oil and gas company, on its admission to AIM. This involved knowledge of dual listings, as Bridge Energy is also listed on the Oslo stock exchange.

Notable practitioners 

Sources describe Jon Harris as "very pragmatic and helpful" and they particularly appreciate that he "knows what the market norm is and is totally up to date." He has significant experience advising on Asian IPOs.

Significant clients China ChainTek United, MoneySwap, Regal Petroleum, Sirius Minerals, Xenetic Biosciences.

Construction - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 70 partners
- 13 legal directors
- 92 associates/assistants 

What the team is known for Provides a full service to construction clients in both contentious and non-contentious settings. The team's sector expertise spans a variety of areas, including energy, nuclear, transport, education and regeneration.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They are willing to provide advice and consider points commercially as well as legally."

Responsiveness: "They are very quick to respond, with extremely open communication."  

What's new? New clients and panel appointments include SSE, Wates, Carillion and Total. 

Work highlights Advised Viridor on the Glasgow City Residual Waste Treatment Services project.

Acted for Spanish contractor OHL on contractual claims brought against it by the government of Gibraltar.

Notable practitioners

The "incredibly impressive" Martin Harman is particularly active handling major international arbitrations. He regularly conducts his own advocacy.

Sources say Richard Laudy is "very good strategically in getting to a resolution, helping to formulate and execute a plan." He most often advises and represents clients on the supplier side.

Mark Roe is a "tactical genius," according to commentators, with one saying: "If you're in a tight spot you couldn't do better than Mark." Roe's specialism is construction-related international arbitration, where he has extensive advocacy experience.

Mark Collingwood acts for a broad range of clients within the construction industry, helping to resolve disputes. He is also an expert in contractual matters.

Adam Harris "has a good manner and is very good tactically," according to observers. He concentrates on dispute resolution, particularly in relation to infrastructure.

Neal Morris is a "dynamic individual" who "takes complex issues and comes back with a very clear strategy." He advises contractors on difficult disputes.

Observers note that Shy Jackson is "a clear thinker and communicator, and technically very good." He advises on non-contentious matters for domestic and international projects. 

Andrew Hibbert has a broad practice advising clients on construction and engineering matters, and related disputes. 

Significant clients Balfour Beatty, BAM Construct, Laing O'Rourke, London School of Economics, Skanska. 

Corporate Crime & Investigations - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Handles bribery investigations and potential self-reporting issues for corporate clients. Noted for its Russian expertise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "It is excellent: very on top of it, user-friendly and proactive."

Efficiency: "Fantastic: we needed urgent advice and we got that advice very quickly."

What's new? Anne-Marie Ottaway joined the firm as an associate in August 2012, bringing insight into the operations of the SFO.

Notable practitioners 

Thomas Stocker is considered a "leading light" in the Scottish corporate crime market. He is also qualified to practise in England and Wales, and is sought after to advise corporations on anti-bribery compliance and controls.

Barry Vitou is a Bribery Act specialist who is singled out for his "comprehensive expertise." Clients find his advice "extremely relevant and very insightful."

Anne-Marie Ottaway recently joined the firm from the SFO and has distinguished herself as an "absolutely fantastic" associate. Sources admire her clarity of mind and "conscientious" approach.

Data Protection - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 5 partners
- 1 legal director
- 11 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for No stranger to multi-jurisdictional compliance projects across Europe, Latin America, the Gulf and Asia-Pacific. Public as well as private sector expertise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: “I have worked with the team at Pinsent Masons for a number of years and have an incredibly good relationship with them. They are incredibly responsive and proactive.”

Bench strength: “Pinsents have a very strong national team across various levels. This made interactions with them a little more straightforward.”

What's new? Marc Dautlich joined the team from Olswang and is now head of the data protection practice.

New clients include Balfour Beatty, British Gas, the Southbank Centre and Urban Science.

Work highlights Advising Mydex, a community interest company, on day-to-day data protection issues.

Assisted the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries with the impact of the regulatory guidance issued by the Information Commissioner in relation to the pensions industry.

Notable practitioners  

Marc Dautlich is lauded by clients for “the depth of the compliance knowledge he has. He can also bring the commercial focus that we need. He treads the line between being risk-averse and cavalier very well.” He is described as “very polite, courteous and friendly. A very good egg.”

Significant clients Manchester United, University of Durham, Marsh & McLennan, Mydex.

Education - UK-wide

What the team is known for Extensive knowledge of the higher education sector, with experience in acting on complex and sensitive matters. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Expertise: "They fully understand the higher education context, are well informed and have access to the appropriate range of specialisms."

Quality: "They are pragmatic, flexible and responsive, and will offer advice tailored to our needs."

 Breadth: "A truly broad education practice." 

What's new? Edward Sunderland joins the Birmingham office, strengthening the team's bonds and debt capital markets offering to education clients. Mike Pocock also arrives to take up a position in the Manchester office.

Work highlights Advised Plymouth University on negotiating the disaggregation of a joint venture with the University of Exeter.

Counselled Nottingham Trent University on a deal with UPP to deliver 911 student accommodation units and related facilities.

Notable practitioners  

Nicola Hart is a "superstar on statutes and governance," where she "earns her plaudits," according to sources. She also advises education clients on overseas interests.

Janet Hoskin is felt to have an impressive personal following and is "efficient, hard-working" and admired for "keeping things moving forward." She focuses on charity law and has additional expertise in tax matters.

Significant clients University of Manchester, University of Nottingham, Birkbeck, University of London, University of Leeds.

Employee Share Schemes & Incentives - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A strong presence with offices across the country and the ability to offer a range of services to a diverse client base. Frequently retained to advise upon the share plan aspects of large projects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They are responsive and creative. They know the requirements of this field and their output is very impressive."

Industry knowledge: "They're very strong: we dealt with them in one deal and they asked the right questions throughout." 

What's new? Matthew Findley joined the firm from New Bridge Street in September 2012.

Work highlights Advised Pace on the maturity of share plans put into place under its £425 million acquisition of 2Wire.

Instructed by William Hill to put in place HMRC-approved share plans at both employee and executive levels.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Judith Greaves is highlighted as a "formidable" practitioner and, in the words of one client, for her "outstanding knowledge of share schemes." She led the team advising Pace on the matter outlined above.

Matthew Findley is a recent hire, having joined the team from New Bridge Street. Sources consider him to be a highly experienced practitioner with a strong grasp of issues pertaining to the share scheme arena.

Associate Amy Carter recently joined the firm from Allen & Overy LLP. She is perceived to be a "very knowledgeable and approachable" practitioner. She is further commended for the "accuracy and quality of her work."

Energy & Natural Resources - UK-wide

What the team is known for Noted sector expertise. Regularly advises on power purchase agreements for energy projects. Genuine national offering with solid practices in a number of UK offices.

Strengths (Mainly quotes from clients)
Market standing: "A significant firm for energy - they have lots of expertise in both transactional and contentious matters."

What's new? The firm welcomes disputes partner John Gilbert and legal director Jeremy Chang who have joined from BP and SNR Denton, respectively.

Work highlights Acted for London Array, which comprises DONG Energy, Masdar Energy UK and E.ON Climate & Renewables, in connection with offshore wind developments and associated onshore works.

Notable practitioners  

A "major name" in the water sector, Mark Lane has advised Sidem SA in relation to the Marafiq desalination project in Saudi Arabia.

Simon Hobday is described by sources as "a real thinker. Simon knows his stuff and he thinks about what angle to take, adjusting his feedback as he goes. He really tries to understand our business."

Power specialist Paul Rice is head of client relationships for energy and natural resources at Pinsents, and sources rate him for his approach to clients and dedication to maintaining relationships with continued dialogue.

Significant clients BP Exploration, United Utilities, Eneco, Veolia Water Asia Pacific, Blake Oil & Gas.

Energy & Natural Resources - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 18 partners
- 2 legal directors
- 31 assistants

What the team is known for High level of expertise in mineral matters and project development work in the UK and across the globe. A widely respected team with a growing international reputation.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "We instruct Pinsent Masons because of their professionalism, their clear and good-quality advice, and their ability to properly resource where necessary."

Client service: "Pinsent Masons really stand out for their personal service and attention to detail."

Notable practitioners  

Neil Whitaker is praised for the attention he pays to client relationships: "His level of customer care is very high, and I have a lot of confidence in him because he is highly skilled in this specialised field."

Significant clients Anglo American, East China Exploration, TAIB Bank. China SFECO, Aggregate Industries UK.

Health & Safety - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 5 partners
- 3 legal directors 
- 18 associates 

What the team is known for Benefits substantially from the firm's prowess in advising construction and manufacturing clients. Although headquartered in London, the practice houses respected teams in a number of locations across England. Advocates directly for clients in Magistrates' and Coroners' Courts.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Rigour: "Thoughtful, very thorough and tenacious. They want to explore all avenues available, never looking just for the quick or easy answer."

Breadth of services: "A Rolls-Royce service. Very proactive and able."

Work highlights Advised IKEA on a health and safety prosecution following an incident on a travelator where a 3-year-old child had two fingers amputated.

Notable practitioners

Kevin Bridges is a partner in the Manchester office. Sources say: "He won't miss any point of law, and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the regulations." He had a lead role on the IKEA travelator matter.

In-depth experience as a regulatory solicitor stands Sean Elson in good stead when advising on incidents arising in the construction sector. Clients praise his "clarity of advice - he is sensible and pragmatic." He is Secretary of the Health and Safety Lawyers Association.

Sarah Taylor enjoys a solid market standing for her distinct food safety practice. She also has higher rights of audience, enabling her to represent clients directly in criminal courts.

Significant clients Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings, DTZ, Howden Group, Maritime & Coastguard Agency, Land Engineering.

Healthcare - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Handles complicated commercial and financial transactions for both independent and public healthcare clients, including project financing, setting up hospital facilities and outsourcing projects. Plays a dominant role in social care, mental health and learning disability care.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "Pinsent Masons pays strong attention to client needs and is very responsive to requirements. It is always able to call in the right expertise."

Work highlights Advised European Care Group, a leading care provider, on its banking platform and merger with much of PSPI's UK property portfolio.

Assisted August Equity, an investor in the social care sector, with five acquisitions of fostering businesses across the country.

Notable practitioners  

Barry Francis is a senior member of the team and manages its public healthcare practice globally. His practice has an international element, and recent highlights include representing Serco Health in its bid to provide community health services for Suffolk Primary Care Trust. 

Significant clients CareTech Holdings, European Care Group, HC-One, The Binding Site, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Insurance - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 13 partners
- 22 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London, Birmingham

What the team is known for Offers a broad non-contentious insurance practice that includes specialisms in matters concerning the energy, utilities, banking and motoring services industries. Noted for its expertise in insurance distribution agreements.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They're brilliant in terms of access, and are easy to deal with. They form very good relationships with our team. They take time to understand the business's operating models. They understand the way we do business, which gives us confidence."

Strategic planning: "They've given commercial, pragmatic advice. They're not fence-sitters. The great thing we find with Pinsents is that they're able to give advice which shows a clear way forward." 

Work highlights Acted for Direct Line Group on its transaction with RBS for exclusive distribution rights regarding retail and commercial insurance.

Advised The Children’s Mutual on the Part VIII Friendly Societies Act transfer of its entire business to Forester Life.

Notable practitioners  

Bruno Geiringer, head of the life insurance practice, is praised by clients for his "considerable experience" and "great commercial acumen." Another source remarks: "He is one of the most knowledgeable people out there when it comes to life insurance work."

Alexis Roberts, head of the firm's insurance and wealth management group, is an expert in insurance distribution and regulation. One client remarks: "His biggest asset is that he has a good knowledge of insurance. He deals with all the big general insurers and has built up that experience. He's our first port of call."

Significant clients Allianz, Legal & General, AXA, Aviva, Bupa, MGM Advantage. 

Life Sciences - UK-wide

What the team is known for A formidable offering in the non-contentious life sciences space. Also has an impressive track record in litigation, particularly patent disputes. Experienced in representing pharmaceutical companies.

What's new? Partners Paul Ranson, Allistair Booth, Stuart Richards and Charles Waddell joined the firm in March 2013 from Fasken Martineau.

Work highlights Represented Teva in patent revocation proceedings brought by Mylan concerning multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.

Advised DCC Healthcare on its EUR71.2 million acquisition of Kent Pharmaceutical.

Notable practitioners  

Paul Ranson focuses his practice on regulatory matters for a variety of pharmaceutical and biotech firms. He recently advised Alliance Pharma on its acquisition of Opus Group Holdings.

Charles Waddell "does a great job" for his clients, with sources commenting on his leadership and client-facing skills. One source adds that "he's always worked hard to get the best deal for us and our investments." His practice is based around life sciences M&A.

Allistair Booth is noted as a "sensible and pragmatic" operator who has a great understanding of commercial agreements and licensing issues within life sciences. He advised Summit on a licensing agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The experienced Clare Tunstall acts on a wide range of patent litigation and regulatory disputes. She regularly works with Teva, including in the case against Mylan.

Significant clients Actavis, SkyePharma, Department of Health, PolyTherics, Syngenta.

Local Government - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 45 partners
- 55 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester

What the team is known for Broad national scope with a strong focus on procurement and construction projects. Handles judicial review work, where it acts both for local authorities and for those making claims against them. Financial structuring for local authorities is a core area of expertise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Pinsents provides consistently high-quality advice that we can always rely on, as well as first-class customer care."

Work highlights Assisted Cardiff County Council with a £1.1 billion joint procurement for a waste treatment facility.

Advises London Borough of Brent on the large-scale regeneration of South Kilburn, including the creation of a new school.

Notable practitioners  

Local authority finance expert Alan Aisbett has carved out a specialism in local asset-backed vehicles and is called on for advice on numerous projects. He has a close relationship with Birmingham City Council, which he has assisted with the creation of a special EU-regulated fund for investment in projects throughout the region. 

Significant clients Bournemouth Borough Council, Birmingham City Council, City of London Corporation, Herefordshire County and District Council.

Outsourcing - UK-wide

What the team is known for Highly regarded for its expertise in global IT outsourcing projects. Also boasts notable expertise in advising the public sector on high-profile procurement agreements. Impressive experience in contractual disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They are dynamic and engaged and, when you are in complicated negotiations, you need people like them who can be flexible in style."

Pragmatic advice: "Pragmatic and sensible advice. They help us define the approach and then do a good job at the detailed work."

Problem solving: "When you have a dispute, you find yourself with a lot of technical information and a huge mess. You want people that are prepared to roll their sleeves up and help you find a position. They ended up helping us establish a really good position."

Work highlights Advising the Department for Culture, Media & Sport on a £530 million national broadband project, drawing on the firm's strengths across a number of areas.

Acting for a public sector body on a series of disputes arising from a significant long-term outsourcing arrangement with a shared services supplier, including the renegotiation of the contractual relationship.

Notable practitioners  

Technology lawyer David Isaac is described as a "real asset to building strong relationships." Another client notes his negotiation skills: "He is very personable, with a clear bottom line."

Iain Monaghan is highly commended for his style. "He is very easy to work with and very approachable. He has his eye on the detail." He is experienced with complex procurements.

Simon Colvin leads the public sector TMT practice assisting clients with outsourcing and technology projects. Clients rate him highly, noting: "He is an extremely able lawyer and he meets all the challenges that come up during the entire process."

Significant clients Capita, Defra, Fujitsu, Logica, Telefónica.

Pensions Litigation - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- Recommended office locations: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds

What the team is known for Comprised of experts located throughout the UK. Able to handle the full range of pensions disputes. Noted for its expertise in pensions liberation cases and pensions-related professional negligence.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "For highly technical and highly aggressive litigation, Pinsent Masons is a star firm."

Bench strength: "A very sound, solid, well-resourced team."  

Market standing: "A first-rate practice, strong in non-contentious and contentious issues." 

Work highlights Acted for Dalriada Trustees, the regulator-appointed trustee of the Pennines and Mendip pension schemes, in a case concerning the schemes' alleged involvement in illegal 'pensions liberation' arrangements. About £19 million had been transferred into the schemes from other occupational pension plans by around 470 people. 

Acting for Harwich Haven Authority to challenge the judgment made in the high-profile Pilots case in 2011 and 2012.

Notable practitioners  

Charlotte Scholes is an "extremely helpful" associate, with particular experience in professional negligence claims. She is "totally on top of her subject matter," according to sources.

Carolyn Saunders heads up the London pensions team. She is recognised as an "outstanding practitioner for both non-contentious issues and pensions litigation."

Isabel Nurse-Marsh is head of the pensions litigation team and regularly handles pensions professional negligence and regulatory issues. Interviewees describe her as "very collaborative" and "very proactive."

Significant clients Mercer, trustee of the Singer & Friedlander Limited Pension and Assurance Scheme, Standard Life, HIG, trustee of the Singapore Airlines Pension Scheme. 

Projects - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- Offices in London, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester.

What the team is known for Advises the public and private sectors on PFI/PPP mandates throughout the UK and further afield. Active in sectors such as waste, transport, health, housing and education.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "They are always willing to provide advice and consider points commercially as well as legally. Very quick to respond, and extremely open communicators." 

Commercial awareness: "I like working with them because I get them; they are not too lawyerly, commercially minded, and they get on and take initiative."  

 Industry knowledge: "A good team, they are very knowledgeable, they have done lots of these projects and they know the issues and how to explain them to their clients." 

Work highlights Advised a special purpose vehicle, set up by Vinci Concessions and Barclays Infrastructure Fund, on a 25-year highways maintenance PFI project in Hounslow.  

Advised a group of lenders in relation to a social housing development project in Lambeth.

Notable practitioners 

Kate Orviss is a partner in the firm's Leeds office. She heads the firm's housing PFI group, and was involved in advising the funders on the Lambeth housing PFI project. Sources say: "She is down-to-earth, responsive, tactical and pragmatic."

Barry Francis is an experienced PFI lawyer, particularly noted for his knowledge of the health sector. Sources say: "He takes a very mature approach and has a sufficiently deep understanding to cut through to the commercial issues."

Jonathan Hart is a well-known PPP and infrastructure lawyer, with a particular focus on the transport sector. He advised the bidders on two successful UK highways maintenance PFI tenders. Sources describe him as a level-headed lawyer who is popular with his clients.  

Stephen Tobin is a finance lawyer, experienced in the projects and PFI sectors. Sources say: "He is a banking partner who is able to apply a solid understanding of project risks to finance and security documentation."

Simon Mumford is a partner with a great deal of PFI and PPP experience, notable for his work in the waste sector. Sources say: "He has lots of loyal clients," and "is constructive not argumentative."

Catherine Workman advises the public and private sectors on PFI projects, largely focusing on waste and transport matters. Sources say: "She is very creative, very flexible, very client-centric and takes a pragmatic approach – a pleasure to work with."

Significant clients Viridor, Veolia, European Investment Bank, Balfour Beatty, Covanta Energy.

Private Equity - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Highly regarded for its national coverage and advice to private equity houses, entrepreneurs, management teams and private equity-backed companies on a diverse array of transactions. An expanding international profile.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "They are excellent; a very responsive and high-energy organisation."

Bench strength: "There is always an appropriate level of partner oversight- they have high-quality juniors and the partners are always visible on transactions." 

What's new? New client wins include Business Growth Fund, Penta Capital, Endless and Robert Bosch Venture Capital.

Work highlights Represented Lloyds Development Capital in its acquisition of a 22.5% stake in the law firm Keoghs.

Advised Endless on the management buyout of VION Food, involving co-ordination with restructuring, property, commercial contracts and food safety colleagues.

Notable practitioners  

Clients are quick to note Andrew Masraf's "incredible memory for the detail" and "friendly and relaxed style." He advises investors and management teams on buyouts, buyins, secondary buyouts and disposals.

Significant clients Better Capital, West Coast Capital, Key Capital, 3i Growth Funds, Sullivan Street. 

Product Liability - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Caters to a significant client roster of well-known brands with the resources to take on a substantial caseload. Adept at advising clients from a broad spectrum of industries, with a particular focus on electricals and engineering.

What's new? The team gained Imperial Tobacco as a new client.

Notable practitioners 

Andrew Masterson is a key contact here.

Significant clients IMI, Syngenta, Heidelberg/Hanson, SIG, Marshalls.

Public Procurement - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 1 legal director
- 10 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Active in procurement matters across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with a large stable of public sector clients. Also known for its strength in large-scale infrastructure projects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They were very responsive and provided very clear and on-the-point advice."

Work highlights Advising Port of Cairnryan on a number of matters, including procurement, concerning development projects at the harbour.

Notable practitioners  

One interview said of highly regarded senior associate Jennifer Robinson: "She is very engaging and knows her stuff." She handles the full range of non-contentious procurement matters.

Significant clients Department of Health, Fujitsu, Department for Culture, Media & Sport.

Retail - UK-wide

What the team is known for Strong UK coverage, including Scotland. Popular choice for major development and planning work, for clients such as Westfield Stratford and the Olympic Delivery Authority, as well as e-commerce and restructuring work. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "I like the fact it is so well aligned. The team knows us as a client really well across the practice. Members know our business extremely well and their ability to be pragmatic and commercial is very helpful."

Pragmatic advice: "We find them pragmatic, commercial and proactive in finding a solution for us."

What's new? Steven Cottee joined the team in May 2012 from Lawrence Graham.

New clients include Jimmy Choo, L K Bennett, Innov-8 and Chain Reaction Cycles.

Work highlights Advises Jack Wills on its employment law matters and is currently advising on redundancy procedures relating to the closure of its Aubin & Wills business.

Acting for Interflora on its high-profile trade mark infringement claim against Marks & Spencer relating to Google AdWords.

Notable practitioners  

Tom Leman leads the group and is the key contact.

Significant clients Hotel Chocolat, Debenhams, Swarovski, Interflora, Sweaty Betty.

Social Housing - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 17 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: London, Birmingham, Leeds  

What the team is known for Acts primarily for lenders on financing. Significant highlights across the UK. Notably strong on loan facilities, bond issues and PFI transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They're great practitioners and are experts in their field!"

What's new? Recent panel appointments for Dexia Credit Local, Newlon Housing Trust and Catalyst Housing Association.

Work highlights Acted for a leading UK funder, Dexia Credit Local and Prudential on the refinancing of social housing and student accommodation assets valued at above £150 million.

Represented a group of banks in respect of £90 million in new financings to the Jephson Group.

Notable practitioners 

Ian Roberts is head of social housing finance at the firm. He has experience across a range of transactions in the sector, as well as particular expertise in acting for lenders. According to sources, he commands "gravitas and respect," and clients appreciate his attentive approach to matters.

Sources identify associate Sarah Whitty as "technically able and efficient." "She adopts a very practical approach," interviewees report.

Significant clients Homes & Communities Agency, Lloyds TSB, Santander, Clydesdale Bank, The Co-operative Bank.

Sports Law - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 15 partners
- 20 associates

What the team is known for Acts for a variety of clients on the construction, financing, exploitation and protection of sports venues. Also advises governing bodies. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They did enormous work in a short space of time and it was a pleasurable experience working with them." 

Technical ability: "They are involved in many CAS tribunals, in which they have a deep understanding and insight."

Work highlights Acted for London Welsh on its appeal against the RFU and Premier Rugby's decision to it them promotion to the top tier of English rugby.

Represented digital rights agency Sports Revolution in the installation and management of the hardware and software for technology at Twickenham rugby stadium.   

Notable practitioners  

Trevor Watkins heads the team and has a wide-ranging sports practice. One source acknowledged that he "has an encyclopaedic knowledge of sport."

Julian Diaz-Rainey is based in Manchester and is particularly highly regarded for his commercial litigation expertise. One client said: "He is excellent at listening and reacting to our needs. The service we get from him is excellent. He's a very safe pair of hands whose advice is very sensible."

Significant clients Manchester United Football Club, IMG, The Jockey Club, The Football Association, Silverstone.

Tax - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 4 legal directors
- 22 associates and assistants
- Recommended office locations: London, Birmingham and Manchester

What the team is known for Pre-eminent team of tax lawyers with an unrivalled geographical coverage of the UK. Multi-disciplinary team contains former senior HMRC officers and highly respected litigators. Continues to go from strength to strength since the 2012 merger of Pinsent Masons and McGrigors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "They are very serious players – a leading contentious tax firm. They have very good and experienced people. They know what they're doing."

What's new? Solicitors Natalie Stoter and Piermario Porcheddu joined the team from, respectively, Burges Salmon and Arnold Bloch Leibler in Australia. Tax manager Anju Dhinsa joined from Grant Thornton.

Work highlights Acted for the Trustee of the BT Pension Scheme on foreign income dividend and tax credit group litigation. The litigation was the highest-value matter to have gone through the Tax Tribunals.

Acted for Secret Hotels on a VAT dispute with HMRC. The case concerned the question of whether the client acted as agent or principal in the sale of overseas hotel accommodation. 

Notable practitioners  

James Bullock is very prominent in the contentious tax arena, while one client reveals: "He's a great lawyer and I would follow him wherever he would go." Bullock heads the litigation and compliance group at the firm, and is noted for his strong experience of complex disputes with the HMRC.

Jason Collins heads the tax group, and handled the aforementioned matter for the Trustee of the BT Pension Scheme. Interviewees note that he "thinks well strategically."

Stuart Walsh heads the tax disputes and interventions team. He routinely works with blue-chip clients on disputes with HMRC concerning both direct tax and VAT.

Significant clients UBS, BT Pension Scheme, Secret Hotels.

Tax - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Expert handling of the full range of tax fraud matters including civil and criminal HMRC investigations and MTIC frauds. Strong capabilities in offshore tax disclosure arrangements, including the Swiss Disclosure Facility.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Client service was excellent. They came back to us very quickly with everything we wanted." 

What's new? Solicitors Natalie Stoter and Piermario Porcheddu joined the team from, respectively, Burges Salmon and Arnold Bloch Leibler in Australia. Tax manager Anju Dhinsa joined from Grant Thornton.

Notable practitioners  

James Bullock heads the firm's litigation and compliance group, within which the tax department sits. He has an outstanding market reputation for all contentious tax matters, including HMRC enquiries and investigations.

Jason Collins heads the tax team, and is also considered a market-leading lawyer for all contentious tax fraud matters, including MTIC fraud.

Transport - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 5 partners
- 4 associates
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Focused on the delivery of infrastructure projects, with key expertise in rail project finance. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Innovative thinking: "They went to great lengths to understand what the legal position was. Some of the issues were very difficult to put into a legal contract, but they certainly did it very well."

What's new?  Robbie Owen, highly rated for his parliamentary and public affairs work affecting the rail sector, has joined from Bircham Dyson Bell.

Work highlights Acted for the European Investment Bank with regard to an extension to Nottingham's light rail network.

Notable practitioners 

The "highly experienced and highly regarded"  Robbie Owen is recommended for his "incredible knowledge" in the infrastructure and projects field.

Significant clients Balfour Beatty, Bilfinger, Bombardier, Railway Procurement Agency. 

Corporate/M&A - West Midlands

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 22 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for Stalwart of the Birmingham corporate M&A marketplace. Particularly active in the healthcare and energy sectors. International focus on USA and India.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Problem solving: "We find them to be very pragmatic and commercial as well as proactive in finding solutions."

Visibility: "They are very well connected and clued-up."

What's new? New client wins include European Care, The Business Growth Fund and Avingtrans.

Work highlights Assisted UK Coal with its £20.3 million sale of Harworth Power to Red Rose Infrastructure.

Advised Briggs Equipment UK on its £36 million purchase of South African conglomerate Barloworld's materials handling business.

Notable practitioners  

Clients describe Paul Harkin as "very commercial and pragmatic, and someone who really helps to solve our problems." He frequently acts for clients within the manufacturing and retail sectors.

Birmingham-based department head Andrew Hornigold specialises in technology-related M&A transactions. He recently acted for Ashok Leyland on the acquisition of a controlling interest in bus manufacturer Optare in India.

Significant clients The Binding Site, Delphi Corporation, Pattonair Group, IMI Group, Halfords Group. 

Real Estate - West Midlands

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for Noted for advising public sector clients on regeneration projects and has extensive experience of handling all aspects of commercial development matters. Specific areas of strength include the retail, healthcare, and hotel and leisure, sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They have a good understanding of our portfolio and of the high standards that we require from our legal advisers." 

Responsiveness: "Their advice is always very timely in response and commercial in nature." 

What's new? New client wins include London Borough of Brent and Aylesbury Vale Estates.

Work highlights Advised European Care Group on its £84.8 million acquisition of Public Service Property Investments' UK property portfolio.

Acted for UK Coal in its sale of Harworth Power to Red Rose Infrastructure for £20.3 million. The deal involved the drafting of leaseholds concerning methane gas extraction and transportation.

Notable practitioners

Tom Johnson is considered by sources to be "a bright and astute individual," who is "very proactive and responsive" and routinely displays "sound commercial judgement." He leads the Birmingham team and handles many of its most significant matters.

Peers comment that Joel Kordan "works his absolute socks off," and see him as "a deal maker, a very commercial and technically able lawyer." Kordan recently joined from Shoosmiths. He advises public and private sector clients on regeneration and development.

Significant clients Calthorpe Estates, CBRE Global Investors, Forth Ports, John Lewis Partnership, Union Investment.

Social Housing - West Midlands

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

What the team is known for Recognised for work on high-value transactional real estate finance. Advises local and national public authorities, house builders and housing associations on real estate, governance, financing and corporate matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "Consistent, high-quality advice that we can always rely on, as well as first-class customer care."

Commercial awareness: "They have the capability to deal with complex issues and be commercial."

What's new?  Cemex, Newlon Housing Trust, Catalyst Housing Association, and the London Boroughs of Brent, Hackney and Tower Hamlets are new client wins.

Work highlights Advised the London Borough of Brent on the regeneration of South Kilburn.

Notable practitioners  

Anne Bowden heads the group.

Significant clients HCA, Ballymore, Ministry of Defence, Morgan Sindell, Linden Homes.

Banking & Finance - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Enduring commitment to the Leeds marketplace and a broad team of specialists. Maintains a strong relationship with major UK banks.

Work highlights Advised Lloyds TSB as one of a club of three banks on the management buyout of Clarke Energy. This was an international deal which involved the provision of facilities in Australia, France, China and India.

Acted for The Peel Group on the financing for the acquisition of the Lowry Outlet Mall at Salford Quays.

Notable practitioners  

John Cleland is the firm's global head of finance. He has impressive experience representing banks in highly complex financial transactions.

Significant clients Merrill Lynch International Bank, HSBC, Lloyds, Santander, Speedy Hire.

Construction - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department

- 7 partners
- 15 associates/assistants
- Ranked office locations: Leeds 

What the team is known for A front runner in the Leeds market. The practice is well known for its national and international reach in contentious and non-contentious matters. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The team is professional, pragmatic and gives good advice."

Market standing: "Pinsent Masons is the market leader in the construction sector."

Work highlights Advised Drax Power on an EPC contract for the development of a biomass eco-store and boiler distribution system.

Notable practitioners  

Mark Harris gains praise from numerous peers, who regard him as one of the best lawyers in the field. He is described by one client as "very approachable." Mark has significant experience in transactional matters, and has a broad client base which includes entities in the energy and drilling industries.

Simon Plunkett is praised by clients for "having the ability to get to the core of the challenge that faces his clients and focusing very quickly on the relative questions." Simon acts for a number of employers, contractors and consultants.

John Williams is a key partner at the practice. He is well respected by industry insiders, and handles transactional and dispute resolution work.

Senior associate Stacey Collins is commended by clients for being "concise and very knowledgeable."

Significant clients Babcock Rail, Carillion, BAM Construct, GE Oil & Gas.

Corporate/M&A - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners  
- 14 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for At the forefront of the local M&A marketplace, often representing the region's largest corporates. Strong industry sector focus on retail, manufacturing and technology. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They give us very good advice and they couch it in commercial terms and don't get caught up in the legalese."

"Responsiveness: "Very good same-day response."

What's new? New client wins include KeyedIn Solutions, Radio Design and International Fibres Group.

Work highlights Acted for Lupus Capital on the £75 million sale of Gall Thomson Environmental to Phoenix Equity Partners.

Represented DCC in the EUR85 million acquisition of BP's LPG business in the UK, Netherlands and Belgium.

Notable practitioners  

Peter Wood has significant experience in acting in private equity transactions. One client said: "I rate him as someone who makes problems go away." Another states: "He has a lot of energy and is very strong commercially and regarding business development."

According to one client, Leeds-based department head Andrew Kerr "is great at managing legal resources and provides fantastic commercial and pragmatic advice." He has cross-border transactional expertise in Germany and France.

Martin Shaw now occupies a consultancy role at the firm and is lending the practice his significant experience. One source noted that he is "still a big presence."

Catherine Hemsworth is praised by one source as "very detailed and organised and a good team player." Her broad corporate offering includes private equity and corporate transactions.

One source describes Andrew Black as "very pragmatic, intelligent and commercial, and an excellent negotiator." Another client states: "He has a great eye for detail as well as the ability to see the bigger picture." Black specialises on capital markets and M&A transactions.

Significant clients Aviva, Bagel Nash, Cable & Wireless, O2, University of Sussex.

Employment - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 13 associates
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for A national and international footprint that continues to attract high-profile clients. The Leeds group is particularly strong in the retail, construction and banking sectors as well as in advising a number of top universities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They are outstanding on all matters and, refreshingly, they are not risk adverse. Their performance was outstanding."

Market standing: "We rate Pinsent as having a quality team."  

What's new? Kirsty Ayre has rejoined the team after six years in the firm's Edinburgh office.

Work highlights Assisted Leeds Metropolitan University with a complex equal pay claim.

Advised Worldmark on a multi-jurisdictional restructuring project.

Notable practitioners  

Christopher Booth is principally focused on representing the finance sector but he often undertakes significant projects in various other industries. Sources see him as a "good, quality lawyer and a safe pair of hands," and praise him for his technical ability.

Christopher Mordue handles work for higher education clients and is head of the industrial relations team. Clients say that "he is swift, has good attention to detail and is able to engage with the most senior of executives."

Jon Fisher is known for his experience as a litigator. Clients agree that he is "very pragmatic – he doesn't sit on the fence, he tells it as it is."

Significant clients Direct Line, Pace, Bupa, Wilkinsons, William Hill.

Information Technology - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners 
- 1 director 
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Often instructed on large public sector procurement matters and IT projects, including for NHS trusts. Also instructed by technology suppliers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "We are very happy indeed with what the group does. They're responsive and creative, they know the requirements and their output is very impressive."

Work highlights Advised on the procurement of picture archives, long-term archives and image management computer systems for two NHS foundation trusts.

Advised Peterborough Council and Rutland County Council on pilot projects in connection to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport's £530 million broadband delivery UK project.

Notable practitioners

Richard Watkinson's clients say he is "extremely pragmatic, commercial, knowledgeable. Able to advise on legal requirements and to provide commercially useful advice." He specialises in contracts for outsourcing.

Significant clients Cable & Wireless, Department for Education, Hiscox, Logica, SAGE UK.

Litigation - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 10 associates
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for A strong regional team with the ability to manage complex commercial disputes on a national and international level. Particular expertise in the technology sector.

What's new? New client wins include Kuwait Asset Management and Mandarin Oriental Hotels.

Work highlights Instructed by a Latvian client, Aivars Lembergs, in a high-value commercial case involving multiple proceedings and a strong international element.

Notable practitioners

Well-regarded in the Leeds market, Damian Crosse is recognised for his experience in the technology sector. Sources note he is "particularly good with clients."

Andrew Masterson has extensive expertise handling product liability claims and notable experience in complex and often high-value pensions litigation.

Significant clients Dixons Retail, William Hill, Vertex, JD Wetherspoon, Syngenta.

Planning - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds 

What the team is known for Notable for its strength in retail and national infrastructure projects, including nuclear and coal power. Acts for public and private sector clients, largely in a non-contentious context.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "The quality of the work is always first-rate."

What's new? New clients include Cheshire East Council, South Tyneside Council and the University of Sussex.

Work highlights Advised Sedgemoor District, West Somerset District and Somerset County Councils on planning issues arising out of the new £15 billion Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station.

Advised University of Leeds on the sale of its campus in Bodington Hall for housing redevelopment.

Notable practitioners  

Jonathan Riley is a "highly intelligent" planning practitioner who is able to "step back and think outside the box." His recent work includes the Hinkley Point C Power Station representation.

Significant clients Leeds Bradford International Airport, Morgan Sindall, Homes and Communities Agency, Aire Valley Land, University of Leeds.

Real Estate - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Handles an impressive range of commercial property matters for a variety of notable national clients in both the public and private sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The team really understands our business and works within feasible parameters to advise and resolve issues."

What's new? New clients include Union Investment, Trinova Real Estate, Tristan Capital Partners and Evans Randall.

Work highlights Advised MedicX on its £90 million acquisition of 31 primary care centres.

Advised Sedgemoor District, West Somerset District and Somerset County Councils on EDF Energy's application to build two nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point.

Notable practitioners

"Sensible" Andrew Quinlan specialises in advising clients on property investment and development.

Jonathan Brocklehurst works on various forms of development project and advises on investment acquisitions and disposals across a range of sectors, including healthcare and student accommodation. He is an expert on transactions involving enterprise zones.

Significant clients Aviva, Homes and Communities Agency, St. Mowden, Whitbread, University of Leeds. 

Real Estate Litigation - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 1 legal director
- 4 associates

What the team is known for Having truly national presence. Advising clients on large property portfolios. Notable expertise in right to light disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "I cannot recommend them highly enough; they are very good at bringing together the right team for the job."

What's new? New clients include Garbutt & Elliott LLP and Vence LLP.

Work highlights As part of ongoing asset management work the firm has advised a number of landlords on tenant insolvency matters including those of Blacks Leisure, Travelodge and Clinton Cards.

Acted for Whitbread in dilapidation claims relating to nine leasehold premises.

Notable practitioners 

Matthew Baker is singled out as "a star who is fantastic with case work and clients." He is widely experienced in contentious real estate matters and is specifically recognised for his stellar expertise in right to light disputes.

Michael Smith regularly advises on some of the firm's more complex mandates. He acts for both private and public sector clients, and continues to advise numerous universities on their estates.

Keith Shaw's impressive academic achievements demonstrate his in-depth knowledge of the property market. He is highly proficient in vacant possession matters and land rights issues.

Significant clients Aviva Investors, Close Brothers, House of Fraser, Homes & Communities Agency, Leeds City Council.

Restructuring/Insolvency - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 2 associates
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Solid corporate restructuring offering with particular specialisms across healthcare, property and retail sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "A supportive team dedicated to achieving the best outcomes for us, with a real willingness to go the extra mile."

What's new? New panel appointments include Lloyds Banking Group and Bank of Ireland.

Work highlights Acted for the purchaser on the complex, cross-border acquisition of asset management and construction consultancy firm The Currie & Brown Group out of administration.

Assisted Auckland-headquartered retailer Pumpkin Patch with its exit from the UK market, closing 42 stores across England and Scotland.

Notable practitioners  

Jonathan Jeffries, a partner in the team, has over 25 years' experience in corporate restructuring. His practice heavily features construction, automotive and manufacturing businesses.

Richard Tripp is "a visible presence in the Leeds marketplace." Tripp maintains good relations in the lender-based marketplace.

Significant clients HSBC Bank, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, BDO.

Tax - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Assists clients with a broad range of corporate and property tax matters, including M&A, restructurings and funds-related work. Particularly noted for its advice to clients in the energy, financial services and education sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They are very approachable and responsive – good people to work with."

Work highlights Advised DCC on the tax aspects of a number of acquisitions and disposals, including its £85 million acquisition of gas distribution company BPI from BP.

Assisted Lupus Capital with tax issues surrounding the £75 million sale of its oil services division.

Notable practitioners 

Department head John Christian handles a range of corporate tax matters, including M&A, restructurings, and funds and property-related work. He was the lead partner in the work for DCC. Clients note that he "is a skilful negotiator, provides excellent real time technical support, and is very calm under pressure."