The Legal 500


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M&A activity significantly increased in 2014, with deals worth almost $3.5 trillion announced over the year. However, this increase did not entirely match up with the number of completed deals as – at the time of writing – four of the fifteen largest deals announced in 2014 had yet to be finalised.

Despite the optimism, it was also a year of near misses, with around a third of all deals announced in Europe collapsing. Among the casualties were Pfizer’s £53bn approach to AstraZeneca, AbbVie’s £32bn takeover of Shire, and Carillion’s pursuit of Balfour Beatty.

The telecoms, media, technology and healthcare sectors remained particularly buoyant, while the slump in commodity prices served to galvanize the energy sector, most notably with Shell’s bid for BG Group.

It was a tale of two halves for capital markets in 2014. The first six months of the year saw continued growth in activity, following on from a strong 2013. However, the second half of the year, particularly the final quarter, was patchier as the uncertainty around the 2015 UK general election began to weigh and the price of oil collapsed. Of the high-profile floats in 2014, both the accelerated £1.4bn IPO by AA and the £1.2bn flotation by AO World stood out for their high valuations and subsequent share price slumps. The AIM market remained buoyant, despite the fall in activity in the energy and resources sector. It saw a large number of IPOs pricing at the top end of the market, including online fashion retailer’s £240m float and Hurricane Energy’s £272m offering.

There continues to be a great deal of public and political scrutiny surrounding corporate tax and the tax affairs of multinationals in general. Tax evasion scandals remained headline news in 2014, as they have been for the past three to four years. This has shaped the way tax advice is given by lawyers, who are now finding that any tax-related matters are becoming high-priority issues for boardrooms across the UK and abroad. It has also resulted in increased risk aversion by clients, meaning less tax planning work, and more advice on how a given tax structure may be perceived politically. Transactions dropped off in the second half of the year, as the US government took measures to stop tax inversions from the US into lower tax jurisdictions.

Commercial contracts

Index of tables

  1. Commercial contracts
  2. Leading individuals

Wonderful business partnerBaker & McKenzie LLP is a undisputed leader in the field, with practice head Duncan Reid-Thomas a ‘joy to work with’ for business-critical and cross-border contract work. The versatile practice has multiple sector expertise: Steve Holmes is noted for his telecoms and media experience; the ‘very commercialHarry Small is recommended for technology and outsourcing; and of counsels Helen Brown and Julia Hemmings are praised for ‘intelligent and well-thought-out direction’ in the consumer brands space. Unilever, Google, Arqiva, Fujitsu and Virgin Mobile rank among a vast client list.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP has strong international capability across a range of contract types. It acted for RBS (following competitive tender) on its 43-country new voice and data network outsourcing, and is advised London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) on the entire procurement for residential development at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The team is pragmatic and responsive, with ‘excellent client relationship management’; it includes co-head Richard Shaw, Richard Chapman and ‘very capable and easy to work withMark Lewis and Marcus Pearl.

Fielding one of the largest standalone teams, Bird & Bird is feted for its technology outsourcing expertise, but is far broader in scope. Team leader Simon Shooter led advice to King’s College Hospital NHS Trust on a joint venture to deliver healthcare services in Abu Dhabi, for example. A diverse client base includes the Ministry of Justice, BT, Allianz and BAE Systems. Head of international outsourcing Mark Leach delivers ‘clear advice on complex issues across the whole project’; Christian Bartsch and his team are ‘a pleasure to work with and understand our issues’.

Hogan Lovells International LLP draws widespread praise, noted for its broad, international practice, ‘huge resources and expertise’, and ‘strength in strategic thinking and unusual projects’. Standout individuals include the very experienced global head Peter Watts; technology outsourcing specialist Mark Taylor; Richard Welfare, who ‘has a ‘get-the-job-done’ mentality’; and ‘very effective negotiator’ Paul Joukador. John Lewis/Waitrose, ITV, SABMiller, Amazon and Johnson & Johnson are clients.

Travers Smith LLP is ‘consistently good across the board’, with a first-class reputation for traditional contracts work rather than an outsourcing bias. Widely respected Tom Purton is an ‘excellent sounding board’ with a ‘tremendous depth of knowledge’; Richard Brown gives ‘comfort that our corner is protected’; and recently made-up Ben Chivers ‘adds another dimension to the discussion’. Retail is a niche strength; the firm advised McColl’s Retail Group in a strategic partnership with the Post Office, and acted for on its European roll-out.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP is another ‘all-rounder’, evidenced by the spectrum of deals for many blue-chip clients such as Associated British Foods, Aviva and Sainsbury’s. James Whittaker led advice to Diageo on its global brand ambassador contract for Haig Club whisky with David Beckham. The well-resourced national team is led by Jonathan Davey. Clients like the practice’s ‘not over-legalistic’ advice, and ability to propose sensible commercial solutions.

Allen & Overy LLP demonstrates ‘hands-on commitment’ and focuses on high-value, complex and international contracts for high-profile clients. They include Imperial Tobacco, which the firm advised on a range of critical contracts post-acquisition of assets, including a portfolio of US cigarette brands; and continued advice to BACs Payment Schemes. Full-time commercial partners include the ‘pragmatic and clever’ Jim Ford and newly made-up Nigel Parker.

CMS stands out for its global reach and sector focus. The ‘can do, will do’ team has ‘a great understanding of the legal position, the deal, the commercial reality and the regulatory framework’, and acts for a raft of leading companies, such as BG Group, Lloyds Banking Group, BT and National Grid. Sarah Hanson and the ‘exceptionally goodIan Stevens head the commercial law and outsourcing practices respectively.

Commercially awareDLA Piper has extensive international capability, where ‘relevant industry knowledge and the ability to create innovative commercial structures are particular strengths’. The focused group is led by the ‘well-connected’ Iain Bowler, who ‘thinks with the business’. The firm advises Smith & Nephew on multiple, global contracts via the firm’s cutting-edge, online commercial contracts service, Virtual In-House. Kraft Foods and Johnson Matthey are clients.

Dentons’ dedicated commercial team impresses with its ‘combined sector knowledge and experienced individuals’. They include commercial head Scott Singer, the ‘super-smartDan Burge, widely respected Martin Fanning and public sector specialist Andy Lucas, who has a ‘firm grasp of supplier tactics’. The firm advises on the full spectrum of contracts, from big-ticket to everyday, for well-known companies such as Sainsbury’s, Home Retail Group, and Network Rail.

Fieldfisher is a dominant force in the technology outsourcing arena for both the public and private sector, where its premier client list includes the BBC, Ernst & Young, Samsung and Accenture, as well as a ‘who’s who’ of leading internet companies. Nick Holland led advice to Twitter on its advert programme in 14 EMEA jurisdictions. The respected Robert Shooter leads a large team that welcomed Mark Webber, former head of technology at Osborne Clarke.

King & Wood Mallesons’ industry knowledge and advice is ‘without fault’ under the leadership of the ‘very commercialJeremy Schrire, who has ‘a huge brain’ and is ‘superb in his legal analysis of issues’. The standalone, experienced team includes Andrew Shindler and boasts a loyal client following, particularly from the betting and gaming, hotels, pharma, retail and technology sectors. Ladbrokes, Associated British Foods, World Duty Free and the UK Payments Council are clients.

Latham & WatkinsAndrew Moyle is a leader in the field of outsourcing, excelling in innovative, global contracts. Of note is the firm’s financial services outsourcing expertise, with the team advising investment banks on business-critical and landmark deals. Other clients include Time Warner (a recent gain), SABMiller (South Africa) and New York Life. The expanding team is ‘very client oriented and great to work with’.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is ‘extremely strong’, with ‘deep expertise, particularly on large-scale outsourcing transactions’. The ‘very commercial’ team is led by the widely-respected Laurence Jacobs, supported by the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Sean Keaton and the newly promoted Joel Harrison, among others. Clients include BHP Billiton, HSBC, WPP and AstraZeneca; the practice advised the latter on strategic R&D projects.

One of the leading firms in commercial outsourcing’, Olswang LLP attracts FTSE 100 clients for big-ticket transactions. They include BP, which the firm advised on its Operating Model 2.0 programme, possibly the world’s largest technology sourcing by value in 2014. The team was appointed to the Unilever panel, and reappointed to Amazon’s panel. Dominic Dryden and ‘outstanding, rounded individualMatthew Bennett lead the practice.

Pinsent Masons LLP is a leader for complex and high-profile outsourcing in the public and private sectors, with standout expertise in the renegotiation of distressed outsourcing contracts. The ‘incredibly brightSimon Colvin led advice to French IT supplier Steria on its winning tender for the Cabinet Office’s landmark £1.5bn Shared Service Connected project for business process services across government departments. Global head of technology David Isaac is a leader in the field, and heads a large national team.

RPC’s ‘open and innovative approach differentiates it’ and the firm is ‘particularly good at cutting its cloth to budgets’. The dedicated, standalone practice is noted for its commerciality, and takes ‘a genuine interest in our business’. It acted for the Royal Free and University College London hospital trusts in their £1bn-plus joint venture with a private sector provider of pathology services. Practice head Oliver Bray is ‘superb’ and continues to expand the team, recruiting Anna Cook from Radiant Law.

Simmons & Simmons is ‘top rate’, providing ‘very solid advice’ and ‘high partner attention’. Mark Dewar is widely respected in the market and heads an expanding, international team that advises on cutting-edge and high-value deals. It acted for key client O2 Telefónica and giffgaff on one of the first peer-to-peer lending platforms between RateSetter and giffgaff. Virgin Media and major banks are clients.

In a class of its own’, Slaughter and May is recommended for technology outsourcing, high-value commercial deals and, increasingly, complex public sector work. The team ‘inspires confidence’, is personable and solutions driven, and its multi-specialist approach draws on expertise from across the firm. Outsourcing head Rob Sumroy demonstrates ‘first-rate client care’, and David Ives is ‘insightful’.

One of the best large-deal firms’, Ashurst’s cross-departmental specialists advise on a diverse range of business-critical transactions, with notable expertise in defence and governmental services. Christopher Bates led advice to Babcock International Group on its £2.6bn Maritime Support Delivery Framework (MSDF) contract with the Ministry of Defence, one of the largest outsourcings of 2014. Mark Lubbock leads the ‘very experienced team’.

The ‘fabulous commercial team’ at Bond Dickinson LLP excels in both outsourcing and general commercial contracts, attracting an impressive client roster, such as Kingfisher Group, TSB Bank and the Highways Agency. Work continued for the Post Office on its £1.94bn Network Transformation Programme, and the firm advised the Ministry of Justice on the outsourcing of back-office functions. Nick Barwood heads the large national team, providing ‘excellent service in all aspects’.

DAC Beachcroft LLPbenchmarks well against City firms’, with good industry knowledge and value for money. Reg Dhanjal has ‘strong commercial understanding’ and is ‘excellent technically’, one of 25 partners nationally led by Tim Sewart. The client list is indicative of the calibre of the practice, including Royal Mail Group, AXA, EE and government departments.

Eversheds LLP has an excellent national and international presence in the commercial field, and also an impressive client list. Highlights included advising Centrica on a key technology outsourcing, and Anglo American on the integration of De Beers within existing global master services agreements. Simon Gamlin, head of the firm’s international outsourcing group, is ‘cool and calm in negotiation’, and gives considered advice. The Birmingham-based Richard Prowse is also recommended. Clients praise the team for being ‘good value for money’.

Pragmatic and insightful’, Linklaters LLP has a strong outsourcing practice, acting for both customers and suppliers in the public and private sectors. They include Sainsbury’s, PwC, Visa Europe, the Ministry of Defence and the Post Office, which the team advises on high-value deals. The ‘charmingRichard Cumbleywill get answers to you despite tight deadlines’.

Norton Rose Fulbright handles outsourcing across all industries, but with a strong track record in financial services. James Russell led advice to BNP Paribas on the transitional service arrangements following its acquisition of Prime Fund Services from Credit Suisse. Other clients include Vodafone, Old Mutual, RSA and Rio Tinto. Mike Rebeiro heads the practice.

Osborne Clarke’s versatile practice advises on an array of contract types, with expertise in the key sectors of digital business, energy, retail, financial services and transport/automotive. John Buyers heads a large national team, which acted for KPMG on a major strategic alliance with F1’s McLaren relating to the latter’s Applied Technologies business. Vodafone and Western Power Distribution are also clients.

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP has a large national and international standalone practice, and is ‘very good at dealing with bespoke commercial agreements’ across the full range of commercial work. A first-rate client list includes Marks and Spencer, AstraZeneca and McDonald’s. The 14-partner team is headed by David Lowe, who ‘finds solutions, not to problems’, and led advice to the LLDC on the future of the Olympic Stadium.

Burges Salmon LLP’s ten dedicated commercial partners, led by Helen Scott-Lawler, are each sector-focused, covering areas such as energy, defence, education and financial services. The firm was reappointed to the Ministry of Defence panel, and acts for Coca-Cola HBC, Babcock International and the RAC.

Covington & Burling LLP is ‘a great go-to in this space for in-house lawyers’. ‘Industry knowledge is the best I have come across’, says one client, particularly in respect of life sciences and other IP-rich industries, where Lucinda Osborne is ‘first class’ and ‘has a great team around her’. Clients include AstraZeneca, Drayson Technologies, Sanofi and Microsoft. Louise Nash and Daniel Pavin are key advisers.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s global TMT practice, led by Nick Elverston, handles big-ticket and cross-border collaborative deals, and Nick Pantlin heads the firm’s outsourcing and IT group for the UK and Europe. The firm acted for TSB Bank on its £2bn long-term outsourcing of IT and business services, following its separation from Lloyds.

Commercial work is core to the practice at technology specialist Kemp Little LLP, where ‘its business acumen and industry knowledge is second to none’. Andrew Joint receives plaudits from competitors and clients, and is ‘pragmatic, clever and focused’. The firm acts for Coca-Cola, E&Y, uSwitch and Smiths Group, advising the latter on the renegotiation of its strategic IT and network outsourcing with AT&T.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is ‘thoroughly professional and very quick on turnaround’, particularly in respect of global outsourcing deals of high value or strategic importance. Mike Pierides led advice to Direct Line Group on its new IT software and hardware programme, following its divestment from RBS Group, one of the most complex IT programmes of the year. ‘Great expertTim Wright heads the expanding London team.

Radiant Law continued to grow its focused contracts practice, recruiting Andrew Sutherland from RPC to head the transactional IT and outsourcing team; and new head of the firm’s Cape Town office, Justin Cornish, from Latham & Watkins. The offshore operation provides a low-cost alternative for high-volume work. In London, Jason McQuillen led advice to BSkyB on a £50m contract review.

Top-class firmReed Smith LLP advises on all contract types, with sector expertise that includes media, technology, retail and consumer brands. ITV, Channel 4, BT and McDonald’s are clients. ‘Outstanding partner’ Sakil Suleman led advice to Debenhams on a review of its entire international franchise arrangements.

Shoosmiths LLP excels in this arena, with its national team of commercial specialists one of the largest. Sector expertise includes department head David Jackson and Simon Edwards for outsourcing, and Paul de Vince for supply chains. An expanding, quality client roster includes British American Tobacco, Associated British Foods and the RAC; the firm advised the latter on negotiation with the Motorists Organisation to create and operate a garage compare website.

Leading technology firm Taylor Wessing LLP is an obvious choice for technology outsourcing, where its dedicated IT specialists ensure a cutting-edge, cross-border service. Areas of expertise include data centre, financial services and recruitment outsourcings. The firm advises both suppliers and customers, such as Visa, esure, DC Thomson and China Telecom. Lead partners include Chris Jeffery and Graham Hann.

Bircham Dyson Bell has a capable team under the leadership of Paul Voller, providing a comprehensive commercial service to public and private sector clients. They include Smurfit Kappa, JTL, St John’s Ambulance and the Health and Care Professionals Council. Healthcare contracting specialist Peter McLoughlin led advice to The Doctors Laboratory on clinical trials testing contracts.

Bryan Cave offers niche expertise in the retail and luxury brands sector, where London managing partner Carol Osborne and recent recruit Paula Levitan, former head of retail at Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP, make a formidable duo; both are ‘excellent lawyers with relevant in-house/industry experience’. Their US knowledge means that ‘things are not lost in translation, as is often the case when working with local counsel’. Clients include LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Space NK and Urban Outfitters.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP boasts an enviable client list, most notably from the retail and leisure, sport, and TMT sectors, including Nike, Westfield, ITV and Arqiva. Vanessa Barnett led advice to Tesco Mobile on its Anytime Upgrade business model, including its agreement with HSBC. The well-resourced, dedicated commercial team is led by Jason Saiban.

Fladgate LLP advises on a broad variety of contracts, such as the franchising of two Marco Pierre White restaurant chains on behalf of master franchisee New York Italian. A ‘high level of service and quality’ is provided by the eight-partner team, led by Eddie Powell.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP advises on big-ticket and cross-border commercial transactions, including outsourcing, where Andrew Craig is recognised for his technology and IP expertise. Clients include State Street, Tata Steel and BAA.

Holman Fenwick Willan’s commercial practice is dominated by the transport, logistics and insurance sectors, where the firm has ‘the edge’ and ‘in-depth business knowledge’. It acts for some of the largest names in aviation, and non-transport clients include Marks and Spencer, Unilever and DHL. Key individuals include corporate and commercial head Alistair Mackie, and Craig Neame, head of logistics.

A small but experienced team at Jones Day advises on all commercial contract work, from standalone matters to corporate support. Jonathon Little, Elizabeth Robertson and Rhys Thomas are all experienced, advising a broad mix of clients, including Acumen, Spanx, IAC Group and Orange Business Services.

Clients at K&L Gates LLP highlight the firm’s responsiveness and the ‘quality and pragmatism of its advice’, singling out Neil Baylis and Tom Sibert for praise. The international practice advises on all forms of contracts for a diverse sector base. It advised Lucozade Ribena Suntory on multiple contract matters, and represented Arena Racing Corporation on its international media rights agreement with At the Races.

Lewis Silkin LLPdisplays good commercial awareness and acumen’, and ‘acts like an extension to the in-house team’. The media, brands and technology practice fields five specialist commercial contracts partners, including Simon Entwistle and James Gill, advising clients on a range of agreements. Clients include Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, Haymarket and Ascot Racecourse.

Macfarlanes LLP’s commercial, brands and IP team handles a broad spectrum of contracts, both high-value and high-profile, across a range of sectors, including sport and consumer brands. Jeremy Courtenay-Stamp and Rupert Casey are key advisers.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s corporate practice handles international outsourcing and other cross-border commercial arrangements. Key advisers are Peter Dickinson, who is noted for his telecoms expertise, and London head of IP/IT, Mark Prinsley.

The ‘excellentMills & Reeve LLP fields a large team of standalone commercial specialists, strong in the public and charity sectors, but increasingly gaining high-profile private sector clients. They include the Financial Conduct Authority, the Ministry of Defence, the British Council and new client The Co-operative Group; the team advised the latter on gas and electricity contracts to Co-op premises. Clients praise the commercial and pragmatic approach of Greg Gibson and Kevin Calder.

Alistair Maughan at Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP is widely admired for his technology outsourcing expertise. The focus of the practice is high-end or global matters for both public and private sector clients, including AIG, Intel, government departments and HM Revenue and Customs. Chris Coulter left to join Cooley LLP.

Squire Patton Boggs’ established national practice, led by Andrew Wilkinson is bearing fruit as a result of its US tie-up, with a marked growth in international clients and cross-border commercial work. It advised a major pharmaceutical on marketing arrangements, and acts for Chelsea FC, Fulham FC, Arrow Group and Caesars Entertainment.

Stephenson Harwood has a quality team led by Dan Holland, handling all forms of agreements, most notably in the financial services, manufacturing and life sciences sectors. Clients of the diverse practice include BSkyB, KPMG, the Post Office and UCB Biopharma. Jonathan Kirsop is also recommended.

The ‘excellentTrowers & Hamlins LLPcan set out complex matters very clearly, and always has someone available in the area of expertise we require’. Though a diverse practice, it shines in the public sector, advising multiple local authorities on outsourcing and other key commercial deals. James Hawkins and his team are ‘all experts’; he led advice to AmeyCespa as sponsor on the financial close of the North Yorkshire County Council Waste PPP Project.

Bates Wells Braithwaite is well known for its commercial work in the charity sector, but advises across many other sectors, most typically for the small to mid-market. The ‘very professionalRichard Marke led advice to the Haig Housing Trust on agreements relating to the Tower of London’s red poppy installation. Nikon UK is a client gain.

Blake Morgan LLP’s Simon Stokes advises on technology outsourcing for a range of sectors, including financial services, publishing and charities. IP/IT specialist Sheilah Mackie is recommended for a broad range of commercial contracts, including franchising and distribution. Clients include DHL International, Costa and The Southern Co-operative.

The ‘absolutely outstandingClifford Chance advises on big-ticket outsourcing and multi-jurisdictional commercial agreements. ‘The team’s commercial contracts reflect excellent quality drafting, and it knows when to carve out complex contractual clauses, yet keeps matters simple when needed’. André Duminy heads the UK commercial and technology group, and ‘manages deals with razor-sharp intelligence’.

Farrer & Co has a versatile practice, with standout expertise in the media, arts and heritage, and education sectors. Paul Jones (‘excellent market knowledge’) led advice to Bauer Radio on its successful joint venture with Arqiva and UTV to win Ofcom’s second national multiplex licence, D2. The Victoria and Albert Museum, the Rugby Football Union and Imperial College are clients.

Fox Williams LLP specialises in agency, distribution and supply agreements, primarily in the fashion industry. The bulk of work of the firm’s dedicated ‘agentlaw’ team is cross-border, for brands such as SuperGroup, Hardy Amies and John Smedley. Stephen Sidkin is ‘the UK’s leading authority on fashion agency law’.

Keystone Law has ‘good knowledge and fast responses and is very good value for money’. The firm has a number of commercial specialists with a quality client following, including Susan Atkinson, Lyndsay Gough, who acts for longstanding client the Trading Standards Institute; and Liyen McCoy, former general counsel at Yahoo! UK.

Mishcon de Reya advises on all areas of commercial contracts, with standout expertise in sport, luxury brands, retail and media, in an exceptionally broad practice. Clients range from FTSE 100 companies, such as Tesco, to start-ups and football clubs. The firm continues to act as lead adviser to Tottenham Hotspur FC for all its commercial needs. Practice head Lewis Cohen is supported by technology specialist Adam Rose, and leads a versatile, experienced team.

Clients at Penningtons Manches LLP highlight the firm’s responsiveness, value for money, and clear advice that is ‘distilled to salient points’. The standalone team advises mid-to-large companies in its key focus sectors of retail and fashion, technology (where the firm launched in San Francisco in December 2014), life sciences and publishing. Jon Bartley is ‘very commercial’. Clients include Tata Group, All Saints Retail and Spicerhaart Group.

Memery Crystal LLP won a number of significant new clients in 2014/15, including the Guardian Media Group, which the firm advised on the contract to manage its local area network infrastructure. Stephen Milne heads the standalone commercial team, which has a ‘great service ethos’ and is ‘willing to provide services over and above’.

The level of service is excellent’ at Simons Muirhead & Burton, which specialises in retail, media and entertainment and publishing across a broad spectrum of contract types. Standout partners include head of department Simon Goldberg, and international franchising specialist Maninder Gill. Clients include Urban Outfitters, Time Out and Bauer Consumer Media.

Thomas Eggar LLP has a broad and burgeoning contracts practice, led by IT/IP specialist Kim Walker, who offers ‘sound experience and advice’, and former Clifford Chance partner Stuart Padgham. The firm has a London/South East regional focus, advising SMEs and well-known companies, charities and institutions, such as Nuffield Health, Ricardo and the University of Chichester.

Weightmans LLP has a busy practice advising public sector bodies and local authorities, as well as mid-to-large companies, including Whitbread Group (a new client), Capita and the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. The team, led by the Manchester-based Paul Raftery, provides responsive, commercial advice and is ‘good at understanding what is important to clients’.

Corporate tax

Index of tables

  1. Corporate tax
  2. Leading individuals

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a ‘go-to firm for complex tax issues’, regularly acting for multinational clients on transactional, planning and policy matters. Key contacts include Colin Hargreaves, who advised Novartis on its portfolio transformation; Murray Clayson, who acted for MTN Group on a landmark mobile tower sale and leaseback agreement; and David Taylor, a planning and structured finance expert. The team, headed by David Haworth, promoted three senior associates, and saw Richard Ballard retire.

Linklaters LLP’s tax highlights include advising on a number of significant corporate transactions, highlighting the team’s strength in this area. Martin Lynchehan assisted Lend Lease on the £700m sale of its interest in Bluewater, and Dominic Winter acted for Novartis International on the $5.25bn disposal of its global vaccines business to GlaxoSmithKline. Real estate, finance and investment funds are other areas of focus in the sizeable practice headed by Yash Rupal.

Slaughter and Mayprovides comprehensive legal support in a commercial and interactive manner’. There is no shortage of standout individuals in the sizeable team, and a few names to note include practice head Sara Luder, Tony Beare, Mike Lane and Steve Edge. Standout work included advising GlaxoSmithKline on a $20bn three-part transaction with Novartis, led by newly made partner Dominic Robertson; and Punch Taverns on a £2.3bn capital restructuring.

Allen & Overy LLP’s practice co-head Vimal Tilakapala is ‘very comfortable advising on complex finance-related tax issues’, and this expertise is reflected in his team’s deal flow. Practice co-head Christopher Harrison assisted Lloyds Banking Group on the sale of its Australian asset finance business, and Charles Yorke acted for Standard Chartered Bank on the $500m sukuk issue by International Finance for Immunisation. Other clients include Lone Star, the Irish Gas Board and International Game Technology.

Clifford Chancestands out for its very strong depth of practice’, which includes Dan Neidle, an expert on supranational taxes and regimes; Anthony Stewart, a key adviser to Investec; David Harkness, who acted for The Co-operative Bank on its recapitalisation plan; and real estate specialist David Saleh. Chris Davies heads the ‘responsive and practical’ team.

The sweet spot for Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s practice is acting on the tax aspects of cross-border deals, particularly in the energy, infrastructure, insurance, TMT, investment funds and real estate sectors. Practice head Isaac Zailer advised AbbVie on its proposed (and aborted due to tax issues) merger with Shire. Howard Murray and William Arrenberg are key contacts. Bradley Phillips left for PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP.

Ashurstscores very highly on responsiveness, business acumen, strength in depth and value for money’. Alexander Cox handled a number of investment fund-related matters, and clients include Inflexion Private Equity and Agilitas Private Equity. Practice head Richard Palmer advised Xchanging on its £64.1m acquisition of Agencyport Software. Real estate expert Simon Swann and Paul Miller are also key contacts.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s hybrid team of lawyers, accountants and economists ‘covers a very wide range of tax issues’, and ‘stands out for its international reach’. James Smith advised SPX Corporation on the proposed $3bn spinoff of its flow business. Key contacts include Geoffrey Kay and non-lawyer Mark Bevington. The practice, headed by Alex Chadwick, continues to grow, with the addition of six associates in 2014.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s sizeable team has absorbed a string of lawyer departures, the latest being Cathryn Vanderspar joining Eversheds LLP, and continued to act on high-profile transactions, particularly in the real estate sector. Practice head Michael Wistow advised TPG on the acquisition, financing and related securitisation of the Kensington Mortgages group. Elizabeth Bradley, Neal Todd and John Overs are key contacts.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘responsive and practical’ team acts on large transactions, such as Bestway’s acquisition of Co-op’s pharmacy business; provides standalone tax advice, including on FATCA; and fields a transfer-pricing expert. Karen Hughes is now global co-head of tax, and Philip Harle is head of the London tax practice. Real estate expert Philip Gershuny and Kevin Ashman are other key contacts.

Macfarlanes LLP’s ‘pragmatic and clear advice’ spans investment funds, where the firm is particularly strong, as well as a wide range of other sectors, including real estate (Intu, Stanhope) and TMT (Verizon, GAME Digital). Ashley Greenbank, Mark Baldwin and practice head Damien Crossley are key contacts.

Excellent industry knowledge’ underpins Norton Rose Fulbright’s work, with EMEA tax head Dominic Stuttaford a key contact for insurance and technology clients; Matthew Hodkin for renewable energy, rail and aviation; and both Chris Bates and Angela Savin for energy and transport. Matters handled include corporate and real estate transactions, securitisations and fund formation.

Olswang LLPprovides an exceptional standard of care’. The ‘ferociously hardworkingMark Joscelyneleads an outstanding team’ that stands out for the breadth of its work, from standalone advice on transfer pricing to supporting on funds structuring and real estate acquisitions. Key contacts include Cliona Kirby, a name for media tax credits; real estate and leisure expert Graham Chase; and Stephen Hignett, whose clients include Warner Music Group and Gamesys.

Simmons & Simmons is ‘excellent at balancing commercial interests with the regulatory and legal issues’. Practice head Nick Cronkshaw regularly handles big-ticket transactions, including the £1.2bn IPO by AO World; the ‘thorough, practical and responsiveMartin Shah is a financial services taxation expert; and Mark Sheiham specialises in structured finance, banking, capital markets and funds work.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP is recommend on the strength of its transactional capabilities, supporting the firm on big-ticket M&A deals, which include Pfizer’s proposed $115bn acquisition of AstraZeneca, and AbbVie’s $54bn proposed acquisition of Shire. James Anderson and Tim Sanders are the key contacts in the compact team.

Owing to the firm’s reputation in the private equity space, Travers Smith LLP’s ‘always responsive and knowledgeable’ tax team acts on a diverse range of transactions, including Bridgepoint’s £250m acquisition of restaurant chains ASK Italian and Zizzi, and Pets at Home’s £1.28bn IPO. Key contacts include practice head Kathleen Russ, investment funds expert Richard Stratton, Emily Clark, and the ‘committed’ Simon Skinner.

DLA Piper is ‘outstanding in its technical expertise’. Paul Rutherford is a key adviser to Discovery Communications, and advised on its EMEA-wide reorganisation, reflecting the team’s ability to work across jurisdictions. Practice head Richard Woolich is a real estate specialist and Neville Wright ‘focuses on the important issues and explains points clearly’.

In a deal that reflects two of the core sector strengths of King & Wood Mallesons’ tax practice, Heather Corben advised British Land in supporting Blackstone’s disposal of its 50% interest in the Broadgate development. Clients also include OneSavings Bank, Universal Music Group, and a raft of real estate and private equity funds. Laura Charkin, real estate expert Clive Jones (who joined from Eversheds LLP), and Giles Bavister are key contacts.

The continued growth of Latham & Watkins’ London corporate and finance practices is resulting in high levels of activity for the two-partner tax team. Practice head Sean Finn advised Onex Partners on its $4.5bn acquisition of the SIG Combibloc Group, and the ‘proactive and commercialKarl Mah represented the initial purchasers of Numericable Group’s €7.87bn high-yield note offering.

Matthew Herrington’s promotion means that McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP now fields a three-partner team, which stands out for its significant standalone advisory practice. On the transactional side, James Ross advised Universal Health Services on its $335m acquisition of Cygnet Health Care. Practice head Tom Scott is ‘very knowledgeable, responsive and thoughtful’.

NGM Tax Law LLP’s model as a boutique corporate tax firm that employs only senior lawyers, four partners and a handful of consultants, results in a ‘competitively priced, high-quality service’. Stephen Hoyle, who joined from DLA Piper, advised the consortium of sellers on the specialist tax treatment of a leasing business as part of the £2bn disposal of Porterbrook Rosco. Keith Gregoryinspires confidence’; Mark Nichols is a ‘slick operator’; and Simon Meredith is ‘very user friendly’.

Nabarro LLP’s three-partner tax team has benefited from the booming UK real estate market, a particular sector-strength for the firm. Kirsten Prichard Jones advised Land Securities on the £656m purchase of Bluewater shopping centre. Investment funds is another strength, with Nick Burt acting for Rockspring German Retail Box Fund in its joint venture, with two other funds, to acquire a portfolio of 23 German retail parks. Michael Cant retired.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s leading mid-market private equity practice is a regular source of high-profile transactional work for Justine Delroy’s team, and clients include 3i and Bridges Ventures. Elaine Gwilt, who was particularly active in 2014, is recommended.

In addition to providing transactional support to the rest of the firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s tax practice has niche expertise in representing financial sector clients in insolvencies and restructurings, and has a dedicated advisory team for investment funds clients. Stuart Sinclair and the ‘client-focused’ Jonathan Ivinson are key contacts. Clients include Old Mutual and OM Asset Management.

Highlights for CMS’ five-partner team reflect the broad range of work handled: Samantha Dames advised MetLife on the disposal of MetLife Assurance; Richard Croker acted for M&G on all the tax aspects of a range of student accommodation developments across the UK; and Jim Hillan assisted the National Grid on its joint venture with Berkeley Group.

The work of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s tax team reflects that of its trophy London and New York private equity teams. US-qualified Matthew Saronson advised Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on its acquisition of the Mauser Group, and practice head Richard Ward’s clients include Temporis Capital and AXA.

Fieldfisher is ‘a leading firm on entertainment tax matters’, with new practice head Derek Hill, whose clients include Warner Bros/Time Warner and Bad Robot Films, the key contact in this area. Nick Noble is recommended on financial services, including fund-related matters, while Andrew Prowse regularly advises on energy and life sciences transactions.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP wins praise for its ‘excellent response times and commercial approach’. Practice head Ian Taplin, newly made partner Oliver Currall, and the highly regarded Jane Scobie are particularly adept at handling large transactions for the firm’s long list of private equity clients, which include Bain Capital, Vista Equity Partners and new win Searchlight Capital Partners.

In addition to transactional support for the likes of Wells Fargo (a $1.64bn financing platform to Hewlett Packard) and Varde Partners (a £250m real estate portfolio acquisition), Mayer Brown International LLP’s highlights include a significant amount of standalone planning and structuring advice to a broad range of clients. Highly regarded practice head Sandy Bhogal and James Hill are key contacts.

Key contacts in Pinsent Masons LLP’s sizeable tax team include Tom Cartwright, who advised oil and gas company Origo on its $525m capital raise, and Eloise Walker, whose work encompasses standalone tax advice and broad-ranging transactional support. HSBC Bank is a key client.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s investment in its tax practice continued apace in 2014, with of counsel Andrew Howard joining. Brenda Coleman and her team are particularly active in the private equity space, having advised Summit Partners on its joint venture with FleetCor Technologies.

Having won a seat on Bridgepoint’s panel in early 2014, Shearman & Sterling LLP acted for the private equity investor in a series of transactions, including the £212m acquisition of Moneycorp from RBS. Practice head Sarah Priestley and of counsel Simon Letherman are the key contacts.

The three-partner team at Sidley Austin LLP is ‘particularly creative, responsive and commercial, and displays a deep understanding of legal and regulatory developments’. Will Smith acted on a number of transactions, and advised a hotel group on FATCA implementation. Practice head Drew Scott splits his time between transactional and dispute resolution matters.

Stephenson Harwood stands out both for its ‘absolutely superb level of service’ and the breadth of expertise displayed by its tax team, including practice head Hugo Jenney, a tax leasing specialist who also acts for a significant number of funds and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Maryanna Sharrock, who ‘shows great insight’, advised Schroder Real Estate Investment Management and three Schroder-managed funds on the £132m acquisition of City Tower in Manchester. The team saw the departures of three senior associates in 2014.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s ability to provide both US and UK tax advice sets it apart. UK-qualified practice head Michael McGowan led advice to key client Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on the establishment of a new holding company and redomiciliation into the Netherlands and the UK. US-qualified Eric Wang is the other key contact, having acted for Goldman Saches, Rhône Capital and AIG.

Taylor Wessing LLP’s tax team, headed by Peter Jackson, is particularly active in the private equity and real estate sectors. Consultant Richard Carson advised, alongside Robert Young, the management team of former Blackstone and PAI Partners portfolio company United Biscuits on its disposal to Yildiz Holdings, and Nikol Davies represented Brentford Football Club in its planning application for a new stadium.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has ‘excellent depth of knowledge of, and contacts in, the shipping industry’. Richard Stephens advised BG Group subsidiary Methane Services on the $930m sale and charter back of six LNG carrier vessels to GasLog. Michael L’Estrange heads the practice.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’technically strong and creative tax lawyers’ act principally on investment fund-related matters. Practice head Jonathan Kandel is the sole partner in a team that includes two of counsels following David Irvine’s promotion. Clients include InfraRed Capital Partners, The Abraaj Group and Barclays Bank.

White & Case LLPhas remarkable technical expertise in tax advisory, structuring and transactional work’. Practice head Peita Menon and newly made partner Prabhu Narasimhan, who ‘form an impressive combination, with technical rigour complemented by commercial awareness’, advised the UK government on its proposal to implement a new withholding tax exemption for interest payments on privately placed debt. Other clients include GSO Capital Partners and Deutsche Bank.

Customs and excise

At Baker & McKenzie LLP, practice head Ross Denton is ‘highly practical and pragmatic, displaying an enormous amount of knowledge’; and of counsel Jennifer Revis ‘leverages her network of contacts effectively’, and ‘delivers advice clearly and promptly’. The London team is an integral part of a global network of customs and international trade lawyers, which acts for some of the world’s leading multinationals.

DLA Piper’s practice saw significant change in 2014, with non-lawyer John Forrest joining from Dechert LLP, and former head Mike Pullen leaving for Stephenson Harwood. The new practice will look to advise the firm’s multinational clients and develop its network of UK-based clients.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s Stuart Walsh is a key adviser to a number of food and beverage manufacturers, both on contentious and non-contentious customs duty issues, and also regularly acts for retailers on excise duty disputes with HMRC. Senior associate Jake Landman is another key contact for this work.

Highlights for The Khan Partnership LLP include advising clothing supplier Visage in an origin of goods dispute with HMRC, and representing Unifruit Group in a challenge to customs tariff classifications relating to garlic. Michelle Sloane is ‘reactive and committed’, and Hassan Khan heads the practice.

Dechert LLPscores highly on responsiveness and expertise in the area’, and ‘its advice takes all the relevant aspects of a matter into consideration’. International trade and government regulation practice co-chair Miriam Gonzalez is a key contact.

Squire Patton Boggs bolstered its London capabilities with the recruitment of senior associate and international trade expert Aline Doussin from DLA Piper.

EU and competition

Index of tables

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

Praised for its ‘availability, delivery and clarity of advice’, Clifford Chance’s team is led by Alex Nourry, and includes the ‘commercially minded’ Greg Olsen, who advised Barclays on the CMA review of personal current accounts and the provision of banking services to small and medium enterprises. Other key members of the team include healthcare specialist Alastair Mordaunt, who assisted two hospital groups in notifying their proposed merger to the CMA; and Jenine Hulsmann, who advised EDF Group on state aid clearance for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.

Simon Priddis heads the sizeable practice at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, where the team was busy on a number of difficult merger clearance cases. Priddis and John Davies represented Smith & Nephew on the UK antitrust aspects of its acquisition of ArthroCare Corporation, and Alex Potter assisted D.E. Master Blenders in relation to its joint venture with the coffee business of Mondelez International. On the market investigations side, Rod Carlton and Andrea Gomes da Silva were instructed on the CMA retail banking investigation by HSBC, and Deirdre Trapp advised on the CMA energy investigation.

Not just a merger powerhouse, but strong on behavioural work too’, Linklaters LLP’s team includes global head of practice Michael Cutting, ‘creative lateral thinkerChristian Ahlborn, and the highly regarded Simon Pritchard. As well as advising Centrica on the energy market investigation, and RBS on the retail banking investigation, the team was highly active on merger control matters; Nicole Kar advised Dixons Retail on its merger with Carphone Warehouse. Natura Gracia was promoted to partner, which helped offset Paula Riedel’s departure to Kirkland & Ellis International LLP. Eamonn Doran is now a consultant.

At Slaughter and May, the nine-partner team ‘responds quickly, and gets to grips with complex markets and business models very well’. Department head Philippe Chappatte wins praise for his ‘in-depth knowledge of the intersection between competition law and IP law’, and advised on the ongoing multi-jurisdictional competition investigations into online hotel bookings. Also in the team are Bertrand Louveaux and Lisa Wright, who assisted Nationwide with the CMA market investigation into retail banking, and Isabel Taylor, who is ‘particularly strong in regulatory matters’. The team advised INEOS in relation to multi-jurisdictional filings for its joint venture with Solvay. Fran Gillon joined from the Legal Services Board. Michael Rowe has retired.

Strategic thinking sets apart’ the practice at Allen & Overy LLP, which saw involvement in market investigations covering retail banking, energy and private motor insurance. Another important stream of work was cartel investigations, on which IT sector specialist Philip Mansfield was particularly active. The team is co-led by the ‘incredibly astute and insightful’ Mark Friend and Antonio Bavasso, who successfully obtained EC phase 1 merger clearance for 21st Century Fox in relation to its joint venture with Apollo.

Ashurst’s practice draws on the support of a team of in-house economists to provide ‘commercial advice, with a good balance of risk/benefit’. Practice head Nigel Parr was involved in a number of market investigations, including acting for Wonga in the payday lending investigation, and Duncan Liddell advised a leading international bank in relation to the LIBOR, Euribor and FX investigations. Euan Burrows is an ‘invaluable source of guidance’.

At Hogan Lovells International LLP, Angus Coulter draws on the experience of global co-head Suyong Kim and regional managing partner Susan Bright to help ‘deliver a premium service, no matter how tight the turnaround times’. Successes include assisting Tradebe Environmental Services in obtaining unconditional phase 2 clearance from the CMA for its joint venture with SITA UK, and securing deregulation of Stansted airport’s passenger and cargo businesses. The team was boosted by the arrival of Mark Jones from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s team saw more involvement in market investigations, and enjoyed a number of significant client wins. Samantha Mobley heads the practice, and was active for British Airways and Panalpina, and the ‘very commercial and directKeith Jones advised in relation to the CMA energy market investigation. Luis Gomez is ‘very considered’.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s team is led by James Quinney, and wins praise for its ‘extremely broad range of experience across a number of different industries and sectors’. Susan Black advised AbbVie on the competition law aspects of its proposed £32bn acquisition of Shire, and André Pretorius was active on a number of cartel and abuse of dominance investigations. Kim Dietzel is ‘effective’, and Veronica Roberts ‘provides pragmatic, business-oriented solutions’.

At King & Wood Mallesons, Tom Usher heads the department, and is singled out for his ‘first-rate knowledge of the betting and gaming sector’. Another area of expertise for the team is the interface between competition and IP; Cameron Firth defended a number of pharmaceutical manufacturers regarding investigations by the European Commission into pay for delay in patent settlement cases. Managing partner Stephen Kon, global head Simon Holmes and Philipp Girardet are all recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘rapidly growing expertise in anti-trust work’ marks the practice out as ‘strong and moving up’. Despite the loss of Mark Jones to Hogan Lovells International LLP, the team secured a number of significant market investigation instructions, and was active on the merger control side; Ian Giles advised BP on its acquisition of Statoil Fuel and Retail Aviation. Other key players include the highly rated practice head Martin Coleman, the ‘very easy to work withPeter Scott, and newly promoted partner Mark Simpson.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, practice head Guy Lougher has ‘great judgement and commercial skills’, and leads a team that is ‘very experienced in CMA investigations’; the practice took lead roles in the CMA retail banking and energy investigations. Newly made-up partner Angelique Bret was active on a number of merger control cases, and Jenny Block is singled out as being ‘an expert in state aid issues’. Alan Davis left the firm to join Jones Day.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s ‘reliable team’, led by Bruce Kilpatrick, ‘offers better value for money than the Magic Circle’. As well as acting as co-counsel to RBS in relation to the CMA market investigation into retail banking, the team advised BUPA care homes on the merger control aspects of the disposal of its Surgichem adherence packaging subsidiary to Omnicell. Adam Aldred is now with Kings Chambers.

The ‘very personableAndrew Hockley now heads the practice at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, following the departure of David Harrison to Mayer Brown International LLP. Hockley advised CALA Group on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of Banner Homes. Other highlights include advising BDO on the UK Competition Commission’s statutory audit market investigation, and providing strategic competition advice to Thames Water. Adrian Magnus, Chris Bryant and newly made-up partner James Marshall are key players in the team.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s team includes the highly rated Maurits Dolmans, who continued to advise Google on a large number of matters, which included an investigation before the European Commission into the company’s alleged abuse of its dominant position in the online search market. Nicholas Levy and Romano Subiotto QC divide their time between London and the firm’s ‘pre-eminent’ Brussels office.

At Eversheds LLP, practice head Ros Kellaway and Leeds-based Adam Collinson advised RWE Npower on the energy market inquiry, and merger-control specialist Stephen Rose acted for Dairy Crest Group on the sale of its dairy operations to Muller Wiseman. The team was also active on a number of significant European Commission investigations.

John Colahan and Omar Shah* co-head the practice at Latham & Watkins, which is noted for its ‘strong and growing presence in the field’. The team has a particular focus on multi-jurisdictional merger control work, and acted for Arthrocare in obtaining clearance in the UK, US and Germany for its acquisition by Smith & Nephew. *Following publication, Omar Shah has joined *Morgan Lewis.

Macfarlanes LLPregularly handles the type of work and transactions more commonly seen amongst much larger firms in the City’. One example was the team acting for Oak Hill Capital and Firth Rixson on the acquisition of Firth Rixson by Alcoa. Practice head Marc Israelcombines first-class competition and merger skills with comparable commercial law experience’, and Malcolm Walton is ‘calm and measured’.

At Simmons & Simmons, practice head Tony Woodgate and Charles Bankes are ‘both exceptionally experienced and extremely careful and skilled competition lawyers’. Banks and merger-control specialist Peter Broadhurst acted for Orkla on the merger control aspects and then the divestiture procedure resulting from its joint venture with Norsk Hydro. The team continues to advise financial institutions on a variety of issues, including creation and operation of platforms and participation in setting benchmarks.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s acquisition of Bingham McCutchen’s London office resulted in Davina Garrod and her team joining the firm, though Frances Murphy departed for Morgan Lewis. The team handles the full range of merger control and behavioural work, and Garrod is praised for her ‘superior knowledge of the regulatory process governing the telecommunications, financial services and energy sectors’.

Praised for its response times ‘regardless of the time of day’, Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP’s team is led by Susan Hinchliffe, and includes the ‘clear and pragmatic’ Tim Frazer. As well as advising on a major abuse of dominance investigation, the team was busy on a number of multi-jurisdictional merger filings, including acting for AT&T on its merger with DirecTV.

Bird & Bird’s practice has a particular focus on the communications sector, and is known for its expertise in the interface between competition law and IP. Richard Eccles acted for Omnicell in obtaining CMA clearance, in a second phase investigation, for Omnicell’s acquisition of Surgichem. Peter Willis heads the practice

Pat Treacy leads the practice at Bristows LLP, and wins praise for her ‘energetic and pragmatic approach’. Also in the team is Rosemary Choueka, who advised Circle Health during the CMA investigation into the private healthcare market. Key clients include Google, Capgemini and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

At Burges Salmon LLP, the ‘user-friendlyLaura Claydon advised First Group on all UK merger control aspects of its bid for the East Coast Franchise, and continued to act for CIS General Insurance on the CMA private motor insurance investigation. Claydon co-heads the Bristol-based team with John Houlden and Simon Coppen. Matthew O’Regan is now with St John’s Chambers.

CMS’ practice is known for its behavioural work, and has particular expertise in the life sciences, consumer products, energy and infrastructure sectors. Head of practice Caroline Hobson advised Eurostar on the EU merger clearance aspects of the UK government selling its 40% share in the company. Other key members of the team are Graeme Young and Susan Hankey. David Marks has retired.

Kate Vernon is a ‘strong pillar of the practice’ at DLA Piper, where highlights include advising the Premier League on Ofcom’s investigation into how the Premier League sells its broadcasting rights for football matches. Sam Szlezinger joined from Dentons. Mike Pullen is now with Stephenson Harwood.

Fieldfisher’s three-partner team was particularly active on the behavioural side, with practice head Charles Whiddington advising on a number of multi-jurisdictional cartel investigations. The team also provides ongoing competition advice to clients such as EE and the Payments Council. Philippe Ruttley and senior associate Solange Leandro left to join Ince & Co.

Jones Day’s practice focuses on cross-border mergers and investigations, and has ‘very good relationships with the regulators’. Practice head Matt Evans advised STERIS Corporation on the UK merger investigation into its acquisition of Synergy Health, and Vincent Brophy acted for Deutsche Bank in relation to two European Commission investigations concerning credit default swaps. Alan Davis joined from Pinsent Masons LLP.

At Nabarro LLP, Brian Sher represented GlaxoSmithKline in the first-ever reverse patent settlement competition investigation in the UK, and the ‘decisive and personable’ Cyrus Mehta successfully appealed the CMA’s decision relating to the sale of the Hospital Corporation of America’s hospital facilities in London. Mehta is singled out for his state aid expertise.

Olswang LLP’s practice is ‘particularly strong on media regulatory work’, but also has a growing reputation in the life sciences and gambling and gaming sectors; Dan Tench advised the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association on competition issues relating to the UK Government’s efforts to bring Gibraltar gambling operators within the compass of UK taxation and regulation. Howard Cartlidge heads the team, and was active for Cineworld, Microsoft and Viacom.

Marjorie Holmes ‘puts complex legal scenarios in understandable English’ at Reed Smith LLP, and advised Sonoco on the competition aspects of its acquisition of Weidenhammer. On the behavioural side, Edward Miller, who co-heads the practice with Holmes, successfully defended DB Apparel in the CMA investigation into price fixing of sports bras.

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, ‘superstarJames Webber handled a wide range of matters, including acting for Viacom on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of Channel 5 Broadcasting. Webber has also ‘started to pull in a lot of top-notch work in the state aid field.Matthew Readings heads the department, and was active on a number of European Commission cartel investigations.

Sidley Austin LLPhas been particularly busy handling multi-jurisdictional merger clearances, advising Beam on its sale to Suntory. In another highlight, the team acted for Sigma Aldrich Corporation on its sale to Merck. Practice head Patrick Harrison is praised as having ‘technical and commercial knowledge’. In September 2015, David Went joined Exchange Chambers in Leeds in order to resume his career as a barrister.

Martin Rees’ team at Squire Patton Boggs includes the ‘approachable and knowledgeableDiarmuid Ryan, and telecommunications and media expert Ann LaFrance. As well as advising Marston Holdings on the CMA review of Marston’s completed acquisition of Collectica, the team also represented a major UK supplier of bathroom products in the CMA bathroom fittings probe.

Practice head Nigel Seay is ‘easy to work with’ at Travers Smith LLP, where the team is particularly known for its merger control expertise; it advised Micro Focus on its merger with the Attachmate Group, and Immediate Media on its acquisition of a portfolio of specialist magazine titles from Future Publishing. On the behavioural side, clients include Pinewood and Mueller Industries.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s merger brought together the practices of Paul Henty and Paul Stone. Praised as being the ‘go-to law firm for matters relating to telecommunications regulation’, the team is particularly strong in the TMT sector, and advised ITV on changes to the merger undertakings given by its predecessor companies, Carlton and Granada.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s practice was boosted by a number of new hires, including financial services specialist David Harrison, who joined from Bond Dickinson LLP. Alexandra Von Westernhagen leads the team, and advised Sintec Media on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of Pilat Media Global. The practice has particular experience in the healthcare space.

Providing ‘commercially sensible, pragmatic advice’, Dentons’ practice is particularly strong in the transport sector, and acts for clients such as Aer Lingus, MTR and Hargreaves Services. Key players in the team include senior associates Rebecca Owen-Howes and Alex Haffner. Sam Szlezinger is now with DLA Piper.

Head Ajal Notowicz and associate Jago Chanter are ‘diligent and inquisitive’ at Dickson Minto WS, where the team is particularly known for handling merger control matters on behalf of private equity clients. As well as advising Wood Mackenzie on its proposed joint venture with CGG, the team also saw an rise in behavioural instructions from clients such as Ceva Animal Health.

Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP’s team, which includes ‘business-oriented’ department head Stephen Tupper and newly made-up partner Lisa Navarro, was busy on a number of international mergers; it advised Platform Specialty Products Corporation in relation to the merger control aspects of Platform’s acquisition of Arysta Life Science. The practice has particular strength in the water and utilities sector, and acts for clients such as Bristol Water and United Utilities. Gillian Sproul joined from Mayer Brown International LLP.

Praised for its ‘technical knowledge’, the practice at Holman Fenwick Willan is led by Anthony Woolich, who advised Waypoint Leasing on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of the helicopter business of First Reserve. Apart from its known expertise in the transport sector, the team saw an increase in state aid work, particularly that originating in Greece. Eliza Petritsi is now with the CMA.

Dual US/UK-qualified Scott Megregian is ‘a force to be reckoned with’ at K&L Gates LLP, where the team handles competition matters for a range of clients, with a particular emphasis on the sports sector. In one highlight, the team advised the Dogs Trust on a threatened CMA complaint relating to the UK’s largest dog micro-chipping campaign. Neil Baylis is the other name to note.

At Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, the hire of Paula Riedel from Linklaters LLP was a significant coup. Riedel joins Sarah Jordan and Shaun Goodman, who win praise for their ‘extreme competence on the transactional level’. Highlights include advising on a large number of cross-border mergers, and acting for Evergreen Marine Corporation in connection with the ongoing investigation by the EU Commission into pricing practices in the liner-shipping sector.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s practice was boosted by the hire of David Harrison from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, though Gillian Sproul left for Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP. The team handles the full range of merger control and behavioural issues for clients such as Unilever, Capita and Lindt. Merlie Calvert left for LHS Solicitors LLP.

Practice head Nicholas Spearing and senior associate Satyen Dhana at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP were particularly active in the financial services space, acting for clients such as British Bankers’ Association, Goldman Sachs and Lloyds Bank. The team advised on the competition law aspects of Anchorage Capital’s acquisition of a controlling interest in Ideal Standard.

Douglas Lahnborg is in charge at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP, and advised PHW-Group on the merger control aspects of its sale of Lohmann SE to Elanco. On the behavioural side, the team acted on a significant EU Commission cartel investigation. The practice has grown in size, though senior associate Elizabeth Turner is no longer practising.

Attention to detail is second to none’ at RPC, where the practice enjoyed a busy year, securing new clients in the energy, retail and telecommunications sectors. Head of practice Stephen Smith, who wins praise for his ‘commercial common sense’, continued to act for Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance in respect of the CMA private motor insurance market investigation; he also advised Sports Direct Board on the competition aspects of a number of acquisitions.

Singled out for its ‘very good knowledge of the telecommunications market’, Shepherd and Wedderburn’s team is led by the ‘outstandingJohn Schmidt, who successfully acted for John Lewis in relation to the CMA investigation into sports bras. Smith also handles merger control work, and assisted Wolfson Microelectronics in relation to its acquisition by Cirrus Logic.

At Stephenson Harwood, the practice was boosted by the arrival of investigations specialist Mike Pullen from DLA Piper, though Julianne O’Leary is no longer with the firm. Pullen and Marta Garcia advised Govia on the competition aspects of its bid to operate the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern passenger rail franchise.

Taylor Wessing LLP’s strength in the technology sector has resulted in the practice developing particular expertise on the interface between competition rules and the protection of IP rights. Highlights include advising Homair Vacances on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of Eurocamp. Robert Vidal’s team includes the ‘extremely assiduous’ Louisa Penny.

Though the practice at Winston & Strawn London LLP is particularly focused on international cartel matters, it also handles the full range of competition work, and was active on a state aid case, and an investigation relating to abuse of dominance. Peter Crowther heads the team.

At Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP, Bernardine Adkins heads the team, and secured Phase I clearances in Germany and in the UK in respect of ProStrakan’s acquisition of Archimedes Pharma. The practice is known for its expertise in handling UK cartel investigations.

The ‘very prominent’ Becket McGrath arrived at Cooley LLP from Locke Lord LLP, and leads a team that focuses on the media, technology and communications sectors. McGrath has expertise in the interface between IP and competition law.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s practice specialises in securing regulatory clearances for complex international mergers and acquisitions, and advised Rank Group on obtaining merger control approval in the EU, China and Russia in respect of its sale of SIG Combibloc Group. The ‘calm, professional’ Timothy McIver heads the practice.

In practice head Tobias Caspary, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP has a ‘credible player on the European stage, who is very well placed to deal with cases raising UK, German and EU competition issues’. The team has a particular focus on cross-border mergers and acquisitions and cartel investigations, and advised WGSN on its acquisition of Stylesight.

At Morgan Lewis, Frances Murphy arrived from Bingham McCutchen to start the practice. Murphy, who specialises in behavioural work, represented the London Metal Exchange in all EU and UK competition aspects of the investigation into manipulation of prices for aluminium.

Under Simon Neill’s leadership, the practice at Osborne Clarke is ‘developing a burgeoning reputation in the field’. Neill and Katherine Kirrage provided merger control and competition law advice on the £3.8bn merger between Carphone Warehouse and Dixons Group. Senior associate Zoe Hare arrived from Ashurst. Jorren Knibbe is now with Guildhall Chambers.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s team is led by Juan Rodriguez, who advised ZF Friedrichshafen on all competition aspects relating to its proposed acquisition of TRW Automotive Holdings Corporation. European Counsel Axel Beckmerhagen focuses on German and EU competition law.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s practice is led by Emanuela Lecchi, who ‘shows an excellent grasp of the issues’. The team focuses on highly regulated network industries, and acts for clients such as Cable & Wireless Communications and Sure.

Equity capital markets

Index of tables

  1. Equity capital markets
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Allen & Overy LLP acted on a broad range of high-profile deals in 2014: Andrew Ballheimer led advice to Virgin Money, a client since 2007, on its £1.25bn IPO, and US-qualified Adam Wells acted for NN Group and ING on the former’s €2bn Euronext Amsterdam float, highlighting the firm’s cross-European capabilities. David Broadley, who acts for both issuers and underwriters, is an ‘excellent technical lawyer’.

Nicholas Holmes, who heads the ‘very responsive team’ at Ashurst, advised Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate, a newly incorporated investment fund, on its £910m IPO on the premium segment of the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The team has strong relationships with a wide number of underwriters, and Jonathan Parry acted for Jefferies International on the move up from the Specialist Fund Market to the Main Market of Tritax Big Box Reit. Jennifer Schneck is a key contact in the London-based US securities group.

Clifford Chance’s ‘high-calibre and well-resourced team’ includes Iain Hunter, who advised The AA on its £1.4bn accelerated IPO; Simon Thomas, who acted for B&M European Value Retail on its £2.7bn Main Market float; and US-qualified trio John Connolly, Christopher Walton and Robert Trefny. On the underwriter side, global practice head Adrian Cartwright represented Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs International and KKR Capital Markets on the £1.225bn Pets at Home Group IPO.

The key partners at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP for main market offerings include Mark Austin, Christopher Mort, and US-qualified duo Sarah Murphy and Doug Smith.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s six-partner team was active in both the IPO market (representing the underwriters to the £910m float by Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate, and acting for AO World on its £1.2bn IPO); and the secondary offerings market (advising Sky on a £1.36bn placing). Christopher Haynes*, Mike Flockhart and US-qualified Steve Thierbach*, who heads the practice globally from London, are key contacts. *Stephen Thierbach and Christopher Haynes joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in 2016.

Linklaters LLP’s key contacts include the highly regarded John Lane, US-qualified Jason Manketo, and Dan Schuster-Woldan. The practice has a balanced issuer and underwriter client base.

Slaughter and May wins plaudits for its multidisciplinary approach, which ‘allows for an unrivalled breadth of knowledge’ in the issuer-focused team. Private equity expert Jeff Twentyman’s busy 2014 included advising Brit Insurance on its £960m IPO, and representing Virgin Financial Investments as selling shareholder in the £1.25bn float of Virgin Money. Susannah Macknay was made partner. The highly regarded Nilufer von Bismarck heads the practice. Clients also include Reckitt Benckiser and BHP Biliton.

The European and Middle-Eastern focus of Baker & McKenzie LLP’s London capital markets team is reflected in its highlights, which include acting for TBC Bank on its £640m London IPO, the largest float in Georgian history, and advising Egyptian real estate company Palm Hills Development on its $84m rights offering of Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs). Adam Farlow and EMEA capital markets group head Edward Bibko led, respectively, on each of those deals.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP fields a team of multidisciplinary lawyers, which includes experienced US securities law expert Sebastian Sperber, and highly regarded international equity capital markets specialist David Gottlieb. In a busy 2014, Sperber advised the underwriters in a series of high-profile IPOs, including the $2.74bn Euronext float of Pershing Square Holdings. Raj Panasar, Simon Ovenden and of counsel Sarah Lewis are other names to note.

Like many of its US peers, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s London team stands out for its Europe-wide work. Jeffrey Oakes represented the underwriters in the €2.1bn Euronext IPO of Netherlands-headquartered NN Group, and Jeffrey O’Brien, Reuven Young and Simon Witty acted for Spanish internet start-up eDreams ODIGEO on its €376m Rule 144A/Reg S float.

The ‘extremely responsive’ team at Latham & Watkins combines ‘excellent securities knowledge’ with ‘great client service’. Richard Brown and David Boles represented the underwriters to Card Factory’s £767m IPO. The practice is active on deals across Europe, and is a leader on Scandinavian transactions; Olof Clausson advised the deal managers on the €1.08bn NASDAQ OMX Copenhagen float of ISS. James Inness was made partner.

No query is too much to answer’ for Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘responsive and well-coordinated’ team. Nick Adams represented the banks, including regular client Canaccord as sponsor, on GAME Digital’s £340m IPO. Mark Lloyd Williams and US-qualified Thomas Vita are recommended. Fiona Millington was made partner.

Shearman & Sterling LLP focuses on complex and high-value transactions, providing ‘exceptional overall service’. Richard Price acted for for Parpública-Participações Públicas, Caixa Geral de Depósitos and REN - Redes Energéticas Nacionas on the €82m offering of shares, which included a Rule 144A/Reg S private placement, as part of the final stage of the Portuguese government’s privatisation of REN. David Dixter, who is ‘very responsive and provides excellent value for money’, and Apostolos Gkoutzinis co-head the team.

Simmons & SimmonsColin Bole acted on two of the most high-profile IPOs of 2014, representing the joint bookrunners on AO World’s £1.2bn float, and advising the underwriters on Circassia Pharmaceuticals’ £581 float, the largest biotech IPO in London in over a decade. The ‘very experienced and knowledgeableChris Horton heads the practice.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s work on complex international deals stands out. European corporate finance head Danny Tricot formed part of the team that advised Israel Corporation on the dual NYSE and Tel Aviv listing of its spinoff Kenon Holdings. Russia expert and London office head Pranav Trivedi acted for the joint bookrunners on the $1bn offering of GDRs by supermarket operator Lenta.

A key development for Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s practice was securing a spot on BP UK’s niche legal panel for US capital markets work. Other highlights include Vanessa Blackmore advising Pershing Square Holdings on its $2.75bn IPO, and Kathryn Campbell representing, alongside David Rockwell, Entra on its privatisation by the Norwegian Government via a $900m international IPO and Oslo Stock Exchange listing. On the underwriter side, Barclays is a longstanding client.

White & Case LLP’s ‘prompt and reliable’ team combines ‘strong practical and legal knowledge’. The London office, which includes UK-qualified partners Philip Broke and Inigo Esteve, and US-qualified partners Laura Sizemore and Joshua Kiernan, serves as a hub for EMEA-wide work. Clients include Nostrum Oil & Gas, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Axia Real Estate.

CMS’ ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ team ‘gives excellent, commercially focused advice’, and also wins praise for its ‘extensive network’. US-qualified practice head Daniel Winterfeldt advised Telefónica Deutschland Holding on its €3.62bn rights offering, having acted for it on its 2012 IPO. Other regular clients include the London Stock Exchange and John Laing. Gary Green and newly hired listed funds specialist Cathy Pitt are recommended.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP’s US-qualified partners handled over 50 SEC-registered or Rule 144A/Reg S equity offerings in 2014. In one of many such highlights, Joel Herold represented Santander Holdings USA, as selling shareholder, in the $2bn NYSE IPO by Santander Consumer USA Holdings. Philip Boeckman is a ‘constructive and effective lawyer’.

Maegen Morrison, who heads the ‘well-resourced’ team at Hogan Lovells International LLP, advised the underwriters to Mothercare’s £100m rights issue, and acted for SABMiller on its secondary placing of shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, highlighting the balance in the practice between its underwriter and issuer representations. US-qualified John Basnage, dual-qualified Peter Kohl and the ‘solutions-driven’ Nigel Read are key contacts. Daniel Simons joined from Travers Smith LLP.

Mayer Brown International LLP acted on the largest privatisation IPO in Spanish history, with US and French-qualified Robert Flanigan advising Aena, the operator of the Spanish national airport network, on its €4.3bn Madrid Stock Exchange float. International work is a particular strength, and Greg Stonefield is an Africa specialist. Underwriter clients include JP Morgan Securities and Canaccord Genuity. Kate Ball-Dodd, who does both main market and AIM work, is recommended.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s experienced two-partner team has a ‘very good grip on the regulation of, and practice in, equity capital markets transactions from a US perspective’. Highlights include the £340m GAME Digital IPO, the £960m Brit Insurance float, and the £300m IPO of Volution Group, where the firm acted for Canaccord Genuity as joint bookrunner. The ‘hands-on and practical’ Mark Bergman ‘leads the team very well’. Of counsel Patricia Vaz de Almeida is recommended.

Travers Smith LLPprovides concise commercial and legal advice in cost-effective fashion’. The firm’s reputation in the private equity space ensures a strong flow of work. Head of corporate Spencer Summerfield advised Trainline on its proposed IPO and eventual sale to KKR. The team also regularly acts for underwriters, including Liberum Capital, and management teams. Charles Casassa provides US regulatory advice, and corporate finance head Neal Watson and Andrew Gillen are also key contacts.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s merger with Bingham McCutchen yielded an early result for the expanded team, as John Clark advised the majority shareholder of GAME Digital on the retailer’s £340m IPO. Harry Keegan and Sebastian Rice are key contacts, especially on Russia-related deals, of which the firm does many; key clients include LUKOIL, VimpelCom and RusHudro.

Covington & Burling LLP joins the ranking following a strong 2014, which saw the team represent Cenkos Securities as sole coordinator and bookrunner on the AA Group’s £1.385bn IPO, and act for Indivior on its admission to the premium-listing segment of the LSE. Practice head Paul Claydon, Natalie Walter and James Gubbins are ‘exceptional and always available’.

DLA Piper stands out for its UK-wide and international coverage, with key practitioners spread across its London, Manchester and Leeds offices, and in a broad range of other jurisdictions. EMEA practice head Alex Tamlyn advised, alongside US-qualified George Barboutis, Boston-based Allied Minds on its £398m LSE IPO. The team is expanding its bulge bracket bank client base, gaining Macquarie Bank as a new client.

Dechert LLP’s ‘timely and knowledgeable’ team ‘adopts a very commercial approach’. Camille Abousleiman advised Beirut-listed Bank Audi on a $300m capital increase, and Wayne Rapozo acted for the Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company on its IPO on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange as part of its privatisation. Sean Geraghty and newly promoted partner Patrick Lyons are recommended.

Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP’s practice head Andrew Caunt represented the joint sponsors and underwriters to the high-profile and successful £490m IPO of Polypipe. On the issuer side, James Mountain formed part of a cross-office team that advised Nomad Holdings on its $500m LSE float. Dorothee Fischer-Appelt joined from Sidley Austin LLP, and Frank Adams left for Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

King & Wood Mallesons joins the rankings on the back of its international capabilities, with the highly regarded Delphine Currie, recently joined by Tim Bednall (who relocated from Sydney), leveraging the firm’s sizeable network of offices to advise South32 on its demerger from BHP Billiton and listings on the ASX, LSE and JSE. Other clients of the issuer-focused London team include OneSavings Bank and ICG Longbow.

Macfarlanes LLP’s practice head Robert Boyle’s busy 2014 included two significant main market offerings; he advised GAME Digital on its £340m float, and represented Canaccord Genuity as sponsor and joint bookrunner, and Liberum Capital as joint bookrunner, on Volution Group’s £300m IPO. Harry Coghill and the ‘extremely helpful’ Mark Slade are other names to note.

Paul Hastings LLP is particularly active in the technology sector, and Karl Balz, following a successful representation of the underwriters to voxeljet in its 2013 IPO and 2014 follow-on offering, advised the joint book-running managers on Materialise’s NYSE float. James Cole and Italian qualified Ugo Giordano are recommended.

The overall level of service is excellent’ at Proskauer Rose LLP. Cross-border offerings are a particular strength, and Roberto Bruno advised Banco Popolare in its €1.5bn rights offering on the Milan Stock Exchange. Peter Castellon is the other key London-based partner, and is recommended for his ‘good contacts across the banking industry’.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP leveraged its impressive private equity client base to advise Pets at Home Group, whose principal shareholder is KKR, on its £1.225bn IPO; Adam Signy and London office managing partner Gregory Conway led the advice. Mark Brod continues to act for NPX Semiconductors, and closed a $1bn secondary offering by certain of its principal stockholders.

Peter King, who is ‘exceptionally responsive and commercial’, is the key contact in Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ compact team. He advised Volution Group on its £300m IPO, and represented Scandi Standard on its SEK2.4bn NASDAQ OMX Stockholm float. Underwriter clients include Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan.

Financial services

Index of tables

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

Led by the ‘amazing’ Christopher Bates, Clifford Chance has a ‘pre-eminent reputation’, and is frequently instructed by banking clients and trade bodies on their most pressing areas of regulatory concern; Bates represented ISDA and a group of 13 dealer banks on EMIR issues. The ‘practical’ Monica Sah was involved in that matter, and also provided the regulatory input on Deutsche Bank’s disposal of the UK arm of its asset and wealth management business to Permira. Roger Best and Carlos Conceicao co-head the firm’s contentious/enforcement offering, which excels in multi-jurisdictional matters, a product of the firm’s huge international network. The ‘urbane’ Kelwin Nicholls has a ‘good feel for the global picture’ and, as well as representing a major bank in a multi-jurisdictional investigation into LIBOR, worked alongside Conceicao in the high-profile investigation into RBS’ lending to SMEs. ‘Cool and calm in a crisis’, Judith Seddon is ‘rapidly becoming the go-to woman for all financial services investigations with a criminal dimension’. Dorian Drew, Simon Davis, Simon Gleeson, Simon Crown and Helen Carty are all also recommended.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP acts for banks, insurers and asset managers across the spectrum of some of the most pressing concerns facing the industry, both from an advisory/compliance and litigation/enforcement perspective. Benefiting from a presence in the US, the team has been well placed to represent clients in investigations that are increasingly seeing UK and US regulators collaborating with one another. For example, the team handled work in a number of the market manipulation matters, including FX and LIBOR, which involved significant interaction with colleagues in the US and Hong Kong. On the non-contentious side, James Smethurst ‘understands the investment banking business very well, and knows its sensitivities’. Other recommended partners include Simon Orton (‘very sensible and bright’), David Scott, Michael Raffan, Mark Kalderon, Ali Sallaway and Andrew Hart.

Linklaters LLP’s ‘superb’ team provides an integrated approach to a broad range of financial services clients, and is regularly instructed on high-profile projects. The ‘very calm and personableMichael Kent advised a consortia of banks in the development of the SwapClear platform to cater for clearing of interest rate swaps. Other highlights include acting for a US-headquartered global bank on its compliance with the FCA’s client money and custody asset rules (CASS). The ‘pragmaticNikunj Kiri is ‘very strong on contentious matters’, and was involved in enforcement investigations regarding PPI complaints handling. Formerly at the FSA, Martyn Hopper provides ‘tremendous credibility’ to clients facing regulatory scrutiny, and is a key part of the team, which also includes Peter Bevan, Harry Eddis, James Gardner, Carl Fernandes and Sarah Parkhouse.

Allen & Overy LLP is a ‘safe pair of hands’ in relation to handling major international projects, by dint of its wide international footprint; Bob Penn led advice to HSBC on its structural reforms in response to regulatory change, including adhering to UK and EU ring-fencing requirements. The ‘very responsive and practical’ Etay Katz has ‘great strength in financial regulation’, and advised Virgin Money on the regulatory implications of numerous transactions, including its recent IPO. On the contentious front, Tim House was involved in numerous multi-jurisdictional investigations regarding the market manipulation of certain benchmarks. The ‘excellent’ Arnondo Chakrabarti has expertise in civil contentious work and corporate crime matters, and is a key member of a team that also includes ‘superstar’ Calum Burnett and John O’Conor.

Aided by a number of partners with former in-house regulatory experience, Ashurst provides ‘clear and practical advice’ to banking and funds clients in their dealings with the FCA and PRA. Rob Moulton is ‘quick to see the big picture’, and represented Credit Suisse Asset Management on its activities in the UK in light of AIFMD. On the contentious front, Edward Sparrow’s ‘immense experience and excellent judgement make him a formidable litigator’. Both Sparrow and the ‘excellent’ David Capps were involved in some high-profile matters, including representing a major financial institution on global investigations into its alleged involvement in FX manipulation; and numerous FCA investigations for a range of clients, including a credit rating agency and a brokerage firm.

Led on the non-contentious side by the ‘tough and knowledgeable’ Rachel Kent, Hogan Lovells International LLP has ‘excellent industry knowledge’ and is instructed by a broad range of clients to advise on the implications of major legislation affecting the industry (including Basel III and Solvency II), product development and, in collaboration with its M&A group, regulatory issues associated with major transactions in the sector. Jonathan Chertkow advised TSB on a range of regulatory matters arising since its IPO from Lloyds and in its position as a major new challenger bank. Ailbhe Edgar and Philip Parish co-lead the contentious offering, which continues to be very active on market manipulation matters. Other recommended partners include Steven McEwan (‘technically brilliant’), Jon Holland, Dominic Hill and Roger Tym.

Benefiting from a number of former regulators among its ranks, Norton Rose Fulbright has a ‘great awareness of the regulators’ perspective’, and is consequently often instructed by both wholesale and retail clients across a range of issues. The ‘superbJonathan Herbst is noted for his ‘expertise in exchange-traded derivatives regulation’. The ‘excellentHannah Meakin has become the main external lawyer to CME’s clearing house, and supports CME Group’s other activities, including the auction platform for the LBMA silver price. Peter Snowdon is recommended for ‘excellence on big-ticket projects’; on the contentious side, the ‘highly skilled and solution-orientedElisabeth Bremnerunderstands the regulatory morass better than most in the market’. Lista Cannon and Chris Warren-Smith round out the firm’s contentious team, which is regularly involved in multi-jurisdictional matters, such as its work for numerous individuals in LIBOR and FOREX market manipulation investigations.

The ‘commercially pragmatic’ team at Shearman & Sterling LLP provides a ‘solution-oriented and proactive service’ to a broad range of financial institutions, funds and insurers, including Bank of America and Citibank. ‘Well-versed in all aspects of evolving legislative change’, team head Barney Reynolds displays ‘first-class legal experience, combined with highly creative thought leadership in the sector’, and is noted for his work regarding market infrastructure. Able to leverage a substantial international presence in Asia, Europe and US, the team is often a strong choice for clients seeking representation in coordinated regulatory investigations. The ‘detail-orientedThomas Donegan has ‘deep knowledge of the regulatory landscape’. Jo Rickard is also recommended, and handles FSR litigation as part of her broad commercial litigation offering.

Really on the ball about the live issues in the industry’, Simmons & Simmons is particularly well known for its ‘market-leading’ advice to hedge funds and asset management firms across the most pressing issues, including AIFMD. Darren Fox has an ‘excellent grasp of knowledge’, and advises a raft of leading players in the asset management sector; he, alongside the ‘brilliantJonathan Melrose, Penny Miller and ‘practical and commercialCharlotte Stalin, is a key member of the team, which offers an ‘excellent perspective’ owing to the firm’s expertise on the buy and sell-side. On the contentious front, Richard Sims is recommended, as is the ‘excellentStephen Gentle, who is ‘capable of seeing the bigger picture’ and excels in multi-jurisdictional matters with a corporate crime element.

Headed by the ‘exceptionally bright and pragmaticJan Putnis, Slaughter and May provides an ‘intellectually rigorous and commercial service’ to a broad spectrum of clients including Barclays, Standard Life and Fidelity, on key UK and EU regulatory reforms. The team also acts for the UK government on a regular basis; led by Putnis and Ben Kingsley, the practice advised the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills on the establishment of the British Business Bank. On the contentious side, Deborah Finkler and the ‘calm and collectedEwan Brown represented Deutsche Bank regarding numerous multi-jurisdictional investigations into alleged market manipulation of benchmark rates, including LIBOR. Brown also acted for JP Morgan, as one of the defendant banks, in an FCA investigation into FX trading. Elizabeth Barrett commands the respect of those in the industry, and has ‘the total confidence of her clients’.

At Travers Smith LLP, the ‘extremely bright’ Jane Tuckley has ‘immense knowledge of the market’ and leads the non-contentious team, which is ‘at the forefront of market thinking’ for alternative investment fund regulatory advice. Margaret Chamberlain is recognised as the ‘doyen of the industry’; Phil Bartram is ‘brilliantly networked, and has a great sense of where the market is’; and the ‘very bright’ Tim Lewis provides ‘accurate and uncomplicated advice on regulatory capital concerns’. The ‘measured and authoritative’ Mark Evans heads the firm’s payments work. On the contentious side, the ‘excellent’ Rob Fell acted for the Oversight Committee of the Bank of England in connection with its investigation into the role of Bank officials regarding conduct issues in the FX market. The ‘very knowledgeable’ Stephen Paget-Brown advises individuals, corporations and financial institutions on a large number of FCA investigations and enforcement cases.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP provides an integrated service across contentious and non-contentious aspects of regulation in the industry, for banking, funds and insurance clients. Highlights include advising the investment management arm of Aviva on its implementation of AIFMD across a range of funds it sponsors or manages. Nathan Willmott handles a mix of advisory work and enforcement/litigation for financial services entities and their boards. Sidney Myers and the ‘excellentDaren Allen are also recommended. Clients include HSBC, AIG and Investec. Jacob Ghanty joined K&L Gates LLP in May 2015.

Based out of London, but now aided by a substantial presence in Scotland, following the recent merger with Dundas & Wilson, CMS provides a ‘pragmatic and commercial service’ to insurers, banks, fund managers and broker-dealers across the panoply of contentious and non-contentious matters. ‘Strong technicianPaul Edmondson advised Aon on the regulatory issues associated with its strategic alliance with BlackRock, to allow a range of BlackRock life policies to be offered by Aon to its clients. Simon Morris is a ‘market-leading authority on financial services issues’, and ‘the gold standard’ for contentious work in the industry. The ‘able and knowledgeableAlison McHaffie excels at representing clients in their dealings with the FCA. Bill McCaffrey is recognised for his strength on consumer credit matters, and is a key member of the team that also includes the ‘excellentAsh Saluja and Maxine Cupitt.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is best known for its contentious work in the financial services industry, where it provides ‘reasoned and practical advice’ to an impressive array of investment and retail banks. Acting in concert with the firm’s competition group, the team advised a global investment bank in the high-profile global investigations into alleged FX market manipulation. ‘Excellent’ team head Jenny Stainsby was involved in that matter and, following her role on the Salz Review of culture and business practices at Barclays, was instructed to advise on the Kelly Review into the capital shortfall at The Co-operative Bank. Karen Anderson and Andrew Procter are ‘incredibly helpful and knowledgeable in all regulatory matters’ and, along with the ‘practical and commercial’ Hywel Jenkins, are also praised for their contentious work. Clive Cunningham heads the firm’s non-contentious offering, which handles standalone and transactional advisory work. Cunningham advised numerous asset managers, including BlackRock and Man Group, on AIFMD compliance issues.

Leveraging the firm’s longstanding ties in the private equity space, King & Wood Mallesons provides a ‘prompt, accurate and commercial service’ across a broad range of issues affecting the alternative investment fund sector, including AIFMD implementation. Gregg Beechey has ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of the relevant law’ and, alongside the ‘excellentTamasin Little, advised HarbourVest Partners on how best to continue to access European capital as a result of the changes to the private fund market. Rachel Couter heads the firm’s contentious regulatory practice, and is regularly at the forefront of the practice’s most significant work, including its representation of Arch Financial Products, its CEO and its compliance officer in an investigation brought by the FCA into the client’s role as investment manager of the Arch Cru funds.

Macfarlanes LLP has ‘good strength in depth’, both from a contentious and non-contentious perspective. Dan Lavendercombines gentle charm with strong and forthright advice’ and, along with the ‘knowledgeable and detail-orientedMatt McCahearty, acted for ICAP on all aspects of the multi-jurisdictional investigations by civil and criminal agencies into Yen LIBOR. The team also represented the British Bankers’ Association on LIBOR investigations and associated litigation. The ‘calm, pragmatic and highly knowledgeableDavid Berman advises a range of buy- and sell-side financial institutions, and ‘is capable of explaining legal issues in a language that is easily understood’.

Led by Amanda Hulme, Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s six-partner team is well known for its work in the retail financial services sector, where its expertise includes payments and consumer finance work. As well as payments matters, Brian McDonnell handles a considerable amount of work in the wholesale sector, and continues to advise the London Metal Exchange. On the contentious side, Chris Brennangets some great work in’, and defended a London-based interdealer broker in a LIBOR investigation.

Headed by the ‘excellentArun Srivastava, Baker & McKenzie LLP specialises in handling work with an international complexion, by dint of its huge global footprint. In addition to acting for financial services on large projects regarding the analysis of global regulation, the team also advised on numerous major contentious matters, including ongoing work for numerous individuals in LIBOR and FX investigations.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP provides ‘diligent and commercial advice’ to clients in the investment management, private and wholesale banking sectors. Elizabeth Budd and Nick Janmohamed advised four of Fidelity’s investment trusts on AIFMD implementation. William Garner spearheads the firm’s work in the wholesale trading and markets space, and represented high frequency trading firms operating in Europe as they come under increased regulatory scrutiny.

Headed on the non-contentious front by Michael McKee, DLA Piper handles a broad mix of matters, including strategic regulatory-driven restructurings for banks, and AIFMD and EMIR-related work for funds. McKee advised on payments for Clydesdale Bank, and acted for Bank J Safra Sarasin on the financial services regulatory aspects of its acquisition of Morgan Stanley’s private banking business. Tony Katz is ‘technically robust and knowledgeable around the nuances of market practices’, particularly in relation to matters affecting the wholesale banking sector.

Jointly led on the non-contentious front by the ‘approachable and commercial’ Andrew Henderson and Ronald Paterson, Eversheds LLP displays ‘excellent knowledge of the regulated funds market’. With Michaela Walker, Paterson advised the four largest UK depositaries, including HSBC and Citibank, on their AIFMD projects. Pamela Thompson has an excellent reputation for work relating to collective investment schemes and pooled investments. Gregory Brandman heads a growing contentious team, which was involved in three of the last four FCA CASS enforcement cases to reach a public outcome.

At Fieldfisher, Kirstene Baillie has an excellent reputation advising funds clients across a range of regulatory matters. Clients include Aviva Investors, Fidelity Worldwide Investment and GLG Partners. The ‘analytical and hardworking’ Duncan Black handles litigation and enforcement action for hedge funds.

At Jones Day, team head John Ahern has an ‘in-depth understanding of how the financial markets actually work, and a balanced and sensible understanding of the commercial environment’. Ahern is particularly accomplished at advising relevant entities on regulatory capital matters.

Led by US-qualified David Sahr, Mayer Brown International LLP’s two-partner team is well placed to advise foreign banks on the legislative changes impacting their US banking and non-banking operations. Mark Compton ‘provides practical advice’ on UK and EU legislation, and is particularly well regarded regarding AML matters and economic sanctions.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, Tony Anderson has ‘considerable knowledge of the payments industry and the evolving regulatory landscape’, and also acts on more general banking regulatory matters. Michael Lewis has an excellent reputation in relation to client money and custody issues.

Reed Smith LLP’s Chris Borg has a ‘depth of knowledge in the commodities regulatory space that is unrivalled by his peers’, and is a key member of the team that also includes the ‘responsive, pragmatic and commercial’ Jacqui Hatfield. Charles Hewetson is the primary contact for contentious work.

Led by Leonard Ng and John Casanova, Sidley Austin LLP’s four-partner non-contentious team covers a broad range of work, often with an international angle, for a range of funds and banks. Ng provides ‘responsive and pragmatic’ advice to hedge fund clients, and represents Managed Funds Association, a US trade association representing the interests of the global hedge funds industry, across a range of EU regulatory issues, including AIFMD and EMIR.

Led by the ‘sensible and direct’ Helen Marshall, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is particularly accomplished in contentious matters, where it benefits from the expertise of counsel Rosemarie Paul. A former FSA lawyer, the ‘thorough and personable’ Paul is appreciated by clients for her ‘extensive knowledge, both technically and about the FCA generally’. For non-contentious work, Christopher Leonard and counsel Ezra Zahabi are ‘very knowledgeable about the financial services industry’.

Spearheaded by the ‘commercialCharlotte Hill and Simon Currie, Covington & Burling LLP’s three-partner team advises asset management, banking and broker-dealer clients on the implications of UK, EU and US legislation. Hill has ‘in-depth technical experience of UCITS funds and CASS-related matters’.

Leveraging the firm’s stellar list of funds clients, Dechert LLP’s primary focus is advising on regulatory issues affecting the asset management sector. ‘Highly experienced and knowledgeable’ team head Peter Astleford is ‘always at the forefront of developments in the hedge fund industry’, and is a leader for AIFMD work. Karen Anderberg acts for UK, US and European financial services firms on US regulatory issues, aided by the firm’s strong transatlantic presence.

At Howard Kennedy LLP, team head Daniel Tunkel provides a ‘pragmatic and cost-effective service’, which is of particular importance to start-up funds. As well as domestic work, the team helps non-UK clients set up regulated businesses in, or promote their investment products and services into, the UK; in this regard, the practice has been very busy marketing its services to the thriving Israeli venture capital funds industry.

A ‘master at all things regulatory in Europe’, ‘exceptional’ team head Lisa Cawley at Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, ‘knows how to address the complexities of the regulatory Rubik’s Cube that has come out of the financial crisis’.

At Osborne Clarke, David Blair’s ‘knowledge of UK and EU financial regulation is unmatched’, particularly in respect of crowdfunding regulations. Headed by the ‘very ablePaul Anning, the three-partner team is also well versed in payments, consumer financing and funds regulation matters.

Led by the ‘calm and highly commercialRichard Burger, RPC is at ‘the forefront of insurance regulation matters’, acting for clients such as Barbican Insurance and Arch Insurance Company. Robbie Constance heads the firm’s growing offering for wealth and investment management clients.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s two-partner team provides UK, EU and US regulatory advice to private equity, hedge and debt fund managers. Michelle Moran ‘has a great grasp of her area’, and Monica Gogna displays ‘great industry knowledge’.

At Taylor Wessing LLP, the ‘pragmatic and business-minded’ non-contentious head Jonathan Rogers has an ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of financial services law and regulation’. As part of her broad practice, Alix Prentice is regularly engaged in matters relating to prime brokerage, custody, ISDAs and dealing settlement. The ‘very calm and knowledgeable’ Andrew Howell is a ‘skilled litigator’ for accountancy firms, and Stephen Flaherty joined in November 2014 from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. David McCluskey joined from Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP.

White & Case LLP’s Stuart Willey has ‘very sound judgement, and deep knowledge of the financial services industry and regulation’. Willey advised on the risk retention regulations regarding CLO issuance, and also provided the regulatory input in relation to ICBC’s acquisition of Standard Bank.

At Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP, Tim Aron heads the firm’s nascent financial services regulatory team, following his arrival in July 2014 from Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP. Formerly at the FSA, Aron has particular expertise in the regulatory aspects of securities and derivatives transactions.

At Blake Morgan LLP, ‘approachable and knowledgeable’ senior associate Felicity Rowan is ‘highly competent’ at work in the financial services arena, and acting on a substantial number of matters with Richard Humphreys.

Cooley LLP’s nascent London offering came about following the arrival of a number of partners, including Chris Finney, from Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP in January 2015. Leveraging the firm’s prowess in the tech space, the group has already begun to pick up significant instructions from venture capital funds clients and fin-tech companies.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s team head Mathew Rutter has ‘incredible knowledge of insurance regulatory issues’. Clients include AIG, AXA and Zurich.

Led by Rosali Pretorius, Dentons’ two-partner team is praised for its ‘business acumen and unbelievable industry knowledge’. The group handles work for a broad spectrum of clients in the sector, advising on structural issues to avoid unnecessary regulation, and on projects requiring multi-jurisdictional analysis.

At Farrer & Co, the very professional and personableGrania Baird provides a ‘highly technical and practical’ service to a range of asset managers and private banks.

At Forsters LLP, Rosalyn Breedy advises trust companies, family offices, fund managers and high-net-worth entrepreneurs on a range of regulatory issues, including structuring to minimise regulatory exposure.

Bolstered by the arrival of Jacob Ghanty from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, K&L Gates LLP provides ‘in-depth knowledge of the sector’, particularly regarding investment management. Sean Donovan-Smith has ‘excellent business acumen’, and co-heads the team with Philip Morgan.

Focused on the funds side, Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLPstraddles the transatlantic divide very well’. The ‘super-client-focused’, US-qualified Carolyn Jackson, ‘very knowledgeable and approachable’ Barry Breen*, and Neil Robson are all recommended. Barry Breen is no longer with the firm.

Led by the ‘experienced and highly knowledgeable’ Robert Courtneidge, Locke Lord LLP has ‘outstanding knowledge in electronic money and payment services regulation’.

Mishcon de Reya provides ‘high-quality and commercially savvy advice’ to individuals engaged in investigations/enforcement actions, where the ‘very experienced and wilyAdam Epstein is the undoubted standout. The firm’s non-contentious offering was bolstered by the arrival of the ‘user-friendly and knowledgeableTim Flood and Eve Ellis from Jones Day and Charles Russell Speechlys LLP respectively.

Led by Adrian Brown, Nabarro LLP provides ‘pragmatic and responsive advice’, particularly in relation to real estate fund-related regulatory issues. Newly promoted partner Sam Robinson ‘is good at finding practical solutions to often complex circumstances’.

As well as standalone advisory work, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s regulatory team often provides input on transactions in the financial services industry; one highlight was UK advice for Moelis & Company on its $188m IPO. Counsel Patrick Brandt is the main contact.

Stephenson Harwood provides ‘excellent insight’ in the market, and is regularly instructed to represent senior executives on high-stakes matters. The ‘unflappable and calmTony Woodcockknows his subject inside out’, and is a key practitioner in the team, along with former FSA prosecutor Sara George. The arrival of Richard Small from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in December 2014 adds strength to the firm’s non-contentious offering.

At TLT, team head Emily Benson focuses on regulatory work in the retail financial services sector.

At Leeds-based Walker Morris LLP, Andrew Northage is a ‘first-class operator, who works hard to find solutions’, and Jeanette Burgess has a ‘rare combination of technical expertise and a pragmatic, real-world approach’.

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP handles work for a broad range of clients, including tech-based financial services offerings, and has a ‘great knowledge of the insurance industry and regulatory framework’. ‘Excellent’ team head Penny Sanders ‘is always reasoned in her regulatory advice’. James Sidwell is the main contact on contentious matters.

Fox Williams LLP has ‘an excellent reputation’ for representing senior executives in high-profile regulatory investigations. Formerly of the FSA, ‘leading financial services law expertPeter Wrightbrings poacher-turned-gamekeeper knowledge, and has his finger on the pulse’. ‘Always calm in a crisis’, James Carlton is ‘extremely experienced in the criminal enforcement regimes’.

At Irwin Mitchell, the ‘very hardworking’ corporate litigator Sarah Wallace is ‘increasingly very active in the financial services field’, where she is regularly involved in investigations and enforcement actions carried out by the FCA.

Praised for its ‘excellent understanding of the complexities of the financial markets’, Kingsley Napley LLP has a ‘strong, growing reputation for advising individuals in regulatory investigations and enforcement actions’. Eve Giles has a ‘very good understanding of regulatory and criminal implications and how the regulators operate’. The ‘tenaciousLouise Hodges, ‘measuredStephen Parkinson and ‘incisiveJo Rickards are also recommended.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP has a ‘particular specialism in assisting individuals who are facing investigations or disciplinary proceedings, and is particularly adept at cases that potentially involve both civil and criminal elements’. The ‘unflappable and commercialNeil Swift, ‘charming and ruthlessKeith Oliver, and ‘savvy and consideredDavid McClusky* are recommended. *Since going to press, David McCluskey joined Taylor Wessing.

At WilmerHale, Stephen Pollard is particularly noted for his representation of individuals, which stems from his ‘vast experience, timely research and deep connections in the field’. Elly Proudlock and associate Alison Geary are also recommended.

Formerly at the FSA, Withers LLP’s team head Harvey Knight is an ‘excellent choice if you have an individual who wants to take on the regulator, rather than to roll over’.

Litigation boutique Bivonas Law LLP has a ‘very good feel for the area’, and is an ‘excellent choice’ for individuals facing regulatory investigation and/or criminal litigation. Managing partner Antony Brownreally understands the City’, and was very active representing individuals from numerous major banks in market manipulation matters.

Headed by ‘industry leader’ Peter Bibby, Brown Rudnick LLP excels at handling matters with potential criminal implications, aided by its ‘excellent’ white-collar team; the ‘tenacious’ Bibby ‘will fight until the regulator drops’. Another key name is the ‘very insightfulNeil Micklethwaite, who excels at litigation and investigations in the hedge fund industry.

Boutique commercial and financial dispute resolution firm Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP has developed an excellent reputation for providing ‘practical and commercial advice’ to a range of clients, including in claims adverse to banks. Philip Rubens has ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of every aspect of financial services law’, and excels at FCA investigations and enforcement actions.

At Winston & Strawn London LLP, the ‘knowledgeable, astute and empathetic’ solicitor advocate Justin McClelland is ‘excellent’ at handling multi-jurisdictional investigations.

Flotations: small and mid-cap

Index of tables

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

Standout features of Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s practice include its international work (the team has an Israel desk, and Alex Latner advised XLMedia on its $155m IPO), and real estate, with Benjamin Lee, praised for his ‘market knowledge and strong commercial sense, acting for Secure Income REIT on its admission to AIM. On the bank side, Nicholas Myatt represented Canaccord Genuity on the £81m float by the Mortgage Advice Bureau.

A partner-led and coordinated approach’ enables Norton Rose Fulbright to ‘provide a first-class service to clients’. The practice acts on large AIM deals, such as Mortgage Advice Bureau’s £81m IPO, and is often involved in cross-border matters, a highlight being Lekoil’s $37.7m accelerated book-built placing, which also showcases the firm’s energy sector strengths. Richard Sheen, Nick Adams, dual Nigerian and UK-qualified Bayo Odubeko, and recently promoted partner Fiona Millington are key contacts in the sizeable team.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s team is ‘very responsive, and provides very good advice at excellent value for money’. Sean Page advised CIS-focused oil and gas company Zoltav Resources on an acquisition and related equity fundraise and readmission to AIM, in a $225m deal that highlights both the firm’s sector strength in energy, and the breadth of its international coverage. On the NOMAD side, practice head Jon Harris represented Cairn Financial Advisers and Hume Capital (as broker) on the £100m IPO of Jiasen International. Edinburgh-based Alan Diamond is also recommended.

Travers Smith LLP’s lawyers ‘are experts at all levels of corporate finance, providing excellent value for money’. The practice, which includes head of corporate Spencer Summerfield and US-qualified Charles Casassa, had a strong year advising NOMADs and brokers. Neal Watson advised Espirito Santo on National Accident Helpline’s £83m IPO, and Richard Spedding represented Canaccord Genuity on the £170m float of Patisserie Holdings. Issuer clients include Gresham House and Camellia.

At Addleshaw Goddard LLP, Roger Hart, a standout Manchester-based practitioner, advised Zeus Capital on two high-profile offerings:’s float, which raised £240m, and Quantum Pharma’s £125m IPO. Charles Penney’s US qualification adds to the practice’s breadth of expertise. London-based practice head Tim Field regularly acts on international AIM deals.

Corporate partner Michael Robins is the key contact at Ashurst for AIM work. He advised Atlantis Resources on a number of deals, including its IPO and a secondary placing. The team added to its already long list of energy and resources clients in 2014, with wins including Xcite Energy and Strategic Minerals.

CMSprovides legally sound and pragmatic solutions to complex issues’. FinnCap is a key client on the AIM side, and James Parkes represented it as NOMAD and broker on Qannas Investments’ readmission to AIM following the reverse takeover of two investment funds. Gary Green and the ‘technically strong and driven’ US-qualified Daniel Winterfeldt are key contacts.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLPprovides excellent strength in depth’ following its merger. Andrew Collins advised Israeli media-company Marimedia on its £100m float, and team head Tom Shaw represented SP Angel in its role as NOMAD and broker to Aquatic Foods Group’s IPO. Key contacts include Adam Carling, who is regularly instructed by Liberum Capital, and energy and natural resources group co-heads Clive Hopewell and Chris Putt.

DLA Piper is able to act on significant AIM offerings from its offices across the country. Manchester-based Elia Montorio advised on its IPO. Banking clients include Panmure Gordon and Numis Securities. Newly made partner Robert Salter and Charles Severs are other names to note in the sizeable team.

Eversheds LLP’s highly regarded practice head Stephen Nash represented Investec Bank as NOMAD and broker on the £165m IPO of Gamma Communications. On the issuer side, where the practice was particularly active in 2014, Daniel Hall led advice to DJI, a software solutions provider to the gaming industry in China, on its £130m float. Alison Starr joined from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Nabarro LLP’s highly regarded practice head Iain Newman represented longstanding client Oriel Securities as NOMAD and broker on the IPO of Secure Income REIT, highlighting the practice’s strength in real estate. Online gaming is another area of expertise, and Alasdair Steele advised Cenkos Securities on the placing and admission to AIM of Israeli company XL Media.

Olswang LLP’s largely issuer-focused practice is regularly instructed on deals requiring an innovative approach. Simon Morgan advised The People’s Operator, a novel virtual mobile network operator that the law firm helped establish, on its placing and admission to AIM in a £100m deal. The highly regarded Azlinda Ariffin-Boromand, an Asia specialist, and practice head Paul Blackmore are key contacts.

Osborne Clarke's practice head Jonathan King had a particularly active 2014, advising, among others, carbonated mixer supplier Fever Tree Drinks on its £154m IPO and also acting for Patisserie Holdings on its £170m float. The cross-office team also includes Mark Wesker in Bristol and James Massy-Collier, who splits his time between Reading and London.

Simmons & Simmons strengthened its Bristol office with the arrivals of Patrick Graves and Jocelyn Ormond from Osborne Clarke and DAC Beachcroft LLP respectively. In London, the team’s many new clients include Venture Life Group (which Charles Mayo advised on its £26.m ‘merger IPO’) and Finland-based Powerflute (which Chris Horton represented on its readmission to AIM).

Stephenson Harwood’s practice, under the leadership of Tom Nicholls, continues to expand its client base. Highlights include advising finnCap as NOMAD and broker on the £100m IPO of The People’s Operator, and acting for easyHotel on its placing and admission to AIM. The firm also regularly represents listed funds.

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP’s Kristian Rogers handled some of the practice’s biggest transactions, including Fever Tree’s £154m IPO (advising Investec as NOMAD and broker). Rogers and Jeremy Millingtoncombine detailed technical knowledge with a strong service ethos’. The team’s international credentials stand out: Sunil Kakkad is an India expert, and investment funds specialist John Reed regularly works with Brazilian clients. Jeffrey Elway heads the practice.

Bird & Bird’s deal flow reflects its TMT credentials: Neil Blundell advised Gamma Communications on its £165m IPO; team head Simon Allport acted for Mi-Pay Group on its readmission to AIM; and Simon Fielder represented Frontier Developments on a £4m secondary placing, having advised the video game developer on its 2013 IPO.

Paul Claydon’s ‘exceptional’ team at Covington & Burling LLP leverages the firm’s reputation in the life sciences sector to act for such clients as Horizon Discovery Group (a £120m IPO) and Ergomed (£46m IPO). Broker clients include WG Partners and Cenkos Securities, with which the practice has a strong relationship.

DWF’s practice head Daniel O’Gorman ‘is attentive and instils confidence in his clients’, and advised Clipper Logistics on its £100m float. On the broker side, Manchester-based national head of corporate Frank Shephard represented Zeus Capital on the £135m float by Cheltenham-headquartered manufacturer Epwin Group. The sizeable team is also targeting international companies, as evidenced by its work for GTS Chemical Holdings.

Sean Geraghty is the key contact for AIM work in Dechert LLP’s ‘responsive and commercial team’. Regular clients include Canaccord Genuity, Numis Securities and Cenkos Securities. On the issuer side, Geoffrey Walters advised Safeland on the demerger of its interest in Safestay, and subsequent Safestay AIM flotation.

Dentons’ ‘supportive and partner-led’ team ‘always adds value’. The highlight of 2014 was Jeremy Cohen acting for Hurricane Energy on its £272m IPO, a reflection of the team’s energy credentials. Neil Nicholson is ‘client-conscious and creative’. Rebecca Gordon is also recommended.

Dorsey & Whitney added finnCap and WG Partners to its already-long list of broker clients; Max Beazley represented Cenkos Securities on the £20m IPO by ClearStar, and practice head Mark Taylor advised Adren Partners on AudioBoom Group’s readmission to AIM and subsequent £8m placing. Kate Francis is ‘commercial and technically strong’.

Fieldfisher’s broker side work stood out in 2014. Dominic Gurney-Champion advised Panmure Gordon on the £120m AIM float of Discovery Group, and Anthony Brockbank continued to act for Mirabaud Securities, representing it on the $50m placing by Savannah Petroleum. New issuer clients include Haydale Graphene Industries and Sunkar Resources.

K&L Gates LLP is ‘worth every penny, providing very commercial and practical advice promptly’. Paul Tetlow advised Faroe Petroleum on its placing to raise £65m in a deal that also involved US and Australian securities issues, reflecting the team’s energy sector strengths and international capabilities. Jeremy Landau and the ‘solutions-focused’ James Green are other key contacts.

Macfarlanes LLPprovides accurate and commercial advice at a competitive price’. The team handled a number of IPOs for online retailers, including the £35m float by Koovs, where Matthew Blows, Mark Slade and Sharn Gill represented Peel Hunt as NOMAD.

At Mayer Brown International LLP, the highly regarded Kate Ball-Dodd and Robert Hamill regularly act on high-value AIM deals, including representing Velocys on its £52m placing, and advising Numis Securities as NOMAD on Powerflute Oyj’s readmission to AIM following a €102m reverse takeover.

Memery Crystal LLP stands out for the volume of work it handles. Nick Davis, who sits on the London Stock Exchange AIM Advisory Group, handled the moves up from AIM to the main market of Green Dragon Gas and Gulf Keystone Petroleum. Practice head Lesley Gregory acted for Panmure Gordon as NOMAD and broker to Focusrite on its admission to AIM and £22.4m vendor placing.

Squire Patton Boggs’ ‘informative and responsive’ team, headed by Giles Distin, handled an impressive number of IPOs in 2014, including that of DJI Holdings (representing the NOMAD and broker) and the very successful £80m float by Xeros Technology Group. Matthew Doughty is ‘a practical and strong negotiator’. The arrival of Massimo Galli adds US securities capabilities.

At Taylor Wessing LLP, Tandeep Minhas is the relationship partner for a number of the practice’s NOMAD clients, including Shore Capital, which she represented in the $75m IPO by Israeli ad-tech firm Crossrider. On the issuer side, William Belcher advised Verona Pharma on a £14m placing. Russell Holden now heads the corporate finance group.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP bolstered its practice in 2015 with the recruitment of three lawyers from Chadbourne & Parke LLP, including partners Dearbhla Quigley and Martin Thomas. They add to the energy and natural resources sector strengths of Jan Mellmann’s team, while also bringing a broader expertise that includes the areas of finance, agriculture and technology.

At Ashfords LLP, London-based corporate partner James Lyons and Bristol-based capital markets specialist Simon Staples are the key contacts. Highlights include advising Smith and Williamson Corporate Finance as sponsor on the $4.3m issue of new shares by Worldsec, and acting for Macromac on its admission to trading on AIM.

In 2014, DAC Beachcroft LLP handled a very broad range of deals: practice head Nick Gibbon acted for Capital for Colleagues on its £4m ISDX Growth Market IPO; John Williams represented Ceres Power Holdings in its £20m AIM placing; and Clive Garston, now a consultant, advised Sintec Media on the securities aspects of its takeover of dual-listed Pilat Media Global. Jonathan Deverill joined from DMH Stallard LLP.

Edwin Coe LLP focuses on small-cap offerings on the AIM and ISDX markets. Practice head Russel Shear advised Gowin New Energy Group on its £24m float, and Nick Williams represented Allenby as broker on Macromac’s £10m IPO.

Fasken Martineau LLP stands out for its work in the commodities sector, with clients such as Papua Mining and Xtract Resources. Outside of that area, David Smith acted for drug discovery and development company Summit Corporation, a longstanding client, on its £21m secondary offering. Corporate head Nigel Gordon and Al Gourley are key contacts.

Fladgate LLP’s ‘approach is pragmatic and constructive’, with its ‘very knowledgeable lawyers providing excellent service’. ‘Safe pair of handsDavid Robinson acted on a number of TMT deals including, alongside associate Jamie Hamilton, Gfinity’s £3.5m placing. The ‘practicalPaul Airley is another name to note.

Fox Williams LLP’s work in the energy and natural resources space stands out. The team, led by experienced capital markets specialist Richie Clark, advised on a number of high-value deals that were either aborted or put on hold due to the poor conditions in the commodities markets. Nick Sayers is another key contact.

Gowlings (UK) LLPprovides excellent value for money’, and is particularly recommended for its energy and resources expertise. Charles Bond heads the team, of which clients include Hummingbird Resources and Eurasia Mining. Newly made partner David Brennan is ‘very responsive’, and Sefton Collett is ‘very commercial’.

Hamlins LLP’s corporate head Daniel Bellau advised Palace Capital on its complex acquisition of Property Investment Holdings, which included a £20m placing. Ian Binnie* is ‘versatile, solutions driven and commercially minded’, and regularly instructed by NOMAD Cantor Fitzgerald. *Ian Binnie joined Michelmores LLP in May 2016.

Howard Kennedy LLP’s sector strengths include TMT and VCTs, acting principally on the issuer side. Practice head Keith Lassman advised independent cinema operator Everyman Media Group on its £8m IPO. Ashley Reeback is another key contact.

Jones Day’s Sebastian Orton was particularly active on the NOMAD side in 2014. Highlights include advising N+1 Singer on two placings by alternative energy companies: a £20m offering by Ceres Power, and a £1.5m offering by Camco Clean Energy. Corporate partner Giles Elliott heads the ‘extremely responsive team’.

Kerman & Co LLP is ‘highly recommended, particularly on value for money’. The practice, headed by Michael Bennett, is ‘well connected and able to seek opinion on cross-jurisdictional matters’, such as those arising in Strat Aero’s £10m IPO. Michael Corcoran and Joan Yu are recommended.

Mills & Reeve LLP wins plaudits for its ‘pragmatic and extremely cost-effective approach’. Cambridge-based Stephen Hamilton has a ‘very good depth of knowledge’ in capital markets. Clients include Bango, Numis Securities and Ubisense Group.

Mishcon de Reya combines traditional strengths in private client and a growing reputation in the corporate space to act for a mix of clients that includes private equity houses, entrepreneurs and NOMADS. African Eagle Resources and Fastjet are clients, and practice head Saul Sender and associate Shantanu Sinha are key contacts.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s practice head Walter Blake has ‘particularly good commercial sense’. His many 2014 deals include representing WH Ireland as NOMAD on the AIM IPO of Schoilium Group. Michael Wylie and senior associate Tom Swan are also key contacts.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s ‘overall level of service is very good’. The team gained new clients despite a slump in activity in the energy and resources sector, a key driver of work for the practice, as Richard Hildebrand represented Cairn Financial Advisers as NOMAD and HD Capital Brokers on the admission to AIM of TSX-listed Bacanora Minerals.

Investment funds

Index of tables

  1. Hedge funds
  2. Listed funds
  3. Private funds
  4. Retail funds
  5. Leading individuals

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, debt 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.

The merger of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Bingham McCutchen brought together two highly regarded teams of funds lawyers, who advise some of the largest asset managers, including key client Apollo Global Management, and its various hedge, private debt, private equity, commodities and real estate funds. John Holton represented Kois Invest in its role as adviser to Tara India Fund IV, one of the practice’s many India-related deals of 2014. Other key contacts include Ian Meade, Tim Pearce (both active in the alternative investment funds space), Christopher Gorman-Evans and Thiha Tun.

Allen & Overy LLP acts for investors and managers working across a broad range of asset classes, including infrastructure, debt and shipping. Real estate is another standout area: Nick Williams advised Hines on the formation of a number of fund structures established to acquire property and land in Ireland and Scotland. Matthew Huggett heads the four-partner team, which also has notable regulatory expertise.

Ashurst’s ‘very user-friendly’ team ‘provides a dedicated and responsive service’. Jonathan Parry, who is ‘very knowledgeable on listed funds’, advised Jefferies International on the move-up to the main market from the Specialist Fund Market of Tritax Big Box REIT. Piers Warburton advised Nordic private equity firm Altor on the establishment of a €2bn single-close fundraising, and assisted Alcentra on the formation and closings of its €850m European Direct Lending Fund. Jeremy Bell, equity capital markets head Nicholas Holmes and ‘the very proactive’ Nick Goddard are key contacts.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s head of practice James Burdett, who advises both investors and managers on private fund matters, was active in real estate-related deals as that market picked up considerably in 2014. He acted for Townsend Group on the establishment of a pan-European real estate fund with Standard Life in a €350m deal. Former European private equity group co-head Bruno Bertrand Delfau left for Proskauer Rose LLP.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP stands out for its pedigree in the real estate and infrastructure sectors, and for its ‘very good knowledge and understanding of fund structures’. Antony Grossman assisted Schroders Investment Management on the reorganisation of the West End of London Property Trust. Kate Binedell is a key adviser to CBRE Global Investors. Justin Cornelius’ clients include M3 Capital Partners and Countrywide. Benjamin Lee and Richard Werner are listed funds specialists.

Burges Salmon LLP expanded its practice, which focuses on advising retail funds, with the recruitment of Victor Ondoro and Anna Briggs as consultant and senior associate respectively, and the promotion to partner of Tom Dunn. The team, headed by Chris Godfrey, is particularly strong in the open-ended funds space, and clients include St James’ Place, IFSL and Marlborough Fund Managers.

CMSprovides excellent advice, leveraging its significant industry knowledge and experience’. The sizeable cross-office team is headed by the ‘responsive and client-focused’ real estate funds expert Melville Rodrigues. Cathy Pitt, a go-to lawyer on listed funds matters, advised River Mercantile on its £50m IPO, and private equity specialist Colin Lawrie represented SSE in its role as cornerstone investor in the Environmental Capital Fund. The key contacts on the retail funds side are the ‘extremely knowledgeable and approachableKaragh Gilliatt and the ‘commercially focusedAidan Campbell. Another name to note, particularly for his infrastructure funds expertise, is Bill Carr.

With its recent merger, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP now fields a sizeable team that acts across a broad range of funds, including emerging markets, charity, listed, private equity and real estate. Nick Janmohamed, Elizabeth Budd and newly made partner David Hicks advised four of Fidelity’s investment trusts on AIFMD implementation matters, and Victoria Younghusband assisted AIM-traded India Capital Growth Fund on a £22.9m bonus issue of subscription shares. Other key contacts include John Fletcher, Keir Gordon and new arrival Jonathan Bor.

Clifford Chance combines ‘strong insight into current investor demands’ with a ‘tailored’ and ‘personable’ service, to ‘put the fund raiser in a great position to raise equity’. Nigel Hatfield and Gerard Saviola are the key contacts in the ‘very knowledgeable’ team. Hatfield advised Infracapital Partners on establishing its second £1bn infrastructure-focused fund, and Saviola assisted Permira in the formation of a €800m pan-European debt-focused private fund.

At Covington & Burling LLP, Simon Goodworth advised a number of private equity investors on their investments into, among others, China and Russia-focused funds. Simon Currie, who acts for sponsors as well as investors, is recommended for both regulatory matters and fund formation.

DLA Piper’s team head Gawain Hughes has particular expertise in advising managers and promoters of real estate and private equity funds, and the ‘commercially-mindedJames O’Donnell has continued to grow the investor side of the practice, particularly international development finance institutions, by winning a seat on CDC’s private equity work panel. O’Donnell’s former colleague at Debevoise & Plimpton LLPRoy Kelly joined as senior associate in April 2015.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s private fund formation team ‘displays excellent knowledge and understanding of the industry’. Practice head Geoffrey Kittredge and Sally Gibson advised Deutsche Alternative Asset Management (Global) on the formation and raising of a $1.65bn fund, one of the many $1bn or more deals handled in 2014.

Dechert LLP’s sizeable London practice, praised for its ‘deep bench of professionals who are well able to support a diverse range of regulatory and fund requirements in a changing environment’, forms a key part of the 180-strong global investment funds team. Andrew Hougie, who is ‘bright, friendly and responsive’, advised close-ended listed fund The Biotech Growth Trust on AIFMD implementation. Abigail Bell is a ‘rising star in the hedge funds space’, and ‘noteworthy for her quiet efficiency and unrelenting commitment to clients’. Christopher Gardner and Gus Black, who are both ‘excellent at providing tailor-made advice’, act for a wide range of private equity, real estate and private debt funds. US-qualified Karen Anderberg is a key contact for retail funds work. Peter Astleford, whose ‘insights, commercial awareness and strategic approach ensure a high-quality service that adds significant value’, heads the practice.

Eversheds LLP’s ‘cost-effective team’ has ‘particularly good knowledge of the regulated funds market’. Team head Pamela Thompson and Andrew Henderson advised Legal & General on the transfer of a book of ISA business from its portfolio management service to its unit trust management business. Henderson and Ronald Paterson are both very active on regulatory issues, and have advised a very wide range of funds on AIFMD implementation. The tax offering was bolstered by the arrival of Cathryn Vanderspar from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. Michaela Walker and Julian Brown are other names to note.

Fieldfisher’s practice head Kirstene Baillie is a highly regarded financial services specialist, and stands out for her work developing new fund products and services. She advised regular client GLG Partners Investment Funds on a range of matters, including soft close issues relating to its Japan CoreAlpha fund, and assisted Milton on AIFMD implementation with regards to its close-ended listed funds.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP leverages its strong capital markets practice to act for a wide range of listed funds on IPOs and secondary offerings, as well as regulatory matters. Team head Mark Watterson, whose tax expertise is noteworthy, Jonathan Baird and David Rouch are the key contacts, and also advise a broad range of private funds.

Goodwin Procter’s real estate-focused funds team, headed by David Evans, ‘offers a true partner-led service’. Samantha Lake Coghlan, ‘who is incredibly solutions oriented and always a pleasure to work with’, advised HIG Capital on the establishment of a Luxembourg joint venture to acquire a portfolio of Dutch properties. Gregory Barclay was made partner.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is a market leader in advising closed-ended listed funds, and their underwriters, on equity offerings and regulatory matters. Clients also include a range of private real estate, infrastructure and energy funds. Man Group is a longstanding client, and the firm handled its first M&A mandate for the hedge fund when it acquired the assets and investment management business of NewSmith. Practice head Nigel Farr, Tim West and Scott Cochrane are the key partners.

Hogan Lovells International LLPhandles complexity well and delivers helpful advice and solutions’. In addition to its reputation in the listed funds space, the practice’s varied private funds client base stands out, including BlackRock, TIAA Henderson Real Estate and InfraRed Capital Partners. On the investor side, Nicholas Holman advised key client Kodak Pension Plan on the secondary transfer of a portfolio of hedge fund interests. The ‘personable team of enthusiastic lawyers’ includes Erik Jamieson, Philip Brown, James McDonald and senior associate Jeremy Pickles.

Jones Dayhas always been strong in commercial real estate, displaying excellent negotiation and creative drafting skills’. Alistair Grant advised CBRE Global Investment Partners on its investment in Palmer Capital Development Fund III. Of counsel John MacGarty’s recruitment ‘was a smart move to diversify the team’s asset exposure’. Neil Seaton heads the practice.

At K&L Gates LLP, ‘knowledge across the team is impressive, and there is a can-do attitude that clients really appreciate’. The expansion of the regulated funds practice continued in 2014 with the recruitment of special counsel Andrew Massey from Fieldfisher. Sean Donovan-Smith and Philip Morgan are the key partners.

Following their 2014 arrival, David Brennand and Barry Breen* have built up Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP’s nascent funds practice, working with financial services regulatory partners Nathaniel Lalone and Carolyn Jackson. Private wealth asset manager Pictet is a new client for the firm, having followed Brennand and Breen* from Sidley Austin LLP. The team, which also includes Neil Robson and private equity expert Philip Watkins, acts for managers and investors alike. Barry Breen is no longer with the firm.

Kaye Scholer LLP’s head of UK investment management Simon Firth ‘has broad knowledge of the regulatory landscape’, and his ‘great attention to detail and hands-on approach are great assets for start-up investment managers’. He advised macro hedge fund manager Ebullio Capital Management on AIFMD compliance matters, and assisted private equity energy firm Kern Partners on marketing its latest fund. Daniel Lewin ‘has the ability to explain complex tax issues clearly’.

King & Wood Mallesons is ‘highly regarded in the private equity space’, and is ‘visible on numerous deals in the market, leveraging its commercial and technical strengths’. Ed Hall advised Antin Infrastructure Partners on structuring its second European brownfield infrastructure fund, which closed at €2bn, and the practice assisted UK-based manager Endless in establishing its fourth fund. The team, in particular the pair of Michael Halford and Delphine Currie, draws on the firm’s real estate strengths to advise a number of listed REITS. Ajay Pathak is a key contact on hedge fund-related matters. Practice head Jonathan Blake is ‘experienced and provides excellent advice’ and Shawn D’Aguiar is ‘calm and reassuring in complicated situations’. Duncan Woollard left for Paul Hastings LLP.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP is a private equity powerhouse with ‘strong industry knowledge and a deep bench of lawyers’. The firm’s international work stands out, and it advised OpCapita on the formation of their inaugural blind-poll fundraising for OpCapita Consumer Opportunities Fund. On the domestic side, Kate Downey, who has since joined Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP, acted for longstanding client Rutland Partners on the formation of its latest fund, which is focused on the UK turnaround space. Practice head Richard Watkins is a ‘strong commercial lawyer who manages his team effectively’. Mark Mifsud and Alexandra Conroy also left for Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP.

Linklaters LLP has ‘exceptionally good knowledge of international funds law’ and stands out, in particular, for the breadth of its private funds expertise, which spans real estate, infrastructure and private equity, among others. Matthew Keogh, a key contact for hedge funds work, ‘provides excellent client service’. Jonathan de Lance Holmes, head of the investment management group in London, has ‘an encyclopaedic knowledge of how myriad regulatory requirements interact across a single business’. Edward Smith, who has a strong Asia focus, is another key contact for private and listed funds matters.

Alternative asset management specialist MJ Hudsonprovides very good insights, doing so efficiently and in a way that makes sense for the client economically’. Founder Matthew Hudson advised Calunius Capital on the establishment of its second litigation fund. Practice head Eamon Devlin ‘is very knowledgeable and understands the issues in a matter quickly’.

Macfarlanes LLP has a ‘strong overall funds practice that covers a wide range of structures’, and is praised for its ‘practical advice that is based on evolving market practices’. Alex Amos and the ‘hard working, commercial and knowledgeableChristopher Good are closed-ended funds specialists. Retail funds expert Lora Froud is praised for her ‘practical and sensible approach to resolving issues’. Simon Thomas is a key partner for hedge funds work, and counts Old Mutual Investors and GAM as new clients. The ‘particularly commercialStephen Robinson can ‘handle any query’.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLPis able to leverage its wide industry knowledge and long history of operating in the funds space to add real value for its clients’. Guy Norfolk acted for New City High Yield Fund on its £100m main market IPO. David Young, ‘whose real strength is his technical knowledge’, is a key contact for alternative investment funds, and Nick Rutter, whose ‘outstanding service quality and good judgement’ are particularly noteworthy, specialises in open-ended regulated authorised funds.

Mayer Brown International LLP has a track record of advising on corporate deals in the hedge fund space, and is building up its real estate private equity practice, acting for the likes of Brookfield Asset Management and Canary Wharf Group. Tim Nosworthy is regularly instructed by B&B Investment Partners, and he advised the fund on three acquisitions, all structured as buyouts. Jeremy Kenley is one of the many key partners for real estate work.

Mishcon de Reya’s ‘strength is its alternative asset expertise, particularly in the mid-market space’. Tim Flood and Eve Ellis are ‘a pleasure to work with, both highly experienced and commercially realistic in their approach’. Ellis advised a UK-based sub-manager on its limited liability partnership agreements relating to its new Cayman-based hedge fund.

Nabarro LLP’s funds team is instrumental to the firm’s high-profile real estate work, acting for clients such as Land Securities, Hermes Real Estate Investment Management and Union Investment Institutional Property. Andrew Wylie is growing the alternative investment fund practice; he advised oil-and-gas technology fund manager Linton Capital on a fund restructuring and a dispute with a former investment manager. Key partners also include Amanda Howard, who is ‘particularly adept at dealing with complex structures, Deborah Lloyd and Darren Stolzenberg.

Norton Rose Fulbrightgets the deal over the line with the minimum fuss and maximum efficiency’. Michael Newell was particularly active in both the private funds and retail funds spaces; his many highlights include advising DCI on the inbound registration in the UK of new sub-funds registered in Ireland, and acting for a series of development finance institutions on the cornerstone investment into general private equity fund EuroMena III. Ian Fox and Richard Sheenare highly experienced and have done it all before’; they are key contacts for listed funds work.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s ‘excellent’ team stands out for its cross-border private funds work. It advised Helios Investors on all aspects of its record-breaking $1.1bn pan-African private equity fund. Global team head John Daghlian is another key contact, whose breadth of expertise spans fund structuring, private equity portfolio transactions, flotations and M&A. Soloman Wifa left for Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.

Osborne Clarke’s ‘nimble team delivers a personalised service’. Tim Simmonds is ‘approachable and commercially focused’; he specialises in real estate funds and regularly advises institutional managers, property fund managers and institutional investors. Financial institutions group head Paul Anning acted for Notion Capital on the launch of its second VC fund.

The late-2013 recruitment of the ‘hugely experienced’ David Ryland has significantly bolstered Paul Hastings LLP’s practice, particularly with regards to real estate funds work. He is a regular adviser to AEW, and highlights include establishing feeder and main fund vehicles for the AEW VIA II fund, and advising on sub-contracting the management of two funds to Tristan. Garrett Hayes handles corporate matters for private equity funds, and Christian Parker is a credit and loan funds specialist. Duncan Woollard joined from King & Wood Mallesons.

Particular areas of expertise for Pinsent Masons LLP’s team include renewable energy and infrastructure (where UK Green Investment is a client), venture capital (Arie Ventures), real estate (RISUS) and debt (Fair Oaks Capital, Intermediate Capital Group). Derek Stroud heads the Scottish funds practice, and advised Glasgow City Council on its investment in PPP Equity PIP. Daniel Greenaway and Ian Warner are the key London contacts.

At Proskauer Rose LLP, ‘clients get a tailored service’ that includes ‘great industry knowledge combined with strong commercial acumen’. Practice head Nigel van Zyl and Kate Simpson, ‘an outstanding and very client-focused lawyer’, are advisers to the EU’s European Investment Fund. Oliver Rochman acted for Praesidian on establishing Praesidian Capital Europe. The London practice is an integral part of the firm’s highly regarded, 100-strong global team, regularly sourcing work for the US offices Bruno Bertrand Delfau joined from Baker & McKenzie LLP.

At Reed Smith LLP, real estate specialist Oliver s’Jacob advised Starwood Capital on the creation of a joint venture with M7, and Panos Katsambas assisted Blue Maritime Capital on the launch of its new shipping-focused fund. On the hedge fund side, Katsambas and the rest of his team act for both investors and managers.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s ‘excellent knowledge of private equity’ stands out. Anand Damodaran advised Korea Investment Corporation, the South Korean sovereign wealth fund, on its investments into several real estate and private equity funds. Practice head Matthew Judd, who ‘impresses with his broad technical knowledge and hands-on approach’, is a key adviser to Blackrock and, in 2014, advised the investment manager on establishing four large funds with assets totalling several billions of pounds. Michelle Moran’s ‘experience as an in-house counsel gives her excellent tactical and technical insights’.

Schulte Roth & Zabel International LLP is ‘the clear leader in hedge fund formation in London’, leveraging its ‘outstanding industry knowledge to provide always up-to-date market and regulatory insights’. Christopher Hilditchknows the industry inside out’, and Josh Dambacher and associate Lee Smith ‘form a strong team that leads on the majority of major European fund launches’. Steven Whittaker advised Attestor Capital on a significant fund restructuring, and on AIFMD and FATCA compliance issues. Nicholas Fagge is also recommended.

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, John Adams, whose strengths include ‘sound commercial acumen and the ability to effectively understand client needs’, was promoted to partner and practice head. His clients include Red Kite Management (which he advised on the launch of a new equity fund) and Innisfree (AIFMD compliance issues). Of counsel and former practice head William Murdie is another key contact.

Sidley Austin LLPprovides a very high level of service across classic hedge fund structures, AIFMD matters, UCITS and private fund issues’. Team head Stephen Ross, former group general counsel at Man Group, is ‘very hands on and creative’, and newly promoted James Oussedik ‘goes above and beyond for his clients’. Nicole Suignard joined from Simmons & Simmons. Clients include Permian Global Investment Advisors and York Capital Management.

Simmons & Simmons’ sizeable team ‘effectively balances regulatory and legal advice with clients’ commercial interests’. Hedge funds are a particular strength, and the many highlights include advising Henderson Global Investors on the launch of three funds structured as Cayman master-feeder funds, and assisting BlueCrest Capital Management on the spinout of its systematic trading business to the newly formed Systematica Investments. David Williams is a key contact for listed funds work. A key development on the private funds side was the appointment to the private equity investment legal panel of the European Investment Fund. The recruitment of the ‘very brightMahrie Webb has bolstered the practice’s retail funds capabilities. Key contacts include Iain Cullen, Richard Perry, Dale Gabbert and Neil Simmonds.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s sweet spot is advising Europe’s biggest private equity sponsors, including key clients CVC Capital Partners and Bridgepoint, on their multibillion-pound fundraisings. Highlights for the two-partner team include Jason Glover advising Bridgepoint on raising its €4bn European buyout fund, and Gareth Earl acting as sole fundraising counsel to CVC Capital Partners on its fourth Asia-focused buyout fund, which closed with $3.5bn in commitments.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s reputation as a leading M&A firm is reflected in its funds work. European practice leader Stephen Sims’ highlights include advising BlackRock on its acquisition of MGPA (Macquarie’s real estate business), and assisting Graphite Enterprise Trust on the acquisition and disposal of secondary private equity fund investments. James Anderson, a leading individual for tax-related matters, is another key contact.

The diversity of Slaughter and May’s work for both listed and private funds stands out. Highlights include acting for Standard Life on its £390m acquisition of Ignis Asset Management, and advising the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills on the establishment of the British Business Bank. Paul Dickson and Robert Chaplin are key contacts.

Stephenson Harwood’s ‘advice is always commercial and competitively priced’. Practice head William Saunders advised P2P Global Investments on its £450m IPO, and Alex Haynes represented Woodford Investment Management in its high-profile float. Hedge fund clients include Barker Asset Management and Charlemagne Capital. The experienced Andrew Sutch and Elizabeth Field are also key partners.

Travers Smith LLP’s ‘strong industry knowledge’ and broad range of private funds work impresses. The ‘commercially savvy’ Sam Kay and Jeremy Elmore are key contacts for private equity, real estate and infrastructure funds work. On the listed funds side, Aaron Stocks advised Fundsmith Emerging Equities Trust on its £193m official list IPO.

Watson Brady LLPdelivers excellent value for money’, thanks to its ‘strong business acumen and deep industry knowledge in the hedge funds space’. The boutique firm advises on fund formation, regulatory issues and corporate matters. Founder Mark Brady and Laura Anderson are the key contacts.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ London team forms a core part of the firm’s integrated global fundraising practice, which spans the US, UK and Hong Kong. As a result, cross-border work is a key feature: Ed Gander advised Glenmont Partners on the closing of its pan-European clean energy fund, and Stephen Fox, alongside the firm’s Paris office, assisted Montagu Private Equity on two co-investments. Nigel Clark is another name to note. James Gee joined Ernst & Young.

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP’s listed-fund-focused team saw some personnel changes in 2014, with Richard Everett retiring, Neil Pearson appointed as consultant, and Kristian Rogers making partner. Nick Heather, who enjoys a strong reputation for closed-ended listed funds work that is backed by a solid track record, advised Investec Bank as sole bookrunner and sponsor on the £193m placing by Fundsmith Emerging Equities Trust. John Reed’s clients include Empiric Student Property and Cantor Fitzgerald. In Birmingham, Sharon Ayres is a real estate and alternative investment funds specialist.

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

The substantial team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is led by Simon Marchant, and includes senior partner William Lawes and London managing partner Julian Long. As well as co-advising Novartis on a $21.6bn three-part asset swap with GlaxoSmithKline, the team also acted for Carphone Warehouse on its £4bn merger with Dixons Retail. The practice’s strength across a range of sectors is illustrated by a client base that includes Tesco, Deutsche Bank and BT Group ; in the energy sector, Mark Rawlinson represented BG Group in relation to Shell’s £55bn takeover bid.

Praised for its ‘huge bandwidth and very collegiate team’, Linklaters LLP has seen some restructuring at the top, with Matthew Middleditch and Stuart Bedford returning from Asia to head the global and London corporate teams respectively. Highlights include advising Balfour Beatty on a possible £3bn merger with Carillion, and acting for Friends Life in relation to the proposed £5.6bn acquisition of the company by Aviva. ‘Outstanding lead partnerCharlie Jacobs consolidated the firm’s strength in the energy and mining sector by acting for Glencore on the $7bn sale of the Las Bambas Copper Mine Project in Peru. On the financial services side, Iain Wagstaff advised Investec on the sale of its UK intermediated mortgage business, Kensington Group.

At Slaughter and May, joint practice heads Stephen Cooke and Andy Ryde lead a ‘very capable team, which provides advice carefully calibrated to client needs’. The firm’s well-known FTSE expertise is now complemented by an increasing amount of international work, one example being the team’s advice to Advanstar Communications on UBM’s proposed acquisition of the Advanstar group. Other highlights include advising GlaxoSmithKline on a multibillion-dollar three-part transaction with Novartis, and acting for General Electric on its binding offer to acquire the thermal, renewables and grid businesses of Alstom. Nigel Boardman, who takes charge of the firm’s Africa operations, Frances Murphy and William Underhill are all recommended.

Allen & Overy LLP’s practice, led by Richard Browne, is lauded for ‘putting together strong teams at both partner and associate level’. Key practitioners include the ‘calm and well-organised’ David Broadley, who advised Aviva on its £5.6bn acquisition of Friends Life, and cross-border specialist Edward Barnett, who ‘has the uncanny ability to match the quality of advice to the particular needs of difficult and demanding clients’. The team advised 21st Century Fox on its sale of Sky Italia and its 57.4% stake in Sky Deutschland to BskyB.

Clifford Chance’s strength in the private equity sector, through practitioners such as David Pearson and Simon Tinkler, is matched by similar expertise in financial institutional work. Patrick Sarch advised The Co-operative Bank on its separation from The Co-operative Group. The team was also active in sectors such as TMT and energy, with Tim Lewis and Spencer Baylin advising Deutsche Telecom on BT’s acquisition of EE. Mark Poulton heads a department that includes highly rated global practice head Guy Norman.

The ‘creative, resourceful and client-oriented’ team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP continued to secure new clients such as Just Eat, National Australia Bank and AbbVie, and acted for the latter on its proposed merger with Shire. Global practice head Stephen Wilkinson advised Sky on its acquisition of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, and David Paterson and the ‘pragmatic and highly effective’ Roddy Martin acted for TUI Travel on its £5.2bn cross-border merger with TUI AG. Senior partner James Palmer is recommended.

Singled out as being ‘an excellent choice for large and complex transactions’, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s practice is co-led by Michael Hatchard and US-qualified Scott Simpson. The team often handles multi-jurisdictional deals for international clients, and advised LetterOne Holdings on its $5.8bn acquisition of the oil and gas unit of RWE. One particular area of expertise is the pharmaceuticals sector, with Hatchard and Scott Hopkins representing Pfizer in connection with its proposed £73.5bn acquisition of AstraZeneca.

The ‘very fast and structured’ team at CMS once again demonstrated its strength in the energy sector, acting on transactions for clients such as Statoil, BG Group and SSE. Under department head Andrew Sheach, key individuals in the team include hotel and leisure sector specialist Louise Wallace; Charles Currier, who has expertise in energy and infrastructure; and Chris Southorn, who advised MetLife on the sale of MetLife Assurance to Rothesay Life. In addition, the firm wins praise for its use of ‘high-quality partners from other offices in Europe’. Dual UK/US-qualified Stuart Blythe joined from Locke Lord LLP.

Hogan Lovells International LLP draws on its regulatory experience to advise on highly regulated sectors such as financial services, with Charles Rix acting for MAPFRE on the €550m acquisition of Direct Line’s German and Italian insurance businesses. On the energy and infrastructure side, practice head Ben Higson advised Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on its joint venture with Hitachi and Siemens, and ‘precise professional’ Steven Bryan assisted MOL with three significant upstream transactions. Daniel Simons joined from Travers Smith LLP.

Macfarlanes LLP’s ‘robust offering’ is particularly known for its private equity strength, and acted for Hollyport Capital on the sale of its significant minority stake in Sauflon Pharmaceuticals to the Cooper Companies. Ian Martin’s team, which benefits from high-value referrals, was also active on behalf of corporates, and advised Verizon on its acquisition of Vodafone’s interest in Verizon Wireless. Key practitioners include Charles Martin, Charles Meek and Graham Gibb.

The practice at Norton Rose Fulbright continued to expand, with the arrival of energy specialist Geoff Peters from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, and the promotion to partnership of Sarah McKellar and Fiona Millington. As well as handling a number of significant transactions for Orange, the team was also active in the infrastructure and energy space, with practice head Raj Karia advising SNC-Lavalin Group on the recommended cash offer made by SNC-Lavalin (GB) for the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Kentz Corporation. Chris Pearson is recommended.

Simon Beddow heads the ‘very responsive and user-friendly team’ at Ashurst, where highlights include advising New Britain Palm Oil on a £1bn cash takeover offer by Sime Darby Plantation. As well as seeing a number of inbound instructions from Asia Pacific, the firm was also busy in the energy and infrastructure sector. Investment bank specialist Adrian Clark continued to play a key role acting for clients such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan, though the team was weakened by the losses of Jonathan Earle, Charlie Geffen, Mark Sperotto and Nigel Stacey, all to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s strength in cross-border work was once again in evidence, with practice head Tim Gee assisting Cargill with its 50/50 joint venture with Copersucar, and Peter Strivens advising Emerson Electric on the sale of its power transmission solutions business to Regal Beloit Corporation. Other key members of the team include the global head of the pharmaceutical and healthcare group, Jane Hobson, who advised CSL on its proposed $275m acquisition of Novartis’ global influenza vaccine business; and Tim Sheddick who handled a number of acquisitions and disposals for Macquarie.

The seven-partner team at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLPtackles issues in a practical, hands-on way’ for clients such as Google, American Express and Medtronic. Key players in the team include Michael McDonald, who was particularly active on behalf of financial institutions, representing Grupo Financiero Inbursa in its acquisition of Banco Standard de Investimento; Simon Jay, who advised new client HanesBrands on its acquisition of DBApparel from Sun Capital Partners; and Sam Bagot, who assisted Lafarge on its €40bn merger with Holcim.

Latham & Watkins’ known strength in the private equity space was enhanced by the addition of Kem Ihenacho and Tom Evans from Clifford Chance; financial institutions specialist Tim Page also joined from the same firm. Nicholas Cline, Martin Saywell and Mike Bond jointly lead the practice, with highlights including advising Ares Management on its €3bn lending joint venture with GE Capital. As well as handling inbound work for US acquirers, the practice also acts for a number of FTSE clients, including Aviva Group, Thomas Cook and RPC.

Singled out as being ‘more business oriented than many other London firms’, Shearman & Sterling LLP’s practice was further developed by the arrival of private equity specialist Ben Rodham from Addleshaw Goddard LLP. Laurence Levy leads the department, and advised Qatar Investment Authority on its offer for the entire issued share capital of Songbird Estates. Jeremy Kutner, who wins praise for being ‘extremely strong in negotiations’, represented Hanson on the sale to Lone Star Funds of HeidelbergCement’s building materials business. Also in the team is US-qualified George Karafotias, who focuses on US cross-border transactions, and advised ArcelorMittal on a $1.5m joint venture involving the purchase of a steel finishing facility.

The ‘ultra-responsive’ team at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP includes managing partner Gregory Conway, newly made-up partner Clare Gaskell, and Adam Signy, with the latter winning praise as being the ‘ultimate trusted advisor’. As well as advising on a substantial number of private equity deals, for clients such as Apax and Blackstone, the team also represented Lorillard in connection with its proposed sale to Reynolds American. Other highlights include acting for Northgate Information Services in the sale of Northgate Public Services to Cinven.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s balance of UK and US experience makes it well placed to advise US corporates seeking to acquire UK targets, and the firm was active on a number of substantial deals in the telecoms, pharmaceuticals and energy markets; one example was practice head Tim Emmerson advising AbbVie on its planned £32bn acquisition of Shire. Other key members of the team are Ben Perry, who, with Emmerson, advised Mecom Group on its takeover by De Persgroep; London office head Richard Morrissey; and the recommended Nikolaos Andronikos.

The well-respected Spencer Summerfield heads the practice at Travers Smith LLP, where highlights include advising Micro Focus on its $2bn merger with the Attachmate Group. On the private equity side, Lucie Cawood and Ian Shawyer acted for Exponent on its sale of Trainline to KKR, while Helen Croke advised Silverfleet Capital and the founder shareholders of Aesica Pharmaceuticals on the £230m sale of Aesica to Consort Medical.

Michael Francies leads a ‘fast and efficient’ team at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, which includes the ‘calm and unruffledPeter King and private equity specialist Marco Compagnoni. As well as benefiting from the firm’s US expertise in areas such as TMT and shareholder activism, the team was also busy advising new client RPC Group on its acquisition of ACE Corporation. In the private equity space, Compagnoni acted as lead counsel to Ono’s principal shareholders on the €7.2bn sale of Grupo Corporativo Ono to Vodafone.

The practice at White & Case LLP was enhanced by the hire of private equity specialists Ian Bagshaw and Richard Youle from Linklaters LLP; the promotion to partnership of Marcus Booth; and the return from Russia of Jonathan Langley. With sector expertise taking in financial institutions, energy, technology and telecommunications, highlights for the team include advising the owners of Miniclip on the sale of a majority stake to Tencent Holdings. David Crook and Gavin Weir are both ‘very responsive and available’, and John Cunningham is ‘technically astute’.

DLA Piper’s team, led by Jon Kenworthy, enjoyed a number of successes, including the reappointment to GE Global and Vodafone Group’s panels, and the recruitment of private equity specialist Tim Wright from King & Wood Mallesons. As well as acting for Vodafone Group on its €7.2bn acquisition of Grupo Corporativo Ono, the practice also advised Synergy Health on its recommended $5.2bn combination with STERIS Corporation. Mark Chivers and Luca Gori were promoted to the partnership.

At Jones Day, Leon Ferera’s team focuses on cross-border work, and advised STERIS Corporation on its $5.2bn combination with Synergy Health. One area of strength for the practice is financial institutions, particularly in relation to niche or distressed areas, and the team was active for clients such as Standard Bank, BNP Paribas and Goldman Sachs. Private equity specialist Michael Weir, from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, and former General Electric counsel Benedict O’Halloran are new additions.

King & Wood Mallesons’ corporate department has undergone some restructuring, with Tim Bednall and Rob Day returning to the team following the departures of Tim Wright to DLA Piper, Richard Lever to Goodwin Procter and Steven Davis to Proskauer Rose LLP. The practice is particularly active in the real estate space, with head Michael Goldberg advising Westfield Group on the £850m disposal of three shopping centres to Intu. Another area of strength derives from the firm’s strong presence in China: Andrew Wingfield advised the main shareholders of House of Fraser on the £480m sale of a majority stake to Nanjing Cenbest.

Praised for providing ‘focused, timely and well-considered advice’, the team at Mayer Brown International LLP is led by Peter Dickinson, and includes Richard Page, who has the ‘ability to assimilate detailed information and shrewdly assess inter-party relationships’. As well as continuing to advise clients such as Sauflon Pharmaceuticals, Thomson Reuters and Unilever on significant transactions, the team was also active in the private equity space, with Tim Nosworthy acting for B&B Investment Partners on the acquisition of Aromatherapy Associates, the Refinery and PhD Nutrition.

Though the focus of Simmons & Simmons’ practice is on heavily regulated sectors, the team also has expertise advising local government departments and other public sector bodies on M&A matters. Highlights include acting for Kentz Corporation on SNC-Lavalin Group’s $1.2bn offer for the company. Giles Dennison heads a department that includes Edward Baker and Charles Mayo. Caxton Associates and Anacap Financial Partners are key clients.

Andrew Rosling’s team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP once again demonstrated its strength in the retail and consumer sectors, acting for Sainsbury’s on a joint venture with Dansk Supermarket to create a new Netto grocery chain in the UK. The team also consolidated on its expertise in the African energy space, with Angus Rollo and Guy Winter advising Seven Energy on a $255m equity investment by Temasek and IFC.

At Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP, Paul Maher and Fiona Adams’ team was particularly active in Poland; one highlight was Stephen Horvath advising BNP Paribas Group in the auction process leading to the agreed acquisition of Bank Gospodarki Żywnościowej. The team has expertise across a range of sectors, including manufacturing, hospitality and pharmaceuticals, and acted for AB Volvo on the $1.1bn sale of its rental business to Platinum Equity.

King & Spalding International LLP’s four-partner team is led by William Charnley, who advised DBay Advisors on its purchase of a majority holding in Eddie Stobart Logistics. The firm’s strong energy offering ensured that the practice was engaged in a number of transactions in the sector, including acting for Weatherford International on the sale of its global pipeline and specialty services division to Baker Hughes.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s private-equity-driven practice was active on a large number of sizeable transactions, including representing Nets Holding in the $3.1bn acquisition of Nets Holding AS from a group of 186 Scandinavian banks. The firm has offset the departures of Graham White to Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP, Stephen Gillespie to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Matthew Gerber in-house, with the return to the London office of David Eich and James Learner, and the recruitment of Matthew Elliott from Linklaters LLP.

At Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Sebastian Rice heads the practice, and draws on the firm’s strong offering in Russia to handle transactions for the likes of LUKOIL and O1 Group. Telecoms is another area of expertise, with Rice and Daniel Walsh advising VimpelCom on the sale by its subsidiary of a stake in Omnium Telecom Algeria. The firm’s acquisition of Bingham McCutchen’s London office has added John Clark and Vance Chapman to the team.

Joint heads of department Michael Anderson and Benjamin Lee at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP lead a team well known for its strength in real estate transactions; one highlight was advising Stenham Property on the €667m sale of interests in properties to Stenprop. The team, which is commended for offering ‘a very dedicated and personalised approach’, also acted for the Bakrie Group on the acquisition of an interest in PT Bumi Resources Tbk from Asia Resource Minerals.

Covington & Burling LLP’s team, led by Paul Claydon, wins praise for its ‘industry knowledge’, and is particularly active in the pharmaceuticals, TMT and life sciences sectors. Gregor Frizzell, who is singled out as being ‘very strong technically, very good with people, and a good negotiator’, acted for AstraZeneca on its $875m agreement to transfer to the company the rights to Almirall’s respiratory franchise.

Will Pearce leads the practice at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, where key clients include GAIN Capital, Morgan Stanley and Reckitt Benckiser. As well as assisting on significant US-led transactions, such as AstraZeneca’s successful defence of Pfizer’s $119bn acquisition proposal, the team has also been active in Europe, with Jeffrey Oakes advising Telecom Italia on the sale of its interest in Telecom Argentina.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s seven-partner practice includes insurance specialist Jeremy Hill, who advised GreyCastle Holdings on the $570m acquisition of the Life Reinsurance operations of XL Group. Also recommended is US lawyer Geoffrey Burgess, who acted for AIF Capital on the sale of its stake in Famy Care to Mylan Laboratories.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s offering significantly increased in size with the arrivals of Stephen Gillespie from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, and Jonathan Earle, Charlie Geffen, Mark Sperotto and Nigel Stacey, all from Ashurst. The team’s highlights include advising Nazer Group in relation to a $207m joint venture with Diaverum. Geffen now heads the practice.

Stuart Harray and Mark Stamp lead the group at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, with Harray singled out as being ‘in control of the work and very sensitive to clients’ requirements’. As well as handling a number of Western European and private equity transactions, the team also benefited from the firm’s strength in the transportation sector, advising BTMU Capital Corporation on its agreement with Pamplona Capital Management to divest all of its interest in Beacon Rail Leasing.

Paul Hastings LLP’s team is particularly strong on cross-border transactions in Asia, and acted for Haitong International on its cash acquisition of Japaninvest Group. Another key area for the practice is payment systems, with MoneyGram a new win. Ronan O’Sullivan, Garrett Hayes and senior associate Matthew Poxon are the names to note.

At Sidley Austin LLP, Stephen Blackshaw and dual UK/US-qualified Thomas Thesing co-head the practice, and advise on multi-jurisdictional transactions, often with a US component. The team was particularly active on behalf of acquirers, and advised Portfolio Recovery Associates on its agreement to purchase the equity interest in Aktiv Kapital.

Lauded as being ‘right there at the top for oil and gas work’, Jeffrey Eldredge’s team at Vinson & Elkins RLLP includes the ‘cool, calm and very knowledgeable’ Alexander Msimang. As well as activity in the energy space, the practice increasingly handles transactions for private equity investors, and for power and infrastructure developers and operators. François Feuillat moved to Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.

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

At Dechert LLP, US-qualified Douglas Getter leads a team that is praised as being ‘value for money for the size of deals on which it acts’. The practice was particularly active in the financial services sector, for clients such as Hunt Companies, CIT Group and Pemberton Asset Management. Graham Defries and newly made-up partner Andrew Harrow are ‘both brilliant’, and advised the shareholders of Covagen on the sale of the company to Cilag GmbH International.

The team at Dentons was active in the energy sector, and further developed its expertise in hotels, advising on the group reorganisation of the Malmaison and Hotel du Vin group of companies. The firm also saw a rise in private equity instructions, with Matthew Tinger acting for KSL Capital Partners on its acquisition of the Village Urban Resorts hotel chain. Richard Barham heads a department that includes Nigel Webber and Richard Macklin. Peter Hughes is now with Brecher.

Providing ‘pragmatic advice in the face of challenging transactions’, Keith Froud’s team at Eversheds LLP includes Robin Johnson, who acted for Chemtura on the $950m sale of its agrochemicals business. Other key players in the team are TMT specialist Stephen Nash, who advised Daisy Group on its £500m buyout, and Robert Pitcher, who assisted CNNC in relation to its proposed investment in the Hinkley Point C project.

Complementing its known expertise in corporate real estate, Nabarro LLP’s team also has strength in sectors such as healthcare, infrastructure and online gaming. Iain Newman heads the practice, and advised Urban&Civic on its reverse acquisition by Terrace Hill; another highlight for the team was acting for Land Securities on the acquisition of an interest in the Bluewater Shopping Centre. Peter Williamson and Alasdair Steele are recommended.

Mark Bertram’s team at Olswang LLP wins praise for its ‘understanding of the television production sector, which leads it to provide nuanced advice, tailored to the sector’s market and appetite for risk’. The team advised Gamesys on the £425.8m sale of its social gaming business to The Intertain Group. Other key sectors include leisure and real estate, and former practice head Fabrizio Carpanini leads on private equity matters. Niall McAlister joined from Locke Lord LLP.

Osborne Clarke’s team under Simon Smith advised Carphone Warehouse Group on its £3.6bn merger with Dixons Retail. As well as continuing to dominate the digital marketing and advertising space, acting for clients such as Iris and Fetch Media, the team was also active on a number of renewable energy deals. The arrival of Russell Van Praagh from McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP has helped to offset the departures of Alex Worner to McCarthy Tétrault, and Kalpesh Tanna in-house.

Corporate real estate remained at the centre of Pinsent Masons LLP’s practice, which advised Concord Pacific on its £250m joint venture for Moxon Street. Another area of expertise is energy and infrastructure, and the team also benefits from the firm’s sizeable Russia offering. Key practitioners include department head Andrew Masraf, Jon Harris and Robert Moir.

Squire Patton Boggs’ 27-partner team was further developed by the arrival of Adam Hastings from Hogan Lovells International LLP, and Massimo Galli from Brown Rudnick LLP. Highlights include advising Euronet Worldwide on its acquisition of HiFX, and acting for Cath Kidston on the sale of a significant stake in the business to Baring PE Asia. James McKay heads the practice, and Jane Haxby takes charge of work in Europe and the Middle East.

Stephenson Harwood’s practice, under the ‘pragmatic and intelligentAndrew Edge, was enhanced by the hire of Geoff Gouriet and Sam Gray from Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP. The team was busy in a variety of sectors, including healthcare, advising Acadia Healthcare Company on the $662m acquisition of Partnerships in Care. Duncan Stiles leads on private equity matters.

Aside from its focus on technology and communications, Neil Blundell’s team at Bird & Bird also conducts a significant number of transactions in the healthcare, energy and media sectors. The firm’s new Sydney office has helped to internationalise further the deal flow; one example is advice for Providence on its acquisition of Ingeus. Senior associate Ali Ramadan wins praise for his ‘effectiveness in last-minute negotiations’.

Andrew Blankfield leads at Fieldfisher, where the team continued to demonstrate its strength in the TMT sector, acting for clients such as the BBC and NBC Universal International. Another area of focus is the energy sector, particularly in relation to the CIS; Nodir Sidikov advised the private shareholders of JSC Maten Petroleum on the sale of their shares to Sino-Science Netherlands Energy Group.

At McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP, Hugh Nineham’s team concentrates on cross-border deals, usually with a US or emerging markets dimension. Sector strength ranges across agribusiness, mining and commodities, and the team advised Olam International on its $1.3bn acquisition of Archer Daniels Midland Company’s global cocoa business. Eleanor West was promoted to partner. Mark Crofskey is now with PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP.

Mishcon de Reya’s strength in private equity and personal wealth was once again in evidence, with Saul Sender advising Al Mirqab Capital on its $1.5bn takeover of Heritage Oil. The team also featured in sectors such as media and online gaming, as exemplified by Susan Breen acting for Intertain on its £425m acquisition of the Jackpotjoy business. Nick Davis heads the practice, and Andrew Rimmington is strongly recommended.

Morgan Lewis’ seven-partner team saw the addition of cross-border specialist Timothy Corbett from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. Highlights include advising the executive board of Lindorff Group on its €2.3bn acquisition by Nordic Capital, and acting for UBM in connection with its proposed $972m acquisition of Advanstar Communications. Amy Comer, Stephen Walters and Iain Wright co-head the practice.

At RPC, Tim Anderson leads the team, and James Mee has charge of the firm’s notable insurance offering, acting for clients such as RSA and ANV. On the private equity side, David Marshall and Maurice Dwyer were active for Bridgepoint Development Capital, with Dwyer advising on its leveraged buyout of Inspired Thinking Group. Charley Taggart left the firm to work in-house.

Peter Teare heads the department at Reed Smith LLP, where the team acted on a number of substantial deals, including advising Meda on its €2.2bn acquisition of Rottapharm. James Wilkinson represented WP Carey on the purchase of a portfolio of 73 car showrooms, and continued to develop the firm’s Khazakhstan office. Giles Beale has left the firm.

Taylor Wessing LLP’s 28-partner practice has expertise in sectors including technology, media and communications, private wealth, and real estate, and advised Heron International on the sale of its prime development site, Heron Plaza, to UOL Group for £97m. Private equity is another area of focus, with Emma Danks advising the management team of United Biscuits on the sale of the private equity-owned group to Yildiz Holding. James Robertson heads the practice.

Sunil Kakkad leads the practice at Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP, following the departure of Geoff Gouriet and Sam Gray to Stephenson Harwood. As well as possessing a strong private equity client base, which includes the likes of Lyceum Capital and Mobeus Equity Partners, the team continues to attract US and Canadian corporates, and advised Liverail on its $500m sale to Facebook.

Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP’s ‘small but well-managed team is very effective at pushing deals to close’. Joint practice heads Jeremy Willcocks and Anna Buscall draw on the firm’s reputation in the life sciences sector, but also act for clients such as Armour Group and Casterbridge Tours.

Alongside its known expertise in the insurance sector, the practice at Clyde & Co LLP is praised for its ‘deep experience in the oil and gas sector’; the team advised Sasol and New Age (African Global Energy) on significant acquisitions. Key players include Philip Rogers, Simon Gamblin and Nick Purnell.

Nick Hutton’s team at Holman Fenwick Willan was further developed by the arrival of energy specialist Jonathan Martin from Fasken Martineau LLP. The international practice advises across a range of sectors, including insurance, transport, energy and ports; it acted for Markerstudy Holdings in connection with its hostile takeover of the Brightside Group.

K&L Gates LLP’s practice, led by Paul Tetlow, is commended for its ability ‘to take a position, rather than simply present options behind the scenes’. Aside from its traditional expertise on inbound US work, the team was active on corporate real estate matters, with Stuart Borrie advising Henderson Central London Office Fund on the sale of units in the 133 Houndsditch Unit Trust and the Cutlers Houndsditch.

At Trowers & Hamlins LLP, the practice ‘knows the healthcare sector inside out’, and is also ‘strong on deals where an Islamic finance element is involved’. Michael Pattinson’s team includes Tim Nye, who advised Cambian on its £63m acquisition of Woodleigh Community Care.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s rapidly growing team was enhanced by the arrivals of Dearbhla Quigley and Martin Thomas from Chadbourne & Parke LLP, and energy specialist Paul Doris from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP. Jan Mellmann heads the practice, and advised Aurelius Group on the acquisition of Scholl’s international footwear division from Reckitt Benckiser Group.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP’s practice is co-led by ‘very driven deal-closer’ Neil Foster, and Derek Jones, who is ‘particularly strong for transactions with a Russia/CIS angle. Aside from featuring on Russian and US transactions, the team has extended its geographic reach to Africa, and secured Talu Ventures and CM Capital as new client wins.

The creation of Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, as a result of the merger of Charles Russell and Speechly Bircham, ‘will help build the corporate team’s brand and position in the market’. The firm’s focus on private wealth is matched by expertise in sectors such as TMT and real estate, and the team advised Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company on its sale of the Adria Boutique Hotel in Kensington. Tom Shaw heads the 20-partner team.

Singled out for its ‘excellent track record in the media and marketing services sectors’, Jo Evans’ team at Lewis Silkin LLP continued to advise Publicis Groupe and Havas Media. The arrival of Marie-Caroline Frochot, from Fieldfisher, helped to offset the losses of Philip Lamb to Bircham Dyson Bell, Miguel Pereira to Stone King LLP, and Nadim Khan.

Hilary Winter’s team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP includes dual UK/US-qualified Christopher Grew, US-qualified Nell Scott, and Shawn Atkinson, who joined from Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP. As well as expertise in the technology sector, the team is strong on financial services and private equity funds work. Stephanie Bates has retired.

At Chadbourne & Parke LLP, the arrival of Kevin Atkins from Vinson & Elkins RLLP helped to offset the losses of Dearbhla Quigley and Martin Thomas to Watson Farley & Williams LLP. As well as acting in a number of energy deals, the practice continued to feature on transactions in emerging markets; Charez Golvala advised Bank of Cyprus Public Company on the sale of its Ukrainian subsidiary to Alfa Group.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP’s practice was boosted by the arrival of private equity specialists Graham White and Dan Oates from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP and O’Melveny & Myers LLP respectively. The team advised CVC Capital Partners on the acquisition of Wireless Logic from ECI Partners.

At Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, Joe Pillman and Michael Holter focus on transactions in the life sciences, aviation and TMT sectors, and advised NaturalMotion and its shareholders on its $585m sale to Zynga.

Dual UK/Hong Kong-qualified Zoë Ashcroft leads the team at Winston & Strawn London LLP, and wins praise for her ‘rare skillset and ability to do both corporate and finance-related work’. The team focuses on emerging markets and inbound US work, and acted for Medplast on its acquisition of Orthoplastics.

Burges Salmon LLP’s Bristol-based, nine-partner team conducts a substantial amount of work from the firm’s London office; Rupert Weston advised YTL Hotels on its acquisition of Thermae Development Company. The ‘thoughtful, eruditeRichard Spink heads the practice.

Fasken Martineau LLP’s strength in cross-border M&A saw it involved in a number of very high-value deals, including advising OER on its $1.5bn acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ upstream oil and gas business in Nigeria. Nigel Gordon’s team includes Catherine Moss and newly made-up partner John Burnand. Jonathan Martin and Richard Cliff left for Holman Fenwick Willan and in-house respectively.

At McGuireWoods London LLP, the team was active in sectors such as insurance and real estate, and advised St. Martins Property on the £43.9m sale of a West End property. Key players in the six-partner team include Simon Cox and Mehboob Dossa.

James Campbell’s team at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP works particularly closely with the firm’s offices in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and has a focus on the technology sector. eGain Corporation and ARC Document Solutions are new client wins.

Private equity specialist Michael Thompson heads the practice at Steptoe & Johnson, and wins praise for his ‘commercial approach’. The four-partner team focuses on the manufacturing, property and retail sectors.

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

At Boodle Hatfield LLP, Nigel Stone’s team ‘provides common-sense advice in an accessible manner’, and focused on entrepreneurs such as YouView TV and The Social Superstore. The ‘easy to work withRichard Beavan advised Marriott on the sale of the London Edition Hotel to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Ute Mueller and Bernd Ratzke left the firm for Duane Morris and Barlow Robbins LLP respectively.

Bristows LLP’s growing practice, led by Mark Hawes, added Matt Dennis from Bird & Bird, and Louise Eldridge from Howard Kennedy LLP. Providing a ‘robust but pragmatic and solution-focused’ service, the team continued to feature strongly in the TMT and life sciences sectors, and advised Eye Media Television on a merger with its English subsidiary.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s practice, which is noted as having a ‘good range of senior specialists in their respective fields’, performed a range of work in its specialist sectors of insurance/financial services, healthcare, real estate and technology. Department head Nick Gibbon and a cross-practice team advised Host on its merger with Catermasters. The arrival of Jonathan Deverill from DMH Stallard LLP helped to offset the loss of Steven Raize to Gateley.

Farrer & Co’s ‘flourishing corporate practice’ benefits from the firm’s reputation in private client work, and acts for numerous entrepreneurs and family offices. The team is also well versed in technology, media and sport, and advised Bauer Radio on finalising its joint venture with Arqiva and UTV Media. Practice head Richard Lane is ‘the guy that you want on your side’, and Simon Ward is ‘technically excellent’.

Fladgate LLP’s substantial practice was further developed by the additions of Neil Vickers from Dentons, and Graham Spitz from Locke Lord LLP. ‘Tough when needed, and knowing what issues to concede’, the team acted for Mentum on the £27m acquisition of the gold and copper exploration and development operations of Robust Resources. Grant Gordon heads the department, which includes recommended practitioners Paul Airley and David Robinson.

Craigie Pearson’s team at Forsters LLP was active on a number of sizeable deals, including advising Greybull on its purchase of Monarch, and acting for Reignwood Investments Group on the £135m acquisition of Wentworth Golf Club. The practice, which is particularly known for its strength in real estate and private wealth, has grown significantly at associate level.

Fox Williams LLP’s practice was boosted by the arrival of Andrew Woolf from Irwin Mitchell. The team, which wins plaudits for its ‘proactive and commercial approach’, advises across a range of sectors, including financial services, technology, retail and fashion. Practice head Nick Sayers acted for Aukett Fitzroy Robinson Group on its acquisition of Swanke Hayden Connell Europe.

The recent upsurge in technology and digital business transactions benefitted Kemp Little LLP’s three-partner team, where clients include the likes of Excelian, SQS and Crimtan. As well as advising Arrow on a number of deals, practice head Charles Claisse acted for SET Creative on its acquisition of a controlling stake in Flourish.

Jon Sweet’s team at Marriott Harrison LLP enjoyed a busy 2014, with highlights including advising Nasstar on a reverse takeover of Denara Holdings, and assisting Fulham Shore with its £13.9m acquisition of Kefi. Daniel Jacob joined from Pitmans LLP, and Tim Bee left the firm for an in-house role.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s newly opened San Francisco office helped to further develop the firm’s influence in the technology sector. As well as acting for Brightside Group on the £127m disposal of its share capital to funds advised by AnaCap Financial Partners, Matthew Martin’s team acted for the Sugarman Group on its sale to the Cordant Group. Saionton Basu and Jonathan Snade left the firm for Duane Morris and Thomas Eggar LLP respectively.

Apart from its known strength in the charities and not-for-profit sector, Bates Wells Braithwaite’s practice is active in the technology and digital media space, advising clients such as Eleco and P2i. Key players in the team include practice head Mark Tasker and ‘the logical, thorough and good-naturedDavid Davies.

Singled out as being ‘particularly good in the private equity/financial sponsor sector of the M&A market’, Bircham Dyson Bell’s team was further developed by the arrivals of Nick McCarthy and Philip Lamb from Fox Williams LLP and Lewis Silkin LLP respectively, and the promotion of Hollie Gallagher to partner. As well as private equity clients, the team represents a large number of entrepreneurs.

Blake Morgan LLP’s quoted company expertise was enhanced as a result of the merger between Blake Lapthorn and Morgan Cole. Martin Kay’s team, which includes Lawrence Phillips and Robert Lyons, is particularly active in the TMT sector, and advised ATG Media and its management team on a secondary management buyout and partial management exit.

Collyer Bristow LLP’s ‘razor-sharp’ team is led by Jeff Roberts, and includes the ‘very commercial, customer-facing’ Paul Sillis. As well as having expertise in acting for the vendors of owner-managed businesses, the team is also well versed in advising on solvent restructuring and sales and purchases arising from insolvency.

Dorsey & Whitney’s practice is praised as having ‘a team of generally Magic/Silver Circle-trained lawyers, which is small enough to be able to give high-level, hands-on advice at good rates’. Department head Mark Taylor advised Loram Maintenance of Way on its acquisition of 50% of Railway Vehicle Engineering.

Faegre Baker Daniels continued its focuses on US/UK cross-border matters, and also featured on a number European deals, including advising Figlo on its sale to Advicent Solutions. Key practitioners include department head Paul Finlan, Linda Crow and Gary Laitner.

At Harbottle & Lewis LLP, Tim Parker’s team continued to be active in the TMC and entertainment sector, with Mark Phillips advising on its sale to Google, and Rhys Llewellyn acting for the shareholders of Union Square Music Holdings on the sale of the company to BMG.

Howard Kennedy LLP’s team includes practice head Michael Harris, who is praised for ‘his good industry knowledge of the property sector’, and head of corporate Ashley Reeback, who advised Jelf Group on the acquisition of Beaumonts Insurance Group. The team is particularly known for its experience in the residential real estate, hotel, restaurant and leisure sectors.

At Ince & Co, practice head Stephen Jarvis and newly promoted partner Matthew Stratton featured on a number of high-value, cross-border projects in the shipping and energy sectors, including advising PVM Oil Associates and its management shareholders on the company’s $160m sale to Tullett Prebon. Richard Britain is now with DWF.

Irwin Mitchell’s practice is led by Edward Persse, and includes Jayne Schnider, who ‘balances legal rigour with very good business sense’. Schnider advised the management team of Exterion Media on the acquisition of the company by Platinum Private Equity. Simon Griffiths joined from Addleshaw Goddard LLP. Andrew Woolf is now with Fox Williams LLP.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s buyer-focused team has expertise in a variety of sectors, including hospitality and leisure, where it acts for clients such as The Light Cinemas and The Restaurant Group. Key players include Guy Norfolk, who advised on the sale of Lord North Street Holdings to SandAire, and department head Wayne O’Neil.

Singled out for its ‘fantastic AIM practice’, Memery Crystal LLP’s six-partner team is led by Greg Scott, and includes Andrew Titmas, whose ‘efficient solutions save clients time and money’. The team was particularly active in the energy and minerals sector, and advised Mediterranean Oil & Gas on its £29.3m takeover by Rockhopper Exploration.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP’s team was boosted by the arrivals of new department head Mark Crofskey from McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP, and Manchester-based Neal Shepherd from Addleshaw Goddard LLP. Highlights include advising Mott MacDonald on its purchase of Bentley Holdings.

Tom Ferns leads the four-partner team at Rosenblatt, and acted for the shareholders of Silhouette Lift on the sale of the business to Sinclair Pharma. In another significant transaction, Jon Lovitt advised Northern & Shell on the £450m sale of Channel 5 to Viacom.

The Edinburgh-based Andrew Blain heads the department at Shepherd and Wedderburn, where key clients include Cairn Energy, Bowleven and Sheffield United. In the London office, Walter Blake acted for EMR Capital Resources Fund on its £14.7m tranched investment in West Cumbria Mining (Holdings)’ coking coal project.

At Simons Muirhead & Burton, co-practice head Peter Weiss and newly promoted partner Neal Hodges are ‘both very pragmatic and solution oriented’. The team’s focus on the media and entertainment sector saw it act for the shareholders of Skint records and Loaded records in their sale to BMG Chrysalis. Co-practice head Simon Goldberg is the other name to note.

At Thomas Eggar LLP, 2014 saw the arrival of Jonathan Snade from Penningtons Manches LLP, and the departures of Gitta Altmann and Nicholas Roche to OGR Stock Denton and Bracher Rawlins LLP respectively. The team is often involved in deals with an international element; department head Bryan Bletso advised Kaba Holdings on its acquisition of the UK and US businesses of Advanced Diagnostics.

Staffing is tailored to what is required’ at Wallace LLP, where David Judah’s team handles a range of work for clients such as Excel and Toni & Guy. Key players include John Woodhouse, who advised the shareholders of E-Tale Holdings on the sale of the company to ChannelAdvisor; managing partner Rex Newman; and the ‘quick and competent’ Charlotte Wheeldon.

Practice head Janice Wall’s ‘knowledge is immense’ at Wedlake Bell LLP, where the team handled its largest-ever transaction. Another highlight was cross-border work, one example being advising Arneg on its acquisition of Manor Concepts. Julian Mathews has particular expertise in the leisure and hospitality sectors.

At Withers LLP, Ben Simpson’s team includes luxury brands specialist Hugh Devlin, who advised Nicholas Kirkwood on LVMH’s acquisition of a majority stake in the company. Private wealth continued to be a major source of work for the team, with Simpson acting for Jennifer Moores on her investment into Harry’s of London.

Michael Brader and Adrian Jones jointly lead at Wiggin LLP, where the practice focuses exclusively on the media sector. As well as advising on the sale of Love Productions to Sky, the team acted for Endemol on its acquisition of Artists’ Studio. Ciaran Hickey is ‘robust in discussions with counterparties’.

At Brown Rudnick LLP, dual US/UK-qualified Mark Dorff leads an eight-partner team that mainly handles cross-border deals for international clients. Sophie McGrath acted for EQ Investors on its acquisition of Truestone Asset Management.

DWF’s practice, led by Jay Birch, handled a large number of deals for international companies based in the US and China. Private equity specialist Daniel O’Gorman advised HHI Acquisition on the UK aspects of its acquisition of Horizon Hobby. The fast-growing team added Richard Britain from Ince & Co.

Druces LLP’s ‘approachable and transparent’ team is led by Toby Stroh, and includes the ‘astute and knowledgeableChristopher Axford. As well as niche expertise in Shari’ah law, the team is known for its focus on the care sector, and advised Belgravia Care on the acquisition of an English care home operator.

Praised as offering the ‘best value for simple M&A matters’, the team at Edwin Coe LLP saw an increase in private equity work. Russel Shear heads the department, and acted for AdviserPlus Business Solutions in relation to its acquisition by AdviserPlus Holdings by way of scheme of arrangement.

Gordon Dadds’ reverse takeover of Davenport Lyons substantially developed the team with new additions Alon Domb, Jonathan Metliss, Michael Hatchwell, Paul Toolan, Rebecca Ferguson, Richard Elliott and Jonathan Lass. The practice advised Airways Aviation on its acquisition of Atlantic Flight Training. Adrian Biles heads the department.

Hamlins LLP’s practice enjoyed a rise in deals for quoted companies; practice head Daniel Bellau advised Palace Capital on the £32m acquisition of Property Investment Holdings. The team has particular expertise in the media and real estate sectors. Ian Binnie is recommended.

Kerman & Co LLP’s team, led by Michael Bennett, focuses on AIM and entrepreneurial clients, and handled a number of deals in the energy sector. Yvonne Costello advised the management team of CityJet on its acquisition by IntroAviation.

At Russell-Cooke LLP, ‘superbly well-balanced adviserJonathan Thornton leads a team that includes senior associate Geraldine Fabre, whose ‘ability to speak French fluently is invaluable on international deals’. The team has particular expertise in the corporate real estate sector, and advised UK Land in an open offer for the entire issued share capital of Leicester Real Property Company.


Index of tables

  1. Partnership
  2. Leading individuals

Addleshaw Goddard LLPfields the best transactional partnership team in the UK’, with practice head William Wastie and the ‘extremely personableAster Crawshaw the ‘leading lights’. The three-partner team, which includes Jonathan Cheney, also has expertise in contentious matters. Clients include Pannone, Miller Insurance Services and a range of US law firms.

Fox Williams LLP has ‘some of the strongest performers in non-contentious structuring matters and partnership-related litigation’. These include Tina Williams, Douglas Preece, Daniel Sutherland, and the ‘highly effective, entrepreneurial and people-focusedGavin Foggo. Clients are mostly professional practices (including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld, Locke Lord (UK)) and financial services firms (River and Mercantile Asset Management).

For Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP, ‘partnership is a core speciality, in which the firm is very strong’. Practice head Richard Turnor is an ‘eminence grise of the partnership world’, who has ‘seen it all before’. Corinne Staves has ‘excellent technical knowledge, particularly in relation to international structuring and regulatory issues’. Clients include a number of professional services and financial services firms.

CM Murray LLP’s managing partner Clare Murray ‘combines effortless charm with an incisive mind, displaying, when necessary, the steely determination of an expert litigator’. The team, which also includes the ‘highly likeable’ Bettina Bender and Esther Martin, stands out for its contentious work, having represented a PR firm in High Court proceedings relating to alleged misconduct by a partner in the LLP.

At Fox, Ronnie Fox is an ‘elder statesman in the partnership field, who manages to combine his wisdom with unparalleled energy and enthusiasm for the work’. He has ‘built up a very effective group of younger lawyers’, which includes Neena Patel, trial lawyer Dean Fuller, Catriona Watt and Caroline Field, all senior associates. The practice advises both firms and individuals on contentious and non-contentious issues.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s team, co-headed by experienced litigator Alan Watts and corporate and M&A expert Malcolm Lombers, is ‘technically excellent and highly responsive’. Clients include KPMG International, Man Group, leading international law firms, and individuals. Tim Parkes is ‘perceptive and astute’.

Lewis Silkin LLP’s practice is headed by ‘dynamic duoFergus Payne (‘one of the best non-contentious partnership practitioners’) and Clive Greenwood (‘a litigator at the top of his game and with enormous experience in the area’). Their team can leverage the firm’s ‘very strong employment department, which is turning its considerable ability to working in the partnership sphere’. Clients include United Agents, Haywards and OH Parsons Solicitors.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP, a ‘forceful provider of excellent advice and litigation skills’, continued to expand its team with the recruitment Andrew Yule from Withers. Practice head Jo Keddie, a ‘very effective litigator’, represented key client Fieldfisher on its dispute with former partner Eduardo Ustaran. On the non-contentious side, Richard Tinham advised Barratt Developments on the creation of a new joint venture structure for holding a £1.1bn real estate portfolio. Susan Kelly is a ‘strong and confident lawyer’.

Farrer & Co’s practice head Jonathan Haley, who ‘knows a huge amount about LLP law and inspires great confidence in his clients’, advised German investment fund Aquila Scotland LP on its £13.6m acquisition of four wind turbines. William Dawson, who primarily advises law firms, and Anna Gregory, who acts for both individuals and partnerships, are recommended on the contentious side.

Kingsley Napley LLP’s practice head Michelle Chance has ‘set up a team of very good practitioners’, including Adrian Crawford and Richard Fox. In addition to its significant volume of contentious work, highlights for the practice include advising a partner retiring from an international law firm, and assisting an agency in connection with its bonus arrangements.

RPC focuses equally on contentious and non-contentious partnership matters, with Geraldine Elliott the key contact for the former, and Patrick Brodie acting in both areas. Legal director Graham Reid was particularly active; one highlight was advising a key client on establishing its own law firm via an ABS structure.

At Slaughter and May, Paul Dickson’s broad corporate, commercial and asset management practice includes handling partnership and investment fund structures. Pension funds are a particular strength, and Dickson advised Taylor Wimpey on the implementation of a pension funding partnership. Clients also include ITV, Noble Group and Deloitte.

Allen & Overy LLP is ‘well known in the funds world’, from which it sources much of its partnership work, and is also ‘pre-eminent in advising on the use of partnership structures in joint ventures and capital markets’. Stephen Mathews is ‘absolutely brilliant, and held in high regard by fund managers in particular’.

Bates Wells Braithwaite’s practice head Peter Bohm, a ‘very knowledgeable and thorough’ expert, advised AGL training on redrafting its LLP agreements, and represented individuals in disputes with their partnerships. Head of social finance Luke Fletcher regularly advises charities.

Bracher Rawlins LLP’s partnership work is centred on Andrew Cromby, who is ‘very well regarded on contentious partnership matters, displaying detailed legal knowledge and a strong tactical approach’.

Bristows LLP’s work with investment partnerships stands out. Marek Petecki advised Pearl Diver Capital on the establishment of a series of offshore investment funds, and practice head Iain Redford assisted the trustees of the Kodak pension plan on transferring the pension funds to a new entity, following the firm’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Hempsons is a ‘leading firm in the field of medical partnership work’. Practice head Lynne Abbess, who has ‘impeccable judgement and is superb at dealing with people’, handled a very acrimonious dispute between NHS GPs in a small practice, which involved an all-day mediation meeting. On the non-contentious side, the team, which also includes Ross Clark, Faisal Dhalla and Ian Hempseed, helped establish over 25 GP provider organisations in 2014.

Khiara Law LLP’s founding partner Rachel Khiara is praised for her ‘absolute command of the regulatory elements of partnership law’ and, in particular, her ‘exceptional knowledge of SRA regulation and the ABS application process’. Clients of this one-partner firm include KPMG and LegalZoom.

Olswang LLP significantly bolstered its practice with the arrival, in late 2014, of Barry Stimpson from DAC Beachcroft LLP. Employment head Melanie Lane, who advises individuals and firms on both contentious and non-contentious matters, acted for BDO on the partnership-related implications of its merger with PKF.

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 is organised into large-cap and mid-cap deal rankings. Law firms are written about in alphabetical order, and may appear in one or both of the rankings tables. There is a separate section covering Venture capital in the Corporate and commercial chapter.

The eight-partner team at established player Addleshaw Goddard LLP advises an impressive client roster that includes Graphite, Inflexion and 3i. Paul Medlicott led the firm’s advice to LDC on its £20.6m investment in UK contract caterer Waterfall. Other highlights include practice head Yunus Seedat acting for the management of Callcredit on its acquisition of the company, which was undertaken in partnership with GTCR. TMT sector specialist Nathan Pearce was promoted to partner in 2014. Ben Rodham left the firm to join Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has impressive cross-border private equity credentials, and regularly acts for clients such as Riverstone Holdings and Baring Vostok. Practice head Sebastian Rice provides ‘sound and well-reasoned advice in a quick and efficient manner’. The team was bolstered by the 2014 arrival of private equity experts Vance Chapman and John Clark from Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP.

Allen & Overy LLP advised EQT on its €1.6bn purchase of Bureau Van Dijk Electronic Publishing, which was financed through an €845m debt package. Other clients include Pamplona and Lone Star. Stephen Lloyd has ‘an ability to help navigate difficult negotiations with a mix of strong legal and interpersonal skills’. Karan Dinamani joined the firm from Ashurst in 2014.

Ashurst has an impressive client roster that spans both the large and mid-cap spaces. Highlights include advising pan-European mid-market house Agilitas on its purchase of Impetus Waste Management. Large-cap clients include Oakstreet Capital and Blackstone. Key lawyer Bruce Hanton ‘works out what is important, and wins those points’. Co-head David Carter is also recommended. 2014 saw Charlie Geffen and Mark Sperotto leave for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and Karan Dinamani join Allen & Overy LLP.

The ‘responsive and easy to work with’ team at Baker & McKenzie LLPinspires confidence’, ‘works hard to find solutions’, and ‘intelligently identifies new ways to add value’. Practice head Tim Sheddick led advice to Macquarie Group on a range of transactions, including its sale of a 13% indirect interest in French roads toll operator Financiere Eiffarie for €730m. Other key clients include Bain Capital and Platinum Equity. David Allen and senior associate Susannah Davies are both ‘highly experienced and able’. Senior associate James Adam is also recommended.

Malcolm MacDougall heads the team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, which advised FF&P Private Equity on its management buyout of software company Kallidus Holdings. Management-side instructions include acting for the senior management team of TTT Moneycorp in relation to its acquisition by Bridgepoint; Mark Howard led on the matter. Other clients include Actis and Kreos Capital.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP advised TPG on its acquisition of Victoria Plum and MFI; Sam Bagot led on the matter. Other highlights include Simon Jay and Gabriele Antonazzo assisting Warburg Pincus with its acquisition of a stake in Santander’s Mexican, Spanish and Brazilian securities custody business.

Clifford Chance has ‘a very strong offering’, which draws on the firm’s expertise across a range of disciplines, including financing and capital markets. Highlights include advising Actis Capital on its acquisition of Upstream, a company specialising in emerging markets mobile monetisation. Other key clients include Cinven, KKR and CVC Capital Partners. Jonny Myers and senior associate Chris Sullivan are recommended. Nigel Wellings relocated to London in 2014, having spent four years at the firm’s Dubai office.

CMS advised key client Electra Partners on a range of matters, including its £255m management buyout of TGI Fridays. Other clients include AAC Capital, AnaCap Financial Partners and Advent International. European and UK practice head James Grimwood has experience advising on a range of domestic and cross-border transactions. Martin Treagus, Louise Wallace, Dipesh Santilale and consultant Jason Zemmel are also key names.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s Geoffrey Kittredge led advice to Petroleum Equity on its $133m acquisition, through investment vehicle Alpha Petroleum, of ATP Oil & Gas UK. Katherine Ashton acted on a major acquisition in the leisure sector. Experienced transactional expert David Innes heads the team.

Dechert LLP provides ‘an excellent level of service’. The team continued to advise key client Barclays Natural Resource Investments on its investments. Other clients include AGC Equity Partners and Berwind Corporation. Graham Defries is a ‘strong negotiator’ and ‘gets the deal done’. Senior associate James Stonehill shows ‘excellent attention to detail’, and ‘is very calm under pressure’.

The ‘always responsive and able to assistDentons advised KSL Capital Partners on its acquisition of the Village Urban Resorts hotel chain from the De Vere Group. Other clients include Apollo and Graphite. Igor Krivoshekov combines ‘strong technical knowledge with a pragmatic approach to negotiations and deal execution’. Eleanor Shanksworks tirelessly to get deals done’, and ‘provides well-thought-through, holistic advice’. Associate Kasit Rochanakorn is also recommended.

Dickson Minto WS handles a steady flow of high-value deals for an enviable array of clients including Charterhouse Capital and Caird Capital. Key lawyer Alastair Dickson is able to draw on a wealth of experience advising on large transactions.

DLA Piper handles a steady flow of sizable transactions in the mid-cap space, with highlights including advising H.I.G. Capital on its management buyout of Kondor. The firm is also active on larger deals, and acted for Duke Street on its £375m acquisition of Voyage Healthcare group from HgCapital and others. David Raff heads the team.

Eversheds LLP advised key client Accel-KKR on its secondary buyout of Swedish software and digital marketing business EPiServer Group from IK Investment Partners, and then also acted on its same-day merger with US-based Ektron. Practice head Richard Moulton led on the deal.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s highly regarded practice has an excellent track record in major transactional work. The firm’s impressive client roster includes the likes of Blackstone and Cinven. Adrian Maguire and global financial investors sector group co-head David Higgins are key names.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP took substantial steps towards expanding its profile with the hires of Graham White from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP and Dan Oates from O’Melveny & Myers LLP in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Highlights include advising CVC Capital on its acquisition of Wireless Logic; and, on the management side, acting for New Look Retail Group on its acquisition by Brait.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s Nick Tomlinson led a US-based team that advised Bespoke Capital Partners on its investment into Nomacorc, a synthetic wine cork manufacturer. Other clients include Blackstone and Lone Star Funds. The team saw significant expansion with the arrival of ‘private equity doyenCharlie Geffen and the ‘excellentMark Sperotto from Ashurst in 2014.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP advised key client Antin Infrastructure Partners on its purchase of a majority stake in the Central Area Transmission System pipeline from BG Group. Sell-side highlights include acting for Sky in connection with CVC Capital’s £800m acquisition of its betting business. The firm also has a buoyant mid-cap transactional offering, as evidenced by its work for key client Cabot Square Capital. James MacArthur heads the team.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is ‘very commercial, responsive, and up to date with market practice’. The firm has a strong mid-market showing, where it advises an impressive client roster including Pamplona and Inflexion Private Equity. The firm also handles larger transactions for clients such as Investindustrial. Practice head Tom Whelan has ‘a holistic view of the private equity industry’, and is ‘adaptable and always available’. Amit Nayyar is a ‘supremely smart and dedicated lawyer’. The firm’s offering was bolstered by the 2014 arrival of Ed Harris from King & Wood Mallesons, and the 2015 promotion of the ‘hardworking, conscientious and commercial’ Robert Darwin.

Jones Day continued to handle a range of instructions for The Riverside Company, with highlights including advising on its acquisition of DISA Global Solutions, and sale of Vokes-Air Group. Patrick Stafford led on the transactions. Other clients include Inflexion and J.F. Lehman & Company. The firm also advises the likes of TowerBrook Capital Partners and Helios Investment Partners in larger transactions. Adam Greaves heads the six-partner team.

King & Wood Mallesons advised on a steady flow of sponsor and management-side transactions across both the mid and large-cap spaces. Highlights include advising key client Bowmark Capital on its £143m acquisition of Autodata Publishing Group. Other clients include Inflexion and Graphite Capital. Practice co-heads Jonathan Pittal (‘extensive experience, well-honed commercial skill, pragmatic and highly creative’) and Richard Lever both have impressive transactional credentials.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP draws on a wealth of experience in large-scale work, with highlights including advising a consortium including Advent International, ATP and Bain Capital on the DKK17bn acquisition of Scandinavian card-payment company Nets Holding. Sam Pakbaz and Justin Hutchinson led on the matter. The firm’s offering was bolstered by the relocation of former Asia private equity head David Eich in 2014.

Latham & Watkins has a ‘strong bench’ and an ‘impressive, partner-led offering’. Michael Bond and Tom Evans led advice to Onex on its €3.58bn acquisition of SIG Combibloc Group, with a remainder of €175m in deferred consideration payable dependant on the company’s financial performance in 2015 and 2016. Other clients include Cinven and Hellman & Friedman. David Walker is also recommended.

Linklaters LLP provides ‘consistently excellent levels of service’, and brings to bear the expertise of its ‘hugely experienced partners and associates’, who are ‘always up to speed on market terms, conventions and best practice’. Clients include TDR Capitall, HgCapital and Carlyle. Practice head Alex Woodward is a ‘superb lawyer’, with ‘extremely good cross-border expertise’ and ‘the perfect blend of commercial and technical skills’. ‘Solution-driven and customer-oriented lawyerRoger Johnson is also recommended.

Macfarlanes LLP handles an impressive flow of transactions for mid-market-focused sponsors. Highlights include the firm’s work for key client Graphite on its £300m sale of Education Personnel, and acquisition of a majority stake in Human Capital investment Group. The firm is also active at the higher end of the market, and assisted Oak Hill Capital Partners with its $2.85bn sale of Firth Rixson to Aloca. Practice head Ian Martin has over two decades of transactional experience. The ‘knowledgeableLuke Powell is also recommended.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP advised Oroco Capital on its purchase of Ocean Protection Services, its first acquisition of a UK target. Other clients include Baird Capital Partners, H.I.G. Capital and Great Point Capital. Practice head Mark Davis draws on a wealth of cross-border transactional experience. The team’s profile was bolstered with the promotion of Eleanor West in January 2015.

The ‘excellent, enormously responsive’ team at Mishcon de Reya has a strong management-side showing, and acted for Avantia’s management team in relation to ECI’s management buyout of the company. Other clients include Chamonix Private Equity and MML Capital Partners. Practice head Kevin McCarthy is ‘responsive, very capable and solution focused’.

Morgan Lewis saw significant expansion with the arrivals of Tom Cartwright from Taylor Wessing LLP, and David Ramm from the former Edwards Wildman Palmer. The firm advised the executive board of Lindorff Group on its acquisition by Nordic Capital. Other clients include Alcuin Capital, SK Capital and JPMorgan Asset Management. Noel Ainsworth is also a key name.

The ‘highly commercialNorton Rose Fulbright provides ‘an impressive, partner-level service’. It advised key client AnaCap Financial Partners on a range of transactions, including its buyout of AssurOne Group. Other clients include One Peak Partners, Denham Capital Management, and Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund. Practice head Richard Bull is ‘one of the best PE lawyers in the mid-market’, and attracts praise for his ‘excellent knowledge of financial regulatory issues’ and ‘commercial approach’.

Olswang LLP, led by practice head Fabrizio Carpanini, advised Graphite Capital on its sale of the Third Space gym chain to Encore Capital-backed Canada Square Health and Fitness Holdings. The team also handled a number of management-side transactions, including assisting Connect Communications on LDC’s management buyout of the company; Duncan McDonald led on the matter. Other clients include Livingbridge, Better Capital and Primary Capital.

Osborne Clarke provides an ‘excellent, partner-led service’ and ‘legal advice appropriately shaped by commercial acumen’. Paul Cooper and associate Karen Pettigrew led advice to August Equity on two new investments. Russell van Praagh joined from McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP in 2014, alongside legal directors Wyn Jones and Mark Saunders, both formerly of Eversheds LLP. Sarah Crabtree is now with Reed Smith LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘commercially astute’ and ‘highly knowledgeable’ practice head Gregg Davison led advice to Equistone Partners on its buyout of Travel Counsellors. The firm advised the same client, and the shareholders of PD&MS Holding, in relation to their secondary buyout by Inlexion. Other clients include Living Bridge Equity Partners and Sovereign Capital Partners.

Reed Smith LLP’s ‘experienced lawyers’ attract praise for their ‘strong commercial skills and legal expertise’. The firm handles a steady flow of instructions for its enviable client base, which includes Nova Capital, ECI Partners and Vitruvian Partners. Practice head Perry Yam is ‘unrelenting, assiduous and always available’. The ‘excellent, user-friendly’ James Cross was promoted to partner in 2014, and Sarah Crabtree joined from Osborne Clarke in 2015.

Ropes & Gray LLP continued to build on its relationship with key client Bain Capital, advising on its £414m acquisition of CRC’s UK and US concrete and clay business. Bill Mone, Matt Cox, Brenda Coleman and senior associate Alex Lewis all played key roles on the matter. The ‘highly rated’ Phil Sanderson arrived form Travers Smith LLP in 2014, joining fellow leading lawyer Will Rosen.

RPC is ‘professional and efficient’, and ‘provides an excellent level of partner involvement’. The firm advised Bridgepoint Development Capital on its £28m buyout of Inspired Thinking Group. Other clients include Lloyds Development Capital and Lyceum Capital. Practice head Maurice Dwyertakes a hands-on approach’ and is ‘pragmatic, user friendly and low fuss’.

Shearman & Sterling LLP draws on the expertise of ‘intelligent lawyers at all levels of seniority’. Simon Burrows and ‘class-actMark Soundy advised Bridgepoint Capital on its £212m acquisition of Moneycorp from RBS Special Opportunities Fund. Management-side highlights include assisting All3Media on its acquisition by a Discovery and Liberty Global-owned joint venture. Senior associate Anna Cooklin is a ‘rising star’. Ben Rodham joined the firm from Addleshaw Goddard LLP in 2014.

Simmons & Simmons advised software company Anite on its £45m sale to mid-cap mainstay LDC. The firm expanded its enviable client roster, which includes AnaCap Financial Markets and Macquarie Capital, by taking on instructions from Arsenal Capital Partners and Select Equity. Key lawyer Dale Gabbert is ‘bright and personable, with the ability to turn up the heat in negotiations where required’. The practice was bolstered by the arrival of Jocelyn Ormond from DAC Beachcroft LLP in 2014.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, led by Adam Signy, advised Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners on the £653m sale of their respective stakes in Merlin Entertainments. Buy-side transactions including advising KKR on its acquisition of Israeli web analytics firm Clicktale and UK website Trainline. Associate Alvaro Membrillera led on both deals. Other clients include Arle Capital Partners and Apax Partners.

The ‘excellent’ team at Slaughter and May, led by David Wittmann, advised Palamon Capital Partners on its $205m sale of Retail Decisions to ACI Worldwide. Other clients include 3i Group and Apollo Management. Practice co-head Jeff Twentyman is ‘commercial’ and ‘instils confidence’.

Squire Patton Boggs leverages its ‘great transactional experience’ and team of ‘highly capable private equity specialists’ to advise on a steady flow of matters. The firm acted for Inflexion on its sale of Griffin Global Group to trade purchaser ATPI. Practice head and ‘superb lawyer’ Tim Hewens ‘puts the requirements of his client and transaction first’, and ‘always delivers’.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s practice head Tim Emmerson and key lawyer Ben Perry advised Apollo Global Management on its £1.22bn sale of Brit to Financial Holdings. Other instructions include acting for Goldman Sachs’ Merchant Banking Division on its DKK13bn investment in DONG Energy; Tim Emmerson and Nikolaos Andronikos led on the matter.

Taylor Wessing LLP advised key client Rutland Partners on both its sale of CeDo Group to Straco Comm, and separate acquisition of Maplin Electronics from Montagu Private Equity. Management-side transactions include assisting the management of Blackstone and PAI Partners-owned United Biscuits on its sale to Yildiz Holding. James Goold heads the team. Tom Cartwright left for Morgan Lewis in 2014.

Travers Smith LLP attracts high praise as a premier mid-cap offering, a reputation substantiated by its enviable client following. Highlights include advising Bridgepoint Advisers on its purchase of all 245 Ask Italian and Zizzi restaurants from Cinven-backed Gondola Restaurants, and Phoenix Equity on its investment in Riviera Travel. The firm also has strong large-cap credentials, and acted for Bridgepoint Advisers on its $365m sale of SPTS Technologies Group. Chris Hale and head of practice Paul Dolman are key names. Phil Sanderson left the firm in 2014 to join Ropes & Gray LLP.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges provides ‘excellent service levels from key partners’, who are ‘not only technically strong, but commercially minded and proactive’. The firm is also noted for its ‘global focus, financing skills, and ability to tap into its US network’. Client and panel wins include Cinven, Blackstone and Lone Star. Marco Compagnoni (‘client focused; if he’s running a job, then you know that you have the A-team’) and Michael Francies (‘an exceptionally strong lawyer’) co-head the team. Simon Lyell, Jonathan Wood and Samantha McGonigle are also highly recommended.

The ‘excellentWhite & Case LLP is ‘able to put forward a variety of knowledgeable lawyers who understand their clients’. The firm continued to gain momentum following the 2013 hire of Richard Youle (‘very good at resolving issues’) and Ian Bagshaw (‘provides an excellent service and has impressive attention to detail’), as illustrated by its role advising Avast on its sale of a significant minority stake to CVC Capital Partners. The team continued to act for key clients Arle Captial Partners and HgCapital. Ross Allardice (‘excellent, with a can-do attitude’) and counsel Emma Parr (‘sound commercial judgement’) are also recommended.

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP advised LDC on its £42m buyout of Eley Group from Birmingham-based global engineering business IMI; Jeremy Millington led on the deal. Practice head Ian Piggin headed the firm’s advice to NVM Private Equity in connection with its £7m investment in No.1 Traveller. Other clients include Formation Capital, Business Growth Fund and Mobeus Equity Partners.

VAT and indirect tax

Index of tables

  1. VAT and indirect tax
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s practice head Mark Delaney, a non-lawyer, is ‘always at the top of his game, and can marshal a strong international team of VAT experts to assist in providing clear and concise guidance on complex issues’. International structuring work for multinationals is a particular strength, and the practice can also leverage the firm’s significant litigation capabilities to act on contentious matters. Mark Agnew was made partner.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP stands out for the breadth of matters handled. Practice head Neil Warriner advised Standard Life Shopping Centres Trust on the proposed redevelopment of Brent Cross Shopping Centre; Heather Gething represented PacifiCorp on High Court claims to recover stamp duty reserve tax; and William Arrenberg continued to advise various multinationals on the VAT status of supplies to pension schemes and employers.

Ashurst’s strengths lie in its VAT litigation capabilities and the real estate tax expertise of Simon Swann, a lawyer with ‘exceptional knowledge, experience and sense of commerciality’. Clients include Gala Coral, Bookit and Oxford Properties.

Owing to its stellar reputation in the real estate sector, a significant amount of Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s work relates to transactional VAT and SDLT issues. Litigation is another strength, and the highly regarded Alan Sinyor led the various cases on the VAT treatment of eBooks, advising major publishers and distributors.

Clifford Chance handled a series of complex real estate transactions in 2014, with David Saleh, an ‘innovative and solutions-driven lawyer’, acting as the key adviser on the VAT implications of these big-ticket deals.

DLA Piper bolstered its real estate tax capabilities with the recruitment of Neville Wright from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. Practice head Richard Woolich led advice to funds owned or controlled by Blackstone Real Estate Advisors.

With recent arrival Giles Salmond continuing to grow his practice, and real estate tax expert Clive Jones joining King & Wood Mallesons, Eversheds LLP’s team is now focused on VAT disputes. Salmond represented Threadneedle Investment Services in a complex EU law dividend tax claim against HMRC.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s recently promoted of counsel Lee Squires, a ‘proactive and very approachable lawyer’, is the key contact for VAT and indirect tax, following the departure of Michael Conlon QC to the Bar. Clients include Aimia, Lloyds Banking Group and John Lewis.

The ‘proactive and business-minded’ team at Olswang LLP stands out for the breadth of its VAT and indirect tax capabilities, which span both contentious and advisory matters. Key contacts include gambling specialist Stephen Hignett; ‘constructive’ real estate and film finance expert Cliona Kirby; practice head Mark Joscelyne; and Graham Chase.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s VAT disputes and pre-litigation work impresses. Indirect tax specialist Darren Mellor-Clark ‘combines very deep industry knowledge with a practical approach that is sensitive to the needs of the client’. Ian Hyde, Stuart Walsh and head of tax Jason Collins all handled VAT cases in 2014. Sadly, James Bullock recently passed away.

At Rosetta Tax LLP, managing partner Linda Adelson ‘understands very well the mystery that is the VAT code’; Peter Mason has ‘in-depth knowledge of EU-related VAT law and the principles behind it’; and Nick McChesney is a recognised expert on landfill tax. The team handles both contentious and non-contentious issues.

The ‘overall level of service is excellent’ at Simmons & Simmons. Tax litigator Nick Skerrett advised BPP Holdings in its high-profile dispute with HMRC over the VAT treatment of printed materials. Martin Shah, who is ‘very thorough, practical and responsive’, is recommended on the non-contentious side.

Bark&co is ‘particularly strong when it comes to representing the taxpayer in indirect tax cases’. Georgia Hajitheodosi represented a former mobile phone trader in its appeal in the First Tier Tax Tribunal against HMRC VAT assessments of over £1m. Andrew Lynch heads the practice.

Paul Farmer and Michael Anderson are the key contacts at Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP. They focus on advising corporate clients on VAT-related EU cases.

King & Wood Mallesons’ practice head Heather Corben and Giles Bavister regularly handle real estate transactional work, and British Land is a regular client. The arrival of Clive Jones from Eversheds LLP adds further depth to the team’s real estate expertise.

Mayer Brown International LLP is particularly active on cross-border VAT issues in real estate and financial services-related transactions, and also regularly advises on insurance premium tax matters. The highly regarded Sandy Bhogal heads the team.

The tax team at Nabarro LLP is able to leverage the firm’s strong reputation in the real estate sector to act on big-ticket transactions. Nick Burt is the key contact following Michael Cant’s retirement.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, Matthew Hodkin is a renewable energy expert who regularly advises on indirect taxes in this field. The firm’s transport expertise is another driver of work.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP is recommended for its white-collar-crime related VAT litigation work. Monty Raphael QC and Neil Swift are key contacts.

Wedlake Bell LLP’s Michael Ridsdale is regularly instructed directly by clients for standalone VAT and indirect tax advice, including on SDLT and climate change levy issues. In 2014, he advised a number of higher education bodies on real estate acquisitions.

Venture capital

Headed by the ‘superb’ Angus Miln and able to tap into the firm’s overarching sector strength in life sciences and technology, Bird & Bird provides ‘an excellent service’ to investors and investees across the life cycle of deals, from early stage to exit. As well as traditional financings, such as Index Ventures’ $65m Series D financing round of Funding Circle, the firm also handled more innovative matters, including its work for Index Ventures on partnering with “the crowd” in connection with the financing of JustPark. As part of his broad practice, the ‘solid and pragmatic’ Struan Penwarden carries out a significant amount of work for leading debt provider Kreos Capital. The ‘bright and pragmatic’ Geraint Lloyd is ‘very experienced and commercial’. Clients include Albion Ventures, Accel Partners and Farfetch.

Osborne Clarke provides a ‘strategic and value-for-money service’ to investors and investees from its London, Bristol and Reading offices. ‘Excellent’ team head Robert Woodknows his stuff and does not raise unnecessary points’. Having previously represented them on numerous financing rounds, Wood advised a group of investors, including Imperial Innovations and Invesco Perpetual, on the £581m IPO of the venture capital-backed biotech company Circassia. The Bristol-based Matthew Lewis is also recommended.

Taylor Wessing LLP has longstanding and deep relationships with investors and investees centred around the media, technology and communications sectors. As well as a ‘very strong’ London office, the firm also benefits from a presence in Cambridge, which frequently sees it involved in spinoffs from the university. Howard Palmer is a key member of the team, and advised YPlan and Nutmeg Saving and Investment on their respective $24m and $32m funding rounds. The ‘excellent’ Simon Walker is often involved in work with a US component, and David Mardle is a major presence on work emanating out of Cambridge. Clients include Index Ventures, Dawn Capital and DFJ Esprit.

Particularly focused in the life sciences sector, where it benefits from the firm’s IP expertise, Brown Rudnick LLP’s two-partner team provides a ‘good service’ to investors and investees. Sophie McGrathunderstands the cost/benefit interplay’ and, as part of her balanced practice, receives a significant number of instructions from companies being spun-out of Imperial College London. The team is also noted for its ability to handle international deals; one highlight was its involvement for investors from numerous European countries on their £27m financing of UK-based life sciences company Quanta. Mark Dorff is also recommended.

The ‘absolute leader for life sciences work’, Covington & Burling LLP combines ‘focused and on-point commercial advice’ with an overarching knowledge of the highly technical IP accompanying the deals. In addition to acting for venture firms and corporates, the team continues to advise corporate venture funds, including Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation and SR One. Louise Nash is ‘absolutely fantastic’, and is a key member of the team that also includes James Gubbins, Paul Claydon and Gregor Frizzell.

King & Wood Mallesons provides expertise to investors and investees across the spectrum of issues, including fund formation, financing rounds and exits. ‘Venture capital superstarYlan Steiner has ‘superb technical skills’ and, as well as handling transactions for a range of investors and investees, is recognised for his thought leadership, which sees him regularly working closely with trade associations and working groups , such as the BVCA. Transactional highlights include advising Vitruvian Partners on the Series D primary investment and secondary acquisition of shares in

Spearheaded by ‘industry veteran’ Christopher Grew, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP is ‘superb on the company side for clients in the tech space’. Active for both early-stage companies and those seeking an exit strategy, the firm benefits from a high-quality office in Silicon Valley, which is of particular use for UK clients seeking to access the US capital markets, or gain funding from US investors. Grew advised WorldRemit on the $40m Series A investment by Accel Partners – one of the largest Series A investments in Europe during 2014. The team was bolstered in November 2014 by the arrival of Shawn Atkinson from Edwards Wildman.

At Marriott Harrison LLP, ‘savvy operatorAndrew Wigfall has an excellent reputation acting for investors such as Balderton Capital and Accel Partners in the technology sector; he advised the latter on its investment in WorldRemit. The ‘highly commercialJonathan Leigh-Hunt acts for investors and investees engaged in deals outside the technology sector.

Benefiting from a strong IP heritage, Olswang LLP is instructed by investors and investees, including Syncona Partners and Hailo, engaged in venture deals in the life sciences and tech sectors. The arrival of Niall McAlister from Edwards Wildman bolsters the firm’s capability in the life sciences space.

Headed by Perry Yam, Reed Smith LLP provides a ‘thorough and commercial’ approach to both investors and investees in the tech and life sciences sectors. The ‘smart, calm and rational’ Michael Young has a good reputation for advising early-stage companies, including Grabble and Summly.

At Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Chris Putt continued to handle a significant flow of work for Kreos Capital, including a $5.5m growth capital investment in Arkex. Other clients include Battery Ventures, Business Growth Fund and Shore Capital. Andrew Clarke is also recommended.

Fieldfisher handles some venture capital work in the TMT, healthcare and life sciences sectors as part of its private equity offering. The team has strong ties with a number of corporate venturers, including longstanding client BBC Worldwide, which it advised on the acquisition of a minority stake in independent production company Lookout Point. Tim Bird and Andrew Blankfield are recommended.

Praised for its ability to ‘look at the big picture’, Harbottle & Lewis LLP provides a compelling service to clients in the IT, digital and technology sectors. ‘Highly commercial’ team head Tony Littner has ‘deep expertise’ and ‘considers all angles of a deal’, ensuring that he is as comfortable handling instructions from investors as he is from investees. In addition to his work for Brandwatch, including advising on its $22m funding round, Littner acts for Ingenious Ventures on its investments in a number of UK start-ups through its new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme.

JAG Shaw Baker continues to gain traction in the market, where it ‘excels at acting for early-stage companies’. The ‘excellent’ Tina Baker is ‘very well connected’ in the industry, and is a leader for seed financing; James Shaw has a greater focus on later-stage investments.

Able to draw in experts from complementary practice areas, including employment, Nabarro LLP continues to be a popular choice for start-up companies throughout their life cycle, through to potential exit. The firm picked up a higher number of instructions from investors, including MMC Ventures, which Graham Stedman represented on a Series A investment into Growth Intelligence. The ‘responsive, personable and practical’ John Finnemore is recommended.

Bristol-based Ashfords LLP provides ‘focused and commercial advice’ to investors and investees engaged in early-stage transactions. Highlights include advising an investor syndicate, including Notion Capital, Highland Capital Partners and Eden Ventures, on a $50m growth capital financing of NewvoiceMedia. The ‘highly strategic and experienced’ Chris Dyson led on that matter, and is a key member of the team that includes Andrew Betteridge.

Headed by the ‘very skilled’ Neil Foster, Baker Botts (UK) LLP has an ‘excellent reputation in the tech and cleantech sectors’. Praised for his ‘great expertise in corporate venturing’, Foster advised Sasol UK on its continued investment in OxisEnergy. Senior associate Tim Davison is also recognised as a ‘good operator’.

Headed out of London by James Grimwood, and aided by a sizeable presence in Scotland following the firm’s merger with Dundas & Wilson, CMS handles a significant flow of work for mid-market private equity sponsors playing in the venture space, as well as for more traditional players, including Bridges Ventures, Octopus Capital and the Business Growth Fund. The ‘responsive and creativeChris Southorn advised a syndicate of investors, led by DFJ Esprit, on a Series C investment in e-commerce retailer, Achica.

At Dorsey & Whitney, the ‘pragmatic and attentive’ team head Frances Doherty is recommended for her work advising funds and corporates in the technology space. Doherty acted for DNA Electronics on a $24m investment by Genting to fund the acquisition of Nano MR.

WilmerHale handles work for investors and investees in the life sciences, technology and e-commerce sectors. The ‘excellent’ Joe Pillman advised Rockley Photonics on its $4.3m Series A financing.

Benefiting from sector strength in technology and life sciences, Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP handles venture capital instructions from within its broader mid-market private equity group. Team head Ian Piggin advised the Business Growth Fund on its investment into Victoria.

At Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP, Jeremy Willcocks is the primary partner of the team, of which clients include Arlington Capital Partners, Monsanto and York Capital.

At Bristol-based firm Burges Salmon LLP, Mark Shepherd and Richard Spink handle venture capital matters as a product of their broader corporate work. Clients include Ingenious Investments, Octopus Investments and Beagle Partners.

Kemp Little LLP provides a ‘commercial, cost effective and responsive service’ to a predominantly investee client base in the technology and digital media space. The ‘approachable and sensibleCharles Claisse has been particularly active in the fintech area, and advised IOCS on its £2m Series A fundraising. Andy Mosebycombines great intelligence with a good understanding of the law’.

At Mills & Reeve LLP, the ‘excellentZickie Limreally knows her stuff’, and is particularly prolific advising on university spinouts. Lim advised Inivata, a clinical cancer genomics company, on a £4m investment from a syndicate of investors, including Imperial Innovations and Cambridge Innovation Capital.

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