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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Corporate and commercial > Partnership > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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The level of service at Addleshaw Goddard is 'of the highest standard' and the team 'clearly has considerable expertise in partnerships'. It advises top-end professional service sector clients (including major City law firms) on all aspects of partnership,  LLPs, governance and constitutional matters. The group has particular expertise in drafting partnership and LLP agreements, international structures, which all sits beside a broad contentious practice. Noted for his substantial expertise in the area and 'ability to explain complex issues', practice head Aster Crawshaw advised Guernsey-based The Specialist Medical Group on the removal of its goodwill payment structure and its conversion into a Guernsey LLP. Transactional and structuring expert Jon Cheney assisted architectural practice Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP with a review of its global legal structure to achieve greater international integration and alignment; and having advised on the transfer of its UK operations from a New York Incorporated Company to a New York LLP, he is currently reviewing the operating structure in the Middle East. William Wastie was instructed by DAC Beachcroft LLP to carry out a comprehensive review of its governance and profit-sharing structure; a matter that resulted in a complete rewrite of the firm's LLP agreement. 'Very able' managing associate Chris Hallinan focuses on law firm regulation and alternative business structures. Former legal director Zulon Begum joined CM Murray LLP at partner level in June 2018.

'Top-flight' boutique CM Murray LLP houses the best contentious partnership lawyers in the City. The team is most known for advising international law firms and other professional services firms on partner exits, team moves, restrictive covenants, discrimination and whistleblowing issues. It has developed a particular niche in handling sexual harassment allegations made by and against partners; a service that was greatly boosted in February 2018 by the arrival from Slater and Gordonof Samantha Mangwana (who has 'very strong expertise in discrimination cases'). 'Head and shoulders above her peers in the industry', founding partner and team leader Clare Murray is the 'go-to' lawyer for partnership disputes and is noted for her 'superb judgement' and significant experience. 'Brilliant' Sarah Chilton is recommended for international partnership disputes, while 'excellent' Partner Anna Birtwistle specialises in advising partners in relation to restrictive covenants. David Fisher has significant experience in team moves, lateral hires and restrictive covenant enforcement. Although the team lost Bettina Bender to Winckworth Sherwood LLP  in June 2018, it gained 'highly capable' non-contentious partnership expert Zulon Begum, who joined from Addleshaw Goddard.

SETS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Partnership Counsel

We are one of the smallest but most highly specialised barristers‚Äô chambers in the country. Our exclusive specialism is partnership law, encompassing traditional business and professional partnerships and LLPs, limited partnerships, partnerships between companies and arrangements designed to avoid partnership status. This level of specialisation brings many advantages: we have encountered most dispute-related scenarios that can arise and recognise differing personality types and the way they react, thus enabling us to predict with accuracy likely future conduct and outcomes. Our ‚Äúseen it all before‚ÄĚ approach can bring real comfort and reassurance to anxious clients and an ability quickly to get to the heart of the matter and identify the real issues.

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Fox Williams LLP is 'a fantastic firm with all-round strength in the partnership area'. The group handles contentious matters, such as litigation and arbitration, but is most noted for its non-contentious work, which includes the establishment of foreign law firms in the UK, mergers, partner and team moves, conversion to LLP and document drafting. 'A strong presence in this field', practice head and name partner Tina Williams advised Bond Dickinson LLP on its transatlantic combination with US-based Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice to form Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP. She also advised Greenberg Traurig, LLP on the acquisition of a team of 30 lawyers, including 6 partners, from the now-defunct King & Wood Mallesons. Highlights for Daniel Sutherland included advising Assemble LLP on a restructuring and Sedgewick Detert Moran & Arnold on the winding-up of its London office as part of the closure of its affiliated US firm in January 2018. Gavin Foggo, who 'commands confidence' and exhibits 'great judgement', is noted as 'the man you want on your team for partnership litigation'. Experienced in professional practice M&A, setting up and structuring partnerships and advising financial services firms on remuneration structures, Doug Preece is another key contact.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP handles contentious and non-contentious partnership work for a variety of major professional services firms. Expertise includes structuring and governance in relation to international firms, legal services regulation, exiting partner agreements and private clients on the utilisation of partnerships to manage succession issues. Practice head Richard Turnor draws on his experience as a non-executive director of an NHS trust to advise clients on governance and risk management, in addition to partner moves. Turnor's highlights included advising the management team of a major IP firm on the possible departure of a partner and an accountancy firm on a compulsory retirement. Now chair of the Association of Partnership Practitioners, Corinne Staves has substantial expertise in structuring, governance, management, regulation and compliance matters, as well as advising private wealthy individuals on the use of partnerships and LLPs in succession planning.

Farrer & Co provides 'high-quality advice'. The team is led by 'completely unflappable' Jonathan Haley, who 'engenders the utmost confidence in clients' and often acts as 'a diplomatic and realistic sounding-board' in contentious situations. He continues to advise Allies & Morrison LLP on matters connected to its LLP conversion, including IP transfers and the substitution of large numbers of project contacts. 'Cool-headed in complex cases', Adrian Parkhouse successfully represented former partner at a law firm in a landmark and high-value Court of Appeal case against his former firm in relation to a liability issue. Also recommended are Eleanor Rowswell, who has niche expertise in employment law as it relates to partners and staff in professional practices; and Kathleen Heycock who specialises in team moves, international partner disputes and international acquisitions by regulated partnerships. John Wilkinson joined the team from Stephenson Harwood in September 2017 and has experience in commercial disputes involving partnerships.

Fox & Partners' 'high-quality' team is noted for its 'hands-on' approach to contentious partnership matters. The practice is co-led by Catriona Watt and Caroline Field, both of whom were promoted to partner in July 2017, with the firm continuing to benefit from the management and sector experience of founder Ronnie Fox. Watt, who possesses 'superb judgement' and gives 'extremely commercial advice', specialises in departures and arrivals, partner rights and entitlements and negotiating terms of exit. Field is 'astute' and 'capable under pressure' and draws on her commercial litigation background to advise on partnership disputes. Also made partner in July 2017, Dean Fuller is a veteran of the partnership space.

The 'impressive' team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP  represents partners and major professional services firms in partnership disputes. It draws on a multi-disciplinary set-up, bringing in team members from the disputes, corporate, employment, incentives, regulatory and tax departments to provide 'a consistently excellent service' to clients. The group also has a significant non-contentious practice and 'first-class' Tim Leaver advised Berwin Leighton Paisner on the partnership aspects of its merger with the US-headquartered Bryan Cave to form Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP. Highlights for Mark Bardell included advising Strutt & Parker LLP on all aspects the combination of its business with BNP Paribas Real Estate. Co-heads Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, who specialises in firm mergers and partnership dispute expert Alan Watts, who has acted on high-profile partner exits and team moves, are also recommended.

Lewis Silkin LLP's 'excellent' team demonstrates 'in-depth knowledge and expertise' in relation to both contentious and non-contentious matters. The group often handles the drafting and implementing of new or updated LLP and partnership agreements, restructurings, mergers and the associated regulatory issues. On the contentious side, the group is at the forefront of complex partner grievance cases, representing a number of major City firms. The group is co-led by 'excellent strategist' and partnership dispute veteran Clive Greenwood and non-contentious partnership lawyer Fergus Payne, who advised Goodstuff Communications on the purchase of a 20% stake in the LLP held by Omnicom to produce a fully independent media agency. Possessing 'great experience'. Karen Baxter is recommended for her ability to 'move seamlessly from employment to partnership'. Ellen Temperton is another key practitioner and is noted for her 'superb partnership expertise'.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP's team is 'a force to be reckoned with' when it comes to partnership disputes, which are the focus of the practice. It is instructed by clients in the spectrum of specialised industry and regulated sector clients that utilise partnerships, including real estate, investment funds, accountancy and law firms in addition to individual partners. Possessing 'an almost telepathic understanding of issues that commonly arise', the 'sharp' Jo Keddie  'marshals her team superbly'; she heads the practice with transactional partnership expert Richard Tinham. The group recently represented a real estate sector LLP in a complex partner exit involving multiple detriments and alleged perpetrators of discrimination, but resulting in a significantly reduced settlement. 'On the ball' senior associate Louise Lawrence is another key practitioner. 'Excellent' Bettina Bender joined the group from CM Murray LLP in June 2018 and has an interest in cross-border partnership issues, with a particular focus on companies based or headquartered in Germany with UK operations.

Hempsons is 'clearly a market leader in the medical partnership field', a reputation that is embodied by its practice head, 'problem-solver' Ross Clark , who possesses 'superb knowledge of NHS systems'. In addition to an active medical M&A practice, he also has significant experience in the formation of primary care partnership models and the establishment and reorganisations of GP Provider Organisations (GPPOs). 'Good communicator' and 'clear-thinker' Ian Hempseed advised Encompass GP Partnerships to incorporate a company limited by shares for the purpose of representing the practices within its locality and enabling it to bid for specific contracts. Faisal Dhalla is noted for his expertise in partnership disputes, while Bryn Morgan specialises in real estate issues arising out of medical partnerships. Known for providing 'frank advice', Lynne Abbess retired in July 2017, but is often called upon as a consultant.

Howard Kennedy LLP is 'a good all-round firm' with 'some very capable individuals in the partnership field'. The group handles LLP formations, partner obligations, employment matters and commercial contracts, in addition to financial regulatory advice on LLP structures, tax, dispute resolution, business recovery and reconstruction. The team is co-led by 'commercial and knowledgeable' Jane Amphlett, who specialises in advisory matters such as partner appointments and departures, and 'one of the top experts in partnership disputes', consultant Robert Craig. Also recommended are the 'capable' Simon Taylor and corporate structuring expert Ashley Reeback.

Kingsley Napley LLP has a multi-disciplinary approach encompassing employment, regulatory, professional discipline, dispute resolution and criminal matters for individual partners, professional firms and LLPs. The team is led by 'outstanding' regulatory lawyer Iain Miller, who regularly acts for a range of firms and individuals in a regulatory and ethical matters. 'Calm and efficient' Adrian Crawford specialises in advising on the management of under-performing partners, retirements, expulsions, as well as conversions to LLP status. Julie Matheson leads on regulatory finance work and acts for accountants and accountancy firms under investigation by the Financial Reporting Council. Andreas White is another key contact.

Macfarlanes LLP's 'superb' practice has 'excellent knowledge of the area'. It handles the full range of matters for professional practices and LLPs, including major M&A transactions, tax issues, investment management, private client and partnership disputes. Highlights for practice head John Dodsworth included advising US-based Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice on all UK aspects of its business combination with UK-based firm Bond Dickinson. Charles Meek advised New York-based Lexington Partners on the closing of a large-scale tender offer to investors in BC European Capital IX LP, which required multiple agreements with 39 sellers across jurisdictions. Hayley Robinson specialises in employment law and handles a variety of contentious and non-contentious matters primarily for clients in the financial services sector. Mark Baldwin is also recommended.

Mishcon de Reya LLP‚Äôs ‚Äėvery strong‚Äô multi-disciplinary team stands out for its knowledge of partnership-related employment matters, particularly relating to member, minority, remuneration and regulatory disputes. On the non-contentious side, the firm handles formations, structuring, drafting of LLP agreements, tax and remuneration advice. The ‚Äėtough and commercially savvy‚Äô Joanna Blackburn¬†has significant expertise in complex LLP exits concerning senior members. Jennifer Millins¬†specialises in restrictive covenant, breach of confidence and team move disputes. Greg Campbell¬†acted for a former partner of an international law firm in relation to a multi-jurisdictional whistleblowing and sexual discrimination case, leading on the litigation strategy and subsequent settlement discussions. In another highlight, James Libson¬†advised an exiting partner from a global law firm on his move to a rival firm.

Considered 'a safe pair of hands', RPC advises professional services firms on the spectrum of contentious and non-contentious work, including the establishment of partnerships and LLPs, as well as partnership mergers and dissolutions. Co-head Patrick Brodie represented Switzerland-based executive search firm Egon Zehnder on the enforcement of a global non-compete restrictive covenant injunction action against a former partner. Co-head Geraldine Elliott specialised in partnership disputes, predominantly acting on the side of the firms. Legal director Graham Reid handles regulatory matters involving partners. The 'diligent' Nick Bird focuses on professional liability and disciplinary claims from the perspective of partnerships. Ernst & Young LLP is a standout client of the department.

RSM Legal LLP's team merged with Khiara Law LLP in April 2017, adding vastly experienced partnership and regulatory expert Rachel Khiara, who now leads the team with a focus on advising multi-disciplinary practices such as KPMG. Khiara is often instructed by international and domestic law firms, Big 4 accountants, fund managers and investment businesses using LLPs on the spectrum of non-contentious matters. Recent highlights include assisting a leading architectural firm with a comprehensive review and rewrite of its constitutional arrangements and LLP Deed; and in a separate matter, advising a major UK-based law firm on the regulatory aspects of a transatlantic merger. Wendy Chung joined the firm as a consultant from Fox Williams LLP in October 2017, and was promoted to an associate director position in February 2018.

Simmons & Simmons is 'absolutely superb' in the hedge fund, private equity and fund manager arena, particularly in terms of drafting, structuring and partnership disputes. The team is led by 'hugely experienced' and 'authoritative' Colin Leaver who stands out for his drafting skills. Gideon Sharp advised APG Asset Management on the merger of the Elephant & Castle and "East Village" residential projects to create a £1.4bn joint venture, the partnership of which is structured as a series of separate but interconnected LLPs. 'Excellent tactician' Robert Turner, who is situated within the dispute resolution team, is often instructed on partnership disputes. Predominantly advising clients in the asset management sector on structural partnership issues, 'attentive' and 'business aware' managing associate Tom Fricke is another key practitioner.

Burges Salmon LLP is noted for its 'pre-eminence in agricultural partnership matters' and for its expertise in partnership disputes. The 'strategic' and 'unflappable' Sian Edmunds has significant experience in agricultural disputes, as does Kevin Kennedy. On the corporate side, highlights for Chris Godfrey included advising the University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation on its complex joint venture with the Mayo Clinic that used a transatlantic partnership structure.

Dechert LLP's 'extremely good' team is noted for its 'proactive' approach to partnership matters including structuring, formation, dissolution, disputed removals, breaches of good faith, enforcement of post-termination restrictions, in addition to tax and regulatory work. The group is predominantly instructed by clients in the financial services and investment funds space. The 'astute' Jason Butwick who stands out for providing 'accessible' and 'commercial' advice, leads the practice. Employment lawyer Charles Wynn-Evans acts for a wide range of LLPs and LLP members engaged in partnership disputes. Co-head of the global financial services group, Gus Black has particular expertise in the establishment of LLP and LP structures and negotiating LLP and LP agreements for asset management businesses.

Paul Dickson leads Slaughter and May's partnership group, which focuses on partnership structures in relation to investment vehicles, joint ventures and pension funding. Clients include John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Deloitte and KPMG. Robin Ogle and Paul Mudie are also recommended.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards)¬†advises medical partnerships, accountancy practices and law firms, in addition to alternative business structures and trading partnerships. The group also has particular experience in advising medical partnerships and other healthcare clients based on the firm‚Äôs 2017 merger with Lockharts. The team is led by ‚Äėexcellent‚Äô Jos Moule, who ‚Äėcombines legal expertise with technical application‚Äô. He is currently advising a major Welsh law firm on its full incorporation, which involves the transfer of the LLP‚Äôs business and assets to a new limited company.¬†Nigel Puddicombe¬†was appointed as arbitrator in a dispute involving a dental partnership.¬†Ed Husband¬†is also recommended for contentious matters.

The team at Weightmans LLP¬† was bolstered by the arrival of ‚Äėpartnership guru‚Äô Andrew Cromby, who joined the team from Bracher Rawlins LLP¬†in October 2017. The group offers a full partnership service, which draws on the wider firm‚Äôs compliance and regulatory practice, led by Michelle Garlick, who has particular expertise in the legal partnership space. Richard Corran¬†handles matters arising out of the North West and is currently acting for the majority partners of a medical practice in a dispute with an ongoing partner. Edwina Farrell¬†leads the medical partnership team and specialises in advising NHS GP practices on property and partnership business matters. Damian Carter¬†joined the Manchester team from¬†Berg¬†in March 2017 and has considerable experience in commercial disputes with partnership aspects.

In October 2017 Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP¬†was formed through a combination of US firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice and the UK-based Bond Dickinson, greatly enhancing the firm‚Äôs ability to handle transatlantic partnership matters; a matter that was coordinated within the UK firm by ‚Äėvery capable‚Äô practice head Barry Stimpson. The group‚Äôs primary clients are law firms, accountants and fund managers, for which the team advises on LLP arrangements, merger projects and a range of fund-related partnership vehicles. Michelle Chance¬†specialises in representation for partnership dispute resolution, where she is ‚Äėespecially good at representing individuals‚Äô, although she also has significant expertise in advising partnerships and LLPs. Jamie Pass¬†and Richard Collins¬†are also recommended on the contentious side.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP¬†has particular expertise in the use of partnerships within fund structures, but also handles partnership work for LLPs and disputes across all partnership types. The group is often call upon to advise financial services LLPs on governance and transactional matters as well as structuring. On the contentious side, it is instructed on partner expulsions, retirements, exclusions and dismissals. The team is led by William Granger¬†who is ‚Äėexcellent with clients‚Äô and has ‚Äėstrengthened his partnership and LLP expertise‚Äô in recent years. Highlights for the group included advising Crest Nicholson Operation on the establishment of a joint venture, structured as a partnership with A2 Dominion Developments in order to promote the development of the North West Bicester Eco-Town. Also recommended are David Hicks, for his expertise in partnership advisory work in the financial services sector, and James Carter, who has significant knowledge in partnership taxation.

In addition to the spectrum of non-contentious partnership matters, Clyde & Co LLP is noted for providing 'expert' technical and commercial advice to professional services firms on partner exits and facing professional liability claims. The team draws on a multi-disciplinary set-up; Sarah Clover leads on professional liability, Chris Holme on employment and Simon Vere Nicoll on corporate partnership issues. Holme has particular experience in advising law firms on claims arising out of partner redundancies. Gary Thorpe was instructed by Vitruvian Partners on its 40% investment in CFC Underwriting via a limited partnership structure.

Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP¬†is a boutique litigation firm, which handles partnership disputes across industries with ‚Äėan excellent level of service‚Äô, although it has particular expertise in the financial services sector. The group acts for and against LPs, LLPs and traditional partnerships in the spectrum of partnership disputes, including allegations of bad faith, misappropriation of assets, breaches and enforcement of restrictive covenants and minority shareholder oppression. Promoted to partner in October 2017, ‚Äėespecially capable‚Äô Lydia Danon¬†is the primary contact and noted for her ‚Äėforensic discipline‚Äô, which she has recently employed in a high-value, multi-jurisdictional partnership dispute in the High Court. Name partner Marc Keidan¬†is ‚Äėideally suited to partnership litigation‚Äô and stands out for his ‚Äėwillingness to get stuck into difficult fights‚Äô. Sinead O‚ÄôCallaghan¬†and ‚Äėbrilliant strategist‚Äô Philip Young¬†are also key contacts.

Keystone Law‚Äôs professional practices team has ‚Äėa very strong offering‚Äô that includes partnership formation, incorporation restructuring, M&A, risk regulation and litigation. The group is led by the ‚Äėsure-handed‚Äô Peter Garry, whose experience informs ‚Äėgreat insight‚Äô in relation to partnership law. The group was instructed by partners and firms in a number of high profile disputes in 2017, including sex discrimination, whistleblowing cases and partner exits. Consultant commercial litigator Stephen Ralph¬†is ‚Äėa veteran‚Äô of the partnership space.

The team at Payne Hicks Beach handles matters throughout the life-cycle of partnerships, including structuring, administration and dissolution. The group has a particular focus on farming partnerships and professional practices, and (drawing on the firm’s significant private client capabilities) advises high net worth individuals seeking tax structures and property joint ventures through partnership vehicles. The group is led by Jonathan Gatward, who is instructed on both contentious and non-contentious matters. Nick Sayers, who is principally a transactional lawyer, has substantial experience in partnership mergers and the use of partnerships as investment vehicles.

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