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  1. Pensions (non-contentious)
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Pensions: dispute resolution
  4. Leading individuals

Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP’s β€˜first-rate’ team β€˜consistently delivers well-presented and focused advice that inspires confidence in its clients’. The β€˜exceptional’ Maria Stimpson leads the practice, which includes the β€˜outstanding’ Neil Bowden, who led advice to the trustees of the ICI Pensions Fund on establishing an umbrella buy-in contract, the first of its kind in the market. DΓ€na Burstow, who β€˜is able to walk in the trustees’ shoes’, acted for the trustees of the Hogg Robinson (1987) Pension Scheme in a deed rectification application. Corporate clients include News UK, Prudential and Co-operative Group.

CMS β€˜sits at the top as a standout performer’ and β€˜combines a vast repository of technical knowledge’. Nigel Moore leads the practice, which has β€˜possibly the best litigation offering in the country’ with β€˜immense experience and tactical acumen’. Neil Smith (β€˜a great litigator and negotiator’) is acting for the trustees of the Wedgwood Pension Scheme in Part 8 proceedings. On the non-contentious side, Maria Rodia and Simon Pilcher are advising the trustees of the Sanofi-Aventis Pension Scheme on the scheme’s closure to future defined benefit accrual. Other names include β€˜excellent all-rounder’ Mark Atkinson, Emma Frost, β€˜experienced litigator’ Mark Grant and Keith Webster.

The β€˜knowledgeable and approachable’ Katie Banks leads the non-contentious practice at β€˜star firm’ Hogan Lovells International LLP, while β€˜queen bee of pensions’ Angela Dimsdale Gill is head of pensions litigation. The β€˜first-class team is one of the best all-rounders in the field’ and acts for some of the biggest clients including the trustees of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan, which the department is advising in a deficit recovery exercise. Clients single out the β€˜technically able’ Duncan Buchanan, Claire Southern, β€˜great communicator’ Faye Jarvis, β€˜rising star’ Nicholas Heaton and newly promoted Matthew Bullen, who is β€˜incredibly hardworking’.

Linklaters LLP is β€˜a leading firm’ that acts on contentious and non-contentious mandates for corporates and trustees. Ruth Goldman leads the non-contentious team, which includes Tim Cox, who is assisting United Technologies Corporation on the merger of two schemes with a combined asset value of Β£1.8bn. β€˜Excellent communicator’ Mark Blyth, who β€˜combines knowledge with tactics’, leads the contentious practice and continues his work for British Airways, acting on landmark proceedings against its trustees. Other notable names include the β€˜down-to-Earth’ Claire Petheram, Rosalind Knowles and the β€˜highly informed’ Isabel France. Clients also praise β€˜remarkable’ counsel Lorna Mitchinson.

Pensions boutique Sacker & Partners LLP has β€˜a premier practice in defined benefit schemes’ and β€˜an exceptional litigation team’. The firm represents a raft of high-profile clients including the Bank of England Pension Fund, the Boots Pension Scheme and TfL Pension Fund. Recent highlights include advising the trustees of the Northern Bank Pension Scheme on the implementation of a collateralised security structure, and acting for Saga and its trustees on seeking a deed rectification. Key names on the contentious side include Katherine Dandy and Peter Murphy. Notable non-contentious team members include Ian Pittaway, Mark Greenlees, β€˜sound practitioner’ Edward Hayes and Helen Ball. Philippa Connaughton joined from RPC in 2016.

Jeanette Holland leads Baker McKenzie LLP’s β€˜outstanding team’, which has β€˜superb technical skills, a responsive service and strong business acumen’. Clients include American Express, Atos and the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund (MNOPF). Robert West, who is β€˜one of the industry’s legends’ and is β€˜utterly unflappable’, is acting for the trustees of the MNOPF on the establishment of a defined contribution arrangement. Also recommended are Chantal Thompson, who is β€˜a very sound individual’, the β€˜proactive and bright’ Arron Slocombe, and senior associate Jonathan Sharp, who is β€˜a rising star’.

The β€˜professional, high-quality and helpful’ practice at Eversheds LLP leverages its national office network and provides β€˜clear and concise advice’ with β€˜a consummate understanding of pensions law’. Global head of pensions Francois Barker is β€˜a trusted player in the team’ and Jeremy Goodwin leads the London department. On the contentious side, Giles Orton, who is β€˜imaginative and full of enthusiasm’, leads the pensions litigation team along with β€˜authoritative lawyer’ Claire Carroll. Clients include Legal & General, Lloyds Banking Group and the trustees of the British Airways pension schemes.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s β€˜pre-eminent’ department is led by the β€˜enormously energetic and creative’ Daniel Schaffer, who β€˜lives and breathes each case’. The team includes the β€˜experienced’ Alison Brown and the β€˜pragmatic and knowledgeable’ Samantha Brown, who β€˜has a great manner and continuously explores solutions’; she advised TUI Travel on the merger of its three pension schemes to form a sectionalised scheme. Paul Lewis is recommended for contentious matters, and clients praise senior associates Rachel Pinto and Michael Aherne.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s national practice β€˜punches above its weight’. The β€˜incredibly smart’ Carolyn Saunders leads the practice, which is noted for its β€˜valuable experience’ and β€˜specialist knowledge’. Highlights included advising RWE npower’s trustees on their strategy for communicating with members. The firm has β€˜a solid litigation presence’ led by the β€˜hardworking and tenacious’ Isabel Nurse-Marsh, who has β€˜incredible strategic insight’ and is β€˜a brilliant team leader’. Other key figures include Ben Fairhead, Alastair Meeks (who is β€˜an exceptional lawyer’), the β€˜insightful’ Raj Sharma, and Stephen Scholefield.

Jonathan Fenn leads Slaughter and May’s β€˜highly dedicated practice’, whose β€˜efficiency and effectiveness is hard to beat’. The β€˜extremely user-friendly’ Sandeep Maudgil led advice to Philips International (a new client) on the de-risking of its pension fund in a Β£3.5bn buy-out. Maudgil is also assisting Post Office with the proposed closure of its defined benefit scheme to future accrual. The team also recently joined the BT Pension Scheme panel. Clients also praise Philip Bennett (β€˜a strong intellectual’) and β€˜solid, dependable and thoughtful partner’ Charles Cameron.

Travers Smith LLP’s team is β€˜one of the strongest for technical expertise’ and has β€˜some of the best pension experts around’. The β€˜legendary’ Paul Stannard leads the department, which includes the β€˜incredibly bright’ Susie Daykin, the β€˜genuinely exceptional’ Philip Stear and the β€˜thorough and experienced’ Daniel Gerring. Newly promoted partners David James (β€˜unbelievably smart’) and Dan Naylor (who β€˜is personable and commercially strong’) are also recommended. Highlights included acting for the British Steel Pension Scheme on a package of benefit changes to manage a substantial increase in the scheme’s funding deficit.

Clifford Chance LLP’s β€˜excellent’ practice is noted for its expertise in pension investments, and acts for high-profile clients including Airbus, Scottish Widows and Babcock International. Practice head Hywel Robinson acted for the trustees of the Thames & Hudson Pension Fund on the closure of the fund to future accrual, and is assisting Barclays with a ring-fencing project. β€˜Powerful and persuasive negotiator’ Clare Hoxey and Imogen Clark are also recommended.

Matthew Swynnerton leads the practice at DLA Piper, following Michael Cowley’s move to a consultancy position. The team continues to advise high-profile clients including the BBC, the National Grid, British Airways and UPS. Recent highlights include acting for the trustees of the Novartis UK Pension Scheme on the pensions elements of the sale of its animal health business to Eli Lilly. Litigator David Young is β€˜truly exceptional’. David Farmer joined PriceWaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP in 2016.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP excels in acting for clients on the pensions elements of corporate transactions; recent highlights include advising Boehringer Ingleheim on the pensions aspects of its proposed asset swap with Sanofi, and assisting Pearson with the pensions elements of its sale of the Financial Times Group to Nikkei. Charles Magoffin leads the department, which includes Dawn Heath, Nicholas Squire and the newly promoted Andrew Murphy.

Glyn Ryland leads Gowling WLG’s β€˜practical and commercial’ team, which includes the β€˜excellent’ Jason Coates and the β€˜consistently good’ Paul Feathers. The practice is experienced in buy-ins and buy-outs; Feathers continues to act for Rothesay Life on several transactions including a Β£1.6bn bulk annuity buy-in with the Civil Aviation Authority Pension Scheme. Other clients include the Philips Pension Fund and BMW (UK) Schemes. Peter Shave and Ian Gordon are recommended for contentious issues.

Mayer Brown International LLP β€˜provides an intelligent service in a timely fashion’ and is β€˜exceptional at dealing with complex issues’. Practice head Philippa James continues to advise the trustees of the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund on the successful approval of a new funding regime. Stuart Pickford is recommended for contentious matters. Clients also single out Andrew Block and Ian Wright.

At Nabarro LLP, Neal Gibson and department head Jennifer Bell continue to represent the trustees in the high-profile IBM litigation, which is now before the Court of Appeal and which involves breach of duty of good faith. Other clients include Atos Pension Schemes, Eaton and BAE Systems. Jonathan Warne is recommended for contentious matters. Other key names include Ian Greenstreet and Kate Richards. Anne-Marie Winton joined ARC Pensions Law.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s β€˜unquestionably excellent’ team attracts praise for its β€˜no-nonsense approach’ and β€˜thorough and commercial knowledge’. Peter Ford leads the department, which has notable expertise in investment matters, and which includes Lesley Browning, who recently advised the trustees of the MNOPF on the implementation of a longevity swap, and Susan Dingwall, who leads on the contentious side Other clients include Lloyds Banking Group and the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

Squire Patton Boggs fields β€˜a team of well-respected specialists’ which β€˜has a depth rarely seen’. The practice focuses on trustees and recently advised the trustees of the Anglian Water Group Pension Scheme on several investment transactions. The β€˜incisive and friendly’ Clifford Sims is particularly active in the public sector for clients including the Cabinet Office. Other key figures include β€˜solid and reliable’ practice head Wendy Hunter, Kirsty Bartlett, who is β€˜truly dynamic’, and Victoria Leigh, who is β€˜a great litigator’. Judith Donnelly joined from Clyde & Co LLP.

Stephenson Harwood’s β€˜star has seriously risen in the world of contentious pensions’ following the firm’s recruitments of Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP’s team in 2016, which has β€˜created a serious force to be reckoned with’. The β€˜extremely tenacious and refreshing’ Helena Berman and the β€˜unflappable and laser-sharp’ Jenny McKeown are β€˜a real delight to work with’. Also recommended are practice head Mark Catchpole, who is β€˜commercially astute and pragmatic’; the β€˜charming and energetic’ Philip Goodchild; and senior associate Amanda Banister, who is β€˜one of the brightest young pensions lawyers in the country’. Clients include the PPF.

Formed in 2015 by the β€˜personable and practical’ Anna Rogers and Chris Mullen, ARC Pensions Law is β€˜a boutique firm that draws from the wealth of experience and knowledge’ of its founders, as well as fellow team members Anne-Marie Winton (who is β€˜outstanding’) and the β€˜commercial and pragmatic’ Rosalind Connor, who joined from Nabarro LLP and Taylor Wessing LLP, respectively. The firm, which focuses solely on non-contentious issues, has β€˜arrived on the scene and quickly made a mark’, and provides β€˜a fantastic service that is nimble, responsive and perfectly pitched’.

Catherine McAllister (β€˜very patient, with a brilliant understanding of the law’) leads Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s β€˜excellent’ team in London, which leverages the firm’s national capability to act for a heavyweight client base that includes British Airways, Capita and Nationwide. Other key figures include Rachel Rawnsley, who heads the national practice, and Jade Murray. Joel Eytle has joined the Financial Conduct Authority.

Ashurst’s β€˜small but well-formed’ team is led by β€˜steady pair of hands’ Marcus Fink and includes senior associate Andy Wright, who is noted for his β€˜real depth of knowledge and ability to communicate in a non-technical manner’. The practice acts for the trustees of the National Grid Pension Scheme, Interserve and J.P. Morgan, and was recently appointed to Coca-Cola Enterprises’ panel. Angela Pearson is the key name for contentious issues, and is supported by senior associate Lindsey Roberts.

At Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, Norman Russell led advice to the trustees of the LINPAC Group Pension Fund on several liability management and incentive exercises. Other clients include the trustees of Roche Pension Fund and Lockheed Martin UK Pension Fund. David Dennison leads the practice.

Richard Knight leads Burges Salmon LLP’s team, which has β€˜great technical expertise’ and is β€˜strong throughout’. The practice has substantial public sector experience; Michael Hayles continues to advise the Department of Transport on the restructuring of the Highways Agency and its pension provisions. Key figures on the contentious side include Justin Briggs, who is β€˜a confident but thoughtful solicitor’, and senior associate Suzanne Padmore, who β€˜is excellent in tricky situations’. The β€˜proactive’ Clive Pugh and the β€˜exceptionally competent’ Tim Illston are also recommended. Richard Pettit was promoted to partner in 2015.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s β€˜considerate and flexible’ team continues to handle advisory work as well as some transactional matters, and β€˜always provides timely and comprehensive advice, even at short notice’. The β€˜extremely professional and pleasantly unstuffy’ Michael Jones leads the practice, which includes the β€˜technically excellent and commercial’ Jane Wolstenholme, who is β€˜the kind of pensions lawyer you want on your side’. Clients include Westminster Abbey, City & Guilds and Civica Group. Penny Cogher joined Irwin Mitchell in mid-2015.

Dentons is β€˜a joy to work with’ and attracts praise for its β€˜responsiveness and highly commercial approach’. Elmer Doonan leads the practice and advised KSL Capital Partners on the pension elements of its acquisition of De Vere Village Hotels. The team also acted for the trustees of the FDR Limited Pension Scheme in a court application concerning pension increases. The β€˜approachable and commercially driven’ Jay Doraisamy is β€˜a shrewd and charming safe pair of hands’. Andrew Patten joined Fieldfisher.

David Gallagher leads the practice at Fieldfisher and recently led advice to the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme and its trustees on governance issues. Gallagher also acted for the trustees of the Arriva pension schemes on a parent company guarantee renewal and several corporate restructurings. Other clients include Time Inc., Eggborough Power Scheme and The National Gallery. Michael Calvert is recommended for transactional matters. Director Andrew Patten joined from Dentons.

Macfarlanes LLP’s β€˜small but strong’ team is made up of β€˜solid and experienced practitioners’ led by the β€˜confident, efficient and technically able’ Camilla Barry, who is β€˜a match for anyone in the non-contentious field’. Recent highlights include advising Visa on the pensions elements of its acquisition of Visa Europe.

At Osborne Clarke, public sector specialist Mark Womersley acts for clients including the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) National Framework and the Environment Agency Pension Fund. Practice head Jonathan Hazlett is advising the trustees of the National Museum of Wales Pension Scheme on proposed changes to the scheme’s future service benefits. Paul Matthews is recommended for contentious issues.

β€˜Under the energetic and imaginative leadership of the charismatic’ Oliver Reece, PriceWaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP is β€˜making fast progress in the market’, and provides a wide range of services, including a β€˜proactive and innovative’ indexation review initiative. The team acts almost exclusively for employers, and excels in risk transactions and tax-related matters. The department has also seen substantial growth with the arrival of Fraser Sparks and David Farmer from Stephenson Harwood and DLA Piper, respectively. Director Philip Tooke is recommended for insolvency-related issues.

Simon Hartley and β€˜proactive and detailed’ consultant Justine Senior jointly lead Reed Smith LLP’s β€˜very dependable’ department, which is β€˜always robust, pragmatic and extremely outcome focused’. Hartley recently acted for the Civil Aviation Authority Pension Scheme’s trustees on a Β£1.6bn buy-in, and Senior is advising the Whitbread Group Pension Fund trustees on day-to-day issues. William Sutton (β€˜an exceptional team player’) was promoted to partner in 2016.

The β€˜extremely reliable and professional’ practice at Simmons & Simmons has a strong focus on the financial services and energy sectors, as reflected in its client base, which includes Total, XL Services and Schlumberger. The practice is led by the β€˜outstanding’ Michael Wyman (who β€˜pursues points tenaciously and is technically infallible’) and includes the β€˜highly experienced and client-focused’ Danny Tsang.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s β€˜excellent’ practice is spread across the firm’s offices nationwide and acts for a high-profile client base that includes Old Mutual Wealth, Procter & Gamble and Bellway. The team, which has β€˜a fantastic technical grasp of the law’, is led by Martin Poore, and includes the highly regarded Suzanne Duff and Tracy Walsh, who is β€˜very proactive and responsive’. Contentious specialist Craig Monty is acting in the high-profile IBM litigation.

The β€˜approachable and friendly’ Mark Howard leads Clyde & Co LLP’s β€˜technically proficient’ team, which provides β€˜superb, tailored advice in a very responsive manner’ and which is experienced in trustee liability insurance claims and scheme de-risking. The practice acts for clients including Just Retirement, Glencore UK and the British Medical Association Pension Scheme, and is also on the PPF’s legal panel.

Neil Bhan leads the department at DAC Beachcroft LLP, which acts for a prominent public sector client base that includes NHS England and Lancashire County Council. The practice also acts for clients outside the public sector, including Mitie, which it advises on auto-enrolment and contractual issues arising from several outsourcing projects.

King & Wood Mallesons’ β€˜excellent’ team is noted for its β€˜high level of technical knowledge’ and its ability to β€˜always work well ahead of the deadline’. Practice head Wyn Derbyshire (β€˜commercial, practical and a joy to work with’) recently advised Brit Group Services on scheme administration issues. Other clients include Amcor, British Land and the trustees of the East London and SELkent Pension Scheme. β€˜Thorough and diligent’ associate Stephen Hall is also recommended.

In an illustration of Latham & Watkins’ transactional strength, the firm recently acted for Allergan on the pensions aspects of the sale of its generic pharmaceuticals business to Teva Pharmaceutical, and assisted the underwriters J.P. Morgan Cazenove and UBS Investment Bank with the pension arrangements related to the IPO of Ibstock. Other clients include Dodge & Cox, Zipcar and The Carlyle Group. Catherine Drinnan leads the practice, which works closely with the firm’s US and European offices.

Pitmans LLP’s practice covers a broad range of pensions issues, including defined benefit schemes, regulation and pension fraud. The team advises both trustee and employer clients, and also has a close relationship with the PPF. Key names include David Archer, director Julian Richards and insolvency specialist Denise Fawcett. Practice head Chris Netiatis is recommended for pension liberation matters.

TLT’s national practice advises employers and trustees on a wide range of pensions issues including transactions, regulatory matters and scheme governance. Key names include practice head Sasha Butterworth, James Dean and Ben Watson, who is recommended for investment mandates. WHSmith, Travelers, the trustees of the Doosan Power Systems Pension Scheme and the trustees of the Fujitsu Technology Solutions International Plan are all clients.

The β€˜always thorough’ Taylor Wessing LLP β€˜fields people who really know what they’re doing’. The β€˜hugely committed’ Mark Smith, who is β€˜technically as strong as they come’, leads the practice, which is β€˜a leader in the pensions fraud space’, and acts for a mixture of employer and trustee clients including Independent Trustee Services, Pi Consulting (Trustee Services) and the trustees of the Royal British Legion Staff Pension Fund. Rosalind Connor joined ARC Pensions Law.

Wedlake Bell LLP’s practice is β€˜strong all-round’ and is noted for its β€˜high standard of work and user-friendly manner’. The β€˜very commercial and approachable’ Justin McGilloway leads the practice, which is β€˜more than capable when dealing with highly complex issues’. McGilloway is advising the trustees of the Jotun Paints (Europe) Limited Pension Scheme on its UK defined benefit scheme and the implementation of several liability management exercises. The practice has notable strength in the food, leisure and charity sectors. Clive Weber (β€˜a real gentleman, who has a quiet but firm manner and always delivers’) is also recommended. Kris Weber joined Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ β€˜very knowledgeable and responsive practice’ has considerable strength in transactional matters for clients including KPMG, Weetabix and Equiniti Group. The team acted for Equiniti Group on the pension plan elements of its IPO. Joanne Etherton leads the department and has β€˜real expertise and a practical, commercial approach’.

Irwin Mitchell has developed β€˜a strong non-contentious practice’ through some highly effective lateral hires. Martin Jenkins leads the practice, which recruited Penny Cogher from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP in mid-2015. Recent highlights include advising an international bank on automatic enrolment issues, and assisting a governmental body with compliance and governance matters.

At Olswang LLP, practice head Ron Burgess led advice to the shareholders of Retail Acquisitions on the pensions aspects of its purchase of BHS Group. Burgess, along with senior associate Andrew Campbell, also acted for CIT Group (UK) on the pensions issues relating to its move from a trust-based defined contribution scheme to a group pension arrangement. Other clients include Amey, KSS and River Island.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s β€˜responsive’ department attracts praise for its ability to β€˜explain highly technical points in a succinct and practical way’. The practice acts for a range of public and charity sector clients, including the Salvation Army, the London Borough of Newham, and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, and recently advised Belfast City Council on pension issues arising from the Waterfront Hall development in Belfast. Other clients include Universal Music Group, Vivendi and BIC Group. Practice head Martin McFall is β€˜sensible, thoughtful and enjoyable to work with’.

One specialist contentious team is featured in the rankings for Pensions: dispute resolution.

Boutique employment firm Signet Partners LLP has a β€˜small but strong’ pensions department, which is β€˜able to deal with all types of cases with great ease, insightand professionalism’. The team advises clients across the board including employers, trustees and representative beneficiaries. β€˜Excellent’ practice head Deborah Latimer β€˜has a wealth of experience’ and β€˜can solve almost any problem’.

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