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Recognised as market leaders in partnership law, Addleshaw Goddard is consistently involved in some of the most high-profile partnership matters in the market and is a firm clients ‘call on when they need the best’. The team has experience of structuring partnership arrangements for legal partnerships, accounting firms, real estate advisory practices and financial services partnerships on a national and international scale and also handles a host of partnership disputes and Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) regulatory advice. William Wastie, the department leader and ‘doyen’ of partnership law, is instructed by clients such as Boies, Schiller & Flexner (UK) and also advised BCL Solicitors on its conversion from a general partnership to an LLP. Especially well-known for his international facing work and professional services M&A, Aster Crawshaw acted for such clients as Texas-based law firm Haynes and Boone LLP, and is a specialist in Swiss verein structuring. The ‘clear, concise and commercialJonathan Cheney assisted Peel Hunt LLP, a corporate broking and trading house, with the design and implementation of an equity ownership structure designed to widen staff-ownership. Chris Hallinan and Zulon Begum are also recommended.

CM Murray LLP is ‘a standout niche firm in the field of partnership’ and is particularly ‘impressive’ in contentious matters. The firm specialises in acting for firms and individuals in distress situations, where there are serious threats to reputation and where there are multiple jurisdictions involved. Additionally, the team undertakes non-contentious advisory work and advises in relation to agreements such as LLP amendments. Under the leadership of Clare Murray, ‘the firm has gone from strength to strength’. She is ‘a very special lawyer’ and has not only been involved in some of the most substantial partnership disputes, but has also been at the forefront of thought leadership in the field, having been a founding member and first honorary secretary of the Association of Partnership Practitioners. The ‘safe and reliable’ David Fisher has expertise in team moves, lateral hires and restrictive covenants, and Bettina Bender specialises in partner exits in the legal and financial services sectors. In 2016, the ‘utterly charming and highly capable’ Esther Martin was promoted to partner and Sarah Chilton joined from Fox & Partners. Anna Birtwistle is also recommended and focuses on partnership discrimination, whistle-blowing and partner exits.

Fox Williams LLP is ‘absolutely superb’ in drafting partnership arrangements, increasingly on the international stage, and is well-equipped to advise on the regulatory issues at each stage of the life-cycle of a partnership. Known for the ‘high level of personal commitment’ she devotes to her work, practice head Tina Williams recently advised FTI Consulting LLP on the establishment of an international network of tax consultants, which required a partnership structure whereby participants could easily join the partnership in jurisdictions throughout EMEA, the US and Asia. Daniel Sutherland, who has ‘excellent knowledge’ of LLPs and law firm regulation, regularly acts for international law firms and in 2016 assisted New York-based law firm Scott & Scott with the establishment of its London office, Scott & Scott Europe LLP. Gavin Foggo heads the dispute resolution group and advises on partnership disputes in litigation, arbitration and mediation. The department is instructed by a range of professional practices, including law firms such as Reed Smith LLP, Stewarts Law LLP and Holland & Knight (UK) LLP, accounting firms and private equity groups such as DN Capital UK LLP.

A long-established fixture in the field, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP is a boutique firm with ‘in-depth knowledge and a certain gravitas in the area of professional partnerships’. With instructions from firms, individuals and partnership groups in legal partnerships and professional services, the team is well-equipped to handle the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious partnership issues. Corinne Staves, who is ‘simply terrific’, advised Matthew Arnold & Baldwin LLP on the three-way demerger and subsequent combination with three other well-known global and UK law firms. Staves also acted in relation to the establishment of a significant property consultancy LLP. Richard Turnor heads the department and has ‘incredible wide-reaching knowledge and understanding of partnership matters and related compliance issues’. Indeed, the team has extensive experience assisting the UK offices of US-based law firms with SRA compliance, and also handles global governance and international structuring work. Similarly, the group assisted a Middle Eastern law firm with a structuring arrangement allowing for a relationship with a high-profile UK law firm. In 2016, the team has acted for well-known UK and US law firms, accountancy, professional services and consultancy firms, patent and trademark offices and a range of individual partners.

Fox & Partners is an instantly recognisable player in the world of partnership law, so much so that ‘in any complex partnership dispute, especially one requiring practical commercial feel, the firm’s name has to be in the mix’. The team has particular strength in advising individuals and groups of partners in relation to team moves and exits, but has extensive experience in all areas of contentious and non-contentious partnership law across a variety of sectors. ‘Unparalleled in his experience’, Ronnie Foxhas seen it all and done it all many times before, and knows the path of least resistance out of every situation’. Additionally, he is well-known for his ability to ‘cultivate and grow a very effective team’ of more junior practitioners. Senior associate Neena Patel is ‘extremely talented’ and acted for multiple partners in what was one of the most significant team moves in the legal sector in 2016. Caroline Field and Catriona Watt are ‘strong and very effective’ partners, while Shoshana Bacall and the ‘calm and measured’ Dean Fuller are also key contacts in the practice group.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s partnership group is an amalgamation of specialists from across the firm’s corporate, employment and incentives, regulatory and tax practices. The group has been particularly active on the contentious side and Chris Bushell won a principle-setting High Court appeal for Marathon Asset Management LLP in 2016, which concerned the treatment of an LLP member’s profit share after a breach of fiduciary duty. Alan Watts heads the contentious side of the practice and fellow joint head Malcolm Lombers has a wealth of experience advising accountancy and professional services firms, including PwC and KPMG, on corporate partnership matters, such as global structuring and restructuring. In 2016, Watts has been involved in a number of contentious partner exits and team moves involving Magic Circle and Big Four firms. Heather Gething is another contact on the contentious side of the group and the ‘commercial and technically strongTim Leaver specialises in the legal distinction between partners and employees. The department’s varied clients include Willis Group Holdings, Anchorage Capital and Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.

Providing ‘real strength in depth and proactive advice’, Lewis Silkin LLP is ‘really good on both the contentious and non-contentious side’ of partnership and employment law. Practice co-head Clive Greenwoodknows partnership law inside and out’ and acts for firms and individuals in LLP and partnership disputes; he represented a former investment manager at HgCapital in High Court proceedings regarding a £10m dispute between the client and 42 separate defendants in relation the client’s financial entitlements following his retirement from the private equity firm. Additionally, Karen Baxter and the ‘highly impressiveMichael Burd acted for three former partners of Addleshaw Goddard in an arbitration between them and the firm in connection with the partner-clients’ decision to join another law firm. Joint practice head Fergus Payne is ‘highly experienced and has drafted every type of agreement in the area’ and has recently acted for a number of accountancy firms, such as Blick Rothenberg LLP. The team also assisted Gerald Eve LLP with a series of transaction that saw the acquisitions of five national teams of professionals from Deloitte Real Estate. The ‘bright and charmingEllen Temperton is also recommended.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP is particularly well-known for its contentious partnership offering, in addition to advising on regulatory and investigatory issues affecting residential development and financial services partnerships. The team is particularly active in negotiating partner departures and restrictive covenant issues, acting for both partnerships as well as individual partners. Joint practice head Richard Tinham handles non-contentious partnership work and is acting for multiple real estate developer clients, including William Sutton Developments Limited, which he assisted with partnership arrangements following the client’s 50% acquisition of Linden (York Road) LLP, and Affinity Sutton. Department co-head Jo Keddie focuses on the employment and contentious aspects of partnership law and is instructed by a variety of well-known legal partnerships and financial institutions. James Duncan, another key contact in the practice group, is experienced in assisting financial services clients and property developers with the establishment and structuring of manager and operator partnerships.

Farrer & Co is ‘an incredibly impressive and professional firm’ with ‘real capability’ in the field of partnership law. It acts for major law firms, investment managers, FCA-regulated businesses, accountants and property professionals, displaying considerable experience in non-contentious partnership matters and also handling disputes concerning matters such as underperforming partners. ‘A consummate negotiator, who is highly attuned to professionals’, Jonathan Haley specialises in partnership and LLP law and also advises on limited partnerships – an increasingly rare structure. He advised a commercial property and asset management firm, M J Mapp Group, on a corporate restructuring into four separate divisions, each within an LLP vehicle. The department made three new partners in 2016: Eleanor Rowswell, Kathleen Heycock and Andy Peterkin. Roswell is ‘very capable, and knows the field very well’, Heycock advises on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious partnership issues for an household-named professional services firm, and Peterkin focuses on the financial services regulations of LLP and LP structures.

In its expertise and ability’, Hempsons is ‘unsurpassed in the contentious and non-contentious aspects of medical partnerships’. Department head Lynne Abbess is ‘the ultimate partnership lawyer in the medical field’; she has advised groups of NHS consultants in the establishment of LLPs and has been particularly active in a number of disputes in 2016-2017. The ‘professional and clear-speakingIan Hempseed specialises in setting up GP federations and handles governance and partnership structures for GPs. Ross Clark has deep experience in the organisation and establishment of GP federations and the subsequent integration of primary practices. The team was instructed by a dentist on the £1.6m purchase of an NHS dental practice, involving the transfer of a general dental services contract and purchase of freehold property. Principled Medical Limited, Primary Care Sheffield Limited, Cheshire LMC and Our Health Partnership are among the department’s key clients.

Kingsley Napley LLP provides ‘first-rate service’ in partnership disputes, especially where there is a need for cross-disciplinary advice in regulatory and criminal law. Recently, the team has been particularly active for partners and groups of individuals, but also draws instructions from major international law firms and financial services firms. Adrian Crawford acted for the former partners of a major international professional services firm and multiple fund managers in relation to a variety of partner exits and team moves in 2016, and is especially active in matters with demanding timeframes. Andreas White acts for firms and individuals in the legal and financial services sectors, and Richard Fox is rated for ‘generating innovative approaches to complex situations’. Regulatory expert Iain Miller joined the team from Bevan Brittan LLP and Michelle Chance joined Bond Dickinson LLP in 2016.

Combining a good ethos and sense of decency with real ambition for the future’, RPC is ‘easily comparable’ with many other firms in the London partnership space. The group has expertise in contentious and non-contentious matters, and also provides specialist regulatory advice to a variety of legal partnerships. Focusing on partnership disputes, Geraldine Elliott jointly leads the team and represented an ABS law firm in settlement negotiations, involving threat of injunctive action. Similarly, joint practice head Patrick Brodie has experience of contentious and non-contentious matters and has advised on multiple senior partner departures and recruitments in the legal and financial services sectors in 2016. Legal director Graham Reid has deep experience in legal sector partnerships and is the department’s regulatory expert. Significant clients have included GMB Union, RSA and Ernst & Young LLP.

Following Khiara Law’s merger with RSM Legal LLP, which is a new legal practice within the RSM accounting group, the resultant firm retains the expertise of Khiara Law’s regulatory partnership practice and is capable now of handling some of the employment aspects of partnership matters. It has capabilities in the non-contentious aspects of partnership law across all major partnership vehicles. At her new firm, regulatory expert Rachel Khiara has been involved in a number of significant matters, including the merger of a well-known UK law firm, and the restructuring of a US fund management LLP. In her own independent legal practice, Khiara had been instructed by clients such as KPMG, PwC, PwC Legal and Jordans Corporate Law Limited. Employment specialist Carolyn Brown heads RSM’s new legal practice and has experience of the employment aspects of LLP law.

With a concentrated focus on the private equity and hedge fund space, Simmons & Simmons handles both structural and contentious partnership issues and ‘in its particular specialist area, the team is second to none’. Gideon Sharp advised APG Asset Management in relation to a three-way joint venture with Delancey and Qatari Diar, which was structured through a series of LLPs and is linked to a large real estate development in London. A ‘bright and highly experienced draftsman’, Colin Leaver advised BlueCrest Capital Management LP on the partnership arrangements reflecting the new ownership structure following a majority disposal of interest in Systematica Investments LP to Affiliated Managers Group. The team also advises a litany of asset managers on contentious and non-contentious partner exits. Robert Turner, who is ‘an adept litigator, with a remarkably developed technical skill set’, handled a high-value partnership dispute and related reorganisation in 2016. Ania Rontaler is another key contact.

The team at Slaughter and May has considerable expertise in partnership structures as they relate to investment vehicles, joint ventures and pension funding. Department head Paul Dickson advises John Lewis in relation to a litany of ongoing issues regarding the Scottish Partnership and Scottish Limited Partnership established in connection with the client’s pension funding structure. Similarly, he acted for the trustees of Severn Trent Pension Schemes in connection with its new asset-backed pension funding partnership. Corporate and asset management specialist Robin Ogle is advising HM Treasury in relation to its role as limited partner in the newly established Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund. Paul Mudie was promoted to partner in 2016. Other notable clients have included Marks & Spencer, Deloitte and KPMG.

Bates Wells Braithwaite handles a steady flow of work covering a range of partnership issues including advising on partnership and LLP agreements, partner appointments and retirements, and also has experience in partnership disputes. Notably, the department has expertise in partnership structures involving social and charitable investors. Indeed, Luke Fletcher acted for a charitable investment client on its transition from an LLP to a company. Department head Peter Bohm has been instructed by partnerships and LLPs in the legal, financial services and accountancy sectors, and provides ongoing partnership advice to clients such as Carter Backer Winter LLP. Additional clients include IMAS Corporate Finance LLP and Charities and Social Enterprise Insurance Management LLP.

Bracher Rawlins LLP has ‘proper partnership litigation experience’. In 2016, the team was instructed by a number of members of a household-named professional services firm in relation to the firm’s treatment of those partners. The team also acted for legal partnerships and individual legal partners in matters such as senior partner exit strategies and partner retirement. Since publication, experienced partnership litigator Andrew Cromby has moved to Weightmans LLP.

Clyde & Co LLP’s partnership team comprises specialists in professional liability, employment and corporate law and has experience in a wide range of partnership matters, but is particularly strong at acting for firms in disputes with partners and advising on partner exits. Chris Holme heads the employment-prong of the practice and acted for a global law firm in a dispute with a senior partner, and in a separate matter represented a major accountancy firm in a dispute with an executive partner. Simon Vere Nicoll advised Cast Consult Limited in relation to the exit of several partners. Additionally, the department has been engaged by UK-based and global individual partners and firms, regarding partnerships in the architectural, veterinary and investment funds sectors. Robert Hill and Sarah Clover are also key contacts.

Howard Kennedy LLP is ‘a good commercial firm with a strong partnership offering’ and it adopts a cross-disciplinary approach to contentious and non-contentious partnership issues. ‘Charming and effective’, Robert Craig, who is ‘one of the most experienced partnership practitioners in practice’, acted for an accountancy practice in relation to certain amendments to the partnership documentation. Jane Amphlett specialises in the employment aspects of partnership law and has ‘a strong following among professional services firms and LLPs’. Additionally, Tim Bignell is ‘an extremely impressive litigator’ and Daniel Tunkel is instructed by a litany of investment fund partnerships. Paul Millett is also recommended. In 2016-2017, the department added Cain Hoy Guggenheim and Lillie Square LP to its client roster.

Macfarlanes LLP is ‘highly recommended’ for its partnership work, and is increasingly instructed by major legal partnerships in connection with headline mergers. John Dodsworth heads the firm’s professional practices and LLPs group and advised Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP in relation to its combination with Eversheds LLP to create Eversheds Sutherland LLP. Similarly, Dodsworth acted for the partners of Curtis Davis Garrard on its merger with Haynes & Booth and subsequent SRA approval. Hayley Robinson has particular experience in contentious and non-contentious employment-related partnership matters. The team also assisted Liontrust LLP with a review and update of the partnership’s agreements. Additional clients include Smith & Williamson and CBPE Capital LLP.

Allen & Overy LLP has particular experience in the establishment and structuring of fund and investment partnerships. Joint practice head John Goodhall acts alongside the firm’s Washington DC office to advise International Finance Corporation in the creation of an investment partnership structure with Allianz Insurance. Stephen Mathews jointly leads the practice group and advised BGC Partners on LLP arrangements relating to its acquisition of Sunrise Brokers. Mathews has previously been instructed by clients in the pharmaceuticals and financial services sectors.

Building on ‘a strong employment and corporate offering’, Bond Dickinson LLP has made some notable additions to the team and will certainly be ‘one to watch’ going forward. Michelle Chance joined from Kingsley Napley LLP in 2016 and ‘brings the litigation bite to join the existing corporate capability’. Her recent work has included instructions by former individual members at a household-name professional services firm in relation to those individuals’ highly contentious exits. Barry Stimpson joined the team from Olswang LLP and heads the non-contentious side of the partnership group. He has ‘great experience of hedge fund and private equity partnerships’, but has also acted for individual partners in the legal partnership space. The two new-comers join Jamie Pass, who has experience of non-contentious LLP law, and Richard Collins, who focuses on disputes.

The ‘partner-led’ practice group at Bristows LLP has ‘good expertise in the area of partnership’, acting for investment partnerships and professional partnerships. Joint department head Iain Redford specialises in investment partnerships and also has particular expertise in refinancing partnerships. In 2016, he acted for multiple individual members in relation to the sale of their LLP. Joint practice head Marek Peteckicombines detailed knowledge of partnership law with business acumen’ and is instructed by a range of corporates and investment clients. Louise Eldridge is another key contact in the department and is instructed by two LLC subsidiaries of a US client on the establishment of two UK-based LLPs.

Burges Salmon LLP is ‘a market leader in the field of family and agricultural partnerships’, but also has experience in professional partnerships and investment partnerships. Sian Edmunds is ‘a first-rate litigator’ with ‘experience in complex partnership disputes’; she has been instructed in such matters as a dissolution of a family partnership, which involved issues of ownership and the partition of agricultural land. Kevin Kennedy is also active in agricultural and family partnership disputes, but has also been instructed by the managing partner of a well-known professional services LLP. Additionally, Chris Seaton acted for a law firm in connection with the retirement of founding partners and assisted with the new LLP agreement. Jeremy Bell has experience in investment partnerships and joined the team from Ashurst.

With ‘strong employment and litigation’ capabilities, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is ‘a growing force in the partnership and LLP field’. Though the partnership focus is primarily on the contentious side, the team also has experience of establishing joint venture LLPs, partnership restructuring and incorporations and transfers. William Granger is ‘highly enthusiastic and commands client-confidence’; he has acted for a Swiss trust and beneficial owner in a long-running co-founder dispute, which resulted in an attempted buy-out and reorganisation of its UK operating LLP. Notable clients have included Apricor Investment Partners LLP, Stephenson Harwood and Countryside Properties. Corporate tax partner James Carter has experience of partnership taxation and has recently acted for a venture capital fund.

The partnership department at Dechert LLPcouples strong technical expertise with a commercial and pragmatic approach’, and regularly acts for financial services partnerships. The ‘proactive’ department head, Jason Butwick, drafted the partnership agreements for the establishment of Ixworth Capital LLP, and, in a separate matter, assisted AlbaCore Capital LLP with its partnership agreements and related documentation. He also acts for individual partners and in 2016 assisted a member of a medical LLP with his offer to join a different medical group as an employee. Charles Wynn-Evans is ‘an expert negotiator and tactician’, who focuses on employment and partnership disputes, and has been instructed by communication and legal partnerships in 2016.

Though traditionally a private client firm, Payne Hicks Beach has carved out a specialism in partnership law and is able to handle the gamut of partnership, LP and LLP issues. It made a number of significant additions in 2016: Max Baird-Smith joined from BDGS Associés, and Howard Taylor, an experienced associate, and Nick Sayers both came over from top-ranked Fox Williams LLP. Department head Jonathan Gatward has extensive contentious and non-contentious partnership experience and provides ongoing advice to clients such as Rayner Essex LLP in relation to all partnership and LLP matters. Richard Cowan retired in 2016.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) has ‘significant capability in the partnership area’ and as a regional-based firm it is ‘able to offer very efficient, cost-effective service’. In 2017, the firm absorbed Lockharts, which specialised in healthcare thereby adding the capability to act for medical partnerships. The ‘approachable and highly skilledJos Moule leads the partnership and LLP group and has handled corporate and commercial partnership matters for legal firms and chartered accountancy practices. Recently, Moule’s work has included reviewing and drafting new partnership agreements, transferring a partnership to a limited company and advising on the admission of new equity partners. In 2016, Ed Husband and senior associate Nick Martindale successfully settled a long-running, bitterly-contested partnership dispute in arbitration. The 2017 merger brings Ros Parkin and Andrew Lockhart-Mirams to the team.

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