The Legal 500


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It was a slow start for the M&A market in 2013, with global M&A down significantly in the first half of the year and Europe-targeted M&A particularly low. Q3 and Q4 saw a notable uptick in transactions, though the year’s total deal value for UK M&A activity was its lowest since 2001. The story for 2014 appears much more positive; deal flow is up, and the general feeling among law firms is one of cautious optimism. The booming IPO market is another indicator of increasing investor confidence. US-based acquirers accounted for a large percentage of inbound investment into the UK; 216 deals in 2013 involved US acquirers. Liberty Global’s acquisition of Virgin Media for £16bn accounted for a high proportion of the total deal value attributed to US inbound transactions, and reflected the continued strength of TMT-sector deals.

The capital markets saw a significant uptick in activity in 2013, particularly in the second half of the year. A number of IPOs made the headlines including Royal Mail’s high-profile privatisation, Merlin Entertainment’s £3.2bn float and Barclay’s £5.2bn secondary offering. The AIM market saw its fair share of work, including a £225m IPO by Tungsten Corporation and a £278m IPO by RM2 International. This recovery in the capital markets was broad-based with a wide range of companies taking advantage of the favourable market conditions.

The continued public and political scrutiny of financial institutions’ and corporations’ tax affairs has impacted on the role played by corporate tax lawyers. Tax has become a boardroom issue with advice now encompassing the reputational consequences of tax structures. On the transactional side, the uptick in capital markets deals has helped balance a somewhat patchy M&A market.

Commercial contracts

Index of tables

  1. Commercial contracts
  2. Leading individuals

‘Good value-for-money compared to other City firms', Baker & McKenzie LLP attracts praise for its broad practice and global offering. Its ‘exceptional' five-partner team is noted for its excellent industry knowledge and practical approach. Group head Duncan Reid-Thomas is ‘pragmatic and knowledgeable', and associate Charlotte Harrington stands out for her ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of complicated contracts'. The firm advised Arqiva on its successful bid to the Department of Climate & Energy Change (DECC) for the roll-out of smart meters. Other clients include Google, Carlsberg and Virgin Media.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP provides ‘practical, commercial and expert advice' to a blue-chip client base that includes Tesco, Nike, Barclays and National Grid, and is noted for its strength in IT and outsourcing, where it brings ‘good common sense to the table'. Cross-border capability is demonstrated by advice to Balfour Beatty on its global network strategy implementation. Group head Mark Lewis leads the team, which includes Richard Shaw, ‘a true expert in his field, whose calm, reasoned advice is in great demand', ‘absolutely top-notch' Marcus Pearl, and ‘very experienced' Richard Chapman.

Bird & Bird LLP provides an ‘excellent overall service'. It acted for the DECC on its £2.2bn National Smart Meters Programme, and for Computer Sciences Corporation on the supply of IT services to the NHS. The heavyweight team ‘invests significant time and effort' in understanding the client’s business and includes franchising experts Mark Abell and Graeme Payne, who arrived from Fieldfisher; commercial head Simon Shooter; head of outsourcing Mark Leach; and finance specialist Christian Bartsch. Advice is ‘extremely swift, timely and spot-on'.

Travers Smith LLP’s ‘expert' specialist team has attracted high-profile, international instructions from new clients such as eServGlobal, which the firm advised on its innovative, multinational joint venture with Mastercard and Belgacom for cutting-edge mobile phone payment methods. It also represented Shepherd Neame on its Europe-wide distribution agreements with Kuehne + Nagel. The team has ‘incisive business acumen', ‘gives strong and practical advice' and ‘invests in us to understand our business'. Department head Tom Purton is ‘excellent and friendly', and Richard Brown is a good team leader and ‘well respected among senior managers'.

A heavyweight national team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP advises a raft of FTSE 100 companies, such as British Gas, Diageo, Aviva and Sainsbury’s. It acted for the latter on its joint venture with Vodafone to launch Mobile by Sainsbury’s. Jonathan Davey heads the practice from London and Manchester. Paul Bentham and Andrew Smith are among several experienced partners.

CMS was reappointed to the panels of several blue-chip companies, undertaking some strategically-key, innovative contracts and cross-border outsourcing. John Armstrong heads the team, which ‘uses its technical excellence to guide the client appropriately' and includes the ‘very personable and helpful' Emma Burnett and technology and sourcing specialist Ian Stevens. The practice is boosted by an experienced team in Scotland, which includes Carina Healy, who was formerly at Dundas & Wilson LLP prior to its merger with CMS.

DLA Piper’s dedicated commercial contracts and distribution group includes one of the largest outsourcing teams in the country. Co-head Iain Bowler is singled-out for his ‘good business knowledge' and timely advice, and Kit Burden is widely respected. The firm advised a US multi-channel speciality retailer on its entry into the UK. Clients include Allied Irish Bank, AXA, Smith & Nephew and Honda.

Fieldfisher has a long-held reputation in the field, particularly in respect of technology and outsourcing. Paul Barton, Simon Briskman and team head Robert Shooter act for a coveted client list that includes Vodafone, various government departments, Accenture, Amazon and Nintendo. The firm represented the BBC on several key outsourcing and contractual matters, and acted for BAE Systems in negotiations for its computer-aided design integration programme. Lead franchising partners Mark Abell and Graeme Payne moved to Bird & Bird LLP.

Hogan Lovells International LLP ‘remains the best in the area of complex general commercial contracting' and is a firm of choice for large-scale, cross-border projects. Highlights included advising longstanding client Trinity Mirror on its UK-wide distribution deals, and acting for Johnson & Johnson on the re-tendering of media planning and buying services across the EMEA region. Peter Watts leads the team, which includes Andrew Skipper, who is ‘the master of the practical contract'.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s experienced team is led by David Isaac, who is widely recognised for his outsourcing expertise and strategic, business-critical advice to clients such as Aviva, BAE Systems, and the UK Broadband Delivery Authority. The firm is ‘excellent value for money' with good industry knowledge, ‘hence advice is always appropriate and tailored'. Simon Colvin led advice to French IT supplier Steria Ltd on its joint venture with the UK Cabinet Office to supply business and IT services to government departments.

The ‘very responsive and client-centric'RPC attracts praise for its commercial acumen, and is considered ‘a breath of fresh air'. Oliver Bray is a leading figure, and ‘keen to look at the client-lawyer relationship with a genuinely fresh and innovative approach'. He is supported by an expanding team that includes Sanjay Pritam and technology and telecoms specialist Mark Crichard, who joined from DLA Piper. The firm was appointed sole adviser to McArthurGlen for contracts work following a competitive tender. Other clients include Sports Direct, Daily Mail General Trust and Serco Group.

In a showcase of its expertise, Slaughter and May advised on a landmark technology sourcing and transformation project for Royal Mail. The ‘first-class' Rob Sumroy, head of the firm’s strategic sourcing and technology group, led on that deal. It also acted for Ocado Group on its 25-year agreement with WM Morrisons to facilitate Morrisons’ own online grocery business. Other key partners include David Ives and David Johnson.

Allen & Overy LLP attracts praise for its ‘talent, expertise and experience', industry knowledge, ‘amazing' response times and consistency of advice. It acted for the Ministry of Justice on its new rehabilitation programme, and represented Telenor on its joint venture with MicroEnsure to provide insurance products in Africa and Asia. Tom Levine‘understands complex matters quickly', and senior associate Nigel Parker is ‘unflappable' and ‘great value now before he gets made-up'. Claire Wright is also highly rated.

Dentons is noted for its practical solutions, industry knowledge, ‘exceptional' response times and seamless service between specialists. Sector strengths include retail, energy, banking, technology and hotels. The practice is led by head of TMT Scott Singer, and includes Martin Fanning, who is singled out for his ‘intuitive attitude' and ‘sense of humour'. Franchising partner Babette Märzheuser-Wood joined from Fieldfisher. Clients include Sainsbury’s, the Ministry of Defence and Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Eversheds LLP receives plaudits from across the market for its dedicated, commercial contracts practice, including a niche consumer contracts team. The client roster includes HSBC Bank and Anglo American Services, which the firm advised on a global IT services contract with HCL Technologies. Tom Bridgford heads the well-resourced team.

The ‘highly commercial'Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has an impressive deal list that includes acting for BSkyB on commercial arrangements following its acquisition of Telefónica UK’s consumer broadband and fixed-line telephone business, and is handling key commercial procurement projects for British American Tobacco. The firm also advised on major public sector projects. Nick Elverston has ‘fantastic industry knowledge'. Senior associate Hayley Brady is also recommended.

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin’s specialist commercial contracts team is led by Jeremy Schrire and includes the experienced Andrew Shindler. Sector strengths include manufacturing, betting and gaming, food, retail, leisure, pharma, financial services and technology, and its client base includes Associated British Foods, Ladbrokes, Diageo and Universal Music. The firm provides ‘complicated advice in an easy-to-digest manner' and the depth of industry knowledge is ‘particularly impressive'.

Latham & Watkins’ international practice advises blue-chip companies on high-value, strategic global contracts. Andrew Moyle, Martin Cotterill, Gail Crawford and Singapore-based Luke Grubb lead on deals. Clients include Bacardi-Martini, BSkyB, Diageo, Lloyds Banking Group and Yahoo!

At Linklaters LLP, John Crozier leads a ‘good team' with ‘excellent technical and commercial knowledge'. Other key partners of the cross-departmental team include TMT specialist Richard Cumbley and corporate partner Paul McNicholl. Highlights included acting for the Ministry of Defence on its £14bn Defence Core Network Services programme.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP demonstrates ‘excellent credibility with senior stakeholders in client organisations'. New clients wins include Japan’s Astellas, which it is advising on its global infrastructure outsourcing programme. Other clients include AstraZeneca and Barclays. Laurence Jacobs and Sean Keaton lead the commercial team.

Norton Rose Fulbright acts for both suppliers and customers on a global scale, attracting new clients such as McLaren Racing, Ocado and Admin Re UK. Recent instructions include acting for Old Mutual on a groundbreaking business process outsourcing agreement. Mike Rebeiro and Marcus Evans have ‘strong legal and commercial acumen' and are ‘skilled negotiators'. The firm has ‘strong subject-matter expertise across the team'.

Olswang LLP is ‘incredibly responsive, knows the business and has a strong team'. Clients highlight the firm’s market knowledge, ‘appropriate response to risk' and consistency of service. Clients include BP, Marks & Spencer, Vodafone, Microsoft and Deutsche Telecom. Dominic Dryden, Matthew Bennett and ‘practical, commercial, smart' Ross McKean stand out.

Praised for its ‘great maturity, objectiveness and focused approach', Osborne Clarke boosted its already large team with the hire of John Buyers, former head of commercial, outsourcing and technology at Stephenson Harwood. Buyers and Andy James are ‘a good team and great individually'. It advised Everything Everywhere (EE) on its 4G launch and ongoing agreements. Paul Gardner heads the department.

Simmons & Simmons is praised highly by competitors and clients alike for the ‘quality and breadth of experience within the firm'. Team head Mark Dewar provides ‘clear guidance fashioned with respect to the client’s commercial objectives' and led advice to Telefónica UK on its smart meter implementation programme. Other clients include Monarch, Virgin Media and RBS.

The ‘excellent'Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP fields a large national team, with David Lowe at the helm. The merger brings together two rated commercial teams and includes Jonathan Riley and Vanessa de Froberville from legacy Lawrence Graham. The firm acted for Argos on its innovative collaboration with eBay for a ‘click and collection' service for eBay customers.

Ashurst acted for WM Morrison on its agreement with Ocado to commence an online business, and for International Financial Data Services (IFDS) on its 20-year outsourcing agreement with Old Mutual and Skandia Life. Mark Lubbock heads the cross-department team.

Burges Salmon LLP’s sector-focused commercial team is led by Bristol-based Helen Scott-Lawler and advises an extensive and broad client base comprising Babcock International, Coca-Cola HBC and Virgin Group. The firm advised Nationwide Building Society on its business-critical credit card processing and related services.

The national team at DAC Beachcroft LLP is ‘very commercial, which makes them great value for money' and is ‘the go-to firm for insurance distribution agreements'. Other sectors of expertise include health, IT, telecoms and logistics. Alan Pratt acts for the Royal Mail on numerous commercial matters, and Reg Dhanjal led advice to EE on its mobile virtual network operator agreement with Virgin Mobile. Yorkshire Building Society is a new client.

Fladgate LLP advises a broad client base on domestic and international contracts, such as acting for Media & Sport Management on ‘off-grid' racing events in Jerusalem and Moscow. Key partners include dual-qualified South African lawyer Grant Gordon, IP and technology specialist Eddie Powell and the multilingual Alex Kaufmann. Advice is ‘good, quick and practical'.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s outsourcing practice ‘gets the balance exactly right between anticipating the client’s needs and letting the client direct the transaction appropriately'. In particular, Andrew Craig and associate Laurence Kalman‘quickly get to grips with a novel, complex commercial structure from a previous deal and fine-tune it' and are ‘a pleasure to work with'. Clients include HSBC and Cinven Ltd.

Kemp Little LLP is raising its profile and demonstrating ‘thorough knowledge' in this area. Commercial contracts is a key focus across the firm, which acts for clients such as Burberry and Ernst and Young. It is advising the latter on its sponsorship of the 2014 Ryder Cup as well as individual golfers. Calum Murray and Andrew Joint are both highly experienced. The firm launched its consultancy business Kemp Little Consulting in 2013.

A widely respected team at Macfarlanes LLP advises on a variety of business-critical contracts, such as acting for the British Bankers’ Association on the commercial contracts aspect of its sale of BBA LIBOR, and representing Caterham Cars on its £250m joint venture with Renault for the production of a new sports car. Jeremy Courtenay-Stamp heads the firm’s commercial group.

Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP focuses on high-end domestic and global outsourcing, and acted for Old Mutual on its global IT infrastructure and network services outsourcing. It also advised The National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society on a major outsourcing programme. Alistair Maughan and Chris Coulter led on each deal respectively, and are both highly rated practitioners.

The ‘excellent'Radiant Law continues to attract heavyweight instructions. The ‘extremely innovative' firm is ‘down-to-earth and commercial, which instils trust'. It acted for Deutsche Bank on its deal with IBM for a private cloud solution for its global desktop users. Client gains this year include Direct Line Insurance. Alex Hamilton and Andrew Giverin two of the firm’s co-founders, are recommended.

Clients at Reed Smith LLP rate the firm’s ‘very commercial advice' that is ‘to the point' and ‘does not sit on the fence'. Sakil Suleman stands out for his attention to detail and client care. James Wilkinson heads the growing, broad practice that acted for Channel 4 on its advertising sales agreement with BT, and represented Debenhams on its store card contract with Santander. McDonald’s and The Wellcome Trust are also clients.

Bircham Dyson Bell is ‘streets ahead of some firms', and attracts much praise for its professionalism and ‘significant contracts expertise'. Sector strengths include not-for-profit, health, education and welfare-to-work. Clients include the College of Emergency Medicine, Relate and Certsure LLP. Paul Voller heads the practice, which welcomed corporate and commercial lawyer Nick McCarthy into the partnership from Fox Williams LLP.

Blake Morgan LLP’s broad expertise covers notable experience in banking through Simon Stokes and Sheilah Mackie, and human resource outsourcing expertise through Bridget Wood. Clients include the Healix Group and domestic and international banks.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s expanding offering includes sector strengths in retail, chemicals and manufacturing, transport and financial institutions. Paula Bartlett is leading advice to Post Office Ltd on its transformation programme to modernise its network; Nick Barwood heads the practice, which also acts for AIG and Total.

The standalone commercial team at Charles Russell LLP, led by Jason Saiban, has ‘excellent knowledge' and acts for an enviable client list of household-name companies from the retail and leisure, TMT, sport and charities sectors, among others. Key clients include Nike, which the firm advised on sponsorship contracts with the England football team, SuperGroup and ITV. Since publication, Charles Russell LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP have merged to form Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Clifford Chance’s first-rate corporate practice includes sophisticated outsourcing and general commercial agreements capability. Work examples include BPO and ITO deals for major financial institutions and acting on the commercial aspects of transactions, such as Suntory’s acquisition of the worldwide Ribena and Lucozade brands and business from GlaxoSmithKline. André Duminy is global head of outsourcing.

Sectoral strengths at Covington & Burling LLP include life sciences, technology, chemicals, sports and brands. Highlights included acting for key client AstraZeneca on various collaboration agreements and advising Drayson Racing Technologies on various contracts in the cutting-edge area of electric car racing. Daniel Pavin, Simon Amies and Lucinda Osborne are among the lead partners.

Holman Fenwick Willan’s ‘excellent-quality' offering comprises a cross-department group that includes shipping and transport, projects, finance, technology and aerospace expertise. The firm’s advice to Garuda Indonesia, the national air carrier, is typical of the international nature of the practice. Key partners include Anthony Woolich, Alistair Mackie and Giles Kavanagh.

Jones Day advises on outsourcing, supply and distribution agreements, as well as the commercial contract aspects of corporate transactions and disputes, with niche strength in technology and telecoms under the leadership of Jonathon Little. Elizabeth Robertson was made partner.

K&L Gates LLP provides ‘big firm service but is willing to listen on fees when necessary'. High-profile clients include Puma, which it advised on football sponsorship, and Amazon, American Express and Virgin. Neil Baylis is an experienced commercial lawyer with added competition expertise, and IP, gambling and sport specialist Andrew Danson‘knows his industries well'. Anthony Fine joined the team from White & Case LLP.

Outsourcing is the main focus at Mayer Brown International LLP, where transactions are typically large, cross-border matters such as acting for Unilever on the renegotiation of its multi-jurisdictional telecoms arrangements with BT. HSBC and AT&T are also clients. Peter Dickinson and Mark Prinsley co-head the practice.

Mills & Reeve LLP has a dedicated, standalone practice headed by Greg Gibson that is ‘quick to grasp the issues with no faffing about on matters of little value'. Its client roster covers significant public bodies and charities, including the Department of Health, which the firm advised on the restructuring of NHS supply of goods and services agreements; and the British Council, which it advised on its contract to deliver the EU’s Erasmus+ programme for education and sport.

Mishcon de Reya goes from strength to strength under the leadership of Lewis Cohen, and was boosted by the arrival of Adam Rose, former head of IT at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. The firm advises Tottenham Hotspur FC on its entire commercial contracts needs, including sponsorship, media, international licensing and the recent succession of club manager contracts. Other clients include Tesco, which it is advising on the expansion of its F&F clothing range, and Gucci.

The global sourcing practice at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP handles some major contracts for big-ticket clients, such as Direct Line Group, which the firm is advising on multi-jurisdictional IT infrastructure agreements with Capgemini. Mike Pierides led on that matter. Capita, GE and GlaxoSmithKline are also clients of the practice, which is led by Tim Wright.

Shoosmiths LLP handles day-to-day work for FTSE 100 clients such as British American Tobacco, as well as complex, cross-border contracts, for example acting for Tui Group on the outsourcing by easyJet of its package holiday business. The firm has a dedicated and expanding national team led by David Jackson, which includes key partners Paul de Vince and Simon Edwards.

Stephenson Harwood’s dedicated contracts team is led by Dan Holland, who ‘crystalises the key areas of a contract' and has a ‘good support team'. The firm acts on big-ticket commercial agreements for key clients such as Barclays Bank, KPMG and Post Office Ltd, which was a new panel win in the past year. Jonathan Kirsop was made partner. The firm has a separate IT and outsourcing offering.

Taylor Wessing LLP focuses on IT and telecoms-sector outsourcing, attracting both customer and supplier clients such as Visa, DC Thomson and Lancashire County Council. Much of the ‘innovative' team comprises IT and telecom specialists, including Graham Hann, Glyn Morgan and Tracey Sheehan.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP draws on expertise from its public-sector commercial, corporate and projects and construction teams to deliver a ‘professional and knowledgeable' service to a broad mix of clients. It acted for Malaysian company iGene on the UK roll-out of its new-generation digital autopsy facility. Clients include Crown Agents Ltd, AmeyCespa Ltd and numerous local authorities. James Hawkins and Riccardo Abbate are key partners.

Bates Wells Braithwaite advises on the full range of contracts work, and experienced marked growth in the past two years under the leadership of Richard Marke. Sectoral strengths include digital media, technology and not-for-profit. The firm acted for Thomson Directories in its significant print contract with Einsa SA. Peter Bohm is also recommended.

Fox Williams LLP specialises in agency, distribution and supply agreements, and fields a niche team focusing on advising principals, agents, suppliers and distributors on agency and distribution agreements. Stephen Sidkin leads that team, and also heads the firm’s wider commerce and technology department. Clients include SuperGroup, Wolverine Worldwide and Hardy Amies.

The media, brands and technology practice at Lewis Silkin LLP handles a wide range of commercial contracts, such as franchising, manufacturing and supply agreements on behalf of client Lush. Marks and Spencer, Unilever and the Royal Albert Hall are also clients of the team, which ‘always takes the commercial approach' and includes Helen Cavanagh and James Gill.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s recent merger unites two standalone teams with Anna Frankum and Chris Shelley at the helm. Clients include Tata Group, Kimal plc and Alpha LSG. Sector focuses comprise retail and fashion, technology, life sciences and publishing.

Memery Crystal LLP has a dedicated contracts team led by Stephen Milne, who is noted for his good communication skills. The team as a whole are ‘simply nice people who are very good at what they do'. The firm acted for advertising provider Ubiquitous on the renewal of its contract with Vodafone for a high-profile advertising campaign on London taxis.

Simons Muirhead & Burton has a focused practice, particularly in the retail, media and entertainment, and publishing sectors. It acted for independent record label Good Soldier Records on its contractual deal with Warner ADA UK. Maninder Gill is singled out for his ‘abundance of commercial franchise and licensing experience within the field of fashion retail'.

Weightmans LLP is expanding the practice and ranks a number of high-profile public sector organisations and companies among clients. It acts for Great Ormond Street Hospital on a number of procurement and shared services agreements, and represented The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company on EU procurement and commercial contract issues for various matters. Partners of note include Sean Crotty and Martin Vincent.

Corporate tax

Index of tables

  1. Corporate tax
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP provides ‘the very best expertise delivered by personable people'. Practice head David Haworth, a ‘calm, considered and commercial lawyer', advised the joint bookrunners on the sale by UK Financial Investments of 6% of its shareholding in Lloyds Banking Group. David Taylor is praised for his ‘depth of knowledge and commercial approach'. Colin Hargreaves is recommended on corporate transactions and Paul Davison is a key contact for capital markets and bank lending work. Sarah Falk is now a consultant.

At Linklaters LLP, head of group Yash Rupal advised Lloyds Banking Group on the sale of its German life insurance subsidiary in a €300m deal. In addition to its steady stream of high-value transactional work, the practice handles complex reorganisations, and Martin Lynchehan handled a £1.15bn real estate refinancing for Intu Properties which involved transferring Intu’s ownership of shopping centres into a newly established security group. Elizabeth Conway is also recommended. Private equity specialist Timothy Lowe was made partner.

Slaughter and May’s multidisciplinary tax lawyers ‘are fantastic business partners', providing ‘thorough and clearly communicated advice in a timely manner'. ‘Industry legend' Steve Edge advised Vodafone on its disposal of a 45% interest in Verizon Wireless in a $130bn transaction. Sara Luder heads the tax practice, which also includes Tony Beare, real estate expert William Watson and ‘very commercial' newly appointed partner Dominic Robertson.

Allen & Overy LLP wins plaudits for its ‘can-do attitude combined with a high degree of technical knowledge'. Vimal Tilakapala, co-head of corporate tax, advised The Co-operative Bank on the structuring and implementation of its recapitalisation, the first non-government rescue of a UK bank. Fellow corporate tax co-head Christopher Harrison acted for GlaxoSmithKline on its £1.35bn disposal of Lucozade and Ribena. Lydia Challen is recommended as ‘authoritative and confident' and Mark Middleditch is a key contact for asset finance work.

At Clifford Chance, newly appointed global head of tax Chris Davies advised Avis Budget on the establishment of a securitisation programme to finance its European car rental activities in a €1.5bn deal. The practice’s wide client base also includes many of the bulge-bracket banks as well as Royal Dutch Shell, Kraft and ITV. Dan Neidle and former practice head David Harkness are also recommended.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s client base and expertise spans energy (EdF, BHP Billiton), insurance (Friends Life), investment funds (Blackrock), and TMT (Telefónica UK, BSkyB). Howard Murray, Bradley Phillips, and William Arrenberg are all recommended. Isaac Zailer is advising Cazenove Capital Holdings on the £424m takeover by Schroders.

Ashurst is recommended for its ‘excellent level of expertise in tax structuring', as well as for its ‘responsiveness and pragmatic advice'. Richard Palmer’s team acted on a large number of IPOs in 2013, including Merlin Entertainment’s £3.2bn float. Nicholas Gardner led on that deal, while Alexander Cox, who has particular strengths in private equity, handled the tax advice to the underwriters in Tritax Big Box REIT’s IPO.

‘Outstanding technical expertise' underpins Baker & McKenzie LLP’s work, which includes advising large multinationals on a very wide range of international tax matters including transfer pricing (‘the team comes into its own in complex multi-jurisdictional projects'). ‘Good lateral thinker' Alex Chadwick heads a sizeable team, praised for its ‘excellent strength in depth', that includes ‘skilled communicator' Richard Fletcher and M&A transactional tax practice head James Smith.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP is particularly recommended for its real estate expertise, acting for such clients as Land Securities, Tesco, and the Canary Wharf Group. Michael Wistow heads the sizeable tax department and John Overs heads the corporate tax team. Neville Wright joined DLA Piper in January 2014.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘team of experts provides advice that is tuned to clients’ needs and market relevant'. Practice head Karen Hughes, praised for her ‘clear technical analysis', advised the Trustees of the Kodak Pension Plan on a $650m business acquisition, a particularly complex transaction. Kevin Ashman and real estate expert Philip Gershuny are also recommended.

Macfarlanes LLP’s three-partner team provides ‘clear, concise and balanced advice' drawing on ‘excellent industry knowledge', particularly in the investment funds space. It advises on tax planning as well as transactional matters. Ashley Greenbank, who has ‘exceptional technical knowledge', advised Verizon on its $130bn acquisition of Vodafone’s interest in Verizon Wireless.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, Matthew Hodkin is a renewable energy (Greencoat Wind UK, Green Investment Bank) expert, practice head Louise Higginbottom regularly advises on energy (Centrica) and transport matters (Monarch Airlines), and Dominic Stuttaford is an Africa specialist. The team is recommended for both transactional work and its capabilities in aviation and shipping structured finance.

Travers Smith LLP’s ‘strong and responsive team' is recommended for its ‘depth of knowledge'. The practice taps into the firm’s impressive private equity client base to act on a range of transactions including Equistone Partners Europe’s simultaneous acquisitions of MDNX Group and Easynet (Russell Warren leading). Kathleen Russ heads the practice.

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin strengths in real estate are reflected in its work for British Land Company, acting on its £472m disposal of Ropemaker Place (Giles Bavister leading) and its £470m acquisition of Aviva’s Paddington Central estate (Heather Corben leading). The team is equally experienced in working for fund managers, large corporates, and financial institutions.

Latham & Watkins is ‘rated very highly in terms of its customer service and timeliness of advice'. Clients include Aviva, Omnicon Group, and SABMiller, and the practice is also recommended as ‘second to none in the high yield and leveraged finance markets'. Sean Finn is praised for his ‘good technical knowledge and commercial skills', and newly promoted partner Karl Mah is a ‘superb technical practitioner who understands his clients’ objectives'.

Boutique corporate tax firm NGM Tax Law LLP is praised as ‘very professional, knowledgeable, flexible and responsive'. Simon Meredith, Keith Gregory, and Mark Nichols‘handle transactions effectively and proactively', providing a wide range of high-profile clients with partner-led advice.

Nabarro LLP provides ‘a good mix of commercial and technical advice in responsive fashion'. Kirsten Prichard Jones advised Primary Health Properties on its £69.8m acquisition of Primary Health Care Centres and simultaneous re-organisation. Michael Cant and Nick Burt, who ‘makes deals happen', are also recommended.

Olswang LLP’s diverse client base includes the BBC, Better Capital, and F&C REIT Asset Management. Practice head Mark Joscelyne advised Vodafone on its joint venture with Sainsbury’s to establish a new mobile virtual network operator, and Natasha Kaye advised ITV on its acquisition of Garden Productions Limited. Graham Chase is ‘technically very sound and commercial in his approach'.

Nick Cronkshaw’s team at Simmons & Simmons wins plaudits for its ‘good responsiveness and ability to get things done'. Martin Shah advised BlueCrest Capital Management on its $750m financing and related reorganisation. The deal reflects the practice’s strength in acting for asset management and investment funds, one of its five core sector capabilities alongside energy, life sciences, financial services, and TMT. Mark Sheiham is ‘proactive in advancing transactions'.

At Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP, practice head Tim Sanders is recommended for his expertise in handling cross-border M&A matters, having recently advised Mylan in the $1.6bn acquisition of Indian firm Agila Specialties Private. James Anderson, who is ‘dedicated to understanding his clients’ needs', is a private capital specialist.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP stands out for its work in financial services, where Elaine Gwilt advised One Savings Bank on a corporate regulatory transaction; and real estate. The practice also draws on the firm’s strengths in private equity to provide transactional and standalone advice to clients such as 3i and Brakes Bros. Peter Sayer is another key contact.

CMS ‘provides genuinely value-adding advice' through its combination of ‘technical excellence' and ‘strong industry knowledge'. Practice head Richard Croker is a real estate expert, and Aaron Fairhurst‘has the experience and expertise to advise on complex issues' with a particular specialism in warranty and indemnity insurance. Sam Dames is recommended on cross-border structured finance and M&A matters.

Real estate tax expert Richard Woolich is DLA Piper’s new head of practice; he recently structured complex transactions for AXA and Mass Mutual. Former head Stephen Hoyle continues to act on a wide range of tax matters and is developing the international tax practice, with Thomas Dick also moving from New York to London to strengthen the US tax desk.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘very knowledgeable and experienced' lawyers are praised for their ‘valuable tax advice on fund formation'. Richard Ward’s team also acts on a range of transactional matters. Matthew Saronson advised longstanding client Norilsk Nickel on the tax aspects of its $2.1bn five-year unsecured syndicated loan facility.

Fieldfisher’s ‘tax team stands out thanks to its excellent industry knowledge, practical experience and technical expertise'. Derek Hill is an intellectual property taxation expert with a strong TMT and life sciences-focused client base. Nick Noble leads the team’s financial services work.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s seven-strong tax team draws on the firm’s impressive private equity client base to advise on sizeable transactions and restructurings including Bain Capital’s $230m acquisition of Plasma Resources (Ian Taplin leading) and KKR & Co’s $1bn purchase of the Crosby Group (Jane Scobie leading).

Mayer Brown International LLP ‘shows clear expertise and provides timely commercial advice'. Practice head Sandy Bhogal, whose practice spans a range of corporate tax matters, is praised as ‘one of the market leaders in the financial services tax field'. James Hill advised Moody’s Investor Services on its acquisition of Amba Research.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP’s ‘client-service-oriented' team is lauded for its ‘great responsiveness, diligence and constant drive to move projects forward'. Practice head Tom Scott is praised for his ‘deep knowledge of the corporate world'. James Ross is advising a range of international start-ups on their international holding structures, reflecting the practice’s standalone advisory strengths.

Pinsent Masons LLP ‘allies strong technical knowledge with good understanding of client needs and objectives'. Eloise Walker advised the LSE on a £125m bond issue to assist in its campus development. Tom Cartwright was made partner.

Ropes & Gray LLP significantly bolstered its practice in December 2013 when it hired leading individual Brenda Coleman from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Her wide-ranging transactional and advisory tax expertise will complement the practice’s strengths in private equity and cross-border M&A. In October 2014, John Baldry left for Temple Tax Chambers.

Specialist tax firm Rosetta Tax LLP attracts praise for its ‘great breadth of expertise and excellent value for money'. Charles Goddard is ‘very good with clients', Linda Adelson is ‘excellent in VAT matters', and Graham Brough’s ‘problem solving is exemplary'.

Shearman & Sterling LLP provides ‘practical, solutions-driven advice and good response times'. A new arrival from Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Sarah Priestley acted for private equity firm Permira and for the founders of television production company All3Media on establishing a new incentive plan. Counsel Simon Letherman advised Vivendi on the £487m disposal of Parlophone by subsidiary Universal Music Group.

At Sidley Austin LLP, Will Smith‘blends technical excellence with a great grasp of business issues', and practice head Drew Scott, who divides his time between disputes and transactional tax matters, is ‘results oriented', providing ‘top-level advice and excellent response times'.

At Stephenson Harwood, practice head Hugo Jenney, who is praised for his ‘proactive approach to deals', advised HNA Group of China on its acquisition of transport equipment leaser TIP Trailer Services Group in a deal that illustrates his transactional, asset finance and transport sector capabilities. Maryanna Sharrock is recommended for her funds expertise.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s cross-border tax capability covers transactional and advisory matters, and Michael McGowan’s team can draw on the expertise of resident US tax partner Eric Wang as well as the firm’s extensive international network of lawyers. Highlights included advising Fiat Industrial on its merger with CNH Global NV and acting for Goldman Sachs in various sales and investments.

Taylor Wessing LLP ‘reacts very quickly to find feasible solutions to complex situations'. Peter Jackson, a ‘very good team leader who is easy to work with', advised Tritax Big Box REIT on the tax aspects of its IPO. Nikol Davies acted for the management team of Avelo FS Holdings on the £210m sale of the company to Australian financial services technology provider IRESS.

‘Expert maritime law firm' Watson Farley & Williams LLP combines ‘first-class industry knowledge' with ‘strong experience' to provide ‘good value for money'. Outside of shipping work, the ‘very helpful' Richard Stephens acted on a series of wind and solar farm investments, and Michael L’Estrange advised Isuzu Motors on its acquisition of Isuzu’s UK distribution company.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ tax expertise derives from the firm’s strengths in fund formation and private equity. Head Jonathan Kandel advises on tax planning matters, regularly liaising with HMRC, and on transactional as well as restructuring matters. Clients include Carlyle, OMERS, and Lehman Brothers. Former practice head Brenda Coleman joined Ropes & Gray LLP, and Sarah Priestly joined Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Customs and excise

Baker & McKenzie LLP wins praise for its ‘very fast response times and excellent quality of work' which is ‘attuned to clients’ needs'. Head of international trade Ross Denton is recommended for his ‘in-depth knowledge' and newly made counsel Jennifer Revis is ‘proactive, attentive and completely reliable'.

DLA Piper’s team is ‘customer focused, providing good value for money'. Practice head Mike Pullen advised Intelligent Energy on regulatory and export-control issues regarding the launch of a new product on the EU market. Aline Doussin has joined Squire Patton Boggs.

Pinsent Masons LLP can draw on a sizeable tax practice to advise multinationals, particularly from the food and beverage sector, on customs disputes and compliance matters. Stuart Walsh displays ‘strong client-care skills' and associate Jake Landman is also recommended.

The Khan Partnership LLP is advising Unifruit Group on multiple disputes with HMRC including classification and country of origin issues, and is acting for warehouse operator London City Bond on an excise-duty dispute with another warehouse. Hassan Khan and Michelle Sloane are recommended.

BCL Burton Copeland is ‘at the forefront of tax-fraud litigation'. Harry Travers is ‘highly intelligent and tactically astute'.

Dechert LLP is recommended for its ‘detailed knowledge of the compliance regimes across the globe'. John Forrest‘provides practical advice' and Miriam Gonzalez is also recommended.

Monty Raphael QC’s broad white-collar crime practice at Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP encompasses customs and excise disputes and investigations.

Experienced dispute resolution specialist Maurice Martin is a key contact at Withers LLP.

EU and competition

Index of tables

  1. EU and competition
  2. EU and competition: Trade, WTO, anti-dumping, customs
  3. Leading individuals

With ‘a good track record in various industry sectors', Clifford Chance is a popular choice for complex investigations and merger control cases for a client base of financial institutions and household name companies. Among the team’s successes in 2013 was its representation of Booker Group in its review by the Competition Commission regarding the acquisition of Makro; clearance was obtained at both local and national level. Alastair Mordaunt and the ‘outstanding' Greg Olsen played key roles. Praise is also levelled at the ‘authoritative' and ‘insightful' Alex Nourry.

The ‘absolutely first-class' team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP attracts praise for its ability to ‘quickly grasp the key strategic issues'. Handling the full breadth of competition law work, the sizeable team is well versed in merger control, cartel investigations, market investigations and regulatory and state aid issues. Simon Priddis leads the team, which includes the ‘quick-thinking' and ‘insightful' Deirdre Trapp, and Alastair Chapman, who ‘brings a studied, thorough and thoughtful approach to his advice'. James Aitken, Nicholas French and Bea Tormey are also recommended.

The ‘extremely capable' and ‘highly dedicated' team at Linklaters LLP is able to utilise its global network to handle multi-jurisdictional investigations. On the domestic front, it has had a number of recent successes in obtaining unconditional clearances for clients in UK transactions. Practice head Paula Riedel‘comes with a very strong team behind her'; particular praise is given to the ‘very smart' Nicole Kar; ‘very insightful lawyer' Christian Ahlborn; ‘merger expert' Simon Pritchard; and Michael Cutting, who has ‘a wide range of experience across the board'.

Slaughter and May’s “best-friend” approach to international work, as well as its own offices in Hong Kong and Beijing, allow it to handle multi-jurisdictional matters, including its advice to Thermo Fisher on a complex merger control which required multiple filings in various countries. State aid is another area of expertise for the team; here, Isabel Taylor‘leads and oversees an excellent team contribution'. Practice head Philippe Chappatte‘can push water uphill', and Bertrand Louveaux is ‘able to combine an eye for detail with the big strategic picture'. Lisa Wright is ‘a superstar in the making'.

Allen & Overy LLP handles the full range of competition work, from cartel investigations to merger control, with 2013 seeing the team receiving instructions from its longstanding client base which includes financial services companies and major corporates, as well as a number of new client wins. Alasdair Balfour joined from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP and Vanessa Turner joined from Visa Europe; she is based in London and Brussels. Mark Friend and Antonio Bavasso are also recommended.

The highly regarded Nigel Parr leads the team at Ashurst, which includes five economists and has experience advising clients which are the target of regulatory investigations. Recent transactional highlights for the team include its representation of Imerys, which acquired Goonvean; in that case, the Competition Commission accepted a price-control remedy without requiring any divestments. Duncan Liddell is also recommended.

Noted for its expertise in both contentious and non-contentious competition matters, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has an impressive client base which stretches across a broad range of industries. Practice head and ‘very able all-round lawyer' James Quinney has experience in the energy sector, and Susan Black has a particular focus on financial institutions; she is ‘very responsive' and ‘good at getting non-lawyers to understand legal issues'. Veronica Roberts and André Pretorius are also recommended.

A ‘very good firm', Hogan Lovells International LLP‘brings a clear strategic and commercial focus'. Its expertise in merger control is illustrated by it being chosen by Liberty Global to advise on merger clearance from the European Commission on its acquisition of Virgin Media. It is also a popular choice for clients in sensitive investigations. Suyong Kim is ‘very astute', and Susan Bright provides ‘sound and exceptionally considered advice'. Christopher Hutton has an ‘excellent technical mind and commercial sensibilities'.

Simon Holmes leads the team at King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin, which has experience handling sensitive cartel investigations as well as merger control and market investigations. Managing partner Stephen Kon is a highly regarded figure in the competition world; he was part of a cross-practice team which advised Universal Music on obtaining merger clearance for its acquisition of EMI Music. Tom Usher is also recommended.

‘Well staffed in various jurisdictions', Baker & McKenzie LLP‘combines attention to detail with good business acumen and a high level of industry knowledge'. Keith Jones advised a number of clients on merger clearances, including Crane Co following its acquisition of MEI Group. Luis Gomez is ‘thorough but efficient'. Sunny Mann and Ross Denton are well regarded for their expertise in exports and trade compliance.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP has particular expertise in the infrastructure and utilities sectors, and often works alongside colleagues in the specialist energy and transportation departments. Chris Bryant, ‘whose client contact is very good', provided advice to a public body throughout 2013 in relation to state-aid matters. Adrian Magnus is also recommended; he and practice head David Harrison have experience advising financial services clients.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s competition team remains strong despite the departures of Mark Jones to Hogan Lovells International LLP and Michael Grenfell to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The four-partner team now includes Ian Giles, who was promoted to partner in 2013 and is ‘one to watch', and Mark Simpson, who was promoted in 2014. Peter Scott and Martin Coleman are also recommended.

As well as being a popular choice for companies in the financial services sector, Simmons & Simmons serves a broad client base which includes HMV, ENI and Qatar Petroleum International. In the TMT space, it works alongside IP colleagues to advise on issues at the intersection between IP and competition law. Oliver Heinisch is a ‘very sharp professional', and Charles Bankes is ‘exceptional in this field'. Peter Broadhurst is also recommended.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP advises a solid base of clients, particularly in the regulated utilities sector. In the healthcare space, the team has recently handled merger control and market investigation work. Praise is levelled at the ‘commercial and responsive' Rona Bar-Isaac and the ‘smart and practical' Bruce Kilpatrick.

Though better known for its strength in Brussels, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s notable UK competition law capability is illustrated by its involvement in major merger control and market investigations for household name clients. Nicholas Levy and Maurits Dolmans maintain a presence in both London and Brussels and are recommended.

Ros Kellaway leads the team at Eversheds LLP, which is active in both market investigations and merger control, and acts for a number of financial services clients as well as corporate clients across the consumer, automotive and healthcare sectors. James Robinson handles state-aid and public-procurement matters. Stephen Rose is recommended for his ‘thoughtful and practical approach'.

At Latham & Watkins, Omar Shah and Marc Hansen attract particular praise; Shah ‘responds quickly' with ‘answers that are concise and to the point'; and Hansen is ‘well connected and experienced'. Both divide their time between the London and Brussels offices, as does John Colahan.

Macfarlanes LLP has ‘an unusually high level of experience and expertise in EU and competition law for a firm of its size'. Recent instructions for the two-partner team include complex merger clearance and investigations. Marc Israel’s practice covers contentious and non-contentious competition in both a UK and EU context. Malcolm Walton‘combines a holistic and profound understanding of competition law with “surgical precision” in representing the clients’ interests'.

The ‘excellent practice' at Pinsent Masons LLP‘punches above its weight', with expertise across the full spread of competition matters. The ‘extremely knowledgeable' Alan Davis advised a client in the private motor insurance investigation. Jenny Block is praised for her ‘deep understanding of the regulatory regime and keen mind'. Practice head Guy Lougher is also recommended.

Praised for its ‘phenomenally good response times' and ‘user-friendly and effective advice', Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP’s sector expertise spans retail, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and fast-moving consumer goods. Group head Susan Hinchliffe advised key client GE on the competition elements of the disposal of its power rental business. Tim Frazer is recommended.

Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP’s team was significantly bolstered by the arrival of Frances Murphy from Jones Day in October 2013. She joins Davina Garrod, who maintains a cross-border practice across the full spread of competition law work; recent highlights include her advice to the owners of Kayak following the company’s acquisition by Priceline, where multi-jurisdictional clearances were needed. Since publication, Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP has become part of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Bird & Bird LLP receives plaudits for its ‘practical advice' and ‘extensive knowledge of competition law'. Behavioural work features prominently, with merger control also keeping the team busy during 2013. The firm’s strength in IP and TMT means there is a particular leaning towards antitrust issues at the interface between competition and IP law. Richard Eccles and Peter Willis are recommended.

The ‘unflappable' Pat Treacy leads the competition practice at Bristows LLP, which saw the arrival of Rosemary Choueka in 2014. Its strength lies in IT, TMT and life sciences, and it has experience handling competition law issues relating to IP. Samsung Electronics, Google and Sony Computer Entertainment are among its list of clients.

Laura Claydon leads the team at Burges Salmon LLP, which includes procurement and state-aid expert John Houlden. Matthew O’Regan and recommended associate Ruth Jefferson continued to advise a client in a market investigation into private motor insurance.

CMS is recognised for its ‘strength in the life sciences/pharmaceutical sector', and is also experienced in advising clients from a wide spread of industries including financial services, energy and utilities. Graeme Young joined the team as a result of the firm’s merger with Dundas & Wilson LLP in 2014. He joins Susan Hankey and Caroline Hobson in the London office.

DLA Piper’s competition department includes cartel and litigation specialist Kate Vernon, Mike Pullen, who is building up the trade and public affairs practice, and Alexandra Kamerling, who recently provided Etihad Airways with merger control and regulatory advice. Martin Rees left the firm in 2013.

Fieldfisher advises both domestic and international clients in regulated sectors such as energy, telecoms and finance. Nick Pimlott impresses with his ‘technical legal ability and depth of knowledge', and Philippe Ruttley is praised as ‘thorough and conscientious'. Charles Whiddington leads the team.

Jones Day’s London team works alongside colleagues within the firm’s global network to advise on multi-jurisdictional merger clearance; in a highlight matter, a multi-office team recently advised Cabot Corporation on merger control following its acquisition of NHUMO. Matt Evans and Vincent Brophy are recommended. Former practice head Frances Murphy left in 2013.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s expertise spans cartels, market inquiries, merger clearances and internal investigations. Gillian Sproul heads the growing team, which counts Capita, Lindt and Mittal Investments among its clients. The ‘commercial and smart' Merlie Calvert is a ‘professional operator who has the clients’ objective at the forefront'.

Nabarro LLP has been heavily involved in major market investigations, and also maintains an active merger control practice. Praised for its ‘very high levels of service and professionalism', the practice leverages the strong reputation of its two partners: the ‘tenacious' and ‘pragmatic' Brian Sher; and Cyrus Mehta, who is ‘a wise and understated lawyer of great experience and talent'.

Olswang LLP has a strong TMT client base which includes Microsoft, Cineworld and Aegis Group. In the pharmaceutical space, practice head Howard Cartlidge’s ‘meticulous encyclopaedic documentation and first-rate awareness of the issues facing the industry means he is always able to assist with cutting-edge issues'.

Reed Smith LLP’s global platform is of benefit in multi-jurisdictional investigations and mergers, which are handled with frequency by the two-partner competition team. Recent instructions for Edward Miller include his advice to a client in an OFT investigation. Marjorie Holmes has ‘profound and vast legal knowledge' and ‘can communicate complex risk assessment in a succinct and readable format'.

The ‘dedicated and personable team' at Shearman & Sterling LLP provides an ‘excellent cross-border service'. Its impressive client base of well-known companies turns to it not only for high-profile merger clearance advice, but also for representation in major market investigations. Matthew Readings is recommended.

The ‘very responsive' competition team at Sidley Austin LLP maintains a busy merger control practice; 2013 saw it providing merger clearance advice to a number of its corporate clients including Flextronics and Servco Pacific. David Went worked with colleagues in Brussels to represent a client in the European Commission’s investigation into the power cables sector. Associate Patrick Harrison‘punches above his weight in terms of advice and gravitas'.

The addition of Martin Rees in 2014 strengthened Squire Patton Boggs’ team, which already included key partners Diarmuid Ryan and Ann LaFrance. Between them they handle a broad spread of competition law work across various industries, though LaFrance’s notable expertise in telecommunications means a number of the team’s recent instructions are based in this sector.

Travers Smith LLP has an active behavioural practice, and also recently obtained merger clearance for two of its longstanding clients. Its growing client base is drawn from a variety of industries, including pharmaceutical, media and financial services. Nigel Seay is ‘very knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with'; and senior associate Stephen Whitfield is ‘insightful and user friendly'.

Charles Russell LLP is particularly active in the TMT space, where it counts ITV, Gamma Telecom and YouView among its clients. Paul Stone‘understands the regulatory regime but also understands how his clients think and react'. Associate Elora Mukherjee is also recommended. Since publication, Charles Russell LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP have merged to form Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

The ‘extremely approachable and down-to-earth' Alexandra Von Westernhagen heads the competition practice at DAC Beachcroft LLP. Healthcare and financial services are key areas of focus for the team; recent instructions include state aid, investigations and public procurement.

Dentons handles transactional and advisory work as well as market and cartel investigations for clients based in a variety of sectors such as energy, aviation and manufacturing. A multi-office team, which included London competition practice head Sam Szlezinger, advised Molex in obtaining merger clearance for its acquisition by Koch Industries.

Clients of the ‘very professional and efficient' team at Dickson Minto WS can broadly be split into three camps: private equity clients, SMEs and Scottish and other industrial companies. The team advised BC Partners on the competition aspects of its acquisition of Mergermarket. ‘Knowledgeable' practice head Ajal Notowicz is praised for his ‘no-nonsense approach'.

The ‘strong team' at Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP provides a ‘really superb service'. The team is active in both merger control and behavioural work, with particular strength in the water and utilities sector. Stephen Tupper is able to ‘quickly grasp the big picture'.

At Holman Fenwick Willan, Anthony Woolich provides a ‘consistently good and responsive service'. His practice takes in competition, trade sanctions and regulation, with recent instructions spanning merger clearance, abuse of dominance, state aid and public procurement issues. Eliza Petritsi is another key contact.

Cartel investigations are a key area of expertise for the team at K&L Gates LLP, which draws on its colleagues in the white-collar crime department. Scott Megregian‘has a good grasp of the law' and ‘finds solutions'; he advised Darling International in obtaining merger clearance for its acquisition of VION Ingredients. Neil Baylis advised a client in a market investigation into aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP receives plaudits for its ‘experience, insight and pragmatism'. Despite its size, the team receives instructions from household-name clients, particularly within the financial services space. Practice head Nicholas Spearing is recommended; he and senior associate Satyen Dhana recently advised a leading bank on payment regulations.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP impresses with its ‘relationships with key regulators' and ‘down-to-earth and pragmatic style'. A team from London and Brussels advised Crane Co on merger clearance for its acquisition of MEI Conlux. Douglas Lahnborg and managing associate Matthew Rose are recommended.

The ‘extremely responsive' team at RPC‘provides focused and relevant advice'. It handles transactional and advisory competition work, and is building its profile in contentious matters. Practice head Stephen Smith is ‘exceptionally commercial, pragmatic and hands-on'. Recently promoted partner Lambros Kilaniotis is also recommended.

Shepherd and Wedderburn ‘gives advice which is commercially astute' and ‘resources the team appropriately for any particular task'. Practice head John Schmidt is dual qualified in Germany and Scotland and is well regarded. Energy and utilities specialist John Grady was promoted to partner in 2014.

Merger control remains a key feature of Stephenson Harwood’s practice; recent highlights include advising GDF Suez on merger clearance for its acquisition of Balfour Beatty Workplace. Other areas of expertise include abuse of dominance, cartel and compliance issues. Julianne O’Leary is recommended.

Taylor Wessing LLP’s competition team is led by the ‘creative, collaborative and enthusiastic' Robert Vidal. Though the group avoids narrow specialisation, it has notable strength in the TMT and pharmaceutical sectors. Louisa Penny was promoted to senior counsel in 2014; she has expertise in state-aid, merger control and behavioural work.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP impresses with its ‘diligence' and ‘detailed work and advice'. Energy, telecoms and transport are key areas for the team. Emanuela Lecchi is recommended.

Contentious competition work accounts for a high proportion of Winston & Strawn London LLP’s workload, though it continues to handle merger clearance. Cartel investigations are a key area of strength, where the firm’s global office network is of benefit. Sanctions compliance is also becoming a notable feature of the team’s deal list. Peter Crowther has ‘sophisticated expertise in the antitrust area'.

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP is ‘able to anticipate likely policy responses as well as advise on the law'. The team counts Thomas Vale Construction, Origin Enterprises and Premier Foods among its clients. Bernardine Adkins, who divides her time between the London and Birmingham office, is ‘authoritative' and an ‘innovative thinker'.

Robert Bell is the key contact at Bryan Cave; his practice takes in competition and regulatory matters at the UK and EU level. Anita Esslinger splits her time between Washington DC and London, and handles export controls and sanctions.

At Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, ‘top-quality lawyer' Timothy McIver receives praise for his ‘calm and methodical approach'. He advises clients on obtaining global regulatory clearance for high-value mergers and acquisitions.

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP maintains an active behavioural practice under the leadership of Becket McGrath*. Merger clearance also features among the team’s recent instructions; it provided advice to a client in the telecoms sector on the merger control process and transactional structuring for a disposal. *Becket McGrath left for Cooley (UK) LLP in 2015.

Tobias Caspary heads the team at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP, which advises clients from a variety of industries on merger clearance and investigations. Dual qualified in Germany and England and Wales, Caspary is ‘not to be underestimated'.

Sarah Jordan and Shaun Goodman are the key contacts at Kirkland & Ellis International LLP. The pair’s sector expertise extends across financial services, media, energy and pharmaceuticals.

Penningtons Manches LLP ‘responds quickly' with ‘appropriate and robust advice'. John Doherty is the name to note; he receives plaudits for his ‘attentiveness, approachability and patience', and has particular experience advising product manufacturers and suppliers on UK and EU regulation.

At Osborne Clarke, practice head Simon Neill‘brings a wealth of experience to bear, and is cool and calm in a crisis'; he splits his time between the Bristol and London offices. Jorren Knibbe is highly recommended.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is particularly active in merger control; in 2013 it advised on the competition aspects of its acquisition of Kayak. Juan Rodriguez is the key contact.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s strength lies in state aid, where practice head Paul McDermott and his team have seen a significant uptick in work. Clients include South Oxfordshire Council, Homes and Communities Agency and Sentinel Housing Association.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ international corporate and private equity client base includes General Motors, Eli Lilly and Lion Capital. Douglas Nave leads the team, which includes recommended associate Neil Rigby.

White & Case LLP has a broad competition practise encompassing contentious and non-contentious work, and has recently received instructions for investigations at both UK and EU level. Charles Balmain is recommended.

Equity capital markets

Index of tables

  1. Equity capital markets
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a ‘go-to firm, particularly for large complex UK transactions', and draws on ‘excellent strength in depth and commercial judgement'. Christopher Mort advised the global coordinators and underwriters to the £3.2bn Merlin Entertainments IPO. Mark Austin‘makes clear and commercial recommendations', and Julian Makin is praised for his ‘deep market knowledge'. On the US side, Sarah Murphy‘is a star, blessed with great judgement' and Doug Smith is strongly recommended for his ‘pragmatic and can-do approach'. Denise Ryan made partner.

Linklaters LLP’s ‘expertise, strength-in-depth and geographical reach make it a top equity capital markets firm'. John Lane and Dan Schuster-Woldan led the advice to the global coordinators, sponsors, and book runners to the £3.3bn Royal Mail IPO. The practice wins plaudits for its US capabilities; Jason Manketo, an ‘excellent negotiator', advised Abu Dhabi private healthcare provider Al Noor Medical Company on its £205m IPO. Clients also include Caracal Energy, MICEX, as well as a wide range of bulge bracket banks.

Allen & Overy LLP is recommended for its ‘quality of advice and value for money'. David Broadley led advice to the Co-operative Bank on its £1.5bn recapitalisation. US lawyer Adam Wells acted on a series of Benelux deals including KPN’s €4bn capital raising in Amsterdam. Head Mark Dighero is ‘responsive and hands on'. James Roe and head of US corporate finance Jim Wickenden advised Credit Suisse and Goodbody as joint bookrunners on the €385m IPO of Hibernia REIT on the Irish and London stock exchanges.

Ashurst ‘provides high-quality capital markets advice at a very reasonable price'. Nicholas Holmes’ team, which includes Jonathan Parry and US duo Jennifer Schneck and Ray Fisher, advised Merlin Entertainments on its £3.2bn IPO; acted for Damac Properties on its $348m IPO; and represented Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Cazenove, Canaccord Genuity, and Numis Securities as underwriters to the £1.2bn IPO by esure.

Clifford Chance’s ‘service-oriented team' draws on ‘a high level of expertise' to ‘provide helpful guidance to good response times'. European capital markets head Adrian Cartwright is ‘very level headed, and a good negotiator'. He advised, alongside US-qualified John Connolly, the underwriters on Partnership Assurance’s £1.5bn IPO. Simon Thomas acted for Barclays in its £5.8bn rights issue and represented, alongside Iain Hunter, the joint global coordinators and co-lead managers on the £1.1bn Just Retirement Group IPO.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP stands out for its ‘depth of experience, response times and quality of advice'. On the US side, Charles Howarth, and Steve Thierbach advised the underwriting banks, including Citigroup and VTB Capital, to the $348m IPO of Gulf property developer Damac Real Estate Development. US lawyer Alex Bafi and Christopher Haynes acted for Pegasus Airlines on its $330m IPO. Clients also include Lonmin, UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Nilufer von Bismarck’s team of ‘outstanding lawyers' at Slaughter and May is lauded for its ‘excellent client service and skills'. The practice focuses on advising issuers; recent deals include esure’s £1.2bn IPO and Countrywide’s £200m flotation. John Papanichola (‘marries strong technical skill with commercial pragmatism') advised Royal Mail on its £3.3bn IPO. Jeff Twentyman is a ‘private equity guru' and Richard Smith is also recommend.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s ‘combination of a strong London office with a presence in multiple other jurisdictions gives it a very good understanding of emerging markets'. Clients of the issuer-focused practice include Centamin Egypt Limited, Ferrexpo, and JSC Bank of Georgia. Practice head Edward Bibko has ‘a great business sense', and is recommended alongside Adam Farlow. Donald Guiney joined as senior counsel from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s ‘proactive and knowledgeable' team is ‘particularly helpful for clients looking for international capital markets expertise'. US lawyers Sebastian Sperber and Pierre-Marie Boury acted on a large number of block trades including a $585m offering by Oil India Limited and a $532m offering by In another highlight, Raj Panasar advised Lenta on its $952m IPO of global depository receipts (GDRs). Simon Ovenden is also a key contact. Daniel Braverman retired.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s practice, built up from scratch in February 2012, was active on a number of high-profile deals in 2013. Jeffrey Oakes advised Royal Mail on the US-law aspects of its IPO, and highly regarded UK lawyer Simon Witty acted for Matas A/S on its $500m IPO to the Copenhagen stock exchange. Will Pearce is also recommended.

Latham & Watkins‘capital markets knowledge is excellent, as are its cross-border capabilities'. Olof Clausson advised Morgan Stanley and Nordea as underwriters to Matas A/S’ $500m IPO on NASDAQ OMX Copenhagen. Moscow partner David Stewart and Richard Brown acted for the underwriters, including Morgan Stanley and Sberbank, to Tinkoff Credit System’s $1.25bn IPO of GDRs listed on the London Stock Exchange. Issuer clients include Norwegian conglomerate Orkla ASA and the Keller Group.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Mark Lloyd Williams and US-qualified lawyer Thomas Vita advised, as part of a London, Sydney and New York cross-office team, JPMorgan Cazenove and Davy as joint sponsors and bookrunners on the €310m IPO of Irish property investment company Green REIT, a dual Irish and London listing. New clients include Greencoat UK Wind and Barrick Gold. Raj Karia is also recommended.

Danny Tricot’s team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP is recommended for its ‘good knowledge of the market and its ability to efficiently leverage its US network'. Pranav Trivedi advised the joint bookrunning managers in the $70m New York stock exchange IPO by Luxoft, and James Healy represented Citigroup Global Markets, Investec Bank and Barclays Bank as underwriters in connection with the £375m rights offering by William Hill. Richard Ely has retired.

At Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, George White and John O’Connor led the US advice to Barclays in its £5.8bn SEC-registered rights offering. Dual-qualified David Rockwell and UK lawyer Tim Emmerson acted for the underwriters in Countrywide’s successful £750m IPO which included an unregistered offering in the US and a listing of common shares on the London Stock Exchange. Vanessa Blackmore is also recommended on the UK side.

White & Case LLP recruited Inigo Esteve from Clifford Chance in London, one of a series of expansions in Europe which also included hires in France, Spain and Italy, while Greg Stonefield left for Mayer Brown International LLP. US-qualified Joshua Kiernan advised Israeli company Wix on its $127m NASDAQ IPO. Philip Broke and US-qualified Melissa Butler advised RBC Capital Markets as sponsor of Caracal Energy’s $200m IPO on the London Stock Exchange. Allan Taylor is also recommended.

At Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, Joel Herold, who moved to London from New York in 2013, acted for Santander Holdings USA as selling shareholder in the $2bn New York Stock Exchange IPO of Santander Consumer USA Holdings. David Mercado advised the underwriters to the $127m registered offering of common units of Capital Product Partners on the NASDAQ Global Market. George Stephanakis is another key contact.

Hogan Lovells International LLP draws praise for its ‘good client focus and transparent billing'. UK head Maegen Morrison, with European co-head John Basnage providing US advice, acted for Canaccord Genuity and Jefferies International as joint sponsors and bookrunners on the £300m IPO of The Renewables Infrastructure Group. Clients also include Renaissance Capital, Coal of Africa and Shaftesbury.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is lauded as ‘incredibly service minded' and stands out for its ‘ability to strike a good balance between issuers and investors'. The team revolves around Mark Bergman, whose ‘fantastic legal knowledge and business sense' enable it to ‘punch above its weight'. He provided US advice on the £200m Countrywide IPO and on the £615m FirstGroup rights offering.

At Shearman & Sterling LLPDavid Dixter was part of a cross-office team acting for the underwriters to Alcatel-Lucent’s €955m rights issue, which included a complex structure built around the distribution of cash proceeds via an American Depositary Share (ADS) programme. Richard Price is recommended for his ‘expert and balanced advice'. Monica McConville left the practice.

Simmons & Simmons’ core four-partner team is headed by the highly regarded Chris Horton, and draws on an impressive list of investment bank clients, including JPMorgan Cazenove, Numis Securities and Investec, to act on a broad range of deals. Julian Perlmutter and Charles Hawes provide US advice, and UK-qualified Colin Bole is also recommended.

Travers Smith LLP’s ‘technically strong team' also wins plaudits for its ‘good value for money'. Head of corporate Spencer Summerfield advised the Bank of London and The Middle East on its admission to trading on NASDAQ Dubai. Andrew Gillen led the advice to McColl’s Retail Group on its £200m main-market float. Head of corporate finance Neal Watson, US-qualified Charles Casassa and Richard Spedding (‘he always explains succinctly what the risks are') are also recommended.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is recommended for its work in the energy sector and for its emerging market capabilities, particularly with regards to issuers from the CIS. Department head Harry Keegan led a cross-office team of US and London lawyers advising Galapagos NV, a Euronext-listed company, on a €53.9m private placement of shares to international institutional investors. Sebastian Rice, who splits his time between London and Moscow, and US-qualified Daniel Walsh are recommended.

At CMS, head of equity capital markets Gary Green advised Royal Mail on corporate governance matters, including the transfer of a 10% stake in the company from the government to employees, in preparation for its IPO. Daniel Winterfeldt is recommended on the US side, having advised FTSE 250 firm Big Yellow Group on its £37m cashbox placing.

DLA Piper acted for Keller Group on its £58.7m cashbox placing and advised Better Capital PCC on a £186m fundraising via the issue of new shares on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. Alex Tamlyn is head of the EMEA capital markets group and George Barboutis is head of US securities.

Dechert LLP fields a core team of four partners which includes both US and UK qualified lawyers. US lawyer Wayne Rapozo acted on the $1.7bn NASDAQ IPO of Criteo, representing the major investment funds with controlling interests in the France-based tech company. Clients also include Kofax, Index Ventures, and Canaccord Genuity Group.

The experienced Andrew Caunt leads Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP’s four-partner practice. Caunt and James Mountain represented Platform Acquisition Holdings Ltd on its IPO, which was London’s largest new money raise in 2013. The team also acted for Deutsche Bank in relation to the $250m placing by Growthpoint Properties Limited on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Other clients include Citigroup, UBS and Morgan Stanley.

Jones Day ‘represents value for money, offering good industry insight'. Eric Stuart advised Jefferies International on an offering of shares in NB Private Equity Partners, a company listed on Euronext Amsterdam, in a Rule 144A deal. Stuart also acted for the underwriters to Euronext-listed Belgian biotechnology company Galapagos NV’s €53.9m placing. Sebastian Orton is also recommended.

Mayer Brown International LLP is recommended for its ‘excellent response times, business acumen, strength-in-depth and value for money'. Kate Ball-Dodd advised, with the newly relocated Robert Flanigan providing US advice, St Modwen Properties on a £49m cash box placing. Greg Stonefield joined from White & Case LLP.

Paul Hastings LLP significantly enhanced its practice by recruiting James Cole from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. The firm represented CVC Credit Partners on its €350m London IPO. Karl Balz, who splits his time between London and Frankfurt, is also recommended. Balz advised Piper Jaffray and Citigroup as joint bookrunning managers on the IPO of New York listed ADSs by voxeljet, raising $100m for the 3D printer manufacturer.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s ‘extremely knowledgeable capital markets lawyer' Peter Castellon stands out for his ‘exceptional understanding of the intricacies of foreign offerings into the US'. Dual UK and US qualified Katherine Mulhern advised Taiwanese shipping company Wisdom Marine Group on its IPO of GDRs on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange as part of a $100m deal that also included a convertible bonds insurance.

At Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, London office managing partner Gregory Conway is recommended for his private equity expertise. He represented Terra Firma as principal shareholder in Infinis Energy’s £234m London IPO. Mark Brod and Nicholas Shaw advised NASDAQ-listed NXP semiconductors on its series of registered secondary offerings totalling over $3.6bn.

Weil, Gotshal & MangesPeter King acted on a series of Polish listings, including railway carrier PKP Cargo’s €340m IPO on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, and Bank Zachodni WBK’s €1.172bn secondary public offering. US-qualified David Meredith is also recommended. The team lost James Cole to Paul Hastings LLP and also saw the departure of Rob Ferguson.

Financial services

Index of tables

  1. Financial services (non-contentious/regulatory)
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Financial services (contentious)
  4. Leading individuals

Clifford Chance is seen as a ‘very safe pair of hands' in multi-jurisdictional investigations; as well as representing Barclays in the investigation into its capital-raising activities, the team is also advising the bank on its FOREX trading activity, and represented it in the LIBOR investigation. The ‘impressive' Simon Davis was involved in all these matters for Barclays, and is a key member of the contentious team, which also includes ‘calm and knowledgeable' ex-regulator Carlos Conceicao; the ‘impressive' Roger Best; ‘outstanding' Dorian Drew; and Helen Carty, who is ‘really making a name for herself'’. On the non-contentious side, as well as receiving standalone advisory work for financial institution clients, the team also regularly advises industry bodies on high impact regulatory changes. The group also frequently provides regulatory input on M&A deals in the industry; Monica Sah advised Morgan Stanley on the sale of its EMEA ultra-high-net-worth private wealth business to Credit Suisse. Simon Crown, Simon Gleeson, Christopher Bates and Dermot Turing are also recommended.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s ‘excellent' practice has had prominent positions for clients in many of the recent high-profile regulatory investigations and enforcement actions. As well as a strong domestic offering, the firm benefits from practitioners in Europe, Asia and the US, and is consequently able to provide a seamless and integrated service to clients on multi-jurisdictional mandates. The team continues to be engaged in the LIBOR investigation for a major investment bank. The group has developed market-leading expertise in relation to recovery and resolution planning and structural reform issues. It is also frequently brought in to provide regulatory input on capital markets and M&A work in the industry, and recently provided regulatory advice in connection with Barclays Bank’s £5.8bn rights issue. Mark Kalderon, Guy Morton and Michael Raffan are recommended, and David Scott, Ali Sallaway and Simon Orton are ‘excellent for contentious matters'.

Linklaters LLP provides an increasingly joined-up and integrated approach on advisory and enforcement matters, as well as investigations following the recent recruitment of enforcement experts Martyn Hopper and Nikunj Kiri from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. The ‘friendly and approachable' Sarah Parkhouse regularly handles work for retail clients and recently advised a major UK high street bank on a cross-border activity risk management review. Michael Kent‘is firmly grounded across the spectrum of UK and European financial regulation' and alongside Parkhouse is advising an investment management firm in an FCA investigation. The ‘highly commercial' Peter Bevan has been involved for numerous clients on market manipulation investigations and is a core member of the team that also includes Harry Eddis, James Gardner and Carl Fernandes.

Bolstered by the arrival in September 2013 of Philip Annett from the FCA, Allen & Overy LLP’s contentious offering is one of the best in the country and is able to handle the full suite of enforcement, investigation and litigation arising out of the financial services industry. The ‘excellent' Calum Burnettis a key advisor to a number of major banks. On the non-contentious side, the team regularly works in close cooperation with other related practice areas, and in recent times has worked particularly closely with the restructuring group to provide high-level regulatory input on matters such as the Co-operative Group’s recapitalisation plan for the bank which involved a consensual bail in - the first of its kind in the UK - and other capital-raising initiatives. Arnondo Chakrabarti, Tim House, John O’Conor, Lawson Caisley and Bob Penn are also recommended.

Ashurst’s ‘knowledgeable and professional' six-partner practice provides a ‘dedicated and responsive service' to banking and funds clients in their dealings with the FCA and PRA. The ‘knowledgeable and experienced' James Perry is leading the firm’s work on AIFMD implementation for UK and US-based fund managers. Edward Sparrow is acting for former members of the Board of HBOS in responding to regulatory inquiries into the collapse of the bank. Rob Moulton‘finds a way of cutting through the legislation to give you a useful answer', and is a key member of the team, which also includes contentious expert David Capps.

Hogan Lovells International LLP provides ‘pragmatic advice' to clients from across the waterfront of the industry on a standalone basis, in addition to acting alongside the firm’s M&A team to advise on the regulatory aspects of transactions within the industry. Rachel Kent heads the non-contentious offering and recently led the firm’s role in providing regulatory advice to the Lloyds Banking Group on the £650m sale of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership to Aberdeen Asset Management. The ‘pragmatic and commercial' Philip Parish co-heads the contentious arm of the group along with Ailbhe Edgar, and has overseen a practice which has been actively involved in many of the most significant investigations handled by the regulators including LIBOR (where it worked very closely with the US team) and more recently FOREX. Other recommended partners include the ‘client-focused and knowledgeable Jon Holland, Dominic Hill, and Roger Tym, who has an ‘expert industry knowledge of mortgage lending'.

Headed by the ‘pragmatic and sound' Jonathan Herbst, Norton Rose Fulbright has ‘deep knowledge of the industry and the issues facing it'. Herbst and Hannah Meakin are advising CME Group on the establishment of a new UK-based derivatives exchange. Peter Snowdon has ‘excellent knowledge and perspective', particularly on retail financial services, both in a domestic setting and as it relates to EU law. Formerly head of DLA Piper’s contentious group, Elisabeth Bremner recently joined the team, which also includes Lista Cannon and Chris Warren-Smith.

Building its reputation within the funds space, Simmons & Simmons has been broadening the scope of its practice to include work across the market. Recognised as a ‘leading firm for AIFMD advice', as well as for advising individual entities on the implications of the directive, the firm has also assisted trade associations in their lobbying efforts. Darren Fox has a ‘superior understanding of the technical issues' affecting hedge funds, and is a key member of a team that also includes the ‘excellent' Charlotte Stalin and Penny Miller. On the contentious side, in addition to representing clients on civil investigations and enforcement actions, the team has a ‘superb offering' for criminal enforcement spearheaded by the ‘calm, measured and forensic' Nick Benwell. Richard Sims is also recommended.

‘At the top of the heap for handling high-stakes work', Slaughter and May’s reputation in the market is underscored by its recent representation of HM Treasury in connection with its review of the case for an RBS bad bank. Team head Jan Putnis regularly acts for insurers such as Aviva and Prudential on their regulatory concerns but is also picking up more work for banks, as is Ben Kingsley, who is also strong on sanctions matters. On the contentious front, the fact that the lawyers are drawn from the dispute resolution group ‘allows them to bring their litigation skills to bear in enforcement proceedings as well as ensuring that future litigation issues are addressed at an early stage of the process'. Elizabeth Barrett has a ‘prescient grasp of issues and possesses a phenomenal work ethic'. Ewan Brown‘relies upon old-fashioned intelligence and commercial ability to win his arguments'; alongside Deborah Finkler, Brown is advising Deutsche Bank on the ongoing global LIBOR investigation.

‘Thought leaders in the alternative fund management industry', Travers Smith LLP has assisted a vast number of funds (including Babson Capital and Bridgepoint) in obtaining authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority as AIFMs under the AIFMD. Mark Evans has ‘deep experience in the payments area' and is also recommended for market infrastructure work where clients include UK payments systems CREST and CHAPS. The ‘technical and service-orientated' Tim Lewis has provided regulatory advice to a number of transactions within the funds space including advising Silverfleet Capital on its £50m investment in Ipes. Other recommended partners include the ‘very technical' Margaret Chamberlain, ‘commercially focused' Phil Bartram, ‘excellent' Robert Fell, Huw Jenkin, Toby Robinson and Stephen Paget-Brown.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s combined contentious and non-contentious practice provides a ‘professional and timely service' across the spectrum of standalone advisory work, regulatory-driven transactional work, and enforcement and FCA investigations. Jacob Ghanty has ‘genuine expertise in the payments space'. Nathan Willmott is recommended for enforcement work and has been involved in the high-profile LIBOR and FX investigations. Sidney Myers is also recommended for contentious matters.

Headed by the ‘vastly experienced and knowledgeable' Paul Edmondson, CMS’ six-partner team has ‘broad and detailed legal knowledge and experience' and is ‘first-class for handling complex regulatory matters' for clients across the industry. Ash Saluja has been advising numerous entities on how to structure their activities in order to meet current requirements regarding client money in light of the proposed new rules relating to client money. The ‘client-facing' Maxine Cupitt and ‘extremely knowledgeable' Alison McHaffie are key practitioners on the contentious side, and the ‘truly remarkable' Simon Morris - who handles both contentious and non-contentious instructions - is recognised for his gravitas before the regulators.

Despite suffering from some high-profile departures of late on the contentious side, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP remains a ‘highly credible' presence in the market and provides ‘highly technical and strategic' advice to clients including UBS, RBS and Capita. Alongside James Palmer, the ‘effective' Jenny Stainsby advised Sir Anthony Salz and his team on their review into the culture and business practices of Barclays Bank. Geoff Maddock has an ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of the sector', particularly on behalf of clients in the insurance industry. Clive Cunningham has particular expertise in the wealth management and payment services areas; recently promoted Hywel Jenkins is ‘technically very strong and has good industry knowledge'; and the ‘technical' Karen Anderson is recommended for contentious work.

‘A market leader for private equity regulatory work', King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin provides ‘practical, timely and thoughtful advice' to clients including Blackstone and Apax. The ‘responsive and practical' Tamasin Little has handled extensive work for Blackstone and HarbourVest Partners in relation to AIFMD concerns. Gregg Beechey has also been active advising on AIFMD matters, and Rachel Couter and Alex Leitch are recommended for contentious work.

Traditionally best known on the funds side, under the guidance of the ‘excellent' David Berman, Macfarlanes LLP has successfully broadened the scope of its client base to include strategic and high-profile work for clients including blue-chip institutional clients. Berman was recently instructed to lead the largest “skilled person” assignment to have been undertaken by any law firm, in the context of the high-profile interest rate swaps mis-selling review. The ‘exceptional' Dan Lavender has an ‘excellent understanding of the regulatory regime' and alongside the ‘hardworking and thorough' Matt McCahearty recently advised ICAP in multi-jurisdictional regulatory investigations into Yen LIBOR.

Shearman & Sterling LLP provides ‘consistently on-point advice' to a range of clients including Citigroup, Barclays and The Clearing House. Team head Barney Reynolds is a ‘leader for market infrastructure matters' and regularly acts for high-profile clients including ICE and NASDAQ. The firm also benefits from strong relationships and credibility before the regulators as was underscored by its role for the lower-tier bondholders on the first creditor bail-in of a UK bank (Co-operative Bank). Able to tap into its global platform, the firm has also had considerable involvement in multi-jurisdictional investigations relating to LIBOR and FOREX. Thomas Donegan is also recommended.

Leveraging its strong relationship with the country’s largest clearing banks including Lloyds, RBS and Barclays, Addleshaw Goddard LLP is ‘very good on retail banking matters'. Team head David Heffron recently represented the Council of Mortgage Lenders in relation to the government’s Help to Buy scheme. The firm also benefits from a strong regional presence, where the ‘responsive and commercial' Rosanna Bryant is recommended. Former FSA lawyer Chris Brennan is ‘attracting some good work', and is leading a major FCA investigation for a large services company. Brian McDonnell is recommended for wholesale financial services work.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s two-partner team handles significant cross-border strategic mandates, where it is able to leverage the expertise of other practice areas and other international offices. Spearheaded by Arun Srivastava, the team is representing a number of individuals in the LIBOR and FOREX global investigations. The group was bolstered by the arrival in May 2014 of former head of practice at RPC, Steven Francis.

Spearheaded on the non-contentious side by the ‘commercial, knowledgeable and responsive' Michael McKee, DLA Piper handles a broad mix of work including strategic regulatory-driven restructurings for banks, as well as AIFMD and EMIR-related work for funds. Contentious expert Elisabeth Bremner left to join Norton Rose Fulbright in March 2014.

Eversheds LLP’s deeply entrenched ties with clients throughout the funds industry has led to a significant flow of work relating to AIFMD compliance. Other highlights include advising Barclays Bank on its internal review of its interest rate hedging products sales process. The ‘calm and polite' Julian Brown provides a ‘practical and efficient approach' and is a key practitioner on the advisory side alongside the ‘solutions-oriented' Ronald Paterson and Pamela Thompson. Gregory Brandman and Claire Carroll are recommended for contentious work.

The ‘knowledgeable, responsive and commercial' team at Fieldfisher is best known for its work within the funds industry. Kirstene Baillie has ‘exemplary knowledge in this area' and frequently handles regulatory work for clients including Broadstone Pensions and Investments, and Federated Investors. Duncan Black leads the firm’s contentious offering and ‘is possessed of considerable technical and tactical ability'.

Aided by a strong US and Asian presence, Jones Day excels at handling significant global cross-border work for clients in the industry across the gamut of issues including regulatory, market abuse, client money and global custody. Blessed with a ‘solid grounding in the regulatory landscape, both on a legal and political level', John Ahern has vast experience and ‘possesses a rare ability to provide quick and focused responses to often unique issues'. Harriet Territt is also recommended for her ‘commercial approach'.

Now headed out of London by David Sahr following his secondment from the firm’s Washington DC office, Mayer Brown International LLP is well placed to advise global entities including UBS, HSBC and Credit Suisse on their regulatory strategy. Of counsel Alexandria Carr has a strong insight into EU financial services regulatory developments, and as well as advising on discrete advisory matters is often engaged to provide the regulatory input on transactions within the industry; she advised Principal Global Investors on its acquisition of a majority stake in London and New York boutique hedge fund manager Liongate Capital Management.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, the ‘very experienced' Tony Anderson has an excellent pedigree for payments work and has handled several significant mandates for banks on the development of innovative solutions in the payments space. Michael Lewis is also recommended. Monica Gogna left for Ropes & Gray LLP in 2014.

Headed on the non-contentious front by the ‘extremely helpful' Chris Borg, and on the contentious side by Charles Hewetson, Reed Smith LLP’s sweet spot is at the intersection between financial regulation and commodities. Brett Hillis‘has an excellent understanding of financial regulation' and is particularly strong on the developing regulation of OTC derivatives. Jacqui Hatfield’s broad practice encompasses work for banks and recently included advising CIT Global on the preparation of a global survey of rules applicable across the US, Europe and Asia as requested by the Federal Reserve. Hewetson is regularly involved in high-profile FCA enforcement matters including work for a number of individuals in LIBOR investigations.

Sidley Austin LLP’s four-partner practice excels at providing regulatory advice to clients in the industry involving a cross-border complexion. In this context, John Casanova has a ‘robust knowledge of international regulations' and is a key member of the team, which also includes the ‘very credible' Leonard Ng. The team continues to handle EU regulatory work on behalf of the Managed Funds Association (a US-based trade association representing the interests of the hedge fund industry).

Speechly Bircham LLP provides a ‘consistently high level of service' to clients across the bandwidth of the industry from private banking clients to market infrastructure entities. Elizabeth Budd is ‘respected as a leader in the fund management world' and is a key member of the team that also includes private banking expert Jonathan Bayliss and William Garner, who heads up the firm’s wholesale trading and markets offering. Since publication, Charles Russell LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP have merged to form Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Headed by the ‘knowledgeable and professional' Helen Marshall, Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP’s two-partner team is best known for its involvement in high-profile regulatory enforcement proceedings - where it benefits from the experience of Marshall and counsel Rosemarie Paul. Christopher Leonard handles non-contentious work within the investment management sector and has been active advising asset managers on the implications of AIFMD. Since publication, Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP has become part of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

At Blake Morgan LLP, former FSA alumnus Felicity Rowan has significant expertise within the retail sector.

Covington & Burling LLP’s non-contentious offering was enhanced by the arrival in September 2013 of the ‘excellent' Charlotte Hill from Stephenson Harwood and significantly broadens the firm’s roster of clients to include those in the banking and broker-dealer sectors, as well as in its traditional strength in the asset management space. Simon Currie provides regulatory input on fund structuring, as well as their investment activity.

Headed by Bristol-based David Pollitt, DAC Beachcroft LLP’s eight-partner team provides a ‘commercial and sensible' approach to clients in the insurance and wealth management industries. James MacNish Porter provided regulatory advice on the £170m Help to Buy Wales equity mortgage scheme for Finance Wales plc (a subsidiary of the Welsh government). London-based Mathew Rutter is well versed at handling consumer credit and retail financial services matters.

Leveraging its reputation as a global funds powerhouse, much of Dechert LLP’s regulatory work relates to the asset management sector. Richard Frase heads an eight-partner team that includes the ‘friendly and calm' Karen Anderberg.

Headed by the ‘excellent' Rosali Pretorious, Dentons represents an impressive portfolio of clients including Coutts & Co, Virgin Money and Standard Chartered Bank. Senior associate Andrew Barber benefits from a ‘broad knowledge and always has references to regulations at his fingertips'.

, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP’s team includes former FSA alumnus Chris Finney*, who provides ‘thorough and responsive' advice across a range of UK and EU regulatory requirements. David Ramm left for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. *Chris Finney left for Cooley (UK) LLP in 2015.

Farrer & Co’s, Grania Baird advises asset managers and private banks in all aspects of financial services law.

At Mayfair-based Forsters LLP, the ‘very experienced, commercial and pragmatic' Rosalyn Breedy provides ‘excellent insight' to wealth and fund managers in their regulatory dealings.

Howard Kennedy’s Daniel Tunkel has ‘extensive knowledge and experience' and is regularly consulted by West End financial services firms on regulatory issues.

K&L Gates LLP has an excellent reputation representing individuals in enforcement/criminal actions before the regulators. Elizabeth Robertson is ‘highly effective as a representative, balancing force and charm', and solicitor-advocate David Savell is an ‘intuitive tactician'. Along with Philip Morgan, the ‘effective and sensible' Sean Donovan-Smith is a valuable resource on the non-contentious side, particularly to clients in the funds space.

At Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP, US-qualified Carolyn Jackson is particularly adept at advising on the cross-border implications of US regulations including the Dodd-Frank Act. Tim Aron left for Arnold & Porter LLP.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s Lisa Cawley provides a ‘commercial and decisive' service to funds seeking regulatory advice.

Spearheaded by the market-leading Robert Courtneidge, Locke Lord LLP has an ‘excellent level of domain expertise in the payments industry'.

Headed by Adrian Brown, Nabarro LLP’s one-partner team has handled a significant volume of work for real estate fund managers on AIFMD-related issues. The firm also handles work for investment banks and broker-dealers.

Olswang LLP advises a range of entities within the industry including banks, asset managers and insurance companies on regulatory issues.

At Osborne Clarke, Paul Anning is ‘very accomplished' within the payments and e-money space.

As well as the firm’s traditional emphasis on the insurance industry, under the guidance of Robbie Constance, RPC has successfully diversified its client base to include those in the investment management sector. On the contentious side, Richard Burger is praised for his ability to ‘take technical and regulatory issues and blend them with measured and appropriate commercial advice'.

Ropes & Gray LLP provides ‘in-depth knowledge about the European investment funds law and industry'. The arrival in September 2013 of ‘very experienced' investment fund law specialist Michelle Moran from Dechert LLP is a fillip for the firm, particularly in light of her ‘tremendous experience and connections' with those in the industry, both at a political and business level. Monica Gogna joined from Pinsent Masons LLP in 2014.

Led by counsel Patrick Brandt, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP handles standalone advisory work, as well as regulatory work which is tangential to transactions carried out within the industry. Recent highlights include advising Black Rock on its acquisition of MGPA from Macquarie Bank.

Headed by the ‘excellent' Tony Woodcock, Stephenson Harwood has a ‘long and distinguished' track record advising high-level executives in regulatory, civil and criminal proceedings. The ‘superb' Sara George has excellent credibility before the regulators and is frequently sought out by individuals facing criminal proceedings.

TLT’s team head Clare Hughes has ‘in-depth knowledge of consumer credit issues and the residential mortgage market sphere'.

At Taylor Wessing LLP, Jonathan Rogers leads the non-contentious offering which is perhaps best-known for its wealth management expertise. The team has also been able to successfully leverage the firm’s IP/IT expertise and has forged significant inroads into the payments industry. Alix Prentice provides ‘prompt and succinct advice', and provides expertise for foreign entities in complying with UK regulations. Shane Gleghorn heads the firm’s contentious offering.

At Walker Morris LLP, Leeds-based Jeanette Harwood’s broad practice includes consumer finance issues.

White & Case LLP is praised for its ‘excellent ability to coordinate across jurisdictions' on major transactions within the industry. The ‘very thoughtful' Stuart Willey provided the regulatory input on Itau’s strategic re-location of its European headquarters from Lisbon to London.

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP has a strong reputation in the insurance industry and often provides the regulatory input in relation to transactions and product development. Team head Richard Everett and Robert Smith are recommended.

Fox Williams LLP has developed a strong reputation, in particular for representing senior executives in high-profile regulatory investigations, where it has recently handled work in the LIBOR and FOREX enforcement actions. Peter Wright is ‘one of the leading experts in financial services law and litigation'. James Carlton is also recommended as a result of his ‘excellent judgement and reassuring manner'.

Irwin Mitchell has ‘successfully made the transition from white-collar fraud to financial services litigation', and has built up a strong track-record advising individuals across a range of high-profile regulatory actions including insider-trading, LIBOR and FOREX. Sarah Wallace displays ‘excellent judgement' and has earned the reputation as a ‘fearsome opponent'.

Kingsley Napley LLP does an ‘excellent job representing individuals involved in financial services disputes and regulatory investigations'. The firm excels at handling enforcement matters where there is a potential criminal law element such as insider dealing and market abuse. Louise Hodges and Eve Giles bring ‘intelligence and first-class client skills to everything they do'.

At Mishcon de Reya, Adam Epstein has ‘huge experience' representing individuals and is praised for his ‘analytical, methodical and tenacious' approach.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP provides a ‘knowledgeable and responsive service' to individuals facing regulatory action. The ‘experienced and dedicated' David McCluskey is recommended.

At WilmerHale, the ‘very experienced' and ‘highly tactical' Stephen Pollard is the ‘go-to-person for individual representations in the context of a regulatory investigation'. Pollard is often ‘ably assisted' by Elly Proudlock who has ‘an excellent understanding of the regulatory issues'.

Withers LLP’s Harvey Knight has ‘extensive knowledge of UK regulation and the regulators, as well as the FCA’s principles and their application'.

Clyde & Co LLP’s Laura Cooke has ‘great knowledge of the industry and its regulatory framework'.

At Winston & Strawn London LLP, the ‘engaging and incisive' Justin McClelland has an excellent reputation representing individuals in enforcement/criminal matters.

Flotations: small and mid-cap

Index of tables

  1. Flotations: small and mid-cap
  2. Leading individuals

David Collins’ team at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP‘provides an excellent level of service throughout the IPO process'. Alex Latner advised Action Hotels on its £95m AIM flotation, and head of corporate finance Benjamin Lee advised Schroders Property Investment Managers on the £100m AIM IPO of West End London Property Investment Company. Julian Stanier is recommended, and recently acted for Peel Hunt and Panmure Gordon.

Norton Rose Fulbright is recommended for its ‘experience and partner-led service'. Stephen Rigby advised Numis Securities as underwriters to the £20.4m cash box placing by Low & Bonar. Richard Sheen represented Hydrodec Group plc on the oil re-refining group’s £24m placing. Glenn Hall is also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP fields ‘a very strong team with significant capital markets expertise'. Sector strengths include energy, technology, and real estate. Team head Jon Harris is ‘completely in tune with the market'. He advised Allenby Capital on the £102m IPO of Arria NLG. Louise Wolfson, an Israel expert, Alison Starr in Leeds, and Rosalie Chadwick in Glasgow are also recommended.

‘Response times are excellent' at Travers Smith LLP and the team, headed by Spencer Summerfield, ‘understands the market and market practices'. Andrew Gillen advised Canaccord Genuity as sole bookrunner on the £225m AIM IPO of Tungsten Corporation, and Anthony Foster acted for Arria NLG on its £118m IPO fundraising.

At Ashurst, Michael Robins is praised as ‘excellent throughout all aspects of a deal'. Nick Williamson advised Atlantis Resources on its £20m AIM listing and Jonathan Parry advised Tungsten Corporation on its £225m IPO. The practice also represents an impressive list of longstanding banking clients.

At CMS, head of international capital markets Daniel Winterfeldt (US qualified) and head of equity capital markets Gary Green advised Smith & Williamson Corporate Finance as NOMAD on the $24m AIM IPO of Ukrainian real estate developer Arricano. James Parkes acted for Cenkos Securities as NOMAD on the £137m IPO of RM2 International.

DLA Piper stands out for its network of international and domestic offices, fielding a number of experienced practitioners including Alex Tamlyn and John Campion. Charles Severs advised Plus500 on its admission to AIM and related $75m placing. Broker and NOMAD clients include Cenkos Securities.

At Eversheds LLP, Stephen Nash is the new head of department following Neil Matthews’ move to Fieldfisher. Daniel Hall represented Zeus Capital and Oriel Securities as joint corporate brokers on Conviviality Retail’s £66.7m IPO. Numis and Flybe are longstanding clients.

Memery Crystal LLP’s seven-partner team, led by Lesley Gregory, handled a high volume of AIM fundraisings, acting regularly for either issuers or NOMADs as well as brokers. Highlights included acting for Finncap as NOMAD and broker on two placings by Utilitywise totalling £22.5m, and advising Beacon Hill Resources, an AIM and ASX dual-listed mining company, on a $21m placing.

Nabarro LLP acts for clients operating at the upper end of the AIM market. It acted for Telecom Plus’ £130m placing as part of a £218m deal to acquire two energy companies (Iain Newman leading), and N+1 Singer in connection with the £105m IPO of Weiss Korea Opportunity (Alasdair Steele leading). The team saw two partners leave and Jeremy Phillips join from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Olswang LLP’s sector strengths in TMT and real estate reflect its current deal flow, and this balanced practice has been active on both the issuer and broker side. Head Paul Blackmore advised CityFibre Infrastructure Holdings, a client since its inception in 2011, on its £31.4m AIM IPO. Azlinda Ariffin-Boromand is also recommended; she regularly acts for Asian entities investing in and out of the UK.

Osborne Clarke’s Jonathan King advised Golden Saint Resources on its £42m IPO, and represented Libreum Capital as sole bookrunner to Plus500’s IPO and associated placing in a £132m deal. Adrian Bott heads the department and acts for clients such as Carphone Warehouse.

Simmons & Simmons mainly operates at the upper end of the AIM market, advising both issuers and brokers. Charles Mayo acted for NetScientific on its £30m IPO. Team head Chris Horton is ‘a pleasure to work with on the other side of a deal'. Colin Bole is also recommended.

Stephenson Harwood’s ‘knowledgeable team values long-term client relationships' and is recommended for its ‘reasonable pricing'. Tom Nicholls acted for Weiss Korea on the investment fund’s £105m IPO. Energy, natural resources and transport expert Tony Edwards‘impresses with his service, pleasant personality and innovative ideas'.

At newly merged Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP, Jeffrey Elway advised Daniel Stewart & Company as NOMAD on the readmission to AIM of GVC Holdings following the reverse acquisition of Sportingbet plc in a £185m deal. Nick Heather represented Investec as NOMAD and broker on Bonmarché Holdings’ admission to trading on AIM and £40m placing. Oliver Riley and Geoff Gouriet are also recommended.

Tim Field, who joined in late 2012, heads the team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP following Simon Griffiths’ departure. He advised GameAccount Network on its admission to trading on AIM in a £75m deal. Richard Lee acted for Clinigen on a £38m fundraising. Clare Thomas has gone in-house to Britvic, while Ben Koehne joined from Allen & Overy LLP.

Bird & Bird LLP’s impressive list of deals handled in 2013 includes Mobile TV and video supplier SyQic’s £14.4m IPO; Frontier Development’s £40m float; and blinkx’s $64m placing. Simon Allport heads the team. Simon Fielder is ‘reliable, creative, and business minded'.

Chadbourne & Parke LLP’s team, which includes leading individual Martin Thomas, is particularly active in the mining, agriculture, finance, and technology sectors. Dearbhla Quigley represented Cenkos Securities as NOMAD and broker to eServGlobal, a dual-listed mobile payments firm, on its £10.9m secondary placing.

Charles Russell LLP is a ‘very commercial firm' praised in particular for its ‘good technical advice' and ‘strengths in mining as well as oil and gas'. Adam Carling advised Liberum Capital as broker to NetScientific’s £30m IPO. Mark Howard and Clive Hopewell (‘a very hands on partner'), are also recommended. Since publication, Charles Russell LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP have merged to form Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Paul Claydon’s team at Covington & Burling LLP has particular expertise in life sciences, TMT, and financial services. Natalie Walter and US-qualified Kristian Wiggert represented Canaccord Genuity and WG Partners as joint brokers on Medical Technologies’ £22m placing.

Clive Garston’s team at DAC Beachcroft LLP wins praise for its ‘broad experience' and ‘excellent response times, industry knowledge and value for money'. Matthew Darling acted for Zeus Capital as NOMAD to CentralNic’s £32m IPO. Nick Gibbon is ‘particularly adept at problem-solving'.

Dentons’ deal flow reflects its energy credentials; Neil Nicholson acted for international pallet manufacturer RM2 International in its £278m AIM IPO and also advised Lekoil on its £32m flotation. Rebecca Gordon heads the team and Jeremy Cohen is also recommended.

At Dorsey & Whitney, head of department Mark Taylor advised Quindell, one of the largest companies on AIM, on its £200m placing. The newly promoted Max Beazley acted for Cenkos Securities on the £70m IPO of Rightster Group.

‘The level of service is very good' at Fasken Martineau LLP, with Nigel Gordon’s team winning particular praise for its response times. Energy specialist Jonathan Martin is recommended for his ‘industry knowledge and worldwide reach', and David Smith’s advice is ‘always relevant, concise and articulate'. Clients include Cenkos Securities, Skyepharma, and Xtract Resources.

At Fieldfisher, Anthony Brockbank advised Mirabaud Securities LLP as bookrunner on the $100m AIM fundraising by Lekoil Limited. In another highlight, Dominic Gurney-Champion acted for Independent Oil and Gas on its £14.2m IPO. Neil Matthews joined from Eversheds LLP.

K&L Gates LLP has ‘extensive experience on all matters relating to AIM'. Team head Paul Tetlow’s ‘problem-solving approach is invaluable'. The firm’s energy credentials (‘a wealth of experience in oil and gas') are also highlighted; James Green, ‘who just gets things done', advised on a series of natural resources deals. Clients include Amara Mining, Lifeline Scientific and Cenkos Securities.

At Mayer Brown International LLP, head of team Kate Ball-Dodd advised Numis Securities as NOMAD and broker to Modern Water’s £10m placing and admission to AIM. The firm is ‘uniquely experienced in managing the complexities associated with dual listings'. Richard Smith is also recommended.

At Speechly Bircham LLP team head Tom Shaw‘provides speedy, clear and appropriate advice', Chris Putt is praised for his ‘ability to get to the commercial aspect of a matter', and Andrew Collins is ‘valued as a very careful and wise counsellor'. Victoria Younghusband joined from King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin. Since publication, Charles Russell LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP have merged to form Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

At Taylor Wessing LLP, Tim Stocks advised Tritax Big Box REIT on the reorganisation of its assets and its IPO on the Specialist Funds Market in a £200m deal. Tandeep Minhas is also recommended, and handled a number of secondary fundraisings in 2013.

At Adams & Remers, natural resources and energy expert Stuart Robertson advised ZAI Corporate Finance on the £5m AIM IPO of Falanx Group, and represented Daniel Stewart & Company on the £1.1m secondary fundraising by Mirada plc.

At Ashfords LLP (incorporating Rochman Landau), James Lyons‘provides clear and concise advice'. In Bristol, Simon Staples is advising C A Sperati plc on the cancellation of its admission to the premium segment of the Official List.

Russel Shear at Edwin Coe LLP continued to advise Chinese companies floating on AIM, acting for Gowin New Energy Group on its £24m float. Nick Williams represented Allenby Capital on the £10m Macromac IPO. Victor Hawrych regularly works with growing companies seeking venture capital.

At Fladgate LLP, David Robinson advised non-life insurance company Gable Holdings on a £10.7m placing, Tri-Star Resources on a £0.5m placing of ordinary shares, and CloudTag on its £29m IPO. Neil Vickers joined from Dentons.

At Fox Williams LLP, Richie Clark’s team is ‘service-oriented, motivated and highly commercial'. Having floated Edge Resources in 2012, Clark acted for the company on a series of placings including a recent £2.1m offering. Nick Sayers advised Grant Thornton, a first for the team, and SI Capital on the readmission to AIM of Proxama.

Gowlings (UK) LLP is recommended for its energy and natural resources expertise but 2013 also saw Charles Bond’s team advise the NOMAD and broker to One Media iP’s admission to trading on AIM.

Howard Kennedy’s team, led by Keith Lassman, is ‘great to work with as it understands the pressures clients face'. The firm is particularly active in the VCT sector. Head of corporate Ashley Reeback is also recommended.

Jones Day is praised for its ‘very good levels of service'. Sebastian Orton advised Quixant on its £30m IPO and was also instructed by N+1 Singer on a series of secondary fundraisings.

Following Victoria Younghusband’s departure to Speechly Bircham LLPDelphine Currie is the sole head of ECM at King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin. She advised Telford Homes and Nanoco Group on their £20m and £10m placings respectively. Since publication, Charles Russell LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP have merged to form Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Robert Boyle, Simon Martin, and Matthew Blows are key figures for capital markets work at Macfarlanes LLP.

Highlights for Simon Charles’ team at Marriott Harrison LLP included advising Frontier Resources on its admission to AIM, and receiving its first instruction from Zeus Capital on a placing by ITM Power.

Mishcon de Reya’s Saul Sender advised Bermuda-incorporated Digital Globes Services on its $20.5m AIM IPO and represented IBEX Global Solutions on its $22.5m float. Ross Bryson is also recommended.

At Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, team head James Campbell advised AirAsia X Berhad on its $310m IPO on the Bursa Malaysia, highlighting the firm’s strong Asian presence. Ronald Bornstein is another key contact. Clients include Gasol and Clean Air Power.

‘Close partner attention and good commercial advice are always available' at Shepherd and Wedderburn. Walter Blake advised Numis Securites on the £3.2m placing by 2ergo Group. The team saw four partner departures including Angus Rollo and Guy Winter who left for Addleshaw Goddard LLP.

Squire Patton Boggs is a ‘trusted law firm that is a very safe pair of hands for listed company work'. Giles Distin is recommended for his ‘excellent client service delivery'. Clients include Anglo Asian Mining, and SThree.

The ‘thorough and responsive' team at Trowers & Hamlins LLP is noted for its core strength in mining. Richard Hildebrand advised Wasabi Energy on its £1.98m placing. Charles Wilson left for an in-house role.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s sector-focused practice advises on oil and gas, mining, aviation, and shipping transactions. Jan Mellmann advised Allenby Capital Limited on All Asia Asset Capital’s admission to trading on AIM and represented Tower Resources on a £9m placing.

At Burges Salmon LLP, Dominic Davis acted on four separate fundraisings by broker WH Ireland. Mark Shepherd acted for longstanding client ITM Power on its £10m secondary fundraising.

DMH Stallard LLP’s Jonathan Deverill is regularly instructed by Allenby capital on various small-cap matters.

Corporate finance specialist Melanie Wadsworth is a key contact at Faegre Baker Daniels.

Hamlins LLP’s Daniel Bellau is praised for his ‘excellent market knowledge and client-facing skills'. Bellau advised One Media iP on its admission to AIM and removal from ISDX. New arrival Ian Binnie is recommended.

At Kerman & Co LLP, Joan Yu is praised for her ‘sensible commercial outlook' and head Michael Bennett for his ‘broad AIM experience'.

At Mills & Reeve LLP, Stephen Hamilton, who is praised for his ‘can-do attitude', advised AIM-listed Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings on a restructuring and an institutional fundraising to raise £25m.

At Rosenblatt, head of corporate Tom Ferns acted for Sanlam Securities on the admission to AIM and associated £30m fundraising of Action Hotels. Clients also include N+1 Singer and Shore Capital.

Dov Katz, who joined Teacher Stern LLP in November 2013, ‘ensures that the interests of the clients are always looked after whilst not losing sight of the commercial rationale behind each transaction'.

At Thomas Eggar LLPNicholas Roche and Geraldine Fabre advised BlueRock Diamonds plc on its admission to AIM from the ISDX Growth Market and initial placement of £1.31m. John Riddick heads the team.

Investment funds

Index of tables

  1. Investment funds: hedge funds
  2. Investment funds: listed funds
  3. Investment funds: private funds
  4. Investment funds: retail funds
  5. Leading individuals: investment funds (general)

Leading individuals: investment funds (general)

  1. 1

Law firms’ editorial appears in alphabetical order and may appear in one or more of the ranking tables, which cover more specific fund types. The Private funds table covers non-listed private equity, infrastructure and real estate funds but excludes hedge funds, which are addressed in the Hedge funds table; the Listed funds table assesses closed-end listed funds practices; and the Retail funds table addresses authorised funds. There is a separate section covering Private equity: transactions in the Corporate and commercial chapter.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is particularly well regarded for its hedge fund practice, in keeping with both its global reputation in the space and the hires of Tim Pearce and Ian Meade from Simmons & Simmons in 2012, as well as hedge fund tax expert Jon Hanifan from Ernst & Young in February 2013. Overall practice head David Billings is ‘thoughtful and dedicated', and Christopher Gorman-Evans is a key figure on the private equity side. Clients include Carlyle Group, J.P. Morgan Securities and Pegasus Capital Advisors. Gorman-Evans has been advising a major private fund on multiple high-end formations.

Allen & Overy LLP’s recent mandates include advising IFC Asset Management on the establishment of its $1.2bn Global Infrastructure Fund, with Nick Williams leading the advice. With notable hedge and listed fund capabilities, the firm has carved a significant pan-European UCITs and ETF practice in the latter arena. It recently advised a sponsor on a new platform to invest in vulnerable European hedge funds. John Goodhall, Matt Huggett and Pavel Shevtsov are the key figures.

Jonathan Parry and Piers Warburton of Ashurst are singled out by clients for their respective specialisms in listed funds and private funds. In 2013 Nicholas Holmes advised the underwriters, including Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Cazenove, on the high-profile $1.2bn IPO of Riverstone Energy, and Jeremy Bell led the advice to Hermes on the establishment of the Hermes Global Secondary Fund, Nick Goddard also part of the team. Bruce Hanton leads the listed funds group which also acted on IPOs for Infinis, Hibernia REIT and Greencoat UK Wind.

Baker & McKenzie LLP is ‘a loyal partner' and ‘very good on the more “difficult” deals' for clients which include sovereign wealth funds such as Employees Provident Fund of Malaysia and China Investment Corporation. Practice head James Burdett advised the former on fund structuring to acquire a portfolio of twelve UK hospital from Spire Group. Burdett also co-heads the firm’s global funds group, with Bruno Bertrand-Delfau co-heading the European private equity group. Senior associate Priya Kumar and associate Jonathan Unger are recommended.

With broad strength reflected by its presence in all four investment funds tables, and a strong focus on real estate funds in keeping with its global reputation in the space, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP attracts praise for its ‘strong associates'. Benjamin Lee is ‘excellent on IPOs', while Sam Narula is ‘very market-savvy and diligent'. Team head Anthony Grossman, Justin Cornelius and Kate Binedell are among the other key partner-level contacts in a team which acts for clients including Aviva, Blackrock and Hermes. Richard Werner is, with Lee, the main contact for listed funds work.

Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP’s team is led by John Holton, who is praised for his ‘first-class legal brain' and ‘specialist knowledge of SEC matters'. The arrival of Thiha Tun from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in September 2013 bolstered its emerging markets offering, which saw Holton advise Invascent Capital Partners II Ltd on the launch of its India Life Sciences Fund II. Tun’s mandates included assisting La Compagnie Benjamin de Rothschild on the establishment of Amethis Africa Finance, one of the largest Africa-focused private equity funds. John Clark is the other key contact, and has significant experience advising hedge funds on M&A and IPO-related matters. Since publication, Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP has become part of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Burges Salmon LLP is well regarded for its retail fund practice, where it acts for clients such as St James’s Place, Marlborough Fund Manager and Close Brothers. Particularly well known in the third-party retail fund hosting space, team head Chris Godfrey and Tom Dunn are both recommended by clients, their recent work spanning AIFMD, EMIR and UCITS V-related advice.

CMS’ merger with Dundas & Wilson has added an established retail funds practice to its already strong reputation for innovative private equity work, particularly in the infrastructure and real estate spaces. Partner-level additions following the combination include Colin Lawrie, Karagh Gilliatt and Aidan Campbell, with the arrival of Cathy Pitt from Norton Rose Fulbright in February 2014 further bolstering the firm’s listed funds capabilities. Melville Rodrigues heads the team, with Christopher Southorn singled out for private funds work. Clients include Ardstone Capital and Gallium Fund Solutions.

Charles Russell LLP’s ‘service level is second-to-none'. Keir Gordon heads the practice, which has a strong reputation for its expertise in both onshore and offshore closed-end private equity funds. John Fletcher is the other key contact in a team which lost the highly regarded Eve Ellis to Mishcon de Reya in May 2014. Since publication, Charles Russell LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP have merged to form Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Clifford Chance lost three private equity partners to Latham & Watkins, including former global private equity head David Walker. Despite this it continues to act for clients such as Allianz, 3i and Equistone on a broad range of high-end matters, recently seeing an increase in mandates on the debt, co-investments and funds of one side. Practice head Nigel Hatfield and Gerard Saviola are highly regarded, and Anthony Stewart and Simon Crown are the key contacts for tax and regulatory respectively.

Well known on both the sponsor and investor side, as well as for secondary transactions, Covington & Burling LLP’s team acts for an extensive list of top-end private funds, including several Pantheon entities. Simon Goodworth has been advising a range of co-investors on various issues, while Simon Currie has notable AIFMD expertise.

DLA Piper is well regarded for its prowess in both private and listed funds, its reputation in the latter bolstered by the hire of former Debevoise & Plimpton LLP associate James O’Donnell, who joined the team as partner in September 2013. Highlights on the listed side included advising Harbert Management Corporation on the establishment of its first dedicated European debt fund, listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. Jon Hayes is the key contact for capital markets matters.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘global reach enables it to help regardless of jurisdiction'. Its London-based private funds team compares well with its trophy New York based practice, with a client list including Carlyle Group, Deutsche Bank Private Equity and EQT Partners. Geoffrey Kittredge and Marwan Al-Turki head the European private equity team, with Anthony McWhirter and John Forbes Anderson recommended for tax issues.

Dechert LLP’s expertise spans the full range of fund classes, from hedge, hybrid hedge and loan funds, to UCITS, real estate and ETFs. Practice head Peter Astleford advised Decura IM Investments on its high-profile creation of a UK platform manager with Irish qualifying investor and Cayman funds platforms. Other clients include ETF Securities and BT Pension Scheme. Astleford, Gus Black, Stuart Martin and Andrew Hougie are all recommended by clients.

Eversheds LLP has ‘strong technical and industry knowledge' of retail funds, and acts for a big-ticket client roster including Henderson Global Investors, JPMorgan and Legal and General. Department head Pamela Thompson, Julian Brown and Jonathan Master are singled out by clients; tax partner Camilla Spielman and regulatory expert Andrew Henderson, hired from Ropes & Gray LLP in February 2014, are also noted. The team has been prevalent in advice to a wide range of major funds on AIFMD implementation.

At Farrer & Co, practice head Grania Baird has strong retail fund credentials.

Fieldfisher’s ‘excellent' practice has broad expertise across the hedge, private and listed arenas, with a particularly strong reputation for retail funds. Recent mandates include assisting Rocket Pictures, Sir Elton John’s and David Furnish’s production company, on the establishment of its first fund (a private placement fund incorporated in Jersey). Practice head Kirstene Baillie, hedge fund expert Duncan Black and tax expert Nicholas Noble are the key contacts.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is advising X2 Resources, led by the former Xstrata management team, on the formation of a major new fund; and RDIF, a Russian Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), on its co-investment structures with two Middle Eastern SWFs. Jonathan Baird, Karen Fountain, David Rouch and practice head Mark Watterson are the key partners.

Reflecting its global reputation in the space, Goodwin Procter’s growing practice has been particularly active in real estate-related fund work for clients such as Rynda Property Investors, HIG Capital and GreenOak. Team head David Evans and Samantha Lake Coghlan are the key figures.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s ‘innovative, enthusiastic' team has ‘a great pool of talent' and is widely recognised by peers as the market leader for listed funds work. Highlights included advising Goldman Sachs on the €350m IPO and structuring of CVC Credit Partners European Opportunities; and, on the private side, assisting a wide range of emerging markets, alternative and real estate funds. Practice head Nigel Farr is ‘probably the leading listed funds lawyer in the market', Tim West is ‘expert in his field', and Scott Cochrane is also recommended.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is ‘excellent in all material areas, has strength-in-depth, and is able to provide first-class tax and property advice as and when necessary'. Practice head Nicholas Holman, property funds specialist James McDonald and private funds specialist recommended. Clients include Scottish Widows, Prudential and Lloyds Banking Group; Holman advised the latter on the formation of Lloyds Bank Global Infrastructure Partners.

Daniel Tunkel and Keith Lassman are the key figures at Howard Kennedy, which enjoys a particularly strong reputation in venture capital trust flotations.

Jones Day ‘excels in global multi-manager real estate private equity transactions', with Alistair Grant attracting praise as ‘an excellent transactional lawyer and a real pleasure to work with'. Clients include Hansteen Holdings, CBRE Investors and Morgan Stanely Real Estate Funds. Team head Neil Seaton, Neil Ferguson and Anna Cartwright are the other key contacts.

K&L Gates LLP’s team, which is ‘good on all levels', has seen a significant uptick in work for UCITS funds such as Federated Investors and Janus Capital. Its broad range of capabilities includes open and closed-end funds, but it remains focused on hedge and private funds. Real estate clients include Jones Lang La Salle and Henderson global Investors. Team head Sean Donovan-Smith and Philip Morgan are recommended.

Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP made a significant investment with the recruitment of Sidley Austin LLP’s Barry Breen to head its nascent London-based funds practice. Breen was joined in 2014 by David Brennand (also from Sidley Austin LLP) and regulatory expert Neil Robinson from Schulte Roth & Zabel International LLP. The firm also recruited private equity specialist Philip Watkins and two associates from Hogan Lovells International LLP. US regulatory expert Nathaniel Lalone was promoted.

Kaye Scholer LLP’s ‘great team', led by alternative investment specialist Stephen Culhane, includes Daniel Lewin, recommended for fund structuring and tax advice, and Simon Firth, singled out by one client for his ‘innovative solutions for start-up funds, especially in light of AIFMD'. Clients include Mackay Shields and Wraith Capital.

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin’s ‘market-leading PE team is better than any other for real estate debt funds', according to one client. Duncan Woollard‘can advise on any issue that crops up', and Laura Charkin has ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of PE tax issues'. Practice head Jonathan Blake, Ed Hall, Shawn D’Aguiar, and Michael Halford are among those recommended in a team that includes Ajay Pathak, who heads the smaller hedge funds function. Clients include Northedge Capital, Terra Firma and Capital Dynamics. David Ryland and Victoria Younghusband left for Paul Hastings LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP, respectively.

The ‘trophy PE practice' at Kirkland & Ellis International LLP is well known for its global fund capability. The team advised Actera Partners on its $1bn Turkey-focused fund, and Amp Capital on two infrastructure funds with an aggregate value of $1.4bn. Practice head Mark Mifsud, Richard Watkins and Kate Downey are the key figures. Alexandra Conroy made partner in October 2013.

Latham & Watkins significantly bolstered its private equity capabilities with the high-profile lateral hires of David Walker, Kem Ihenacho and Tom Evans, all from Clifford Chance. As a further indication of its ambition in the private equity space, the firm also hired Nick Benson from Weil, Gotshal & Manges in January 2014.

Ranked across all four investment funds categories, Linklaters LLP’s broad practice, led by the recommended Jonathan de Lance-Holmes, focuses on private funds. Its private equity clients include Deutsche Bank Private Equity, for which the team acted on three mandates in 2013, and VTB Capital. Clients on the listed side include Alcentra and Eurocastle. Alternative fund-focused Matthew Keogh is the other key contact.

Niche alternative assets firm MJ Hudson has broad expertise that spans feeder funds, open-ended hedge funds, and co-investment schemes. Founder and practice head Matthew Hudson and Eamon Devlin, whose ‘focus and drive get the deal done', are the key contacts

Macfarlanes LLP’s broad-ranging practice covers all fund types. Alex Amos and department head Bridget Barker assisted IK Investment Partners on the high-profile $1.5bn formation of the Nordic buyout-focused IK VII fund. In an illustration of its strong reputation in UK real estate, Amos advised Legal and General on the £750m close of its property fund. Tim Cornick advised a major client on complex “mirroring” investment strategies. Stephen Robinson and Simon Thomas are the other key contacts.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s practice spans private and retail funds, and it is a ‘go-to firm' for listed mandates. Especially well-known for its retail fund expertise, Guy Norfolk’s team acts for clients such as Scottish Widows, Aberdeen Asset Management, Nick Rutter the key figure in this space. Listed funds expert Michael Livingston completes the key contacts at partner level, with David Young and associate Thomas Sneddon also recommended.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s strong hedge fund M&A credentials were demonstrated when it assisted Principal Financial Group on its acquisition of a controlling interest in Liongate Capital Management. Practice head Tim Nosworthy, ‘a good organiser, calm and confident', also advised B&B Investment Partners on the creation of a specialised investment fund in partnership with Alliance Boots. Jeremy Kenley is the other main contact.

Tim Flood now heads the team at Mishcon de Reya following the departure of Gray Smith for an in-house role. Its staples continue to be hedge funds and private equity. Flood and the highly regarded Eve Ellis joined in 2014 from Jones Day and Charles Russell LLP, respectively.

While singled out for its longstanding reputation in real estate and REITs, Nabarro LLP has also been active in hedge and private fund matters. Recent mandates include advising a major investor on a complex offshore private equity structuring. Team head Amanda Howard, Darren Stolzenberg, Andrew Wylie and Deborah Lloyd are all recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s longstanding reputation for closed-end listings was demonstrated by its advice to managers on four IPOs with an aggregate value of £900m. Leveraging the firm’s well-known energy and infrastructure capabilities, Ian Fox advised new client The Renewable Infrastructure Group on its £300m main-market listing. Other clients include JP Morgan, Henderson Global Investors and Cenkos Securities. Hedge and private funds partner Michael Newell and head of asset management Richard Sheen are key contacts. The listed side of the practice suffered a blow with the departure of Cathy Pitt to CMS in February 2014.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s ‘particularly strong London team' is led by highly regarded global funds head John Daghlian, and ‘punches well above its size'. Clients include Coller Capital, Adelis Equity Partners and Helios Investment Partners. Daghlian is ‘an exceptional leader' with ‘exemplary domain knowledge', and Solomon Wifa is recommended for Africa-focused funds. Daniel Quinn is ‘a rising star with a tremendous negotiating style'. The recruitment of Daniel Oates from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP has strengthened the team’s private equity M&A capabilities.

Led by the ‘highly commercial' Paul Anning, Osborne Clarke’s 2013 highlights included advising Deutsche Bank on the nascent stages of the launch of its €500m fully AIFMD-compliant European property fund. Other key contacts include Tim Simmonds and Alex Worner.

Paul Hastings LLP covers a broad spectrum of private, hedge and listed funds matters, recently handling a €350m main market IPO for CVC Credit Partners, and advising Threadneedle on structured fund initiatives in relation to the reorganisation of the real estate portfolio of Zurich Insurance. David Ryland, hired from King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin in November 2013, is ‘one of the finest property lawyers in the market'. Jonathan Shenkman, Christian Parker and Neil Hamilton are also recommended.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP practice advises a broad range of funds including infrastructure, sovereign wealth and real estate. Team leader Stephen Sims has been prolific recently in fund M&A. Sims and James Anderson assisted BlackRock with its acquisitions of Credit Suisse's ETF division and of MGPA, the real estate arm of Macquarie. Other clients include BTG Pactual and GSA Capital.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s team, co-headed by Daniel Greenaway and Ian Warner, acts for clients such as Grainger, Sango Capital Partners and Cargill. Greenaway advised RISUS Property Management LLP on its inaugural fundraising of a residential property fund.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s team has ‘deep understanding of the funds space'. Team head Nigel Van Zyl is a ‘rainmaker', ‘especially strong on secondary PE transactions' and has ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of the funds space and its trends'. Kate Simpson is ‘dogged in closing out transactions' and regulatory expert Peter McGowan is also recommended. Highlights included assisting HgCapital on the fundraising for its $2bn HgCapital 7 fund.

Reed Smith LLP’s practice is now led by Panos Katsambas following the departure of Dale Gabbert to Simmons & Simmons. Katsambas, ‘an outstanding lawyer' and ‘a pleasure to work with', advised York Capital Management Global Advisors in a co-investment of $500m in the containership market. The departure of Gabbert was mitigated by the hire of Winston Penhall from KPMG, where he founded the funds law team. Real estate specialist Oliver s’Jacob is also recommended.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s team is ‘one of the best for private equity' with ‘a thorough understanding of their clients’ commercial needs'. Practice head Matthew Judd and Anand Damodaran are ‘lawyers at the top of their game - not only PE experts but both pleasures to work with'. The hire of Michelle Moran from the Dublin office of Dechert LLP further strengthens the team’s regulatory and retails funds offering. The team continues to advise Nordic Capital on several big-ticket mandates, including the Nordic Capital Fund VIII.

Schulte Roth & Zabel International LLP’s team is ‘unquestionably the best out there for hedge funds', and cemented its position with the hire of Steven Whittaker from rival Simmons & Simmons in September 2013, to add to the hires of Peter Declercq and Sonya Van de Graaff from Brown Rudnick LLP earlier in the year. The practice advised on four of the five largest hedge fund launches in the first half of 2013. Christopher Hilditch, Daniel Shapiro, Josh Dambacher and Kerrie Walsh all draw exceptional praise from clients, which include Cantab Capital Partners and Argentiere Capital.

Shearman & Sterling LLP is recommended for its AIFMD expertise, and counsel John Adams is ‘able to cut through the complex issues where external assistance is needed'. Team head and of counsel William Murdie advised Innisfree on the closing of the £544m Innisfree PFI Secondary Fund.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘high-calibre' team ‘will only grow stronger' under the leadership of Stephen Ross, who has taken the reins following the retirement of the highly regarded Bruce Gardner. Spanning private and hedge funds, clients include Man Group and Jabre Capital Partners. Matthew Dening and Leonard Ng are singled out. Barry Breen left for Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP to head its nascent London-based team.

Spanning all four London investment fund categories, Simmons & Simmons remains known primarily as ‘a leading firm for hedge funds', and ‘has the scale and resource to address highly technical issues'. The ‘statesman-like' Iain Cullen is highly regarded in the market; David Williams and ‘rising star' Nicholas Colston can both ‘translate the technical detail into useable advice'; and Darren Fox is praised for his ‘incisive regulatory knowledge and willingness to stand against the tide'. Clients include UBS Asset Management, Schroders and NM Rothschild. Dale Gabbert was a lateral hire from Reed Smith LLP, where he headed the investment funds team, while Steven Whittaker left for Schulte Roth & Zabel International LLP.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is renowned for sponsor-side private equity mandates for clients such as EQT Infrastructure II, Apax VIII and Actis 4. Practice head Jason Glover and Gareth Earl are both very highly regarded, the team acting as sole fundraising counsel to CVC Capital Partners on the closing of its sixth buyout fund, totalling $10.5bn in commitments.

Slaughter and May continues to advise HM Treasury on the Business Finance Partnership, its £1.2bn commitment to funds targeting investment in SMEs. Key contacts include practice head Paul Dickson, Robin Ogle, whose clients include Fidelity, and insurance sector specialist Robert Chaplin.

Speechly Bircham LLP’s clients include Fidelity, CBRE and Cazenove Capital. Elizabeth Budd and practice head Nick Janmohamed advised various Fidelity investment trusts on the impact of AIFMD. The hire of Victoria Younghusband from King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin bolsters the team’s hedge funds offering. Other key contacts include Jonathan Bayliss and Luxembourg-based David Louis. Since publication, Charles Russell LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP have merged to form Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Stephenson Harwood’s listed funds practice is led by the ‘pragmatic and experienced' William Saunders who ‘gets to the nub of issues very quickly'. The team won new mandates from Schroders, following its appointment by the company’s flagship real estate investment trust, as well as from Peel Hunt and SP Angel Corporate Finance on the broker side. Andrew Sutch, Elizabeth Field and Alex Haynes are all recommended, Saunders and James Tinworth leading on select big-ticket hedge fund mandates.

Travers Smith LLP’s ‘always has a partner or a very senior associate managing the deal who know exactly what needs to be flagged for internal counsel'. Its practice spans private, hedge and listed funds. BlueGem Capital Partners and Kester Capital are significant client wins on the private side, while REITs remain a core expertise on the listed side. Practice head Sam Kay, and Jeremy Elmore are the key contacts for private funds, and Aaron Stocks is the main contact for listed funds. Will Normand is ‘an excellent senior associate whose performance is partner level'.

Mark Brady of hedge funds boutique Watson Brady LLP is ‘quick but meticulous, has come across most problems before, and knows the way to get the best commercial outcome'. Brady’s highlights included advising Goldbridge Capital Partners on its restructuring of sub-funds to Goldbridge Alternative Investment Fund.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ private funds practice has ‘the firepower, resources and expertise for the most challenging projects' and is, according to one client, ‘at the very top of the market for fund formations'. Ed Gander and Jonathan Kandel‘are both excellent’ and James Gee is recommended for his regulatory advice. Nigel Clark’s clients include Brookfield Asset Management. Nick Benson has joined Latham & Watkins.

Indicative of its prevalence in closed-end fund listing on the LSE, AIM and Specialist Fund Market (SFM), Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP advised GCP Student Living on the first IPO of a residential REIT on the SFM. John Reed is recommended and Oliver Riley is ‘excellent - not easily flustered and respected by both clients and peers'. Nick Heather heads the team which also includes Richard Everett and Elliot Weston who specialise in regulatory matters and tax, respectively. The legacy Wragge & Co team includes Birmingham-based Sharon Ayres, who specialises in real estate and alternative investment funds.

M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+

Index of tables

  1. M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+
  2. Leading individuals: M&A (general)

Leading individuals: M&A (general)

  1. 1

Clifford Chance’s solid client base of global corporations and FTSE 100 companies turn to the corporate practice for complex transactions of strategic importance. Highlights included advising Suntory Beverage & Food on its acquisition of the Ribena and Lucozade businesses from GSK, and AZ Electronics on the £1.565bn recommended cash offer by Merck. David Pearson led the team which advised Electra on the sale of Allflex, and Tim Lewis and Mark Carroll took lead roles in advising Eurasian Resources on its £3bn ENRC takeover bid. Simon Tinkler heads the practice, which saw the promotion of Nicholas Hughes in May 2013 and the return of Guy Norman from Dubai in August 2013.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s team ‘demonstrates strength-in-depth', with ‘senior partners who are very experienced and professional'. Ben Spiers led the multi-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary team which advised longstanding client Invensys on its takeover by Schneider Electric; Claire Wills advised key client Tesco on a proposed joint venture with China Resources Enterprise; and Adrian Maguire advised Advent on the sale of Domestic & General to CVC. Also recommended are Martin Nelson-Jones, Andrew Hutchings, ‘strong negotiator' Piers Prichard Jones, and the ‘extremely efficient' Sundeep Kapila. Simon Marchant took over as corporate head following Julian Long’s appointment as London managing partner.

The ‘absolutely first-rate' outfit at Linklaters LLP has expertise in key sectors such as financial services, natural resources and TMT. As well as being ‘great to work with', the team’s ‘hardworking' lawyers have ‘a wonderful sense of the kind of advice in-house counsel needs'. Charlie Jacobs is praised as ‘the preeminent corporate lawyer in the mining sector'; he and Nick Rumsby advised Kazakhmys on Eurasian Resources’ takeover offer for ENRC. Other recent highlights for the practice include advising Schneider Electric on its bid for Invensys, and Dixons on the Carphone Warehouse merger, where Aedamar Comiskey took the lead role. Stuart Bedford was appointed London corporate practice head in 2014. Sarah Wiggins, David Holdsworth and Iain Fenn are also recommended.

Demonstrating ‘consistent strength at all levels', Slaughter and May receives instructions from an enviable client base of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies in various sectors. Stand-out deals included advising Vodafone on the disposal of its 45% interest in Verizon Wireless, and GSK on the sale of its thrombosis brands to Aspen. The team counts 39 partners in its core group, with Stephen Cooke as head of M&A and Frances Murphy as corporate head. Simon Nicholls attracts particular praise; he is considered ‘very pragmatic', with a ‘good sense of risk'. Also recommended are Paul Dickson, Mark Zerdin and Nilufer von Bismarck.

A ‘go-to firm for international M&A work', Allen & Overy LLP‘has someone for all eventualities'. The firm’s multi-jurisdictional presence placed it in good stead to advise GSK on the sale of Ribena and Lucozade, where ‘enthusiastic and inventive lawyer' Edward Barnett and the ‘talented and innovative' Andrew Ballheimer took lead roles. Richard Browne and a multi-office team advised Novartis on the divestiture of its blood transfusion test unit for $1.675bn. Other members of the team which attract particular praise include George Knighton, David Broadley and Mark Wippell. Alistair Asher left the firm, and Stephen Lloyd joined from Ashurst.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP continued to grow its client base and market share, winning new clients in the private equity space as well as working with new and longstanding clients in the energy, mining and utilities sectors. Global head of M&A Stephen Wilkinson worked alongside colleagues in the tax and TMT departments to advise BskyB on its purchase of Telefónica’s UK broadband business. Greg Mulley is praised for his ability to ‘handle difficult situations with diplomacy', and clients also appreciate Alan Montgomery, for his ‘meticulous and thorough approach'. James Palmer, Malcolm Lombers and Robert Moore are also recommended.

Recognised for its capacity to handle high-end, multi-jurisdictional transactions, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP differentiates itself from others on the market through its comparatively lean team, which frequently works on deals at the top end of the spectrum. Recent highlights include advising a Finnish-based client on the sale of Italian and German companies, and advising Assicurazioni Generali on its purchase of a 49% stake in PPF Group for $3.3bn. Lorenzo Corte led the London team on that deal, working alongside colleagues in the Moscow office. Scott Simpson and Michael Hatchard head the group. Other names to note include Shaun Lascelles, Michal Berkner and Scott Hopkins, who has a ‘strategic mind' and ‘sharp insight'.

Ashurst remained active in its key area of infrastructure M&A, advising a consortium of investors on the €2.55bn acquisition of Fortum Distribution Finland. It is a popular choice for banking clients in public M&A deals as well as banks’ own transactional activity, and also represents corporate clients such as GE Healthcare and Lufthansa. Internal changes include the departure of Stephen Lloyd to Allen & Overy LLP, and Nigel Stacey and Jonathan Earle to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. Simon Beddow now leads the team, which includes the recommendedAnthony Clare.

The ‘relationship-focused' team at CMS demonstrates a ‘willingness to go the extra mile' and is ‘a pleasure to work with'. Befitting its track record in energy, the firm acted for longstanding client Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings on the acquisition of waste management company AVR; Charles Currier led the advice. Louise Wallace is ‘tenacious and committed', James Grimwood is ‘both technically and commercially strong', and Sandra Rafferty and Chris Southorn are also recommended. The firm’s merger with Dundas & Wilson LLP in May 2014 saw the arrival of ‘impressive all-rounder' Doug Land and his team.

Andrew Pearson’s team at Hogan Lovells International LLP had another busy year in the financial services space, with recent highlights including its advice to Lloyds Banking Group on the sale of its interest in Sainsbury’s Bank; Maegen Morrison and John Allison were part of the cross-practice team deployed to represent Lloyds. TMT remains another strong area for the practice, with the arrival of Don McGown from Allen & Overy LLP serving to bolster this capability given his experience in telecoms and media as well as financial services. Other personnel changes included the arrival of Ed Harris in 2013 and the promotion of Keith Woodhouse in 2014.

Clients turn to Macfarlanes LLP to avail of the team’s ‘strong analytical, negotiation and drafting skills' and ‘practical business advice'. In an impressive demonstration of its ability to handle high-end, complex transactions, the team acted as co-counsel to Verizon on the purchase of Vodafone’s interest in Verizon Wireless; Charles Martin and ‘highly talented attorney' Graham Gibb led the team. Other recommended partners include the ‘robust and hardworking' Luke Powell and Charles Meek, who is ‘calm under pressure'. A number of team members were welcomed to the partnership in 2013, including Emmie Jones and Jessica Adam.

A ‘very credible alternative to the Magic Circle', the size of Norton Rose Fulbright’s London team and its broad office network allow it to field cross-practice and cross-border teams on complex, international transactions. Recent additions to the team serve to reinforce the key areas in which the firm continues to be active; oil and gas expert Geoff Peters joined in 2014, while Richard Bull brought his private equity expertise from CMS. On the financial services side, Alan Bainbridge and Emma de Ronde recently advised Barclays on the combination of its Africa operations with Absa Group. Paul Whitelock, Chris Pearson, Raj Karia and Chris Grieves are recommended.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges saw an uptick in technology M&A activity between Silicon Valley and Europe, where its strong client relationships in the West Coast US made it well placed to pick up key instructions. As well as continuing to work with longstanding clients across a variety of sectors, 2013 also saw the team receive an instruction from new client Roots Group Arabia, which Simon Lyell and Michael Francies advised on the purchase of a stake in Ideal Standard MENA. Peter King took a lead role in advising Edwards on its takeover by Atlas Copco.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s ‘expertise in various legal disciplines' and ‘consistent skill levels' are major draws for its multinational clients. Its recent deal list is broad in terms of both size and sector; at the high end of the spectrum is oil and gas expert Hugh Stewart’s advice, along with colleagues from Moscow and Amsterdam, to Yamal Developments on its purchase of a 60% stake in Arctic Russia for $2.94bn. Karen Guch’s advice to Bernard Matthews on Rutland Partners’ £20m investment illustrates the team’s capabilities in lower value but strategically significant deals. Practice head Tim Gee receives accolades for his ‘level-headed and confident manner'; and Nick O’Donnell is recognised for his ‘deal management and client-service skills'.

In line with its multidisciplinary approach which avoids narrow specialisation, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s recent work spans financial services, energy and technology, though the multi-jurisdictional thread is a common theme across all transactions. The relatively small team punches above its weight in terms of complex and high-value work; examples include Simon Jay and Gabriele Antonazzo’s advice to Bank of America on the sale of its non-US wealth management arm, and Sam Bagot and Michael McDonalds advice to Google on the disposal of its Motorola Home Business. Daniel Braverman retired from the partnership and is now senior counsel.

The ‘responsive and commercial' team at Latham & Watkins is praised for its ability to ‘find creative solutions'. Its partners often work in unison with colleagues in Europe and the US on cross-border M&A: for Actavis, the firm fielded a 40-strong multi-jurisdictional team, which included Michael Bond and recently promoted partner Richard Butterwick, to advise on its $8.5bn acquisition of Warner Chikott. A sample of the firm’s client roster illustrates its diversity, with recent instructions coming from Aviva, BC Partners, and Yahoo!, the last of which Nick Cline advised on the acquisition of Summly. David Walker receives praise for his ‘extensive experience' in private equity.

With a ‘high level of partner attention', Shearman & Sterling LLP impresses with its ‘incredible attention to detail' and ‘dedication'. Jeremy Kutner and counsel Simon Little worked with a New York team advising Liberty Global on the $23.3bn acquisition of Virgin Media, which was one of several recent deals exceeding the £1bn mark. Other highlights included the acquisition of Avio Group’s aviation business by GE, where Kutner worked alongside practice head Laurence Levy as well as colleagues in the US and Europe. The ‘calm, confident and diligent' George Karafotias is highly recommended.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s strong private equity offering forms a key aspect of its M&A capabilities, though the firm’s impressive client roster also includes a number of corporates. The relatively small size of the team belies its ‘real strength', and clients appreciate its ability to ‘leverage the firm’s international network'. For CBRE, Michael Wolfson and Derek Baird recently provided advice on the purchase of Norland; and for key client KKR, Alvaro Membrillera recently handled a number of acquisitions including SBB/Telemach Group, while Gregory Conway advised the client on the purchase of a stake in Rignet. Adam Signy is considered a ‘strong leader'.

2013 saw Sullivan & Cromwell LLP continue to focus on high-end M&A deals, a space where it has experience acting for both corporate and banking clients. Tim Emmerson and Benjamin Perry advised APR Energy on the purchase of GE’s power rental business; the pair also advised Lightyear Capital on the acquisition of a majority interest in Cooper Gay Swett & Crawford. Other active members of the team include Nikolaos Andronikos and Richard Morrissey.

Spencer Summerfield heads the sizeable team at Travers Smith LLP; he recently advised longstanding client Pace on its acquisition of Aurora Networks. Other transactions which kept the team busy in 2013 include the merger between Metric Property Investments and London & Stamford by way of a scheme of arrangement, where Aaron Stocks took a lead role. Richard Spedding‘always makes a point to understand the larger transaction and the business goals'.

Recent hires on the private equity side bolstered White & Case LLP’s capabilities in this space, while other strategic developments for the firm include the establishment and expansion of Western European offices, broadening its pan-European corporate offering. With ‘deep industry knowledge and professional know-how' in the energy space, the firm was well-positioned to advise Saudi Aramco on the merger of a subsidiary, fielding a full-service team which included Alan Burke and Peter Finlay. Practice head Ashley Ballard is praised for his ‘positive leadership'. Also in the team are ‘skilled practitioner' Philip Broke and Gavin Weir, whose practice has a particular leaning towards financial institutions.

Jones Day had a strong year in 2013. Among the team’s stand-out deals were Vica Irani’s advice to longstanding client ENRC on Eurasian Resources’ takeover bid; John Phillips and Simon Kiff’s advice to Standard Bank’s board of directors on ICBC’s acquisition of a 60% stake in the London-based Global Markets business; and Giles Elliott’s work for a private equity client on a large portfolio sale. Neil Ferguson is also recommended.

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin’s ‘superb' corporate team, led by joint co-heads Michael Goldberg and Richard Lever, had a busy year in 2013 with a number of notable deals in the financial services and real estate sectors. Standout deals for the practice included William Holder and Mark Sanders’ representation of Universal Music on the sale of Parlophone for £487m. Also in the team is Steven Davis, who has experience in domestic and international M&A, particularly in the financial services space.

Well known for its private equity capabilities, Kirkland & Ellis International LLP has a strong client base of private equity houses and also represents corporate clients. Graham White advised CCMP Capital, which owns a majority stake in Pure Gym, on the latter’s merger with The Gym Group, and Gavin Gordon led the team which advised Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan on the acquisition of Burton’s Biscuits.

Key industries for Mayer Brown International LLP are energy, funds and insurance, with corporate partners also working alongside colleagues in the real estate team on property transactions, reflecting both market activity and traditional firm strengths. In line with the increased interest from Asian buyers in London real estate, Richard Page recently advised a Hong Kong based client on a property acquisition in Paddington. Recommended practice head Peter Dickinson advised longstanding client Moody’s on its acquisition of Amba Investment Services. Robert Hamill is a key contact for energy-related transactions.

Giles Dennison heads the ‘client-oriented' team at Simmons & Simmons, which is turned to by both private equity and corporate clients which recognise its ‘professionalism' and ‘bench strength'. With a good spread of work above and below the £500m mark, the team has a particular specialism for transactions in the regulated sectors. Praise is aimed at the ‘proactive' and ‘highly experienced' Edward Baker. Matt Rees is also recommended.

The ‘proactive' Andrew Rosling leads the ‘user-friendly and down-to-earth' team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP, which enjoys a good reputation for mid-tier deals but also receives instructions on big-ticket transactions particularly in focus areas such as financial services. Other important sectors include real estate, retail and energy. In this latter space the firm recently added two partners from Shepherd and Wedderburn: Angus Rollo and Guy Winter. Their arrival also serves to strengthen the practice’s Africa capabilities.

DLA Piper continues to be recognised for the high volume of transactions of differing values handled by its sizeable corporate team; 2013 saw it advising on seven deals above the £250m mark. The year also saw a number of new additions to the team at both partner and associate level. Robert Bishop heads the UK corporate team; Charles Severs is international head of corporate.

Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP’s strong client relationships ensured another busy year for transactions in 2013, where, ‘despite being a smaller outfit' it is able to ‘deploy in numbers when required'. Fiona Adams is recognised for her ‘prompt delivery of high-quality advice', and Paul Maher is highlighted for his ‘strategic sense and transatlantic market awareness'. Kate Eades is also recommended.

At King & Spalding International LLP, practice head William Charnley has ‘created a very formidable team'. Though traditionally focused on international deals, the London team has also started to set its sights on domestic deals. Counsel Marcus Young is a key contact in the team, taking a lead role on a number of notable deals in 2013 including GE Power & Water on the sale of its air filtration business.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s London team takes lead roles on substantial cross-border deals, with a particular focus on Russia and the emerging markets. Many of the team’s transactional highlights in 2013 centred around telecoms and oil and gas, including VimpelCom’s sale of its stake in Orascom where Daniel Walsh and Sebastian Rice took a lead role.

Real estate remains a key area of strength for Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, which is active in the mid-market space while still picking up higher-value deals from new and longstanding clients. Notable deals in 2013 included Michael Anderson’s advice to Griffin-American Healthcare REIT II on the acquisition of Myriad Healthcare, and Benjamin Lee’s advice to a longstanding client on a complex separation agreement through separate acquisitions. Catherine Shirley is also recommended.

Covington & Burling LLP operates a full-service practice from its London office, where its industry specialisms of technology and life sciences mirror that of its US counterpart. Practice head Paul Claydon advised AstraZeneca on its subsidiary MedImmune’s acquisition of Spirogen. US-qualified Kristian Wiggert is recommended.

Since 2012, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s London office has offered English law capabilities alongside its US law offering, and has been involved in a number of big-ticket transactions. John Banes and Will Pearce lead the practice, the latter of whom joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in 2013. Simon Witty advised Tele2 on the disposal of its Russian business to VTB Group.

The ‘very bright and versatile' Jeremy Hill leads the practice at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, which serves an international client base including Eutelsat, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and American International Group as well as a number of Russia-based corporates. Geoffrey Burgess is a key contact for Russia and CIS-related work.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP serves a diverse client base operating in a number of sectors and jurisdictions. For key client Investcorp, it fielded a large team, led by Nick Tomlinson and including James Barabas to advise on the purchase of a stake in Hydrasun. Nigel Stacey and Jonathan Earle joined from Ashurst

With a focus on complex, high-end transactions, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is particularly active in the financial services space, with a number of corporate deals in the energy sector also keeping the team busy in 2013. Mark Stamp advised Sainsbury’s in the acquisition of the remaining 50% of Sainsbury’s Bank. Stuart Harray leads the team.

Despite being a relative newcomer to the London market, Ropes & Gray LLP has made significant inroads, particularly within key areas such as TMT and life sciences, where it has taken roles on major transactions for multinational corporates and private equity houses. Active members of the team include Will Rosen, Kiran Sharma and Peter Baldwin.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘ability to advise on transactions internationally' is a ‘big strength'. The London team leverages its US counterparts’ expertise in the financial services and insurance sectors, as well as maintaining an active practice in other areas of strength such as technology and life sciences. Stephen Blackshaw and Thomas Thesing co-head the team; Mark Thompson is also recommended.

The London-based lawyers at Vinson & Elkins RLLP act on high-end international transactions, particularly within the energy sector. A full-service and cross-continental team which included Jeff Eldridge advised Oman Oil on its acquisition of OXEA, and François Feuillat worked alongside colleagues in the Houston office to advise Valerus Field Solutions on the acquisition by Kentz.

M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m

Index of tables

  1. M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m
  2. Leading individuals: M&A (general)

Leading individuals: M&A (general)

  1. 1

The ‘first-rate' team at Dechert LLP provides ‘consistently excellent and timely' advice. The London team focuses its strength on complex, cross-border transactions rather than volume, with a particular emphasis on the emerging markets. New client wins include CIT Group, which practice head Douglas Getter advised on multiple international transactions in 2013. Jonathan Angell is recommended for his ability to ‘remain calm despite huge transaction pressures'.

With a broad geographical reach, Dentons is active in cross-border transactions, focusing particularly on the emerging markets. Its presence in Russia made it well-placed to advise Enel on the sale of its stake in Arctic Russia, with Paul Salmon leading the London team which worked alongside colleagues in Moscow. Other core areas include TMT, real estate and hotels and leisure; Rick Ross, Mark Daliere and Matthew Tinger’s advice to Dorchester Collection on the acquisition of Hotel Eden in Rome being a classic example. Jeremy Cohen and Richard Macklin are also recommended.

Eversheds LLP’s London office is equipped to take a key project management role on cross-border transactions, where it can field sizeable teams where needed. The team continues to handle a high volume of deals, with real estate, energy and financial services remaining key areas of focus, and is increasingly involved in upper mid-market transactions. Keith Froud leads the team, which promoted Rachel Broquard to the partnership in 2013. Other key contacts include Robin Johnson, Robert Pitcher and Chris Halliday.

The 15-partner team at Nabarro LLP is led by Iain Newman; he and a cross-practice team which included new hire Jeremy Phillips advised Telecom Plus on the acquisition of Electricity Plus Supply and Gas Plus Supply from Npower. Kristy Duane and Alasdair Steele advised John Laing Infrastructure Fund on a portfolio acquisition from Mill Group.

Olswang LLP’s M&A team had a strong year in 2013, closing 80 M&A and joint venture transactions. Recognised for its media-sector expertise, it counts Warner Music, ITV and Sony Pictures Television among its clients. Practice head Fabrizio Carpanini and a full-service team advised the shareholders of Alexander Mann Solutions on its sale to New Mountain Capital. Louis Glass is recommended.

With particular strength in the digital business space, Osborne Clarke continues to receive instructions on large M&A transactions from both new and longstanding clients; practice head Ray Berg’s advice to the shareholders of Fjordnet on its sale to Accenture is one recent example. Other highlights in 2013 include Jonathan King’s advice to Carphone Warehouse on the purchase of the remaining stake in Best Buy Europe from its previous joint venture partner, Best Buy. Mark Spinner joined from Eversheds LLP and is recommended.

Andrew Masraf leads the ‘first-rate' team at Pinsent Masons LLP, which demonstrates ‘a comprehensive understanding of key issues' and impresses with its ‘quality of advice'. Its particular strength in energy, real estate and technology sees it receiving instructions on deals up to the £500m mark, with recent highlights including Robert Moir’s advice to G-Res 1 on the disposal of its UK property portfolio. The ‘superb' Jon Harris is an ‘excellent deal leader'. Rob Hutchings is also recommended.

‘A good, strong firm with an international footprint', Squire Patton Boggs has the resources to handle a high volume of M&A work, much of it with a cross-border element. Recent transactions demonstrating the team’s multi-jurisdictional capabilities include its advice to Cardtronics on the acquisition of Cardpoint Services, where Jane Haxby led the team, and ECI on the sale of CliniSys to Montagu Equity Partners, where James McKay took the lead role. Trevor Ingle‘knows what is required to get a deal done'; and William Downs is also recommended.

Renowned for its expertise in the TMT space, Bird & Bird LLP has seen an increase in international transactions; Neil Blundell’s advice to Liquid Telecommunications on its acquisition of Altech’s East African assets being a case in point. Clean energy is another key area of activity, with Matt Bonass taking a lead role in advising Bluefield Partners on various solar site developments during 2013.

At Fieldfisher, 2013 saw the arrival of Neil Matthews from Eversheds LLP and David Kent from Taylor Wessing LLP and the departure of Tim Bee to Marriott Harrison LLP. Its increasing reputation in the TMT space is demonstrated by a number of new client wins, including Elsevier, which practice head Andrew Blankfield and a team of IP, tax and corporate lawyers advised on its acquisition of Woodhead Publishing.

Under the leadership of Hugh Nineham, McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP’s London team serves a client base of public and private companies, investment banks and high-net-worth families, and continues to handle a range of cross-border corporate transactions, with a particular focus on emerging markets. Its Africa offering was strengthened by the arrival of Rupert Weber and Stuart Mathews from Maitland.

RPC continues to see activity in the insurance space, though the expanding team’s sector expertise also spans real estate, technology and media. James Mee and a cross-practice team advised ANV on its acquisition of Jubilee Managing Agency. Tim Anderson leads the team, which also includes Karen Hendy, whose practice takes in public and private M&A and equity capital markets, and new partners David Marshall and Anthony Shatz.

The ‘flexible' and ‘responsive' team at Reed Smith LLP handles a mix of domestic and cross-border work, with the standout deal in 2013 being its advice to the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, led by Giles Beale, on the takeover of Eurasian Natural Resources. Practice head James Wilkinson is recommended; his recent work includes advising Grendall Investments on the acquisition of Cupid.

Serving an impressive client base of blue-chip clients, Stephenson Harwood has the size and expertise to ‘field a large team covering a wide range of specialisms'. Its strength in the energy sector is illustrated by its advice to GDF Suez on its acquisition of Balfour Beatty WorkPlace, where ‘first-class lawyer' and ‘very good negotiator' Andrew Edge led the team. Tony Edwards is also recommended.

Taylor Wessing LLP is recognised for its strength in the technology space, an area in which Mike Turner has particular expertise. His recent work highlights include advising financial services technology company Avelo on its acquisition by IRESS. Private equity is another area of focus; in 2013 James Goold advised Inflexion on the secondary buyout of CableCom. James Robertson heads the department.

Geoff Gouriet heads the corporate team at Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP following the firm merger in May 2014. The enlarged group’s expertise spans real estate, technology, insurance and natural resources. The ‘flexible' Stuart Young is ‘very quick to understand the commercial position'.

Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP’s ‘high-quality lawyers' provide ‘sensible and reliable advice' to a client base drawn partly from its US counterparts’ contacts, and partly from the London office’s own standalone clients. Jeremy Willcocks and life sciences expert Anna Buscall advised Recordati on its acquisition of Laboratorios Casen Fleet.

At Clyde & Co LLP, Christopher Duffy’s expertise takes in financial services, food and resources. Insurance remains a core area of focus for the firm as a whole, which saw further international expansion in 2013, adding new corporate partners across the MENA region and thus strengthening its cross-border transactional capabilities.

Holman Fenwick Willan handles cross-border transactions within its core areas of transport, energy, commodities and insurance, specialisms reflected in the team’s client base which includes ECOM Agroindustrial, Niel Petroleum and Sunderland Mutual Marine Insurance. Nick Hutton and James Lewis worked with colleagues in Singapore to advise ReCapital on the sale of its stake in Asia Resource Minerals. Alexis Kyriakoulis‘works very well under extreme pressure'.

At K&L Gates LLP, Jeremy Davis worked alongside colleagues in the US to advise Allegheny Technologies on the sale of ATI Tungsten Materials. Other US corporate clients include Brightstar Corp, Teledyne Technologies and OIA Global, which Howard Kleiman advised on the acquisition of Bellville Rodair. Practice head Paul Tetlow is a ‘very strong, practical lawyer'.

The nine-partner team at Lewis Silkin LLP is led by Jo Evans; she and highly recommended associate Helen Ewing advised the management team of The Red Brick Road on the management buy-out in February 2013, a transaction which fits into the firm’s strengths in the creative, media and technology sectors. ‘Outstanding legal adviser' Paul Rajput is ‘pragmatic' and ‘reliable'.

The spread of Mishcon de Reya’s work is diverse in terms of sector and deal value, with 76 transactions in 2013 between £1m and £100m, and two exceeding the £1bn mark. Private wealth is a particular strength, and the team is seeing an increase in cross-border work. Nick Davis leads the team, which includes recommended partners Susan Breen, Dean Poster, and Jonathan Berman, who is praised for his ‘clear advice and counsel'.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP is active in cross-border transactions, particularly with a Middle Eastern element. In the hotels and leisure space, for example, practice head Michael Pattinson and Tony Poole advised Kanoo on the acquisition of Thomas Cook’s Lebanese and Egyptian businesses. Nick Harrisingh is recommended.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP ‘offers a great mix of international coverage with a personal touch'. A cross-practice team including Nick Fothergill advised DONG Energy on the sale of its stake in London Array 1, one of many recent deals in the energy space handled by the firm, which is also known for its shipping expertise. Chris Kilburn relocated to Singapore; ‘strong adviser' Jan Mellmann now leads the group. Christina Howard is also recommended.

Handling a mix of domestic, US and Russian-facing work, Baker Botts (UK) LLP has particular expertise in the energy and TMT sectors; the team’s expansion in this latter space is signalled by a number of new clients including Acorn Media and Creative Technology. A cross-border team including Derek Jones, senior associate Alexander Reid and ‘knowledgeable' special counsel Alex Mason advised Parker Drilling on the acquisition of International Tubular Services. Neil Foster and senior associate Tim Davison are ‘professional' and ‘committed'.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius’ London team is active in international transactions governed by English law; Amy Comer has particular expertise in Russian and Kazakhstan-related deals. The expanding team saw the arrival of energy experts Mathew Kidwell and Lewis Jones in 2013.David Ramm joines from Edwards Wildman Palmer.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP’s London team has US and UK law capabilities, with a particular focus on the financial services, energy and technology sectors. Hilary Winter heads the group, which includes dual-qualified partner Christopher Grew.

Paul Hastings LLP’s global network enables it to advise on major cross-border transactions. Garrett Hayes was part of the multi-office team advising Shuanghui on the $7.1bn acquisition of Smithfield Foods, while Ronan O’Sullivan and Ross McNaughton had roles on the acquisition of Sinclair Knights Mer by Jacobs Engineering, where a Los Angeles and London team advised the buyer.

Praised for its ‘insightful, concise and well-balanced' advice, Chadbourne & Parke LLP is strong in its focal area of multi-jurisdictional transactions in emerging markets, with a number of recent deal highlights in the energy and utilities sectors. Charez Golvala took a lead role in advising AES on the sale of its interests in two electricity distribution companies in Ukraine.

Clients appreciate Charles Russell LLP’s ‘pragmatic' advice, which is ‘focused on achieving client objectives in a cost-effective & low-risk way'. Energy and natural resources expert Clive Hopewell took over as practice head following Simon Gilbert’s retirement from the partnership. Mark Howard is recommended. Since publication, Charles Russell LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP have merged to form Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP’s London practice advises a client base of corporates, banks, funds and insurance companies, and handled 20 M&A transactions in 2013. The group includes the ‘experienced' and ‘extremely hardworking' Shawn Atkinson*. David Ramm left for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. *Shawn Atkinson left for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP in 2014. *Justin Stock and David Bresnick are now at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP.

At Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP, US-qualified Robert Mollen advised Virgin Media on its acquisition by Liberty Global, and Richard May advised Bank of America on Royal Pharma’s hostile takeover bid for Elan Corporation, illustrating the ability of the ‘responsive' and ‘commercially aware' team to handle big-ticket transactions.

In addition to its work in the technology and natural resources sectors, 2013 saw Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP advise on a number of transactions in the leisure industry. Justin Stock* leads the four-partner team, which also includes David Bresnick* and counts Autodesk, IGas Energy and Dogus Holding among its clients.

Speechly Bircham LLP serves a broad client base of corporates in various sectors including real estate and natural resources, and has a strong private wealth offering. Providing an ‘excellent level of service utilising more junior members of staff where appropriate', praise is levelled at both partners and associates, including senior associates David Hicks and David Coates. Practice head Tom Shaw‘comes into his own when managing complex projects'. Since publication, Charles Russell LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP have merged to form Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Michael Thompson leads the four-partner team at Steptoe & Johnson, which includes the newly promoted Michael Fox. Its client base mirrors its specialisms in retail, technology, property and manufacturing and includes Spark Networks, Emerisque Brands and Illinois Tool Works.

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP’s three-partner team specialises in cross-border corporate transactions. In collaboration with the Boston office, a team of London-based lawyers (including practice head Joe Pillman) advised Ameresco on the acquisition of Energy Services Partnership.

‘User-friendly and experienced practitioner' Zoë Ashcroft leads the team at Winston & Strawn London LLP; she recently advised JD Norman Industries on the acquisition of a UK-based auto part manufacturer. Energy-related transactions account for a number of the team’s recent corporate deals, an area in which Nicholas Usher has experience.

Vance Chapman and John Clark are the key contacts at Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP; they handle a range of corporate transactions for a client base comprised largely of hedge funds, investment funds and financial institutions. Since publication, Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP has become part of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Burges Salmon LLP runs a number of deals out of its London office; recent highlights include its advice to the Louis Delhaize Group on the disposal of its garden centre business; Rupert Weston led the cross-practice team. Practice head Richard Spink is recommended.

Dickson Minto WS’ highly regarded London office focuses on M&A and private equity. Alastair Dickson has ‘tremendous commercial acumen'.

Fasken Martineau LLP’s London office handles high-value, cross-border transactions, particularly within its focal area of energy and natural resources, with Abayomi Akinjide taking a key role on a number of recent deals. David Smith is praised for his ‘concise and articulate' advice.

McGuireWoods London LLP often takes a key coordinating role in multi-jurisdictional transactions. Recent highlights include Philip Newhouse and Mark Langford’s advice to MIDROC Pharmaceuticals on the establishment of a joint venture with Hikma Pharmaceuticals.

James Campbell is the key contact at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, which works alongside colleagues in the US on cross-border transactions.

M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m

Index of tables

  1. M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m
  2. Leading individuals: M&A (general)

Leading individuals: M&A (general)

  1. 1

The ‘results-oriented' team at Boodle Hatfield LLP saw an uptick in transactional activity in the mining sector as well as the hotels and leisure space. Much of the work undertaken by the group has an overseas element, with the partners often working alongside local counsel to provide a cross-border, full-service offering. Nigel Stone leads the practice, which includes Richard Beavan and ‘extremely sharp' Anglo-German specialist Ute Mueller, who ‘brings wise solutions to matters'.

The four-partner team at Bristows LLP is praised as ‘easy to work with'; its key strengths are within the TMT and life sciences sectors, where it counts Capgemini, WPP, and Smith & Nephew among its clients. For key client WPP, the ‘efficient' and ‘considered' Iain Redford handled numerous transactions in 2013 including the acquisition of digital media company Salmon.

DAC Beachcroft LLP remains active in corporate real estate, where it acts for Essential Living, Arab Investments and Linden Homes among others. In the technology space, Matthew Darling continued to work with key client Accumuli on corporate transactions. Nick Gibbon’s broad corporate practice has a particular financial services sector slant.

Combining its ‘reputation as a long-established traditional firm' with a ‘modern and forward-thinking outlook', Farrer & Co remains a popular choice for entrepreneurs and family offices, and also handles corporate transactions for public and private companies. ‘Skilled negotiator' Richard Lane advised a UK-based pharmaceutical company on a joint venture in India. Anthony Turner, Simon Ward and Jonathan Haley are also recommended.

The sizeable team at Fladgate LLP was further bolstered by a number of new hires in 2013. It serves a broad client base, with recent deals spanning the hotels and leisure, financial services and healthcare sectors. International work features heavily, where the group’s dual-qualified lawyers such as Alex Kaufmann (Germany and England) are well placed to advise. Practice head Grant Gordon recently advised US-based Flagship Foods on its first European acquisition.

At Forsters LLP, 2013 saw the arrival of Rosalyn Breedy, whose financial services expertise and international client base of family offices, entrepreneurs and funds complement the firm’s strengths in private wealth and corporate real estate. Craig Thompson advised Alan Selby & Partners on its sale to CBRE. Craigie Pearson leads the team; she has particular experience in the hotel, charity and art sectors.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP had a busy year in 2013, and saw an uptick in instructions from online and technology businesses. A popular choice for management teams and shareholders, the core team is comprised of six partners, including the ‘commercial, focused and tenacious' Mark Phillips, ‘excellent all-rounder' Tim Parker and Charles Leveque, who is praised for his ‘attention to detail and commercial understanding'.

Working with both longstanding and new clients, Ince & Co advised on a number of joint ventures and acquisitions in 2013, often working alongside colleagues in the firm’s international network on cross-border deals. Stephen Jarvis leads the team; his client base mirrors the firm’s specialisms in shipping, aviation, insurance and energy.

Recognised for its ‘good M&A capabilities for smaller deals', Kemp Little LLP specialises in technology and digital media, where its clients include FTSE 100 and Fortune 100 companies. Charles Claisse, Andy Moseby and Glafkos Tombolis are the names to note.

The ‘professional' outfit at Marriott Harrison LLP added two new partners in 2013; Tim Bee from Fieldfisher and Andrew Wigfall from Nabarro LLP. The team advises a broad client base which includes venture capital and private equity firms and media-based corporates. David Bennett is praised for his ‘ability to balance both parties in the transaction'; Jonathan Pearce and Jon Sweet are also recommended.

Penningtons Manches LLP was created in October 2013 by the merger between Manches LLP and Penningtons Solicitors LLP. The enlarged corporate department, co-led by Matthew Martin and James Klein, has the expertise and resources to field sizeable cross-practice teams on corporate transactions. Technology is a key area of focus, where the team often advises both UK companies expanding overseas, and US corporates looking to establish operations in London. The group is also active in the retail and fashion space.

Bates Wells Braithwaite’s corporate department is led by Mark Tasker, and has made significant in-roads in the corporate and M&A space, where the team demonstrates ‘excellent commercial judgement'. Its recent deal list includes acquisitions and disposals, as well as restructurings and capital markets transactions. David Davies is recommended.

The ‘experienced and pragmatic' John Turnbull leads the corporate team at Bircham Dyson Bell, which includes the ‘very efficient' and ‘commercial' Guy Vincent. Nick McCarthy joined from Fox Williams LLP in February 2014, creating a five-partner team.

At Blake Morgan LLP, ‘conscientious and diligent' department head Martin Kay acts for a mixture of public and private companies. The team was strengthened by the arrival of Robert Lyons in 2013.

Bryan Cave’s London-based team has UK and US law capabilities, and serves a broad client base of domestic and international corporations in a variety of industries. Robert Wieder is a key contact.

Collyer Bristow LLP’s four-partner team advises SMEs across a number of sectors, with a particular leaning towards media, technology and sports. Insolvency expert Jeff Roberts has experience advising investors, creditors and directors of distressed companies and insolvency practitioners. Paul Sillis advised Malcolm Bluemel on the sale of Planet Rock to Bauer Media.

Alan Farkas joined Dorsey & Whitney in 2013, boosting its oil and gas offering. Practice head Mark Taylor and Max Beazley continued to work with key client Quindell on various acquisitions.

Faegre Baker Daniels continued to work with longstanding clients, and also picked up a number of new clients such as Franklin Electric and Wilmington, the latter of which a cross-Atlantic team advised on the acquisition of Compliance Week. Other deal highlights in 2013 included advising Freeman on its acquisition of SO Group; Linda Crow led a team of corporate, real estate and employment lawyers.

The ‘commercial' team at Fox Williams LLP is ‘very good at giving practical and useful advice'. Over 25% of its M&A activity in 2013 was in the technology and digital sector; other industry specialisms include financial services and natural resources. The team’s impressive client base includes a number of listed companies, including Plexus Holdings, City of London Group and GFI Group. Richie Clark and Nick Sayers are recommended.

Sitting within the broader corporate department, Howard Kennedy’s M&A team, led by Michael Harris, has particular expertise in restaurant, hotel and leisure transactions. Representative examples include its advice to Gordon Brothers Europe on its subsidiary’s purchase of Blockbuster from Deloitte, and Kentucky Fried Chicken on restaurant disposals in the UK. On the corporate real estate side, the team has experience advising foreign investors on residential and commercial property purchases.

The three key partners at Irwin Mitchell are Andrew Woolf, Edward Persse and Jayne Schnider; each has broad corporate expertise, with experience handling acquisitions, disposals, reorganisations and joint ventures. The team’s focus on private capital has been key in ensuring continued transactional activity even in a depressed market; as well as working with established clients, it has recently worked with a number of new client wins such as Beaumont Partners and Mercer Real Estate Partners.

At Maclay Murray & Spens LLP, 2013 saw the arrival of oil and gas specialist Guy de Speville and restructuring and insolvency expert Jonathan Ingram, and the departure of Joanna Higton to Goodman Derrick LLP. The ‘commercial' and ‘pragmatic' Guy Norfolk led the team which advised Aberdeen Asset Management on the acquisition of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership Group from Lloyds.

Greg Scott leads Memery Crystal LLP’s eight-partner team, which acts for a number of AIM-listed companies as well as entrepreneurial clients and other public and private businesses. The team’s experience in the technology space was illustrated by its advice to three online social gaming and gambling companies on a reverse takeover, while its expertise in the retail sector was demonstrated by its advice to Theo Fennell on the recommended takeover by Mirfield 1964.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP is able to utilise its international network to handle cross-border transactions, and has also seen a recent uptick in domestic M&A activity. Alistair Hogarth heads the M&A team; he advised Chinese broker GF Futures on its acquisition of Natixis Commodity Markets. Stuart Hatcher takes a lead role in advising PwC UK on its corporate transactions.

At Rosenblatt, ‘every call is answered, every question is answered knowledgeably, and every negotiation is handled efficiently'. The four-partner team completed 23 transactions in 2013, many of which were led by corporate practice head Tom Ferns. He advised the shareholders of RDS Technology on the acquisition of the company by Digi-Star.

Andrew Blain leads the team at Shepherd and Wedderburn following the departure of Angus Rollo to Addleshaw Goddard LLP; Blain is praised for his ‘strong understanding of the commercial world'. Philip Knowles advised the shareholders of AD-X on the company’s acquisition by Criteo.

Simons Muirhead & Burton was significantly bolstered by the arrival of Peter Weiss and Natalie Wright in 2013, and consultant Jonathan Ebsworth in 2014. The team’s expertise in TMT sees it act for a client base that includes Time Out Group, Lycamobile and Dennis Publishing. Simon Goldberg is also recommended.

The ‘hands-on and reliable team' at Thomas Eggar LLP is active in cross-border M&A, fielding cross-practice teams to handle the corporate, real estate and employment aspects of transactions. David Glass is recommended. Geraldine Fabre joined Russell-Cooke LLP in July 2014.

David Judah leads the corporate department at Wallace LLP, which added Rishi Malliwal from SGH Martineau LLP in 2014; his experience advising SMEs and entrepreneurs complements the team’s existing client base. A five-strong team advised Fred Perry (Holdings) on its acquisition of Lavenham Leisure. Managing partner Rex Newman is ‘personable', ‘thoughtful' and ‘responsive'.

Wedlake Bell LLP handles a range of transactions for a client base of professional services firms, and domestic and international companies across various industries. Edward Craft is particularly experienced in advising small and mid-size quoted companies. Jai Bal, who joined the firm in 2013, receives high praise; an ‘exemplary corporate and commercial lawyer', he ‘has a good appreciation of commercial issues' and ‘sound technical knowledge'.

Withers LLP’s expertise in the luxury brands sector placed it in good stead to advise Jonathan Anderson on LVMH’s purchase of a stake in his fashion company, J W Anderson; Hugh Devlin led the team. Recent transactions outside of this space include Ben Simpson’s advice to Reply Limited on the acquisition of Solidsoft Limited.

Recognised for its ‘breadth of sector knowledge' in the media space, Wiggin LLP fields a five-partner team co-led by the ‘first-rate' Michael Brader; he is particularly experienced in transactions in the independent television sector. Ciaran Hickey is ‘commercial and pragmatic'.

Adams & Remers advises on transactions across a broad spread of industries, though 2013 saw the team particularly busy with energy, renewable and resources-related M&A. Simon Jones is the key contact.

Mark Dorff heads the broad corporate practice at Brown Rudnick LLP, which was bolstered by the hires of Tim Matthews and Sophie McGrath in 2013. Lena Hodge is recommended.

Candey provides a ‘consistently focused and timely service' to a client base of technology-based companies (spanning internet, green technology and biotechnology) as well as businesses in the healthcare and hotel and leisure sectors. Andrew Bretherton is praised for his ‘sharp attention to detail'.

The ‘strong team' at Druces LLP had another steady year in 2013, advising on 36 M&A transactions compared to 35 in 2012. Christopher Axford is ‘quick to respond, with good business acumen and up-to-date market knowledge', and Toby Stroh is praised for his ‘quick mind and all-round knowledge of the business and finance world'.

At Edwin Coe LLP, ‘response times are invariably good', and the team provides advice that is ‘underpinned by good commercial rationale'. ‘Incisive' corporate head Russel Shear is recommended, as is David Kinch; he has particular experience in advising overseas companies investing in the UK.

The expanding team at Goodman Derrick LLP added Joanna Higton in 2013, whose experience in the restaurant, retail and leisure sectors complements the group’s existing expertise in these industries; other areas of focus include media and technology. Paul Webb advised the shareholders of CCL Vehicle Rentals on the company’s sale to Hertz. Edward Hoare is recommended.

Media-related work is a mainstay for the team at Hamlins LLP. Corporate real estate is another focus area; Daniel Bellau recently advised Palace Capital on the acquisition of a portfolio of 24 commercial properties. Ian Binnie joined the team from Nabarro LLP.

The ‘committed' and ‘professional' team at Kerman & Co LLP completed 21 deals in the sub-£50m space during 2013. Yvonne Costello is recommended.

Keystone Law’s team continued to grow, adding Dee Sian from Marriott Harrison LLP and Andrew Stilton from SGH Martineau LLP. Mark Machray is ‘responsive', ‘intelligent', and takes a ‘common sense approach'.


Index of tables

  1. Partnership
  2. Leading individuals

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s ‘team of personable and knowledgeable specialists' stands out for its broad-ranging expertise. Aster Crawshaw advised Pannone LLP on its sale, via three parallel corporate transactions, to Slater & Gordon, Connect2Law, and Pannone Corporate LLP. The practice, which includes William Wastie and the ‘commercial' Jonathan Cheney, is also recommended for its contentious capabilities, regularly handling complex partnership disputes.

Fox Williams LLP attracts praise for its ‘constructive approach to deals, industry knowledge, and value for money'. Tina Williams is lauded as ‘hugely experienced, thoughtful, and highly conscientious on both contentious and transactional matters'. She represented longstanding client Fulbright & Jaworski LLP on the UK aspects of its worldwide merger with Norton Rose. Solicitor advocate Gavin Foggo stands out for his litigation expertise. The ‘highly responsive' Daniel Sutherland was made partner.

Boutique firm Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP‘provides sound commercial advice', drawing on team head Richard Turnor’s ‘excellent knowledge' and ‘depth of experience'. Advice covers structuring partnerships, disputes, partner moves, and compliance. Newly promoted partner Corinne Staves is recommended for her ‘technical and commercial skills'.

Eight-lawyer boutique CM Murray LLP is a ‘very highly regarded firm for partnership disputes' that is also praised for its ‘excellent commercial advice', regularly advising on partner moves. ‘Leading practitioner' Clare Murray combines ‘effortless charm with an incisive mind and detailed technical knowledge'. Bettina Bender is ‘very strong, especially on all things maternity'.

Fox is ‘a very good specialist partnership and employment firm, with a real giant of the partnership world at the helm' in Ronnie Fox. He is supported by a team of ‘commercial and supportive lawyers' including senior associates Catriona Watt, Caroline Field, and trial lawyer Dean Fuller. The firm’s expertise spans contentious and advisory matters.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP stands out for its ‘international expertise and strength-in-depth'. The team’s ‘excellent litigators' include Alan Watts, who acted for IKOS Asset Management Limited in a complex partnership dispute giving rise to issues of common ownership of intellectual property. On the non-contentious side, Malcolm Lombers provides ‘very commercial and wise advice'.

‘The level of service and support is excellent' at Lewis Silkin LLP. The practice is led by the ‘dynamic duo' of Clive Greenwood, who is a ‘calm, assured and knowledgeable' disputes expert, and Fergus Payne, a ‘technically strong, commercially aware and always practical' adviser. Clients include United Agents LLP and Jenkins Trade Mark Attorneys.

At Farrer & Co, head of professional practices group Jonathan Haley, lauded for his ‘commercial and supportive approach', advised Greenwoods Solicitors on its merger with Plexus Law. William Dawson specialises in advising senior employees on contentious, regulatory and contractual matters. Rachel Lewis is a discrimination expert.

Howard Kennedy’s Robert Craig is ‘an excellent team head' who is ‘one of the most authoritative and experienced voices in partnership law'. The team, which includes Jane Amphlett, ‘handles the full gamut of partnership cases' and can also draw on its solid non-contentious expertise.

Kingsley Napley LLP’s strength lies in its disputes practice, which advises professional partnerships and individuals. Michelle Chance is a ‘highly experienced lawyer that is wonderful to work with'. Richard Fox heads a ‘strong employment team'. Adrian Crawford is also recommended.

RPC’s ‘proactive and responsive team' is headed by litigation expert Geraldine Elliott. Patrick Brodie is praised for his ‘noticeable commercial acumen' and his broad practice spans contentious and non-contentious partner moves as well as regulatory advice.

Slaughter and May advised Taylor Wimpey on the implementation of a pension funding partnership following the housebuilder’s decision to create a single pension fund. The firm adopts a multi-disciplinary approach, with a wide range of its lawyers advising high-profile clients on partnership matters. Paul Dickson is a key contact.

At Winckworth Sherwood, ‘tactical master' Jo Keddie‘leads a superb litigation team' whose broad range of experience stands out. On the non-contentious side, head of commercial and corporate Richard Tinham is recommended and the team also welcomed John Hiscock from Davenport Lyons.

Allen & Overy LLP’s Stephen Mathews advised the members of River and Mercantile Asset Management LLP on its merger with P-Solve Limited, and John Goodhall continued to advise large institutional investors on their investments into partnership funds.

‘Reliable firm' Bates Wells Braithwaite provides a ‘thorough and practical' service. The ‘experienced' Peter Bohm heads the team. He advised the partners of Butcher Burns LLP on their transfer to Teacher Stern LLP. William Garnett is recommended on employment matters and Luke Fletcher is a social investment expert.

At Bracher Rawlins LLP, Andrew Cromby is ‘very experienced at dealing with partnership disputes' and is lauded for ‘always going the extra mile'.

Iain Redford’s team at Bristows LLP regularly acts for investment partnerships and advises banks on complex refinancing and restructuring matters involving partnerships.

The medical partnership experts at Hempsons are praised for their ‘very solid understanding of the sector and their very good value for money'. Lynne Abbess is recommended for her disputes expertise and Ross Clark provides ‘an excellent service'. Nathan East left for DAC Beachcroft LLP.

At Olswang LLP, David Bunker, who regularly advises on transactional matters involving partnerships, wins plaudits for his ‘outstanding technical knowledge and commercial instincts'. ‘Responsive' employment partner Melanie Lane is ‘very good at navigating the grey areas'. Clients include BBC Worldwide Limited, and F&C REIT Asset Management LLP.

Private equity: transactions

Index of tables

  1. Private equity: transactions - large-cap deal capability
  2. Private equity: transactions: mid-cap deal capability
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

The Private equity: transactions coverage has been reorganised this year into large-cap and mid-cap deal rankings. Law firms are now written about in alphabetical order and may appear in one or more of the rankings tables. There is a separate section covering Venture capital in the Corporate and commercial chapter.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP leverages its national footprint and strong relationships with leading UK mid-market private equity firms such as Graphite Capital. Highlights for Yunus Seedat’s team (which includes the well-respected Mike Hinchliffe and Ben Rodham) included advising CBPE Capital on the MBO of Allied Glass Containers, which the client originally acquired in 2002.

In keeping with the firm’s strong oil and gas capability and expertise in Russia and the CIS, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s private equity practice routinely acts on high-value mandates for energy, power and Russia-focused investment firms such as Riverstone Holdings and UFG Private Equity. In 2013, London-based practice head Sebastian Rice advised UFG on its disposal of a stake in Reputation Partners Limited to ADM and 57 Stars. Harry Keegan and Daniel Walsh are also recommended.

Allen & Overy LLP’s well-respected private equity practice recruited Stephen Lloyd from Ashurst in 2013, offsetting Derek Baird’s departure in 2012. Lloyd heads the practice, which includes Gordon Milne, who led on OMERS Private Equity and Alberta Investment Management Corporation’s joint acquisition of Vue Entertainment International Limited, which was funded through a high yield bond offering issued by the purchasing vehicle. George Knighton is also recommended.

Ashurst’s ‘highly regarded' private equity practice has a longstanding reputation as one of the pioneers in the UK PE space. Despite the departure of Stephen Lloyd to Allen & Overy LLP, the firm still fields ‘a strong team' under the leadership of the ‘very commercial' Bruce Hanton, and attracts praise for its ‘hands-on approach in delivering tailored, commercial and pragmatic advice'. Its client base spans mid-market players to larger buyout firms such as Oaktree Capital Management, enabling it to tap into high-value as well as mid-market dealflow. Highlights included advising Oaktree on its £165m acquisition of UK homebuilder Countryside.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s broad geographic scope and strength in the TMT, healthcare and natural resources sectors makes it a natural choice for sponsors seeking advice on cross-border, sector-specific transactions. In 2013, Karen Guch (‘extremely smart and practical, and always listens carefully to clients to ensure she identifies any potential issues') advised Platinum Equity on its AU$454m acquisition of a 70% stake in Sensis from Telstra, which represented the client’s first investment in Australia. Simon Hughes heads the global private equity practice, and was joined in 2013 by Paul Hibbert from Clifford Chance. David Allen‘is very well versed in all aspects of M&A'.

CMS is parlaying its M&A strength into increasingly larger private equity transactions, particularly in key sectors such as healthcare, TMT and financial services. In this vein, it advised Allflex Holdings on the company’s sale by Electra Partners to BC Partners, in a deal valuing the company at $1.3bn. Practice head James Grimwood, Jason Zemmel, and the newly promoted Martin Treagus (recommended for his ‘technical drafting and high-level approach to issues') are recommended. Richard Bull left to join Norton Rose Fulbright.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s private equity practice provides cross-border, multi-disciplinary advice to a client base that includes global sponsors such as CVC and Warburg Pincus, as well as regionally focused funds such as Helios Investment Partners. Highlights included advising TPG on its acquisition of a majority stake in Victoria Plumb for £200m. Sam Bagot and Michael McDonald advised on that deal. Other key individuals include Simon Jay, Tihir Sarkar and David Billington.

Despite suffering a number of departures in 2013 and 2014 to Latham & Watkins, including well-respected figures David Walker, Kem Ihenacho and Tom Evans, Clifford Chance is still ‘hard to beat', and many clients’ ‘first port of call for large, complex, often international transactions that require rapid execution'. Led by the ‘first-class' David Pearson, the practice advised Electra Partners on the $1.35bn sale of Allflex to BC Partners and, in another standout deal, Amy Mahon (‘good combination of legal skills and commercial nous') led on Barclays Bank’s sale of Barclays Infrastructure Management Limited to 3i Group, which involved co-ordinating across the firm’s London and Paris offices.

‘A solid mid-market player', DLA Piper made a bid to strengthen its private equity offering with the recruitment of Anu Balasubramanian from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP and James O’Donnell from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in 2013, as well as Tim Wright from King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin in 2014. Practice head David Raff (‘a consummate deal closer, and a great sounding board') leads the expanded team, which regularly handles a high volume of deals; in 2013 the practice acted on 49 UK PE deals, with an average value of £79.5m. Edward Griffiths advised Caird Capital and David Lloyd Leisure Operations Holdings Limited on the sale of David Lloyd Leisure Group to TDR Capital LLP.

Headed by David Innes, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s private equity practice is notable for its dual US and UK expertise, which extends across the funds space to encompass fund formation, regulatory and transactional matters in the natural resources, transportation, industrials, insurance, financial services, media and telecoms, and consumer and retail sectors. It is regularly called on to advise on complex, time-sensitive transactions, and recently acted for longstanding client HarbourVest Partners on its acquisition of majority interests in Motion Private Equity’s Motion II fund as part of a tail-end liquidity solution for investors in Motion II. It also regularly advises management on high-profile deals; in 2013 Innes led for the management of Vue Entertainment on its £935m sale. Other key individuals include Katherine Ashton and Raman Bet-Mansour.

Dechert LLP’s core strength lies in cross-border buyout work covering emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa as well as Russia, the CIS, the Middle East and central and eastern Europe. In a highlight deal, Jonathan Angell advised PE-backed Chrysaor Holdings on a $175m equity investment into the company by new and existing shareholders. Corporate head Douglas Getter, US-qualified Simon Briggs, life sciences specialist Graham Defries, and Adam Levin are also recommended.

Dentons recruited Nicholas Plant in 2013 to spearhead the firm’s push into the private equity market; he brings his extensive buyout expertise from King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin. The team, which includes Edward Hickman and Neil Nicholson, is building relationships with UK PE houses such as Graphite Capital and Bridgepoint, and in 2013 acted for US private equity firm KSL Capital Partners on its acquisition of the Malmaison Group.

Dickson Minto WS is a perennial fixture on high-value deals for a client base of leading PE sponsors such as Charterhouse Capital. In an illustration of its high-end capability, the practice acted for Caird Capital, a shareholder in retailer House of Fraser, on its sale to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower. Alastair Dickson is a stalwart industry figure.

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP is an active mid-market and growth capital investment player, with a client base that includes new clients 3TS Capital. Former practice head David Ramm moved to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, following the departure in June 2014 of Shawn Atkinson to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP. US-qualified partner Ted Cominos remains; his practice focuses on emerging markets.

Eversheds LLP combines a strong international network with an enviable UK-wide footprint, making it a popular choice among leading UK mid-market sponsors such as Graphite Capital and Inflexion. In 2013 it acted for new client Accel-KKR and its investee company Pinstripe on the acquisition of recruitment outsourcing business Ochre House Limited. Practice head Richard Moulton led on that deal, which involved co-ordinating with its Dubai and Hong Kong offices.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP attracts strong praise for its ‘clear focus on client service and very strong bench', which includes Adrian Maguire (‘a very client-focused partner with a good understanding of the private equity world') and global financial investors group co-head David Higgins. In a reflection of its renowned strength in financial services related transactions, Higgins and Tim Wilmot led for Blackstone and GIC on their acquisition of stakes in Rothesay Life from Goldman Sachs. Christopher Bown left the firm to go in house at CVC Capital Partners.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP benefits from a strong Middle Eastern footprint, with private equity practice co-chair Paul Harter splitting his time between the firm’s London and Dubai offices. Highlights included advising Investcorp on its acquisition of a controlling stake in Hydrasun from Equistone Partners Europe.

‘A go-to firm for cross-border buyouts', Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s London co-head James MacArthur‘has built a first-rate team across the PE spectrum', enabling it to provide a comprehensive service to sponsors such as KKR and Blackstone, particularly in historically strong areas such as TMT, real estate, energy and infrastructure. On the real estate front, Gavin Davies (‘responsive, calm under pressure and creative') led for Blackstone on the sale of Chiswick Park to CIC, and on its £190m acquisition of St Enoch shopping centre in central Glasgow. Russia-focused Mark Geday is also recommended.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘smart and commercial team' attracts praise for its ‘good understanding of the market'. The practice was bolstered on the UK private equity side with the recruitment of Ed Harris from King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin, who brings a strong track record on co-investments, secondary acquisitions and leveraged buyouts for UK sponsors, and the appointment of Tom Whelan as global co-head to replace Alan Greenough, who is due to retire. In an illustration of its energy sector strength, the practice acted for Advent International on the sale of Oxea, a global chemicals manufacturer, to Oman Oil Company. Amit Nayyar is ‘a very astute, intelligent and hardworking lawyer who finds solutions, not problems'

‘Punching above its weight relative to other mid-market firms', Jones Day further strengthened its UK mid-market PE offering in 2013 with the recruitment of Raymond McKeeve and Mike Weir, both from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. In keeping with its real estate focus, it recently advised longstanding client Goldman Sachs and Greystar Real Estate Partners on their acquisition of a portfolio of 21 UK student housing private residential properties from the administrator of Opal Property Group. ‘Diligent, hardworking up-and-coming partner' Anna Cartwright, London co-head Adam Greaves, Neil Ferguson (‘a go-to man when it comes to difficult issues that require a wise old head') and Patrick Stafford are also recommended.

Despite the loss of several key figures, King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin’s ‘excellent' private equity practice continues to be a strong player on high-value UK leveraged buyouts, as well as on pan-European transactions and increasingly Asia-focused deals through its merger with legacy King & Wood Mallesons. It is considered a go-to firm for retail-sector transactions, and in 2013 Steven Davis advised longstanding client Lion Capital on its acquisition of the ghd hair care business from Montagu Private Equity. Joint corporate heads Michael Goldberg and Richard Lever are recommended, as is the ‘highly reliable' Martin Bowen.

In keeping with its prominent reputation in the US, Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s UK-based private equity offering has risen to become a dominant figure in European buyout league tables. Supplementing its strength on the transactional front are leading fund formation and acquisition finance capabilities, enabling the firm to provide a comprehensive offering to global sponsors such as Bain Capital and KKR. In 2013, Sam Pakbaz led for Bain on its $519m acquisition of a 90% stake in German clutch maker FTE automotive from French private equity firm PAI Partners; and Graham White advised CCMP Capital Advisors on the merger of Pure Gym and The Gym Group. David Arnold, Christopher Field, Rory Mullarkey and Gavin Gordon round out the well-regarded team.

Latham & Watkins‘first-rate' private equity practice capitalised on the high-profile recruitment of David Walker in 2013 with a further raid on Clifford Chance’s ranks, hiring Kem Ihenacho and Tom Evans, as well as funds specialist Nick Benson from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. In 2013, Thomas Forschbach represented BC Partners on its $1.3bn acquisition of Allflex Holdings, while Mike Bond advised Carlyle Group on its acquisition of Addison Lee. Graeme Sloan is also recommended.

Despite the departures of high-profile figures Richard Youle and Ian Bagshaw to White & Case LLP in 2013, Linklaters LLP still fields ‘a large team with excellent and diverse skill sets to choose from', which includes the ‘incredibly diligent, thorough and creative' Carlton Evans, the ‘extremely hardworking and pragmatic' Matthew Elliott, practice head Nick Rees, and newly promoted partner Stuart Boyd and Alex Woodward (‘a top-class lawyer with a huge amount of industry knowledge'). On the buyout front, the firm advised the purchaser TDR Capital LLP on the £750m acquisition of David Lloyd Leisure from London & Regional and Caird Capital, which was the largest UK LBO acquisition in 2013.

Macfarlanes LLP’s storied track record means it has covered every facet of the UK private equity market for leading UK mid-market players such as Graphite Capital and Exponent. It is seeing an uptick in higher-value deals, particularly in core areas such as financial services; Luke Powell recently advised US-based sponsor JC Flowers on its £525m acquisition of Cabot Credit Management Limited from funds advised by AnaCap Financial Partners. Practice head Ian Martin, Stephen Drewitt and Simon Perry are also recommended.

Since establishing the practice in 2012 following his arrival from Dewey & LeBoeuf, Mark Davis has crafted a solid foothold in private equity for McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP’s London office, particularly in the luxury goods sector. It is also strengthening its Africa-facing profile with the recruitment of Rupert Weber and Stuart Mathews from financial consultancy firm Maitland. Highlights included advising Tana Africa Capital, a minority shareholder in a private company, on the vend-in by another shareholder of a stake in a food business which has its main focus in Africa.

At Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, Stuart Harray and Mark Stamp focus on high-end, complex cross-border transactions for a number of sponsors and LPs. Highlights included advising Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on its $240m investment in BTG Pactual Real Estate Development I-C, and advising EMERAM Capital Partners on the purchase of Americana International Limited from HgCapital by funds advised by EMERAM.

The arrival of PE specialists Simon Sale and Nadim Meer along with their five-strong team at legacy Dundas & Wilson has significantly bolstered Mishcon de Reya’s private equity practice. Sale and Meer, working alongside Kevin McCarthy and Andrew Rimmington, are focusing on deepening the firm’s mid-market transactional offering, which it can support with the firm’s wider tax and funds capabilities. Clients include Sovereign Capital and Chamonix Private Equity.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius is investing in its London private equity offering, recruiting PE specialist Tom Cartwright from Taylor Wessing LLP in 2014; he brings traction among UK mid-market PE houses, supplementing the firm’s existing relationships with LPs such as JPMorgan Asset Management and CalPers. It is an active player in Russia-related deals, and in 2013 Amy Comer advised Blagosostoyanie, an affiliate of one of the largest Russian pension funds, on the acquisition of the Russian insurance and pension business of Aviva.

Norton Rose Fulbright recruited Richard Bull to head the private equity practice in London following David Baylis’ relocation to Abu Dhabi in 2013. Formerly at CMS, Bull brings extensive expertise on UK and international M&A and buyout work for institutional investors and management teams. Emerging markets, particularly Africa, have been a core focus for the firm; Bayo Odubeko led for Maj Invest on its $405m disposal of Fanmilk International. TMT expert Sean Murphy is also recommended.

Headed by Stephen Rosen, Olswang LLP’s private equity practice is a prominent player in UK and European mid-market buyouts, with a client base that includes highly active sponsors such as Graphite Capital and ISIS Equity Partners, as well as management teams. In keeping with its core leisure-sector strength, Duncan McDonald led the team advising the shareholders of CGL Restaurant Holdings Limited on the £50m sale of the company to D&D Topco Limited, a new company formed by management and backed by mid-market private equity firm LDC.

Osborne Clarke bolstered its private equity capability in 2013 with the recruitment of PE specialist Mark Spinner from Eversheds LLP. Alisdair Livingstone heads the department, which is particularly active in the technology, media and healthcare sectors; in 2013, Spinner advised Caledonia Investments on the £88m acquisition of Choice Care Homes.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s clients are quick to highlight the ‘straightforward, partner-led advice' delivered by Gregg Davison’s ‘strong team of deal executors', which includes the ‘straightforward, balanced and commercial' Barry McCaig. The firm acts for a strong selection of mid-market UK sponsors, including new client Inflexion, which it advised on the secondary buyout of for £73m.

At Reed Smith LLP, Perry Yam leads a ‘client-focused' team that attracts praise for its ‘timely and responsive' advice. Since establishing the practice in 2012, Yam, Philip Taylor, Panos Katsambas and Ben Davis, who joined in 2014 from Travers Smith LLP, have attracted a strong (and growing) list of mid-market PE houses, including CBPE Capital and ECI Partners. In 2013, it advised new client Nova Capital on its $214m acquisition of a portfolio of five businesses from Newell Rubbermaid.

Since the arrival of Will Rosen (‘has great judgement of what is a fundamental issue and what is not'), Kiran Sharma and Peter Baldwin in 2011, Ropes & Gray LLP’s private equity practice has established a firm following for cross-border deals thanks in part to its dual UK and US capability. Highlights included representing MSREF Fund V on its £260m sale of Executive Offices Group. US-qualified partner Bill Mone and Iain Morpeth are also recommended.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has capitalised on the transactional track records of Mark Soundy, corporate tax specialist Sarah Priestley and Simon Burrows, which is supplemented by leading capabilities in leveraged finance and high-yield and a strong global footprint. In a reflection of its high-end deal capability, the practice recently advised Arle Capital Partners on the $700m sale of Qiotiq to Excelitas Technologies.

Simmons & Simmons attracts praise for its ‘good level of partner access, tailored advice and responsive associates'. Co-heads Arthur Stewart and Gideon Sharp (‘a very switched-on, creative and commercial lawyer') lead a five-partner team, which was joined in 2014 by Dale Gabbert, former head of Reed Smith LLP’s EMEA investment funds practice. The practice is particularly noted for its track record advising on regulated markets transactions for a sponsor client base that includes AnaCap Financial Partners and Brookfield Asset Management.

A powerhouse in private equity in the US, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s London private equity practice has a similar reputation for European buyouts. Derek Baird, Adam Signy, Michael Wolfson and managing partner Gregory Conway are stalwart figures in the market, and the team provides dual US and UK law expertise to a heavyweight list of sponsors including Blackstone and Charterhouse. In 2013, Alvaro Membrillera led for KKR on its acquisition of a 49.9% stake in Spanish amusement park PortAventura from Investindustrial.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s London-based practice continues to win mandates by virtue of its ability to advise on all stages of the fund cycle, from formation to acquisition, corporate restructuring and exits. Its high yield capability has been in high demand, having handled a number of offerings for longstanding clients such as Doughty Hanson. It also advised the same client on the $1.4bn disposal of Vue Entertainment to Alberta Investment Management Corporation. Practice head Allan Murray-Jones and Shaun Lascelles are the key figures.

Slaughter and May’s private equity practice attracts praise for its ‘strong understanding of the client’s business and the tailored advice it provides'. Jeff Twentyman is singled out for his ‘commercial, combative approach, which gets the job done'. In addition to its strength on the M&A front, the practice has also benefitted from the resurgence in IPO activity; in 2013, it advised Oaktree Capital Management as principal shareholders in Countrywide Group on the company’s IPO on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

At Speechly Bircham LLP, Malcolm MacDougall (‘knows how to get a deal done and what points to focus on') leads a ‘high-quality' team that is noted for its ‘partner-led service' and for its ‘tailored approach'. In 2013 it completed 15 private equity deals for a mixed client base of PE houses, management teams and investee companies. Highlights included advising Elysian Capital on the MBO of Wellbeing Software Group. Andrew Clarke is singled out for his ‘many years of experience, which gives clients the reassurance to know that he will get the job done with the minimum of fuss and confusion'. Since publication, Charles Russell LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP have merged to form Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Squire Patton Boggs’ team is ‘extremely experienced in acting both for sponsors and for management teams'. Practice head Tim Hewens is singled out for his ‘market-leading breadth of knowledge in the transactional PE arena'. In 2013, Hewens and James McKay advised ECI Partners and the management of Clinisys on its secondary buyout by Montagu Private Equity.

Headed by Tim Emmerson, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s London private equity offering has carved a deep furrow advising on large-scale, cross-border acquisitions, disposals and IPOs for a client base that includes Goldman Sachs and Apollo Management. Its transactional capability is supported by strong leveraged finance, antitrust and tax practices. Highlights included advising Lightyear Capital LLC on its purchase of an interest in Cooper Gay Swett & Crawford. Ben Perry and Richard Morrissey are also recommended.

Taylor Wessing LLP fields ‘a strong private equity and corporate finance team, which benefits from strong support from complementary practices such as employment, tax and pensions'. It has longstanding relationships with UK mid-market PE houses such as Electra Partners and Inflexion Private Equity; in a highlight deal, practice head Nick Hazell and Martin Winter led for Electra Partners on its acquisition of Allen & Heath, a designer and manufacturer of audio mixing consoles. Emma Danks is singled out for her ‘knowledge and diligence, and for her willingness to roll up her sleeves, don a hard hat and get out on site'.

Equally at home on mid-market deals as well as higher-value transactions, Travers Smith LLP stands out for its ‘nearly faultless knowledge of the wider PE landscape'. Practice head Philip Sanderson* is noted for his ‘ability to unpick complex situations and advise in a straightforward manner'. He leads a ten-partner team that includes respected figures Chris Hale, Edmund Reed, Helen Croke and Paul Dolman. Highlights included advising Equistone Partners Europe on its simultaneous acquisition of MDNX Group and Easynet. James Renahan led on that deal. *Philip Sanderson is now at Ropes & Gray LLP.

Vinson & Elkins RLLP’s strength in the energy and natural resources sectors makes it a natural choice for sponsors and LPs investing in those key industries. Jeff Eldredge’s team advised Pine Brook on its equity investment in aircraft leasing platform Amedeo.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges fields a ‘strong private equity practice, whose overall service is really top quality in all aspects'. Its track record in the market is a particular attraction to clients, thanks in no small part to the experience of Marco Compagnoni (‘a deal doer whose deep knowledge, considerable experience and commercial acumen are first class') and Mike Francies (‘a seasoned veteran'). Its transactional capability is complemented by skilled fund formation, tax and high-yield expertise, enabling it to provide deal execution advice across all financing structures. In 2013, Francies and Samantha McGonigle (‘a bright young partner') advised Avista Capital Partners and Nordic Capital on their joint offer for Swiss-listed pharmaceutical company Acino Holding.

White & Case LLP made a splash in 2013 with the high-profile recruitment of Ian Bagshaw and Richard Youle, former co-heads of Linklaters LLP’s private equity practice, as well as Ross Allardice from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP. They join a corporate team with an established track record in M&A, which is already being translated into mandates for sponsors such as HgCapital and Warburg Pincus. Highlights included advising York Capital Management on its €653m equity co-investment with Invel Real Estate to acquire a 66% share in NBG Pangaea REIC from National Bank of Greece.

Highlights for Ian Piggin’s team at Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP included advising CBPE Capital on its £183m disposal of Rosemont Pharmaceuticals, and advising the shareholders (including ISIS Equity Partners) of Equiom Group on its secondary buyout funded by LDC. Andy Stylianou led on both transactions.

VAT and indirect tax

Index of tables

  1. VAT and indirect tax
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s dedicated VAT group, headed by principal tax adviser Mark Delaney (‘excellent client-handling skills and sound strategic advice'), handles disputes and provides consultancy services to clients such as Investec and Sony. Senior adviser Mark Agnew displays ‘good business acumen' and senior associate David Jamieson provides ‘strong technical expertise'.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s indirect tax expertise spans the insurance, investment funds, energy, TMT, and real estate sectors. Key contact Neil Warriner advised Al Salam Bank on a multi-sourced acquisition finance of a London luxury residence by a consortium, which involved the development of a complex debt and equity tax-efficient structure.

At Hogan Lovells International LLP, head of indirect tax Michael Conlon QC is lauded for his ‘incredible depth of expertise', having acted on a number of leading cases. Kevin Ashman is recommended on the transactional side. Clients include Lloyds Banking Group, John Lewis and Fidelity.

Real estate tax expert Simon Swann heads Ashurst’s ‘technically excellent' team. His clients include Royal Mail Group. Paul Miller continues to advise Ocean Finance in its high-profile dispute.

On the transactional side, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s team is ‘well integrated with the real estate department', advising on large property deals. Head Alan Sinyor, who is acting in a number of significant disputes, is praised for his ‘very detailed knowledge of VAT'.

Clifford Chance’s David Saleh heads the specialist indirect tax group following Etienne Wong’s departure. Work handled ranges from consultancy on legislative developments to transactional advice. Liesl Fichardt’s arrival has bolstered the team’s litigation capabilities.

DLA Piper combines a network of UK lawyers, including real estate expert Richard Woolich and Simon Gough, with its significant international capabilities to provide wide-ranging advice on VAT and other indirect tax matters. Senior associate Geoff Tack handles disputes following Leslie Allen’s departure to Mishcon de Reya.

Eversheds LLP acted for Land Securities in the redevelopment of the Westgate Centre in a transaction that involved complex SDLT and VAT matters. The team has particular strengths in the financial sector. Clive Jones is recommended. Giles Salmond’s arrival bolsters the practice’s contentious capabilities.

Olswang LLP’s wide-ranging practice covers VAT and SDLT disputes, including the DV3 RS Limited Partnership v HMRC case; complex transactions such as the iCity joint venture; and sector-specific indirect tax issues for clients from the TMT and leisure sectors. Cliona Kirby, Stephen Hignett and Graham Chase are recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP is particularly active in high-profile VAT cases including Secret Hotels2’s dispute with HMRC. Tax practice head Jason Collins‘displays great knowledge and wisdom' and Stuart Walsh‘combines vast experience of litigating with technical brilliance and strong tax knowledge'. Darren Mellor-Clark is recommended on the advisory side.

At Simmons & Simmons, head of international tax Nick Cronkshaw advised Avenue Capital on all indirect tax aspects of its investments, totalling £140m, in high-quality student accommodation. Darren Oswick advised Schlumberger Trust Company on lodging High Court claims for the repayment of VAT paid on investment management services.

At Allen & Overy LLP VAT adviser Peter Mendham is recommended.

CMS ‘delivers excellent value for money' and Aaron Fairhurst is ‘excellent at looking at the commercial aspects of an issue'.

Corporate tax lawyer Richard Ballard and litigator Helen Buchanan are key contacts at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

Joseph Hage Aaronson’s Paul Farmer is recommended for his expertise in EU VAT disputes, drawing on his ‘ability to appreciate the perspectives of various UK judges and European advocate generals'.

At King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin, tax head Heather Corben and Giles Bavister advised the British Land Company on a £472m development disposal and a £470m property acquisition.

Linklaters LLP’s Martin Lynchehan is a non-contentious real estate tax expert.

Senior counsel Gideon Sanitt’s arrival at Macfarlanes LLP has bolstered the team’s contentious VAT expertise. Senior consultant Andrew Loan is a key contact on the transactional side.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s expertise spans real estate transactions (including Ashkenazy Acquisitions’ £105m purchase of Old Spitalfields Market), tax structuring and insurance premium tax matters. Sandy Bhogal heads the practice and consultant Peter Steiner is also recommended.

With Nabarro LLP‘you can expect substantiated answers in a timely manner'. Michael Cant handles a wide range of property transactions and has some contentious indirect tax expertise. Nick Burt wins plaudits for his ‘clear and focused advice'. Clients include UNITE, AXA REIM, and Land Securities.

Led by Monty Raphael QC, white-collar crime specialist firm Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP regularly handles indirect tax disputes including high-stakes fraud cases.

Slaughter and May’s team of multidisciplinary tax lawyers acts on transactions for large corporates, notably in mining, retail, insurance and telecommunications.

Stephenson Harwood stands out for its expertise in indirect tax issues affecting clients from the transport sector. Hugo Jenney is recommended, particularly on tonnage tax.

Bark&co’s ‘client-oriented and practical team' is ‘particularly strong in civil fraud cases before the tax tribunals'. Andrew Lynch is recommended.

Nick Beecham at Fieldfisher advised the Fellowship of the School of Economic Science on structuring an art exhibition so as to qualify for VAT exemption.

At Irwin Mitchell senior associate John Milner regularly acts in criminal tax fraud cases involving VAT, including MTIC cases.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Matthew Hodkin handled a number of renewable energy related VAT and SDLT issues. Consultant John Challoner is also recommended.

At Wedlake Bell LLPMichael Ridsdale’s standalone indirect tax practice covers VAT, SDLT and climate change levy.

Venture capital

Aided by a compelling IP offering, Bird & Bird LLP provides ‘knowledgeable and helpful advice' to a balanced mix of investors and investees across the technology, cleantech and life sciences sectors. The ‘personable, responsive and commercial' Angus Miln recently advised Index Ventures and Accel Partners on the $17.5m Series B financing of SwiftKey. Struan Penwarden is ‘very capable' on the investee and investor side, and also has a strong reputation advising debt providers including Kreos Capital. Geraint Lloyd is also recommended. Clients include Albion Ventures, Just-Eat, and Tate & Lyle Ventures.

Praised for its ‘client-centric approach', King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin advises investors and investees in the life sciences and technology sectors from early stage growth to an exit strategy. ‘Excellent' team head Ylan Steiner provides ‘decisive and focused advice' and recently represented on a £2.3m Series A funding round. Other clients include Atlas Venture and Kennet Capital. The team also has a strong reputation on the fund formation side.

Osborne Clarke has a strong presence in the market across a range of sectors including cleantech, renewables, life sciences and digital business. Team head Rob Wood advised a syndicate of investors on their £17m Series A funding of life sciences company Pulmocide. The team has also started to pick up more fund formation work for clients including Foresight and Bridges Venture, which in turn has led to pursuant investment work for those funds. Matthew Lewis is also recommended.

Benefiting from ‘great technical experts', Taylor Wessing LLP provides ‘very responsive' advice to clients including Index Ventures, Amadeus Capital and MMC Ventures. The ‘entirely trustworthy' Simon Walker is ‘commercial and efficient'; he recently advised the shareholders of Shutl on its acquisition by eBay. Mike Turner joined in July 2013 from Osborne Clarke and has particular experience in the digital media sector. Howard Palmer and David Mardle are also recommended.

Brown Rudnick LLP provides ‘great attention to detail' to clients in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors. The firm also benefits from a strong US capability and regularly handles deals with a significant transatlantic component. The ‘personable and efficient' Sophie McGrath has ‘great industry knowledge' and recently advised Aster Capital and Ombu Group on a Series A fundraising for cleantech start-up Iceotope. ‘Knowledgeable' team head Mark Dorff provides ‘pragmatic solutions' to investors and investees.

Headed by Paul Claydon, Covington & Burling LLP provides strong sector-specific advice - particularly as it relates to life sciences, technology and media - to a range of clients from across the life cycle of venture capital deals. James Gubbins is a ‘great life sciences venture capital lawyer' and recently advised SV Life Sciences and Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners on a Series B financing for Onceothix, a Swiss-based biotech company. Louise Nash is ‘very good' and acts for clients including SR One and Solarcentury.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP’s Chris Grew handles work for ‘a lot of early stage companies' in the technology space. As well as acting for nine companies in 2013 which received funding from Seedcamp (the pan-European seed investment fund), the team also handled work for EC1 Capital - one of the leading “seed-stage” investors in Europe - on its seed investments into four companies during the year. The group also benefits from a market-leading offering in Silicon Valley and can therefore seamlessly work on deals with a transatlantic flavour. Clients include Huddle, Secret Escapes and Frontier Ventures.

Since its formation in February 2013, JAG Shaw Baker has rapidly gained market share acting on behalf of entrepreneurs, companies and investors in high-growth industries. Tina Baker is ‘one of the leaders for seed financing', while the ‘responsive and solutions-focused' James Shaw has a greater focus on later stage investments.

Strengthened by the arrival in June 2013 of the ‘excellent' Andrew Wigfall from Nabarro LLP, Marriott Harrison LLP’s venture capital team has even greater penetration in the market on behalf of clients including Foresight Group and Imperial Innovations. Wigfall recently advised Balderton Capital on its investment into fashion e-commerce company Lyst. Duncan Innes and Jonathan Leigh-Hunt are also recommended.

Headed by Stephen Rosen, Olswang LLP has a strong reputation in the technology and life sciences sectors, where its client base includes investors and investees such as Eplanet Capital and Syncona Partners. Chris Mackie has handled work for taxi-app venture Hailo since its inception, including advising it on its recent Series D fundraising led by OCCAM Partners Fund.

Reed Smith LLP continues to forge ahead with its nascent offering established by Perry Yam in 2012. The ‘strategic, thoughtful and detail-orientated' Yam has a focus on growth capital for developing businesses and SMEs, and recently advised Ippon Capital on its £7.6m investment into Midatech, a global leader in nanomedicines. The ‘responsive' Michael Young represents a number of early stage companies in the media and technology space, and is ‘definitely someone you want at your side in any transaction'.

Fieldfisher is a destination firm for corporate venturers and growth companies advising across the spectrum of VC transactions from early stage deals to Series E fundraisings. Andrew Blankfield is recommended for his investee work within the TMT sector. The team was recently strengthened by the arrival of dual UK and German qualified lawyer Mark Walker from Mayer Brown International LLP.

Tony Littner and ‘his talented and knowledgeable team' at Harbottle & Lewis LLP provide a ‘responsive and value-for-money service' to investors and investees in the tech, digital media and online sectors. The ‘creative' Littner ‘explains concepts fluently and clearly'; he recently advised social and media monitoring company Brandwatch on securing a £1.5m investment from Silicon Valley Bank.

Nabarro LLP’s practice was impacted significantly by the recent departure of Andrew Wigfall to Marriott Harrison LLP. However, Graham Stedman still has a significant investee-focused practice.

At Speechly Bircham LLP, Chris Putt leads the firm’s work for growth companies and is aided by Andrew Clarke, who frequently handles work as an adjunct to his private equity practice. Since publication, Charles Russell LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP have merged to form Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

With resources in Birmingham and London, Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP provides venture capital capability out of its broader private equity group. The team is praised for its ‘superb life-sciences franchise on the commercial side' and includes the ‘excellent' Ian Piggin. Clients include Octopus Investments and Core Capital.

Bristol-based Ashfords LLP handles ‘a lot of work in the tech space' for clients including Eden Ventures and MMC Ventures. Chris Dyson recently advised Notion Capital on the sale of its holding in Shutl to eBay. ‘Excellent' team head Andrew Betteridge is also recommended.

CMS handles a significant amount of venture capital work as a function of its broader private equity capability - particularly in the healthcare and TMT sectors. James Grimwood and the recently promoted Martin Treagus are ‘calm under pressure, articulate and very commercial'. Jason Zemmel is recommended for work in the healthcare sector.

Dorsey & Whitney’s start-up focused group is particularly strong at handling work in the technology space and is accomplished throughout the lifecycle from incubation to strategic exit. Team head Frances Doherty represented Earlybird Venture Capital on its €2.4m investment in EyeEm.

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP provides ‘business-orientated advice' to clients including RHO Ventures and Innova Capital. The team regularly works in conjunction with its US colleagues, and alongside the Boston office, recently advised Accel Partners on its €5m Series A investment into Friendly Fashion. The firm is also heavily engaged in early-stage business initiatives including Angels Den, which aims to connect entrepreneurs with angel investors. Shawn Atkinson and David Ramm left to join Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius respectively.

Headed by the ‘superb' Joe Pillman, WilmerHale is ‘excellent at clean energy and life sciences' matters. Aided by the firm’s Palo Alto office, the team recently advised Khosla Impact Fund on a $1.9m Series A investment in BBOXX, an English company that provides innovative energy generation technologies in developing countries.

Headed by Jeremy Willcocks, Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP’s two-partner team has a focus on advising start-up companies in the life sciences and biotech sectors. Willcocks recently advised Spirogen on its sale to MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca. Anna Buscall is well regarded for VC fund formation work. Clients include Armour Group, easyGroup and Monsanto.

At Baker Botts (UK) LLP, Neil Foster advises investees and investors in the life sciences, TMT and media sectors.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP handles work for investors and investees across a range of sectors including renewables, healthcare and technology.

At Burges Salmon LLP, the ‘very experienced and commercial' Richard Spink and ‘highly competent' Mark Shepherd regularly provide venture capital expertise as part of their broader private equity prowess. The team is praised for its ‘well-rounded and responsive approach', and excels at handling deals in the renewables/energy sector. Clients include Octopus Investments and Beagle Partners.

Venture Capital mandates account for a fair proportion of boutique technology and digital media firm Kemp Little LLP’s instructions. Andy Moseby advised - a hotel metasearch website - on the UK aspects of the $8m investment in it by a group of investors including Balderton Capital and Accel Partners. Team head Charles Claisse is recommended.

Mayer Brown International LLP advises VC funds and corporate venturing clients including The Dow Chemical Company and Unilever Ventures. David Bates represented Azini Capital Partners on a number of deals, including advising it on the further investment in and subsequent sale of Centrebeam.

At Mills & Reeve LLP, Zickie Lim handles the firm’s venture capital investment work, while Claire Clarke has a focus on fund formation. Lim represented Metalysis on a £5m Series F investment from a group of investors led by Environmental Technologies.

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Legal Developments in the UK

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Press Releases in the UK

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to