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Stephenson Harwood LLP

London

Stephenson Harwood LLP - London
  • 1 Finsbury Circus
  • London
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC2M 7SH
  • Number of partners 120
  • Number of other fee-earners 350
  • Total staff 700

The Firm Stephenson Harwood is a full service international law firm, with over 120 partners and 700 staff worldwide. The firm acts for a wide range of listed and private companies, institutions and individuals. Through its network of offices and strong local law firm relationships, the firm offers clients commerciallyfocused legal advice across the globe. Stephenson Harwood has an established track record for advising leading companies on their most challenging and high value matters. The firm’s lawyers work to achieve open and strong long-term relationships with its clients.

Principal Areas of Work
Stephenson Harwood has recognised market-leading strengths in five key areas: finance, commercial litigation and arbitration, corporate finance, marine and international trade and real estate. Its offering is underpinned by in-depth market knowledge related to all of these areas, backed by a full range of ancillary legal services attuned to the needs of clients within each area.
Asset Finance: The team’s expertise covers a very broad range of assets that includes aviation, heavy equipment, rail, oil and gas, ports and airports, real estate and renewables. Clients include global and domestic lenders, arrangers, sponsors and borrowers.
Commercial Litigation, Arbitration & Regulation: The team has a track record for advising clients on their most challenging disputes – and have over the years acted on many of the largest cases in the commercial courts. The team is highly respected among its peers. In addition to the firm’s own clients, Stephenson Harwood is frequently referred work by many of the top international law firms when they are faced with conflict situations.
Corporate Finance: The team’s core services include M&A, takeovers, joint ventures, IPOs, private equity and venture capital. The client base is international and includes listed and privately-owned companies, management teams, banks and private equity houses. The team operates across a broad range of industries, but has a particularly strong track record in the consumer, energy and resources, financial services, pharmaceuticals and transportation sectors.
Marine & International Trade: The size of the team and depth of its experience mean that Stephenson Harwood is well placed to advise on any shipping or trade-related concern – from the most complex marine incident or financing structure to the more straightforward sale and purchase dispute or cargo claim. Clients include many of the world’s largest ship owners, ship yards, banks, insurers, P&I clubs, offshore services companies and commodity traders.
Real Estate: The team advises on investment acquisitions and disposals, financings, development projects, sale and leasebacks and other structures, as well as ongoing property management matters. It has extensive experience of real estate development and regeneration, securing planning permissions and advising on environmental issues. Clients include property companies, institutional investors and financiers, fund managers, high net worth individuals, hotel groups, public sector bodies and corporate occupiers.
Other practice areas: Banking; commercial; employment; environment; funds; intellectual property; pensions; projects; restructuring and insolvency; tax and private wealth.

Other offices: Beijing, Dubai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Paris, Piraeus, Shanghai, Singapore. Associate offices: Athens, Bucharest, Jakarta,Yangon.

    Contacts
  • Arbitration Louis Flannery
  • Aviation Finance Richard Parsons
  • Aviation Litigation Paul Phillips
  • Banking Jayesh Patel
  • Commercial Dan Holland
  • Commercial Litigation John Fordham
  • Competition Julianne O’Leary
  • Construction Paul Thwaite
  • Consumer Andrew McLean
  • Corporate Finance Duncan Stiles
  • Employee Incentives Barbara Allen
  • Employment Kate Brearley
  • Energy Jeremy Sheldon
  • Environment Ben Stansfield
  • Fine Art Stephen Roberts
  • Fraud & Asset Tracing Alan Bercow
  • Funds William Saunders
  • Hotels & Leisure Robert Newman
  • Insurance Alex Davis
  • Intellectual Property Eifion Morris
  • Islamic Finance David Lacey
  • Life Sciences Andrew Edge
  • Marine & International Trade Mike Phillips
  • Offshore Construction Stuart Beadnall
  • Pensions Mark Catchpole
  • Private Equity Tony Edwards
  • Private Wealth James Quarmby
  • Projects Jonathan Cripps
  • Rail Graeme McLellan
  • Real Estate Finance Neil Murray
  • Real Estate Litigation Sean Fitzgerald
  • Regulatory Litigation Tony Woodcock
  • Restructuring & Insolvency Stuart Frith, Susan Moore
  • Ship Finance Mark Russell
  • Tax Hugo Jenney

Branches

  • 1 Finsbury Circus,
  • London,
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC2M 7SH
  • Tel (020) 7329 4422
  • Fax (020) 7329 7100
  • DX 64 CHANCERY LANE WC2
  • Email : info@shlegal.com
  • Website : www.shlegal.com

Banking & Finance - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Dedicated banking team covering the full spread of finance transactions, including bilateral and syndicated lending, debt restructuring and loan sales. Experiencing strong deal flow in the acquisition finance, structured finance and corporate lending areas.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“They get straight to the root of the issue and understand the personalities around the table and the end goal. They actually give an opinion - they tell you what they would do as well as giving the advice. A guiding hand in challenging times.”

“They do a really good job of managing complex transactions. I feel comfortable that they manage the process well and have a good handle on all the things that I should be looking at.”  

Work highlights Worked with Chinese conglomerate HNA Group on the financing for its acquisition of TIP Trailer Services from GE Capital.

Advised Baker Tilly on the acquisition financing of its procurement of RSM Tenon from the administrators.

Notable practitioners  

James Linforth is a key contact here.

Banking Litigation - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Recognised for handling internationally significant cases, often involving highly complex financial products. Supported by a strong regulatory team. Particular expertise on sanctions-related work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They were very good. What I noted most was their availability. They were there when we needed them."

Work highlights Acted for a collection of hedge fund advisers on litigation arising out of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

Acted in defence of Unitech against claims brought by Deutsche Bank and a syndicate of lenders. The case relates to the manipulation of Libor.

Notable practitioners  

Regarded as a "specialist" with "an enormous amount of experience," John Fordham leads the commercial litigation group. He is experienced in multi-jurisdictional cases often with a fraud element.

Sue Millar focuses on commercial litigation for banks, investment managers and insurer clients. She often attracts referrals from peers and is considered by clients to be very responsive and receptive to finding solutions to problems.

Significant clients HSBC, Merrill Lynch, Raiffeisen Bank International, Natixis, Neuberger Bermen Europe.

Construction - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 10 partners
- 16 associates

What the team is known for Handles domestic and international work, advising on both contentious and non-contentious matters. Focuses on the energy and infrastructure sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They worked well together; everybody is responsive. They have a secure grasp of the matter."

Work highlights Acted for ABB in a £50 million dispute with subcontractor BAM Nuttal concerning cable and building works for London Underground.

Acted for the Heads of the Valleys Development Company on a £250 million project to develop a low-carbon automotive complex in South Wales.

Notable practitioners  

Sources say Ron Nobbs is "an incredibly experienced litigator" and "very thorough, diligent and great to work with." He has significant experience in handling contentious matters in the UK and overseas.

Key partner Paul Thwaite advises on contracts and appointments in relation to project work as well as litigation. He is praised as being "very thorough and extremely able."

Significant clients University of Greenwich, HSBC, South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust, Royal College of Art, Veolia.

Corporate/M&A - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Adept mid-market practice with a strengthening reputation in transportation and energy-related work. Proficient at cross-border deals and developing expertise in emerging markets including Africa.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"Their depth of knowledge is second to none and on corporate deals I would not use any other firm."

Work highlights Assisted GDF SUEZ Energy Services with its purchase of Balfour Beatty WorkPlace from Balfour Beatty for £190 million.

Advised pharmaceutical company BTG on its USD220 million acquisition of EKOS Corporation.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Edge is "rated very highly" by peers for his abilities in corporate and M&A work, with credit given for his work in the life sciences sector among others. He advised Baker Tilly on its purchase of RSM Tenon Group.

Significant clients Baker Tilly, Drax, London Capital Group, Peterson Group, Traderight.

Employment - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Leading practice known for its broad employment expertise. Recent work includes advice relating to regulatory investigations and the cross-over employment issues these can throw up. The team is also known for its litigation work, with team moves taking up a good deal of time recently.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They deliver a thorough and satisfactory service with a good range of specialists who can deal with all the issues we throw at them." 

Work highlights Advised Parker Drilling on the employment aspects of its acquisition of International Tubular Services. The team assisted with cross-border due diligence and TUPE matters.

Advised Universal Music Group on the defence of a High Court breach of contract claim brought by a former employee.

Notable practitioners  

Anne Pritam advises a wide range of clients on all of their employment law needs. She regularly works with mid-sized international banks and other financial institutions. Sources say: "Anne is a very good technical lawyer who communicates in a calm way."

Kate Brearley heads the employment team and is well known as being one of the leading practitioners for advice on restrictive covenants and team moves. Clients appreciate her decisiveness, with one saying: "She is very prepared to come forward and tell you what she thinks is in your best interest."

Paul Reeves advises large corporate clients on the full spectrum of employment law matters. Sources consider him to be extremely commercial, with one saying: "He is very impressive, very sharp and he gets to the nub of a case very quickly."

Significant clients DNB Bank ASA, Milton, Mizuho Corporate Bank, The Royal College of Art, Northern Rail.

Financial Crime - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Handles bribery and corruption investigations for a blue-chip client base. Significant sanctions expertise.

Work highlights Advised a number of multinational financial institutions on sanctions against Iran and Syria.

Notable practitioners  

Tony Woodcock focuses on criminal regulatory issues arising within the financial services sector. He is highly regarded in the field, with market commentators noting his "real practical insight into how a criminal investigation might unfold."

Ex-Financial Services Authority (FSA) prosecutor Sara George has extensive experience in criminal and regulatory investigations. Sources report that "she is always very smart and always has good insight."

Financial Crime - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Represents senior executives in large-scale financial crime investigations brought by the SFO and FCA, in addition to foreign prosecuting authorities.

Work highlights Instructed to defend the former Barclays US dollar rate submitter, who was charged with conspiracy to defraud as a result of the SFO's investigation into Libor manipulation.

Represented a Barclays employee in relation to an investigation into FX manipulation conducted by the FCA and US authorities.

Notable practitioners  

Tony Woodcock has extensive experience in financial crime matters and is highly regarded in the market. Sources report that he is "very easy to deal with and extremely good with clients."

Information Technology - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Covers the full range of technology matters, with substantial experience in handling international transactions. Dedicated client relationships and advice in an array of fields encompassing data, software and compliance.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They get straight to the root of the issue, understand the personalities round the table, and the end goal, and actually give an opinion."

"Very down to earth, practical, pragmatic and willing to tell us the risks." 

What's new? Stolt-Nielsen, FIS and London Capital Group were secured as new clients.

Notable practitioners  

Jonathan Kirsop handles a variety of technology matters ranging from software development and hosting to data privacy. His clients include financial institutions, business intelligence providers and outsourcing customers.

Dan Holland is described by clients as "clearly very knowledgeable and always trying to help us find ways around issues." He has significant expertise in outsourcing.

Significant clients Hivedome, Barclays, Kalibrate, Affinion International, KPMG. 

Intellectual Property - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Recommended for contentious and transactional work, often cross-border, representing internationally known consumer and luxury brands, and life sciences and energy companies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are an absolutely fantastic resource." 

"We felt they were so good that we have looked to bring them in on further projects."  

What's new? Peter Taylor joined from Baker Botts in January 2014.

Work highlights Handles all UK anti-counterfeiting, passing-off and copyright infringement matters for Moët Hennessy.

Advises easyGroup on its international brand protection and contentious IP matters.

Notable practitioners  

Eifion Morris is lauded by sources for his strategic advice and contentious advice across all core IP disciplines. He is variously described as "immensely user-friendly," "tenacious" and "technically superb."

Peter Taylor joins from Baker Botts in what can only be described as a real coup for his new firm. He is a seasoned adviser to some of the biggest names in the luxury and consumer products market.  

The "excellent" Alexandra Pygall advises on soft and hard IP matters. She counsels on patent licensing, collaboration and know-how agreements for her extensive range of life sciences clients.

Significant clients Gap, Barclays Bank, KPMG, GlaxoSmithKline, UCB Pharma.

Litigation - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
-36 partners
-103 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Well-regarded litigation team attracting high-profile and substantial commercial instructions. Particular experience representing clients in the banking, financial, insurance and energy sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

“Stephenson Harwood has always been seen as a very good and very strong litigation firm.”

“Stephenson Harwood punch above their weight.” 

Work highlights Advised Unitech and Unitech Global on the high-profile dispute with Deutsche Bank and a syndicate of lenders. Unitech sought to defend claims for amounts due under a loan agreement, in part on the grounds of alleged Libor-related misrepresentation.

Acted for Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees as trustee of the Tchenguiz Family Trust on a judicial review and £200 million damages claim, arising out of the SFO's dawn raids on the home and business premises of Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz.

Notable practitioners  

Head of the commercial litigation department John Fordham is well known and highly regarded in the market, handling heavyweight commercial and financial services disputes. Sources say he is “always an impressive practitioner,” with one peer adding: “He's a really, really bright guy. I have enormous respect for him as an opponent and as a mediator.”

Up-and-coming partner Sean Jeffrey specialises in financial services disputes, insurance and litigation. He recently led the team advising the trustee of the Tchenguiz Family Trust in relation to its claim against the SFO. Sources say: “He is very pragmatic, very intelligent and an experienced litigator.”

Significant clients Shell, AIG, American Airlines, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, KPMG.

Pensions - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Well positioned to guide clients through the full range of pensions obstacles, including risk management exercises and restructurings. Heavily involved in the creation of master trusts and is a member of the Pension Protection Fund legal advice panel.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are pragmatic, commercial and very collaborative." 

Work highlights Worked with the trustees of the Jardine Lloyd Thompson UK Group Pension Scheme on two buyins.

Assisted GDF SUEZ Energy Services with the pensions aspects of its acquisition of Balfour Beatty WorkPlace from Balfour Beatty.

Notable practitioners 

Practice group head Mark Catchpole is praised by market sources for his "good bedside manner," noting: "He can communicate clearly and doesn't get flustered." He advises employers and trustees on the full spectrum of pensions matters and is described by clients as "pragmatic, commercial and willing."

Philip Goodchild "is easy to work with, practical and very reliable," according to market commentators. He advises clients on a broad array of both contentious and non-contentious pensions matters.

Fraser Sparks has a good reputation among his market peers and clients, who describe him as "industrious, a pragmatic problem solver, and always well ahead of deadlines." He was part of the team that advised GDF SUEZ Energy Services on the pensions elements of its purchase of Balfour Beatty WorkPlace.

Amanda Banister is singled out by sources as "definitely one to watch." She previously worked at the Pension Protection Fund and has experience across funding matters, liability management and scheme documentation.

Significant clients Barnardo's, Thomson Airways, British Land, Pitney Bowes, UCL, Harvey Nichols.

Planning - 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.

Professional Negligence - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Strong professional negligence team advising clients on financial and legal negligence cases. Regularly acts for some of the country's leading financial services providers. Ability to handle high-profile and sensitive claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their service is exemplary." 

Work highlights Advised a British Virgin Islands company in a USD12.5 million negligence claim against Habib Bank AG Zurich.

Notable practitioners  

Stephen Roberts is praised as "absolutely superb, with a brilliant mind and very easy to work with." Clients comment: "His intellect and strategy are impressive, and he is practical, very detailed and extremely good on paper," further noting: "His thought process is very cogent and his advice reflects this; he is very thorough."

Roland Foord is described as "very easy to deal with, sensible and experienced." Market sources note: "He is a superb litigator, very polished and very calm." He is recommended for cases relating to negligent valuation of art.

Significant clients KPMG, Christie's, Park Indemnity, Rawlinson & Hunter, Steer Davies Gleave.

Real Estate Finance - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Distinguished team offering comprehensive counsel on real estate finance matters for borrower and lender clients. Active presence on alternative lending and development transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very good. They link their advice into the commercial background of the situation instead of just giving you the technical legal answer."  

What's new? New client wins include Wells Fargo and Chenavari Investment Managers.

Work highlights Advised Native Land on the £201 million joint venture vehicle established for the purchase and development financing of the former Holland Park School site.

Represented Lloyds Bank and HSBC in connection with a £60 million secured revolving credit facility to Fairview New Homes.

Notable practitioners  

James Linforth attracts ample praise for his experience in real estate finance, including acquisition finance and corporate lending. He acts for a large number of borrower clients. One peer praises him as "a very sensible operator who gets things done."

Neil Murray is an impressive performer on all matters regarding debt finance, with a focus on real estate investment and development financings. He is familiar with securitisations, Islamic finance and restructuring matters.

Paul Hayward-Surry specialises in property finance as part of a wider real estate practice. He recently advised HSBC on a £29.8 million term loan facility to refinance the acquisition and development of Admirals Quay in Southampton.

Significant clients BayernLB, RBS, Deutsche Hypothekenbank, Wells Fargo, ING.

Real Estate Litigation - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Retained by a number of institutional property investment funds on portfolio management issues. Particular expertise in handling large enfranchisement claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They use their legal knowledge very impressively in negotiation." 

What's new? Natalie Johnston joins from King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin.

Work highlights Acted for Westbrook Partners on a collective enfranchisement claim for the freehold interest in Dolphin Square, Pimlico.

Advised property investor Topland Group on its dilapidations claim strategy.

Notable practitioners 

Andrew Myers has significant experience of the full range of contentious property issues. "He's very thorough and dogged," notes one client; "he wants to win, which is what you want from a litigator, but he's also realistic."

Head of department Sean Fitzgerald has a great deal of experience in the field. He has advised on dilapidations, rent reviews, professional negligence and property-related insolvency matters.

Natalie Johnston is widely regarded as a proficient real estate litigator with expertise in a wide range of disputes. One source describes her as "fiendishly intelligent," while another states: "She is on top of it all, always calm and under control."

Significant clients LaSalle Investment Management, Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust, De Stefano Property Group, Alpha Bank, Canary Wharf Group. 

Real Estate - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Handles a range of investment deals including forward funding for institutions and private equity. Acts for an impressive range of inward investors. Strong corporate occupier practice, advising on significant head office relocations.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They make it a much more personal experience, their client relationship management is great. They have a great knowledge of who we are and the way we operate."

"They are accommodating, understand clients’ concerns and provide excellent and timely support."

What's new? New clients include Marstons Property, Bridgestone Group and the Stobart Group.

Work highlights Acted for Peterson Group on the £121 million forward funding acquisition of the Ampersand mixed-use development scheme, Oxford Street.

Advised London Metric on a number of portfolio acquisitions and disposals.

Notable practitioners  

Stephen Laud acts for investors and corporate occupiers on sales, acquisitions and lettings, and also has particular expertise in the hotels and leisure sector. His clients include Schroder REIT.

Significant clients ING Real Estate, KPMG, Metric Property Investments, St Martins Property Group, The Langham Estate.

Tax - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Provides an impressive clientele with tax advice in key areas such as M&A, real estate, corporate and financing. Maintains significant strength in specialist work relating to funds, asset finance and the transportation industry. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The tax team is absolutely top-notch. They are practical, knowledgeable and creative."

Work highlights Assisted GDF SUEZ with its £190 million acquisition of Balfour Beatty's UK facilities management arm.

Advised Baker Tilly on its acquisition of fellow accountancy firm RSM Tenon.

Notable practitioners  

Hugo Jenney is head of the tax practice at the firm. He has a strong reputation for his work in tax leasing, and is also adept at handling a broader range of tax work related to asset finance matters. 

Maryanna Sharrock "is one of the finest tax lawyers with whom I have had the pleasure to work. She has an unusually strong capacity to blend UK tax with US tax planning," enthused one interviewee.

Significant clients Macquarie, Schroders, RSA, Langham Estates, Jupiter Asset Management.

Art and Cultural Property Law - UK-wide

What the team is known for Handles a variety of art-related transactions and disputes. Advises and acts for a diverse range of clients including educational institutions, auction houses and insurers.

Notable practitioners  

Roland Foord has extensive experience in art and cultural property and is head of the firm's art law team. Sources describe him as "a superb litigator" and value his "very detailed knowledge of the art industry."

Asset Finance - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 14 partners
- 22 associates
- 14 other fee earners

What the team is known for Strong track record in rail finance transactions, regularly acting for operators and banks on major rolling stock projects. Predominantly advises banks and financial institutions on offshore and restructuring shipping finance work, as well as aviation finance matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very commercially astute and have taken the effort to understand our business."

"Stephenson Harwood will go the extra mile for its clients."

Work highlights Acted for both DNB and Mizuho Corporate Bank on the USD608 million restructuring of Teekay and Marubeni's joint venture vehicle which was used to acquire A.P. Moller - Maersk's LNG shipping business.

Acted for Guggenheim Aviation Partners on the USD500 million acquisition, financing and leasing of one Airbus and two Boeing aircraft.

Notable practitioners  

Mark Russell leads the firm's international finance group and is lauded for his role advising lenders and borrowers in relation to complex financing and leasing shipping transactions, and restructurings. He was the lead partner on the DNB matter and has been described by market sources as having been "a fixture in shipping for many years - he knows it very well."

Lisa Marks is noted for her rail industry knowledge and regularly advises financial institutions in relation to rolling stock rail finance transactions.

Richard Parsons is experienced across a range of aviation finance transactions including complex loan financing, leasing and restructurings.  

Graeme McLellan leads the firm's rail group and is respected for his work advising financial institutions on major rolling stock transactions. Clients appreciate that "his work is consistently of a very high standard."

Significant clients Abellio Greater Anglia, Macquarie Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Knutsen Shipping, Novus Aviation.

Aviation - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Well-regarded firm that is particularly recognised for its dispute resolution work. Continues to enjoy a fine track record for its work with lessors and airlines.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Very honest; they don't tell you what you want to hear, they give their genuine view. They're very honest in identifying strengths and weaknesses and improving on weaknesses; they don't keep silent when there are potential difficulties and don't pretend that there aren't any pitfalls or that only the good outcome will happen. It is actually very strengthening; no surprises appear down the road."

"Capable and pleasant to deal with." 

What's new? New clients include Ingosstrakh Insurance, AXA, Constellium-Sabart and Vietnam Airlines.

Work highlights Represented the interests of Sky Lounge Services SAL on claims related to the crash of a private jet in 2011.

Assisted the liquidators of MK Airlines with claims arising out of a collision between two aircraft at Johannesburg airport.

Notable practitioners  

"Superstar" Paul Phillips is "always readily available, willing to respond with a quick assessment and follow up with comprehensive briefing." Commentators also praise his ability to keep "abreast of aviation legislation and regulatory developments and speak authoritatively on them." He has a particular depth of experience in contract litigation. 

Russell Binch is admired by clients, one of whom notes: "We get excellent service from him. He's the most energetic and enthusiastic associate. He is good at supplementing his initial advice with new information when he has read up on the specifics; he instils confidence."

Significant clients XL Airways, ELFAA, Blue Wing Airlines, Jazeera Airways, JAT Airways.

Capital Markets - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Established reputation for handling a broad range of AIM-related work for corporate clients and investment banks. Frequently acts for Asian issuers thanks to close integration with the firm's Hong Kong and Singapore offices. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We were very happy with Stephenson Harwood. There were prepared to put a large team on the transaction, and they worked hard to keep to a strict timetable."

Work highlights Advised Weiss Korea Opportunity Fund on its £105 million AIM IPO.

Acted for Liberum Capital and joint broker Cenkos Securities in relation to their role in the AIM IPO of IBEX Global Solutions.

Notable practitioners  

Tom Nicholls is experienced in domestic and international IPOs and secondary issues, with a particular focus on the energy and natural resources sectors. Sources identify him as "pragmatic and helpful - he knows his stuff."

Significant clients Cenkos Securities, Liberum Capital, China Food Company, Radiant Growth Investments, Indus Gas.

Commercial Contracts - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Impressive breadth of expertise, covering areas including outsourcing, service agreements and distribution. Sector experience includes energy, food and beverage and financial services.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They get straight to the root of the issue, understand the personalities round the table and the end goal, and actually give an opinion."

What's new? New client wins include FES Lighting Contracts and Chef Express.

Notable practitioners  

Dan Holland heads the department and is well versed in work including supply and distribution agreements for an impressive list of clients. Sources say: "He tells me what I need to know, not what I want to know. He's very good at crystallising the key points in any contract and he is very practically minded."

Significant clients O-I, Barclays, Aviagen, Mandarin Oriental, Post Office.

Commodities - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Activity in the commodities sector is supported by the firm's acclaimed shipping department. Clients include a number of high-profile energy and commodity traders.

Work highlights Acted for Soma Oil & Gas on the negotiation and agreement of a contract to harness natural resources in Somalia.

Advised Traderight on investments by joint venture signatories, in order to secure membership of the London Metal Exchange (LME).

Notable practitioners  

Haris Zografakis is an experienced trade, shipping and commodities lawyer. "I think the main thing is his legal and commercial nous," said one interviewee. "I just know that he has my back, and it is extremely reassuring."

Paolo Ghirardani maintains a robust shipping practice, and also advises on associated commodities litigation.

Significant clients Chevron, Vitol, Vedanta Group, Macquarie, RBRG.

Employee Share Schemes & Incentives - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for All-encompassing share schemes and incentives practice, handling notable work on corporate transactional matters. Noted for its broad client base, which includes listed companies, start-ups and individuals.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They did exactly what they said they were going to do and they stood behind us, which I think is very important."

Work highlights Advised Kalibrate Technologies on the share plan implications of its £26.2 million IPO.

Assisted Miton Group with the implementation of a bespoke long-term incentives plan for its fund managers.

Notable practitioners  

Barbara Allen is noted for her expertise on remuneration issues. Clients appreciate her commercial approach and she is well regarded within the market for her depth of knowledge. Her clients include Miton Group and GDF SUEZ.

Significant clients Diploma, Intermediate Capital Group, ICAP, GDF SUEZ, Soma Oil & Gas Holdings.

Financial Services - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Regularly acts for individuals in FCA and SFO enforcement proceedings. Additionally adept in representing institutions in regulatory and criminal investigations. Specialist knowledge on client money issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I think they're first-rate. They're often the referral of choice for individual representation."

"Stephenson Harwood is much stronger and much more able to handle lengthy and substantial investigations than a lot of its competitors. It has more resources and greater strength and depth."

Work highlights Acted for the CEO of Prudential, in connection to an investigation by the FSA as to whether the FSA had been given enough notice for Prudential's proposed acquisition of AIA.

Advised the trustees of the Wereldhave Pension Scheme on the £25 million purchase of a bulk annuity contract that covered all of the liabilities held by the pension scheme.

Notable practitioners  

Practice head Tony Woodcock is renowned for taking on contentious regulatory work with a criminal element. He is highly lauded by sources, who call him "very energetic" and "a really wise head for seeing what's coming." He is also described as "hugely experienced and particularly good at dealing with issues with a criminal overlap. He is measured and calm."

Highly impressive former FSA prosecutor Sara George continues to build an outstanding reputation in this area, being praised for her diligence and exceptional knowledge. Interviewees comment: "She is one of the top people I have come across - she's very bright and exceptionally knowledgeable in the area, and gives a degree of expertise that very few solicitors have. She's very high-calibre."

Significant clients Santander, Sanlam, Veritas Asset Management, HSBC.

Fraud - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Handles large-scale fraud disputes, often with an international element. Regularly acts for clients in the financial services sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very good at managing client expectations and put in an enormous amount of time and effort when it comes to dealing with cases."

Work highlights Successfully represented two defendants to a multimillion-dollar claim brought by Sovcomflot and Novoship relating to a number of serious fraud allegations.

Acted for the liquidators of Rangers FC on all aspects of the liquidation, including a £50 million claim of a fraudulent conspiracy relating to the 2011 takeover of the club.

Notable practitioners  

John Fordham is head of commercial litigation and joint head of the civil fraud and asset tracing group. He handles a number of disputes in the financial services industry.

Joint head of the civil fraud and asset tracing group Alan Bercow has particular expertise in fraud disputes arising from Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, and was the lead partner on the dispute between BTA Bank and Mukhtar Ablyazov. One client says: "He's extremely knowledgeable and he factors commercial and strategic considerations into the advice that he provides."

Louis Flannery is head of international arbitration. He acted for two defendants on their successful appeal in the Fiona Trust litigation relating to claims by Sovcomflot and Novoship.

Associate to watch Ros Prince has experience of fraud litigation in the financial services sector, including acting for one of the directors of the collapsed Weavering fund. Market commentators report that "she's absolutely amazing – very intelligent and innovative in her thinking."

Significant clients The Arab Republic of Egypt, Barclays, Unitech, Ben Nevis, Consensus Business Group.

Hotels & Leisure - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Frequently instructed to assist clients with the development and expansion of leisure brands in the UK-wide market. Able to handle the full range of hotel-related work, including redevelopment, financing and franchising arrangements. 

Work highlights Advised on the real estate and construction aspects of the £300 million sale of InterContinental Hotel London Park Lane.

Advised the ETM Group on the expansion of its portfolio of restaurants and public houses in London.

Notable practitioners  

Robert Newman is noted for his "strong eye for details" and broad expertise, including in M&A, redevelopment and construction.

Stephen Laud is acknowledged by commentators as an "effective player in the market." He has significant experience in the sector and a strong client roster including recognised hotels and restaurant chains. 

Significant clients Accor Group, HSBC, Ambassador Theatre Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, 4C Hotels.

Insurance - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Very well-regarded offering with a vibrant marine insurance team that is particularly strong in cargo, liability and political risk coverage. Frequently instructed by the market and Lloyd's syndicates facing large marine losses. Growing presence on energy, mining and fraud work.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They provided us with good technical reports, delivered in a very clear and concise manner. They were easy to read but technically accurate and succinct."

"They provide us with heavyweight legal services." 

"They've certainly given us good advice in hull and liability claims."

Work highlights Advised AXA on a claim for salvage following the grounding of a gas tanker in Indonesia.

Instructed by London market insurers, including Liberty Syndicates, regarding the seizure of an oil tanker by Nigerian authorities following accusations of illegally trading in crude oil.

Notable practitioners  

Market-leading clients say Alex Davis is "exceptionally strong on insurance coverage." He specialises in advising on marine, cargo, H&M and subrogated claims. He is "intelligent and able to give you a view without too many ifs and buts," say interviewees, adding: "He can be very strong when necessary but is aware of other aspects to a case."

Significant clients RSA, Talbot, Hiscox, Beazley, Torus.

International Arbitration - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 23 partners
- 32 associates

What the team is known for Experienced practice acting for major state-owned groups, energy entities and FTSE 100 companies amongst its impressive client base. Well equipped to deal with disputes in prominent Middle Eastern and CIS markets. Offers particular expertise in arbitrations arising from maritime and commodities disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are highly experienced, and well motivated to provide the best professional service to clients." 

Notable practitioners

Practice head Louis Flannery has a notable reputation in the market, receiving significant recent instructions from clients including an Asian conglomerate and an African construction company. His "absolute mastery of the subject matter" maintains his position as a "powerhouse" in arbitration.

Significant clients Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, ALN, People's Insurance Company of China, Nordea Bank Finland.

Investment Funds - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Highlighted as a solid player in closed-end listed and real estate funds. Enjoys a stable client base, which includes numerous leading brokers. Expanding its international client base through the extension of the firm's footprint in the Middle East. Also sought out by clients to advise on complex regulatory matters. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"What sets them apart is their accessibility and availability. Also very robust and thorough in their approach."

"The individuals there are excellent at what they do." 

What's new? Marshall Wace, Brooks Macdonald and Peel Hunt are all new client wins for the team.

Work highlights Acted for Miton Income Opportunities Trust on various issues including the appointment of a new investment manager and subsequent voluntary liquidation of the company.

Advised the Weiss Korea Opportunity Fund on the £105 million IPO of a fund investing in Korean preferred shares.

Notable practitioners  

"Hugely experienced in the investment trusts sector," William Saunders is admired in the market for his partner-led approach to investment fund matters. "He's very good at tailoring his advice to the commerciality of the situation," adds one impressed source. 

Andrew Sutch acted for BlackRock Throgmorton Trust on a significant alteration to its investment policy. His practice is concentrated on acting for offshore funds and offers operational, management and structural guidance to clients.  

Marked out as being a "good combination of commercial and technical," Elizabeth Field maintains a robust practice focusing on closed-end funds on an onshore and offshore basis.

Alex Haynes was instructed by a UK-based securities firm and two UAE-based advisory firms to act on the IPO of GCP Sovereign Infrastructure Debt. "He understands the underlying commercial rationale of what's happening in the transaction; he's very commercial in his approach," notes one approving interviewee.

Significant clients Jupiter Green Investment Trust, Oriel Securities, Chayton Capital, Westhouse Securities, ARC Capital Holdings.

Pensions Litigation - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Impressive expertise in acting for an enviable client roster. Significant experience handling claims on issues including equalisation and professional negligence.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're efficient and they perform very well." 

Work highlights Acted for BCA Pension Trust in a professional negligence claim brought by the sponsoring employer against former advisers alleging a failure to ensure equalisation amendments in the scheme. The client is joined as a defendant as a mechanism to ensure it will be entitled to any remedy sought by the employer.

Acted for Avnet in a professional negligence claim alleging that advice from a scheme administrator that the scheme had no members and could be wound up was negligent.

Notable practitioners

Philip Goodchild heads the department and is known for his expertise in areas such as Part 8 claims and professional negligence cases.

Senior associate Amanda Banister is described as "an outstanding technical pensions lawyer." She is well versed in a range of complex claims and her practice includes significant High Court experience.

Significant clients Beneficiaries of the Hewlett-Packard Pension Scheme, CGGVeritas, Harvey Nichols, Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply, TUI Travel, British Museum.

Projects - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Represents public sector clients, funders and bidders on work in areas including social infrastructure and transport. Also acts in secondary market work, and enjoys a significant profile in the UK, Europe and Africa.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're open and flexible and they have an innovative, tailored approach. They understood the constraints of the project and the client's needs."

"I've been more than satisfied. They think through our requirements then try to translate them into a legal model, and they're able to pick out potential issues."

What's new? New client wins include Interserve Investments and Kajima Partnerships.

Work highlights Acted for the Heads of the Valleys Development Company on a £250 million motorsport project in Wales.

Represented the Romanian National Company for Highways and Roads in the EUR1.8 billion Comarnic–Brașov Highway PPP in the Carpathian Mountains.

Notable practitioners  

Jonathan Cripps's expertise covers areas such as transport and social infrastructure. He is frequently instructed by sponsors and public sector clients in the UK and Europe, and sources comment: "He's very personable and happy to give advice and engage with us on a strategic level."

Significant clients North London Waste Authority, Hitachi Rail Europe, City of Cape Town, GDF Suez, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital.

Shipping - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 14 partners
- 26 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office location: London  

What the team is known for Acts for a range of clients, including commodity traders and insurers, advising on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Highlighted for its shipbuilding expertise and also noted for its ship finance practice.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very knowledgeable, they are available 24 hours a day and the expertise and guidance are top-notch."

"They are very good and provide heavyweight legal services to us." 

Work highlights Advised Fugro, as buyer, on a USD14 million dispute over the termination of a shipbuilding contract for a survey vessel. 

Advised RSA Global on a USD13 million claim for salvage and repairs, against one of its assureds, relating to a collision in Chinese waters.

Notable practitioners  

Paolo Ghirardani advises a range of clients in the international trade and insurance markets on contentious matters including casualties. He is also noted for his trade and shipping fraud practice.  

Stuart Beadnall is regarded for his work on offshore oil and gas and on shipbuilding, where he advises on contentious and non-contentious matters. Sources speak highly of him and he is a well-known presence in the market.

Mike Phillips, head of the shipping practice group, is described as a "very good team leader." He advises a broad clientele, which includes banks and P&I clubs, on issues such as cargo claims and ship finance disputes. He is noted for his Indian and Korean work. 

Alex Davis is highlighted for his expertise in insurance matters. This includes port liability and hull and cargo liability issues. Sources note his "ability to give you a view without putting forward too many ifs and buts." 

Sean Gibbons advises on a broad range of shipping disputes but is particularly noted for his work advising Korean shipyards on offshore and shipbuilding disputes. Sources say that he has the "legal mind and also the commercial mind that shipyards need." 

Ingolf Kaiser has a broad practice advising on matters ranging from dry shipping to ship finance disputes. Sources note that "he gives 110% to all clients." 

Significant clients VITOL, Nordisk, RBS, Petrobras, STX Panocean. 

Transport - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 14 associates

What the team is known for A significantly expanding team, noted for its very high-profile instructions across a range of rail issues. Especially noted for its expertise in franchise bids and rolling stock-related issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"It will go the extra mile for its clients." 

"Very good knowledge of the industry." 

"They're very commercially astute and have made the effort to understand our business."

What's new? The firm has made significant acquisitions to its rail team, having recently hired leading individuals Tammy Samuel, Lisa Marks and Suzanne Tarplee.

Work highlights Advised Abellio on its £510 million Greater Anglia direct award agreement.

Advised Hitachi on its £2 billion bid to manufacture, supply and maintain the rolling stock for the Crossrail project.  

Notable practitioners  

Graeme McLellan is the firm's global head of rail and is well known for his asset finance expertise and advice on rolling stock transactions. One client notes: "We take a lot of comfort from the interest he takes in our business and the visibility he has throughout the deal."

Tammy Samuel advises on a broad range of matters within both the heavy and light rail industry. "She is very quick to understand the issues and has a comprehensive knowledge of the law and its application our field," said one client.

Lisa Marks is noted for her expertise in acting for banks and financial institutions, especially in relation to the financing of assets such as rolling stock.

Suzanne Tarplee is noted for her broad rail expertise and experience in acting on rolling stock and franchise-related deals. Clients note that "she has a very detailed knowledge of the issues and is able to explain points clearly so clients understand." 

Significant clients Interfleet, Macquarie Bank, National Express Group, Northern Rail, Stagecoach.