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Pinsent Masons


Pinsent Masons - London
  • 3 Colmore Circus
  • Birmingham
  • West Midlands
  • UK
  • B4 6BH
  • Senior Partner Richard Foley
  • Managing Partner David Ryan
  • Number of partners 390
  • 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.


  • 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

Tax - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Handles a broad range of direct and indirect tax matters for clients involved in the financial services, insurance, energy and infrastructure sectors. Possesses expertise to deal with substantial tax issues relating to restructurings, disposals, financings and M&A deals. 

What's new New clients include Balfour Beatty and E.ON.

Work highlights Acted for the London School of Economics on its £125 million bond issue to raise funds for the further development of the institutional estate.

Assisted Risk Capital Partners and a variety of other investors and shareholders in the disposal of the Giraffe restaurant chain to Tesco. 

Notable practitioners  

Eloise Walker handles significant finance tax matters for a range of noteworthy clients, on a domestic and international basis.

Significant clients Kier, Veolia, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Aspen. 

Banking & Finance - Midlands

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for Excellent track record when acting on behalf of both lenders and borrowers, including on large multi-bank transactions. Offers expertise in real estate, education and social housing finance, with notable proficiency in asset-based lending.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have an excellent reputation and deliver and execute deals well." 

"A well-rounded team; they're able to deal with anything we require."

What's new? The banking team is now headed by partner David Doogan, previously of SGH Martineau. His wide-ranging finance expertise adds significant strength to the group.

Work highlights Advised Clydesdale Bank on the provision of facilities worth £4.25 million to TrakM8 Holdings used to help fund its acquisition of Box Telematics.

Assisted I.M. Properties in connection with the provision of a new development facility, as well as the refinancing of an existing facility secured over an investment property.

Notable practitioners  

David Doogan is highly regarded within the region for his banking and finance capabilities. He has particularly impressed interviewees with his "down-to-earth" approach and his ability to "always provide an opinion, not just a woolly answer."

Edward Sunderland leads the asset-based lending team. Clients highlight "the commerciality of his advice, his responsiveness and the assertive position he takes" on transactions.

Esther Parkes provides advice on real estate, corporate and acquisition finance in the Midlands. Sources praise her for "understanding the transaction and what we're trying to achieve," particularly noting that "she remains flexible in her working arrangements, ensuring any deadlines will be achieved."

Significant clients Santander, NatWest, Allied Irish Banks, Clydesdale Bank, Handelsbanken.

Construction - Midlands

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for Well-known practice dealing with contentious and non-contentious matters in a range of sectors. A key element of the firm's national construction offering.

Notable practitioners  

Nigel Blundell focuses on transactional construction matters. He has worked on a range of cases, including projects for education clients.

Employment - Midlands

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for National employment team with a leading position in the Birmingham market. Distinguished by a firmly sector-focused approach displaying particular strength in construction, energy, retail, and financial services. Provides a comprehensive and innovative employment service to a client base which includes national and multinational corporations.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The lawyers are accessible and knowledgeable about the sector we are working in, they are proactive as well as responsive, they will challenge us constructively and are focused on finding solutions."  

"The team gave us a lot of training and we can ring up and ask quick questions. The advice is very sound and the lawyers will always discuss matters. It feels like they are investing in the relationship." 

What's new? The team has been appointed by Centrica and has also added Weetabix, the University of Arts and the University of Gloucester to its client roster. E.on has also appointed the team as their sole advisers for employment matters.  

Notable practitioners  

Jonathan Coley leads a lot of relationships with major clients, providing strategic advice and working on significant transactions. "His pragmatism is fantastic and he will always find the right approach taking consideration of the budget," notes one impressed source.

Significant clients Constain, Fujitsu, Mondelez, Muller, Serco.

Information Technology - Midlands

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for Robust department advising on M&A and financing matters for IT and telecommunications companies. Instructed on top-end mandates on a local and national basis.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their communication is good. I found them to be practical and cost-effective."

Work highlights Assisted Galliford Try with high-level negotiations with BT over a managed telecoms agreement covering the supply of fixed-line services across 200 sites.

Advised the Department for Culture, Media & Sport with a high-profile, £150 million mobile infrastructure project. 

Notable practitioners  

Jon Fell is head of IT and telecoms in the Birmingham office. He is recognised for his knowledge of internet, IT and telecoms law.

Significant clients Department for Culture, Media & Sport; Wesleyan Assurance; Domino's Pizza; Arqiva; Azzurri.

Intellectual Property - Midlands

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

What the team is known for Comprehensive IP service, fully connected to the firm's national and international expertise. Particularly skilled in handling matters for clients from the automotive, food, insurance, medical technology and social media sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Pinsent Masons offers the best of both worlds in IP, being equally capable in both the contentious and non-contentious spheres."

"A very personal service, definitely good value and nothing disappointing: they're top draw."

Notable practitioners  

Cerys Wyn Davies heads the Birmingham IP department and focuses on handling IP matters for universities, public sector bodies and leading corporates. Sources attest that she "really engages with the issues and is always calm under fire."  

Significant clients Aviva, Bosch, Hiscox, RAC, Smith & Nephew.

Litigation - Midlands

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

What the team is known for Retains a position as one of the leading litigation teams in Birmingham. Continues to attract international clients and advise on high-value disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"A very capable and dependable firm." 

Work highlights Advising Covanta Energy on a challenge of Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority's decision to award a £1.2 billion waste disposal contract to a consortium.

Notable practitioners  

Jonathan Fortnam is a litigator who peers "rate highly." He continues to lead some of the team's highest-value cases. 

Head of department Greg Lowson is described by one source as being one of the "standout top litigators in Birmingham." He draws on significant experience of complex cases.

Jim Richards is praised highly by peers and clients alike. He adds expertise in fraud to the team and works across a range of complex litigation.

Significant clients IMI, Homeserve, Mitie, Alstom, Balfour Beatty.

Pensions - Midlands

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

What the team is known for Strong Birmingham pensions offering with particular emphasis on providing auto-enrolment services for pensions companies. Noted for advising insurance companies and product providers on a full array of pensions law matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are quick to respond and easy to do business with." 

What's new? New clients include Fujitsu, Bupa and John Lewis.

Work highlights Assisted the trustees of Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited Pension Plan with updating its trust deed and rules.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Laight "is very enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and always anticipates what is coming," notes one client. He heads the firm's pensions group and has extensive experience of pensions matters affecting insurance companies.

Daniel Shelley is "very clever," market sources reported. He has significant experience across the complete range of pensions law issues including scheme mergers and wind-ups.

Nick Stones advises employers and trustees, with particular knowledge of pensions issues affecting clients in the non-profit sector. "He is commercially oriented and receptive as to what needs to be done," comments one client; "he looks for other alternatives and never gives up."

"I have nothing but compliments for her," enthused one of Katie Vaughan's clients, citing her ability to "understand the key points, take my point of view on board and also challenge me."

Significant clients Aviva, AXA, L&G, Cadbury Pension Fund, GKN Group Pension Scheme.

Planning - Midlands

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

What the team is known for Maintains a formidable position at the head of the Birmingham planning market, with an enviable client roster and extensive experience in advising on big-ticket infrastructure matters. Able to handle contentious work, and strong in judicial reviews.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I've absolutely been impressed by their hard work and zeal in getting to the bottom of things, as well as their strategic grasp - they see the big picture."

"They're well known for their public sector CPO and major project work."

What's new? New panel appointments include E.ON, Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council and Mersea Homes.

Work highlights Advised Capital & Counties on all planning aspects of its Earls Court regeneration project, a major mixed-use redevelopment.

Represented the London Borough of Brent in a CPO regarding its regeneration scheme for South Kilburn.

Notable practitioners  

Joint head of the firm's national planning offering Iain Gilbey is frequently instructed on high-level mandates in the residential and infrastructure sectors, both throughout the region and nationwide. Sources comment: "He's tremendously experienced and he helps with strategic thought around the planning."

Rebecca Warren co-heads the Birmingham planning team and routinely receives instruction on residential and mixed-use developments. Sources highlight her "commercial perspective - she understands the wider implications of planning agreements with development issues and viability, and she's tenacious in getting the job done."

Martin Damms maintains an impressive profile in the area with his retail-focused practice. He is also well regarded for his residential work and significant expertise in CPOs.

Anna Cartledge receives significant acclaim for her expertise in high-profile mixed-use developments, and is frequently instructed by clients in the public and private sectors in complex negotiations and CPO work. Sources say she is "very helpful - she can understand and provide the legal support we need."

Significant clients Berkeley Homes, Countryside Properties, Barratt/David Wilson Homes, Crest Nicholson, St George.

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 Covers every angle of real estate litigation. Growing focus in development disputes. Notable sector expertise in telecoms, energy, leisure and higher education. Also handles a large number of high-value rent review cases.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The team is particularly client-focused and always looks for effective, durable solutions. The communication is excellent and it keeps us informed in a full and timely manner." 

"Provides flexible solutions to meet the needs of a wide variety of clients."

What's new? New Look and Balfour Beatty are among the firm's recent client acquisitions.  

Work highlights Acted for London & Regional Properties on a range of matters, including various rent reviews.

Advised Electronic Communications on vacant possession strategies.

Notable practitioners  

Alicia Foo is one of the most prominent names in the region for property litigation and is particularly noted for her expertise in the telecoms industry. "She communicates exceptionally well and really works hard to understand the client's position," agree sources.

Significant clients J D Wetherspoon, Balfour Beatty, John Lewis/Waitrose, London & Regional Properties, Countryside Properties.

Tax - Midlands

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

What the team is known for Strength in negotiating with HMRC, particularly on sensitive planning issues and those related to the General Anti-Abuse Rule. Provides commercial advice on transactional tax matters. Marked out for its strength in handling real estate tax.

Work highlights Represented UBS against HMRC in the Upper Tribunal and the Court of Appeal regarding its ESIP tax scheme put in place for its bonus structure.

Notable practitioners  

Ian Hyde is a tax litigation specialist, and clients praise him as "very commercial - he takes what can be complex issues and gives them a common-sense approach." He is experienced in ADR and appeals, and recently represented UBS in its appeals to the Upper Tribunal and the Court of Appeal in relation to its tax avoidance scheme. 

Banking & Finance - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for An established presence across the Midlands, the North and Scotland, regularly advising on property finance, project finance, asset-based lending and general corporate lending transactions. A mainstay of all major banking panels and a go-to adviser to construction and energy sector borrower clients, including P J Livesey Group, SIG Group and Tyman. Also acts for financial institutions such as N M Rothschild & Sons, Lone Star and LDC. Ranked offices in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Belfast.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are an excellent firm and join up well across various offices to ensure deals are supported and delivered within required timescales."

"They have a very strong regional presence; they have helped us to take on other deals in Birmingham and Manchester."

Notable practitioners  

David Doogan, Matt Morgan and John Maciver are all key contacts at the firm.

Employment - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for National employment practice with talented teams throughout the UK. The group frequently works with both public and private sector clients, and has a strong practice advising higher education institutions on all of their employment matters. It also has a raft of private sector clients, including Fujitsu, Serco, ASDA, Bupa and Balfour Beatty. Ranked offices in Belfast, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

Notable practitioners  

Diane Nicol leads the employment team. 

Competition/European Law - The Regions

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

What the team is known for Handles a broad range of competition work, including merger control, state aid and dominance investigations. Works closely with the London office to provide clients with a seamless nationwide service.

Work highlights Successfully secured a procurement injunction for Covanta Energy against the award of a £1.18 billion waste disposal contract to a rival consortium by Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority.

Acted for Hanson UK on the Competition Commission's market investigation into the ready-mix concrete, aggregates and cement markets.

Notable practitioners

Head of department Giles Warrington has particular experience in competition investigations by the EC and OFT. Clients say: "He's a thoroughly competent competition lawyer but also works hard to make sure that he understands our specific issues. He tries to help us find solutions that are practical and work within our context."

Significant clients Keepmoat Group, The Go-Ahead Group, Musgrave Budgens Londis, Polypipe, IMI.

Education - UK-wide

What the team is known for Heavyweight in the UK market, acting for numerous universities. Provides clients with a comprehensive range of services, handling procurement and governance matters as well as international projects in global higher education.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"The lawyers always respond within agreed timescales and provide commercial and practical advice, communicated in a user-friendly manner."

"Performance has been very good in terms of service, flexibility and accuracy of advice."

What's new? Secured work from the University of London and the University of Gloucestershire.

Work highlights Acted for the London School of Economics on a £125 million issuance of privately placed loan notes.

Advised the University of Sussex on a ten-year facilities management contract with Interserve, worth £150 million.

Notable practitioners  

Nicola Hart's recent instructions include advising the University of Sheffield on a constitutional reform. She is an "incredibly clever lawyer who is very insightful into matters relating to higher education and governance," according to market sources.

Janet Hoskin specialises in matters pertaining to charity law. "I have a lot of confidence in the work she is doing," said one client.

Significant clients University of Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University, University of Sheffield, King's College London, University of Warwick. 

Local Government - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 45 partners
- 55 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Birmingham, Leeds, London

What the team is known for Broad expertise including social housing, energy and public procurement. The team regularly works with local authorities across the UK, with notable work on infrastructure matters. 

Work highlights Advised the London Borough of Croydon in connection with a number of matters including the Croydon Council Urban Regeneration Vehicle, a 50/50 joint venture between the council and John Laing.

Acted for Leeds City Council concerning redevelopment of its flagship Merrion House headquarters.

Notable practitioners  

Alan Aisbett is an experienced practitioner who brings substantial PFI and PPP expertise to the table. Sources also praised his work on housing and regeneration as well as procurement.

Significant clients London Borough of Enfield, Peterborough City Council, County Council of the City and County of Cardiff, Westminster City Council.

Outsourcing - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 23 partners 
- 58 other qualified lawyers 
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Highly respected for its handling of both public and private sector sourcing. Broad spectrum of coverage, including ITOs, BPOs and wrap platform procurement.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I am absolutely happy with Pinsent. They provide high-quality advice, and are very responsive. They helped on everything we needed and you always get their best attention. They go the extra mile."

"A key factor for us was the team composition and continuity, so that we had confidence in all the team members. All in all, it was a rewarding experience to work with such a professional team."

Work highlights Assisted Steria in a joint venture with HM Government concerning provision of business process and IT services to various government departments.

Advised Balfour Beatty on its competitive procurement of end-user computing and hosting services.

Notable practitioners  

Iain Monaghan is hailed by clients as "an excellent draftsman and very good negotiator," and "a joy to deal with." He is particularly noted for his expertise in IT outsourcings.

The "superb" David Isaac heads the firm's global technology group. He continues to provide strategic advice on major domestic and global outsourcing projects, acting for clients in both public and private sectors. 

Significant clients UK Broadband Delivery Authority, BAE Systems, West Midlands Police Authority, Aviva, The Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Corporate/M&A - West Midlands

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 24 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for National firm with an impressive corporate transactional and private equity practice. Employs a sectoral approach to the market, with expertise in the technology, healthcare and higher education areas.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They gave us clear advice about the things that we were on the fence about. They were very responsive and very commercial." 

What's new? New client wins include Methodist Homes for the Aged, Curocare, E.ON UK and KPMG. 

Work highlights Acted for Wesleyan Assurance on its acquisition of Practice Plan, a dental practice membership plan business, from Dunedin Capital Partners.

Advised the shareholders of Paragon Print & Packaging on its sale to Sun Capital Partners.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Paul Harkin has an active private equity practice and led the team advising Wesleyan Assurance on its acquisition of Practice Plan.

The "fantastic" Andrew Hornigold offers expertise and experience in the private equity market, particularly for clients in the technology sector. He advised Node 4 on its recent sale by way of MBO.

Significant clients Vislink, European Care Group, Halfords, Care Tech, RAC Group.

Real Estate - West Midlands

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

What the team is known for Expanding practice with notable expertise in the housing, retail and energy sectors. Maintains its standing in major development schemes and infrastructure projects of national significance.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The lawyers have a great understanding of the client's needs, so they always give us brilliant advice, and they work in the interests of the client."

"They get things done on time and are very quick on response, but not for the loss of thoroughness."

What's new? E.ON and Countryside Properties were secured as new clients.

Work highlights Represented Brent London Borough Council in the £600 million redevelopment of South Kilburn, incorporating residential buildings and health facilities.

Advised IM Properties on multiple transactions, including the Phase 2 development of its 400-acre Birch Coppice site.

Notable practitioners 

Clients say Joel Kordan is "incredibly charismatic," and peers praise "his ability to grow teams and generate business." Kordan advises developers, contractors and investors at both a national and international level. 

Practice head Tom Johnson provides "fantastic client service." According to commentators, "he is very clear and direct in his advice," and he is further commended for his commercial awareness. 

Interviewees appreciate how Victoria Potterill-Tilney "plans ahead and anticipates" clients' needs. Another source adds: "She drills through documents quickly to really get to the heart of the issue, and comes up with solutions rather than just listing problems."

Significant clients Homes and Communities Agency, John Lewis Partnership/Waitrose, CBRE Global Investors, Stobart Group, MedicX Group.

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 Houses broad-based expertise across the social housing arena, advising on a range of issues including regeneration projects, funding agreements and governance issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They provide a co-ordinated, comprehensive and full-service legal advice. They find solutions and work hard to find something that will meet our needs."

"They provide good-quality work and have a good understanding of the way my company works."

What's new? New client wins include Lovells Partnerships and Network Housing Group.

Work highlights Assisted the Homes & Communities Agency with the establishment and implementation of its Get Britain Building project.

Continued in its role advising Birmingham City Council on diverse matters such as governance, financing and fund creation.

Notable practitioners  

David Meecham is the key contact for the team.

Significant clients Capital & Counties, Crawley Borough Council, Countryside Properties, Ministry of Defence.