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London : Corporate and commercial
Within Commercial contracts, tier 4
SJ Berwin LLP’s standalone commerce and technology team has longstanding relationships with some major names. Practice head Jeremy Schrire has licensing and gaming expertise, and advised Ladbrokes on a range of key commercial contracts, including those relating to its online gaming business. The team also advised Associated British Foods in relation to a variety of procurement and manufacturing issues, and Marks & Spencer on the restructuring of its UK logistics supply chain. Andrew Shindler is ‘a key negotiator’, and a ‘good team player’.
Within Corporate tax, SJ Berwin LLP is a third tier firm,
SJ Berwin LLP’s service levels are ‘extremely high’, and its partners are ‘undoubted experts in the corporate tax field’, with strength in private equity funds and real estate matters. The firm advised Universal Music Group on its £1.2bn acquisition of EMI’s recorded music division, and acted for the management team of Environmental Resources Management on its $950m acquisition from Bridgepoint by Charterhouse Capital Partners. Group head Heather Corben is recommended, and newly promoted partner Laura Charkin is ‘very responsive, detailed and pragmatic in dealing with complex issues’.
Within EU and competition, SJ Berwin LLP is a third tier firm,
SJ Berwin LLP’s seven-partner team has expertise across EU and national merger clearances, market investigations, cartels, competition inquiries and monopoly cases, and has notable litigation and regulatory expertise in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and life sciences, CMT and energy. It counts Diageo among its clients, and advised WRAP in obtaining further EU clearance for its UK recycling initiative. Simon Holmes, Stephen Kon and Philipp Girardet are recommended.
Within Financial services, SJ Berwin LLP is a third tier firm,
Offering pan-European expertise, SJ Berwin LLP is known for its work in the alternative investment fund sector. The firm is also experienced in broker dealer and wider asset management work, and in trading platforms and securities regulation; and advises on disciplinary actions. David Calligan, Tamasin Little and Gregg Beechey are key advisers, along with Rachel Couter and Alex Leitch on the contentious side.
Within Flotations: small and mid-cap, tier 4
Delphine Currie and Victoria Younghusband feature in SJ Berwin LLP’s ‘technically very experienced team’. Currie worked extensively for Skrill Group on preparations for its £80m AIM IPO, and also advised Nanoco on its £15m AIM fundraising.
Within M&A: premium deals, £250m+, tier 5
SJ Berwin LLP’s sector strengths in music, retail, financial institutions and corporate real estate were key to the transactional practice’s £11.9bn-worth of deal flow in 2011, which spanned high-level work for Universal Music Group and Svoboda Corporation, as well as a strong showing on mid-market deals. In 2011 it acted for Universal in its £1.2bn acquisition of EMI’s recorded music division and, on the private equity side, advised Alfa Capital Partners on its investment into Russian and Romanian outdoor media business News-Out-Of-Home. Practice head Steven Davis, Michael Goldberg and Tim Wright are recommended.
Within Private equity: transactions, SJ Berwin LLP is a third tier firm,
SJ Berwin LLP marries its strength on the funds side with transactional expertise, and has a team of ‘experienced lawyers who display strong commercial skills’. It advised core client Lion Capital on a raft of mandates including its acquisition of AllSaints and the £215m sale of Wagamama to Duke Street, while other clients include Bowmark Capital and Graphite Capital. Steven Davis, Tim Wright and the ‘creative and experienced’ Jonathan Pittal are recommended.
Within VAT and indirect tax, tier 4
Real estate expert Heather Corben is recommended at SJ Berwin LLP.
Within Venture capital, SJ Berwin LLP is a first tier firm,
Although SJ Berwin LLP recently lost key partner Perry Yam to Reed Smith, it has a long-established reputation in the industry, acting for both investors and investees. Ylan Steiner now heads the team and has been at the forefront of its most significant deals, including its representation of RIT Capital Partners as lead investor in newly launched company Tamar Energy. Other clients include Seedcamp, Atlas Ventures and Kennet Capital.
London : Crime, fraud and licensing
Within Fraud: civil, SJ Berwin LLP is a third tier firm,
The ‘fantastic’ Craig Pollack heads the team at SJ Berwin LLP, which has recently been acting for a Russian oligarch in a shareholder dispute over a significant Eastern European asset. Shaistah Akhtar is another key contact.
Within Fraud: corporate crime Leading individuals: Fraud
Within Fraud: white-collar crime Leading individuals: Fraud
Within Gaming and betting, SJ Berwin LLP is a third tier firm,
SJ Berwin LLP provides a ‘phenomenal service’, and ‘high-quality advice’. In 2011, the team advised Ladbrokes on software agreements and agreements with suppliers. Jeremy Schrire ‘knows the business very well’, and Tom Usher is a ‘mainstay’ for clients.
London : Dispute resolution
Within Banking litigation: investment and retail, SJ Berwin LLP is a third tier firm,
SJ Berwin LLP has a team of ‘really sharp, smart people who are very hardworking and good to work with’. Craig Pollack and Nick Brocklesby are ‘standout lawyers’, and Alex Leitch is also recommended. The firm is acting for Morgan Stanley in defending a claim brought by Tael; and advised Investcorp Technology Partners in a shareholders’ dispute relating to share pre-emption and drag-along rights.
Within Commercial litigation, SJ Berwin LLP is a third tier firm,
SJ Berwin LLP’s team is ‘well informed, and experienced’. It acted for Qantas in its dispute with Rolls-Royce over Qantas’ losses after an engine manufactured by Rolls-Royce exploded on an aircraft. Craig Pollack is litigation head. The ‘pragmatic’ Alex Leitch is known for corporate and media related litigation, and Tim Beale, Nick Brocklesby, Nicola Bridge and Rachel Couter are other well-regarded practitioners.
Within Defamation and privacy Defamation and privacy
Within International arbitration, tier 5
Standing out for telecoms and private equity disputes, SJ Berwin LLP’s Justin Michaelson is a ‘fantastic international arbitration specialist’. The practice has a particular focus on Russia and the CIS countries, the Middle East, China and Africa, and ad hoc international commercial arbitrations. Tim Taylor QC, Mark Hoyle and Per Runeland are recommended.
London : Finance
Within Acquisition finance, tier 5
SJ Berwin LLP provides a ‘very high level of service’, advising borrowers and lenders including Haymarket Financial, Lloyds and Babson Capital. Ian Borman ‘appreciates how to facilitate transactions’, and recently advised Lion Capital on the financing of its acquisition of All Saints. Jeremy Cross and Robert Andrews are also recommended.
Within Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans, tier 4
SJ Berwin LLP combines its leading expertise in funds finance with broader corporate lending experience, and acts for a raft of heavyweight lender clients such as Lloyds, Barclays, RBS and Macquarie. Department head Jeremy Cross has acted for CPC Group and Westfield on the borrower side. Robert Andrews has ‘very good technical knowledge and excellent commerciality for understanding both sides of a situation’.
Within Corporate restructuring and insolvency, tier 4
At SJ Berwin LLP, the ‘technically excellent’ Mike Woollard is praised for his ‘calm demeanour’, and recently advised La Senza on its pre-pack administration. Jeremy Goldring is also recommended, and co-heads the team. Alix Partners, Deloitte and Landsbanki are among its clients.
Within Derivatives and structured products, tier 5
SJ Berwin LLP is ‘very strong, balancing commercial understanding and pure legal capabilities’. Vanessa Therrode advised Alfa Overseas on redeeming $222m secured notes held by Deutsche Bank. Also recommended are Nick Brocklesby, for disputes; and Andrew Bliss, who joined from Sidley Austin LLP.
Within Investment funds, SJ Berwin LLP is a first tier firm,
With ‘the right combination of experience, cost-effectiveness and people’, SJ Berwin LLP is ‘well embedded in the European funds community and is an experienced and capable resource’ for private equity funds as well as hedge and real estate funds. In 2011 it acted on 57 private equity fundraisings and launched 40 new funds. It advised Schroders plc on launching Columbus UK Real Estate Fund; acted for Matrix on restructuring Matrix European REIT; and handled Wichford plc’s merger with Redefine International plc and subsequent readmission to the LSE Official List in co-ordination with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Private equity clients include Apax Partners and Palamon. Senior partner and practice head Jonathan Blake is ‘one of the world’s most experienced private equity fund formation lawyers’. David Ryland has ‘the ability to advise across multiple practice areas, including fund structures, tax, real estate and contracts’. Recently promoted partners Shawn D’Aguiar and Ed Hall are recommended, with Hall described as ‘an exceptional and extremely bright lawyer’. Simon Witney, Duncan Woollard, Josyane Gold, and Michael Halford are also recommended, as are hedge fund team co-heads Ajay Pathak and Victoria Younghusband, tax expert John Skoulding, and real estate funds expert Steven Cowins. Financial markets partner Gregg Beechey is ‘extremely user friendly and his drafting is well crafted’, and Jonathan Pittal ‘combines a background in M&A with a deep knowledge of fund formation’. Oliver Rochman and Nigel van Zyl joined Proskauer Rose LLP.
Able to leverage its impressive roster of blue-chip corporates, Slaughter and May has the most impressive borrower-side practice in the market, and scores particularly highly for bank lending and restructuring work, where it continues to excel at high-profile matters emanating from the financial crisis. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP also stands out for borrower work, and is able to leverage this for top-quality debtor-side restructuring instructions, as well as acquisition finance and investment grade lending matters. High-ranking practices outside the Magic Circle include Hogan Lovells International LLP, which has a strong showing across restructuring, investment funds, asset finance, Islamic finance, and trade finance; Ashurst, for debt capital markets, acquisition finance and investment funds; Norton Rose LLP, for asset finance, Islamic finance and emerging markets; SJ Berwin LLP, for investment funds; and Simmons & Simmons LLP, for investment funds and derivatives. As well as having strong asset finance practices, Clyde & Co LLP, Holman Fenwick Willan LLP and Reed Smith also all feature in the top tier of the commodities (physicals) ranking.
Within Securitisation, tier 4
‘Clearly well versed in the area, with good flexibility’, SJ Berwin LLP calls on the ‘tenacious, extremely quick’ Vanessa Therrode, who has ‘fingertip knowledge of the sector, with excellent communication skills’. Andrew Bliss advised Lloyds TSB Bank on a £350m consumer loans deal, and Citigroup on €2bn in loans secured on Santander securitised assets.
London : Human resources
Within Employment: employers and senior executives, tier 5
The ‘excellent’ team at SJ Berwin LLP is led by Nicola Kerr, who attracts very high praise from clients and is noted for her commercial and tactical advice. Carl Richards stays ‘on top of the issues’, and recently advised KMPG as administrators, and La Senza; while the ‘client-focused’ Hilary O’Connor advised Eon Productions on the employment issues arising from the filming of the latest James Bond film.
London : Projects, energy and natural resources
Within Oil and gas, tier 7
Neil Upton of SJ Berwin LLP is advising Nabucco Gas Pipeline International on the development of its new gas bridge spanning Asia and Europe. Upton was a high-profile lateral hire from Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP in January 2012.
Within Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables), tier 5
Neil Upton at SJ Berwin LLP is advising Norfund on the development of the Fula Rapids Hydro Electric Power Plant in South Sudan. Upton was a lateral hire from Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP in January 2012. Finance specialist Rinku Bhadoria joined from Clifford Chance in 2011.
London : Public sector
Within Public affairs, SJ Berwin LLP is a second tier firm,
SJ Berwin LLP’s ‘extremely knowledgeable’ team is known for representing complainants against government and regulators. It also recently assisted Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in securing a four-year extension to its recycling scheme from the European Commission. London practice head Simon Holmes has the ‘ability to challenge and to think innovatively’.
London : Real estate
Within Commercial property, SJ Berwin LLP is a first tier firm,
SJ Berwin LLP has ‘market-leading lawyers with excellent skills and the ability to advise on all aspects of a transaction’. It acted on some of the largest matters of 2011, including advising the Crown Estate on its £1.8bn Regent Street property partnership with Norges Bank Investment Management. Retail work included advising Marks and Spencer plc on its Paris department store, while hotel sector clients include Hilton, Starwood Capital and Lonrho. Bryan Pickup heads the team, which includes William Boss, Pat Jones and the ‘very capable’ David Ryland.
Within Construction, tier 4
SJ Berwin LLP advises on commercial property developments. Stuart Jordan recently advised Nabucco on cross-border construction issues concerning its international gas pipeline. ‘Respected’ team head Julia Court is well versed in drafting rail contracts, and advised Lagos state government on a light rail PPP. The firm also acted for Ocado in a £1.3m High Court dispute.
Within Environment, tier 4
SJ Berwin LLP’s work in 2011 included advising on the environmental liabilities arising on a major M&A deal, as well as on an investment in a waste-to-energy company. It also acted in judicial review proceedings relating to permitting, and in an appeal against a noise abatement notice. Angus Evers heads the group.
Within Planning, SJ Berwin LLP is a third tier firm,
SJ Berwin LLP provides an ‘outstanding’ service. It advised a number of action groups on objections to the HS2 high-speed rail project, which is subject to judicial review; and also advised Royal Mail Group on the redevelopment of its site within Battersea’s Nine Elms Parkside project. Practice head Simon Ricketts is ‘incisive’, and ‘incredibly knowledgeable’. Duncan Field is now with Wragge & Co LLP.
Within Property finance, SJ Berwin LLP is a second tier firm,
SJ Berwin LLP fields ‘a dedicated and proactive team with excellent knowledge in the sector’. It acted on some of the largest transactions of the year, including advising The Crown Estate on its £1.8bn Regent Street property partnership with Norges Bank Investment Management. David Ryland has ‘the rare ability to advise across the whole real estate, funds, tax and finance aspects of a transaction’, and Raji Bartlett is ‘very capable and focused on driving client outcomes’.
Within Property litigation, tier 4
SJ Berwin LLP acts for asset managers, and is ‘user friendly’. Practice head Jason Juden is ‘charming’ and ‘calm under fire’, and recently assisted British Land in obtaining a pre-emptive injunction in relation to the Broadgate Estate to deter Occupy London. Senior associate Natalie Johnston is ‘a skilled litigator’.
London : TMT (technology, media and telecoms)
Within Brand management, tier 4
SJ Berwin LLP’s trade mark practice handles portfolio management work, filing, licensing and enforcement matters for clients such as BSkyB, Lion Capital and MGA Entertainment. It also advises on advertising and clearance issues. David Rose leads on brand protection and enforcement work.
Within Intellectual property, SJ Berwin LLP is a third tier firm,
SJ Berwin LLP has wide-ranging capabilities. It handled patent litigation for Ranbaxy, and is acting for a major broadcaster in trade mark infringement proceedings. Other clients include Sanofi-Aventis, BSkyB, Nintendo and Ladbrokes. Ray Black is an experienced IP litigator; Jeremy Schrire focuses on commercial matters; and David Rose leads the team.
Within IT and telecoms, tier 4
The team at SJ Berwin LLP is ‘very commercial’ and has ‘outstanding depth’ for IT transactions. It is co-led by Andrew Shindler, who is ‘hands-on and able to cope with anything’, and James Gill. Shindler acted for Ideaswork3D on software and commercial agreements regarding a financial investment by Activision. Gill focuses on the retail and finance sectors, where clients include City Credit Capital and MyTreasury (part of the ICAP group).
Within Media and entertainment, tier 4
William Holder’s team at SJ Berwin LLP shows ‘a special combination of legal skills and commercial awareness’. Holder and Rob Day advised Universal Music Group on its £1.2bn acquisition of EMI’s recorded music division, and Stephen Kon and Lesley Farrell advised the BBC and BBC Worldwide on various matters, notably including the sale of its magazine business. David Rose is representing BSkyB in a trade mark dispute.
Within Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, SJ Berwin LLP is a second tier firm,
SJ Berwin LLP’s life sciences and healthcare group, which is led by David Rose, has ‘superb knowledge’ of regulatory matters. Clients include Sandoz, Teva, Actavis and Lupin Limited. On the patent side, it focuses on representing generics manufacturers, with Ray Black successfully obtaining a declaration of non-infringement for Ranbaxy in its dispute with AstraZeneca. Andrew Shindler handles commercial and licensing matters. Stephen Kon and Cameron Firth advise on EU and UK competition law investigations.
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Offices in London
- Corporate and commercial : Commercial contracts
- Corporate and commercial : Corporate tax
- Corporate and commercial : EU and competition
- Corporate and commercial : Financial services
- Corporate and commercial : Flotations: small and mid-cap
- Corporate and commercial : M&A: premium deals, £250m+
- Corporate and commercial : Private equity: transactions
- Corporate and commercial : VAT and indirect tax
- Corporate and commercial : Venture capital
- Crime, fraud and licensing : Fraud: civil
- Crime, fraud and licensing : Fraud: corporate crime
- Crime, fraud and licensing : Fraud: white-collar crime
- Crime, fraud and licensing : Gaming and betting
- Dispute resolution : Banking litigation: investment and retail
- Dispute resolution : Commercial litigation
- Dispute resolution : Defamation and privacy
- Dispute resolution : International arbitration
- Finance : Acquisition finance
- Finance : Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans
- Finance : Corporate restructuring and insolvency
- Finance : Derivatives and structured products
- Finance : Investment funds
- Finance : Securitisation
- Human resources : Employment: employers and senior executives
- Human resources : Pensions
- Projects, energy and natural resources : Oil and gas
- Projects, energy and natural resources : Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables)
- Public sector : Public affairs
- Real estate : Commercial property
- Real estate : Construction
- Real estate : Environment
- Real estate : Planning
- Real estate : Property finance
- Real estate : Property litigation
- TMT (technology, media and telecoms) : Brand management
- TMT (technology, media and telecoms) : IT and telecoms
- TMT (technology, media and telecoms) : Intellectual property
- TMT (technology, media and telecoms) : Media and entertainment
- TMT (technology, media and telecoms) : Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology
Offices in Luxembourg