The Legal 500

Osborne Clarke

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Top-tier recommendations


  • London: Transport > Rail

London: Corporate and commercial

Within Commercial contracts, tier 4

Osborne Clarke covers a ‘broad spread of work’ across multiple industry sectors. The group advised Marks & Spencer on the outsourcing of its contact centre services, and Indian outsourcing company Tech Mahindra is also a regular client. Paul Gardner is recommended.

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Within Corporate tax Corporate tax

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Within EU and competition, tier 7

Osborne Clarke is ‘more thorough in terms of understanding the background to the matter than other firms’. Bristol-based Simon Neill leads the group.

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Within Financial services, tier 5

Young and dynamic’ team head David Blair at Osborne Clarke provides ‘very commercial advice’, and acts for clients including Coutts and Funding Circle.

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Within Flotations: small and mid-cap, Osborne Clarke is a third tier firm,

Osborne Clarke has developed institutional relationships with a number of leading brokerage houses including Canaccord, Cenkos and Peel Hunt. Jonathan King acted for the latter as bookrunner on a £10.5m placing by DP Poland plc. On the issuer side, Patrick Graves acted for Amerisur Resources plc on a £26m placing.

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Within M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m, Osborne Clarke is a first tier firm,

Osborne Clarke combines ‘strong technical legal skills’ with ‘commercial understanding and pragmatism’, and has ‘incredible strength in the marketing services sector’, where it advised on 50 deals in 2012 alone. Highlights included acting for the shareholders of BBH on the £200m disposal of its remaining stake in Publicis. Practice head Ray Berg is highly recommended.

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Within Private equity: transactions, tier 7

At Osborne Clarke, Paul Cooper acted for Milestone Capital Partners on its acquisition of RG Debt Management Services.

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Within Venture capital, Osborne Clarke is a first tier firm,

Led by Matthew Lewis and Rob Wood, Osborne Clarke handles work for investors and investees across a range of sectors including cleantech, disruptive technology and life sciences. Recent highlights include advising Imperial Innovations and Invesco Perpetual on an extended £72m funding round in Circassia Holdings, and acting for Foresight Solar VCT Plc on its investments in solar projects in the UK. The firm also picked up work for two US investors, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Buyers and Benchmark Capital, with assistance from Steve Wilson in the firm’s Silicon Valley office.

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London: Crime, fraud and licensing

Within Fraud: civil, Osborne Clarke is a second tier firm,

Osborne Clarkecompetes very well with the major "City" firms’. Clients include RBS Invoice Finance. Practice head Adrian Lifely is ‘astute’. Associate director Eugene Matveichuk is ‘very impressive’, and senior associate David Kendell is ‘extremely intelligent’.

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Within Gaming and betting, tier 4

Nick Johnson at Osborne Clarke advises on online gambling issues, and is assisting Facebook with a variety of ongoing legal and regulatory matters.

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London: Dispute resolution

Within Commercial litigation, tier 5

Osborne Clarke’s team is ‘very efficient’. Adrian Lifely has ‘sound judgement’; and Peter Clough ‘brilliantly manages clients ’ expectations’. ‘Team player’ Greg Fullelove arrived from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. The firm recently acted in a claim relating to Dynamo Kiev FC shareholdings.

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Within International arbitration, tier 6

Osborne Clarke’s team welcomed ‘excellent professional’ Greg Fullelove from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. The practice is known for its digital business/TMT sector experience, in addition to financial services, energy and life sciences cases. Adrian Lifely is ‘a savvy litigator’.

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London: Finance

Within Acquisition finance, tier 7

At Osborne Clarke, Dominic Ross regularly handles real estate related acquisition financings in the mid-market.

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Within Asset finance and leasing, tier 6

Very much a law firm to watch’ in the rail financing arena, Osborne Clarke continues to thrive following the arrival at the end of 2011 of the ‘extremely practical and commercial’ Clive Smith. Clients include Eversholt Rail Group, XC Trains and Leasedrive.

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Within Investment funds, Osborne Clarke is a third tier firm,

Osborne Clarke’s comprehensive funds practice launched Niam Nordic V and CD Capital Natural Resources Fund II LP. Retail fund clients include Alpha Real. Tim Simmonds is ‘commercial, knowledgeable and responsive’, and Paul Anning is ‘an excellent funds lawyer: detailed and pragmatic’. Consultant Mark Brailsford joined from Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.

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London: Human resources

Within Employee share schemes, tier 5

Karen Cooper at Osborne Clarke is ‘outstanding’, and has a ‘positive spirit’.

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Within Employment: employers and senior executives, tier 4

David Cubitt leads the team at Osborne Clarke, which provides advice of a ‘high standard’. Its expertise includes reputational risk matters, board level terminations, and contingent workforce issues. Clients include Eurostar, Dell and Lazard; it recently advised the latter on post-termination restrictions of a former senior executive and the termination of employment of a senior executive in Brazil.

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Within Health and safety, Osborne Clarke is a third tier firm,

Osborne Clarke’s health and safety team ‘provides an outstanding service’, and is active across diverse sectors. Its work in 2012 included advising energy clients Western Power Distribution and RWE nPower on separate HSE investigations. Senior associate Andrea Tithecott leads the team from Bristol, and Catherine Wolfenden is an ‘exceptional practitioner’.

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Within Pensions, Osborne Clarke is a second tier firm,

Osborne Clarke’s roster of clients grew with the addition of, among others, BAE Systems Executive Pension Scheme (following a competitive tender process), QinetiQ and Sharp Electronics (UK) Ltd Pension Scheme. Paul Matthews is ‘industrious, with a very good eye for detail’ and heads the contentious practice, recently acting for the representative beneficiaries in several key matters. Department head Jonathan Hazlett is a ‘real work-getter’; the ‘fantastic’ Keith Webster is ‘a massive addition to the team and technically incredibly strong’; and Mark Womersley is also recommended.

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London: Insurance

Within Product liability: defendant, tier 5

High-profile clients of Osborne Clarke include Wilkinson Sword, Siemens and Energizer. The firm stands out for its work in criminal product safety; senior associate Andrea Tithecott ‘maintains a firm line and stays on the front foot’ with investigating authorities.

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London: Projects, energy and natural resources

Within Mining and minerals, tier 4

Osborne Clarke has strong expertise in both equity and debt investments. Group head Alex Worner’s experience includes advising Liberum Capital on the admission of London Mining to AIM.

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Within Oil and gas, tier 7

Osborne Clarke has a strong AIM and regulatory practice, led by David Ferris. Clients include 2OC and British Gas.

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Within PFI and PPP, tier 6

Osborne Clarke’s priority sectors include defence and student accommodation, where it represents Babcock and Kier respectively. Chris Wade’s team also has developing expertise representing pension funds in the secondary markets.

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Within Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables), tier 4

Osborne Clarke’s well-respected renewables practice is advising the project company on the €2bn Gwynt y Mor wind farm. Carl Thompson and James Watson are recommended for renewables and waste-to-energy matters respectively. David Ferris heads the group.

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Within Water, tier 5

Peter Clough and James Mullock at Osborne Clarke have been acting for 19 water companies, including Thames and Wessex, in the data privacy related Smartsource litigation at the ECJ. Other clients include Bristol Water.

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London: Public sector

Within Healthcare, tier 5

Osborne Clarke is currently advising Castleoak Care Developments on the acquisition of various development sites for the provision of new care homes.

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London: Real estate

Within Commercial property, Osborne Clarke is a first tier firm,

Osborne Clarke advised Canal & River Trust on the sale of its stake in the Wood Wharf LP, and continues to represent numerous leading UK homebuilders. Other clients include Henderson Global Investors and Aviva Investors. Kathryn Reid, Rajindh Mangat, Colin Kearney and Nadine Strahl are ‘very professional, and able to take commercial decisions’. Investment specialist Peter Day joined from Wedlake Bell LLP.

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Within Construction, tier 5

Osborne Clarke exhibits ‘real pragmatism and commercial common sense in any advice’. Philip Davies, who heads the ‘excellent’ practice, is advising Ultra Electronics Airport Systems on a package for two new airports in Oman. Jonathan Brooks leads on disputes.

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Within Environment, tier 4

Osborne Clarke’s nationwide environment practice is ‘particularly knowledgeable in the areas of renewables and waste’. It advised BNRG Renewables on regulatory issues relating to the development of multiple UK solar energy projects. Brian Greenwood heads the team, and Bristol-based Matthew Germain is ‘one to watch’.

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Within Planning, Osborne Clarke is a third tier firm,

Osborne Clarke’s ‘very skilled’ and comprehensive planning department has a strong relationship with Asda, which it is advising on various contentious and non-contentious matters. It also recently advised CEMEX in relation to redevelopment issues and quarrying consents. John Baird is recommended for his ‘good understanding’.

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Within Property finance, Osborne Clarke is a third tier firm,

Osborne Clarke is one of the few firms remaining appointed to the legal panels of all of the major UK clearing banks. It advised RBS on four new property accessions under an existing £80m revolving credit facility. Team head Madeleine Clark is ‘commercial’ and ‘very professional, with great knowledge’, and ‘explains things clearly’. John Pike and Nick Padget both joined from Dundas & Wilson LLP.

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Within Property litigation, tier 4

Osborne Clarke is active in the real estate and financial services sectors. New clients include Barratt London and Virgin Media. Gary Lawrenson handles rights of light matters.

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London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Within Brand management, Osborne Clarke is a first tier firm,

Osborne Clarke excels at advertising and sponsorship work, with a particular focus on digital media matters. Its agency and brand owner clients include Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Virgin Media, and Expedia. Nick Johnson advised Facebook on advertising issues, and both he and Stephen Groom represented Nutricia in ASA challenges. Theo Savvides advises on portfolio management matters. Johnson and Savvides also advised various brand owners on sponsorship and marketing relating to the London Olympics and Euro 2012 events.

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Within Data protection, Osborne Clarke is a third tier firm,

Osborne Clarke is valued for its ‘common-sense approach and efficient service’. It recently advised Facebook and Babcock International Group on compliance issues, and is also acting for EE on new service launches. Department head James Mullock has ‘very deep knowledge of the subject area and how to manage difficult situations’. Former Disney in-house counsel Sue Gold joined the team, and Emily Jones was promoted to the partnership.

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Within Franchising Leading individuals

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Within Intellectual property, tier 4

Osborne Clarke’s ‘business and industry knowledge complements its technical expertise’, particularly in the digital and technology sectors. Practice head Theo Savvides acted for Marks and Spencer plc in its high-profile trade mark dispute with Interflora, and also advised Biome on contentious and non-contentious patent issues. Paul Gardner is recommended for his games industry expertise, and acted for Nintendo on commercial licensing arrangements. Emily Devlin is ‘extremely talented, knowledgeable and dependable’.

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Within IT and telecoms, Osborne Clarke is a third tier firm,

Osborne Clarke recently advised Everything Everywhere on a mobile payments related joint venture with Vodafone and O2; Thomson Reuters on procurement arrangements; and Dell in relation to service transfer contracts. Practice head Angus Finnegan is recommended, as are commercial lawyers Simon Rendell and James Mullock.

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Within Media and entertainment, Osborne Clarke is a first tier firm,

Osborne Clarke’s ‘highly recommended’ practice is underpinned by the firm’s technology and advertising expertise. Marquee clients include Nintendo, Amazon and Virgin Media. Nick Johnson advises Facebook and Expedia on advertising, sponsorship and digital marketing. Mark Webber assisted with the launch of online film store EE Film. Head of interactive entertainment Paul Gardner and privacy expert Sue Gold advised new client Wargaming. Ray Berg’s publishing team advised UBM on its acquisition of a 50% stake in Canada Newswire JV. The digital media team was reinforced by the hire of John Davidson-Kelly from YouView.

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Within Media finance, Osborne Clarke is a second tier firm,

Paul Gardner, head of Osborne Clarke’s interactive entertainment team, advises Fund4Games, Standfast Vision, Two Way Media and Ukie, the trade association for UK interactive entertainment publishers. The team worked on various international mandates, notably assisting Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers with its investment in SoundCloud and advising a syndicate of banks on the refinancing of Tarsus Group.

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Within Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, tier 4

Osborne Clarke’s Janita Good, who is based in Reading, focuses on corporate and IP transactional matters. Representative clients include Takeda and Mitsubishi Pharma Europe.

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London: Transport

Within Rail, tier 4

Osborne Clarke’s ‘highly knowledgeable’ team takes a ‘hands-on approach’. It is advising XC Trains on an agreement for the conversion of a fleet of diesel trains to run on either electricity or diesel, and is advising Eurostar on matters relating to the Railways Pension Scheme. Team head Lara Burch is ‘highly engaged’, and ‘up to speed with relevant issues’. Simon Spooner and Clive Smith are also recommended.

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Further information on Osborne Clarke

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Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Home Office announces extension of support service for SMEs

    An online support service for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) which need to recruit skilled overseas workers has been extended until 28 February 2014. The pilot was launched by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and provides a step by step guide to sponsoring an overseas worker. This service is available via the GLA website.
  • Penningtons Manches' immigration team considers new changes to the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance

    The Home Office has recently published new Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance, version 12/13. This guidance is to be used by all prospective and existing Tier 4 sponsors from 11 December 2013.
  • Finding the 
right words

    In the recent case of Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013], the defendant argued that an offer to settle proceedings was ‘in principle' only and that a binding contract could not be formed until further terms had been agreed and a formal contract had been signed. It supported this argument by referring to a statement, in the offer letter, that the settlement was to be ‘recorded in a suitably worded agreement'. 

  • Behind the corporate veil: is that all there is?

    That companies have an existence entirely separate to that of their shareholders and directors is a foundational principle of English law and commerce.

  • Playing fair with penalty clauses

    It is often difficult to predict what will be recoverable as damages for breach of contract. To provide some certainty, parties will often seek to agree the sum that will be payable in the event of specified breaches. 

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

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  • The role of arbitrators in EU antitrust law

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    The year 2013 has seen a string of reforms to the immigration system by the current coalition government. On 10 October, the government published a Bill aimed at continuing its drive to reduce net migration figures. 

  • New Schengen EU Regulations: impact on short-stay visa visitors

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