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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Overview clients in London using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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London and its globally respected courts remain popular venues for complex, high-stakes, high-value disputes, including litigation emanating from regions such as Russia and CIS, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

English law also remains highly popular within the international arbitration world; London’s international arbitration practices are widely sought after, both for significant commercial and investment treaty work.

The London market’s top law firms continue to embrace contingency and conditional fees, with a number of legal practices distinguishing themselves through their relationships with third-party funders and the provision of innovative funding options.

Several London practices have reacted to the impact of economic uncertainty caused by the UK’s decision to exit the European Union; as a result of currency fluctuations, many international clients with cross-border contracts have sought advice on potential contractual disputes arising from Brexit.

Notwithstanding the passing of several years, contractual disputes emanating from the 2008 global financial crisis continue to feed London’s litigators with a range of high-profile instructions, such as ongoing Lehman-related issues, while banking-related scandals, such as LIBOR, FX benchmarking, interest rate swap mis-selling, and PPI, including investigations and related enforcements, frequently led to potential claims against companies, directors and advisers. Group claims have also kept several firms busy, such as the shareholder and investor group claims against the RBS Group in relation to its 2008 £12bn rights issue.

Notable recent developments saw The Court of Appeal’s 2017 unanimous upholding of the Commercial Court decision from the first trial heard within the new Financial List: Banco Santander Totta v Companhia Carris De Ferro de Lisboa SA & Others, which concerned the validity of derivative transactions entered into by Portuguese public transport companies and Banco Santander Totta. The Financial List is based in the Rolls Building, which houses the Commercial Court, the Technology and Construction Court, the courts of the Chancery Division and the Mercantile Court. It is a specialist cross-jurisdictional list announced in late 2015 by the Lord Chief Justice to address the particular business needs of parties that litigate on financial matters. It is used for financial claims of £50m or more, or cases that raise issues concerning the equity, derivatives, FX and commodities markets.

Other market initiatives coming to fruition included the first case to proceed from start to finish under the shorter and flexible trials pilot scheme, which High Court judges introduced into the Rolls Building’s courts in 2015 to make business litigation simpler and more economical. In the recent case of National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC v BP Oil International Ltd, the high-value claim was resolved in just nine months, from commencement of the claim to the trial of only one day.

The headline market news of the year was King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM) UK, Europe and Middle East operations going into administration; this marked the largest ever UK law firm collapse. Consequently, Rachel Couter joined Osborne Clarke LLP and Paul Stothard went to Norton Rose Fulbright’s Dubai office. KWM’s former litigation head Craig Pollack, as well as partners Louise Freeman, Ian Hargreaves and Greg Lascelles, also left the firm. KWM Europe LLP was launched, retaining international arbitration specialists Andrei Yakovlev and Dorothy Murray.

Other significant legal market news saw a three-way merger between CMS with Nabarro and Olswang; this created the sixth-largest law firm in the UK by revenue, the sixth largest in the world by lawyer headcount, and created a high-value contentious practice, with a significant proportion of litigators based in London. Additional notable international mergers included London-based Curtis Davis Garrard and Texas-headquartered Haynes and Boone, LLP joining up to become Haynes and Boone CDG, LLP; and Atlanta-based law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, which was founded over 90 years ago, teaming up with British multinational law firm, Eversheds LLP to become Eversheds Sutherland.

Other US law firms making inroads into the UK litigation market include the oldest Wall Street firm still in existence,Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, which recently hired Bird & Bird LLP’s former international disputes practice head Steven Baker to establish its own London international dispute resolution practice.

Also of note, several litigators, who work for both US and UK-based dispute resolution practices, apply to take silk each year. Recent additions include Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s Adam Johnson QC, John Savage QC at King & Spalding LLP, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s David Kavanagh QC.


Banking litigation: investment and retail

Index of tables

  1. Banking litigation: investment and retail
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Banking litigation: investment and retail clients in London using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

‘Always very strong for banking litigation’, Allen & Overy LLP’s well-respected banking and finance litigation team advises on major regulatory investigations and high-profile disputes; and the group regularly works in integrated teams with the firm’s specialist transaction colleagues, including its banking, restructuring, derivatives, and corporate trustee practices. Highlights included acting for four banks, the second-to-fifth defendants, in an alleged false implied misrepresentation dispute, involving an €800m interest rate swap. The team also continued to act for Deutsche Bank and a syndicate of lenders in a headline case involving the fallout from the LIBOR rigging scandal. Other matters included the practice representing Commerzbank (London Branch) in proceedings regarding a structured finance transaction, the proceeds of which are alleged to have been embezzled by third parties. Andrew Denny is ‘a first-class practitioner who has excellent knowledge of the law’; and James Partridge is ‘set apart by his straightforward nature and down-to-earth approach, which means he can communicate with – and listen to – clients, as well as other lawyers and judges. He is also one of the busiest people in London’s legal market but never seems short of time for clients’ cases’. Calum Burnett and Mona Vaswani are co-banking, finance and regulatory litigation heads; John O’Conor is a leading finance litigation specialist, who is known in the market for his specialist expertise in derivatives and structured finance; and Marc Florent specialises in the contentious aspects of structured finance, particularly derivatives disputes, and insolvency. Arnondo Chakrabarti and Mahmood Lone are also highly rated.

Clifford Chance LLP’s ‘excellent, top-bracket practice fields highly motivated, tough and smart litigators with substantial experience’. It regularly acts in the most complex, high-profile banking disputes and investigations both within the UK and globally, with the work including class actions, international arbitration, regulatory investigations, criminal investigations, fraud and misrepresentation, sanctions and anti-money laundering issues. Recent highlights include defending BNP Paribas against two parallel proceedings filed in the Commercial Court, involving a $650m Islamic finance bond; and advising Citi in its successful defence of fraud claims brought by Terra Firma against it following the 2007 public-to-private sale of EMI to Terra Firma. Jeremy Sandelson is global litigation and dispute resolution practice head; Simon Davis is ‘very bright and impressive’; Roger Best is ‘excellent for identifying the strengths and weaknesses of cases’; Kelwin Nicholls ‘provides excellent strategic input and commercially astute advice’; and Julian Acratopulo is ‘very persistent and tough and he is very good indeed with clients’. Other recommended names are Ian Moulding, Helen Carty and Jeremy Kosky, as well as Matthew Scully, Roger Leese, Maxine Mossman, Matthew Newick and Christopher Yates.

‘Justifiably a leader for investigations and litigation’, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has a leading global practice for regulatory and dispute resolution work in the financial services sector; and the team, which includes former regulators and prosecutors, acts in the highest-profile investigations. Recent highlights include leading the representation of the senior creditor group in the Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (in administration) (LBIE) Waterfall proceedings, which involved a series of complex and novel banking and insolvency law issues, to determine the allocation of a £7bn surplus; and it advised major financial institutions on their response to co-ordinated regulatory investigations in the US, Europe and Asia into the setting of foreign exchange rates and benchmark interest rates. Simon Orton leads the financial institutions disputes group; many of his cases involve complex financial products or large-scale retail scenarios, and often deal with sensitive, high-profile matters. David Scott heads the firm’s global dispute resolution practice; he has handled numerous high-profile enforcement cases and advised on all aspects of the Financial Services Authority (FSA)’s enforcement process, including proceedings before the Regulatory Decisions Committee and the Upper Tribunal. Former joint head of the global financial institutions sector group Andrew Hart is ‘fantastic’; Christopher Robinson ‘has an exceptional legal brain’; and Ian Taylor, Sarah Parkes and Piers Reynolds are other highly rated litigators.

‘At the very top for banking litigation in London’, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP specialises in the defence of multiple claims, such as film finance litigation or interest rate swap claims; and the banking litigation practice regularly draws upon the firm’s specialists in financial services regulation, corporate crime and investigations, and public law, as well as contentious insurance, arbitration, defamation and tax. The team recently advised on major issues facing banks, including shareholder actions, LIBOR, FX, mis-selling of collateralised products, investment decisions, and senior management decisions. Specific examples include the practice’s advice to Watchstone Group (formerly known as Quindell) on threatened group litigation by Quindell shareholders; this arose from public announcements made by the company, including the resignation of its executive chairman and finance director, and the re-statement of its annual report and 2011-13 accounts. The team also defended UBS in four claims brought by failed Icelandic banks (the Banks), in which rescission is sought of transactions where the Banks repurchased interests in global notes from UBS; and defended the RBS Group (RBS) against actions brought by shareholder and investor groups, regarding RBS’ 2008 rights issue. Group head Damien Byrne Hill is ‘a very steady hand for major investment banking litigation’; Simon Clarke handles highly complex banking and financial services litigation, often involving structured products and derivatives; Rupert Lewis is ‘in a class of his own - robust under pressure and great in high-value banking claims’; Harry Edwards is ‘extremely hard-working and clever’; Kirsten Massey is ‘brilliant at managing large scale and complex litigation’; James Norris-Jones is ‘a quite superb lawyer’; Chris Bushell has a particular focus on fund management disputes; and Adam Johnson’s caseload often has a cross-border element, including asset-tracing and injunctions. Other recommended advisers are Gary Milner-Moore and John Whiteoak, and growth in the team saw John Corrie make partner.

‘An easy firm to work with’, Hogan Lovells International LLP is ‘a top firm in this practice area and is marked out for its attention to detail across the board and the consistent, high quality of its associates’. The practice recently hired Claire Lipworth from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), where she was chief criminal counsel. It is well known for acting for large global and UK banks and financial institutions in groundbreaking cases that set important precedents for the banking industry; it is also very active in the Financial List, the specialist list set up by the Commercial Court to address the particular needs of parties litigating significant financial matters. It fields dispute specialists in LIBOR, mis-selling, consumer finance, anti-money laundering and sanctions, aviation finance and trade finance, investment banking, and complex financial products. Recent work saw the team advise an international financial institution on an English Commercial Court claim against a customer, for failure to repay sums due under a promissory note; it also acted for FBME Bank in having default judgments against it set aside. Jon Holland is department head; Neil Mirchandani’s work has a particular emphasis on Russian disputes and he ‘has supreme negotiating skills’; Andrea Monks and Louise Lamb ‘have a winning combination of being very good lawyers, but also pragmatic and approachable’; Alex Sciannaca is ‘singled out for his great organisational skills in rapidly assembling and managing multi-jurisdictional teams for complex litigation’; and Philip Parish ‘rolls up his sleeves when required and is very good at drafting, while also offering good strategic advice’. Whiston Bristow is also highly rated.

Linklaters LLP ‘has great knowledge and resources, with excellent strength in depth’.The firm recruited Susana Cao Miranda, who has a particular focus on banking disputes and contentious regulatory investigations and enforcement, from Goldman Sachs. The practice continues to act in the most high-profile, large and complex banking disputes before the courts and regulators; and fields an integrated team across both the firm’s litigation and financial regulatory, derivatives and structured products and structured finance practices. The team acted for PricewaterhouseCoopers, as the joint administrators of LBIE, in the Waterfall applications for directions; this concerned creditors’ entitlements in relation to the LBIE estate surplus, which involved various complex and legally novel issues. It also acted for Bayerische Landesbank (BLB) in Commercial Court proceedings; the dispute arose from the 2006 sale of BLB’s stake in Formula 1 to CVC Capital Partners and involved allegations of bribery. Banking litigation practice head Christa Band is ‘an incisive and brilliant lawyer’; Patrick Robinson is recommended for derivatives and structured products disputes; Andrew Hughes is ‘an accomplished regulatory expert in the contentious area’; Nick Porter iRoss ‘a very clever, hard-working and unflappable litigator’; and global dispute resolution head Michael Bennett is ‘highly respected’. Euan Clarke specialises in banking and finance litigation, asset recovery and investigations, contentious and advisory insolvency, and litigation arising from fraud and corporate crime; and London dispute resolution head Satindar Dogra is a specialist in fraud investigations and corporate crime work, including sanctions advice and disclosure obligations under the Proceeds of Crime Act and FSA rules.Harriet Ellis, Kathryn Ludlow and Alison Wilson are highly rated, along with Susan Roscoe, Rory Conway and Ros Gallagher.

Slaughter and May is ‘absolutely outstanding, from the beginning until the end of any complex case, performing at the highest possible level on all matters’. The practice is highly rated for its expertise in complex, high-value, multi-jurisdictional disputes; these frequently involve complex structured products and financial derivative instruments, major insolvency-related litigation, disputes that raise corporate crime issues, and global regulatory investigations. The team successfully acted for Banco Santander Totta at The Court of Appeal in claims against publicly owned Portuguese companies, which arose from interest rate swaps; it also assisted National Bank of Abu Dhabi with its claim against BP Oil International for the return of approximately $70m under a receivables financing agreement; this was an important test case as it was the first to proceed from start to finish under the shorter and flexible trials pilot scheme. Deborah Finkler heads the firm’s dispute resolution group; Jonathan Clark and recently promoted partner Richard Jeens ‘display formidable co-ordination skills, especially in multi-disciplinary teams, and have profound knowledge of the applicable rules and perfect sense of strategy and client care’; James Stacey ‘provides great direction and motivation, while also being willing to get stuck in to the hard work himself’; and Damian Taylor, who ‘has a brilliant legal mind and is very good with clients’, was also made partner. Richard Swallow and Ewan Brown are other highly respected advisers. Elizabeth Barrett retired from the practice.

Ashurst ‘has a very strong reputation’. It regularly acts in large finance cases and the range of disputes on which it was recently instructed by banks included contractual interpretation issues; matters arising from restructurings and insolvencies; defence of senior individuals; and fraud-related matters. The team also regularly works alongside colleagues in other practice areas, including regulatory, derivatives, restructuring and competition. Highlights included defending Daiwa Capital Markets Europe against claims of breach of duty and dishonest assistance by Singularis Holdings. It acted for the former chairman of RBS in his defence of High Court proceedings against shareholders, who claimed damages against RBS and former directors of RBS; the claim involved the issue of an allegedly inaccurate prospectus for RBS’ rights issue. Other matters saw the team represent Credit Agricole CIB London Branch, a third party in English High Court proceedings, in relation to Taurus Petroleum’s attempt to enforce a final arbitration award that was made against State Oil Marketing Company of the Ministry of Oil (Republic of Iraq). David Capps is recommended for banking and finance-related disputes, financial regulatory enforcement matters and related investigations; Lynn Dunne ‘gets on very well with clients and takes a strategic view of litigation’; ‘One of the best commercial lawyers in London’, James Levy was appointed dispute resolution head in London in 2016; and Tom Connor is ‘a very intelligent partner, with a wealth of experience in investment banking disputes’. Edward Sparrow and Jon Gale are key names.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s ‘service is outstanding, and the advice provided is to the point and always takes commercial values into consideration’. The practice has a strong track record in acting for financial institutions on disputes involving complex financial products; it is experienced in acting on disputes relating to residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), as well as other securitisations and structured products, such as complex derivative transactions. The team is also recommended for large asset-management disputes. It represented UBS AG, UBS Limited and UBS Global Asset Management from 2010 onwards, in litigation in London against Kommunale Wasserwerke Leipzig, the company which provides fresh and waste water services to German city Leipzig; this involved claims for approximately $320m, which arose from the enforcement of various structured finance transactions and involved corruption, fraud and embezzlement issues. Other highlights saw the practice defend MDO Management Company, which provided management services to a Luxembourg-based investment fund, against a claim issued in the Commercial Court by Commerzbank (and others) for declarations of non-liability; the claim regarded a financial transaction involving the issue of €30m loan notes. Department heads Ian McDonald, who is ‘extremely proficient at managing complex litigation’, and David Allen are recommended; Alistair Graham is ‘an outstanding lawyer who provides sound commercial legal advice and helps clients to strategise options and legal remedies promptly and efficiently’; and Susan Rosser ‘quickly and efficiently assimilates the factual and technical material in a dispute’.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘outstanding team’ is highly rated for significant banking and finance disputes. The practice advises banks on claims involving derivatives, bonds and structured finance, commodities and trade finance, and Islamic finance. The team acted for The Law Debenture Trust Corporation, as claimant, in a high-profile $3bn-plus Commercial Court dispute with Ukraine, regarding the enforcement of payment of notes, issued by Ukraine. It also represented Gemini in a large, complex series of valuers’ negligence claims arising out of CMBS transactions, and acted for Lloyds Banking Group in a case concerning its right to redeem certain enhanced capital notes, issued by two special purpose vehicles. Department head Michael Godden is ‘brilliant and insightful’; Paul Morris ‘knows how to make the big calls in high-stakes litigation’; and Matthew Waudby has ‘superb technical skills and a nuanced understanding of finance, which serve his practice well’. Lista Cannon has considerable experience in cross-border banking litigation. Chris Warren-Smith and Melanie Ryan joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP is ‘very strong indeed in banking litigation and has one of the most experienced and seasoned banking litigation teams in the City’. The firm recently launched a corporate crime practice in London through the hire of Covington & Burling LLP partner and former Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecutor Robert Amaee; other key hires included Macfarlanes LLP’s former financial services head David Berman. The firm is highly experienced in banking disputes, including lender-liability actions; disputes between loan participants; actions arising out of letters of credit and other forms of commercial paper, commercial and residential foreclosure actions; and loan fraud matters. It is also expert in disputes relating to complex financial products, such as collateralised debt obligations (CDOs), credit default swaps and all types of derivatives. The practice acted for one of the designated lead claimant groups in the £4bn RBS rights issue litigation; this was the first material case before the courts in relation to section 90 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). Alex Gerbi is ‘a quite brilliant litigator, who is absolutely committed to clients’; Ted Greeno is ‘immensely experienced’; Sue Prevezer QC is ‘incredibly charming and has an unerring sense of the strengths and weaknesses of a case’; Robert Hickmott is ‘supremely impressive’; and Nick Marsh is ‘a real street fighter’. Other recommended names are Richard East, and Matthew Bunting. Khaled Khatoun was made partner, while Martin Davies departed for Latham & Watkins.

RPC’s ‘lawyers are excellent and they are always at hand to explain complex legal points’. The firm’s scope of work includes disputes involving corporate bonds, hybrid products, complex structured investment products, loan facilities, and fraud. It has also been involved with increasing amounts of insolvency and restructuring work. The practice represented Bank St Petersburg (BSP) in proceedings against an oligarch and his wife, to enforce personal guarantees in support of loans to companies that were owned or controlled by the oligarch. It also acted for Kaupthing in claims regarding transactions entered into before its collapse in 2008, including its buy-back of a large number of bonds. Department head and ‘true star’ Tom Hibbert is ‘a giant in this field’; and the ‘very effective operator’ Parham Kouchikali ‘has client skills as smooth as velvet’. Simon Hart specialises in banking disputes, financial markets litigation and restructuring disputes, as well as regulatory and internal corporate investigations; Andy McGregor has extensive experience of disputes arising from structured finance and derivatives, including CDOs and credit default swaps. Davina Given is also a key contact.

Simmons & Simmons’ international financial markets litigation group focuses exclusively on contentious work for financial institutions and asset managers; the team was recently involved in significant issues such as LIBOR, FX benchmarking, interest rate swap mis-selling for major high street banks, and PPI, as well as ongoing market events such as Lehman-related issues. The practice fields specialised dispute teams in asset management, investment and retail banking, private wealth, and contentious regulatory matters and investigations. It acted for RBS in an alleged EURIBOR manipulation dispute, arising out of a €2bn real estate finance transaction; it also acted for a Swiss private bank in its claim against a fraudster company and individual, which involved complex jurisdictional issues. Team head Robert Turner, along with Richard Bunce are highly rated; Caroline Hunter-Yeats is ‘great - always calm and charming, even under pressure’; Colin Passmore ‘has supreme command of commercial litigation issues’; Ed Crosse is recommended for enforcement, default and counterparty disputes, arising out of securitisations, structured products, asset financing and derivatives. Richard Sims heads the contentious regulatory practice; Tim Boyce advises financial institutions on regulatory investigations, major banking disputes and fraud claims. Other notable advisers are Robert Allen, Marc Thorley, Emma Sutcliffe and Alexander Thavenot.

Stewarts Law LLP has ‘a well-deserved reputation as one of the pre-eminent disputes practices’. The largest litigation-only law firm in the UK and one of the few London firms able to accept instructions against major banks and financial institutions, it is regularly involved in some of the most significant, complex, large-scale cases before the English courts. Key growth in the practice included the recruitment of Ian Gatt QC, the former head of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s advocacy unit; and David Hughes, who joined from Dechert LLP to expand the fraud practice. The team acted for 313 claimants in the headline group litigation against RBS in respect of its 2008 £12bn rights issue; it also acted for the liquidators of Kaupthing in a €500m claim against Deutsche Bank, arising from the sale of complex banking derivatives. Other matters saw the team defend a multinational automotive components manufacturing group against a claim for breach of a loan facility by a syndicate of five banks. Department head Clive Zietman is ‘a superb lawyer and a real rain maker’; Sean Upson is ‘a stellar disputes partner with a tireless and prolific work ethic’; Marc Jones is ‘very popular with clients’; Fiona Gillett is ‘determined’; and Keith Thomas and Paul Brehony are also highly rated.

Travers Smith LLP is ‘a great firm that handles very large-scale banking litigation’. The practice is highly regarded for its handling of complex, technical banking disputes, relating to share and money transfers, breaches of mandate and the operation of the CHAPS system, and cheques and other instruments. It is also noted for disputes involving allegations of fraudulent activity and instructions arising out of the global financial crisis, involving trades in derivatives and collateralised debt obligations. The team acted for LBIE in a headline dispute with ExxonMobil, which arose from LBIE’s entry into administration; the case involved complex issues surrounding the construction of securities repurchase agreements, the extent of a non-defaulting counterparty’s discretion when valuing securities and bonds, and the proper valuation of a portfolio of equities and bonds. Department head Stephen Paget-Brown ‘has enormous experience and his strategic vision is very good’; Jan-Jaap Baer is ‘very bright and hard working’; Caroline Edwards is ‘brilliant, tough and charming in equal measure’; Rob Fell is ‘very good for multi-faceted, complex cases, particularly ones with regulatory angles’; Huw Jenkin is ‘a very hands-on partner, who is all over the details of a case’; Andrew King has ‘very good judgement and handles difficult clients and difficult matters beautifully’; and Toby Robinson is ‘first rate’.

Addleshaw Goddard is ‘a leading firm with a strong presence in banking litigation’ that is recommended for derivatives and structured products litigation, and the firm’s contentious financial services lawyers complement its strengths in banking litigation, fraud, and corporate crime. The team acted for RBS in a redemption action under a fixed-rate loan, which was made available to a property development syndicate; and having successfully defended Kommunale Wasserwerke Leipzig (KWL), the water authority for German city Leipzig, against high-value credit derivative claims brought by UBS in the Commercial Court, the team defended KWL against UBS’ appeal. The ‘highly respected’ department head Michael Barnett stands out for investment banking, derivatives and structured finance cases; Mark Gill is ‘one of the true heavyweights in the field’; Chris Brennan specialises in financial services regulatory matters, enforcements and disputes; and James Herring ‘has a clear strategic overview of claims’. Richard Clayton is also a key practitioner.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s ‘impressive team’ is well known for acting for hedge funds and other investment firms, with a particular focus on disputes in the distressed debt space and shareholder activism; the group also works alongside the firm’s restructuring practice in restructuring-related litigation. The practice acted for Obligo Investment Management (Obligo), a third party to High Court proceedings, which involved serious allegations of misuse of confidential information and concerned the conduct of Obligo’s former CEO. It also represented Cornwall Luxembourg in High Court litigation against International Game Technology (IGT), over IGT’s disputed liability to pay dividends. The ‘highly respected’ team head Mark Dawkins is recommended for complex, high-value disputes and investigations, often of a multi-jurisdictional nature; and Richard Hornshaw is ‘very good and clearly knows his subject’.

Baker McKenzie is recommended for its ability to act on large, complex cases and its client base includes the world’s largest and most prestigious financial institutions; the practice also benefits from a strong global platform. It has significant investigations capabilities and increasingly utilises international arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism in the financial sector. The team defended Dubai Islamic Bank (the Bank) against a $2bn-plus claim brought in the English Commercial Court by a Dubai-based property developer, which claim is based on allegations of breach of contract and breach of the Bank’s duties as mortgagee in possession of a large plot of land. Hugh Lyons is ‘very bright, tactically astute, and has an excellent bedside manner with clients, who justifiably respect and trust his advice’; and the ‘deeply experienced’ Jonathan Peddie advises clients, primarily in the banking and financial services sector, in relation to corporate investigations, regulatory enforcement, financial crime, and civil and criminal litigation. Edward Poulton is a key adviser.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP is ‘an excellent and well-regarded outfit’. The practice acts for top-tier financial institutions and much of its work is cross-border, including Nigeria, the US, Iceland, and much of continental Europe; it also offers an in-house forensic accounting unit, with a chartered accountant-led forensic services team. The group acted for Access Bank, one of the largest banks in Nigeria, in its successful claim against its former CEO and managing director, Erastus Oladipo Akingbola; this $1bn claim included allegations of misappropriation of the bank’s funds and the operation of an illegal share purchase scheme, as well as international enforcement action. Oliver Glynn-Jones is ‘an astute lawyer with excellent communication skills’; Oran Gelb ‘pays close attention to detail and is not afraid of the technical aspects of a case’; and Segun Osuntokun is also a key contact. Daren Allen left for Dentons.

CMS is ‘superb; it gives proactive, strategic advice that is delivered with continuity by a team with strength in depth’. The firm recently merged with Nabarro and Olswang; and its experience spans the full reach of banking litigation, including limitation of loss, trading of litigation rights, claims arising from insolvencies, constructive-trust style claims, and claims arising from breach of FSA regulations, in addition to representing clients in major Commercial Court disputes and High Court proceedings. Duncan Aldred leads the firm’s banking litigation team, dealing mainly with banking and insolvency professionals on contentious matters; and Guy Pendell is ‘recommended for his ‘excellent judgement, strategic thinking and client-focused advice’. Alison McHaffie specialises exclusively in contentious regulatory matters, with a particular focus on the banking sector. Maxine Cupitt, Omar Qureshi and Phil Woodfield are also highly rated. Gemma Lampert in Edinburgh is recommended for financial services contentious advice.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is ‘a top-class firm, which marries a well-staffed London office with top quality lawyers in New York, Washington DC and Belgium’. It acts for major financial institutions in high-value, sensitive and complex cross-border banking litigation matters; and work involving financial and banking regulatory investigations and enforcements feature heavily in the firm’s London practice. It also has knowledge of banking litigation specialisms, such as swap transactions disputes, benchmark investigations, freezing injunctions and insolvency disputes, and it has significant strength in complex cross-border disputes. The team acted for Goldman Sachs International in connection with the Waterfall II Court hearings, commenced by LBIE (in administration); the proceedings related to the interpretation of the term ‘cost of funding’ and its implications for the recoverability of funds owed to creditors. It also successfully continued to act for Dexia Crediop in proceedings brought against multiple Italian municipalities, regarding derivatives transactions. Jonathan Kelly is ‘a seasoned operator’; Sunil Gadhia’s practice focuses on English and international disputes, investigatory and enforcement work; and David Sabel ‘has a very sharp legal mind and is able to digest large complex issues’. Christopher Moore is also highly regarded.

Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP ‘provides alternative cost-effective options combined with strong and niche expertise’. The practice acts on high-value complex banking dispute work, handling domestic and multi-jurisdictional matters for both corporate and private clients. The team is particularly well known for acting against the banks and its client base includes international hedge funds and substantial property developers, as well as HNW individuals. It acted for Les O’Hare and Jan O’Hare in their claim for substantial damages for the alleged mis-selling of investment products by their former financial advisers, Coutts & Co. Philip Young is ‘very able, highly intelligent and extremely imaginative; he combines pure legal ability with outstanding commercial and strategic judgment’; and Marc Keidan is ‘an irrepressible character whose litigation instincts are always spot on’. Sinead O’Callaghan and Stephen Elam are also key advisers; and civil fraud specialist Daniel Burbeary, who was recently made up to partner, joined from King & Wood Mallesons, while Philip Rubens joined Teacher Stern LLP.

DLA Piper is well known for cross-border mandates; the practice regularly acts for top-tier clients in their most important and high-profile disputes in the financial services sector. It acted for Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) (SCBHK) and Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad in a dispute which arose from the attempted alleged wrongful misappropriation of $140m of secured assets from SCBHK in Tanzania, which security was provided for SCBHK’s investment in a local power plant; it also continued to advise RBS in over 160 swaps mis-selling cases. Jean-Pierre Douglas-Henry, who ‘picks up issues very fast and is brilliant with clients’, is the UK litigation and regulatory group head; Jeremy Andrews has a particular focus on banking and funds litigation, contentious trusts, and fraud and asset tracing matters; Jamie Curle is ‘very bright and runs cases very effectively’; Tony Katz focuses on cross-border disputes involving the highest risk regulatory issues; and Sam Millar’s focus is on regulatory work for financial institutions and global investigations. Paul Smith was promoted to partner.

Dentons ‘runs cases efficiently’. The practice recently hired Daren Allen as business crime and investigations head from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP and Celyn Armstrong joined from Linklaters LLP, where he was counsel in its financial regulation group. The financial markets disputes group represents financial institutions in complex, high-profile disputes and investigations, and it has been especially active in swaps and mis-selling cases. Other areas of expertise include wholesale banking disputes relating to letters of credit; fraud, money laundering, corruption and compliance; and professional negligence. On the investment banking side, the firm fields specialists in structured products, including credit-linked notes; and equity and commodity derivatives. Highlights included successfully acting for RBS in a high-profile derivatives mis-selling case. Richard Caird is ‘very experienced and gives good counsel’; Felicity Ewing specialises in financial services disputes and contentious regulatory matters; and Thomas Leyland has particular expertise in advising major financial institutions on high-profile, complex, High Court disputes and related appeals, as well as all forms of alternative dispute resolution. Sam Coulthard joined the FCA as a technical specialist.

Enyo Law LLP is ‘an outstanding firm with a strong, deep bench’. It has a no-conflicts model and specialises in very large, complex international banking disputes; its client base includes hedge funds, private equity firms, corporations, CIS oligarchs, states, state-owned entities and HNW individuals from around the world. The team acted for the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) in a high-value claim, relating to nine large long-dated complex financial derivative transactions, which the LIA entered into with Goldman Sachs. It also assisted Bank of Portugal (BOP) with the successful intervention in a case, which had been lost at first instance by Novo Banco; the dispute related to a BOP decision not to transfer an $835m facility, made available to the now-collapsed Banco Espirito Santo, to Novo Banco. Simon Twigden is ‘a superb senior partner to have on any case’; George Maling is ‘a very good litigator’; Anna Maxwell is ‘a first-class litigator’; Pietro Marino is ‘very commercial and gets good results’; and Edward Allen is ‘a seriously hard working, bright lawyer with very strong ethics and real determination’. Jonathan Brook is also highly rated.

Latham & Watkins grew its practice through the recruitment of Stuart Alford QC from the UK Serious Fraud Office, where he was responsible for many of the UK’s landmark white-collar cases; and Martin Davies, who acts in banking and financial litigation and fraud cases, and who joined the firm from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP. The group acts in complex, high-value disputes, frequently with a cross-border element and its clients are leading institutional clients. It defended Samba Financial Group (Samba), one of the largest Saudi Arabian financial groups, against claims regarding trust assets that were allegedly transferred to Samba. Oliver Browne and Philip Clifford are highly respected names; and Jumana Rahman, who has specific expertise in resolving finance and fund-related disputes in offshore jurisdictions, and Dan Smith, who represents clients in high-value disputes, particularly in the financial services sector, are key counsels. Simon Bushell departed for Signature Litigation LLP.

Reed Smith LLP ‘has excellent strength in depth and proactively and responsibly deals with conflicts’. Nick Brocklesby is recommended for significant litigation relating to complex financial products, at both first instance and Court of Appeal level, while Charles Hewetson advises financial institutions on disputes with other financial institutions and customers, and complaints and proceedings brought by financial regulators. The team recently acted for various special-purpose vehicles, as issuers of a series of CMBS transactions, in litigation surrounding the calculation of interest due on Class X notes. Other key names include Ben Summerfield, who ‘manages his team well, so as to bring out the best in everyone and ensure that the task at hand is completed efficiently’, Richard Spafford and Tom Webley.

Signature Litigation LLP’s ‘very responsive, strong team’ grew when the firm recruited Simon Bushell, Ioannis Alexopoulos, who ‘has great experience, clear thinking and iron logic’, and Josh Wong from Latham & Watkins, Bryan Cave and DLA Piper, respectively. The firm ‘provides a high level of service’ and has a strong focus on large, complex and often cross-border cases, with its client base including banks and other financial institutions, multinational corporations, and individuals. The team acted for one of the three lead groups of RBS shareholders in claims against RBS, pursuant to FSMA’s section 90 and in relation to RBS’ failed 2008 rights issue. It also represented property company Desiman in its claim against Bank of Scotland, HBOS Treasury Services and Lloyds Bank for mis-selling of LIBOR-referenced interest rate swaps, breach of implied representations and wrongful appointment of administrative receivers. Graham Huntley is ‘one of the doyens of the London litigation market’; Abdulali Jiwaji ‘has a very good appreciation of the commercial nature of litigation’; Daniel Spendlove ‘immerses himself in clients’ cases and takes a hands-on approach which reaps dividends’; and Natalia Chumak ‘manages to secure favourable outcomes for clients in cases that seem hopeless’. Other notable advisers are Julian Connerty, Adam Rooney and Hermes Marangos.

Stephenson Harwood is ‘very strong across all service areas and all its team members are very diligent and attentive’. Much of the practice’s work involves multiple jurisdictions; its clients include global and state banks, hedge funds, investment companies and sovereign wealth funds. It works closely with the firm’s financial services and regulation team, and regularly advises on issues such as alleged interest rate benchmarking, FX fixing and mis-selling. It also advises on bank insolvencies and professional negligence matters regarding financial institutions. Recent matters saw the group act for the administrator of an insolvent Latvian bank (LKB) in two sets of high-value High Court proceedings against LKB’s former owner, which involved allegations of fraud and a worldwide freezing order and search order. It also acted for Raiffeisen Bank International in a dispute concerning the valuation (following default) of certain bond repurchase and stock lending transactions; the claim raised complex issues, such as interpretation of the close-out valuation mechanics, the meaning of fair market value, and service of default notices by fax. Sue Millar has a particular strength in investment and commercial banking disputes; Edward Davis is ‘a brilliant litigator and a sharp legal mind’; John Fordham is ‘an impressive litigator’; Richard Garcia is ‘always informed and informative’; and Donna Newman, who ‘provides thoughtful advice’, made partner. Richard Gwynne is also highly rated.

White & Case LLP promoted Amanda Cowell, who acts for banking clients in commercial litigation and domestic and international arbitration, and Joanna Dimmock, who has broad experience across a wide range of white-collar areas, to the partnership. The practice acts predominantly for investment banks in disputes concerning financial products, complex transactions, restructuring and high-profile regulatory investigations. Charles Balmain ‘has a superior grasp of complex issues’; Jonathan Pickworth has particular expertise in assisting with regulatory and enforcement matters and handling internal investigations; and a multi-office team, led by John Reynolds, advised Deutsche Bank in investigations by multiple regulators into potential failings in anti-money laundering, and related systems and controls. The team also acted for VTB Capital, a UK-regulated bank, in a complex fraud-based dispute; this arose from the enforcement of a share pledge, which was given as security for a €150m loan. Jason Yardley exited for Jenner & Block LLP.

Bird & Bird LLP’s ‘strong, pragmatic and commercial practice’ increasingly acts in large, highly complex disputes across a range of sectors. The team represented Property Alliance Group, as claimant property investor and developer, which alleged that the defendant bank had mis-sold four interest rate swaps, acted improperly in relation to fixing LIBOR, and breached a customer agreement regarding the transfer and management of its banking relationship to another legal entity within the bank. Michael Brown advises on collateralised debt obligation and derivative disputes; syndicated facilities and the enforcement of security; electronic payment and clearing disputes; mis-selling and misrepresentation claims; and trade finance disputes. Jeremy Sharman is a key contact and Sophie Eyre has Russia and CIS and Middle East-related fraud experience. Steven Baker departed for Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.

‘A great firm for large, document-heavy cases’, Clyde & Co LLP ‘does an outstanding job’ in representing major banks and financial institutions, corporations and individuals in complex banking litigation, including significant cross-border cases; the practice has particular experience in derivatives cases, including those involving International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) documentation, and it is increasingly involved in cases concerning LIBOR and other interest rate swap issues. The team acted for CBRE, the first defendant valuer and the world’s largest property services firm, in a claim concerning the alleged over-valuation of a large portfolio of commercial properties; the case involved novel legal arguments regarding valuation and limitation issues, but also involved the recoverability of losses attributable to an interest rate swap agreement and the impact of the securitisation on the ability of the issuer of the notes to recover alleged losses. Neil Jamieson, James Cooper and Andrew Foster are highly rated, and Helen Rowlands was promoted to partner.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s ‘highly energetic, innovative and client-focused practice’ welcomed Mariafrancesca De Leo, who has a particular focus on financial services litigation and regulatory investigations, to the London team from the firm’s Milan office, while Veronique Marquis transferred to the Hong Kong office. The practice covers all aspects of contentious civil, criminal and regulatory work for the firm’s major financial institution client base. Highlights included advising Law Debenture Trust Corporation on litigation, arising from its involvement as a bond trustee in five sets of bonds; the case involved complex issues of statutory and contractual interpretation. Matthew Allen is ‘thoughtful, driven and client focused’; Andrew Legg is ‘highly experienced and has a good eye for litigation and the pitfalls of a complex legal area’; David Flack ‘leverages his experience as an in-house lawyer and his consequent understanding of the client mentality very well’; and Jennifer Miles is also well regarded.

Fieldfisher ‘has a very strong litigation practice, with a number of top-end practitioners’. The firm has a substantial client base in the German-speaking and Nordic regions, and increasingly acts in matters that combine litigation with insolvency or contentious regulatory issues. The team acted for the liquidator of Lehman Brothers Finance in a claim against Belgian bank, KBC Bank, in relation to derivative transactions entered into under the 1992 edition of the ISDA master agreement. Andrew Lafferty recently advised several major European banks on significant structured finance products claims; Duncan Black’s practice covers litigation and contentious regulatory matters for banks, asset managers and broker dealers, and his work frequently involves jurisdictions such as Cayman and Jersey; and the ‘engaged and committed’ Kit Jarvis is ‘impressively tough and determined’.

Jones Day is ‘a smart, responsive and skilful practice’, which acts for financial institutions, corporations, banks and funds across jurisdictions and regulatory regimes. The team represented Alpha Bank London in stakeholder proceedings, concerning the entitlement to funds within a joint account and the alleged removal of funds by forgery; it also defended Evans Randall against group litigation claims for misrepresentation and mis-selling. Department head and ‘very experienced litigator’ Sion Richards is ‘a class act’; Lucas Moore is ‘calm and collected, and commands the confidence of clients and the respect of opponents’; and Stephen Pearson is ‘an adept and agile litigator’. Other highly regarded names include Harriet Territt, who focuses on complex financial disputes, often involving structured products, securitised assets or new financial technology; and Adam Brown, whose focus is on multi-jurisdictional investigations and complex financial litigation.

Macfarlanes LLP’s ‘excellent group’ has significant client relationships with many UK and leading overseas retail and investment banks, and has a strong reputation for high-profile investment banking and financial services disputes. It also has expertise in sensitive City-based and cross-border investigations and regulatory matters, and acts in financial crime matters, such as bribery, money laundering and sanctions. The practice continued to act for The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) and BBA LIBOR in investigations by the FCA into the alleged manipulation by multiple banks of the LIBOR interest rate benchmark. Other significant work saw the team represent Hypothekenbank in the recovery of a €150m loan, which involved claims in London under both a master loan facility and Islamic finance facilities, as well as enforcement over assets in the Czech Republic. Barry Donnelly is ‘extremely intelligent, diligent and perceptive of how to advance his clients’ cases’; Dan Lavender is ‘an excellent practitioner’; Lois Horne ‘sees all the angles for the client and thinks several moves ahead’; and Matt McCahearty is an experienced practitioner. James Popperwell was made partner.

Mishcon de Reya LLP’s ‘level of service greatly impresses; response times are second to none; and the advice received is always relevant and well thought out’. The firm grew the practice through the recruitment of Genevieve Quierin, who is focused on banking and finance disputes and regulatory investigations; and Nicola Bridge, who specialises in cases involving allegations of fraud, deceit and misappropriation, from Humphries Kerstetter LLP and King & Wood Mallesons, respectively. The group is regularly instructed in large finance disputes, particularly in the private equity and hedge funds space. It acted for a number of members of the RBS Action Group in the group litigation claim against RBS, regarding its 2008 rights issue.Masoud Zabeti, who is ‘bright, focused and experienced, and a committed street-fighter’, focuses on complex investment and retail banking litigation and arbitration, and regulatory matters; Derval Walsh, whose ‘extensive knowledge of law is vital in making cases’, has considerable expertise in property acquisition finance disputes; Adam Epstein defends clients against the financial services regulatory bodies; and Michael Armstrong specialises in contentious finance and banking, particularly in the area of fraud, recoveries and insolvency. Other notable names include James Oldnall, Richard Leedham and Mohammed Khamisa QC.

Shearman & Sterling LLP acts for financial institution clients in the full spectrum of contentious matters, including domestic and international litigation, and regulatory inquiries and investigations. London litigation group head Jo Rickard’s experience includes acting for Robert Tchenguiz in relation to a claim for damages against the SFO, and Susanna Charlwood has significant experience in contentious matters arising from insolvency and restructuring contexts; Charlwood has assisted with numerous internal investigations into corruption concerns, including advising on exposure under the UK Bribery Act and representing parties in dealings with the SFO.

Taylor Wessing LLP has worked on a number of significant instructions against investment banks, and the practice is recommended for its experience in disputes involving derivatives, CDOs, funds and structured products. It also frequently acts for retail and private banks in defending mis-selling actions; advises HNW individuals in potential mis-selling actions against banks; and advises banks on regulatory issues, arising out of potential failures of the systems and controls regarding the sale of financial products. The practice is also noted for complex, cross-border financial frauds; and it assists foreign-headquartered commercial banks, particularly in relation to India, the Middle East and Germany, with their UK disputes. Recent highlights include advising boutique investment bank Arundel Group in a case involving allegations of negligent investment advice, negligent mis-statement and breach of trust. Shane Gleghorn ‘always goes the extra mile for his clients’, and Laurence Lieberman specialises in the investigation and resolution of financial disputes and regulatory investigations. Tim Strong, Stephen Flaherty and Emma Allen are key advisers. David McCluskey joined from Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP, bringing financial crime expertise.

Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP fields ‘skilled dispute strategists who are tenacious at achieving the best results for their clients’. The team stands out for handling complex, cross-border banking litigation matters, with particular transatlantic strength. It advised Barclays Bank, as holder of the most senior notes in two similar securitisation structures, in proceedings before the English Courts, seeking declarations that events of default had occurred. Managing partner and banking litigation leader Natasha Harrison, who is ‘a first-rate litigation strategist and much loved by her top-tier clients’, acts for financial institutions, including hedge funds, investment banks and money managers in high-stakes disputes. Recently promoted partner and ‘superstar’ Fiona Huntriss, who is ‘a great strategic thinker who combines hard work with sound judgment and first-rate client management skills’, acts for financial institutions in litigation, involving distressed debt investments, securitisations, bank wind-downs, international insolvencies, complex financial arrangements, and sovereign debt.

Brown Rudnick LLP’s ‘work is always of the highest quality’. The firm fields lawyers who are recommended for cross-border civil, criminal and regulatory expertise. Highlights included acting for Threadneedle Asset Management in its defence of a $125m claim in the English High Court by a foreign bank, which includes allegations of fraud, deceit and vicarious liability. Neill Shrimpton is ‘a first-rate lawyer’; Neil Micklethwaite has over 25 years of experience in handling complex litigation and regulatory investigations; Jane Colston represents clients in complex, high-value fraud and commercial banking disputes; and Christian Toms has particular experience in complex financial disputes, arising from investment banking and funds work. London and Paris-based Nicholas Tse is a key adviser.

Collyer Bristow LLP is best known for conflict-free litigation against banks. The practice handles disputes involving complex products and financial structures, including claims relating to derivatives; benchmark manipulation; assignment of bank debts; distressed debt trading; syndicated lending; structured finance; securitisation; and unregulated collective investment schemes. The team acted for Secure Capital, a Luxembourg investment vehicle, in Commercial Court proceedings against Credit Suisse, which alleged breach of warranty, misrepresentation and breach of the FSA principles of business. Stephen Rosen ‘has superb client-handling skills’; Janine Alexander ‘possesses a ferocious intellect and is tactically very astute’; Robin Henry focuses on financial markets work and distressed debt; and Richard Viegas, who is experienced in banking disputes, joined from Bristows LLP as partner.

DaySparkes is ‘an excellent boutique firm’ that litigates an increasing number of high-value, complex disputes. It recently acquired significant experience in securitisation-based disputes; a high-profile example included the team’s advice to two Hayfin Capital Management funds, which are the beneficial owners of a Class X note, in their claims against the issuer, note trustee and cash manager of a CMBS for the recovery of significant underpayments of interest. Michael Sparkes ‘quickly cuts through difficult legal problems and presents them in a commercial way’; and John Day ‘has excellent instincts when it comes to litigation and a very good way with clients’.

Humphries Kerstetter LLP is ‘a boutique litigation firm which offers pragmatic, commercially focused advice’. It has a strong banking and financial services client base, acting for investment banks, private equity houses and fund management companies; and it is particularly focused on banking disputes. It is also highly experienced in managing international disputes and has growing expertise in investigations. It acted for WH Smith High Street and other WH Smith group companies in private enforcement follow-on and stand-alone actions, which related to multilateral interchange fees paid by WH Smith on Visa and MasterCard card transactions. Mark Humphries ‘understands clients’ commercial objectives and is always focused on getting a good practical outcome’; Christopher Braithwaite is ‘recommended for his calm and efficient handling of difficult issues’; and Kristopher Kerstetter is a key contact. Genevieve Quierin departed for Mishcon de Reya LLP.

‘Always taken seriously by the very big players’, Kingsley Napley LLP’s ‘litigators are very well prepared and research cases in order to put their clients in the best position.’ The conflict-free practice regularly acts on behalf of both individuals and corporate entities in claims against banks, financial advisers and other investment bodies for negligence and breach of contract; the team has particular experience in investor and mis-selling claims, fraud-related disputes and misrepresentations. Representative experience includes advising on disputes involving banking instruments and facilities, and a range of complex financial products, including guarantees, letters of credit, loan agreements and facilities, derivatives, interest rate swaps and other CDOs; the group also advises on corporate investigations. Richard Foss ‘gives excellent client care and is very proactive, creative and easy to work with’; Fiona Simpson is ‘very measured in her approach and an extremely safe pair of hands’; and Gerard Cukier is also highly rated. Sue Thackeray, Howard Kennedy LLP’s former commercial litigation head, joined the firm; Thackeray is ‘a commercially astute, star litigator, who is very focused on clients’ needs’.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is ‘absolutely brilliant; it is a very tight team, which is exceptionally well led and well motivated’. The practice acts for significant financial institutions and has particular cross-border experience. It defended Visa and Visa International Service Association against multiple sets of High Court proceedings for alleged infringements of English, Irish and European competition law, regarding multilateral interchange fees for the use of Visa-branded debit and credit cards. Practice head and co-managing partner of the London office Julian Stait is ‘simply superb; he is one of the best litigators around and stays exceptionally close to the detail without ever losing sight of the bigger picture’; Charles Evans is ‘calm and an expert in contentious regulatory matters’; and Tom Canning is ‘excellent to work with and establishes great relationships with clients’.

Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP is ‘always available and gives sensible, level-headed advice’. The practice handles complex, cross-border financial crime, corruption and bribery investigations, as well as high-profile white-collar crime investigations into LIBOR, Forex and gold market manipulation, including a significant number of high-stakes FCA and SFO matters. The team played a lead role in advising the Icelandic administrators of Landsbanki on two matters, including a successful £30m asset recovery and High Court action against high-profile retailer Kevin Stanford. Jonathan Wheeler is ‘a very determined litigator’; Kevin Roberts is ‘a superb lawyer, who is technically excellent and extremely pragmatic’; and Paul Friedman is a key practitioner.

PCB Litigation LLP is ‘an excellent boutique that is commercially minded and sensitive to clients’ objectives’. The practice is generally conflict-free and can act against the major UK banks; it is best known for fraud and asset-recovery cases. A significant proportion of the firm’s recent work related to banks, which frequently involved the enforceability of loans and the security granted in respect of those loans, including high-profile work for Russian and CIS banks. Highlights included representing TPG Capital, and related individuals and companies, in a liquidators’ claim that a refinancing ultimately caused huge losses to bond holders. Anthony Riem ‘gives sensible and measured advice’; Trevor Mascarenhas has ‘strong business acumen and gives appropriate advice’; and Steven Philippsohn is also highly rated. Other key contacts include Nick Ractliff and Jon Felce.

Pinsent Masons LLP ‘provides good communication channels and working relationships, and the team reacts quickly to new cases’. The firm’s clients include multinational insurance companies and UK and foreign banks, and the practice’s scope of work includes derivatives mis-selling claims; professional negligence; consumer credit and payment protection insurance claims; fraud; and contentious insolvency. The team acted for Novo Banco (NB), a Portuguese bridge bank, in an $850m claim, further to a facility agreement entered into by NB’s predecessor, Banco Espirito Santo. Stuart McNeill is investment banking litigation head; Edinburgh-based Jim Cormack is banking and finance litigation head; and Michael Fenn is a key adviser. Other notable practitioners include Alan Sheeley, who is ‘a star when it comes to litigation and the right partner for a tough case’; Joanne Gillies, who ‘has a good understanding of clients’ business’; and recently promoted legal director Michael Hawthorne, who ‘grasps the complexities of a case extremely quickly’. Richard Twomey joined DWF.

Sidley Austin LLP is recommended for ‘great response times, quality of advice and the ability to analyse legal questions in the context of a client’s business’. The practice is highly rated for disputes in the structured finance and derivatives fields; it is also experienced in anti-bribery, corruption and sanctions-related issues. The team acted for Credit Suisse Asset Management, as claimant and appellant, in claims concerning the calculation of interest on notes, issued by the first respondent as part of a CMBS. Dorothy Cory-Wright, who heads the firm’s London-based dispute resolution practice, is ‘a big name and personality and very well respected’; and Matthew Shankland has ‘lots of experience and a sharp mind’ and is ‘a top litigator’. Shankland was recently involved in significant finance-related cases in the UK, concerning structured finance and derivatives transactions. Simon Fawell ‘comprehends matters quickly and is a strong strategic thinker’. The ‘star performer’ Andrew Fox, who has particular experience of issues arising out of major insolvent estates, was made partner.

Squire Patton Boggs specialises in commercial and financial fraud investigations, including employee fraud, and the team has extensive experience in obtaining freezing injunctions, search and seizure orders, bankers’ trust orders, delivery-up orders, and tracing claims. UK head of litigation Laurence Winston heads the firm’s CIS fraud initiative, which predominantly involves acting for banks and other financial institutions on fraud and tracing issues arising from Russia, Ukraine and other CIS countries. Gareth Timms has extensive experience in obtaining injunctive and ancillary relief, and specialises in asset-tracing disputes and fraud-related work; Robert Weekes is London office managing partner; and Chris Webber is a banking and fraud litigation specialist.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP ‘offers extraordinary quality and the team is clever and hardworking’. The banking litigation practice acts in complex, high-value, international disputes, and is a natural offshoot of the firm’s significant finance work, particularly regarding asset and trade finance. It acted for Lehman Brothers Finance (in bankruptcy) in a claim arising out of the calculation of loss under the 1992 ISDA master agreement. Andrew Savage is ‘a standout litigator who knows his stuff’; Andrew Ward, who is ‘very thorough and committed and has a hands-on approach to clients’, has particular maritime expertise; and Andrew Hutcheon and James Penn are also highly rated. Maritime litigator Charles Buss, who recently returned to the London office from Athens, regularly acts for lenders in relation to foreclosures and disputes with borrowers, syndicates and third parties.

Burges Salmon LLP’s scope of work includes representing banks in disputes involving facilities, derivatives, securitisations, acquisition finance, investment funds and professional negligence; insolvency advice and loan recovery; and the mis-selling of financial products. The team also advises financial services providers on FSA enquiries, investigations and enforcement proceedings; and investigations and proceedings relating to fraud, money laundering, sanctions, and bribery and corruption. The group acted for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in payment protection insurance claims. Bristol-based dispute resolution head David Hall, Kari McCormick and Andrew Burnette are the names to note.

DAC Beachcroft LLP handles complex, high-value disputes in the financial sector that frequently involve international dimensions. The team defended a former Deutsche Bank employee against the SFO’s case for alleged manipulation of the EURIBOR benchmark rate; it also acted for Irish Banking Resolution Corporation (In special Liquidation) (IBRC) in mis-selling claims, made against IBRC in the Commercial Court by five investors in a £70m UK property investment. National practice area head John Bramhall, London practice head Jonathan Brogden and Matthew Wescott are the key names.

Dechert LLP recruited Stephen Surgeoner to its London litigation practice from Clifford Chance LLP. Surgeoner acts in investigations and has particular insurance and reinsurance expertise. David Hughes joined Stewarts Law LLP. The practice is particularly noted for its handling of sensitive cross-border investigations; and Adam Silver is ‘a very astute and intelligent litigator, who has good judgement and a range of experience’.

Fladgate LLP’s ‘level of service is exemplary’. The practice advises both banks and banking clients, and is frequently instructed on international banking disputes. It also acts for HNW individuals and businesses against banks for mis-selling; and assists with property industry-related banking disputes. The team represented the issuer of $200m foreign currency convertible bonds in three separate Commercial Court actions, which were brought by bondholders; these matters involved issues such as declaratory relief and share price manipulation. Steven Mash is ‘highly charming and one of the industry leaders in terms of dynamic fee arrangements’; and Bree Taylor is ‘insightful, cost-efficient and great at counselling on cases’ risks and rewards’. Simon Ekins, Simon Brew and Alexander Wildschütz are also highly regarded. Paul Howcroft retired from the practice.

Gowling WLG’s ‘outstanding team’ frequently acts in high-profile regulatory matters, including LIBOR and FX cases; the practice is also recommended for disputes involving structured finance, restructuring and fraud, as well as complex cross-border banking litigation. The team acted for First Peninsula Trustees and Port of Hercules Trustees, as defendants to claims relating to two of the largest Madoff feeder funds. James Sidwell has extensive experience in banking and finance litigation, as well as contentious regulatory matters; and Catherine Naylor was promoted to director; she has a particular focus on complex multi-jurisdictional cases.

Harcus Sinclair LLP’s ‘team is outstanding at providing the required levels of service’. The practice specialises in bringing actions against banks on behalf of large groups of claimants; and the firm’s clients include retail shareholders and investors, stockbrokers, investment management businesses, hedge funds, and the trustees of pension funds. It acted for a large group of shareholders in pursuing claims against Sir Victor Blank, other former directors of Lloyds TSB (the Bank), and the Bank for recovery of losses further to the Bank’s acquisition of HBOS. Damon Parker’s ‘friendly but steely demeanour make him an excellent lawyer, and his skills and knowledge are exceptional’.

Hausfeld recently advised on disputes involving complex loan financings, derivatives transactions and wider banking misconduct; the team also pursued various insolvency applications. Other areas for the team include litigating high-profile actions relating to securities and other investment products, including claims involving LIBOR, Forex and other benchmark manipulations. Anthony Maton is ‘technically strong and has the sharpest eye for a commercial deal’; Lianne Craig is ‘very calm under fire and always has workable solutions to thorny problems’; and John McElroy ‘has a great feel for the ebb and flow of litigation and the timing of playing one’s strongest cards’.

K&L Gates LLP is recommended for banking-related professional negligence disputes; real estate finance claims; structured finance litigation; white-collar and regulatory-related investigations, including LIBOR and FX investigations; and insurance coverage advisory work and associated banking sector disputes. The practice acted for US Bank Trustees in proceedings issued by a Class X note holder that involved the alleged miscalculation of the interest rate. John Magnin is ‘a very responsible partner’, and Anne McCarthy, Robert Hadley, Sarah Turpin and Clare Tanner are also highly rated.

Locke Lord LLP’s ‘team is fast acting, with a no-nonsense approach’. Kevin Heath is recommended for asset finance and consumer credit disputes, with related expertise in insolvency-related litigation and e-money disputes; while Joanne Davis is experienced in asset finance, motor finance and consumer credit regulatory advice. The practice acted for Liberty Leasing in a dispute over monies payable in respect of art financing.

Royds LLP recently merged with Bath-headquartered Withy King to become Royds Withy King. The firm, which ‘takes a commercial perspective and tries to find solutions’, acts for international banks on default events, contractual disputes, and disputes with multi-jurisdictional dimensions. The practice has significant experience in realising assets through insolvency procedures, such as administrations, liquidations and receiverships; it also has particular expertise in acting for Indian Banks in the UK. Stewart Wilkinson is the key contact.

TLT’s City-based financial services disputes and investigations team is led by partners Andrew Lyon, whose experience includes professional negligence and fraud claims, product mis-selling claims and bank security issues, and Jake McQuitty, who is a former Barclays Bank head of investigations and enforcement. The team’s main focus is on retail, commercial and wholesale banking litigation and investigations; it successfully acted for Lloyds Banking Group in a high-profile case, which related to allegations of failing to provide advice to the borrower. Emily Benson heads the financial services regulation team and is a former senior member of FSA Enforcement; other key London partners include Russell Kelsall and Peter Richards-Gaskin.

Teacher Stern LLP is ‘a really gritty litigation outfit that is determined to chase down difficult points to maximise the prospects of victory’; it recently hired Philip Rubens from Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP as head of financial services dispute resolution. The team acted for several small- and medium-sized enterprises in cases against banks for mis-selling financial products; examples include its representation of Q.N. Hotels (Aylesbury) in claims that the Bank of Ireland sold it an unsuitable and inappropriate interest rate hedging product.

Wallace LLP has ‘careful and diligent lawyers, who have the confidence of their clients and counsel’. The practice is conflict free and able to litigate against banks and financial institutions. It has particular expertise in relation to issues involving breach of duty; contractual interpretation; breach of transactional documentation; contentious restructuring; and allegations of mis-selling, misconduct, misrepresentation, deceit and fraud. Alexander Weinberg ‘brings to the table an acute tactical and strategic sense’; Craig Thompson’s ‘ability to read the minds of the other side is uncanny’; and Oli Goldman ‘knows cases inside out’.

‘Excellent for large-scale claims against banks and financial institutions’, Withers LLP is ideally placed to act for international wealthy individuals and family businesses seeking redress for poor advice. The team also acts in prosecutions brought against individuals, and represents traders in FCA/SFO investigations in relation to LIBOR and FOREX. It advised Italy’s Provincia di Brescia on a claim by Dexia Crediop for declaratory relief in relation to interest rate swap transactions, pursuant to a 1992 ISDA master agreement. Andrew Wass is ‘calm, unflappable and distinguishes the wood from the trees in massive litigation’; and Christopher Coffin ‘leaves no stone unturned - he constantly probes arguments from different angles to identify their strengths and weaknesses’.


Commercial litigation

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Allen & Overy LLP is ‘the Rolls-Royce Phantom of commercial litigation – so smooth and precision-engineered that the production of unstoppable forward force seems effortless’. Historically associated with banking and financial services disputes, the 140-lawyer, London-based litigation team is increasingly known for its work for blue-chip corporations, particularly regarding high-end disputes. Many of its cases reach the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and, because most of them have international dimensions, the London team regularly works alongside one or more of the firm’s overseas offices. Examples include the London disputes team, together with colleagues in Hong Kong, Beijing and New York, successfully representing, an international hedge fund in relation to civil and criminal proceedings in several jurisdictions, which arose out of the theft of highly valuable confidential information and trading strategies by a former UK employee. The practice also successfully represented ING, as security agent, in worldwide litigation, arising from the collapse of the OWBunker Group, including a precedent-setting UK Supreme Court decision, which provided legal certainty for financiers that their security rights were being upheld. Commercial litigation head Lawson Caisley is ‘a very assured partner’; global dispute resolution head Tim House’s ‘integrity impresses’; Jonathan Hitchin’s ‘work is excellent’; and James Partridge ‘combines all the skills clients expect of a partner in his position’. Mona Vaswani and Alice Englehart are highly rated.

‘One of the best commercial litigation departments in the City’, Clifford Chance LLP is highly rated for acting in cases involving cross-border issues, multiple claims and parties, complex transactions and corporate structures, and high-value claims. Recent experience included advising clients from multiple sectors, such as aerospace and defence, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, insurance, technology, energy and utilities, private equity and consumer goods, as well as financial services. Highlights saw the team advise Citi in its successful defence of fraud claims, brought against it by Terra Firma following the 2007 public-to-private sale of EMI to Terra Firma; and in a high-profile, high-value dispute involving litigation and investigations on both sides of the Atlantic, the practice defended Autonomy founder, Dr Mike Lynch, against allegations of financial impropriety and misrepresentation that were made by Hewlett-Packard (HP), which acquired Lynch’s software company in 2011 for £6.8bn. Simon Davis is commercial litigation head; Jeremy Sandelson is ‘quite spectacular 104; Julian Acratopulo ‘has a very commercial approach to litigation’; Iain Roxborough has ‘a calm approach and gives incisive advice’; Philip Hill is ‘delightful and always thinking how best to win a case’; Maxine Mossman is ‘very clever and on top of every detail in a case’; Helen Carty is ‘an excellent lawyer’; and Christopher Yates is ‘unflappable, charming and able’. Roger Leese, Jeremy Kosky, Ian Moulding, Matthew Scully and Roger Best are also widely respected practitioners.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is highly rated for complex, cross-border commercial litigation and multi-jurisdictional issues. Representative highlights include successfully advising Deutsche Bank (DB) on its high-profile case against Sebastian Holdings, which involved defeating an $8bn counterclaim; obtaining a high-value judgment debt and costs award; and assisting DB in enforcing the judgment debt in the UK and abroad. The team also led the representation of the senior creditor group in the Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (in administration) Waterfall proceedings, which involved complex and novel banking and insolvency law issues, to determine the allocation of a £7bn surplus. The ‘meticulous litigator’ Simon Orton leads the financial institutions disputes group; and Patrick Swain’s experience includes advising on M&A-related and shareholder disputes, commercial fraud claims, professional negligence litigation, and contentious insolvency. Matthew Bruce, Geoff Nicholas and James Kennedy are also highly regarded litigators.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP ‘retains its enviable reputation for litigation’. The firm has one of the largest and most specialised commercial litigation practices in the UK, and it forms an integral part of a highly regarded global dispute resolution group. Kirsten Massey led the team defending RBS Group in actions brought by shareholder and investor groups in connection with the Group’s 2008 rights issue, which involved substantial disclosure and complex factual and legal issues. It also continued to act for Bernie Ecclestone in relation to a series of connected matters arising from the sale of Formula 1 shares by German bank, Bayerische Landesbank (BL), to US private equity firm, CVC Capital Partners, and subsequent payments made to an ex-employee of BL. Mark Shillito is UK and US disputes head and Alan Watts is UK commercial litigation head. Rupert Lewis is ‘commercially astute, excellent with clients and inspires loyalty in his team’; James Baily has ‘deserved gravitas’; and Gregg Rowan is ‘a first class-litigator’. Other key names are John Ogilvie, Damien Byrne Hill, Chris Bushell, Philip Carrington, Simon Clarke, Adam Johnson QC (who recently took silk), Alexander Oddy, John Whiteoak, Jeremy Garson, James Farrell, Gary Milner-Moore, and Neil Blake. The firm’s trusts and estates disputes head Richard Norridge, and James Doe, who focuses on infrastructure, construction and engineering project disputes, returned to the London office from Hong Kong and Seoul respectively, while former advocacy unit head Ian Gatt QC joined Stewarts Law LLP.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘team is exceptionally knowledgeable and proactive, and has a clear focus on achieving results for clients’. The practice advises on cases that are high-profile, high-value and precedent-setting, and the firm is well known for its global footprint and ability to co-ordinate advice from multiple jurisdictions. The team specialises in cases involving Russia and the CIS and has a distinct specialisation in corporate and commercial litigation in the life sciences sector. It acted for Victor Pinchuk in his long-running English High Court proceedings over the ownership of - and profits from - a Ukrainian iron ore mining company. Other matters saw the team act for BTA Bank in the English courts against its former chairman, who was proven effectively to have stolen over $6bn from the bank; this litigation has to date generated more than 100 hearings in England, as well as hearings in jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cyprus, Russia and Kazakhstan. Michael Davison’s work has a particular emphasis on Russian and CIS disputes, together with North Africa and the Middle East; Alex Sciannaca ‘has excellent understanding of commercial matters’; and Chris Hardman, Richard Lewis, Neil Mirchandani, Ivan Shiu and Angela Dimsdale Gill are also highly rated.

Linklaters LLP ‘provides a high-quality service’. The practice is recommended for high-profile, high-stakes disputes for leading corporations, businesses and banks that are legally novel, examples including complex contractual interpretation cases, joint venture disputes and claims arising from bribery allegations; the practice was recently involved in over 70 substantive hearings in a 12-month period across the breadth of its disputes practice specialisms. It advised Grant Thornton, as liquidators of various companies within the Saad group, in relation to a multi-jurisdictional alleged financial fraud, including a case in the Cayman Islands that involved a claim for the recovery of assets and damages worth approximately $9.2bn. Michael Bennett is the ‘reliably impressive’ global dispute resolution head; Satindar Dogra is London dispute resolution head; and Ben Carroll ‘provides first-class case management strategy and legal advice’. Kathryn Ludlow, Christa Band, Andrew Hughes, Nick Porter and Patrick Robinson are also highly rated. Other key names include Euan Clarke, Tom Lidstrom, Tom Cassels, Susan Roscoe and Harriet Ellis, along with Rory Conway and Ros Gallagher. Banking disputes expert Susana Cao Miranda joined from Goldman Sachs.

Slaughter and May’s ‘lawyers are all outcome oriented and deliver extraordinary service and results’. The practice is best known for high-stakes litigation and it has recently been involved in high-profile, multi-jurisdictional matters. The team acted for Banco Santander Totta in litigation in England, which arose out of interest rate swaps with publicly owned Portuguese companies; this was the first case to be tried in the Financial List. Other highlights saw the team act for National Bank of Abu Dhabi, one of the largest banks in the Middle East, in its claim against British Petroleum Oil International for the return of approximately $70m under a receivables financing agreement; this case was particularly significant as it was the first to proceed from start to finish under the shorter and flexible trials pilot scheme. Deborah Finkler heads the dispute resolution group. Recently promoted partner Richard Jeens ‘provides constant assurance to clients, explore all relevant different angles and add value to matters’; Sarah Lee is ‘capable and assured’; Richard Swallow is ‘very impressive’; Efstathios Michael ‘has total mastery of the detail’; and Jonathan Cotton is ‘very strong on cases with a financial crime or regulatory angle’. Other recommended litigators are Ewan Brown, James Stacey, Jonathan Clark, and Damian Taylor, who was also made partner. Elizabeth Barrett retired from the practice.

Ashurst’s ‘top-notch team provides response times that are excellent and it excels in its willingness to listen to clients’. Much of its disputes work falls within the scope of financial services, energy and resources, and infrastructure (including construction). The team acted for Cerberus Capital, as third defendant, in proceedings involving a conspiracy by unlawful means claim. It also defended Gala Coral Group, which recently merged to become Ladbrokes Coral, against a damages claim for negligence, which case has significant implications for the gambling industry as it raises questions about the scope of the duty of care owed by the gambling industry to gamblers and their family. London dispute resolution department head James Levy is ‘dynamic, insightful and commercial’; Matthew Saunders is ‘a fine advocate and quick on his feet’. Simon Bromwich is global dispute resolution head; and Edward Sparrow, who was recently appointed chair of the City of London Law Society, is highly experienced.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP ‘has become a leading player, with a group of absolutely star litigators from Magic Circle litigation practices’. The practice promoted Jane Shvets, whose practice focuses on white-collar defence and internal investigations, to the partnership. The practice’s capabilities include domestic and international commercial litigation, white-collar crime and investigations, international commercial arbitration, and PIL. The team acted for BAT Industries in proceedings it brought against Sequana to recover approximately $800m, which related to the payment of two unlawful dividends; it also acted for NLMK, one of the largest steel companies in Russia, in defence of proceedings brought by Nikolay Maximov in the High Court to enforce a £125m arbitral award. Kevin Lloyd is ‘one of London’s outstanding litigators - he can manage the largest, most complex cases and produces fantastic results for his clients’; Richard Lawton is ‘a first-rate lawyer and fighter, who leaves no stone unturned in defending his client’s interests’; and Tony Dymond ‘always gives appropriate advice’. Lord (Peter) Goldsmith QC is also highly regarded; and international counsel Christopher Boyne is ‘a smart, commercial and pragmatic litigator’.

Latham & Watkins recently recruited co-chair of the firm’s London litigation and trial practice Stuart Alford QC from the Serious Fraud Office, global co-chair of the international arbitration practice Sophie Lamb from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and Martin Davies, known for corporate and shareholder disputes, banking and financial litigation and fraud disputes, from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP. Simon Bushell departed for Signature Litigation LLP. The UK team is recommended for large, complex, high-value disputes, often with a significant cross-border dynamic; the practice defended Samba Financial Group, one of the largest Saudi Arabian financial groups, against claims, arising out of the high-value Saad/Al Gosaibi dispute, which involved highly complex, sensitive issues of fact and law, including jurisdiction and forum disputes. Oliver Browne is the other co-chair of the London litigation and trial practice, Sebastian Seelmann-Eggebert, who divides time between London and Hamburg, ‘gives clear answers’; and Philip Clifford, Charles Claypoole and John Kallaugher are also highly rated.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s ‘service levels are excellent and the firm has an incredible calibre of lawyers, who are very good strategists and always on the ball’. It recently launched a corporate crime practice in London through the hire of Covington & Burling LLP partner and former Serious Fraud Office prosecutor Robert Amaee; other key hires included James Bremen, who joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP to set up a UK construction disputes practice. The group is focused on business disputes, specialising in complex, high-stakes commercial and financial disputes; and a significant amount of its work involves acting against global banks. The practice acted for one of the designated lead claimant groups in the £4bn RBS rights issue dispute, one of the largest cases ever to go before the UK courts. Alex Gerbi is ‘a fine lawyer and immensely hard working’; Sue Prevezer QC is ‘quite brilliant - she is charming, strategic and helpful’; Robert Hickmott is ‘excellent’; and Nick Marsh is ‘very experienced in managing heavy commercial litigation’. Other recommended litigators are Richard East, Ted Greeno, Oliver Middleton. Khaled Khatoun made partner. Martin Davies joined Latham & Watkins. David Berman joined Latham & Watkins in 2017.

Simmons & Simmons ‘impresses with its responsiveness and has a fantastically good team that is very easy to work with and always strives to further clients’ interests’. The firm’s litigators are highly active in the financial services, TMT, professional services, and energy sectors; it is also recommended for disputes involving asset-management litigation, international retail finance, joint ventures and shareholders, life sciences, product liability, and aviation. The team acted for Sushovan Hussain, the former CFO of Autonomy Corporation (Autonomy), in civil proceedings brought against Hussain and Autonomy’s former CEO for alleged fraudulent misrepresentation; the proceedings arose out of Hewlett-Packard’s 2011 acquisition of Autonomy. Ian Hammond ‘brings a calm head to bear on the biggest cases’; Robert Turner is ‘a very shrewd lawyer’; and Patrick Boylan’s ‘unflappable approach under fire and his first-rate instincts on difficult tactical decisions are impressive’. Tim Boyce, Ed Crosse, Paul Baker and Colin Passmore are also key litigators. Energy and gas sector arbitration partner Stuart Dutson, who ‘has a brilliant mind and very engaging personality that rightly attracts high caliber clients’, joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP to bolster the firm’s Africa practice.

Addleshaw Goddard ‘has a stellar reputation; the practice has excellent quality clients that receive the best advice’. The group is regularly instructed in large, high-profile cases in the English courts, with particular expertise in fraud matters, finance litigation and insurance-related disputes. It defended BP Oil International against a $70m claim brought by National Bank of Abu Dhabi, arising out of a complex invoice discounting agreement; this was the first case to be determined under the Rolls Building’s shorter and flexible trials pilot scheme. Michael Barnett is ‘experienced and has good judgement’; Louisa Caswell is ‘trusted with clients’ most difficult cases’; and Mark Molyneux, Richard Clayton, Mark Gill and Jon Tweedale are also highly rated. Insurance and reinsurance disputes head Richard Wise, who is ‘brilliant at both complex legal disputes but also at managing clients’, was made partner. Kambiz Larizadeh, Clarissa Coleman and Mark Hastings moved to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, K&L Gates LLP and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, respectively.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP ‘leaves clients feeling very happy with the overall level of service; its well-resourced team quickly grasps the key issues and its commercial approach adds value to litigation’. Most of the firm’s work is cross-border and it has specific sector expertise in energy, retail, hotels and leisure, and utilities. The practice advises on disputes involving contracts, joint venture agreements, professional negligence claims, fraud issues, and privacy and defamation actions. It acted for an international oil company in a claim for breach of a drilling concession sale agreement; and successfully represented an international bank in a breach of trust and fraud-related case. Oliver Glynn-Jones is ‘very much trusted by clients and he has an excellent sense of judgment’; Graham Shear is ‘an excellent litigator with great client management skills and a keen tactical brain’; and Oran Gelb is ‘a bright, focused and meticulous partner’. Joby Davies is also well regarded and Andrew Tuson was made partner.

CMS recently entered into a three-way merger with Nabarro and Olswang. Incoming expertise from Nabarro included that of Jonathan Warne, who is ‘a particularly impressive litigator’, Tom Dane, Lee Gluyas and Adam Greaves, as well as Andrew Taplin, Ben Trust and Sukhi Kaler. Key Olswang LLP figures include Richard Bamforth, whose ‘strength is his ability to combine and marry his top-quality court craft with client needs’; Steven Corney and Ian Felstead, who are ‘a real pleasure to deal with and have great ability’; and Jeremy Mash. Frequently involved in high-profile, bet-the-company litigation, the ‘responsive, engaged and pro-active’ disputes group is well known for energy litigation, coverage disputes and construction litigation. It also draws upon the firm’s practices in TMC, life sciences, corporate recovery, IP, insurance, hotels, pensions, employment and real estate. Recent highlights include the team acting for Rosneft Marine (UK) in an oil products dispute. Guy Pendell, energy disputes specialist Phillip Ashley, who is ‘an excellent strategist’, Alexander Denslow, Simon Garrett and Omar Qureshi are all highly experienced, as are Rob Wilson, Duncan Aldred, Susan Barty, Adrian Bell and Sarah Grenfell.

Clyde & Co LLP ‘comfortably competes with the Magic Circle firms, but without overstaffing teams’. The practice is recommended for commercial disputes involving contracts, defence of class actions, shareholder claims, M&A and joint-venture issues, as well as fraud, jurisdictional matters, warranties, and enforcement proceedings. The group’s lawyers are particularly well known in the firm’s core sectors of insurance, trade and commodities, construction, energy and transportation; and they have particular specialisms in professional liability cases, banking and finance litigation, investigations, IP disputes, and cyber security issues. It acted for the first defendant valuer, CBRE, the world's largest property services firm, in a claim concerning the alleged over-valuation of a large portfolio of commercial properties. Chris Burdett is ‘one of the best litigators around - he is strategic, calm, practical and highly intelligent’; Conrad Walker ‘shows an amazing ability to understand clients’ needs and cases’ complexity, and provides valuable strategic advice’; and Richard Power is ‘a pleasure to work with and the advice he gives is of the highest quality’. Neil Jamieson, Tony Baumgartner, Helen Bourne and Tom White are also highly rated. Helen Rowlands was made partner.

DLA Piper ‘has huge experience’. The practice recently experienced a marked increase in multi-jurisdictional mandates; it advised the Special Administrator of Cyprus Popular Bank Public Co in its actions to recover up to €3.5bn losses arising from allegedly fraudulent transactions. The team also continued to advise RBS in over 160 swaps mis-selling cases, both at the pre-action stage and in claims commenced in the High Court and various district registries. Jean-Pierre Douglas-Henry is ‘very bright and gives incisive strategic advice’; Jamie Curle ‘has an excellent grip of strategy and is very commercial’; and James Carter is ‘bright and fun to work with and a great team-building person’. Jeremy Andrews, Linos Choo, Janet Legrand, Stephen Sly and Richard McGrane are also highly rated. Paul Smith and Sarah Smith were promoted to the partnership.

Enyo Law LLP’s ‘service levels are excellent and the practice is always pragmatic’. The firm has a boutique, no-conflicts model and specialises in very large, complex, international disputes. It was instructed by the receiver and manager, on behalf of The Libyan Investment Authority in a claim against French bank Société Générale, and others, in seeking a declaration that transactions entered into as a result of improper influence were unenforceable. It also acted for a Russian individual in litigation, arising out of investments in a multinational aluminium business and involving multiple parties in multiple proceedings and in numerous jurisdictions, including England, BVI and the Netherlands. Managing partner Simon Twigden is ‘a very good strategic thought leader for dispute resolution’; Pietro Marino is ‘a superb lawyer’; Edward Allen is ‘particularly strong’; George Maling is ‘a strong commercial litigator who is completely unafraid of taking on difficult opponents’; and Steven McDonald is ‘very good at resolving complex dispute matters’. Other recommended advisers include Anna Maxwell, Jonathan Brook, Tim Elliss and Nick Jones.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP ‘matches up with the very best the London market has to offer’. The practice recently acted for AXIO Data Group Holdings (AXIO) in its claim for approximately £20m against UBMG, for breach of warranties in a share purchase agreement under which AXIO paid £148m to acquire certain companies. It also acted for Law Debenture Trust Corporation in all litigation issues arising from its involvement as a bond trustee in five sets of bonds that were issued in the 1980s. Mark Davenport specialises in heavyweight commercial litigation, and leads the commercial dispute resolution group in London; Richard Little is ‘very focused on achieving what clients want’; Neville Byford’s recent experience includes acting in a trust dispute in Guernsey; and Andrew Legg’s disputes practice focuses on banking and financial services, insolvency, investigations, and regulatory enforcement work.

‘A class act’, Jones Day fields ‘first-class litigators, who are intelligent and diligent’. The London practice is well known for its work in complex cross-border litigation, asset tracing and fraud cases, and offshore disputes; and is able to draw on the firm’s global disputes expertise in other jurisdictions. Significant matters included the team’s advice to BHS’ joint liquidators on investigations carried out into the circumstances of BHS’ collapse and specifically the actions of the company and its current and former directors, as well as Retail Acquisitions and Arcadia Group. It also acted in complex High Court fraud proceedings arising from high-value misappropriation claims. Department head Sion Richards is ‘a highly qualified and experienced lawyer’; Craig Shuttleworth ‘has a razor-sharp legal mind’; and Barnaby Stueck, who is ‘highly effective’, focuses on complex fraud, contentious insolvency, and investment fund disputes involving offshore jurisdictions. Stephen Pearson and Adam Brown are also highly rated.

Macfarlanes LLP ‘excellent practice is a class act when conducting litigation and it is a pleasure to work with’. The group is highly rated for particularly complex or sensitive issues and is well known for applying its skills in corporate private wealth and tax to contentious matters. The practice acts for a range of financial services institutions and investment and asset-management firms in high-profile disputes; it also assists clients from the oil and gas, mining, aviation, construction, travel IT, and media sectors, as well as high-net-worth individuals. In a case that was critically important to the City, the team acted for the respondents in landmark High Court litigation, which made new law in relation to repudiatory breach of contract in the context of LLP agreements. Iain Mackie is ‘a very experienced litigator, who looks after clients, and is cool and tough but very sensible’; Lois Horne ‘thinks through problems very thoroughly and analytically’; and Guy Morpuss QC heads the firm’s advocacy and arbitration groups. Other recommended advisers are Geoff Steward, James Popperwell, Simon Nurney. and Matt McCahearty.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s ‘very good practice is focused and provides practical advice, taking into account commercial considerations to devise sound tactics’. The practice has a strong track record in acting for financial institutions on disputes involving complex financial products; it also has significant expertise in pensions litigation; disputes involving jurisdictional issues; post-M&A disputes, such as warranty claims; and matters involving shareholder claims, joint ventures, technology and cartel damages claims. The practice continued to represent UBS AG, UBS Limited and UBS Global Asset Management in litigation in London against Kommunale Wasserwerke Leipzig, which involved high-value claims that arose from the enforcement of various structured finance transactions and involved corruption, fraud and embezzlement issues. Ian McDonald is ‘charming, engaging and a pleasure to work with’; Alistair Graham ‘understands clients’ business’; Miles Robinson ‘provides practical and sensible advice’; and Stuart Pickford is ‘calm, focused and analytical, and cuts through to the issues that matter’. Mark Stefanini and David Allen are also key names.

‘A great firm for commercial litigation work’, Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘quality throughout its ranks is very consistent’. The firm acts for public and private companies operating across the firm’s key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology; and life sciences and healthcare. In a case involving several cross-border issues, the practice represented a multinational telecoms corporation in defence of a breach of contract claim. Deirdre Walker is ‘very experienced’, and Ruth Cowley regularly acts in financial institutions, energy, infrastructure, mining and commodities disputes. Ffion Flockhart handles a range of Commercial Court claims, including general contractual disputes and those arising from M&A transactions; and Antony Corsi often acts in high-value claims involving fraud. Chris Warren-Smith joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘team is excellent and has huge experience of complex commercial litigation’. The practice is best known for disputes involving energy, financial services, pensions and cross-border matters. It acted for Aeroflot-Russian Airlines in high-value fraud proceedings against the estate of the late Boris Berezovsky and others, which involved complex questions of international jurisdiction, limitation and insolvency law, and ground-breaking reported decisions on the treatment of foreign exchange debts of deceased bankrupts. Michael Fenn is ‘a very experienced litigator and great team leader’; Katharine Davies ‘has excellent instincts’; and Alan Sheeley ‘stands out as brilliant - he knows how to achieve his clients’ objectives and fights hard for them’. Stuart McNeill, and Ben Fairhead are key names. The ‘first-rate’ Alistair Calvert made partner, while Richard Twomey exited for DWF.

RPC ‘gives clients a great level of service and takes the time to get to know and understand clients’ business’. The firm’s specialist contentious teams cover tax, employment, real estate, finance and banking, along with TMT, insurance and re-insurance, construction and competition law. The practice acted for Ingenious Media Holding in a claim brought by approximately 300 investors for losses alleged to have arisen from investments into film production partnerships. Geraldine Elliott is commercial disputes head and Tom Hibbert is global commercial disputes head. Simon Hart ‘slots in seamlessly to in-house teams when presenting advice to senior executives’; and Andy McGregor, Tim Brown, Rupert Boswall, Davina Given and Parham Kouchikali are also highly rated. International trade and fraud specialist Stuart Shepherd joined from Ince & Co.

‘One of the best firms operating in the UK’, Reed Smith LLP is ‘clearly high quality, with strength in depth’. It is well known for complex, multi-jurisdictional disputes work, especially in corporate and financial services litigation, international arbitration, insurance recovery, and media claims, in addition to its contentious regulatory team. The team acted for certain special-purpose vehicles, as issuers of a series of commercial mortgage-backed securities transactions, in litigation surrounding the calculation of interest due on Class X notes. Richard Spafford and Ben Summerfield co-head the commercial and corporate litigation team; and the ‘technically excellent and commercially pragmatic’ Robert Falkner is ‘someone clients want in their corner for major fights’. Other recommended individuals include Belinda Paisley, Nick Brocklesby, Charles Hewetson and Peter Hardy. Mark Pring joined from Addleshaw Goddard, where he was head of insurance; and Douglas Cherry, who is experienced in leading financial services and markets investigations, was hired from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP .

Signature Litigation LLP is ‘a notably excellent boutique firm, which has a very lean structure that means excellent value for clients; and it has grown to be one of the most visible and permanent fixtures in big-ticket commercial cases’. The firm saw significant growth through the recruitment of Latham & Watkins’ former London litigation team head, Simon Bushell, as well as ‘very strong lawyer’ Ioannis Alexopoulos and international commercial litigator and arbitrator Josh Wong from Bryan Cave and DLA Piper, respectively. Highlights included acting for one of the three lead groups of RBS shareholders in Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 claims against RBS, regarding its failed 2008 rights issue. The ‘indefatigable’ Graham Huntley is ‘an excellent and careful strategist with unparalleled knowledge of judges, barristers and arbitrators’; Abdulali Jiwaji ‘gives carefully considered opinions’; Daniel Spendlove is ‘highly professional’; and Natalia Chumak ‘has extraordinary, high-quality analytical skills’. Hermes Marangos, Julian Connerty and Adam Rooney are also key contacts.

‘A premier pick for commercial litigation’, Stephenson Harwood is recommended for handling large, complex, bet-the-company cases. The team continued to act for Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in a long-running case, defending several attempts in England by a contractor, IPCO, to enforce a Nigerian arbitration Award; this matter is likely to be one of the leading cases on the public policy exception to enforcement in the context of fraud. John Fordham is the ‘brilliant’ commercial litigation head; Richard Gwynne ‘gives thoughtful, unhurried advice that is usually right’; Richard Garcia is ‘well organised and prompt in his responses’; Edward Davis ‘clarifies the most complex facts and provides pragmatic advice and a clear litigation strategy’; Sue Millar is ‘fearless in representing clients’ interests’; and Sean Jeffrey is ‘a very smooth operator’. Andrew Myers is also highly regarded.

Best known for banking litigation and civil fraud, Stewarts Law LLP’s commercial litigation team is also involved in some of the most significant cases before the courts. ‘In the big-ticket, conflict-free commercial litigation space, the firm is superb; it has an excellent range of strong litigators with top-level experience that allows them to go toe-to-toe with the Magic Circle’. Recent growth saw the firm hire Ian Gatt QC, the former head of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s advocacy unit, into its disputes group; James Price was recruited from Farrer & Co to grow the offshore commercial disputes practice further; and Matthew Knowles joined from Harbour Litigation Funding. The practice acted for a large group of institutional shareholders in seeking damages further to the high-profile Tesco accounting scandal. Clive Zietman ‘has a great feel for strategy and settlement negotiations’; Marc Jones is ‘a driving force’; Fiona Gillett is ‘very determined’; and Keith Thomas is ‘very commercially and financially astute’. Other recommended litigators are Sean Upson, Paul Brehony, Fiona Stewart and Andrew Hill.

Travers Smith LLP’s ‘high-quality, experienced team is very thorough and professional, and it gives real commitment and dedication’. The practice handles all types of commercial and corporate litigation for UK entities and international clients, and the group is recommended for large, high-profile, complex cases. The practice continued to represent various Hewlett-Packard group companies (HP) in relation to $5bn fraud claims in the Chancery Division, which arose out of the 2011 $11.1bn acquisition of Autonomy Corporation by HP. Stephen Paget-Brown is ‘experienced and capable, and his instincts are very good’; Caroline Edwards is ‘top of the class, very smart, and highly professional’; Andrew King is ‘highly experienced - a really sober hand on the tiller’; Huw Jenkin is ‘a pleasure to work with and a careful, thoughtful lawyer’; Rob Fell is ‘an ideal litigation lawyer - committed but experienced with excellent judgement’; and Toby Robinson is ‘energetic and entirely prepared to get his hands dirty in ensuring the presentation of the best possible case’. Jan-Jaap Baer has particular experience of financial services disputes, shareholders’ and joint venture cases, warranty claims, and general commercial disputes.

White & Case LLP recruited Ashurst’s former London head of disputes Mark Clarke, who is ‘a class act’, to lead the firm’s London oil and gas disputes practice; the firm also promoted Amanda Cowell, who primarily works with corporate, telecoms and banking clients, and white-collar crime specialist Joanna Dimmock to the partnership. Almost all the disputes the team advises on are international in nature and almost all of the practice’s clients are non-UK based; it represented the Russian Federation in its resistance of the enforcement of high-value arbitral awards in the UK, USA and Germany, which were issued in the Netherlands and are being pursued by Yukos’ ex-majority shareholders. John Reynolds is ‘a class act, outstanding with clients and a good strategic thinker’; Charles Balmain ‘has great analysis, client skills and runs a team impeccably’; Jonathan Pickworth is ‘a highly experienced investigations lawyer’. Jason Yardley exited for Jenner & Block LLP.

Well known for its global footprint, Baker McKenzie is recommended for complex, high-stakes, multi-jurisdictional disputes, with the commercial litigation practice supported by niche expertise in fraud, administrative and public law, and competition law, as well as product liability and contentious trusts. The team acted for Dubai Islamic Bank (the Bank) in its defence of a substantial $2bn-plus claim, brought against it in the English Commercial Court by a Dubai-based property developer; the claim is based on allegations of breach of contract and breach of the Bank’s duties as mortgagee in possession of a very large plot of land. John Leadley leads the global dispute resolution practice group; Hugh Lyons regularly advises on litigation and investigations arising from financing transactions, restructuring and insolvency, fraud and financial misconduct; and department manager Steve Abraham is also highly regarded. Other recommended advisers include Charles Thomson and Nadia Banno. Andrew Keltie retired from the practice.

Bird & Bird LLP was particularly active in disputes involving the financial services, technology and communications and energy sectors; it also acted on very large procurement disputes. The team represented Property Alliance Group, as claimant property investor and developer, which alleged that the defendant bank had mis-sold four interest rate swaps; acted improperly in relation to fixing LIBOR; and breached a customer agreement, regarding the transfer and management of its banking relationship to another legal entity within the bank. Jeremy Sharman’s contentious matters often have an international element and are in a number of the firm’s key sectors, including banking and financial services, and technology and communications; and Sophie Eyre’s practice has particular emphasis on civil fraud and international asset tracing and preservation. Former international disputes practice head Steven Baker departed for Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.

Financial and banking regulatory investigations and enforcement continue to feature heavily in Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s London practice, which ‘has excellent lawyers who work extremely hard and are devoted to their clients’. The practice advises major international corporations on their most sensitive and business-critical matters; and it has a significant global sovereigns practice. The team acted for Goldman Sachs International in connection with the Waterfall II Court hearings, which were commenced by Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (in administration), and relate to the interpretation of the term ‘cost of funding’ and its implications for the recoverability of funds owed to creditors. Jonathan Kelly is ‘outstanding’; and Sunil Gadhia has extensive experience of English court litigation, arbitration, investigations and enforcement proceedings, international sanctions, and competition matters. Christopher Moore, David Sabel and Romano Subiotto QC are highly rated.

DAC Beachcroft LLP is ‘well equipped to handle even the most complex, cross-border litigation’. The firm grew the group through the hire of commercial litigator Rachel Cropper-Mawer from Clyde & Co LLP; and it recently acted for interested parties in the ongoing LIBOR investigations. It has also represented clients during interviews with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the US Department of Justice, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the FBI, and European-based regulators. It defended Henyep Capital Markets (UK), a global capital market trading business, against a claim by Kuwaiti company Amwal International Investment Company, which was issued in the Commercial Court upon the termination of the parties’ trading relationship. John Bramhall ‘has a sensible approach to matters’; Richard Highley is ‘calm, thoughtful and pragmatic’; Ken Forsyth is ‘a strong lateral thinker’; and Matthew Wescott is ‘recommended for his command over both the entire file and the subtleties of a case’. Jonathan Brogden’s recent work focused primarily on banking-related litigation, FCA investigations and enforcement and corporate crime; and Campbell Dye’s practice is increasingly focused on TMT work, as well as defending claims for infringement of copyright, trade marks and design rights.

Dechert LLP grew its practice through the recruitment of Stephen Surgeoner, who acts in investigations and has particular insurance and reinsurance expertise, from Clifford Chance LLP, while David Hughes joined Stewarts Law LLP. The team is ‘diligent, detail-oriented and professional, and responds to complex legal issues’. It handles complex, high-profile, high-value disputes, particularly those involving multi-party, multi-jurisdictional litigation, and associated arbitration and investigatory work, across a range of sectors including financial services, manufacturing, mining, media, real estate and telecoms. The team acted for NML Capital (NML) in long-running, substantial claims against Argentina, which defaulted in bond payments; the English litigation involved acting against Argentina’s sovereign immunity waiver challenge and NML’s successful Supreme Court appeal and subsequent securing of an English money judgment. Andrew Hearn has ‘excellent client management and handling skills, as well as the ability to comprehend big-picture issues’; Bernard Caulfield is noted for large energy disputes, varied commercial actions, insurance disputes, and matters arising from the financial downturn on behalf of hedge funds; and Adam Silver is recommended for commercial and financial litigation, fraud and contentious insolvency.

The core of ‘responsive and commercial firm’ Farrer & Co’s corporate and commercial litigation practice involves major disputes, with a particular emphasis on cases involving complex company structures and asset holdings, shareholder disputes, and cross-border commercial contracts; and almost all of the practice’s work has an international dimension, particularly involving the Caribbean and Channel Islands, as well as the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe. It acted for RP Explorer Master Fund (RP) in the Commercial Court in its $80m claim against multiple defendants - located in different jurisdictions, including the UK, India, Singapore, Portugal and Dubai - which arose from RP’s investments on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Adrian Parkhouse is ‘sensible and client friendly’; and other recommended litigators include Jeremy Gordon, Kate Allass and Toby Graham. Charlotte Fraser was promoted to the partnership, while James Price departed for Stewarts Law LLP. Senior associate Ben Longworth is another name to note.

A large portion of HFW’s work is in the $50m-to-$100m-plus range, and much of the firm’s caseload is conducted in the higher courts. The ‘very strong’ practice is best known for contractual and shareholder disputes in the energy, mining, utilities, transport, commodities, manufacturing and engineering sectors, as well financial services-related disputes. It is also highly rated for its focus on international trade disputes, as well as niche procedural areas such as jurisdictional challenges, worldwide freezing orders, and the enforcement through the courts of arbitration awards. Evidencing the team’s experience in complex contractual disputes in the natural resources sector, it defended Timis Mining Corporation (SL) against a breach of contract claim. Damian Honey is ‘a very good litigator’ and Simon Blows ‘has good tactical sense’. Noel Campbell, Steven Paull, Costas Frangeskides and Alistair Feeney are notable advisers, as are Katie Pritchard, Brian Perrott and Rick Brown.

Mishcon de Reya LLP’s ‘service is faultless and using the firm gives clients their best possible chance for success’. The firm made a number of hires, including Shaistah Akhtar and Nicola Bridge from King & Wood Mallesons; Jo Rickards from Kingsley Napley LLP; Sonia Campbell from Addleshaw Goddard; and Genevieve Quierin from Humphries Kerstetter LLP. In addition to the firm’s core fraud specialism, it is also recommended for its handling of disputes involving commercial matters, business crime, tax and competition law, as well as insurance, international arbitration, banking, property, employment and IP. In one of the largest cases (in monetary terms) ever before the Commercial Court, the team acted for a defendant who was accused of civil bribery and corruption in a case brought by the LIA. Kasra Nouroozi is dispute resolution head, Masoud Zabeti is finance and banking disputes head, Kathryn Garbett is fraud defence group head, and Richard Leedham is recommended for insurance disputes. James Libson and Gary Miller are key practitioners.

Osborne Clarke LLP is ‘a strong firm with excellent practitioners and offers very good value for money’. The firm hired Rachel Couter, who specialises in financial services regulatory investigations and banking and financial markets litigation, from King & Wood Mallesons, and Ashley Hurst, who is experienced in digital business-related commercial litigation, from Olswang. The practice has specialisms in disputes work for CIS clients and Middle East-related matters; and its sector strengths are technology and digital business, energy and natural resources, and financial services. It acted for Vision Games, a Guernsey-based fund, in its pursuit of claims against Relentless, which is now in administration. Adrian Lifely ‘has deep experience and expertise’; Andrew Bartlett ‘has a sharp understanding of foreign, substantive and procedural law’; and Tom Ellis is ‘very good’. Eugene Matveichuk joined Fladgate LLP while Matthew Heywood joined Clyde & Co LLP’s Dubai construction team in July 2017.

Despite Shearman & Sterling LLP’s London group being a small litigation practice in headcount terms, it regularly acts in cases against Magic Circle firms; and most of the practice’s work has a cross-border element. It acted for Oppenheimer Europe in successfully defending an application for pre-action disclosure; this was important because it successfully prevented confidential information underpinning the client’s business from being disclosed. Head of the London litigation group Jo Rickard is ‘strategic and greatly admired’, and Susanna Charlwood has particular experience in contentious matters in the banking and finance field, including restructuring and regulatory investigations.

‘Giving extremely astute, strategic advice’, Sidley Austin LLP ‘provides an excellent level of service and its lawyers are extremely responsive and always available’. The department acts in commercial disputes of a scale, complexity and profile usually associated with larger London practices; and the group’s litigators regularly work alongside the firm’s transactional and restructuring lawyers. The practice represented GATX Corporation in a dispute involving a complex vehicle financing transaction. Dorothy Cory-Wright heads the London-based dispute resolution practice; the ‘strategic’ Matthew Shankland is frequently involved in finance-related cases concerning structured finance and derivatives transactions; and Simon Fawell ‘advises clearly on matters of English law, while remaining sensitive to practices in other jurisdictions’. Steven Pitt is highly regarded, and Andrew Fox, who is ‘extremely easy to deal with and very commercial’, was made partner.

Taylor Wessing LLP has a particularly strong reputation in disputes involving professional services; financial services; and fraud, corporate crime and investigations. The practice is also well known for insolvency litigation and contentious work in the hotels sector. The team acted for the joint official liquidators of Saad Investment Company (In Liquidation), regarding a dispute with JPMorgan Chase Bank and a number of other JPMorgan (and former Bear Stearns) entities; this arose out of one of the largest alleged frauds seen in the Middle East. Shane Gleghorn is team head; Andrew Howell advises on general commercial and corporate disputes, particularly in the financial services sector; and David de Ferrars acts in complex commercial litigation, predominantly international, and corporate investigations, fraud and asset tracing, corruption, and white-collar matters. Julian Randall, Tim Strong and India desk head Laurence Lieberman are other names to note.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is ‘an excellent firm that provides a top-level service’. The practice is highly experienced in acting for hedge funds and other investment firms on international creditor disputes, with a particular focus on disputes in the restructuring and distressed debt space, and shareholder activism matters; the team is also well known for energy and Russia and CIS disputes. It acted for a Russian oligarch and certain Renova group companies against a Russian government minister, and certain of his BVI and Cyprus-incorporated corporate entities, in a $1bn litigation case concerning the ownership of Russia’s largest power generation company. Justin Williams is ‘clearly very experienced in dealing with heavy commercial disputes’; and Richard Hornshaw is ‘extremely good’. Mark Dawkins is an experienced practitioner; and international disputes partner Kambiz Larizadeh, who ‘gets to grip with the finest detail of a case’, joined from Addleshaw Goddard.

Boodle Hatfield LLP ‘leaves clients feeling more than satisfied with the service provided; the firm’s lawyers are always prompt to respond and deal with things effectively’. The group expanded its litigation practice with the appointment of barrister Thomas Williams, whose practice is predominantly international, as partner. It is known for substantial commercial and property disputes; has a niche arts litigation expertise; and acts for several Russian clients. The team was recently involved in significant costs-related cases. Simon Fitzpatrick is ‘unflappable; he reassures clients and cuts to the chase of the matter instantly’.

Bristows LLP’s ‘lawyers are excellent; they are consistently responsive and the quality of their legal advice is top drawer’. The commercial and technology disputes team promoted Angela Fouracre, who ‘impresses with the high quality of her work’, and Anna Cook, who is ‘extremely able and commercial’, to the partnership. It has particular industry sector expertise in IT, consumer products and life sciences, and has recently grown its practice in both disputes relating to the misuse of confidential information and the work it handles for financial services businesses. The team also regularly acts in cross-border Russian and CIS-related litigation and arbitration. Mark Brown is’ very thorough and sharp in his analysis’; Kevin Appleton is ‘an experienced commercial litigation lawyer with deep understanding of cases and clients’ concerns’; and Jeremy Blum ‘shows impressive dedication to his work’.

Brown Rudnick LLP is highly experienced in providing integrated cross-border civil, criminal and regulatory expertise during complex litigation. The team acted for Threadneedle Asset Management in its defence of a $125m claim, brought in the English High Court by a foreign bank; the proceedings include allegations of fraud, deceit and vicarious liability. Neil Micklethwaite has significant experience in civil and criminal fraud cases and in undertaking asset tracing exercises across numerous jurisdictions. Neill Shrimpton, Jane Colston, Christian Toms and London and Paris-based Nicholas Tse are also key advisers.

The ‘top-notch boutique firm’, Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP is ‘a cut above others for personal service and leadership, and it provides outstanding value for money’. Free of conflicts of interest, the firm can act against major financial institutions, the Big Four accountancy firms and sovereign entities, but although well known for acting in major claims against banks, it has grown its share of high-value commercial and corporate disputes. It defended Open Fibre Sdn Bhd against High Court proceedings issued against it and Zavarco, regarding the issuance of approximately 7bn Zavarco shares. Philip Young is ‘a highly talented lawyer who is clever and pugnacious, and someone clients want on their side in a fight’; Marc Keidan ‘has wide experience across many commercial law specialisms’; and Gerald Cooke, Sinead O’Callaghan and Stephen Elam are also highly regarded. Philip Rubens joined Teacher Stern LLP.

Mirroring the firm’s strengths, Cooley (UK) LLP’s litigation practice is focused on life sciences and technology disputes. The practice acted for the family trusts of Bernie Ecclestone, through Bambino Holdings, in the defence of proceedings that related to the sale of shares in Formula 1 racing. James Maton heads up litigation in the London office, and Kevin Perry’s experience includes contentious banking issues, fraud asset tracing, general contract, construction and civil engineering disputes. Laurence Harris and Mark Deem are highly rated advisers.

Covington & Burling LLP is also ranked.

Dentons is ‘a really good firm that is very frank with clients regarding legal advice and the commercial aspects of cases’. It routinely advises on litigation arising from shareholder agreements and joint venture disputes; unfair prejudice petitions; derivative claims; and warranty, indemnity and misrepresentation claims arising out of M&A deals. Other areas of strength include disputes concerning pre-emption and subscription rights; issues regarding directors’ duties and board disputes; and urgent remedies such as injunctions. Adrian Giles ‘identifies the key issues with razor-sharp acuity’; Liz Tout ‘has an intuitive sense of the bigger commercial picture’; and Richard Caird is ‘an excellent solicitor’. Felicity Ewing and Thomas Leyland are also key contacts.

Edwin Coe LLP is ‘a very solid firm that has excellent client management skills and delivers consistently good results’. The practice has a strong bias towards claimant work and fraud-related disputes; it represented a group of around 500 claimants in legal proceedings, arising from the fraudulent selling of timeshare products. Class action specialist David Greene is ‘an experienced litigator, has very good judgement and is excellent with clients’; Nick Neocleous is ‘very good for challenging cases’; and senior associate Dominic de Bono is ‘efficient, hardworking and very user-friendly’.

Fieldfisher is ‘very strong in commercial litigation and has a number of top-end practitioners’. A large proportion of the firm’s litigation has a financial services aspect, including banking, fraud, tax, insolvency and professional negligence issues; and it enjoys a steady flow of work arising out of commercial, construction and trade disputes. The practice is also well known for high-value, complex CIS-related disputes. Recent highlights include advising the liquidators of a failed tour operator in a case involving a substantial fraud. Colin Gibson is dispute resolution head; Kit Jarvis is ‘a very strong practitioner’; Alexandra Underwood is ‘extremely smart with great judgment’; Simon Moore specialises in CIS and corporate disputes; Tony Lewis is fraud team head; and Helen Mulcahy is particularly focused on financial services and art law issues. Vivien Davies, Rhys Griffiths, Andrew Lafferty and Jonathan Ray-Smith are highly regarded.

Fladgate LLP has ‘good-quality litigators for all commercial areas’. The practice is largely conflict free and able to act against most banks in financial services-related litigation. It is also well known for its significant HNW private client base. The team acted for London private equity firm PCP Capital Partners in a claim against Barclays Bank for fraudulent misrepresentation that related to a £7bn capital raising. Simon Ekins is department head; Bree Taylor is ‘recommended without reservation’; Steven Mash ‘comes up with strategies that lead to excellent court outcomes’; and Mark Buckley is ‘the standout litigator in London’s contentious bond market’. Other key advisers include Simon Brew, Alexander Wildschütz, construction law expert David Weare, and Digby Hebbard, who pursues claims against construction project professionals. Russia specialist and dispute resolution partner Eugene Matveichuk joined from Osborne Clarke LLP.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP ‘has a strong practice that is very joined up internationally, enabling it to handle large multi-jurisdictional matters’. The London office is primarily focused on banking and financial services disputes; cases involving corruption in Russia and former CIS countries, arising out of accelerated loans, freezing injunctions, and internal investigations and white-collar crime. Other areas of strength include joint-venture disputes, misrepresentation and breach of warranty claims; and sales at an undervalue in bank realisation programmes. James Kitching is ‘very commercial and very focused on the key issues’; and Justin Michaelson is also highly rated.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s ‘very good practice is hard working, efficient and inventive with large-scale litigation’. The team’s litigation expertise extends to complex internal and regulatory investigations, with particular experience in cross-border investigations in the financial services sector, as well as antitrust, administrative law, and labour and employment litigation.Philip Rocher is ‘an incredibly experienced litigator, who has excellent judgement and tactical skills’; former UK Lord Chancellor Charles Falconer QC is ‘tactically excellent and a superb advocate’; Allan Neil’s recent work involved large-scale, multi-jurisdictional disputes, and regulatory and internal investigations in the financial institutions sector; and Patrick Doris specialises in global white-collar investigations and commercial litigation.

Highly rated for its shipping expertise, Ince & Co’s dispute resolution work extends to acting in disputes in aviation, construction, employment, energy, and fraud. The practice is also noted for matters involving insolvency, insurance and reinsurance. Ben Ogden specialises in contentious insurance work and commercial disputes, and Jeremy Biggs has a particular focus on all aspects of shipping litigation, as well as international trade and general commercial disputes.

King & Spalding LLP’s John Savage QC, who took silk in 2017, recently relocated from Singapore to the London group, which also fields silks Thomas Sprange QC, who is ‘commercially astute and a great lawyer’, and Stuart Isaacs QC. The team has extensive experience in cross-border disputes and provides a particular focus on oil and gas, financial services, IT and telecoms, shipping, aerospace and defence. Sarah Walker and Nicholas Cherryman are highly rated; Egishe Dzhazoyan is ‘very creative when reacting to opponents’ moves during proceedings’; and Ruth Byrne is ‘an amazing project manager and a persistent, credible case builder’. Jane Player retired from the practice to become a full time independent mediator.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP hired Richard Boynton, who is ‘exceptionally clever and his capacity for intense hard work is quite extraordinary’, from Clifford Chance LLP. The practice’s commercial disputes expertise includes M&A disputes; breach of contract claims; insurance coverage; and securities and shareholder litigation. Chris Colbridge has particular experience in conducting white-collar crime investigations on a global basis; Rajinder Bassi is ‘a superb tactician and tough negotiator’; and Chiraag Shah is ‘technically excellent’.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP ‘provides an excellent service that is characterised by very strong strategic judgement’. The firm has particular strength in commercial litigation across industry sectors such as financial services, energy, TMT and transportation. The team acted for Visa and Visa International Service Association in multiple sets of proceedings in the High Court, regarding the alleged setting and implementation of multilateral interchange fees for debit and credit cards. Julian Stait is ‘a brilliant strategist’; Tom Canning is ‘an outstanding lawyer’; and Charles Evans is recommended for contentious regulatory proceedings.

Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP is ‘a top-notch firm that is highly committed to achieving excellence and comes up with innovative and practical solutions to achieve clients’ business objectives’. The practice is recommended for complex, cross-border disputes, regulatory and competition investigations, and contentious insolvencies; and it has specific sector expertise in technology and finance, as well as media, retail and mining. Jonathan Wheeler is London disputes head; Kevin Roberts specialises in corporate investigations and fraud; and Paul Friedman is an antitrust, white-collar and securities litigator. Gemma Anderson was made partner.

PCB Litigation LLP is ‘very responsive, diligent and client oriented’. The practice has expanded its disputes scope beyond the civil fraud arena to include complex commercial litigation work. It is regularly instructed on large matters emanating from the CIS, but has also seen growth from the Middle East, Africa and India, as well as the US and the Far East. Anthony Riem is team head; Trevor Mascarenhas is ‘wise and sharp’; Nick Ractliff is well regarded for shareholder and joint venture disputes, unfair prejudice matters, and breach of fiduciary duty claims; and Steven Philippsohn is a name to note.

Payne Hicks Beach’s is ‘a strong, dedicated, mid-sized team offering excellent levels of service’. The firm’s disputes work includes banking, derivatives, shareholder disputes and insolvency; professional negligence; commercial disputes in the motor industry; and breach of warranty claims. The practice is also experienced in marine litigation; loan instrument disputes; and reputation management. Stephen King ‘brings his calm reassuring experience to bear’; Richard Manyon is ‘an excellent, confident performer’; and Dominic Crossley is a key contact. Senior associate Ane Vernon is ‘meticulous and fights hard for clients’.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP has strong credentials in shareholder disputes; claims involving parties in Russia and CEE; offshore litigation; and disputes in regulated industries, such as energy and telecoms. In a highly unusual reverse summary judgment, David Kavanagh QC, who recently took silk, and David Edwards, who is ‘establishing a great name’, led in a significant victory on behalf of a co-defendant Ukrainian businessman in the English High Court, which struck out an entire claim for oil payments. Karyl Nairn QC is ‘utterly brilliant’, Bruce Macaulay ‘always has the most sensible, effective approach’, and David Herlihy and Daniel Gal are also highly regarded.

Squire Patton Boggs’ ‘responsive, commercial practice has impressive strengths’; these include complex and high-value finance litigation work and regulatory investigations; commercial and contractual disputes; energy matters; shipping litigation; and construction disputes. It also has a highly regarded international sports practice. Laurence Winston is UK litigation head; Robert Weekes is a specialist fraud lawyer, acting primarily for banks, asset-based lenders and other financial institutions; Gareth Timms has specific expertise in asset-based lending and trade finance litigation; and Chris Webber is noted for structured finance disputes.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s ‘highly experienced team knows that what clients want is to solve problems as quickly and as cheaply as possible’. The practice has significant experience in disputes involving the finance, shipping, energy, natural resources, transport and real estate sectors. The ‘talismanic’ Andrew Savage is ‘fearsomely bright and hard-working’; Andrew Hutcheon is ‘calm and considered’; and Robert Platt and Andrew Ward are also key names. The firm hired real estate disputes specialist Dev Desai from Pinsent Masons LLP; and Robert Fidoe and Charles Buss, who ‘looks at every case from every angle’, recently returned to London from the Bangkok and Athens’ offices, respectively.

Winston & Strawn London LLP’s disputes work covers banking, finance, and securities matters, as well as fraud and corporate crime, competition law, offshore trusts and real estate. Other key areas include insurance, professional negligence, and arbitration-related litigation. Michael Madden is ‘clear, clever and easy to work with’. Justin McClelland focuses on complex, cross-jurisdictional disputes and contentious regulatory matters.

Bryan Cave is ‘very reactive and able smoothly to co-ordinate UK and US laws’. The practice is well known for cross-border, high-value commercial disputes; it has expertise in white-collar crime, asset tracing, multi-jurisdictional fraud claims, and private international law; and the team has significant experience of obtaining and challenging freezing injunctions. Mathew Rea and Robert Dougans are highly rated, and Serena Cooke is ‘intelligent, calm and sensible’. Ioannis Alexopoulos departed for Signature Litigation LLP.

With its significant private client practice, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s ‘engaged and committed group’ is highly rated for its disputes advice to privately owned companies and their shareholders. Recent work involved disputes in the technology, telecoms, financial services, mining, aviation, and food and beverage sectors; and the firm has strong links to clients in the Middle East. Stewart Hey, John Sykes and Edward Craig are the key advisers.

Collyer Bristow LLP is recommended for general commercial contract disputes; economic torts; professional negligence; commercial agents’ disputes; civil fraud; and contentious insolvency. Other areas of note include boardroom and partnership disputes; directors’ liabilities; disputes between shareholders or joint venture partners; and unfair prejudice petitions. Jeff Roberts and Janine Alexander are highly rated; and banking disputes expert Richard Viegas joined from Bristows LLP as partner.

Dorsey & Whitney’s ‘response times are good and the advice is high quality’. The practice is best known for complex international cases, and it has developed significant expertise in e-discovery. It recently acted for Watchstone Group in a high-value warranty claim. Tim Maloney is ‘very experienced’; and Matthew Blower is also highly regarded.

Forsters LLP’s ‘lawyers are easily as good and capable as Magic Circle advisers’. The practice has broad expertise across the commercial, corporate and private client sectors, with associated contentious teams based in the firm’s property and construction departments. Emily Exton heads the dispute resolution and contentious trusts group; Benedict Walton ‘has a sharp mind ’; Andrew Head is also highly rated; and consultant and former dispute resolution head Caroline Bassett is ‘an excellent litigator’.

Fox Williams LLP’s ‘partners are fully engaged in the conduct of cases’. The firm hired civil fraud, asset tracing and insolvency partner David Butler from Harneys’ Cayman office. The practice is well known for contentious partnership disputes, and is increasingly instructed on international litigation and cross-border disputes, including internal investigations and business crime matters. Gavin Foggo ‘has immensely good judgement’; the ‘great tactician’ Tom Custance is ‘bright, thoughtful and extremely articulate’; and Peter Ashford is ‘trusted by clients’.

Gowling WLG’s ‘very commercial team provides practical advice to deal with complex situations’. James Sidwell specialises in domestic and cross-border disputes in the banking and financial services sectors, together with fraud and asset tracing, contentious trusts and regulatory enforcement work; Sidwell’s experience includes acting for the Federal Republic of Brazil in relation to the successful recovery of assets. Alex Jay is ‘a very accomplished lawyer’.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP ‘houses clever, client-friendly, professional lawyers’ and the practice is well known for its advice to the firm’s clients from the technology, media and entertainment sectors. Andy Millmore is ‘always on top of all aspects of a case’; Louis Castellani is ‘tactically very astute and able to manage lengthy, challenging, cross-border cases’; and Sandi Simons is focused on contract and commercial matters, and commercial agents’ regulations disputes.

Howard Kennedy LLP fields ‘excellent people who give good, sensible advice’. The practice’s scope of commercial litigation work covers international contractual and commodities disputes; financial services matters and civil fraud; professional negligence; IP; and insolvency disputes. It is also well known for sports and media sector litigation. Louise Bennett is commercial litigation head; Tim Bignell is ‘able to handle testing situations’; and Craig Emden is ‘a brilliant litigator’. Steven Morris, Fiona Hinds, Joel Leigh, Mark Stephens CBE and Simon Taylor are key contacts. Former commercial litigation head, Sue Thackeray, joined Kingsley Napley LLP.

Irwin Mitchell’s areas of strength include civil fraud claims, freezing orders and asset recovery; financial services disputes; commercial contract claims; breach of directors’ duties; and shareholder and partnership disputes. Other specialist areas include disputes involving construction; insurance; M&A and warranty disputes; product liability claims; professional negligence; IP; and trust and pension issues. The team recently defended proceedings for a worldwide freezing injunction. Jonathan Sachs and Sarah Wallace are the key litigators.

K&L Gates LLP welcomed litigation partner Clarissa Coleman from Addleshaw Goddard. The disputes team operates across sectors that represent the firm’s core strengths, including oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, financial services and structured finance, and sports and media; and it frequently advises on corporate transactional and joint venture disputes. John Magnin is recommended for high-value, international disputes, particularly in the natural resources, finance, corporate and sport sectors. Other notable practitioners include Anne McCarthy, Robert Hadley and John Gilbert.

Kingsley Napley LLP recently hired Howard Kennedy LLP’s former commercial litigation head, Sue Thackeray. The practice is best known for acting for entrepreneurs and business individuals, but is increasingly instructed by corporate clients to handle complex litigation. Richard Foss is practice area leader; Ryan Mowat ‘stays one step ahead of the other side’; Fiona Simpson ‘thinks things through very carefully’; and William Christopher is ‘extremely quick, decisive and sensible’. Gerard Cukier is also highly rated.

Lewis Silkin LLP’s ‘very strong litigation practice’ recruited Andrew Wanambwa as a partner from Ogier’s BVI office. It has significant experience of international litigation; jurisdiction disputes; joint venture and shareholder matters; share purchase and warranty claims; and banking disputes. Other areas of strength include trust litigation, partnership disputes, utilities litigation, construction matters, and civil fraud. Simon Chapman is team head; Clive Greenwood ‘sees the big picture’; and Mark Lim’s ‘client management skills are first rate’. Other recommended advisers include Tom Coates, Philip Foster and Adam Glass.

McGuireWoods London LLP is ‘always on top of litigation procedures and timelines’. The practice acted for Vincent Tchenguiz (and his interests) in a high-profile £2.2bn claim against Grant Thornton and Icelandic bank Kaupthing, arising out of Kaupthing’s collapse and subsequent SFO investigation. Michael Tackley is ‘a very experienced lawyer’, and Hardeep Nahal is ‘a first-rate lawyer with good strategic vision’.

Memery Crystal LLP is predominantly known for its work for clients in the oil and gas and mining sectors; and the practice has a longstanding reputation for dealing with financial services and regulatory disputes. Jane Marsden is dispute resolution head, Harvey Rands ‘has enormous knowledge and experience’, and Mark Whelan is ‘particularly good’. Nicholas Scott joined GRM Law.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP ‘has a strong commercial litigation practice that handles high-value, complex disputes’. The team leverages the firm’s significant client base in the energy, insurance and financial services sectors, and frequently acts in disputes involving Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East, the US, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Nicholas Greenwood is ‘knowledgeable and responsive’; and Peter Sharp and David Waldron are ‘both highly experienced, top-quality litigators’.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP is highly rated for cross-border disputes involving the finance, energy and technology sectors. Alongside the Hong Kong office, the team defended an investment manager against Commercial Court proceedings, which alleged negligent investment activity. Matthew Lawson is ‘superb - he has brilliant and strategic insight’; and Simon Willis and Maria Frangeskides are also highly rated.

Paul Hastings LLP’s ‘small but perfectly formed practice’ acted for the ultimate beneficial owner and an investment fund in a high-value, cross-border, insolvency matter, relating to the ownership and control of Santander’s global headquarters.

Penningtons Manches LLP has particular expertise in cross-border and international disputes, as evidenced by the firm’s well-established India group and recently founded San Francisco office; and the practice’s work ranges from shareholder disputes to complex contractual claims. Rustam Dubash is head of commercial dispute resolution and Alex Fox ‘has a very commercial approach’. John Doherty and Richard Marshall are key advisers; Jeremy Clarke-Williams joined from Slater and Gordon, while Mark Lewis departed for Kemp Little LLP.

Although traditionally known for fraud matters, Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP regularly acts on major commercial and corporate disputes without fraud elements, and its ‘high-quality team can easily turn its hand to commercial litigation’. The caseload features disputes involving shareholders, contracts, insolvency proceedings, contentious financial services and regulatory matters, IP, and professional negligence. Keith Oliver ‘revels in his role as overseer on large cases, with decisive and important contributions when required’; Sarah Gabriel is ‘the best civil fraud practitioner working in London’; Jonathan Tickner is ‘very effective’; and Jason Woodland is well regarded.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP is ‘excellent; the practice has a powerful work ethic and achieves the best results’. It remains well known for disputes involving public sector parties; heavyweight Commercial Court disputes, often acting for entrepreneurs and HNW individuals; banking and aviation litigation; and acting for and against Middle Eastern clients. Anthony Yates and Lucy James are highly rated; Alex Burton ‘always impresses’; and Ned Beale ‘has a keen eye for the commercial, common sense of a claim’.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP recently promoted Jamie Maples, who is ‘a careful and thoughtful lawyer’, and Hannah Field-Lowes to the partnership, while Juliet Blanch left to become an independent arbitrator. The practice acted for Jinpeng Group (Jinpeng) in multiple cross-border disputes relating to its investment in the Aman Resorts group of companies; it also has a growing tax litigation practice.

Withers LLP ‘has great experience of large, challenging disputes’. The practice is experienced in financial services litigation and is able to act against banks; and the firm has a focus on litigation connected to the BVI, Italy, Greece and Cyprus, with Russia being a particular strength. Its high-profile international client base also includes major sporting and luxury brands. The ‘unflappable’ Peter Wood ‘has a really good manner with clients’; Roberto Moruzzi ‘has a good eye for what is really important’; and Tatiana Menshenina and Christopher Coffin ‘both have excellent judgement and intuition’.

At Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, the commercial litigation work of Hilton Mervis (formerly of King & Wood Mallesons) frequently involves complex, multi-jurisdictional matters, including freezing injunctions, asset tracing, joint ventures, private equity, and partnership disputes. Michael Bywell is a key contact.

‘Providing a tailored approach’, Blake Morgan LLP is ‘very professional, efficient and effective’. The practice’s work includes complex, high-value insolvency litigation, civil fraud, and Proceeds of Crime Act work. Sarah Rees and Justin Weare have considerable experience of offshore jurisdictions, in particular BVI and the Cayman Islands.

Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP’s ‘great team provides first-rate litigation services’. The practice is recommended for handling complex, cross-border commercial litigation; it acted for global asset manager M&G Investment Management in a case which turned on complex contractual law interpretation issues. Natasha Harrison is ‘committed to achieving the best results for clients’; recently promoted partner Fiona Huntriss ‘puts her heart and soul into a case’; and counsel Nathalie Allen Prince is ‘hard-working and efficient’.

At Bristol-based Burges Salmon LLP, the disputes practice covers financial services, insurance, and fraud and white-collar crime; and the practice assists both claimants and defendants with company, shareholder and partnership disputes. Other litigation services include issues relating to distribution and retail, commercial agency and distributorship disputes, and product liability.

Cubism Law regularly advises on a wide range of commercial disputes, including contractual issues, debt management, shareholder and partnership disputes, and non-payment issues; the firm also has expertise in professional negligence, employment and property disputes. Duncan McNair, Peter Mellett, Anya Bloom and Andrew Pena are the recommended practitioners.

DWFM Beckman is ‘a very good firm of lawyers in a competitive market’. The firm’s disputes expertise includes commercial contracts; corporate matters; insolvency and debt recovery; and IP-related claims. The practice is also noted for real estate and trust disputes, professional negligence, civil fraud, injunctions and asset tracing. Peter Bridson ‘has great judgement, experience and negotiating skills’; Elizabeth Johnson ‘provides extremely pragmatic advice’; Demetris Dionissiou is ‘a very effective lawyer’; Sharokh Koussari is ‘highly experienced’; Naylah Hamour ‘has a superb mind’; and Claire Lyon is ‘great with clients’.

DaySparkes derives a large proportion of its work from its network of cross-referral individuals and firms. The practice acted for the former managing director and majority shareholder of Remnant Media (now dissolved) in fraud proceedings, which were brought against HBOS and others. John Day ‘has an instinctive grasp for a case’s strategy’.

Druces LLP ‘provides a level of service in keeping with larger City practices’. The practice’s main areas of specialism are disputes involving shareholders, directors, partnerships, and joint ventures; professional negligence claims against professional service providers; and cross-border disputes. Julian Johnstone ‘has a great instinct for pre-empting clients’ needs’; and Charles Spragge is ‘technically very good, but also very commercial’.

Freeths LLP’ disputes practice covers banking and finance, commercial fraud, contracts, warranty claims, and debt recovery. Other areas of note include injunctions, insolvency, IP-related claims, partnership disputes and professional negligence. Philippa Dempster is highly rated.

Goodman Derrick LLP ‘offers an excellent service and the firm has very good, responsive lawyers that represent excellent value for money’. The team defended Intelligent Land Investments (Renewable Energy) against a warranties-related claim. Tim Langton is ‘a tower of strength’; and Clive Ince, who ‘has excellent strategic ideas and commercial acumen’, is noted for commercial, company, media and professional disputes. Nigel Adams is a key contact.

Gordon Dadds LLP’ ‘lawyers are able, proactive and have broad experience’. Nick Goldstone, who ‘fights for his clients’, led the advice to Swiss Life on the enforcement of US Federal Court judgments. Nicholas Yapp ‘can handle difficult cases and clients’; Gareth Jones is ‘thoughtful and knowledgeable’; Philip Cohen ‘goes the extra mile’; and Dean Nicholls is ‘an excellent lawyer’.

Hamlins LLP’s ‘overall level of service delights clients’. The practice handles large, complex contractual claims; breach of fiduciary duties; civil fraud matters; partnership and shareholder issues; professional negligence, and regulatory and financial matters; and it has sector expertise in sports, property, IT, IP, construction, engineering and insurance. Amanda Burge is ‘a top-class litigator who is unfailingly calm and has a can-do attitude’.

Humphries Kerstetter LLP is ‘a first-class, niche practice with enviable, high-quality City work’. It has a particular focus on complex disputes, predominantly with an international dimension. The team advised RGL Management, on behalf of a group of claimants, which sought compensation for the unlawful destruction of its businesses by a bank’s global restructuring group. Mark Humphries ‘provides excellent, strategic advice’; and Kristopher Kerstetter and Christopher Braithwaite are also highly rated.

IT and IP remain core practice areas for iLaw, but the firm has increasingly developed a specialist commercial litigation practice. It acted for an Indian company in a joint venture agreement dispute. Mark Culbert ‘inspires real confidence’, and Tom Clark ‘has good instincts’.

Jenner & Block LLP’s ‘excellent London office’ opened in 2015 and includes former White & Case LLP partners Charlie Lightfoot, who is ‘commercial and pragmatic’, and Jason Yardley. The team acted for Cruz City 1 Mauritius Holdings in proceedings in India, the Isle of Man, Cyprus and the UK, to enforce a $400m-plus arbitration award.

Joelson ‘understands clients’ business well, making for quick, informed advice’. The practice’s areas of expertise include debt recovery, IP, insolvency, professional negligence, shareholder disputes and property litigation, as well as alternative dispute resolution. Jo Gregory is highly regarded; and Niall McCann ‘grasps the key issues’.

Kennedys’ ‘impressive team’ has particular expertise in banking litigation, insolvency and fraud. Dino Paganuzzi, John Harvey and Ben Aram are highly rated.

Keystone Law’s is highly rated for its representation in high-value commercial disputes. The firm’s key litigators include Alex Ferrari, Patrick Pennal and Nilam Sharma. Ferrari recently acted in a claim regarding the calculation of royalties and breach of contract issues.

Providing ‘quick responses and a practical approach’, Kobre & Kim LLP focuses almost exclusively on disputes and investigations that often involve fraud and misconduct, and which are usually cross-border. Andrew Stafford QC is ‘well versed in the law and a high-quality advocate in court’; and Simon Cullingworth and James Corbett QC are key contacts.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s ‘responsive lawyers are very detailed’. The team’s core areas of strength are contentious property litigation, financial services matters, oil and gas disputes, contentious insolvency and recovery work, and competition litigation. Simon Colledge is ‘a good commercial lawyer’; and Euan Palmer is ‘technically excellent’. Chris Woodruff and Philip Sewell are names to note.

Michelmores LLP’s ‘highly efficient team delivers effective outcomes’. The practice, alongside the firm’s insolvency team, represented the fifth respondent in the Waterfall II case, regarding an application made by LBIE’s joint administrators, which concerned entitlements to LBIE estate’s surplus. Peter Sigler ‘has an exceptional track record’; and Garbhan Shanks is well known for insurance and reinsurance coverage disputes.

Multi-disciplinary practice PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP has ‘an accomplished team that is getting stronger and stands out for its ability to provide all-round advice’. Dipti Hunter, who is ‘a very forceful litigator’, was recruited from DAC Beachcroft LLP. The team acted for Beech Holdings in a contentious proof of debt claim. Agnes Quashie is department head.

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP is ‘a highly competent practice’. It is noted for high-level, international contractual and corporate disputes. Jonathan Roberts ‘can solve the most intractable of cases’; Rudi Ramdarshan is ‘an excellent lawyer who is extremely effective’; and commercial and employment disputes specialist Rebecca Roberts was made partner.

Rosenblatt recently hired Donna Goldsworthy from Irwin Mitchell, where she led the commercial litigation team. The disputes practice covers fraud; professional negligence; corporate insolvency and shareholder disputes; real estate; and claims related to mis-selling and interest rate swaps. Anthony Field is dispute resolution head.

Russell-Cooke LLP is ‘a strong, all-round, mid-sized firm’. Its disputes work covers complex contracts; commercial fraud and asset tracing; financial services; IP; professional negligence; insurance; construction; and statutory trusts. Francesca Kaye is ‘a very accomplished practitioner’; Paolo Sidoli is ‘a practical, dedicated lawyer’; and insolvency team head Lee Ranford is ‘a safe and sensible pair of hands’. John Gould is the recommended senior partner.

SCA Ontier LLP specialises in high-value, multi-jurisdictional, commercial litigation, arbitration and insolvency matters, with a number of high-value instructions recently deriving from Africa, the Middle East and Russia. Seamus Andrew is highly regarded, Paul Ferguson’s ‘strengths are timely responses and prudent advice’, and Oliver Cain is a key contact.

Steptoe and Johnson LLP hired Neil Dooley as partner from Hogan Lovells International LLP, where he was of counsel. The practice is noted for asset-recovery matters, commercial fraud cases, and its ability to take on financial institutions. Jonathan Raynes is a construction disputes expert and Angus Rodger is a key name.

Teacher Stern LLP is ‘an extremely competent practice’. Its primary focus is on high-value contractual and shareholder actions; professional negligence; and fraud and asset-tracing claims. The team is also noted for mis-selling disputes against institutional defendants. Jack Rabinowicz is commercial litigation team head; Rod Cowper is highly rated; and Navinder Grover ‘does not leave any stone unturned in pursuit of his client’s case’.

Wallace LLP ‘matches the service that is given by much larger firms’. The practice acted for a Panamanian company in its high-value High Court claims against twelve defendants, for breach of fiduciary duty and knowing receipt of funds and other contractual benefits. Simon Serota’s practice includes shareholder claims, professional negligence, and asset recovery and protection.Craig Thompson ‘digs deep into cases to unravel the knots and wrinkles’; Alexander Weinberg is ‘head and shoulders above some lawyers’; and Oli Goldman is ‘really good with clients’.

Wedlake Bell LLP fields highly specialised litigators in professional negligence, commercial contracts, judicial review and procurement issues, as well as IP, insolvency, and restructuring and trusts. The practice, which ‘provides solid, client-service skills’, is also well known for property litigation and construction disputes. David Golten ‘a very able all-round litigator’.

Bevan Brittan LLP’s practice covers financial services; complex, high-value ICT matters; public law challenges; contract breaches; negligence; and fraud-related issues. Birmingham’s Adam Kendall is the national head of the firm’s litigation, advisory and regulatory practice. Former department head Iain Miller moved to Kingsley Napley LLP; and Peter Steel joined Augury Consulting. Viginia Cooper now heads the team in London.

Bircham Dyson Bell is ‘a very strong, capable and commercial firm’. It is experienced in shareholder disputes, financial litigation (with a recent focus on swaps’ mis-selling) and complex IT disputes. Sinéad Lester is ‘a good, hardworking lawyer’; and Richard Langley ‘cares deeply about clients’.

Bowling & Co.’s ‘advice is always appropriate’. The team’s disputes expertise includes company, partnership and shareholder matters; debt recovery; insolvency; IP; and fraud and asset recovery. Other areas of note are swaps mis-selling, professional negligence, and insurance claims. Peter Laskey is ‘determined when pursuing clients’ interests’.

Candey’s ‘excellent practice is responsive, knowledgeable and commercial’,and it has grown through the hire of James Collins from Dechert LLP. The practice’s expertise includes acting in large, high-value reported cases in the High Court in the hotels, oil and gas, financial services and technology sectors. Ashkhan Candey is ‘always keen to advise on the business implications of disputes’; and Andrew Dunn is ‘very strategically adept’.

Carter Lemon Camerons ‘quickly identifies clients’ litigation goals and gears its strategy and advice around them’. The practice is particularly recognised for its work in financial services (including acting against banks), property, IP, and professional negligence disputes. Seamus Smyth is litigation and arbitration head; and Chris Corney ‘provides clear and concise analysis and advice’.

DWF ‘has a growing practice and its lawyers think hard about their cases and deliver excellent results’. It recruited Jonathan Isaacs, who has ‘a first-rate legal mind’, and the ‘well-regarded’ Richard Twomey, known for energy, technology and manufacturing disputes, from PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP and Pinsent Masons LLP respectively. The practice is particularly focused on High Court, post-transaction, corporate litigation; and shareholder, joint venture and contract disputes. Stefan Paciorek is also highly regarded.

Beyond its housing provider following, Devonshires Solicitors LLP, which ‘has sound commercial acumen’, acts in commercial litigation for regulators, and assists with complex fraud and private finance initiative disputes. Philip Barden is ‘a very savvy lawyer’; Matthew Hennessy-Gibbs is ‘great in a crisis and focused on outcomes’; and James Dunn is highly rated.

Fletcher Day ‘provides sensible, pragmatic advice, based on the commercial interests of the client and the realities of the case’. The group was recently especially active in matters that involved working alongside its corporate, insolvency, property and IP colleagues. It acted for multiple clients in a judgment enforcement debt matter. Jovita Vassallo ‘picks out the key facts and strengths and weaknesses in any claim’.

As well as GSC Solicitors LLP’s real estate litigation credentials, the firm handles a high volume of commercial, corporate and contractual disputes, as well as private client litigation on behalf of wealthy individuals. The group ‘undertakes commercial litigation of the highest quality for very high-quality clients, and gets results’; and Michael Shapiro is ‘an experienced litigator who has a very calm and collected approach’. Senior consultant Barry Samuels is ‘exceptionally dedicated and hard-working, and pays great attention to detail’.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP is recommended for cross-border disputes in highly specialised areas of expertise, such as product liability, regulated utilities, employment, competition law, and FCA and SFO investigations. Consultant Stephen Brown is department head.

A leading claimant firm for competition litigation, Hausfeld also recently acted in banking disputes involving complex loan financings, derivatives transactions and banking misconduct; and in commercial disputes, the team assisted with a group action. Anthony Maton is London managing partner; John McElroy is ‘an experienced litigator who combines an acute legal mind with sound commercial awareness’; and Lianne Craig is also well regarded.

Locke Lord LLP is ‘a relatively new entrant in the London market that is giving the more established opposition a run for its money’. The practice is noted for corporate and insolvency disputes; and it acts in aviation, banking, energy, construction, insurance and real estate litigation. ‘A good man for clients to have on their side’, Joseph Kosky is ‘a highly experienced litigator’. Kevin Heath is also highly regarded.

‘A great choice for commercial litigation work’, Marriott Harrison LLP specialises in director, shareholder and company disputes; it successfully defended Minco, in its role as junior explorer partner in a mining joint venture, and two of its directors, against a claim brought by an investor. Tamar Halevy ‘probes every aspect of a case with great care’.

Olephant Solicitors ‘provides an exceptional level of service’; the practice is best known for its representation of HNW individuals and their businesses in complex commercial litigation, with particular expertise in company law disputes, minority shareholder matters, and fraud claims. Jan Mugerwa is ‘successful at getting results’.

Pitmans LLP’s practice covers real estate, IT, finance, pensions, media and entertainment, and fraud. Tim Clark in Reading specialises in IT disputes, commercial law claims, breach of contract issues, insurance-related litigation, and injunction applications. David Archer and Denise Fawcett are also experienced advisers.

Ropes & Gray LLP launched its London commercial litigation practice with the hiring of Thomas Ross, who is well known for financial services litigation, from K&L Gates LLP. It acted for Baillie Gifford in numerous disclosure orders made in relation to proceedings brought by investment entities in New York against Petrobras.

Royds LLP recently merged with Bath-headquartered Withy King to become Royds Withy King. The practice regularly handles agency and distribution disputes, IP infringement, professional negligence, and regulatory enforcement matters; and it is well known for advising the retail sector. It also regularly advises designers and inventors; and has an expanding Indian practice. Stewart Wilkinson is well regarded; and Chris Rodda is ‘particularly good at moving forward disputes which have stalled’. James Millar Craig and Stephen Welfare are key names.

Seddons ‘provides good, down-to-earth knowledge’. The practice acts in banking litigation, shareholder disputes, insolvency issues, professional negligence claims, and IP protection. Marvin Simons is ‘a great litigator’.

Specialising in international disputes, Shepherd and Wedderburn has sectoral focus on energy, oil and gas, and utilities; financial services; and real estate. Guy Harvey and Jane Wessel are highly regarded.

Sheridans is well known for commercial litigation involving specialist media and IP issues that frequently have international aspects; and the practice recently enjoyed growth in its arbitration work. Michael Thomas is the key contact.

Simons Muirhead & Burton’s ‘team holds its own in the commercial dispute resolution arena’. It is best known for its media and entertainment clients, but the practice also has a growing commercial litigation practice. Razi Mireskandari is ‘always on the front foot no matter what’; Stephen Shotnes is highly rated; and consultant Peter Gould ‘combines years of street-fighting litigation nous with enviable elegance of expression to devastating effect’.

Solomon Taylor & Shaw is ‘a very good practice indeed and clients get a huge amount of personal attention from partners’. It has particular expertise in banking litigation, partnership and shareholder disputes, and insolvency-related litigation. Mark Summerfield, increasingly known for classic car and supercar litigation, is ‘loved by clients’.

Guildford-based Stevens & Bolton LLP is ‘very responsive and its advice is consistently pragmatic’. The practice’s disputes expertise includes joint venture matters; warranty and indemnity claims; and shareholder and partnership actions. Other areas of note include trading disputes; fraud and bribery; and professional negligence claims. Richard King, Michael Frisby and Andrew Quick are the key names.

Sullivan & Worcester UK LLP ‘provides very good response times and excellent product knowledge’. UK insurance and disputes practice head Marian Boyle, who is ‘very knowledgeable and communicates clearly’, joined from Dentons; she recently advised finance and insurance-based industry clients on banking, finance and insurance policy-related disputes.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP is ‘very professional and clear in its responses’. The practice is well known for insolvency-related disputes; and it has sector strengths in energy and natural resources, life sciences, manufacturing, and media. Marie-Louise King is ‘outstanding’; and Robert Paydon is also highly rated.


Competition litigation

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The competition litigation team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP continues to be involved in some of the most headline-grabbing cases in the market. Jon Lawrence and Mark Sansom recently represented MasterCard before the Competition Appeal Tribunal, in what was the largest damages claim ever brought in the UK. Lawrence is also coordinating the European defence for Volvo/Renault in relation to claims arising from the Commission’s trucks cartel decision. Rod Carlton and Alastair Chapman are active partners in the antitrust, competition and trade department.

Hausfeld has ‘great depth of experience in competition litigation’ and is widely regarded in the market as one of, if not the, premier claimant firm. It fields in London specialist litigators with exposure to a variety of key jurisdictions and has also continued to grow its international network, further strengthening its ability to bring claims across the entirety of the European continent. Led by ‘excellent strategist’ Anthony Maton, the department is coordinating potential litigation and settlement discussion in the UK and Netherlands for a group of European corporates and transport associations resulting from the European Commission (EC)’s investigation into the trucking manufacturer cartel. Its impressive portfolio of automotive clients has also provided opportunities for claims in the ball bearing cartel and car glass cartel litigation, in which Laurent Geelhand and the highly recommended Anna Morfey find themselves involved. Andrew Bullion is representing, with Maton, over 500 corporate entities seeking compensation under the long-running air cargo cartel litigation while Nicola Boyle has been acting as co-counsel for numerous entities in the interchange fee litigation. Recognised as one to watch, senior associate Lesley Hannah ‘undoubtedly has a bright future’ and has gained experience through work in financial services competition claims and litigation involving Google’s dominant market position. Scott Campbell joined from Stewarts Law LLP in May 2017.

As ‘one of the established players in competition litigation’, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has extensive experience of regulatory appeals and defending private enforcement claims in the EU, UK and other national courts. The London group comprises practitioners from the firm’s disputes department and competition, regulation and trade unit, and regularly teams up with partners in the firm’s Brussels and Düsseldorf offices to bring claims in increasingly popular jurisdictions for competition litigation, such as Germany and the Netherlands. In one of the department’s most significant matters of 2016, practice head Stephen Wisking and the ‘technically astute’ Kim Dietzel are defending private damages claims brought against Pilkington in English and German courts regarding the EC’s car glass cartel decision. The ‘knowledgeable’ department head is also acting for Sky and TalkTalk in relation to BT’s appeals regarding Ofcom’s 2013 decision that BT had overcharged purchasers of Ethernet services. Further, Dietzel is acting for defendants and potential defendants in multiple ongoing, high-profile cartel cases involving power cable, ball bearing and trucks cartels. Additional clients include Schunk, the which the team continues to defend in relation to the carbon and graphite cartel, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Tessenderlo Chemi.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is ‘very strong’ in the competition space and acts for defendants in early regulatory investigations through to follow-on claims in what are consistently considered among the most high-profile competition litigation cases in the market. Department head Nicholas Heaton is ‘head and shoulders above almost all of his peers at other firms’ and continues to act for Air Canada in relation to national appellate litigation concerning the highly publicised air cargo cartel litigation; the firm is also acting for Korean Air in High Court claims regarding the cargo cartel, making it one of the few firms to advise two major air carriers in this headline litigation. Heaton was instructed alongside the ‘strategic and responsive’ Christopher Hutton in the successful defence of a glass manufacturer involved in the iiyama litigation, which ultimately concerned the territorial scope of EU competition law and the right of a Japanese manufacturer to sue. Paul Chaplin, a highly recommended counsel, leads a team that is acting for British American Tobacco in relation to damages claims, counter claims, criminal actions and constitutional claims concerning actions brought by two Georgian tobacco companies, which represent the first ever competition damages cases to be heard before the Georgian courts. The department also continues to be involved in a litany of financial services competition cases.

In one way or another, Slaughter and May is involved in nearly every one of the most well-known contentious competition cases in the market and is, by the measure of some, ‘the premier firm providing EU and UK competition litigation’. Department head Richard Swallow is ‘significantly experienced in this area’ and acted for Koninklijke Philips in a €1bn damages claims brought in the English High Court by iiyama, which has gone to the Court of Appeal. Indeed, the team has acted in defence of a number of very high-profile cartel claims, an example of which is the air cargo cartel case, in which Swallow has also continued to represent British Airways; the case is currently on appeal to the European Court of Justice. Additionally, Isabel Taylor and Deborah Finkler are advising American Express Services Europe on the UK judicial review proceedings seeking to clarify the EU’s Interchange Fees Regulation. The team also manages to make use of a global network of best friend relationships, and is acting alongside Gleiss Lutz in an investigation into Booking.com’s most favoured nation clause. In 2016, Damian Taylor and Richard Jeens were made partners, while Elizabeth Barrett retired.

The competition litigation team at Allen & Overy LLP draws on the sector specialisms of the wider-firm and also makes good use of its global network, making the department an attractive team for corporates facing competition investigations and subsequent litigation. Antonio Bavasso is the firm’s global co-head of antitrust and in addition to leading 21st Century Fox’s bid for Sky, he advised the client in relation to the EC’s investigation into territorial restrictions and licensing arrangements between the company and European pay-TV broadcasters. Jonathan Hitchin is an active litigator in the group and is instructed by a number of household name clients in multiple high-value proceedings in the UK and abroad. Indeed, Hitchin and Alasdair Balfour are acting for Visa Europe Member Representative (a trust company representing 441 European banks) in connection with the competition proceedings brought against Visa by various UK retailers. Additional clients include Hitachi, Deutsche Bank and Premaitha. Dominic Long was promoted to partner in 2017. Philip Mansfield and Mark Friend are also recommended.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP provides ‘an excellent blend of legal and commercial strategy over the full range of competition work for an array of top clients’. It is instructed by both claimants and defendants, though it has achieved prominence as claimant counsel of late; a position that was strengthened this year with the hire of Ed Coulson from Hausfeld. Indeed, Coulson and Andrew Hockley have taken a lead role in the trucks cartel litigation, acting for Royal Mail in connection with a damages claim against DAF, which is the first of these cartel claims to be brought in England. Again on the claimant’s side, Joby Davies is representing National Grid in its £143m damages claim arising from the well-known power cables cartel; the firm is also acting for Scottish Power, another major claimant in this piece of litigation. In the defence space, the team advised Tesco in the second ever fast-track damages claim at the competition appeal tribunal (CAT). Chris Bryant, James Marshall and senior associate Rachel Ziegler are recommended.

Clifford Chance is ‘a stand-out player’ representing both claimants and defendants in the UK and EU court systems. It regularly acts for FTSE100 and Fortune 500 listed companies and also maintains an active position in competition thought leadership. Department head Elizabeth Morony, who is ‘one of the most seasoned litigators in the UK’, has extensive experience of competition matters in the financial services sector; in 2016, she worked alongside the firm’s regulatory department to advise BNP Paribas on the first wholesale market study by the FCA into investment and corporate banking. ‘A born litigator’, Luke Tolaini is representing Pfizer in a CAT appeal of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s imposition of a £84.2m fine for abuse of its dominant position with regard to the sale of anti-epilepsy drugs in the UK. Matthew Scully is another key contact in the practice group and has recent experience acting for clients in the pharmaceuticals, technology and financial services sectors.

Linklaters LLP’s competition litigation group is ‘one of the strongest among London firms’, according to a client, and has experience in acting for claimants and defendants in follow-on damages claims, also handling regulatory investigations and litigation. With the retirement of Michael Sanders in April 2017, the department is now headed by Tom Cassels, ‘a tenacious, commercial and knowledgeable practitioner, and one of the most engaging personalities to work alongside’. Cassels is acting for Air France-KLM in the re-pleading of a case before the High Court regarding damages claims following the EC’s air cargo investigation; the claimants were forced to re-plead on a narrower scope after a number of successes for the defendants. The team is also representing Visa Europe in a slew of damages claims issued against the client by retailers, which allege breach of competition law concerning the implementation of multilateral interchange fees for Visa card payments in Europe. On the claimant side, counsel Elizabeth Jordan is on a team acting for Kelkoo, which is bringing claims against Google alleging abuse of a dominant position regarding online searches and search advertising. Other notable clients include LG Electronics, which the team is representing in relation to the CRT cartel litigation, and The Goldman Sachs Group, concerning its role in the power cables cartel.

Ashurst has built a reputation in the UK and throughout the EU as a defence firm that regularly acts in high-profile follow-on cases and regulatory appeals. Euan Burrows leads the contentious competition offering and is acting for Pirelli in follow-on damages claims brought by National Grid and Scottish Power arising from the EC’s decision in the power cables cartel. Global competition chair Nigel Parr acted for Intel in its appeal to the ECJ of the General Court’s decision to uphold the EC’s position that Intel had abused its dominant market position in the supply of computer microchips. Similarly, Duncan Liddell has been instructed by Virgin Media in a number of matters, including its role as an interested third party in the Commission’s investigation into Hutchinson 3G UK’s proposed acquisition of Telefonica UK. Mark Clarke joined White & Case LLP in 2016.

Bristows LLP runs ‘a first-rate competition practice in the areas of IP and pharmaceuticals’ and has thus been able to arguably ‘hoover up all the best competition cases in those sectors’. Indeed, ‘instinctive litigator’ Pat Treacy successfully defended Google in High Court proceedings regarding the client’s dominant position in the area of online mapping. Additionally, Treacy and Sophie Lawrance acted for Google in the high-profile claims regarding the client’s practice of online shopping and price comparison services. The team also represented Samsung Electronics in a dispute with Unwired Planet and Ericsson alleging abuse of dominance and the novel issue of patent privateering. In the pharmaceutical space, the department acted for Napp Pharmaceuticals in High Court and judicial review proceedings against the NHS Commercial Medicines Unit in relation to the procurement of an anti-inflammatory medicine. Additional clients include Les Laboratoires Servier, IPCom and Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe.

With a growing reputation acting for claimants and defendants, DLA Piper has continued to invest in its competition litigation department, which saw the hire of Richard Jenkinson from Dentons in 2017. Indeed, since joining the firm in 2015, department head Sam Szlezinger has been active in claimant litigation and regulatory investigations, and is advising KRS Releasing on an investigation by the Maltese competition authority. Sarah Smith was promoted to partner in 2016 and has been instructed by clients such as Lupin and Merck in the pay-for-delay litigation, which concerns related IP and competition issues affecting the pharmaceutical industry globally. Alexandra Kamerling is another key contact in the practice group and acted for a number of companies in claims against XL; this was one of the first damages private enforcement matters to be brought before the CAT.

With an ‘excellent reputation for thorough preparation and sound tactical judgement’, Mishcon de Reya LLP is ‘rapidly establishing itself as a go-to firm for competition damages cases’. Indeed, the firm has put quite a bit of investment into its competition litigation team and has enjoyed recent successes as a result. Of note, Rob Murray and the ‘enormously enthusiastic and committed’ Sarah Houghton successfully represented Sainsbury’s in CAT proceedings against MasterCard, recovering £67m in damages for the client. The team is also acting for Microsoft Corporation in High Court damages claims arising from a global battery cartel; this is the first time Microsoft has brought such a claim outside of the US. Andrij Jurkiw leads the department and represents Argos in damages claims arising from the LCD cartel decision. Genevieve Quierin joined the team from Humphries Kerstetter LLP in 2017. John Lewis and Saint-Gobain are also among the department’s key clients.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s competition litigation team shows ‘good business acumen’ and provides its clients ‘commercial and strategic advice’, on both the claimant and defendant side. Made-up of partners in the firm’s competition and regulatory team and disputes resolution department, Peter Scott’s leadership has made the group ‘very easy to work with’ and therefore highly sought after in the competition litigation space. In one recent highlight, he defended The Law Society in the first-ever claim allocated to the fast-track procedure by the CAT; this concerned The Law Society’s accreditation scheme for conveyancing firms, which was allegedly an abuse the client’s dominant position. On the defendant-side, a team including the highly recommended Mark Simpson is acting for Vodafone in a follow-on claim arising out of the EC's decision regarding the smart chip suppliers cartel. Indeed, the department is acting in multiple high-profile cartel cases and continues to be involved in various financial services competition claims involving Euribor and Forex rigging. Additional clients include HSBC, Delta Air Lines and Schneider Electric.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s competition group ‘manages to combine public procurement and competition expertise, and so is particularly valuable where those areas overlap’. Though the dedicated competition litigation practice is relatively new, ‘the group has chosen well by putting’ Ben Lasserson ‘at the helm’ of the contentious team. He is involved in multiple follow-on claims arising out of headline cartel decisions and has also acted for listed companies and local authorities in high-value procurement challenges. In ‘a major development for the department’, Alan Davis re-joined the from Jones Day in 2017 and heads the larger competition and EU practice. He is acting for FP McCann Limited in the CMA's only remaining criminal cartel investigation under the "old" cartel offence. Guy Lougher acted for Groupe Eurotunnel in a dispute with the CMA, which reached the Supreme Court in 2016.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP is quickly building a reputation as a successful team, with instructions from claimants and defendants in a number of very high-profile damages claims. As an example of the team’s enviable defence work, Boris Bronfentrinker is instructed by Daimler to prepare for a collective claim announced by the UK’s Road Haulage Association in connection with the Commission’s trucks cartel decision. Conversely, on the claimant-side, Bronfentrinker and Kate Vernon are acting on behalf of all UK consumers (about 46 million individuals) in a collective damages claim against MasterCard for the imposition of unlawful interchange fees, the costs of which, the team argues, were passed onto consumers, resulting in losses of £14bn. The team is acting in a number of other cartel-related follow-on claims and long-running financial services matters.

Stewarts Law LLP’s competition litigators ‘deliver with the passion, creativity and integrity, which inspires the confidence of clients and counsel’. The firm is staking its ground as a claimant-side specialist and has been active in a number of complex cases. Department head Jonathan Sinclair is acting for a litany of household name retailers in claims against MasterCard and Visa in the ongoing interchange fee litigation. Similarly, the ‘sensible and commercial’ Kate Pollock is advising Vattenfall in High Court proceedings arising out of the power cables cartel. The team is also acting for iiyama (UK) in damages claims regarding the LCD cartel. Ian Gatt QC joined the firm from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Kenny Henderson joined from Covington & Burling LLP while Scott Campbell left for Hausfeld in 2017.

Travers Smith LLP is ‘among the very strong mid-sized firms operating’ in the competition litigation space. The team has enjoyed immense success as of late, and has picked up work in several of the most high-profile cases in the UK and abroad. Department head Nigel Seay and Caroline Edwards successfully defended Schott at first instance in a damages claim brought by iiyama concerning cartel activity in the CRT industry. Similarly, the team is advising Renesas in the defence of follow-on claims brought by Vodafone in relation to the EC’s smart card chip cartel decision. Indeed, the group is also defending clients in follow-on claims in relation to a number of other well-known cartel cases and has also gained experience of significant competition regulatory investigations. Stephen Whitfield was promoted to partner in 2016 and the department has also brought on several new associates.

Baker McKenzie’s competition litigation team has been involved in a number of high-value defence claims, regularly acting alongside the non-contentious group to also provide advice on wider regulatory and commercial concerns. Recently made partner Francesca Richmond leads the competition disputes group. In addition to acting in foreign exchange and interest rate litigation, she is defending Eurofoam in multiple claims arising out of the PU Foam settlement decision in 2014. Similarly, Richmond is acting for clients with involvement in various automotive cartel matters. Keith Jones focuses on competition matters in the energy and healthcare sectors and Nicola Northway is another contact in the department.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP regularly acts for defendants in follow-on claims and regulatory appeals, and has found itself involved in many of the most prominent competition cases, both in the UK and the EU market. Among the group’s many defence mandates, Jonathan Kelly is defending LG Display in follow-on claims brought by iiyama in relation to the LCD cartel litigation, and is also defending NSK in follow-on claims arising out of the EC’s automotive bearings decision. Sunil Gadhia successfully represented Sony in a damages claim brought by Microsoft Mobile in relation to rechargeable batteries. Nicholas Levy and Romano Subiotto QC work between the firm’s London and Brussels offices, and Maurits Dolmans is another contact in the practice group. David Little was promoted to counsel in 2017.

With a very strong overall EU and competition practice, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP has been involved in some standout contentious matters. Practice head Frances Murphy acted for Sainsbury’s in High Court claims against Visa concerning the competitiveness of its interchange fees. On the defence side, Murphy has advised The London Metal Exchange in relation to claims that it manipulated the prices for aluminium. Kevin Robinson is another contact in the practice group and has advised various whistle-blowers in CMA investigations.

RPC ‘punches well above its weight’ in the area of competition litigation and has experience in commercial antitrust disputes, regulatory challenges and private actions, acting for claimants and defendants. Solicitor advocate Lambros Kilaniotis, who is ‘a good tactician with encyclopaedic knowledge of the law’, is acting for claimants in a litany of follow-on claims regarding a competition decision in the financial services sector. Catherine Percy is representing NHS bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland in a damages action against Servier, following the EC’s finding of anti-competitive practices by the drug manufacturer. Chris Ross was promoted to partner in 2017 while Stephen Smith left the firm for Bristows LLP. The department’s notable clients include Sports Direct International, LINPAC and Pizza Express.

Headed by Tony Woodgate, the competition team at Simmons & Simmons acts in High Court competition damages claims and appeals, and has particular expertise in the pharmaceuticals and healthcare, financial services, energy and tech sectors. Woodgate has recently defended a major UK bank in proceedings related to its alleged abuse of a dominant market position regarding the termination of banking services. Additionally, the team is acting for Sharp in a High Court claim for damages in relation to the EC’s LCD cartel decision.

The team at Squire Patton Boggs handles judicial review proceedings and regulatory investigations, and is instructed by claimants and defendants in private enforcement matters. In one of the group’s most prominent cases, department head Martin Rees has been involved in judicial review proceedings relating to the EC’s airfreight cartel decision and has also been involved in the well-known power cables cartel. In a highlight, he defended Tecumseh in damages claims arising out of the refrigeration compressors cartel. Diarmuid Ryan represented Poundworld in front of the CMA regarding the client’s proposed merger with Poundland/99p.

Taylor Wessing LLP acts for defendants and claimants at various levels of court and has particular expertise in the healthcare, life sciences and tech sectors. ‘Responsive and communicative’, the team is led by Robert Vidal and is able to ‘work seamlessly across its various departments with a shared focus to achieve its client’s goals’. The practice head is acting for Ranbaxy Laboratories in relation to its appeal to the ECJ regarding the General Court’s decision to strike out its appeal of the EC’s decision regarding anti-competitive settlement practices concerning an antidepressant. The team is also involved in some of the well-known follow-on damages claims in the financial services sector. Louisa Penny, Richard Craig and Paul Glass are key contacts in the practice group.

The competition department at White & Case LLP has an active contentious arm, which specialises in defending follow-on damages claims and is also involved in a number of high-profile regulatory investigations. James Killick is advising Pfizer in CMA proceedings regarding the alleged abuse of a dominant market position. In the civil-defence space, Charles Balmain is representing NTN in the CAT in connection with follow-on claims arising out of the EC’s automotive bearings cartel decision. Balmain is also defending Nexans in High Court follow-on claims regarding the power cables cartel. Marc Israel joined the team from Macfarlanes LLP in 2017. Sysmex UK and GB Eye are other clients.

Winston & Strawn London LLP fields a diverse practice comprising specialists in trade and sanctions, competition regulations and procurement issues. Led by Peter Crowther, the team is acting for global corporates in multiple regulatory investigations and regulatory appeals. Indeed, Crowther is representing a manufacturer in a General Court appeal of a cartel decision by the EC, and is also advising the client in relation to potential follow-on claims that may be brought against it. The team also provides European regulatory compliance and sanctions advice to clients such as Sberbank and Motorola Solutions. Associate Jade-Alexandra Fearns is also recommended.


Debt recovery

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Led by Philip Holden, drydensfairfax solicitors, a specialist firm operating exclusively in debt recovery, ‘maintains a strong customer-centric culture and is flexible and responsive to changing demands’. With expertise in secured and unsecured recovery, the group is regularly instructed by lenders, debt purchasers, financial institutions and central government departments in cases that are on the verge of litigation. The firm ‘continually invests in its staff and systems’, which has led to pioneering IT solutions to identify at an early stage debtors that may have trouble repaying their debts. Additionally, the group has recently created an intensive digital customer account service, where customers can view their account details and see and make payments. Jo Pearson heads Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) compliance, while Gurchan Jandu specialises in Solicitors Regulation Authorithy compliance. Tim Pope is an insolvency specialist, Phil Harling is director of property and Nahed Ali heads the litigation practice.

‘Punching well above its weight in this area’, Shoosmiths LLP’s recoveries services group is ‘extremely reliable in what can be testing and fraught situations’. The group handles the full-range of recoveries and has dedicated partners handling recovery in each of its key areas: asset-based lending, secured and unsecured consumer lending, secured and unsecured commercial and corporate lending, mortgage shortfall and B2B debt. As an example of the group’s work, Melanie Chell acts for Avelo Limited on the management of the run-off of a large portfolio of sub-prime motor finance agreements, containing over 4,000 accounts. Additional clients include Tesco Bank, Ormsby Street and Close Brothers Motor Finance. The department has seen a number of new arrivals at partner level in 2016; David Farnell, a recoveries litigator, joined from Addleshaw Goddard, David Pacey joined from the FCA whileKaren Savage and Paula Swain both joined from Lester Aldridge LLP. Waine Mannix heads the recoveries services group.

Recognised for ‘making the lives of in-house counsel considerably easier’, Clarke Willmott LLP provides ‘an impressive degree of commercial insight’ to a vast range of clients, including corporates, government departments, financial institutions and managing agents. In 2016, the department extended its mega-contract with The Insolvency Service for the collection of income payment agreements, book debts and antecedent/specialist recoveries under The Insolvency Act; this work ranges from high-volume recoveries to litigation. Jane Dunlop and Kathryn Quinton are long-time practitioners in the practice group and are instructed by such clients as Ageas Insurance and The Football Association Group, the latter of which instructs the team to recover unpaid seat licence fees for Wembley Stadium. Senior associate Philip Roberts, who delivers ‘proactive recovery solutions’, is retained by a UK building merchant to handle complex recovery matters. Karen Chapman is an active associate in the department and leads the firm’s collection work for Viridor Limited.

Devonshires Solicitors LLP has had an exciting 2016, with the establishment of its debt collection centre, which allows the firm to compete in the same market as debt collection agencies, while still remaining active in subsequent proceedings, when necessary. The firm has also seen increased instructions from national and international clients. Though the group has an 85% recovery rate before proceedings are issued, it also handles litigation and department head Matthew Hennessy-Gibbs acted for Lawlords of London in a disputed invoice matter that did proceed to court. Jim Varley is an insolvency specialist in the team and key clients include Sodexo, Reuters Limited and Kone.

From the issue of process through to enforcement, Irwin Mitchell has been handling bespoke debt collection for a significant national client base for over 60 years. Barry Hogg is the firm’s debt recovery manager and has extensive experience of acting in Companies Court and Bankruptcy Court. Recently, the department has handled stand-alone, complex debt recovery matters for clients such as Crown Record Management, PayPoint Network, Charles Wilson Engineers and C Brewer & Sons. Solicitor Jane Begley has experience in debt enforcement and insolvency issues and Jimmy Thomas and Laura Rooks are also contacts in the practice group. The team is also instructed by BNP Paribas Real Estate Advisory and Property Management, a FTSE 250 company and significant government agencies.

The department at Moon Beever combines a high-volume collection outfit based in Essex with a specialist, solicitor-led recoveries practice based in London. The high-volume collections team continues to put particular emphasis on efficient IT services, which has drawn clients such as British Gas. In addition to handling volume collections, the London solicitors’ team has represented British Gas in relief appeals and debt litigation in 2016. Frances Coulson heads the insolvency and business recovery department and has handled debt recovery on behalf of government agencies, debt purchasers and local authorities, such as London Borough of Newham. She is also a member of industry organisations and has taken an active lobbying role concerning debt-related legislation. Graham McPhie and Charles Robinson are also key contacts in the practice group; additional clients include Arc Legal and The Insolvency Service.

‘Responsive and informative form beginning to end’, DWF handles volume debt recovery and bespoke cases, including strategic enforcement, contested debt litigation and insolvency-related proceedings. In addition to its focus on technological innovation, the team has concentrated on expanding its international recovery offering, having recently been appointed to the European Collections and Enforcement Network. Leeds-based David Scottow heads the firm’s debt recovery practice and has extensive experience in debt litigation and insolvency. James Perry is providing ongoing assistance to a plc in relation to those debt recovery proceedings in which judgments are brought against the company, and has also been involved in debt cases involving criminal claims. Another key contact is Neil Jinks, the firm’s commercial and client development director, who has extensive experience in credit management, collections and civil recoveries. In 2016, the firm has picked up several significant new clients including Scottish Water Business Stream.

Lovetts Ltd is a long-time high-volume debt recovery firm, which has continued to strengthen its profile in the debt litigation space. The boutique team specialises in heading-off potential conflicts before they begin, having immediate success after a Letter Before Action in 85% of the department’s cases; however, the team also defended debt litigation cases, including those with international aspects. Managing director Michael Higgins is an experienced litigator and has also played a substantial role in growing the firm’s high-volume recovery capabilities. Cassandra McCarthy is another manager in the commercial litigation group. The team has acted for FTSE companies and SMEs, and has also been instructed by major law firms in debt collection matters. Charles Wilson and Paul McCulloch are additional contacts at the firm.

Optima Legal is the legal arm of Capita plc, and has capabilities in a range of debt litigation, handling start-to-finish secured and unsecured recoveries, in addition to property mortgage-related services for a long-standing client base in the public and private sectors. As IT becomes ever more important in the debt recovery space, the firm operates an online, secured client portal, which provides each client with an overview of its entire caseload. Craig Underwood is the firm’s director of legal services, while Jonathan Preston is a solicitor handling recoveries and litigation. Scott Nodder focuses on complex litigation, which has included such matters as disputed debt recovery, regulatory disputes and complex possession. Clients have included government entities such as Companies House.


International arbitration

Index of tables

  1. International arbitration
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP ‘has an excellent arbitration team that has profound experience and its knowledge expands from the most senior partner to associates and paralegals’. The practice continued to secure significant, high-profile wins for the firm’s arbitration clients; and it has particular expertise in handling politically and commercially sensitive mandates in challenging circumstances and markets. Nigel Rawding QC’s recent experience includes representing an international telecoms operator in a United Nations Commission on International Trade Law arbitration and related proceedings in Nigeria, regarding a high-value shareholder dispute. Sylvia Noury is particularly noted for emerging markets cases involving Latin America and Africa, and she secured a $100m International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes award for Vestey in an arbitration against the Government of Venezuela, relating to the expropriation of its cattle farming business. Reza Mohtashami handles disputes in emerging markets, with a focus on the energy, infrastructure and telecoms sectors. Christopher Pugh and Jane Jenkins are key practitioners.

‘One of the best’, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s team is ‘outstanding; the team is immediately responsive despite time differences, and its subject matter knowledge is superior’. The practice is particularly renowned for handling complex M&A and shareholder dispute arbitrations, especially in the telecoms and energy sectors; and it has extensive experience in handling disputes arising under bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, including the Energy Charter Treaty. The team won a significant victory on behalf of NTT DOCOMO, Japan’s largest telecoms company, in an arbitration against Tata Group’s holding company. David Kavanagh QC, who took silk, ‘has a formidable reputation’; Karyl Nairn QC is ‘extremely well connected and respected by peers and arbitrators’; Bruce Macaulay ‘is an absolutely first-class lawyer and strategist’; and Daniel Gal is highly rated. Other key names include investment treaty disputes expert David Herlihy, David Edwards, and recently appointed counsel Nicholas Lawn.

WilmerHale ‘provides an absolutely great service, including an unparalleled level of business acumen’. Recommended practitioners are Gary Born, who is ‘at the absolute top of the international arbitration universe’ (he recently successfully represented a major US energy company in an arbitration over oil rights); Franz Schwarz, who secured a significant victory for a major consumer goods company in a dispute involving a failed strategic alliance; and Steven Finizio, who is noted for energy, shareholder, telecoms, financial services, joint venture and M&A issues. Finizio’s recent matters included the representation of US and UK financial services companies in an arbitration, which related to a services agreement. Duncan Speller is also highly rated, and Charlie Caher, who is ‘incredibly intelligent’, was promoted to the partnership.

Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘practitioners are very knowledgeable, provide well-researched opinions and respond in a timely manner’. The practice’s scope of work includes energy, finance, insurance coverage, and shipping disputes, as well as arbitration-related litigation; it acted for South Stream Transport, a Netherlands-listed subsidiary of Russian energy giant, Gazprom, in its dispute with Italian oil and gas industry contractor, Saipem, which related to a cancelled pipeline project. The ‘focused’ Richard Smith is ‘very calm and patient in his handling of cases’; Mark Levy is known for energy disputes, including his extensive gas price arbitration practice; and Kate Davies is ‘phenomenally bright, extremely hard working, and thoroughly personable’. James Freeman is a highly regarded counsel. Jeffrey Sullivan moved to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Clifford Chance LLP’s ‘service is excellent; the team is very reactive to requests, and anticipates events during the course of arbitration proceedings’. It regularly handles bet-the-company mandates, as well as cases which are highly charged politically or commercially. The practice represented Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, in arbitration proceedings concerning the cancellation of a semi-submersible drilling platform. Global co-head of international arbitration Audley Sheppard QC is recommended for his ‘deep knowledge of arbitration proceedings, particularly LCIA arbitration’; Rob Lambert is ‘a no-nonsense litigator who doesn’t take hostages’; and Alex Panayides is ‘fantastic commercially and looks at issues from a wide variety of angles to suit business needs’. Marie Berard and Jessica Gladstone are names to note.

‘Willing and able to take on difficult cases’, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP hired Wendy Miles QC, who ‘has a sharp mind and is extremely bright’, from Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP and Patrick Taylor was promoted to the partnership, while Sophie Lamb moved to Latham & Watkins. The practice acts for both sovereign and commercial clients in commercial and investment treaty arbitration; recent highlights include the team’s representation of The Nova Group Investments (NGI) in a claim against the Romanian Government under the Netherlands-Romania bilateral investment treaty, regarding the purported expropriation of NGI’s Romanian assets. Lord Peter Goldsmith QC is ‘a great tactician’; and Tony Dymond is ‘an excellent communicator and advocate who is an excellent problem-solver’. International counsel Aimee-Jane Lee’s ‘immerses herself in tricky issues and gets to the bottom of them’.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s ‘level of service is excellent; responses are well organised, relevant and provided in a timely manner, and the practice is able to mobilise resources without limitations of geography’. It acts in complex arbitrations under a broad spectrum of laws and under the rules of all major institutions, as well as advising on ad hoc arbitrations. The team represented Standard Chartered Bank, and its Hong Kong subsidiary, in relation to international arbitration remedies regarding an investment, by way of a loan, in a power station in Tanzania; the dispute has resulted in four different International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes arbitration claims, pursuant to a bilateral investment treaty and several contracts. Craig Tevendale, who is ‘very practical in his advice, an excellent advocate and a great strategist’, was promoted to UK head of international arbitration; the ‘excellent’ global head of international arbitration Paula Hodges QC ‘has outstanding judgement and is a good, strategic thinker’; Nicholas Peacock heads the India international arbitration practice; many of Chris Parker’s matters relate to Africa; and Iain Maxwell is a key of counsel. Dominic Roughton departed for Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP.

Hogan Lovells International LLP promoted Nathan Searle to partner. The practice has extensive experience in cases involving Africa, and Russia and the CIS; advises on high-value disputes; has expertise in bilateral investment treaty cases; and has a particular focus on the energy and telecoms sectors. It acted for the Slovak Republic against financial services company Achmea, in a challenge of a final award, the case raising important jurisdictional issues for the future of investment treaties within the EU. Michael Davison is global litigation and arbitration head; London head of international arbitration Kieron O’Callaghan is ‘a terrific and experienced practitioner who is determined to achieve clients’ objectives’; and Julianne Hughes-Jennett and Markus Burgstaller are highly rated. John Gerszt joined longstanding client Bechtel.

Three Crowns LLP ‘always provides a thorough evaluation of issues, along with well-supported recommendations, and the firm’s response times are impressive’. It has particular strength in the energy and oil and gas sectors, but the firm’s experience extends to the telecoms, gaming and construction industries; the practice also has significant PIL expertise. It represented Gas Natural in a high-value International Court of Arbitration case, involving a liquefaction plant in Egypt. Constantine Partasides QC is ‘truly impressive in his legal acumen and advocacy abilities - it is always a pleasure watching him argue a position’; Gaëtan Verhoosel has appeared as advocate in a large number of arbitrations in the construction, mining and energy sectors; and Carmen Martinez Lopez, Scott Vesel and counsel Lucy Martinez are highly rated.

White & Case LLP’s ‘lawyers are as professional as they come, and they are very responsive to client demands’. The practice welcomed Aloke Ray back to London from Singapore, where he was head of international arbitration in Asia; and head of oil and gas disputes in London Mark Clarke, who is ‘simply terrific’, joined from Ashurst. The practice covers commercial arbitrations, involving construction projects, insurance contracts, banking and finance, telecoms and oil and gas; investment treaty arbitration; and arbitration-related court proceedings. It represented Grupo Unidos por el Canal and its shareholders Sacyr, Salini-Impregilo and Jan De Nul in a dispute with the Panama Canal Authority, which related to the $5.5bn Panama Canal expansion project. Phillip Capper is ‘a convincing advocate’; David Goldberg ‘impresses with his shrewdness and common sense, and he is very well regarded for Russian and East European international commercial law’; and Dipen Sabharwal and Robert Wheal are both highly regarded.

Ashurst’s ‘top-notch team is pragmatic, to the point, and responsive; it also represents value for money’. The practice’s expertise encompasses all the major international arbitration institutions and rules; and representative experience includes advising a construction company in an arbitration that related to the construction of a power plant. It also assisted a large chemicals company with a high-value projects-related arbitration. Matthew Saunders is ‘an authoritative, sharp lawyer, with a pragmatic, commercial mindset’; Tim Reid’s ‘ability to present both the legal and the business case assists clients in taking strategic decisions that may impact upon the arbitration proceedings’; Tom Cummins is ‘an intelligent, articulate, client-focused litigator’; and Ben Giaretta is highly regarded. Mark Clarke left for White & Case LLP.

CMS entered into a three-way merger with Nabarro and Olswang. The group is recommended for its ‘out-of-the box approach, timeliness and cost effectiveness’; it has sector expertise in energy, construction and infrastructure, as well as the TMC, insurance, hotels and leisure, and life sciences industries. Key Olswang LLP arrivals were arbitration head Richard Bamforth, who is ‘one of the best in the business’, and Jeremy Mash, while Jonathan Warne, who is ‘a skilled strategist and has brilliant client skills’, Adam Greaves, Tom Dane and Christopher Gooding joined from Nabarro. Guy Pendell, Phillip Ashley, Adrian Bell, Colin Hutton and energy head Rob Wilson are all highly rated, as are Alex Denslow, who is known for construction and insurance arbitrations, Omar Qureshi, and Sarah Grenfell.

Clyde & Co LLP’s client base features significant names from the construction, energy, natural resources, shipping, international trade and insurance sectors; and the practice has particular expertise in disputes arising in African and Latin American jurisdictions. The ‘team provides great responsiveness and it has a proactive, clear, hands-on approach’. In one of the few cases to date to involve a Chinese bilateral investment treaty, it acted for the Republic of Yemen in proceedings against Beijing Urban Construction Group concerning the construction of a new international terminal building in the Republic of Yemen. Ben Knowles and Peter Hirst co-chair the global international arbitration practice; Maurice Kenton is ‘a first-rate lawyer with a strong work ethic and a profound command of international practice’; and David Leckie is well known for energy sector work. Devika Khanna, Lee Bacon, David Reynolds and Richard Power are key contacts; and Ricardo Lewandowski was made partner.

King & Spalding LLP is ‘an excellent firm with great partners’. It provides coverage of investment, commercial, energy and construction disputes, with a special focus on oil and gas matters, and additional experience in financial services, mining and shipping. The team represented VTB Bank (Austria) (VTB) in an LCIA arbitration against Montenegro-based aluminium smelter company Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica (KAP), which arose out of a series of related arrangements entered into between VTB, as lender, and KAP, as borrower. Thomas Sprange QC, Ruth Byrne and Egishe Dzhazoyan are highly rated, as are Stuart Isaacs QC and Nicholas Cherryman.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP ‘has a stellar practice, and its extremely strong team of individuals provide advice that is always incisive and exactly on point’. The practice experienced new instructions from the Asian market and in new disciplines, such as telecoms, infrastructure projects, shipping, and pharmaceuticals; and the team frequently advises on complex PIL matters. It represented Agility Logistics, one of the largest Kuwaiti companies, in a major arbitration against Pakistan, which related to the expropriation of an investment and claims of unfair treatment and damages. Chris Colbridge is ‘an absolutely superb tactician, who has unrivalled knowledge of the detail of each case’; Chiraag Shah is ‘dedicated to his cases, totally unflappable, and exudes confidence’; and Richard Boynton is ‘truly outstanding and stays on top of every aspect of a dispute’. Rajinder Bassi is highly rated.

Latham & Watkins recruited Sophie Lamb from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP as co-chair of the global international arbitration practice group while Simon Bushell departed for Signature Litigation LLP. The practice acts for range of significant oil, gas and nuclear companies, and the group regularly works alongside the firm’s project finance team on disputes. Other areas of strength are construction disputes and investment treaty arbitration. The team advised Austrian construction company Strabag in the first International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes arbitration ever brought against Libya; the case related to Libya’s obligations under the Austria-Libya bilateral investment treaty and related to Strabag’s investment in construction contracts in Libya. Philip Clifford, Oliver Browne, Charles Claypoole, London and Hamburg-based Sebastian Seelmann-Eggebert and counsel Charles Courtenay are all highly regarded.

Linklaters LLP ‘has an excellent practice and sound judgement; it is also very responsive and the firm’s associates provide good support’. It is particularly noted for oil and gas, natural resources, and telecoms disputes. The team acted for the trustee of Lakeshore TolTest Corporation (LTC) (in bankruptcy), in a complex arbitration over sums allegedly due to LTC, regarding the construction of an oil processing facility. Matthew Weiniger QC is highly rated; and Greg Reid is ‘a superb lawyer, who is very good at identifying the relevant issues and providing quick and crisp advice’. Other recommended advisers are Tom Lidstrom, Ben Carroll, Michael Bennett and Satindar Dogra.

‘One of the best in the field’, Norton Rose Fulbright ‘has an exceptionally well-integrated arbitration team’. It acts for global financial institutions, major corporations, and governments and state-owned entities from the firm’s key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology; and life sciences and healthcare. The practice represented an INVISTA subsidiary in an arbitration, which related to a technology license with a Chinese manufacturer. Deirdre Walker is EMEA dispute resolution and litigation head; and despite Sherina Petit’s ‘external niceness, she is a pugnacious strategist and a great mind to have on clients’ teams’. Neil Miller, Donald Warnock and Philip Roche are other highly experienced advisers. James Rogers joined from the firm’s Hong Kong office. Deborah Ruff joined Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

Pinsent Masons LLP is ‘a first-rate firm that is extremely thorough and strategically sound’. The practice is well known for large, complex international engineering and construction arbitrations, but it also has robust experience in energy, technology, financial services, and insurance disputes. Mark Roe is international arbitration head; David McIlwaine is international arbitration committee chair; Michael Fenn is ‘an experienced commercial disputes partner with considerable finesse and experience’; Jason Hambury is ‘a very good construction arbitration specialist’; and Katharine Davies is ‘a bright, committed and excellent litigator’. Other key advisers include Adrian Elliot, Rob McCallough, Nick Bradley, Martin Harman and Manoj Vaghela.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP regularly acts in high-value matters, involving the oil and gas, mining, energy, telecoms, construction, and infrastructure sectors. The practice represented an Abu Dhabi wealth fund, as claimant, in an arbitration against a Maltese company, the dispute arising from a debt assignment agreement. Stephen Jagusch QC ‘has an enviable reputation in the international arbitration field - it is a pleasure to see him in action during cross examination, and his skills in this area make a real difference to cases’; Anthony Sinclair is ‘extremely responsive and accessible’; and Sue Prevezer QC ‘understands how things are likely to play out’. Ted Greeno; Alex Gerbi; Nick Marsh; Epaminontas Triantafilou; and construction arbitration specialist James Bremen, who joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, are highly rated.

Simmons & Simmons fields specialist arbitration partners across the firm’s commercial litigation, insurance and construction practices. The firm hired ‘the commanding figure’ Stuart Dutson from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, where he was London international arbitration head. The team acted for the Indonesian Government in a bilateral investment treaty arbitration, brought by Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys, which concerned an investment in a coal mining project. Simon Morgan is ‘a very safe and experienced hand at arbitration’; and Jayne Bentham, who is ‘a superb arbitration practitioner with great judgement’, specialises in large and complex multi-jurisdictional arbitrations, particularly in the telecoms and energy sectors. Other recommended names include David Sandy and Rob Horne.

Vinson & Elkins RLLP ‘consistently renders high-quality legal services’. The practice stands out for its energy sector roots, but it has grown to include disputes involving financial institutions, private equity houses, construction companies, and telecoms matters; and it frequently acts in investor-state cases. Highlights included handling a series of arbitrations for the Panama Canal Authority, which arose out of high-value disputes with a consortium of European and Panamanian companies that was hired to design and build the third set of locks for the Panama Canal expansion project. Nick Henchie’s ‘skills are outstanding, and he gives invaluable, strategic advice’; Mark Beeley’s ‘advice is always sound and constructive’; and Amir Ghaffari is ‘an excellent lawyer and outstanding arbitration practitioner, who anticipates issues before they arise’. George Burn joined Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s team is ‘well organised and it clearly includes some very experienced and competent individuals’. The practice, which has particular experience in Russia-related disputes, and disputes involving oil and gas, power generation and telecoms, recently hired Kambiz Larizadeh, who is ‘absolutely brilliant to work with’, from Addleshaw Goddard. Justin Williams is ‘a first-rate partner with an excellent, strategic mind - he also has very good knowledge of the detailed issues and is always on top of the latest developments in cases’; and Hamish Lal ‘offers an unparalleled degree of business acumen’. Richard Hornshaw is a key contact.

Baker McKenzie is recommended for finance and M&A arbitrations; the practice was recently involved in corporate disputes, involving companies in Russia, China, India and a number of African jurisdictions. It has a strong team in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors, and a robust investment treaty arbitration practice. Steve Abraham was promoted to lead the firm’s London dispute resolution practice; John Leadley chairs the global dispute resolution team; and Edward Poulton and Andy Moody are highly regarded. Kate Corby, who has handled international arbitration work in the construction sector, was promoted to partner.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP is ‘very responsive and the firm’s lawyers give sensible, pragmatic advice’. The practice is particularly experienced in energy and technology disputes. Jay Alexander is global practice co-head; Alejandro Escobar is ‘a very experienced operator, who is also a good communicator and excellent at rationalising decisions’, and he provides a key link between Europe and Latin America for several of the firm’s high-profile clients. Other key names include Johannes Koepp, Chris Caulfield and senior associate Dorine Farah.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP ‘provides a truly international approach, but with a deep understanding of national specifics and mentality’. The firm’s sector specialisms include construction and engineering; insurance and reinsurance; hotels and leisure; and energy and natural resources. ‘A first-class arbitration partner and a great advocate’, Roman Khodykin is ‘tremendously hard working and goal-oriented, and he delivers the best possible service at all times’; Carol Mulcahy is ‘a superb technician, with great attention to detail and sound judgment’; Michael Polonsky has extensive experience in handling shareholder disputes, and claims for breach of contract, fiduciary duty and warranty; and David Robertson, who has particular experience in advising Korean contractors on power, water and oil and gas projects, re-joined the London team from Singapore. Terry de Souza and Ania Farren are highly rated.

DLA Piper has a particular strength in energy sector and infrastructure disputes; the practice also has a strong record in investment treaty disputes and is noted for its representation of states, particularly in Europe and in Africa. It has significant geographical reach on the African continent. The team acted for Gazprom in a series of SCC arbitration claims, relating to the supply, pricing and transit of gas. Philip Chong is Europe international arbitration head; other recommended practitioners are Kate Cervantes-Knox, Mark Hilton, Richard McGrane, James Carter and Jeremy Andrews.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is particularly strong in the energy, telecoms, insurance, construction, pharmaceutical and banking sectors. Cyrus Benson’s recent representations include advising a major oil company in a high-value ICC arbitration, which arose from the sale of a refinery, pipeline and export company; and Penny Madden QC acted for a telecoms corporation in its mega-value UNCITRAL investment treaty arbitration against a North African state. Osma Hudda is ‘a very skilled, focused, organised lawyer, with a strong eye for both the big picture and detail’, and Doug Watson is a key name. Jeffrey Sullivan, who recently joined from Allen & Overy LLP, is described as ‘an excellent lawyer with outstanding ECT and investment treaty disputes experience’.

HFW handles a huge volume of international arbitration work. The firm is known for its track record in international trade; it regularly handles international arbitration in the energy, trade and commodities, shipping, aviation, insurance and reinsurance, banking and financial services, and construction sectors. The practice has also increased its number of bilateral investment treaty-related instructions. Damian Honey, Costas Frangeskides and Steven Paull are well regarded, as is international construction head Max Wieliczko. Insurance and reinsurance disputes expert Adam Strong joined from Gowling WLG. Paul Wordley is now with EC3 Legal.

Mayer Brown International LLP ‘has a strong international arbitration offering’. The practice has significant construction sector experience, but it is also active in insurance, energy and banking-related disputes. Other areas of note include shareholder, manufacturing, telecoms and pharmaceuticals claims. The ‘charming’ Raid Abu-Manneh ‘has good client skills, and sees the issues the client is interested in and focuses on them’. Mark Stefanini and Kwadwo Sarkodie are also highly rated, while senior associate Rachael O’Grady ‘provides rock-solid case management’.

Reed Smith LLP ‘has excellent depth of experience and knowledge’. On the commercial arbitration side, the practice was recently instructed in major transactional, financial, energy, projects and infrastructure disputes, and it has a growing international arbitration practice in the life sciences sector. The team is also well known for its disputes expertise in the Singapore, India, Korea, Kazakhstan and CIS markets; and has a significant investment treaty practice. Gautam Bhattacharyya ‘has gravitas, knows his subject matter, and orchestrates teams with great panache and success’; and Vincent Rowan is ‘an extremely capable, seasoned litigator who provides measured and constructive guidance’. Other recommended names are Belinda Paisley, Chloe Carswell and construction law expert Shareena Edmonds.

Shearman & Sterling LLP is ‘at the top of its game; the firm’s highly-responsive arbitration team has a deep bench and great leaders in London’. The practice is recommended for advising on high-profile, sensitive and high-value matters, and fields lawyers with investment treaty expertise. It represented Cairn Energy in a bilateral investment treaty claim against the Republic of India, regarding India’s adoption of a retroactive tax measure. Mark McNeill is ‘absolutely top class, both in his strategic and subject matter advice, but also in his written work and advocacy’; and Jeremy Sharpe is ‘highly rated for his insight, energy and hands-on management of high-stakes matters’. Alexander Uff is also highly regarded.

Slaughter and May is ‘first rate for international arbitration’. The practice frequently acts in high-value energy, infrastructure, corporate and financing disputes, and it has cross-border capabilities both inside and outside Europe. James Stacey leads the firm’s arbitration group and is ‘excellent and hugely able - he is a details-man, who gives very thoughtful and considered advice that is practical and commercial, as well as legally spot-on’. Damian Taylor was made partner and dispute resolution head Deborah Finkler and Efstathios Michael are key contacts.

One of the world’s leading shipping, maritime and international trade practices, Stephenson Harwood’s ‘overall level of service is excellent’, and it has particular arbitration expertise in oil and gas, infrastructure, and construction disputes. The practice is also highly rated for Africa, India, Russia and CIS, and Latin America-related arbitrations, and is well known for significant international arbitration enforcement matters in London. Louis Flannery is department head; Kamal Shah, who heads the Africa and India groups, is ‘very skilled at assessing situations and offering sound advice’; upstream oil and gas disputes group head Shai Wade is ‘a star player and massively experienced’; and Haris Zografakis, who ‘scores spectacular successes’, has represented clients in hundreds of commodities-related arbitrations. Counsel Duncan Bagshaw is an Africa specialist, and Vivek Kapoor was hired from Dentons’ Singapore office.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP recruited Patricio Grané Labat, ‘an excellent lawyer who remains intimately involved in each matter and is rigorous in his efforts to provide clients with the best possible service’, from Volterra Fietta. The practice is well known for its investor-state arbitration expertise but its commercial arbitration work has also grown, particularly in construction and engineering. The team defended the Republic of Bulgaria against a claim, brought by Oman’s largest sovereign wealth fund, to recover alleged losses in relation to Corporate Commercial Bank’s collapse. Dmitri Evseev is highly rated and David Reed is ‘very good with numbers - a rare quality among lawyers’.

Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP hired Dominic Roughton from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, where he was global PIL head, while Wendy Miles QC departed for Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Roughton advises on international boundary disputes, treaty cases, and state-to-state and investor-state dispute resolution procedures; he has also acted as counsel in commercial arbitrations under various rules. Kenneth Beale’s experience includes representing one of Europe’s largest companies, in multiple parallel international arbitration proceedings against a European sovereign.

Dechert LLP is often instructed in emerging markets contexts, particularly Russia and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the United Arab Emirates. The practice is well known for oil and gas practice work, but it increasingly advises on financial and technology sector disputes. Michelle Bradfield arrived from Dentons. Senior associates Maria Claudia Procopiak and Dániel Dózsa are key contacts.

Dentons’ ‘excellent team has very detailed knowledge of the issues from the outset’. It has a robust investor-state practice, and fields lawyers with significant energy and and infrastructure (including construction and transport) sector expertise. The practice also increased its volume of banking-related arbitrations; was recently instructed in aviation, telecoms, education and real estate matters; and its emerging markets expertise is increasingly focused on Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, and the CIS region. Liz Tout ‘visibly enjoys finding solutions for clients’, and Dan Bodle is ‘impressive’. Dominic Pellew divides time between London and Moscow. Michelle Bradfield moved to Dechert LLP.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP ‘offers good value for money for top-quality advice and client service’. The practice is noted for energy, trade, retail, financial services and aviation-related disputes, often arising out of joint venture, corporate and M&A, and shareholder issues; and it has a focus on disputes relating to Africa. Jonathan Leach, who has particular expertise in energy, trade and finance-related disputes, is ‘indefatigable in the pursuit of clients’ interests and his technical excellence is complemented by the diligence with which he applies himself to cases’. Neville Byford frequently acts for US-based clients in international arbitrations. Former Eversheds LLP partner Stuart Dutson joined Simmons & Simmons.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP’s clients include multinational corporations, international organisations, high-net-worth individuals and sovereign entities, for whom the team acts before organisations such as ICC, LCIA and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. It also represents clients in ad hoc UNCITRAL cases. Barristers James Kitching, who is ‘very easy to work with and has a great manner with clients’, and Justin Michaelson are highly rated.

K&L Gates LLP’s ‘very responsive, flexible practice is strong, professional and service-oriented, and it has extensive knowledge and experience in this field’. The London arbitration team has expertise including insurance coverage, construction, pharmaceuticals, sports, energy and investor-state. Ian Meredith co-ordinates the firm’s global arbitration practice; John Magnin is global co-practice area leader for disputes; and John Gilbert has extensive energy sector experience. Peter Morton is also highly regarded.

KWM Europe LLP was launched shortly after King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM) UK, Europe and Middle East operations entered into administration. Both formerly of KWM, Andrei Yakovlev has a particular emphasis on Russia and CIS and Central Europe; and Dorothy Murray is ‘an exceptional litigator who works incredibly hard, has a sensible and commercial approach, and is as tough as nails in negotiations’. The practice recently acted for the Kyrgyz Republic, as respondent, in proceedings brought against it by AsiaUniversalBank’s former chairman and majority shareholder, who claimed compensation for the nationalisation of his shares. Former KWM litigation head Craig Pollack joined Covington & Burling LLP, while Paul Stothard moved to Norton Rose Fulbright’s Dubai office.

Osborne Clarke LLP ‘compares well with other firms; it can take on disputes where much bigger firms are instructed and not be outgunned in the least’. The practice regularly acts in international arbitrations involving the energy sector, digital businesses (including video-gaming) and construction; and the team has particular experience in Middle East, Russia and CIS-related arbitrations. Greg Fullelove and Adrian Lifely co-head the international arbitration group. Fullelove is ‘an excellent lawyer, who is very sharp and with a keen sense of what is a good argument - he combines an academic approach with an ability to get to grips with practical points’; and Lifely is ‘a very strong arbitration practitioner’.

Signature Litigation LLP is ‘a superb firm that is highly specialised in disputes and has a strong international touch, given the multi-lingual skills and cross-jurisdictional training of its staff’. Natalia Chumak acts in institutional arbitration proceedings, ad hoc arbitrations and investment treaty disputes, and she is particularly focused on acting for clients from ex-Soviet Union countries, predominantly Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Chumak’s ‘performance impresses clients; she is totally committed and literally dedicates all of her time to the matter she is working on’. Senior associate Nick Storrs is ‘a competent, hardworking rising star’.

Squire Patton Boggs ‘leaves clients feeling very satisfied with its service, and its lawyers always provide the best solutions’. The practice is recommended for energy arbitrations, particularly gas price review disputes; investor-state arbitrations; and commercial arbitration in the technology, telecoms, transportation, infrastructure, sports, insurance and reinsurance, and shipping sectors. Ben Holland, James Barratt and Alexis Martinez are recommended; global international dispute resolution head George von Mehren divides time between London and Cleveland and is ‘a first-class lawyer who is always reliable’; and Peter Crossley was made London international dispute resolution head following Carol Welu’s retirement.

Stewarts Law LLP grew its ‘excellent practice, which is improving all the time’ through the ‘very deserved’ promotion of Al Trent, who is ‘smart, hard-working and personable’, to the partnership; it also recruited Ian Gatt QC, the former head of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s advocacy unit; and Matthew Knowles joined from Harbour Litigation Funding. The practice acts in commercial disputes involving the defence and energy sectors, and commercial trade matters, with a client base spread across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Philippa Charles is ‘a wonderful blend of legal intelligence and commercial savvy’.

Best known for its specialist PIL practice, Volterra Fietta also has a significant international commercial arbitration practice. Recent highlights saw the team defend the Government of Nigeria, alongside local Nigerian counsel, in an arbitration that was commenced by two US oil companies in relation to high-value expropriation claims. Robert Volterra, Graham Coop, Giorgio Mandelli and Suzanne Spears are highly rated. Patricio Grané Labat departed for Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP. Christophe Bondy joined Cooley (UK) LLP.

‘Perfect in all respects’, Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s ‘team is absolutely impressive, and it has a practical and solution-oriented approach towards its clients’. It is well known for its arbitration work in shipping, energy, offshore construction, and commodities; the practice also acts for and against states, and advises on political risks, issues surrounding CIS-based frauds, and corporate and commercial disputes. The team acted for commodities trader MRI Trading, in relation to a London Metal Exchange arbitration, arbitration appeals, and enforcement proceedings. Andrew Savage is ‘a stand-out litigator, who knows his stuff and runs a very good team’; Andrew Hutcheon is ‘a highly skilled and experienced dispute resolution lawyer’; and Andrew Ward and Charles Buss are maritime specialists. Buss and Robert Fidoe recently returned to London from the Athens and Bangkok offices, respectively.

‘A first-rate firm with a first-rate international arbitration team’, Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP recently promoted Jamie Maples, who ‘brings a deep knowledge and understanding of the rules and practices of the various tribunals’, and Hannah Field-Lowes, to the partnership. The team represents both private parties and sovereign clients in their high-stakes, international arbitration cases. Highlights included acting for 1Malaysia Development Berhad in a high-profile and large LCIA arbitration, which concerned the alleged misappropriation of $3.5bn.

Winston & Strawn London LLP ‘renders a high-quality legal service’. The firm recruited Michael Stepek, who is ‘a tremendous advocate for clients’, and Matthew Bate from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, broadening the firm’s capabilities across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Stepek and Bate focus on international commercial arbitration and investment treaty arbitration; their recent highlights include representing Dominion Minerals Corp in an ongoing ICSID arbitration arising from the client’s investment in a copper and gold concession in western Panama. Ricardo Ugarte divides his time between Chicago and London.

‘A delight to work with’, Addleshaw Goddard has a strong track record of acting in major international arbitrations in energy, life sciences, construction and insurance. The team advised PA Resources (PAR) in a potential investment dispute against the Republic of Tunisia, which concerned PAR’s investment in Tunisia and a sale and purchase agreement dispute. Simon Kamstra is international arbitration head and Jon Tweedale is also highly regarded. Sarah Vasani joined the practice as head of investor state disputes from King & Spalding LLP.

Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP is recommended for its experience in the energy and construction sectors. It also represents clients in industries such as finance, aviation, hospitality, pharmaceuticals, general commercial contracts, and insurance. The team works closely with colleagues in the US (principally Houston), Dubai and Beijing. Melanie Willems heads the international arbitration group, and Markus Esly focuses primarily on the energy, engineering and construction sectors.

Bird & Bird LLP’s ‘service is excellent, and the team has very good in-depth knowledge of clients’ businesses, the legal questions, and the arbitration rules’. The practice regularly acts in disputes in the firm’s core strengths of technology, telecoms, life sciences and energy. Garreth Wong ‘has excellent knowledge and is an excellent strategist’; and Sophie Eyre is highly rated. Former international disputes practice head Steven Baker departed for Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Cooley (UK) LLP’s practice is noted for international commercial arbitration work; arbitrations relating to the insurance and reinsurance sector; and oil and gas exploration matters. Other areas of strength include disputes over licensing rights in the Middle East; technology licensing rights; bio-sciences and product testing; and international supply agreements. James Maton is London litigation head and Mark Everiss focuses on reinsurance disputes. Mark Deem, David Kendall, Kevin Perry and James Crabtree are other key contacts. Christophe Bondy joined the firm.

Covington & Burling LLP is also ranked.

DAC Beachcroft LLP is an ‘excellent, commercial practice that provides punctual service and keeps costs within budget’. It scope of work covers complex construction and engineering infrastructure disputes, as well as insurance and reinsurance cases. Matthew Wescott’s ‘no- nonsense approach and ability to understand business drivers are appreciated’; and Michael Blackburne ‘has terrific experience of handling challenging international engineering disputes’. Other recommended practitioners are Rowan Planterose and Ken Forsyth.

Enyo Law LLP is ‘a very professional firm that is easy to work with, and its lawyers are a safe pair of hands’. The commercial arbitration practice is conflict-free and it specialises in large and complex international disputes. Anna Maxwell, who ‘gives impeccable client service, is straight to the point and always charming’, heads the practice. George Maling is ‘an excellent tactician, who specialises in large-scale dispute resolution’; and Marcus Rutherford is ‘a superb strategist’. Other key names are Alexander Walsh and Tim Elliss.

Fenwick Elliott LLP is ‘one of the best, if not the best, specialist construction firms; it has a wealth of talent and is busy, forward-thinking, and user-friendly’. The practice is best known for large-scale, high-value, high-profile international construction, infrastructure, and energy projects. Richard Smellie and Nicholas Gould are key advisers; Jeremy Glover ‘has a calm, but commercial, approach to litigation’; and Karen Gidwani is ‘an exceptional and dedicated lawyer, who is always available to take clients’ calls’. Senior associate Patrick Stone, who joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, ‘has significant Gulf experience’.

Fieldfisher is ‘a strong operator that is very much liked by clients’. It specialises in the energy and natural resources, construction and commercial sectors; the practice is well-known for high-value commercial and public law disputes for ultra-HNW individuals and corporations from the CIS region. Simon Sloane is highly rated; Simon Moore is ‘really good’; Alexandra Underwood is ‘a very strong talent who is trusted by clients to do a good job’; Colin Gibson is ‘incisive, has good commercial judgement and is single minded in pursuit of clients’ interests’; and Kit Jarvis ‘has enormous energy and dedication’. Arik Aslanyan is CIS desk head.

Gowling WLG hired Reed Smith LLP’s former co-head of international arbitration, Gordon Bell. The practice has sector expertise in energy and natural resources; defence; international insurance and reinsurance; large international construction disputes, particularly in relation to the Middle East and Africa; and complex international IP disputes, especially in the mobile phone technology and aerospace sectors. David Breslin and Birmingham’s Tom Price, who is ‘very commercial in approach and always on top of the detail’, are the international arbitration co-heads.

‘One of the most effective firms in London’, Jones Day’s ‘lawyers are imaginative, proactive and tough fighters’. The practice has a strong track record representing Russian and CIS parties in high-profile arbitrations, while in India-related disputes, it represented the NACC group in an ICC arbitration, which arose out of an association agreement for a coal-based power project. Sion Richards heads the global disputes practice in London; Lee Coffey is ‘an excellent litigator, who gets to the bottom of the most difficult case’; Baiju Vasani is ‘highly regarded for his tactical and strategic qualities, and his advocacy’; and Sylvia Tonova is ‘a hardworking and able partner’.

‘Impressive for its willingness to take on novel cases’, Mishcon de Reya LLP has a significant investor-state practice. Karel Daele is focused on Africa-related matters; and Sonia Campbell specialises in insurance disputes, and general commercial arbitration and litigation. Managing associate Zachary Segal has a particular focus on disputes arising out of the CIS and CEE regions.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP ‘provides a very personal service’. Recent highlights include a series of arbitrations for a partner in a UK-based hedge fund, regarding disputes over firm management and cash management issues. Maria Frangeskides is ‘a master tactician, who relentlessly pursues her client’s interests’, and has particular expertise in energy-related disputes. Senior associate Amanda Voss is ‘dedicated to clients’.

RPC acts in disputes involving construction and engineering, international trade, finance, transport, and IP, as well as energy, insurance and reinsurance. The team’s scope of experience includes claims against sovereign states and PIL disputes, and complex international joint venture and shareholder disputes. Jonathan Wood is ‘a real statesman, who can run massive arbitrations with his eyes shut, and is always one step ahead of the other side’. Stuart Shepherd joined from Ince & Co to develop the firm’s commodities practice in London.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s ‘clients can be completely confident that the practice will achieve the very best result in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible’. The commercial arbitration practice is best known for Middle East work, with specific expertise in energy, manufacturing and aviation disputes. Ned Beale is ‘focused on solutions’.

Withers LLP’s ‘client-care is amongst the best around’. The practice regularly acts in sectors such as infrastructure, oil and gas, and mining; it also has a robust investment treaty practice. The co-international arbitration heads are Hussein Haeri, who is ‘a standout operator’, and special counsel Eleni Polycarpou, who ‘never leaves any stone unturned’. Tatiana Menshenina ‘has a near-unrivalled understanding of Russian and CIS-related commercial disputes’; global head of litigation Peter Wood is ‘very impressive’; and special counsel Georgina Bayley ‘gives clear-headed advice’.

Bryan Cave’s team is ‘very professional and competent’. Recent experience includes successfully challenging an arbitration award on behalf of Sino Channel Asia. Mathew Rea, who is ‘a deep-thinking, hard-working lawyer’, is particularly focused on the commodities, media and financial services sectors. Robert Dougans is highly regarded.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP acts for sovereigns and global corporations in international arbitrations in key arbitral arenas, such as London, Paris, New York, and The Hague. It was counsel to Telecom Italia International and Telecom Italia in an ICC arbitration, brought by various parties in the Opportunity group of companies, regarding joint investments in Brasil Telecom. Christopher Moore, Jonathan Kelly and Jonathan Blackman, who divides time between London and New York, are experienced practitioners.

Crowell & Moring is noted for investor-state and commercial arbitration; the practice is particularly focused on the oil and gas, mining, construction, and financial services sectors. Adrian Jones is the key adviser.

Specialist PIL firm Fietta is highly rated for its advice both to investors and states in investment treaty arbitrations, under all major institutional rules; acting in domestic set-aside proceedings and international annulment proceedings relating to international arbitral awards; and assisting with state-to-state environmental, boundary and sovereignty disputes before arbitral tribunals. Stephen Fietta and counsel Jiries Saadeh are highly rated.

Fox Williams LLP’s key sectors for international arbitration are commodities, renewable energy, medical and pharmaceuticals, and transport and distribution. Gavin Foggo is experienced in infrastructure, professional services, and finance-related arbitrations; Peter Ashford handles general international commercial arbitration; and Tom Custance is noted for energy sector arbitration.

Gide Loyrette Nouel LLP ‘leaves clients feeling completely satisfied’. The practice is recognised for its arbitration expertise in Africa, particularly regarding infrastructure projects, energy and natural resources, telecoms, and industrial joint ventures. Rupert Reece ‘does an excellent job’.

Curtis Davis Garrard and Haynes and Boone, LLP recently merged to become Haynes and Boone CDG, LLP, which has ‘impressive knowledge and expertise’. William Cecil is ‘very experienced’ and has extensive expertise in offshore oil and gas and energy-related arbitrations; and James Brown ‘provides tremendous attention to detail’. Andreas Dracoulis and Glenn Kangisser are other key names.

Jenner & Block LLP’s ‘level of service is very high’. The practice recruited Jason Yardley, who represents clients in a range of sectors, including banking and finance, mining, energy, technology, media, and telecoms, from White & Case LLP. The team recently advised on arbitrations involving the Middle East, Africa, South America, Asia, Russia and Europe. Charlie Lightfoot, who was made co-chair of the global international arbitration practice, ‘listens to clients’ needs and creates a constructive working environment’.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP promoted Cormac Alexander to special counsel and recruited associate Mark Padley from Clifford Chance LLP. The practice has particular strength in the finance, TMT, energy, and transportation sectors; it recently acted in high-value, high-profile disputes, pursuant to the ICC, LCIA and Singapore International Arbitration Centre rules of arbitration. Tom Canning ‘has great instincts and judgement’.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP’s David Waldron, who is ‘a heavyweight litigator that you can absolutely count on to make the right call’, and Nicholas Greenwood, are the firm’s key international arbitration contacts. Waldron advises clients involved in international commercial, oil and gas, and energy disputes; and Greenwood’s clients include private equity, banking, and financial services entities, as well as organisations pursuing insurance recovery actions and joint venture claims.

O'Melveny ‘manages very large, high-value cases for a top-quality client base’. David Foster, who is ‘very knowledgeable about arbitration law and procedure’, regularly acts as counsel and arbitrator in high-value commercial arbitrations, and has experience representing sovereign states in both commercial and investment treaty disputes. Counsel Hayley Ichilcik is ‘very bright and efficient’.

Although traditionally known for offshore litigation, SCA Ontier LLP recently advised on high-value arbitrations involving Africa, the Middle East and Russia. The practice’s ‘level of knowledge, creativity and response is excellent’. It has acted for and against sovereign entities; and it has experience of arbitrations in several commercial sectors. Seamus Andrew is ‘a brilliant strategist’; and Oliver Cain is also highly regarded.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘advice is concise and straight to the point’. Sectors in which the group’s international arbitration practitioners are particularly active include financial services; insurance and reinsurance; extraction of minerals and precious metals, particularly in the CIS; and energy and drilling. The key contacts are Dorothy Cory-Wright, Matthew Shankland and senior counsel Steven Pitt.

Steptoe and Johnson LLP advises states and investors in high-value investor-state arbitrations, and the team frequently acts on energy and natural resources-related disputes; it is also noted for enforcement work, involving sovereign immunity issues. Matthew Coleman is recommended for Africa-related cases, and Angus Rodger’s ‘performance is highly appreciated’.

Taylor Wessing LLP is experienced in managing cross-border arbitration, and the practice has particular expertise in disputes involving the hotels and hospitality sector. Shane Gleghorn regularly acts in arbitrations in the finance, energy, technology and telecoms sectors, and has notable Russia and CIS region experience. Laurence Lieberman is India desk head.


Mediators

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    • Denise O’Connor - In Place of Strife

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‘One of the most effective mediators operating in the market’, Jane Andrewartha at Clyde & Co LLP is ‘very useful for cases where the clients are sophisticated or where legal analysis is required; she has a tremendous knack of getting to the nub of a dispute and of making the parties see the risks of litigation, and is good at constructively challenging both parties to drive a bargain’. Andrewartha retains a full private law practice, while still accepting up to two mediation appointments a week; and has in-depth knowledge of insurance and reinsurance matters. She also has experience of industries that are serviced by (re)insurers, including financial services, marine and energy, aviation, construction, as well as the professions, employment matters, and a range of contractual and agency issues. Andrewartha also specialises in high-value, cross-border disputes, having mediated disputes in the US; the Middle East; the Far East; and in European countries such as Norway, Greece and France.

Eileen Carroll QC (Hon) recently became CEDR Solve’ principal mediator, having previously served as its deputy chief executive. Carroll is ‘committed and engaged, and has a very diligent and painstaking approach to setting out the respective parties positions, which works particularly well with unsophisticated opponents; she is also very effective in closing the gap in negotiations where the clients’ position seems intransigent at the outset’. Carroll is highly rated for the resolution of highly complex, multi-party, high-value disputes. She recently mediated disputes in financial services (including banking and insurance), TMT, property, employment, and infrastructure, as well as partnership, major joint ventures, shareholders, and IP; many of her cases involved international commercial and public sector parties, including sovereign states. Highlights included mediating a conflict arising out of an exclusive licence between a well-known luxury manufacturer and another manufacturer to create a branded high-end product.

Independent Mediators’ Charles Dodson is ‘a go-to mediator for commercial cases where heads need banging together; he has a robust personality and charm and a persuasive style’. Other praise Dodson for being ‘acute, and an effective, practical, hands-on mediator’. His recent mediations focused on professional negligence claims, involving solicitors, surveyors and valuers, financial advisers and insurance brokers; and commercial claims involving the construction and insurance sectors, as well as partnership issues. In addition, he mediated disputes regarding pensions and insolvency.

Undertaking over 50 mediations in 2016, Phillip Howell-Richardson at Independent Mediators ‘has a highly facilitative style; he is a fabulous mediator who is tenacious, incisive and challenging, yet also great with clients and commercial in his outlook’. Howell-Richardson is also ‘appreciated for trying different ways and approaches to move matters forward’. The majority of his recent mediations related to commercial claims, including company and commercial contract issues, professional negligence, insurance matters, international commercial claims, and banking and finance conflicts. Other areas include disputes involving IP and IT issues, employment, partnership, property, construction, and probate.

Independent Mediators’ Kate Jackson is ‘an extremely capable mediator, who is calm and assured at all times, and has an innate ability to get to the heart of a dispute; she is unflappable, excellent at dealing with more emotional clients, and works extremely hard to get a result’. Jackson’s practice covers a range of commercial, banking and employment disputes.

‘Recommended for disputes when tension and emotions are running high’, In Place of Strife’s Mark Jackson-Stops is ‘held in high regard; he has a very endearing character and style which give the impression that he is looking after everyone’s interests to achieve a fair result’. Others report Jackson-Stops to be ‘an excellent mediator who brings calm and straight talking to difficult situations; he is also great with clients and can be tough when necessary’. Regularly mediating between 70-80 cases a year, Jackson-Stops is highly rated for disputes involving professional negligence, property and construction, as well as insurance, probate and inheritance, financial services (including mis-selling) and commercial contracts.

A ‘go-to mediator who has gravitas with clients’, Michel Kallipetis QC at Independent Mediators ‘tests cases during private sessions, helping to manage clients’ expectations, and he does not give up on a settlement, even when the parties want to’. Conducting over 85 mediations in 2016, recent work involved disputes surrounding professional negligence, construction, oil and gas, insurance, property and commercial matters; he also acted in employment, fraud, insolvency, partnership and probate-related conflicts. Highlights included high-value claims against various banks for alleged mis-selling of financial products.

A full-time mediator since 2005, Jon Lang of In Place of Strife is ‘a heavyweight mediator, who has an unassuming demeanour, but this belies his toughness, resilience, and commitment to the mediation process; he always works hard to ensure the parties maximise the opportunity to settle and his approach is very effective’. Lang has a wide practice but is regularly instructed in mediations from the IP and IT sectors, as well as construction and engineering claims, shareholder and probate disputes, and general commercial matters.

Independent Mediators’ Mark Lomas QC is ‘really one of the very best mediators out there; he is tough, robust and has strong analytical capabilities. Rarely do his energy levels wane and he is rarely anything other than an effective conduit between the parties, even where there is significant complexity’. Lomas’ practice includes commercial contracts, professional negligence, insurance, and banking and financial services, as well as general common law disputes, construction, probate, and trusts.

Jonathan Lloyd-Jones at Independent Mediators is ‘an effective mediator who is good at listening to parties and focusing on a dispute’s key points; he can be robust and challenging when necessary and will keep going to get a result’. Lloyd-Jones is also praised for being ‘receptive to the emotions that often ride high between clients at a mediation, and he is quick to adapt the structure of the mediation to suit and accommodate the clients’ wishes, rather than impose his own views’. His practice covers commercial topics, including claims for fraud-based restitution, breaches of restrictive covenants, and professional negligence claims; and he is often involved in insolvency, construction and property matters.

CEDR Solve’ ‘hugely experienced’ founder president Karl Mackie CBE is ‘very calm and methodical; he is a safe pair of hands who controls the pace of the mediation nicely when a resolution is in sight’. His recent experience includes international commercial disputes, professional negligence, engineering, energy, and technology, as well as healthcare, partnerships, and family businesses; other areas include banking and finance, insurance, joint ventures, property, and the media. Recent clients include oil companies, banks, government departments and international brands; and mediation highlights included a Middle Eastern family dispute with a bank over wealth-management losses.

Bill Marsh at Independent Mediators is ‘a mediator who has seen and done it all before, yet he still manages to bring a freshness and energy to each mediation. He has a nicely understated style, but forceful when he needs to be, and hugely experienced at getting a sense of how the parties want to negotiate, and where a deal lies’. Marsh covers a broad range of UK-related and international commercial disputes, including commercial contracts, product liability, insurance and reinsurance, and professional negligence; he also acts in disputes involving shareholders, sports, medical negligence, pensions, IT and shipping.

In Place of Strife’s Charles Middleton-Smith ‘performs his role with great professionalism, calmness and focus; he is informative and acts fairly and skilfully to bring parties to nuanced and novel resolutions’. His specialisms include arts, media and entertainment; financial services; M&A; inheritance; and general commercial, contract and sale of goods. Representative experience includes mediating an asset-finance case regarding commercial agreements; a dispute over an agreement for international film production; and an international high-value joint venture dispute, involving the development of a contemporary art business.

Andrew Paton of Independent Mediators is ‘a very able mediator, who works hard to achieve a settlement; he ensures that he is properly prepared and that he understands what a case is about in order to keep a mediation heading in the right direction. He also has a very pleasant and approachable style, which helps to put clients at ease’. Paton is a former Pinsent Masons LLP partner who undertook undertook 57 mediations during 2016; and a large portion of his work focused on professional negligence claims, with the balance spread between construction, insurance, property and commercial matters. Case highlights included a tracing claim to recover monies that were used to buy a new home.

Independent Mediators’ Nicholas Pryor is ‘an exceptionally experienced mediator, who carries significant gravitas and is easy to work with’. Pryor’s cases recently covered a broad gambit of UK-based and international commercial issues; other disputes included insurance and professional negligence claims.

Beverly-Ann Rogers of Serle Court is ‘innovative, intelligent and thoughtful in moving parties towards settlement’; Rogers is a full-time mediator, whose practice is recommended for Chancery disputes, including trusts, probate, company, partnership and property matters. She also mediates commercial, professional negligence and employment disputes; and has experience of multi-party and cross-cultural disputes, including mediations in the Far East and the Middle East. Rogers recently mediated a shareholder dispute with several related parties, which involved a high-value property company and required consideration of share valuation, tax, corporate structure and trust issues. She is also at In Place of Strife.

Brick Court Chambers’ Stephen Ruttle QC, who is also at In Place of Strife, is in ‘the top rank of mediators’. Ruttle has mediated approximately 1,200 cases to date, and a large proportion of his work is international in nature. Most of his mediations take place in London, but he regularly mediates elsewhere in the UK and Ireland, and has mediated in the US, Greece, the Gulf, the Caribbean and Hong Kong. Ruttle is well known for mediating large shipping disputes; but his practice also covers oil and gas, banking, insurance and reinsurance, and professional negligence claims. Other areas of note are construction, employment, corporate matters, and general commercial disputes.

Quentin Smith (Independent) is ‘an experienced mediator for high-end commercial disputes, and he is sought-after with good reason - his relaxed and pragmatic manner is popular with clients, and disarms parties that are intent on being aggressive for the sake of it; and he understands that mediations are about building a deal and not arguing legal points’. Smith is recommended for large and complicated mediations that are often multi-party; recent highlights include mediating a dispute involving financial management and distribution issues and profit shares, following the financing of a major feature film.

The ‘incredibly creative and effective’ Patrick Walker (Independent)’s ‘obvious emotional intelligence allows him to keep the parties engaged, whilst at the same time testing the issues so as to really move matters on; he has a range of techniques which he uses to encourage parties to see their cases from a different perspective, while at the same time encouraging them to bridge the gaps’. Walker is well known for property litigation, including compulsory purchase, rights to light, flooding claims, and fraud and loan agreements, but he has broadened his practice to include professional negligence, construction, share purchase, M&A, and trusts and probate disputes, as well as pharmaceutical and commercial contract matters.

Tony Willis at Brick Court Chambers is also an In Place of Strife member. He has conducted over 1,000 mediations to date; beyond the UK, he has mediated in New York, the United Arab Emirates, Belgium, Romania, Guernsey, Jersey, the Republic of Ireland, and the Bahamas. Willis’ practice covers professional negligence; shareholder, partnership and M&A disputes; pensions; IT; employment; and family trusts. Other areas include insolvency, tax, charity, oil and gas, civil engineering and construction, insurance, and reinsurance.

‘A highly rated commercial and user-friendly mediator’, Brick Court Chambers’ William Wood QC conducts around 80 mediations each year. Wood has broad experience, with recent matters including mis-selling disputes; contractor claims and professional liability disputes involving architects, engineers and surveyors; shipping and international trade disputes; pharmaceutical claims; and insurance and reinsurance disputes. Other areas of note include oil and gas; competition disputes; planning issues; and pension and employment-related disputes.

A professional mediator since 1995, Heather Allen (Independent) has a varied mediation practice, including commercial contracts for scientific products and services, e-markets, and shareholder issues, as well as charity, and inheritance and trustee disputes. Recent work involved mediating a complex inheritance dispute between two siblings (the executors), which involved questions about capacity and changes to the will, estate debts, and allegations of undue influence.

‘A first choice for difficult cases’, 3 Verulam Buildings’ Elizabeth Birch, also of In Place of Strife, is ‘a superb mediator, who is well prepared, commercially minded, and quickly develops the trust and confidence of all participants, facilitating settlements through tact, charm and perseverance.’ Mediating commercial and international disputes since 1995, Birch is particularly focused on maritime, commercial, and insurance and reinsurance disputes, which are frequently complex, high-value and cross-border.

Stuart Chapman joined In Place of Strife’s panel in 2011. Chapman’s ‘preparation for mediations is extremely thorough, as he has an excellent grasp of the details and arguments in cases, which helps throughout the day; he is approachable and professional from the start, and has tremendous patience, tenacity and calm authority, which is exactly what clients need from a good mediator’. Recent experience includes mediating claims involving banking and finance, employment law, probate issues, contractual disputes and pension matters.

In Place of Strife’s Chris Fitton is ‘well prepared, has a good manner with clients, and comes across as having credibility’. Fitton facilitated approximately 40 high-value commercial mediations in 2016, the most active practice areas being professional indemnity, financial services pensions, insolvency, and high-value commercial disputes. Highlights included a tracing claim by the liquidators of a collapsed hedge fund.

North Somerset-based Andrew Fraley at Fraley Bourne Ltd is ‘a very experienced mediator, with an idiosyncratic style’. Fraley has mediated in over 2,000 cases, including professional indemnity claims and disputes involving maritime, construction, agriculture, employment, partnership and shareholder issues. Other areas include inheritance, probate and trusts, IT, oil and gas transportation, and insurance claims.

Edwin Glasgow CBE QC at 39 Essex Chambers has successfully settled over 90% of the mediations in which he was appointed, both domestically and internationally, with particular experience in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Glasgow specialises in the resolution of substantial and complex financial, commercial and construction disputes, and professional negligence matters.

Keating Chambers’ Rosemary Jackson QC is ‘a first-choice mediator due to her tenacity’; she also ‘impresses with her effortless manner, calm authority and ability to keep very strong personalities engaged throughout the process’. Jackson is recommended for mediations in the construction sector, as well as a variety of commercial and professional negligence disputes.

Paul Johnson recently joined Exchange Chambers in Manchester from Kings Chambers. Johnson is ‘an excellent mediator for complex, multi-party disputes; he has the ability to cut to the chase and quickly change the position of the most intransigent parties’. Johnson has mediated over 700 disputes, and his practice covers banking, commercial and contract, competition law, construction, group actions, employment and fraud-related claims.

Completing 40 mediations in 2016, Jacqui Joyce (Independent) ‘brings to mediations a tenacity, enthusiasm and integrity that clients of all types instantly warm to; she is very personable, professional, straightforward, and knowledgeable on the subject matter of the dispute’. Joyce is recommended for large commercial property claims and contractual disputes, and is a founder member of The Property Mediators, a leading group of specialist property mediators in the UK. Her recent work involved multinational companies with high values at stake, as well as smaller, more personal property disputes, frequently involving neighbours.

Lawrence Kershen QC at In Place of Strife is ‘an excellent mediator, who is calm, friendly and tends to put the various parties, including the lawyers, at their ease’. A specialist in corporate and commercial matters and employment claims, his mediation experience also includes banking and financial services, construction and engineering, and inheritance disputes. In addition, Kershen has mediated insurance, IP, manufacturing, media, partnership, professional negligence, property, and shareholding cases.

Christopher Newmark at CEDR Solve specialises in large commercial disputes, and is particularly well known for mediating in the IT and telecoms sectors. Highlights included a multi-party dispute between investors in a unit trust and the professionals, who set up and advised on the trust; Newmark also mediated a dispute over the termination of a licence to develop an international brand in the eyewear sector.

CEDR Solve’ Nick Pearson is ‘a very senior mediator with a calm presence and good manners; he is also very bright and totally unruffled by difficult cases’. Pearson’s recent disputes involved professional negligence, trusts and probate, shareholder and partnership claims, breach of contract, insolvency, and banking and finance matters. Examples include a joint venture dispute between senior management.

Charles Powell at Freeths LLP is ‘an experienced mediator, who has the necessary gravitas to get a deal in difficult cases’. Powell’s active mediation practice specialises in commercial disputes, including professional negligence claims; subrogated claims; banking and finance matters; and partnership and shareholder disputes.

Undertaking 71 mediations in 2016,Alistair Pye at In Place of Strife is ‘not slow to roll his sleeves up and get straight into the issues at the heart of the matter; he is straight talking, and his approach is key in difficult mediations where emotional issues hold the parties back from resolution’. Pye is a construction and engineering specialist, whose wide practice includes complex neighbour disputes and high-value, multi-party, insurance-backed construction claims.

In Place of Strife’s David Richbell’s ‘mediation approach is focused on building relationships, and he is vastly experienced’. Richbell is originally from a construction background, has over 20 years’ experience as a mediator, and is particularly well known for the mediation of construction and engineering disputes; he also mediates a range of high-value, high-emotion, high-complexity conflicts in other areas of the law.

Colin Russ (Independent) is ‘a firm favourite as a mediator; he is very sensible, commercial and builds an easy rapport with clients and lawyers alike’. Russ is recommended for the successful resolution of disputes relating to professional negligence, commercial contracts, shareholder and partnership disputes, real estate, and the financial services sector, as well as disputes arising from IP rights and employment law.

Core Solutions Group Limited's John Sturrock QC is ‘a leading mediator in Scotland who can hold the room and have the parties keep their eyes on the prize; he not only knows the law but is good with parties, and brings authority and ability to the role of mediator’. Sturrock’s broad practice extends to the rest of the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, and the Middle East and Africa, and covers commercial contracts, construction, IP, property, and professional negligence. He also mediates banking, sport, planning, environment, agriculture, and public sector issues. In 2016, he mediated a retail sector-related contractual dispute.

Stephen Walker (Independent) is ‘a reliable, approachable, no-nonsense mediator, who is ideal for cases where clients just need a deal; he is also good-humoured and comes up to speed quickly on complicated matters of fact and law’. In 2016, Walker was appointed as lead mediator in 50 mediations and achieved a higher than 90% settlement success rate. He has a broad practice, but has recently developed specialisms in mediating disputes involving professional negligence, shareholder matters, art law, contentious probate, and construction and property cases.

CEDR Solve’ ‘thoughtful, personable and charming’ Tony Allen is ‘the doyen of clinical negligence and personal injury mediation; nobody has more experience in the field, he is the go-to man for the most complex cases, and he has the knack of finding a way for entrenched parties to agree with one another’. Allen has mediated a wide range of disputes involving personal injury and clinical negligence, as well as public law, banking, construction, housing, partnership, professional indemnity, and general commercial claims. Recent commercial disputes included mediating between a European manufacturer and an English wholesaler.

At Fountain Court Chambers, the ‘very affable’ Sir Henry Brooke’s mediation areas include commercial and insurance matters; family property and inheritance disputes; defamation; construction disputes; and public law cases. Examples of recent mediations include a high-value claim in the banking industry; and the settlement of a professional negligence claim with cross-jurisdictional issues.

Amanda Bucklow at In Place of Strife mediates a wide range of commercial disputes and employment-related matters, including discrimination and dismissal issues; Bucklow has notable expertise in transport, IT and financial services claims, as well as disputes involving regulated sectors.

Fiona Colquhoun at CEDR Solve is ‘very approachable and facilitative, and her relaxed and informal style leads to resolutions; she is also able to step in and be more forceful when appropriate’. Colquhoun spends over 100 days each year mediating; her key areas include commercial, insolvency, professional negligence, public sector, charity, governance, and clinical negligence. Other areas include employment, education disputes, financial services and partnership disputes. Highlights included the mediation of major contract and funding disputes between different NHS entities.

At In Place of Strife, the ‘very active’ Michael Cover’s specialist dispute areas include IP and IT; competition and regulatory matters; insurance; pharmaceutical; international contracts and trading; major projects; and energy.

Blackstone Chambers’ Charles Flint QC’s mediation work is predominantly focused on financial services and regulatory matters, and he has mediated internationally in Thailand, Hong Kong and Africa. Flint also mediates significant environmental claims; and he recently assisted with fine art disputes. He is also a member of the specialist panel of international mediators at Jams International.

Stephenson Harwood’s John Fordham is ‘a mediator of choice for cases where some real force is needed on the part of the mediator and heads banged together’. Fordham’s mediation experience mirrors his work as a commercial litigator, and includes disputes in the corporate, commercial, banking and finance, insurance, IT and insolvency sectors.

McCormicks’ Neil Goodrum has a national reputation as a mediator in contract and commercial cases. Recent highlights include mediating a boundary dispute between estate owners; and a clinical negligence dispute regarding treatment in an NHS Hospital.

Nicholas Gould at Fenwick Elliott LLP is a dual-qualified solicitor-advocate and chartered surveyor, and has particular expertise in construction and engineering sector disputes, involving delay claims; defects; public sector issues; professional negligence; property and planning; transport; energy; and insurance. He also has particular international experience, including in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Andrew Hildebrand at In Place of Strife ‘deals with mediations excellently; he has an excellent style, asks the right questions, and puts a good amount of work into the pre-mediation period and pre-meetings with the parties, which very much helps on the day’. Hildebrand acts in a range of commercial, contractual and private client disputes; and has a specialist entertainment industry and creative businesses practice, mediating approximately 10-15 entertainment or sports-related cases a year. He also assists with early-stage mediation, particularly between business partners and family members.

Serle Court’s Elizabeth Jones QC mediates cases across a number of sectors; examples of work include a compensation claim for the alleged breach of an offshore contract relating to IP rights.

Gerard Khoshnaw balances a busy role as a partner leading the dispute resolution team at Gateley Plc in Leeds with his mediation practice. He has wide-ranging expertise, with recent highlights including handling several high-profile mediations in the South East in the NHS and healthcare sector, which involved high-value contracts.

In Place of Strife’s Mark Linnell is ‘very balanced and measured in his approach, and he inspires confidence in the parties with his relaxed style, while remaining positive and creative in his approach’. Linnell is regularly instructed on disputes involving commercial agreements; engineering; IT; financial services; insurance; media; and construction. He also increasingly mediates cases relating to fraud, insolvency, professional negligence, and property and planning, as well as family matters concerning estates or contested probates.

The ‘very agreeable’ Adrian Llewelyn-Evans (Independent) is the former commercial litigation head at Burges Salmon LLP. His specialist areas of practice include corporate finance disputes, including share warranty claims and shareholder disputes; engineering disputes, particularly in the transport and defence industries; professional negligence; and partnership disputes. Recent disputes included contractual claims, software disputes, and shipping-related disputes for vessel owners and charterers.

Colin Manning joined 4-5 Gray's Inn Square from Littleton Chambers, where he was a founder member of Littleton Mediation Group. Manning mediates in a range of commercial disputes, including contractual issues, professional negligence, partnership, and company and shareholder disputes; he also assists with construction, employment, property, copyright, trusts and probate, and international trade disputes.

Gowling WLG’s Andrew Manning Cox is ‘definitely competent in terms of possessing a thoughtful and analytical, lawyer-mediator approach’. Recent experience includes acting as a mediator in disputes that ranged in value from £100,000 to £24m, involving joint venture and partnership issues, property claims, franchises, construction and engineering, as well as product liability, professional negligence cases, fraud, employment, and commercial agency agreements.

Mark Manley, who operates his mediation practice through Mediata, ‘achieves outcomes, relying on his experience to deploy every trick in the book’. Manley mediates disputes in media, entertainment and sports sectors, as well as general commercial claims.

Jane Player (Independent) ‘successfully mediates disputes in a calm and rational manner; in addition to considerable legal acumen, she has very impressive people skills’. Player recently retired from King & Spalding LLP to become a full-time independent mediator; she is frequently instructed in technology and IP disputes, but she also has a general commercial disputes practice, which recently included government party disputes arising out of infrastructure projects and defence matters.

Richard Price OBE QC joined 4-5 Gray's Inn Square from Littleton Chambers. Price has a wide range of mediation experience in disputes, involving commercial matters, employment, defamation, professional negligence, and property and construction. Other areas include banking, insolvency, healthcare and public law.

The ‘very experienced’ Peter Rogan at Jams International is well known for insurance and reinsurance matters; he is also noted for partnership and shareholder matters. Representative experience includes mediating a high-value professional indemnity dispute between a major Lloyds broker and a US company.

Lamb Chambers’ Stephen Shaw is also a member of In Place of Strife; he is recommended for landlord and tenant work; property litigation; mortgage-based disputes; professional negligence, particularly regarding solicitors, surveyors, architects and engineers; and all contractually-based claims.

Lesley Anderson QC at Kings Chambers is ‘very committed to the mediation process, and guides parties away from areas of conflict and towards settlement’. A significant part of Anderson’s mediation practice focuses on professional negligence matters.

Stephen Bate at 5RB is also a member of CEDR Solve. Bate handles mediations in a wide range of civil matters, including media and entertainment disputes, with values of up to £250m; and he is a member of Sport Resolution’s panel of arbitrators and mediators.

Linklaters LLP’s Katie Bradford is best known for her mediation work in property-related cases; she has also mediated commercial disputes in employment, pensions, trading, international law, and trusts, wills and probate.

Andrew Eastgate (Independent) regularly mediates a broad range of commercial disputes, from commercial contracts and agency, through to disputes arising from the sale of businesses and financing; he also assists with shareholder and partnership issues.

Littleton Chambers’ joint head Naomi Ellenbogen QC is ‘an excellent mediator who has an excellent grip of the law, but can cut through it to identify how the parties can resolve conflict’. Ellenbogen is particularly noted for high-value, complex employment and commercial litigation.

Robert Gaitskell QC at Keating Chambers conducts mediations in the commercial, construction and IP sector, many of an international nature. He has mediated disputes involving IT, patents and franchises; nuclear fuel, oil rigs, power stations and process engineering; commercial property developments, hospitals, and defence procurement and research facilities.

1 Chancery Lane’s Andrew Goodman’s areas of expertise include contract and commercial disputes; professional discipline and regulatory matters; professional negligence; property; and public and administrative law.

Jane Gunn at In Place of Strife mediates a wide variety of disputes, including business and partnership disputes; joint venture conflicts; trusts; and employment cases. Other areas of note include medical negligence; and property and construction.

TLT’s Kerry Gwyther is ‘excellent, attentive and grasps the crux of matters quickly; he also works tirelessly with parties to reach settlement’. Gwyther’s specialist areas are contractual disputes; issues involving directors, shareholders and partnerships; franchising; medical and professional negligence; and high-value inheritance claims.

Edinburgh-based David Hossack at Morton Fraser is recommended for both employment issues, and contractual and commercial matters; Hossack ‘has a considered and calm approach during mediations, which he uses to settle any emotional turbulence between the parties’.

Paul Houghton (Independent)’s former litigation practice mostly involved commercial contract matters, with a large amount of engineering-related work and professional negligence claims; but as a mediator, Houghton has a broad spectrum of work that includes multi-party and high-value claims.

Mark Keeley at Freeths LLP is ‘extremely practical, has in-depth knowledge of this field and goes the extra mile’. Keeley conducted 34 commercial mediations in 2016, and specialises in contentious trust and probate disputes, and professional negligence claims.

Jonathan Lux of St Philips Stone Chambers is ‘a very accomplished specialist mediator; his highly skilled and personable approach is coupled with a tenacious enthusiasm to help parties reach a settlement’. Lux is well known for maritime disputes and international commercial law matters; he recently mediated a dispute between the owners of a substantial private residence and a building contractor.

Mark Mattison (Independent)’s areas of expertise are construction and engineering claims; banking, shareholder and partnership disputes; general commercial and contract cases; professional negligence claims; and landlord and tenant, and boundary and right of way issues.

David Miles at Blake Morgan LLP regularly mediates a range of disputes, particularly construction cases; Miles also handles disputes involving professional negligence, commercial matters, partnership, IT, IP, and procurement issues, both in the UK and abroad.

Martin Plowman at Mediation 1st mediates over 100 cases a year; he is a specialist in commercial litigation, contractual claims, inheritance and property disputes, and Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act claims.

In Place of Strife’s Liz Rivers is ‘an excellent mediator, with a very wide and diverse skill set; she also has incredible personal skills, which she brings to the process’. Rivers is recommended for workplace and employment law disputes, including bullying and harassment, discrimination, and partnership issues.

Michael Shane at Atkin Chambers ‘understands the issues, explores ways to get the parties to bridge their differences, and has a very good sense for what will work in a particular situation’. To date, Shane has acted as mediator in over 1,500 disputes, involving insurance, finance, construction and engineering, energy and IP claims.

Caroline Sheridan at CEDR Solve is recommended for mediating across the full range of employment disputes in the UK. She recently mediated a dispute arising from a grievance raised by an employee, who cited racial discrimination, harassment and bullying.

Patrick Sherrington at Hogan Lovells International LLP has conducted mediations involving high-value claims with cross-border elements, particularly banking and finance disputes; he also mediates disputes relating to construction and engineering, product liability, property, and professional negligence.

Tim Wallis (Independent) ‘has a relaxed style, but at the same time he is tenacious and quite prepared to encourage clients to try and achieve settlement’. Wallis mediates on a range of commercial disputes, with particular expertise of multi-party disputes. Other areas of specialism include personal injury and clinical negligence, and insurance claims.

Miranda Allardice at 5 Stone Buildings is ‘direct and to the point; she knows her audience and gets the right deal done’. Allardice is well known for cases involving contentious probate disputes.

Rebecca Attree (Independent) is ‘a capable, commercial mediator, who is well regarded in the mediation fraternity’. She has particular expertise in mediating commercial disputes that are complex, multi-party, cross-cultural, and involve relationship issues; these frequently relate to contracts for director and shareholder duties, property, family businesses, trusts, and agency matters.

Stephen Barker (Independent) conducts mediations all over the UK, with a key geographic split between London, Leeds, Manchester and the Midlands; Barker has also experienced an increase in international mediations, and recently mediated a distribution dispute.

Rebecca Clark at In Place of Strife is ‘undoubtedly one to watch; she has a calm, understated manner and is extremely bright’. Clark is particularly noted for financial services disputes.

Anthony Glaister at In Place of Strife is ‘an experienced mediator, who has a down-to-earth, practical approach and is not afraid to explore unusual ideas to promote settlement’.

Jams International’s Charles Gordon’s mediation practice focuses on reinsurance, restructuring and insolvency, financial services, joint ventures, and shareholder and partnership disputes.

Tim Hardy at CMS is ‘thorough, very even-handed, and clearly has a lot of experience in dealing with commercial disputes’. Hardy, who is also a CEDR Solve panel member, recently mediated a retail sector and minority shareholder-related dispute.

With ‘an approach that is sensible, commercial and well-reasoned’, Tim Jones of Higgs & Sons is ‘an excellent mediator, who is very good at assisting parties to understand the arguments that the other is advancing’. In addition to assisting with commercial disputes, Jones is qualified to mediate workplace disputes.

XXIV Old Buildings’ Michael King is ‘very effective, with a calm and soothing style that is good for lay clients, yet he also poses serious, intelligent questions, which bring parties close enough together to reach a compromise’. King is recommended for mediations concerning business, partnership, and commercial issues; he is also noted for complex trust, probate and estate disputes.

At Atkin Chambers, Her Honour Frances Kirkham CBE’s ‘experience as a Technology and Construction Court judge gives her credibility in the eyes of the parties and a ready ability to get to the heart of the issues in a case’. Construction and engineering sector specialist Kirkham also acts as arbitrator, adjudicator and expert determiner, in relation to international and domestic disputes.

Paul Kirtley of Exchange Chambers is ‘excellent at achieving results that are agreeable to the parties; his experience is great and he moulds his style to what is appropriate in the circumstances’. Kirtley’s mediation practice covers the North of England, and he has also developed a busy offshore mediation practice, particularly in the Isle of Man. He regularly mediates disputes involving commercial and employment law; public sector issues; negligence; probate and trusts; and property and boundary matters.

David Owen QC at 20 Essex Street is well known for mediating disputes involving commercial law, shipping, energy and natural resources, banking and finance, and insurance and reinsurance.

Eve Pienaar at CEDR Solve is ‘compassionate, creative and sensitive, and she adopts a pragmatic approach throughout’. Pienaar is well known for property and construction disputes; she also mediates cases involving professional negligence, public sector issues, commercial and contractual matters, partnership disputes, and probate.

Penelope Reed QC at 5 Stone Buildings has experience of mediations involving probate claims, trust litigation, applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, and proprietary estoppel claims.

Keating Chambers’ Elizabeth Repper has mediated disputes throughout the UK and in the Channel Islands. Along with mediating construction, property and professional negligence disputes, Repper has a growing practice in general commercial cases, including disputes involving liquidators and trustees in bankruptcy.

Mark Shaw QC at Blackstone Chambers is a mediator who has specialist expertise in public law, regulatory matters and utilities. Shaw is also a member of In Place of Strife.

At CEDR Solve, Richard Schaverien’s disputes expertise includes commercial contracts; construction and engineering; employment and workplace matters; partnership and shareholder cases; professional negligence; and property.

Maitland Chambers’ Beverley Vara mediates a wide range of commercial disputes, with a particular focus on property disputes; she also recently mediated a significant number of professional negligence disputes.

Radcliffe Chambers’ Simon Williams is ‘a very patient, calm mediator, who quickly puts parties at ease and instils confidence’. Williams mediates property and commercial disputes, with expertise in commercial contracts; company, shareholder and partnership cases; landlord and tenant conflicts; property and trusts and probate disputes; and professional negligence.


Professional discipline

Index of tables

  1. Professional discipline
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Led by the ‘particularly insightful’ Clare Chapman from Manchester, the ‘deservedly well-respected’ team at BLM has extensive experience representing healthcare clients before a range of regulators (including the General Medical Council, the General Dental Council, the General Pharmaceutical Council, and the Nursing and Midwifery Council) and benefits from a ‘strong working relationship with professional defence organisations’. Notable clients include the Medical Protection Society (MPS), Abbey Legal Protection, and Dental Protection, as well as Boots UK, Vision Express, and Specsavers Optical Group. ‘A force to be reckoned with’, Juliette Mellman-Jones provides ‘excellent judgement and provides high-quality advice’; she acted for the MPS on the successful judicial review of the GMC’s attempt to conduct a review of an Investigation Committee’s decision. The firm also acted for the same client on the successful claim against the GMC under the Data Protection Act regarding the disclosure of expert reports in DB v General Medical Council. Other highlights for the team included representing the registrant in the appeal of an MPTS finding of no impairment by the GMC in the first exercise of its new power. Cardiff-based Jane Lang and the ‘first-rate’ Rosie Shapiro in London are also recommended.

Bevan Brittan LLP acts for a range of regulators in disciplinary proceedings and litigation relating to governance issues and high-level policy. Key clients include the Bar Standards Board, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Architects Registration Board (ARB), and the Financial Reporting Council. Led by Adam Kendall, the team includes associate Genevieve Bushell, consultant Rosemary Rollason, and senior associate Amy Tschobotko. Recent work includes acting for the ARB in disciplinary proceedings against an architect charged with professional misconduct and dishonesty. The team also advised the Law Society in relation to proceedings against the SRA seeking to prevent disclosure of information following a freedom of information adjudication. Iain Miller joined Kingsley Napley LLP and Peter Steel left to establish a consultancy.

The ‘professional, efficient, and effective’ team at Blake Morgan LLP delivers a ‘tailored approach’ to clients spanning a range of sectors, including healthcare, legal, education, accountancy, and architecture. Growing into new sectors such as the regulation of the actuary profession and securing re-appointments to a number of panels this year, the team continues to act for a wide range of regulators, including the General Dental Council, NHS England, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the National College for Teaching and Leadership, and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. New clients include the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. The ‘fabulous’ Bradley Albuery (who is ‘undoubtedly a leader in the field’) heads the regulatory practice group from Eastleigh and Nick Leale leads the team in London, which includes associates Antonia Dowgray (‘accurate’, ‘conscientious’ and deserving of a ‘special mention’) and Guy Micklewright. Clare Strickland has left the firm to return to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and legal director Chris Williams joined from Russell-Cooke LLP.

Capsticks LLP’s ‘client-focused, enormously impressive’ practice is praised for its ‘significant regulatory expertise’ and ‘substantial, reliable and pragmatic legal knowledge’. The team is known for its ‘market-leading’ work in the healthcare sector, acting for regulators such as the General Dental Council, the General Pharmaceutical Council, and new client the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and was appointed sole adviser on the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s legal panel. Practice head John Witt (‘pragmatic, with a breadth and level of experience within professional regulation that is almost peerless’) acted on behalf of the Professional Standards Authority in its appeal against a decision made by the General Medical Council’s Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service concerning a doctor found in possession of child pornography; the Court agreed to an order for erasure. The ‘personable’ and ‘hugely experienced’ Mark Whiting acted for the GDC on a number of cases, including a case involving cross-infection control breaches from a dentist and dental nurse which resulted in the largest recall of patients in NHS history for the screening of blood borne viruses. Daniel Purcell represented the SRA in a case before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, concerning claims made by a solicitor in relation to academic qualifications and professional accreditations, resulting in a striking off the roll; subsequent applications for a rehearing and an appeal were dismissed. ‘Client-friendly’ James Penry-Davey has a ‘sharp brain for legal issues’ and is also recommended, as are ‘hugely capable’ associate Kate Steele and associate Mark Rogers.

The ‘creative’ team at Fieldfisher delivers a ‘strategic approach’ and ‘thorough’, ‘expert’ advice to clients across the healthcare, surveying, policing, finance and law sectors; according to one client, it is ‘the best for strategic regulatory advice’. Manchester-based practice head Sarah Ellson has a ‘practical approach’ and provides ‘incisive, considered advice’. Last year she acted for the Professional Standards Authority in a number of cases in the High Court and Court of Appeal and led the team advising the Nursing and Midwifery Council on changes to its legislation and rules as a result of the implementation of EU Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications. Matthew Lohn was the lead partner advising the Financial Reporting Council on the implementation of new EU requirements relating to audits, which included drafting a new disciplinary process for auditors. Other notable clients include the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the General Pharmaceutical Council, the Police and Crime Commissioners, and the UK Council for Psychotherapy, with senior associate David Northfield part of the team acting in a challenge in the Chancery Division relating to disciplinary arrangements and complaints against former members. Rachel Birks and Alice Hickey joined Ward Hadaway and the BBC’s in-house legal department, respectively.

Chris Morris (‘wise, experienced, good tactician’) heads the practice at Hempsons, which draws from its cross-disciplinary expertise to advise and represent healthcare clients in regulatory, criminal, and coronial cases. The team’s ‘huge experience’ in representing doctors facing regulatory and professional discipline proceedings ‘inspires confidence’, and the practice retained its panel appointments to the Medical Defence Union, the Dental Defence Union, NHS England, and the British Dental Association. Morris acted on a number of matters before the General Dental Council, successfully making a submission of no case to answer in the context of a fitness to practise hearing and, in a judicial review claim before the High Court, securing an order allowing for a review of a warning placed against his client’s registration. James Lawford Davies led the team advising a thoracic surgeon in relation to allegations of research misconduct and potential libel proceedings against Vanity Fair in the UK. Manchester-based Katherine Sheldrick, who has ‘an excellent clinical knowledge with an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of regulatory law in the medico-legal field’, and Tania Francis (‘sharp’, ‘thorough’, ‘expert in this field’) are also recommended.

Kingsley Napley LLP’s ‘star is rising this year’ with the lateral hire of Iain Miller from Bevan Brittan LLP. The ‘exceptionally experienced and well-respected’ team, ‘made up of creative thinkers who will always go the extra mile’, is led by ‘level-headed’ and ‘approachable’ Nicola Hill. The team defends individuals and organisations and acts for regulators across such sectors as health (including mental health) and social care, legal services, education, and the financial sector. Recent work includes acting for the Health and Care Professions Council in a range of fitness to practice matters and acting for the Education and Workforce Council for Wales in all of its disciplinary cases, a range of which involved sexual relationships with student minors. Julie Norris (‘exceptional’, ‘outstanding advocate’ with a ‘phenomenal ability to handle complex material’) acted for a psychotherapist in proceedings before the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Melinka Berridge (‘Astute, inventive and clever’), Julie Matheson (‘supremely bright’ and ‘both personable and robust’), and senior associates Jenny Higgins (‘extensive experience’, ‘innovative’) and Lucy Williams (‘pleasure to work with’, ‘has a real grasp of the issues in a case’) are also highly recommended.

Focusing on the healthcare and legal sectors, with particular emphasis on the veterinary and farriery professions, Penningtons Manches LLP’s ‘highly professional’ and ‘responsive’ team is praised for its ‘in-depth knowledge of the regulatory sector’. Key clients include the General Dental Council, the General Osteopathic Council, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), and the Farriers Registration Council (FRC). The team is led by Geoffrey Hudson (‘meticulous’ and ‘brilliant at understanding clients’ needs’), who, together with ‘reliable and knowledgeable’, ‘standout’ senior associate Hein Le Roux, successfully represented the Solicitors Regulation Authority in an appeal to the High Court by a former solicitor against the decision of the SDT to strike him off. Nicole Curtis acted for the FRC in an appeal to the High Court by a farrier – who is also a member of the FRC’s governing council and of its disciplinary committee – found guilty of bullying and erased from the register. She successfully represented the RCVS in relation to an appeal to the Privy Council by a veterinary surgeon challenging the original hearing where he had been struck off.

‘Leading defence firm’ RadcliffesLeBrasseur represents healthcare and legal professionals facing proceedings and investigations by a range of regulators, including the General Medical Council, the General Dental Council, and the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The ‘highly respected’ Alex Leslie and Nigel West lead the team, which was joined by Anil Rajani from Fladgate LLP and Stuart Lindley from Taylor Vinters. Leslie represented a doctor in proceedings before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service and in a successful appeal to the High Court against the decision to erase his name from the register. Susanna Heley (‘a truly formidable practitioner with expertise across the whole range of SRA-related issues’) acted for a solicitor in ongoing proceedings by the Lord Chancellor acting on behalf of the Legal Aid Agency, and in proceedings by the SRA relating. The ‘super-bright’ Stewart Duffy is also recommended.

Bates Wells Braithwaite’s practice is led by Melanie Carter, who ‘excels at giving practical advice’ and advises regulators across the health, social care, and accountancy sectors, including the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (for which Carter sits as a legal assessor), the General Dental Council, the British Association of Social Workers, and the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA). Carter led the team advising the IPA on a highly sensitive disciplinary matter concerning possible breaches of confidentiality in a deceased former member’s working papers, and is assisting with the development of a framework which will be used by IPA’s members globally, taking into consideration a variety of local laws. Emma Dowden-Teale joined from DAC Beachcroft LLP and was promoted to partner; she was part of the team advising the Council of the Inns of Court on issues arising from the appointment of its tribunal members. Consultant John Trotter is noted for his ‘first-class attention to detail’. Selman Ansari joined Bindmans LLP.

Sheffield-based Chris Horsefield and Manchester-based Rachel Cooper (who is ‘tireless’, ‘super commercial’ and ‘amazing with clients’) head the practice at CMS, which acts on both the prosecution and defence sides in the healthcare and education sectors. The team is on the panels of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and the General Optical Council. Cooper and ‘efficient’ and ‘hardworking’ associate Katie Henderson (based in Manchester), who ‘handles work well beyond her seniority as a solicitor with aplomb’, acted on behalf of the NCTL in a number of proceedings against teachers facing allegations of historic sexual abuse, exerting an undue amount of religious influence, and sending sexually motivated social media messages to teenage pupils. The team also receives instructions from the Medical Defence Union to act in a number of fitness to practice proceedings and investigation committee hearings before the General Medical Council.

Manchester-based Christopher Briggs leads the practice at DAC Beachcroft LLP, which includes public law specialist Stephen Hocking, accountancy and financial services specialist Richard Highley, and legal sector-focused Clare Hughes-Williams in Newport. The team focuses on defending professionals, with particular strengths in the medical and healthcare sector. Key clients include the Medical Defence Union and insurers such as Arag, New Line and XL Catlin. Christopher Morris left the team to become a coroner, and senior associate Emma Dowden-Teale joined Bates Wells Braithwaite.

Eastwoods specialises in representing healthcare professionals before a wide range of regulators, including the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, the General Medical Council (GMC), the General Dental Council (GDC), and the Nursing and Midwifery Council. ‘Fabulous leader’ Simon Eastwood heads the team, which includes Adam Smith and the ‘highly experienced’ Surjit Dubb, who is noted for his ‘excellent client care’. Smith successfully defended a GP facing criminal allegations of sexual assault before the Crown Court, while Eastwood successfully defended a dental practitioner facing allegations of misconduct and dishonesty. Dubb and Stephen Hooper – an ‘imaginative’ associate with a ‘refreshing approach to legal problems’ – acted for a dentist facing allegations concerning a cosmetic dental treatment; the dentist was allowed to continue in unrestricted practice.

Russell-Cooke LLP acts both for and against regulators across the healthcare, financial, accountancy and legal sectors. Clients include the Architects Registration Board (ARB), the Bar Standards Board (BSB), the Farriers Registration Council (FRC), and the Care Quality Commission. This year the practice continued to act for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) on a number of matters, including disciplinary proceedings arising from the conclusion of the Al-Sweady Inquiry. Practice head Matthew Bosworth and Peter Cadman represented a solicitor in an investigation by the SRA and proceedings before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), which led to a re-drafting of the SDT’s rules on regulatory settlement agreements. John Gould (who is ‘extremely wise’, has ‘vast experience’, and ‘can see a case from all angles’) acted in a Supreme Court appeal on behalf of several national regulators concerning the ‘perimeter enforcement’ regimes of regulators in the UK. Associate Michael Stacey was part of the team acting for ARB in successfully defending an appeal before the Administrative Court against a decision of ARB’s professional conduct committee to erase an architect from the register in the absence of the respondent. The ‘practical and dedicated’ Paolo Sidoli and Tom Bradford are also recommended. Chris Williams and Marie-Louise Murray joined Blake Morgan LLP and McLaren, respectively.

Led by Liverpool-based Richard Jolly, the team at Weightmans LLP focuses on medical representations, acting for medical defence organisations including the Medical Protection Society (MPS), and the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS). It also handles matters related to the legal and accountancy sectors. Robert Crossingham represented an insolvency practitioner and their professional indemnity insurers in disciplinary proceedings before the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Newly made-up partner Simon Turner acted for an MDDUS member facing allegations of clinical incompetence and misconduct, and succeeded in defending against the most serious allegations, securing the possibility for the member to continue in the profession. Consultant John Mitchell represented an MPS member charged with an offence of gross negligence manslaughter following the death of a 12-year-old patient from Addison’s disease. The ‘hardworking’ and ‘caring’ Patrick Gaul is also recommended.

Joanna Ludlam leads the practice at Baker McKenzie, which has a particular focus on the financial and legal sectors. Jonathan Peddie has experience acting for various bodies within the financial sector, including the Financial Conduct Authority, and has worked closely with UK government departments, including HM Treasury and the National Crime Agency. Ludlam has represented two high-profile law firms in respect of separate Solicitors Regulation Authority investigations into their professional conduct.

Shah Qureshi and John Halford jointly head the practice at Bindmans LLP, which combines a ‘very high level of competence and professionalism’ with an ‘absolute commitment to clients’. The team provides ‘sound, measured, and useful advice’, representing clients across the healthcare, legal, and financial sectors and acting on behalf of regulators and individuals in judicial review claims. Halford advised the Association of Child Psychotherapists on a number of disciplinary investigations and proceedings, including on data protection issues and on the impact of domestic violence allegations on fitness to practice. Other recent work includes acting for a surgeon in a judicial review claim challenging the GMC’s decision to begin fitness-to-practice proceedings for concerns arising outside of the ‘limitation period’ for regulatory action. Also recommended are associate Nick Fry, who is praised for his ‘legal acumen’, ‘approachable manner’, and ability to ‘understand his clients’ priorities’; Peter Daly (also an associate); senior consultant Selman Ansari, who joined the team from Bates Wells Braithwaite; and Sharney Randhawa, whose expertise extends to whistleblowing matters involving the NHS.

Browne Jacobson LLP was appointed sole adviser on regulatory matters to Qualifications Wales, was re-appointed to the panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), and continues to act for a variety of regulators including the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), NHS England, the Chartered Institute of Building, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Ros Foster and Nottingham-based Fiona Butler head the team, which includes barrister Louisa Atkin (also based in Nottingham) and ‘exceptional’ associate barrister Ben Bentley (also Nottingham-based). Foster is advising the PSA in relation to the new right of appeal of the GMC to refer decisions of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service to the High Court; he was also instructed by the PSA in its first intervention in a GMC appeal. Bentley acted in the prosecution of a teacher faced with allegations of unacceptable professional conduct arising out of an historic sexual nature, a case that has been instrumental in defining the jurisdiction extent of the NCTL in prosecuting historic sexual misconduct.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP specialises in the sports and healthcare sectors, with a particular focus on pharmacies. Led by Jonathan Ellis and the ‘extremely impressive’ Noel Wardle, the practice provides ‘unrivalled expertise’ acting for sports governing bodies and advising healthcare professionals, sports organisations, and sportsmen. Ellis is leading the team acting for the independent review panel conducting a review of integrity in tennis following media allegations of match fixing. Senior associate Susan Hunneyball (‘excellent client care skills’ and ‘comprehensive pharmaceutical knowledge’) successfully represented a pharmacy owner investigated by the General Pharmaceutical Council regarding 10 separate allegations including breaching patient confidentiality, bullying, rudeness, and inappropriate storage and supply of controlled drugs. Senior associate Rachel Warren (‘a star of the team’ who ‘obtains fantastic results for her clients through her case preparation and tactical judgement’) acted for a pharmacy in relation to fitness-to-practice proceedings brought against it by NHS England following the chief pharmacist’s acquittal on seven counts of fraud at the Crown Court.

Clyde & Co LLP acts for organisations and professionals in the healthcare, accountancy and legal services sectors. Led by Sarah Clover and Claire Petts, the team has experience dealing with various regulatory bodies such as the General Medical Council, the General Dental Council, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and the Financial Reporting Council. Petts led the team acting for Abbey Legal on behalf of a dentist following a breach of confidentiality complaint, and was successful in having the GDC drop the charges with no case to answer. Fergal Cathie, who focuses on the legal and financial sectors and James Roberts (head of the accountants’ liability and disciplinary group) are also recommended. Senior associate James Cassidy left the team to become head of legal at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP acts both for professional bodies and for individuals and firms across the finance and accountancy sectors. The practice is to the panels of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) and acts for the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) on a number of matters, including in the FRC’s complaint against Deloitte in relation to its conduct as auditor of AIM-listed company Aero Inventory; Rod Fletcher and Nusrat Zar led on that matter. Practice head Andrew Lidbetter (‘knowledgeable, experienced, and with impeccable judgement’) defended ACCA in a judicial review and in a High Court civil claim in relation to separate disciplinary proceedings. Zar is leading the team, which includes of counsel Jasveer Randhawa, acting for CIMA in proceedings before the Disciplinary Committee.

Hill Dickinson LLP focuses on the healthcare, veterinary, and construction sectors; Liverpool-based practitioners Jonathan Anslow and Tom Handley lead on this work, and have particular strength representing dental professionals and veterinarians. Practice head Richard Creamer represented a dental practitioner in General Dental Council fitness-to-practice proceedings involving multiple patients across multiple practices, and acted for a nurse in Nursing and Midwifery Council appeal proceedings relating to a refusal to grant registration following a failure to disclose a criminal conviction. Liverpool-based Tony Wilson (who has an ‘astute legal mind’) was instructed by the Veterinary Defence Society to represent a veterinary expert alleged to be in contempt of court as a result of his evidence before the Court of Appeal, which took no further disciplinary action. Other work includes representing a medical student in university fitness-to-practice proceedings, and acting for a medical doctor in fitness-to-practice proceedings before the General Medical Council arising from his diagnosis with schizophrenia. Legal director Gillian Nevin (Liverpool) is also recommended. Dileep Pisharody joined Rosling King LLP.

RPC provides a ‘hard-hitting but commercial approach’, with particular emphasis on the health, legal, and financial sectors. The group represents clients in proceedings before regulators such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and the Financial Conduct Authority and delivers strategic regulatory advice to corporate clients. Jointly headed by Dorothy Flower (who focuses on health and social care), legal director Graham Reid (who focuses on legal services matters), and the ‘pro-active’ and ‘astute’ Richard Burger (who focuses on accountancy and financial matters), the team includes legal director Amy Gallimore, who is noted for her insolvency expertise.

Bankside Law acts for professionals in the healthcare, education, and financial services sectors, including before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, the General Chiropractic Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and the National College for Teaching and Leadership. Practice head John Williams has acted for the Medical Defence Union and represented an accountant before the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and Bill Wilson has defended clients in proceedings before the General Medical Council, the General Dental Council, and the Serious Fraud Office.

The ‘very efficient’ practice at Bircham Dyson Bell is led by the ‘personable’ and ‘available’ James Freemantle, who is a ‘good strategist and effective negotiator’. The team specialises in the legal and healthcare sectors, providing advice and representation to both professionals and regulators. Recent work includes representing a number of solicitors in relation to investigations by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Trainee solicitor Zoe MacQueen is praised for her ‘perseverance’ and ‘skill at negotiation’.

The ‘exceptionally strong’ and ‘straightforward’ practice at Corker Binning continues to act for corporate and individual clients in the financial sector, with strengths in regulatory litigation, criminal fraud, and corporate crime. Practice head Andrew Smith also acts for the Financial Reporting Council and possesses an ‘intimate understanding of its methods and sanctions regime’. ‘Highly experienced all-rounder’ Peter Binning and the ‘talented’ Jessica Parker are also recommended. Of counsel Claire Cross joined the team from the Financial Conduct Authority.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s key clients include the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and the General Medical Council. Cardiff-based practice head Peter Jones acted for the NCTL before the Professional Conduct Panel involving a teacher facing allegations of attending an extremist right wing group public march, expressing anti-Islamic views to a colleague, and accessing pornography on a college laptop. Senior associate Trish D’Souza and principal associate Luisa Gibbons, from Cardiff, were part of the team advising the Investigating Committee of the Education Workforce Council on a fitness-to-practice matter. Jones also acted for Gwent Police in a series of hearings into disciplinary cases under the new statutory regime.

Ian Ryan heads the ‘superb’ practice at Howard Kennedy LLP, which specialises in defending professionals in the legal and financial sectors, with experience in regulatory matters arising from criminal investigations. It also acts for clients on compliance and risk avoidance. The practice represented an accountant in an investigation by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales arising from unlawfully accessing confidential information while on secondment at a bank. Other work includes acting for two solicitors in a Solicitors Regulatory Authority investigation into alleged misconduct and judicial review proceedings before the Divisional Court and the Court of Appeal arising from defective appointments to barrister disciplinary tribunals. The ‘extremely thorough’ and ‘quick-witted’ Joel Leigh has ‘tremendous client-care skills’ and can ‘translate complex concepts into simple English’.

Irwin Mitchell is ‘increasingly sought-after in the field of financial services regulatory’ and has a particular focus on the pharmacy sector. The practice also represents professionals in the legal, healthcare, education, and accountancy sectors, and advises on compliance matters and appeals in relation to Ofsted. Led by ‘standout practitioner’ Sarah Wallace, who is noted for her ‘great tactical acumen’, the team includes Leeds-based associate Emma Windle, who acted for a number of pharmacists before the General Pharmaceutical Council. Wallace is representing an FCA-approved individual at a fund management firm in relation to an ongoing FCA investigation, involving advising on a compelled interview and on fitness and propriety issues. Other recent work includes a matter the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a judicial review case brought against the Care Quality Commission.

Jointly headed by Frank Maher (Liverpool), Francis Dingwall (Oxford), and Sue Mawdsley (Liverpool), the practice at Legal Risk LLP specialises in representing law firms and professionals in relation to investigations and proceedings, as well as assisting with compliance reviews, reporting strategy, and risk assessment. The team has strengths in the area of financial crime, particularly anti-money laundering, and has represented clients before the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Mayer Brown International LLP regularly acts for legal and finance professionals, with particular strengths in relation to solicitors and accountants, including acting for clients in investigations, proceedings, and appeals before the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The team is led by William Glassey and includes senior associate Tim Shepherd.

Peter McCormick leads the practice at McCormicks, which is well known for its work in the football world. The team also represents legal, accountancy, and pharmacy professionals in proceedings brought by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales, and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Senior associate Sara Morgan is a member of the National Pharmacy Association’s legal panel and acted for pharmacy professionals facing allegations, including dispensing out of date drugs, breach of confidentiality, and delay in the delivery of drugs for a patient who subsequently died. McCormick holds a number of appointments, including as chairman of the legal advisory group to the Premier League and as a Director of the Football Association. Last year he continued to advise the Premier League in relation to proposals to revise the disciplinary aspects of FIFA’s Agents Regulations. Peter Minnikin was promoted to partner in 2016.

Murdochs Solicitors provides ‘reliable, detailed, and robust advice’ in defending solicitors and other legal professionals facing investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and proceedings before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The practice’s experience extends to acting in voluntary practice closures, appeals to the Administrative Court, and compliance audits. The ‘authoritative’, ‘steadfast’, and ‘proactive’ Andrew Blatt leads the team, which includes Robert Forman (who is noted for his ‘superb acumen and industry knowledge’, ‘excellent communication skills’ and ‘tailored advice’) and Nicholas Trevette.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP’s practice represents corporate clients in the accountancy and finance sectors, regularly handling proceedings before regulators such as the Financial Reporting Council, the Financial Conduct Authority, and the Public Companies Accounting Oversight Board and advising on external and internal investigations. Simon Willis heads the team, which includes Matthew Lawson, who specialises in multi-jurisdictional work, and associate Rebecca Cousins.

Nottingham-based Richard Nelson leads the team at Richard Nelson LLP, which includes Marie Dancer (also in Nottingham) and Steve Roberts in Cardiff. The boutique firm specialises in defending healthcare and legal professionals before regulators such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the General Medical Council (GMC), the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. Dancer represented a paramedic in fitness-to-practice proceedings before the Health and Care Professions Council facing allegations of dishonesty, and a doctor in a High Court appeal of a GMC fitness-to-practice case. Nelson represented a number of solicitors before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, including a judicial review concerning a battle in the Iraq war and allegations arising out of the collapse of an offshore investment fund.

Rachel Adamson heads the ‘efficient’, ‘approachable’, and ‘committed’ Wigan-based team at Stephensons Solicitors LLP, which acts for professionals across the accountancy, legal, and healthcare sectors. The team has specialist experience defending cases of dishonesty and handling cases which concern a practitioner’s mental health, and represents clients before such regulators as the General Medical Council, the Care Quality Commission, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Carl Johnson (‘extremely client friendly’ and ‘gets to grips with a case swiftly’), associate Alison Marriott (‘well-organised’ and ‘always on top of her brief’) and paralegal Martin Haisley (‘passionate and very keen to get the best result for his client’) are also recommended.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Taylor Wessing LLP is recognised for its strengths in the accountancy sector, and regarded as a ‘pre-eminent’ firm in this field. Shane Gleghorn heads the disputes and investigations practice and Andrew Howell (who is ‘superb in every respect’) leads the ‘extremely professional’ professional discipline team, which includes Julian Randall (‘fantastically experienced’, ‘can speak the language of his clients’) and Stephen Flaherty (‘huge depth of knowledge’, ‘commits to clients’). The team acts for eight of the ten largest accountancy practices, handling a range of civil claims, disciplinary processes, and regulatory inquiries. Recent highlights include acting for PricewaterhouseCoopers in relation to an investigation by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) into the events leading up to the collapse of sub-prime lender Cattles plc, and in relation to disciplinary complaints brought by the FRC following its investigation into the audit of Connaught plc.


Public international law

Index of tables

  1. Public international law
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

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‘Excellent in every respect’, Allen & Overy LLP is ‘always extremely responsive, providing constructive advice that is right on point’. The team regularly acts in disputes that arise out of bilateral and multilateral investment treaties; and it was recently very active advising on international trade and WTO issues, and Energy Charter Treaty disputes. The PIL lawyers also form a core part of the firm’s dedicated Brexit team, which advises clients on the implications of the UK’s vote to leave the EU. Recent highlights include successfully defending the Islamic Republic of Pakistan against two parallel investment treaty claims that direct and indirect interests in a Pakistani company and a liquefied petroleum gas import terminal were expropriated by Pakistan. Mark Levy is ‘outstanding’; Kate Davies’s ‘approach is much more commercial than some of the other Magic Circle practices’; and James Freeman is a key counsel. Jeffrey Sullivan moved to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Clifford Chance LLP is ‘an all-round, top-quality firm that always holds its own with worldwide competition’. The firm’s dedicated team advises corporations, sovereign states and international organisations on bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and investment protection; economic sanctions; business and human rights; and international trade law, including the WTO regime. Other areas of strength include territorial issues, boundaries and jurisdiction; state responsibility issues; Law of the Sea matters; and proceedings before international courts and tribunals. It acted for an international investor in an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes claim for breaches of a BIT, which arose out of the Egyptian Government’s unilateral gas price increase and cancellation of a free zone licence. Rae Lindsay’s recent work includes advising on international sanctions, business and human rights, and immunities and privileges of states, state entities and international organisations. Lindsay is ‘extremely knowledgeable and very dedicated to clients’. Audley Sheppard QC, who is ‘highly practical and experienced’, regularly represents clients in investment treaty proceedings against states; his representative experience includes successfully defending a European government in an ECT arbitration, brought under the rules of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. Jessica Gladstone is recommended for PIL disputes, business and human rights, and international sanctions.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is best known for inter-state disputes before the International Court of Justice (ICJ); and representing states and investors in investor-state claims, with the London office recently particularly focused on Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and India. It also has a well-established sanctions practice. Examples of work include representing Chile in a dispute with Bolivia before the ICJ, concerning Bolivia’s claim to sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean. Sylvia Noury has particular expertise in the energy, natural resources and telecoms sectors, and advises corporate and government clients; examples of Noury’s work include securing a $100m International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes award for Vestey in an arbitration against the Government of Venezuela , which related to the expropriation of its cattle farming business. Reza Mohtashami represents both investors and governments, and has particular expertise in investment treaty arbitrations; Will Thomas’s experience includes successfully defending a Middle Eastern State in the first-ever bilateral investment treaty case brought against it; and Paul Bowden leads the firm’s global business and human rights team. Jean-Paul Dechamps is a key counsel, who has extensive experience in investment disputes in Latin America and other emerging markets, involving the oil and gas, electricity, shipping, mining, and food distribution sectors.

Volterra Fietta is entirely focused on PIL matters, and its clients include a mix of governments, international organisations and private entities. The firm’s PIL areas of expertise include bilateral investment treaties (BITs); land and maritime territorial and boundary disputes; ECT matters; state responsibility; human rights; state succession issues; international trade and WTO law; and economic sanctions. Its lawyers frequently act as counsel in investor-state arbitrations; and have also acted as counsel in several state-to-state disputes. The team advises the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on a broad array of diverse PIL matters; and was recently engaged in a number of state-to-state sovereign disputes before international courts and tribunals on behalf of an Asian state. Robert Volterra advises governments, international organisations and private clients on a wide range of contentious PIL issues, including international boundaries, sovereign immunities, the Law of the Sea, transboundary resources, and BITs; Graham Coop has a particular focus on the energy, natural resources and infrastructure sectors; and Suzanne Spears has experience in disputes involving Latin America, Africa, and the energy and natural resource industries. Giorgio Mandelli is also highly rated. Patricio Grané Labat departed for Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP. Christophe Bondy joined Cooley (UK) LLP.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘solid practice’ hired Wendy Miles QC, who ‘is well organised and a good speaker’, from Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP. The London team recently advised sovereigns, multinationals, corporations, high-profile individuals, leading political figures, NGOs, charities, and international organisations on significant PIL matters. It acted in investment treaty arbitrations; represented states on key diplomatic issues; acted against several states on human rights issues of international importance; and helped protect high-value international investments. The team represented The Nova Group Investments in an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes claim against the Romanian Government, which was under the Netherlands-Romania bilateral investment treaty (BIT) and related to the purported expropriation of assets and breaches of BIT protections. Lord (Peter) Goldsmith QC is a key adviser; Patrick Taylor was promoted to partner; and international counsel Aimee-Jane Lee is ‘an exceptional talent in PIL’. Sophie Lamb departed for Latham & Watkins.

Dedicated to PIL issues and international arbitration, Fietta is ‘a very strong firm for PIL work; it has real depth of quality’. The firm’s lawyers advise sovereign states, international organisations, multinational corporations, and private individuals on treaty matters; land sovereignty and Law of the Sea issues; bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, including the ECT; human rights; diplomatic and sovereign immunity; state successions; trans-boundary pipelines; and economic sanctions. Stephen Fietta is ‘obviously very strong’; he represents both states and foreign investors, and has acted as counsel in over 30 investor-state arbitration proceedings. He has also advised on disputes at the ICJ, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and the European Court of Human Rights. Counsel Jiries Saadeh is ‘one of the most skilled lawyers around’.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP ‘provides tremendous value for money and the firm’s lawyers work with clients to ensure that the level of engagement is appropriate for the issue raised’. The practice has a significant investment treaty arbitration practice; it also advises across the full spectrum of pure PIL matters, including boundary disputes, the Law of the Sea, treaty interpretation and human rights, as well as international trade law, WTO law, and sanctions. It also recently advised clients on the UK’s exit from the EU. Highlights included acting for United Utilities and its Estonian subsidiary, AS Tallinna Vesi (the water utility in Estonia’s Tallinn), on a high-value investment treaty claim against the Republic of Estonia. Andrew Cannon works across the Paris and London offices, and is particularly known for international sanctions, investment arbitration, and state and international organisation immunity issues. Of counsel Iain Maxwell acts for and against state parties in arbitration cases, including numerous International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes investment arbitrations; Maxwell also advises on international sanctions. Former global PIL head Dominic Roughton moved to Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘excellent, top-league practice’ has significant bilateral investment treaty expertise; advises on cases which are at the intersection of PIL and human rights law; handles complex disputes for sovereign states; has a particular focus on Russia and the CIS and Central and South East Asia; and fields lawyers with expertise in energy, real estate and telecoms. It has also assisted with identifying legitimate governments of states after civil wars. Highlights included acting for the Government of Vietnam (GOV) in the successful defence of an investment treaty claim, brought under the France-Vietnam bilateral investment treaty by a French investor, which related to non-payment of debts by state-owned enterprises and the debt commissions that were established by GOV. Department head Markus Burgstaller has considerable experience as an advocate in proceedings before international tribunals, the EU courts, the ECHR, and national courts; and he handles a significant amount of work on the law of international organisations, privileges and immunities, and the Law of the Sea. Michael Davison and Julianne Hughes-Jennett, who specialises in international human rights litigation involving corporations, are also key advisers; Charles Brasted, who heads the firm’s UK and EU public law and policy practice, is ‘one of the best in the country’.

Latham & Watkins recently hired Sophie Lamb, who is noted for investment treaty law and business and human rights, from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. The practice is recommended for international boundary law and Law of the Sea disputes; investment treaty law; international trade law, including WTO law; international trade sanctions; and business and human rights. It acted for a major Austrian construction company in the first-ever International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes arbitration brought against Libya, which related to Libya’s obligations under the Austria-Libya bilateral investment treaty. Charles Claypoole’s practice includes bilateral investment trade cases, sanctions, international boundary law, and international trade law. London and Hamburg-based Sebastian Seelmann-Eggebert is ‘highly professional and dedicated to clients’.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP has significant investment treaty arbitration experience. The team is well known for arbitrations for and against governments, particularly involving the oil and gas, mining, energy, telecoms, construction, and infrastructure sectors. Examples of landmark investment treaty arbitrations include its representation of Ukraine’s largest state-owned commercial bank, Oschadbank, in a United Nations Commission on International Trade Law arbitration against the Russian Federation, which was for the recovery of investments in Crimea, further to the Russian Federation’s 2014 occupation of Crimea. Stephen Jagusch QC’s self-confidence is evident, and it enables him to exert the most pressure on the opposition during hearings’; Anthony Sinclair is a recognised investment treaty arbitration, PIL and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes arbitration specialist, who is ‘a pleasure to work with and his advice is trusted completely’; and Epaminontas Triantafilou is ‘highly professional’.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP has ‘a very strong reputation’ for high-stakes investment treaty cases, and is widely known for its representation of states in inter-state matters. Recent highlights include acting for Vodafone in a high-value investment treaty dispute against the Indian government. Global co-head of the firm’s international litigation and arbitration group Karyl Nairn QC, who is ‘very intelligent and an outstanding oral advocate’, acts for governments and corporations across a range of industry sectors, including finance and banking, oil and gas, commodities, pharmaceuticals and telecoms; her recent representative matters include acting as counsel in International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) arbitration proceedings, which were brought under the ECT against the Kingdom of Spain, regarding changes to Spanish law in the renewable energy sector. Bruce Macaulay’s experience includes advising South Sudan on the defence of a high-value ICSID claim, filed by the Republic of Sudan’s national oil company. Other highly rated advisers include the ‘really good lawyer’ and investment treaty disputes expert David Herlihy; the ‘simply superb’ David Kavanagh QC who recently took silk; and the ‘very impressive and highly reliable’ Daniel Gal.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP hired Patricio Grané Labat from Volterra Fietta. Labat has represented claimants and respondents in nearly 30 investment arbitrations, and has significant experience representing sovereign states on issues such as sovereign immunities, diplomatic and consular protection, state responsibility, treaty law, use of force, and international humanitarian law. The team was instructed by the Republic of Bulgaria to defend an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes claim, which was brought by Oman’s largest sovereign wealth fund to recover alleged losses, in relation to Corporate Commercial Bank’s collapse. Dmitri Evseev devotes the vast majority of his practice to acting as counsel in investment treaty arbitration, predominantly on behalf of governments. David Reed is also highly rated.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP is ‘especially efficient, and the practice has a very good record of positive results’. The team is particularly well known for high-value, high-complexity energy and natural resources work; it also has a strong EU sanctions practice. Jay Alexander is a key contact; Alejandro Escobar is ‘highly professional’; Johannes Koepp is a well-regarded PIL and international arbitration specialist; and Chris Caulfield is known for his work in the sanctions area.

Baker McKenzie’s key features are its investor-state expertise; oil and gas experience; and global arbitration practice. Examples of the team’s ability to handle high-profile investment treaty claims and CIS matters include its representation of Kazakhstan’s national gas operator, KazTransGas (KTG), in its dispute with the Government of Georgia, concerning the appointment of a special receiver for KTG’s Georgian subsidiary. Edward Poulton’s experience includes investment treaty disputes, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes annulment cases, and PIL issues arising from financial crises. Ross Denton, Sunwinder (Sunny) Mann and Andy Moody are other names to note.

Clyde & Co LLP advises on highly sensitive cross-border disputes against and for governments, in emerging markets such as Russia, CIS and Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia; and the team is especially well known for sanctions. In one of the few cases to date to involve a Chinese bilateral investment treaty, the practice defended the Republic of Yemen against International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes proceedings, which were brought by a Chinese contractor, Beijing Urban Construction Group, and concerned the construction of a new international airport terminal building in Yemen. John Whittaker acts for and against governments in investment disputes, sovereign immunity, and sanction issues; and Ben Knowles and Clare Hatcher are also experienced advisers.

Cooley (UK) LLP hired Law of the Sea consultant John Brown following his retirement as the UK Hydrographic Office’s Law of the Sea head. The practice is known for advising on disputes between states; and claims involving international boundaries, land (including lakes and rivers), and maritime issues. Other areas of note include representing states and their anti-corruption agencies in seeking to trace and recover the proceeds of corruption; implementing the United Nations Convention Against Corruption; sovereign immunity; and Law of the Sea issues. It advised the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) on sovereign immunity issues, which arose from the attempted enforcement in England of a substantial Nigerian judgment against FGN. Independent consultant Tim Daniel has acted for a number of governments and parastatals, particularly in the developing world. Laurence Harris and James Maton are other recommended practitioners. Christophe Bondy and Joshua Brien joined the firm.

DLA Piper’s practice combines significant investment treaty arbitration work with a broader PIL practice that includes advisory work for states and sanctions; and it has extensive presence in key emerging markets, such as the CIS region and Africa. Investment treaty dispute highlights included advising the Republic of Kenya on an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes claim, brought by mining investor Cortec. Kate Cervantes-Knox has significant investment treaty experience, representing both states and investors in international arbitrations, pursuant to bilateral and multilateral investment treaties; Janet Legrand is recommended for advising states; and Richard McGrane and Europe head of international arbitration Philip Chong are also key names. Counsel Scott Horton’s practice focuses on work for sovereigns.

Acting for both investors and states, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has a highly rated investment treaty arbitration practice. Work has included contentious state-to-state cases; appearances before the ICJ; and representing government clients in inter-state disputes. Boundary disputes are a particular speciality. Other areas of note are state responsibility and immunity; international sanctions; human rights; and treaty obligations. The practice also has notable strength in Africa and Middle East-related work. Jonathan Leach is ‘a high-class practitioner, who really understands the needs of clients and is very easy to work with’; and legal director Neil Newing and senior associate Cameron Forsaith are also key contacts. Senior associate Oonagh Sands joined from Foley Hoag LLP’s Washington DC office, and principal associate Greg Falkof returned to the London office from Paris.

Linklaters LLP’s expertise includes investor-state disputes and trade law. The team regularly advises on investment treaties and acts for and against states or state entities in sectors such as telecoms, energy and utilities. Other areas include trade litigation, international human rights law, and corporate responsibility; and state immunity issues, often in relation to the enforcement of judgments or arbitral awards against states or state entities. Matthew Weiniger QC is ‘very hard-working and sees the wood for the trees’, and he has a particular focus on energy and financial services disputes. International arbitration specialist Greg Reid, energy expert Ben Carroll, and external senior counsel Lorand Bartels are other key contacts.

Reed Smith LLP is highly rated for investor-state arbitrations, particularly on the defence and state side; and the practice advises the firm’s financial institutions, shipping and energy client base on international sanctions issues and state-to-state matters. Belinda Paisley is also the managing partner of the firm’s Astana office and has assisted in developing the firm’s Kazakh practice. Highlights included acting for the Republic of Kazakhstan in a bilateral investment treaty and ECT arbitration brought against it by a Turkish investor, which arose out of a dispute involving alleged oil transportation and transhipment investments in Kazakhstan. Chloe Carswell’s practice is almost entirely focussed on international investment treaty arbitration.

Simmons & Simmons hired Stuart Dutson from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP. ‘Definitely a star in the field’, Dutson is ‘superb and has very good specialist knowledge of PIL, including treaty arbitration’. The practice has particular expertise in disputes involving emerging markets in Africa, the Middle East, China and the Far East; and its lawyers are industry experts in TMT, financial institutions, and energy and infrastructure. The team acted for the Indonesian Government in an India-Indonesia bilateral investment treaty arbitration that was brought by Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys, the dispute concerning an investment in a coal-mining project. Simon Morgan specialises in disputes involving China and the Far East; and Jayne Bentham has extensive experience of arbitrations in Africa.

Launched in 2014, Three Crowns LLP has particular strength in the energy and oil and gas sectors, but its experience extends to the telecoms, gaming and construction industries. Recent matters include the team’s defence of the Sultanate of Oman against claims from a Turkish investor, Attilla Dogan, which were brought under the Oman-Turkey bilateral investment treaty and related to an $850m oil and gas engineering construction contract. Constantine Partasides QC’s ‘advice reflects detailed strategic thinking after thorough legal and factual analysis’; he has acted in some of the largest international arbitrations of the last decade, relating to the energy, telecoms and financial sectors. Gaëtan Verhoosel has a particular focus on the energy sector; and Carmen Martinez Lopez and Scott Vesel are also highly rated.

WilmerHale is frequently involved in significant state-to-state disputes; intra-state arbitrations; international human rights proceedings; and investment arbitrations. Other areas include territorial boundaries and territory sovereignty; PIL issues arising in national courts involving transnational litigation and transnational enforcement matters; and sovereign immunity. It represented agricultural business, Silverdale, in a bilateral investment treaty case against an African State; the claim made allegations of expropriation, violation of fair and equitable treatment, and a failure to provide full protection and security for an investment. Gary Born and Steven Finizio are the key contacts.

Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP recently hired Dominic Roughton from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, where he was global PIL head, while Wendy Miles QC departed for Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Roughton is noted for international sovereignty and Law of the Sea disputes, including inter-state matters; he is also recommended for energy-related bilateral investment treaty cases. Other key advisers include Kenneth Beale, who is ‘excellent’.

CMS, which recently merged with Nabarro and Olswang, ‘has good capacity to handle PIL disputes’. Formerly of Nabarro, Karen Denny is ‘the leading light in the PIL practice; she is very sharp, switched on, and has good client skills’. Denny’s experience includes advising on sovereign immunity issues; freezing injunctions; the enforcement of foreign judgments; obtaining evidence for use in overseas proceedings; and complex fraud and tracing disputes. Christopher Gooding and Sukhi Kaler are names to note.

Carter-Ruck’s team is ‘a pleasure to work with and is highly valued for its judgement, written work, and legal analyses’. The practice is primarily recommended for targeted sanctions, involving individuals and entities with frozen assets; it also has experience in high-value international arbitrations. It acted for Al Jazeera Media Network in an arbitration against Egypt, pursuant to the Qatar and Egypt bilateral investment treaty. Guy Martin is ‘great at what he does’; and Cameron Doley and recently promoted partner Miranda Rushton are key names.

Dentons ‘gives clear advice’. The practice has particular strength in advising energy clients on PIL issues, including investor-state matters; and it extends beyond investment treaty arbitrations to include sanctions, maritime boundaries, outer continental shelf delimitation issues, and sovereign immunity. Other areas of strength include state responsibility and self-determination; state succession; and ICJ proceedings. It acted for Silver Ridge Power in an investment treaty arbitration claim against the Italian Republic for ECT violations. Dominic Pellew and Andrew Cheung are highly rated. Michelle Bradfield moved to Dechert LLP.

‘Able to hold its own against the main international law firms working in this area’, E&A Law Limited ‘provides a cost-effective solution for clients of whatever size, while providing top-quality advisory and advocacy services’. The practice regularly advises on investment treaty and commercial arbitrations, particularly in the energy sector and in relation to South East Europe and CIS countries. Its experience includes state-to-state disputes; and the team recently assisted with state succession and right to self-determination issues, as well as Brexit concerns. Ana Stanic ‘has a highly credible reputation, and an extremely quick and articulate intelligence that is combined with a dedication to integrity’.

Jones Day’s ‘lawyers are very professional and they understand clients’ needs’. The practice is regularly instructed on high-stakes, politically sensitive cases involving states or state entities; and it acts for investors in investor-state arbitrations against states which have violated their international law obligations. It also has a strong track record of representing Russian and CIS parties in high-profile arbitrations. Baiju Vasani led the advice to 12 Kazakh claimants, in a $500m ICSID dispute against the Republic of Uzbekistan; the dispute concerned expropriated investments in Uzbekistan’s cement industry.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP’s ‘PIL practice is developing strength; the team is excellent, particularly in relation to issues with an international criminal element’. The practice is recommended for sanctions work and human rights-related PIL issues; it is also increasingly acting in high-profile arbitration matters. Michael O’Kane is ‘held in the highest regard for his knowledge of the relevant law, judgement and client care, and he gets amazing results’; and Jasvinder Nakhwal, who is an expert in human rights violations, is ‘a star, who is unflappable and has a lovely manner with clients’.

Stephenson Harwood is ‘a leading firm for major PIL-related litigation’. The practice is best known for advising governments and state-owned corporations on significant PIL issues; and its scope of work includes financial sanctions, asset tracing, and the enforcement of high-value arbitration awards. The firm also has a significant Africa practice. Kamal Shah, who heads the PIL and Africa and India groups, is ‘excellent with clients’; Sue Millar acts for Iranian, Libyan and Syrian individuals and entities in the challenge of EU and UK financial sanctions; and senior associate Stephen Ashley is ‘particularly good’.

Steptoe and Johnson LLP’s Matthew Coleman, who is very experienced in Africa-related cases, is ‘strategic in his advice, meticulous in execution, and provides a high level of service’. The practice is recommended for high-value investment treaty arbitrations, and enforcement work involving sovereign immunity issues. It acted for Medusa (Montenegro) in an arbitration brought against Montenegro, which arose out of an oil and gas concession in Montenegro that was terminated.

Withers LLP is ‘a good firm for PIL work’; it has a particular focus on investor-state arbitration, but the practice also advises on enforcement and sovereign immunity issues, as well as human rights. Other notable areas include advising governments on the enforcement of international trusts and tax treaties; and the team has notable Middle East and energy sector expertise. Hussein Haeri is ‘very strong’; he led the representation of a UK investor in an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes arbitration against the Czech Republic.


Tax litigation and investigations

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‘Widely recognised as a leader in this practice area’, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP ‘consistently provides comprehensive, first-rate advice on highly complex tax litigation matters’. Led by the ‘tremendously experienced’ Heather Gething, the department is regularly involved in high-value and politically salient tax cases. Indeed, in 2016, Gething and Rupert Lewis acted for Bernard Charles Ecclestone in High Court litigation regarding a £1bn tax assessment by HMRC. Also of note, the tax group acted for Telefonica Europe and Telefonica UK on a judicial review of HMRC’s decision to change the way in which the client would be taxed on network services for customers roaming outside of the EU. Gething also represented PacifiCorp in a High Court claim regarding the recovery of SDRT after the statutory time limits for tax reclamation. On the investigations side, Gething assisted Palatium Investment Management with a HMRC investigation into the realisation of taxable gains in connection with the disposal of certain bonds; this matter proceeded to litigation and will be heard before the Court of Appeal. Senior associate Michael Hunt, who is ‘an astounding talent for tax analysis’, and consultant Ross Fraser are also recommended. Additional key clients include UBS Wealth, Bank of Ireland and Centrica.

Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP is considered by some as the ‘pre-eminent firm for tax litigation in London, and, indeed, in the UK more generally’. The group is made-up of ‘phenomenal’ silks, experienced partners and forensic accountants, who have experience of UK and EU tax litigation and particular strength in corporation tax group litigation orders. The ‘technically superb’ Simon Whitehead and Paul Farmer, who is ‘an expert on European tax law’, acted for British American Tobacco in the long-running test case for the FII Group Litigation, which challenged the UK’s dividend tax and advance corporation tax on UK-headquartered multinationals which source profits abroad; the firm’s own Graham Aaronson QC and Tom Beazley QC handled the advocacy in the case. The team is regularly involved in topical and politically-charged tax-related cases and has been instructed by such public figures as David Cameron. Joint founding partner Michael Anderson ‘combines technical acumen and commercial understanding’ and Daniel Margolin QC is another key contact in the tax litigation group. In 2016, the firm welcomed Ray McCann from New Quadrant Partners LLP and also added three chartered accountants to the forensics team. Other significant clients include Marks & Spencer, Prudential Assurance, Europcar and InterContinental Hotels Group.

Pinsent Masons LLP has ‘profound depth of knowledge and unrivalled experience, whether the dispute requires detailed advice on aspects of the tax law or involves major litigation involving tens of millions of pounds’. The team is truly ‘first-class’ and continues to be involved in market-first tax cases. Joint department head Jason Collins is highly regarded in the practice area and is representing BT Pension Scheme on appeal in test case for over 100 of the UK’s largest employers; the case considers the client’s recovery of £2bn of tax credits concerning investments it made into certain UK companies and is the first UK tax case to be heard by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) since the Brexit referendum. The ‘profoundly experienced’ Ian Hyde is representing Avon Cosmetics in one of the last cases to be referred to the CJEU before the referendum, which concerns VAT levied in relation to one of the client’s brands. Steven Porter was recently made partner and is leading a series of judicial review challenges brought by taxpayers against HMRC regarding payment notices for the clients’ involvement in tax avoidance schemes. Clara Boyd and the ‘tactically savvy’ Stuart Walsh are also key contacts. The department is especially strong in the financial services and energy and infrastructure sectors, which has attracted clients such as Credit Suisse and British Coal.

Slaughter and May’s contentious tax practice works in parallel with the firm’s top-ranked non-contentious tax team to advise clients, irrespective of sector, from the early stages of a tax investigation through to appeals. Steve Edge recently represented Deutsche Bank in the Supreme Court in a case concerning the turning of cash bonuses into a non-monetary form, which could later be turned into money. Sarah Lee helps lead the contentious tax offering and is acting for Mercuria Energy Europe in a High Court case concerning its involvement in highly publicised "missing trader" VAT fraud in the carbon emissions market. Hays, GDF Suez Teesside and Bupa are other clients. Dominic Robertson and Mike Lane have each developed an active tax disputes practice and have been involved in a number of politically-sensitive tax investigations. Gareth Miles and William Watson are also key contacts. In 2016, Richard Jeens and Damian Taylor became partners in the disputes team and Elizabeth Barrett retired.

Though the team at Clifford Chance has undergone considerable personnel changes in 2017, the contentious tax group retained capabilities in VAT and real estate taxation disputes. Indeed, David Saleh specialises in real estate and indirect taxation and is representing Project Blue Limited in a case against HMRC regarding the largest SDLT claim ever disputed for a single property; the firm won at appeal, after which HMRC petitioned the Supreme Court and the facts are such that around 800 other cases are dependent on the outcome of this case. Simon Corzberg focuses on VAT disputes and successfully resolved a HMRC dispute for Cubico Sustainable Investments, which concerned the restriction of VAT recovery resulting from shareholder loans. In 2017, Liesl Fichardt left the firm for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, though the team also made multiple junior-level recruits.

Fieldfisher has ‘a strong tax disputes practice, covering both direct tax on the one hand and indirect tax on the other’. It has experience in a range of very high-value tax disputes and has particular specialism in tax cases with criminal and fraud aspects. Department head Hartley Foster is ‘immensely experienced and can anticipate how HMRC will react in litigation’; he is acting in a multimillion-pound MTIC fraud case and is also representing Bratt Auto Contracts and Bratt Auto Services Company in an appeal concerning the recovery of overpaid VAT after the statutory time limit had been passed. George Gillham is ‘extremely good with HMRC negotiations’ and acted in a piece of group litigation regarding the classification of mobility scooters for excise duty purposes. In addition to his civil litigation casework, he has also advised individual clients facing criminal tax issues.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s contentious tax practice is headed by Helen Buchanan and has a history of acting for large corporates and central and investment banks. Buchanan has and active contentious and non-contentious tax practice and has been instructed in transfer pricing and diverted profits disputes in addition to cases involving employment tax, capital gains and tax fraud; she has extensive experience in both UK and international proceedings and is also an accredited mediator. Murray Clayson specialises in international taxation transfer pricing and also handles tax disputes.

The contentious tax group at Hogan Lovells International LLP is ‘always very responsive’ and provides ‘strategic and appropriately detailed advice’. It has been strengthened by some significant lateral hires in 2016: real estate tax specialist Elliot Weston joined the team from Gowling WLG, while Graham Poole joined the firm’s London-based subsidiary team as director of economics and transfer pricing, having previously worked in HMRC’s economics department. Practice head Rupert Shiers is highly recommended and recently represented Ensco in relation to a high-value transfer pricing dispute. Lee Squires heads the VAT and indirect tax group and represented Citibank in tax tribunal litigation regarding HMRC’s requirement that the client meet the cost of a VAT fraud committed by other parties; following the team’s success at tribunal, HMRC has petitioned the Court of Appeal. In another standout case, Ruth Grant acted for British American Tobacco in tax tribunal litigation regarding the imposition of tax penalties where HMRC had determined that the company hadn’t done enough to prevent tobacco smuggling into the UK. Other notable clients include Ball UK Holdings, Paragon Offshore Group and Aspen Insurance Group.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP ‘provides responsive and client-focused advice in highly complex tax disputes’. As part of a Big 4 network, the team is able to draw on a wide range of expertise to advise across the whole spectrum of contentious tax issues. Department head Mark Whitehouse is acting for a group of litigants including Orange Spain in restitution claims against HMRC concerning the charge of SDRT and stamp duty. David Anderson successfully defended Dollar Financial UK in the first-tier tribunal (FTT) against HMRC’s attempt to claim VAT payments for supplies that were thought to be tax exempt. The ‘indefatigable’ Peter Halford and Holly Rowland are also key contacts.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP broke into the tax litigation space this year with the hire of Liesl Fichardt, ‘a supremely experienced international tax litigator’, who previously headed the contentious tax team at Clifford Chance. The firm already had capabilities in domestic tax disputes, but has now expanded its expertise to include cross-border tax treaty litigation. Fichardt is lead international counsel to Acacia Mining Group in two related matters: first, the highest-value tax dispute pending against the Tanzania Revenue Authority, and, second, arbitration proceedings under various bilateral investment treaties; these cases raise fundamental questions as to the tax treatment of foreign-owned operations and investments in Tanzania. Additionally, Fichardt is representing Canary Wharf Group in two tax appeals involving subsidiaries of the client, which concern the congruence of the UK loan relationship regime with the UK generally accepted accounting practices; HMRC has sought to disallow tax deductions of £230m due to its interpretation of the interaction of tax policy and loan relationship rules. Anthony Sinclair and Epaminontas Triantafilou are also contacts in the practice group.

RPC’s contentious tax practice is ‘of a very high quality and covers a range of issues, from tax avoidance, to accelerated payment notices, to EU law’. It has significant capabilities in alternative dispute resolution and has made it a point to recruit practitioners with experience working for HMRC. Led by Adam Craggs, the team handles tax litigation and judicial review, and also has experience in HMRC investigations. In 2016, Craggs has handled cases involving anti-dumping duties, employee incentive schemes and the UK aggregates levy. Recently promoted to legal director, clients have said Robert Waterson is ‘performing at the level of partner’ and handles direct and indirect tax litigation. Clients of the department include major plc’s such as Sports Direct and Lookers, international operators like L’Oreal and pension groups such as Nestlé UK Pension Trust. Senior associate Michelle Sloane joined the team from The Khan Partnership LLP in 2016.

Simmons & Simmons has ‘proven itself to be consistently excellent’ and ‘compares favourably to both Big 4 firms and other law firms’. ‘Excellent tactician and strategist’ Nick Skerrett heads the practice group and is perhaps ‘the pre-eminent litigator in the indirect tax litigation market’. In the group’s recent flagship matter, Skerrett acted on behalf of 20 banks and investment managers on an Indian tax ruling concerning the Indian Income Tax Revenue’s decision to assess foreign investment funds investing in Indian securities to Indian Minimum Alternative Taxation (MAT); the team successfully intervened in the appeal of the MAT decision and is handling individual judicial review proceedings to set aside the Revenue’s assessments. He also acted in group judicial review proceedings regarding the Government’s decision to withdraw a certain exemption from the Climate Change Levy. Darren Oswick specialises in transfer pricing, corporate avoidance and other various corporate-finance taxation. Heather Rowlands is a recommended senior associate in the practice group.

A client of Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP’s tax disputes department ‘can’t recommend the group highly enough’, which is not surprising given some of its 2016-2017 successes. Jamie Maples and Oliver Walker achieved a landmark success for The Littlewoods Group regarding a long-running overpayment of VAT case, winning at first instance and appeal – decisions that will have consequences for a host of UK taxpayers, and have already spurred new litigation. In another high-profile matter, Walker and Hannah Fields-Lowes represented Ingenious Media in film investment schemes and the tax structuring thereof. The team has also been involved in large, cross-border tax disputes. Other key client of the department include Shop Direct Group, Neon Underwriting and Serpentine Trust.

Known for its ‘professionalism’, Ashurst’s tax practice has ‘a strong and increasing profile’ in the contentious tax space and ‘provides excellent support to clients and counsel, as well as informative expertise on substantive tax issues’. Department head Nicholas Gardner acted for Bookit Limited in tax tribunal litigation regarding a question of exemption from VAT. Simon Swann is ‘very savvy for real estate-related tax litigation’ and has acted for clients such as charity Longridge on the Thames. ‘An excellent communicator’, Alexander Cox has handled VAT litigation for Gala Coral in the Upper-Tier Tribunal. The group also acts for individual clients and Paul Miller is advising Paul Newey in a tax tribunal case regarding HMRC’s demand for VAT and tax penalties in relation to the client’s business, Ocean Finance. Richard Palmer is a consultant with the department and other notable clients include Hastings Insurance Services.

Some clients have rated Baker McKenzie’s tax team as ‘far stronger tax litigators than one might find at the Big 4 firms’; it also regularly competes with Magic Circle firms for tax litigation work. The department acts for a litany of household name clients, and in 2016 Mark Agnew and David Jamieson acted for Coinstar in relation to an appeal regarding the treatment of the client’s VAT. The team has been involved in a number of significant transfer pricing investigations and disputes including a £100m tribunal case in which Kate Alexander acted for Electronic Arts. Nigel Dolman heads the tax disputes team and Mark Bevington is a highly recommended tax adviser in the group. Additional clients include Marriott Inc and a number of well-known online businesses, travel companies and global telecoms providers. Mark Delaney and Jessica Eden, an accredited mediator, are other key contacts in the practice group.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP has ‘a growing presence’ in the contentious tax space, with particular expertise in real estate taxation. Its work is not restricted to real estate tax, however; the team is involved in multiple disputes involving the taxation of equipment leasing, the recovery of overpaid VAT, customs and trade duties and the taxation of remuneration schemes. Indeed, Ron Downhill acted for Brain Disorders Research Limited Partnership in a tax avoidance case concerning whether partnerships are trading on a commercial basis. Senior associate Kate Ison is ‘quietly brilliant’ and is building a dedicated tax litigation practice, having been involved in varied high-stakes matters in 2016-2017. Andrew Tuson was promoted to partner in 2016. Alan Sinyor heads the indirect tax group, while Elizabeth Bradley leads the wider, global tax practice. Richard Harbot and Chris Bryant are also key contacts.

The contentious tax group at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP specialises in indirect and VAT tax disputes in which it is instructed by investment banks, plc’s and government entities. Giles Salmond heads the practice group and is handling VAT recovery claims for clients such as N Brown Group and Hilton Hotels. In one particularly standout matter, he is acting for MG Rover Group in a £56m VAT claim concerning which corporates entities are allowed to retrospectively recover overpaid VAT; after success at the FTT, the case may be appealed directly to the Supreme Court. The team has also handled disputes regarding issues such as SDLT and US withholding tax. Additional key clients include Capita, the Government Property Unit, Lookers and JSM Construction.

KPMG Law’s contentious tax group is led by specialists from several areas including VAT, personal tax, customs and excise, and criminal tax investigations. The team is headed by the hugely experienced Amanda Brown, who has acted in various courts, covering issues such as landfill tax, VAT, residence disputes and group litigation. Hilary Waters specialises in indirect tax litigation, while Matthew Fleming handles customs and excise issues and Suzie Moore focuses on private client tax disputes. Past clients have included The Open University, Patersons of Greenoakhill and Volkswagen Financial Services. Robert Hartley left for Mishcon de Reya LLP in 2016.

Macfarlanes LLP runs ‘a strategic tax disputes group, which avoids getting bogged down in the technical details’ and has particular expertise in the areas of financial services, funds and trust taxation. The ‘thorough and sensible’ Gideon Sanitt heads the department and was recently promoted to partner; he is defending Royal Mail with respect to some 300 claimants having issued proceedings on the basis that the client had been required to issue VAT invoices for services that should not have been treated as VAT exempt. Sanitt and Simon Nurney are representing a global commodities trader in relation to an assertion by one African country that the client has a permanent establishment in the country and should be taxed in that jurisdiction accordingly. Senior counsel Joanna Constantis ‘never gives in or gives up’. CDC Administration is another key client.

Mishcon de Reya LLP’s tax litigation team works closely alongside the firm’s non-contentious tax group to handle a range of direct and indirect tax disputes, including judicial review. Having joined the team from KPMG Law in 2016, Robert Hartley is involved in a test case concerning the privacy of particular types of financial services entities under HMRC’s power pursuant to an untested piece of legislation. In an example of indirect tax work, Leslie Allen is representing Mercedes-Benz Financial Services UK in litigation concerning the VAT treatment of certain contracts offered by the client to its customers. Dario Garcia specialises in indirect taxes in the financial services sector and is another contact in the department. Finmeccanica Global Services, Coca-Cola and Harrier LLC are among the department’s notable clients.

The tax disputes team at Norton Rose Fulbright is anchored by the firm’s strong non-contentious tax practice and has recently been involved in a range of matters relating to taxation in the financial services, energy and infrastructure sectors. Practice head Dominic Stuttaford is acting for HSBC in multiple group litigation orders concerning the compatibility of certain EU and English laws. Angela Savin has particular expertise in real estate, funds and financial products taxation and is also representing a number of migrant-resident workers in litigation regarding the UK’s taxing rights over income arriving from the clients’ activities in the North Sea. Chris Bates is instructed by a number of financial institutions and a transport and energy group. BMW, G4S plc and Shire Pharmaceuticals Group are among the department’s representative clients.

As a litigation-only law firm, Stewarts Law LLP has been actively involved in the increasingly salient area of tax litigation. The team specialises in bringing group action cases and is acting for high-net-worth individuals in relation to their personal and business taxation issues. Department head David Pickstone is representing over 200 high-net-worths in litigation regarding the Ingenious Media film investment schemes, and the supposed tax benefits in connection with those investments. He is also acting for FCC Environment UK and FCC Recycling UK as defendant and counterclaimant in relation to its available recovery of overpaid VAT and landfill tax. Associate and barrister Lee Ellis is acting with Pickstone for Makro UK in a dispute with HMRC regarding an anti-dumping assessment. SUEZ Environment is another key client.