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Addleshaw Goddard LLP has a ‘very user-friendly and responsive’ three-partner team that stands out for its ‘wealth of knowledge and experience advising professional services firms’. The highly regarded William Wastie heads the practice, which handles the full range of partnership matters, including international partnership structures, partner exits and M&A. Also recommended are the ‘extremely commercial’ Aster Crawshaw, and Jonathan Cheney, who is noted for his ‘sensitive handling of difficult matters’.

Fox Williams LLP stands out for its ‘combination of significant non-contentious expertise with a very effective litigation team’. Practice head Tina Williamsunderstands how professional service firms work’ and acted alongside Douglas Preece for rural estates business Smiths Gore on its £40m sale to Savills. Other key figures include Gavin Foggo, who is a ‘superb litigator’, and Daniel Sutherland, who is ‘a pleasure to work with’.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP is ‘very strong, particularly in the professional services and private client spaces’. Practice head Richard Turnor, who is singled out for his ‘vast knowledge’, works closely with the ‘user-friendly and technically very strong’ Corinne Staves to handle the full range of non-contentious matters, including mergers, ABS structuring and estate planning.

CM Murray LLP’s team of ‘truly focused partnership experts’ is headed by the ‘knowledgeable and supremely strategic’ Clare Murray, and leverages its ‘excellent reputation in handling team moves, partner exits and associated disputes’ to handle a regular flow of contentious work, often with cross-border elements. Other key figures include the ‘forthright, concise and highly skilled’ Bettina Bender, and Esther Martin, who attracts praise for her ‘very strong people skills’.

Fox’s founder Ronnie Fox has ‘almost unparalleled experience in the area; there is virtually nothing that he hasn’t seen before’. He brings his skills as ‘a ferocious negotiator and very skilled tactician’ to a team with an extensive track record acting in disputes on behalf of individual partners operating in the professional and financial services sectors. Catriona Watt and Sarah Chilton both have ‘commercial nous and great client-handling skills’.

The ‘highly knowledgeable, responsive and user-friendly’ Alan Watts leads the partnership disputes team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, while Malcom Lombers (who has ‘what clients look for – in-depth knowledge combined with a commercial approach’) handles a broad range of non-contentious matters, often with an international element. Combined they provide ‘an outstanding service’ to clients such as KPMG International, Anchorage Capital Group and Man Group.

Lewis Silkin LLP’s balanced practice is built around the capabilities of Fergus Payne, who advises on structuring, conversions, joint ventures and M&A matters, and disputes specialist Clive Greenwood. Its client base includes individual partners, major law and accountancy firms and businesses operating in the marketing as well as communications sectors.

In an illustration of Winckworth Sherwood LLP’s dual contentious and non-contentious capabilities, James Duncan advised Imperial Capital on regulatory compliance issues, while Jo Keddie (who ‘fights her clients’ corners very effectively’) advised on whistleblowing and discrimination claims. First Wessex and Enderby Wharf are also clients.

Allen & Overy LLP’s practice focuses on the establishment of partnerships and funds as well as partnership mergers and sale and purchases. John Goodhall regularly advises institutional investors on their investments into limited partnership funds, and Stephen Mathews assists partnerships with corporate and commercial transactions.

Farrer & Co acts for a diverse client base that includes German hedge fund Aquila Scotland, law firm Greenwoods Solicitors, property management company M J Mapp and a number of individual partners. Practice head Jonathan Haley and contentious expert William Dawson are the key contacts.

Kingsley Napley LLP leverages its ‘very strong employment capability’ to advise individuals and partnerships on partner moves as well as employment status issues. Michelle Chance* ‘runs a very good team’. *Since publication, Michelle Chance has joined Bond Dickinson.

At RPC, practice co-heads Patrick Brodie and Geraldine Elliott provide contentious and non-contentious advice to a broad range of clients, including Ernst & Young and RSA. Legal director Graham Reid is another key contact.

Slaughter and May is recommended for its partnership structuring capabilities, particularly for clients active in the funds space. Key contact Paul Dickson is an expert on pension funds issues.

Bates Wells Braithwaiteably balances the need to be detailed yet commercial in its advice’. Peter Bohm (who is ‘extremely knowledgeable and a great negotiator’) advises professional partnerships, particularly accountants, on their partnership agreements and M&A activity, while Luke Fletcher is a key contact for social finance and charities investing into partnerships.

At Bracher Rawlins LLP, Andrew Crombyimpresses with his excellent knowledge, sound commercial acumen and exemplary bedside manner’. He regularly handles contentious issues, and recently advised on a hostile accountancy demerger and contentious partner exits at a law firm.

Bristows LLP has ‘an extremely good technical team’ that is ‘a pleasure to work with’. Its main areas of activity include the establishment and structuring on partnership fund vehicles, acting for banks on refinancing and restructuring issues involving partnerships, and assisting with the purchase and sale of interests in partnerships. Marek Petecki and Iain Redford are the key figures in the team, which acts for clients including Blooms Properties and Pearl Diver Capital.

Hempsons is ‘unsurpassed in its expertise and ability in the medical partnerships area’. Lynne Abbess is a highly regarded disputes expert, and on the non-contentious side, Ross Clark led on the merger of 35 GP practices in Birmingham.

Rachel Khiara, founder of niche firm Khiara Law LLP, is ‘a leading expert in the partnership field and devises practical solutions to the ever-changing regulations and their associated complexities’. She handles structuring and compliance matters for a broad range of high-profile professional services firms.

Olswang LLP’s client base includes investment fund managers such as CNH Capital Partners, professional services firms including Rawlinson & Hunter and AlixPartners, and individual partners. Catherine Taylor and Barry Stimpson jointly head the team.

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