The Legal 500

Olswang LLP

Work 020 7067 3000
Fax 020 7067 3999
Singapore, Reading, Paris, Munich, Madrid, London and 2 more


Top-tier recommendations


London: Corporate and commercial

Within Commercial contracts, tier 4

Dominic Dryden heads the team at Olswang LLP, which ‘understands deals and how to make them happen’, and has ‘strength in depth’. Matthew Bennett’s ‘in-house and private practice experience makes him quite unique in the legal and IT industry’ as he will ‘find a business answer, not just a legal one’. The firm has recently made a number of strategic hires, attracting Ross McKean from Baker & McKenzie LLP and Craig Rattray from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. BP, Vodafone, BAE Systems, and Marks & Spencer all feature on its client list.

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Within Corporate tax, tier 4

Olswang LLP has a full-service offering, displaying ‘a good understanding of tax law across the board’ with ‘high-quality advice provided promptly and efficiently’. The practice regularly structures complex corporate and private equity transactions, handles tax and reputation management issues, and provides thought leadership for a diverse client base which includes leading media, technology, telecommunications and entertainment clients; names include ITV, Vodafone and Microsoft. Mark Joscelyne heads the practice, and Natasha Kaye and Cliona Kirby are also recommended.

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Within EU and competition, tier 5

Olswang LLP has ‘a spot-on strategy of delivering timely, reliable advice on relevant issues’. Howard Cartlidgedelivers succinct, cutting-edge analysis of competition law in an impressive manner and with personable candour’, and recently successfully dealt with the merger clearances for MoneySavingExpert in its acquisition by MoneySupermarket.

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Within Financial services, tier 5

Olswang LLP is ‘stronger in the emerging areas of mobile payments and new payment forms than most in the market’. The ‘knowledgeableBrian McDonnell is recommended.

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Within Flotations: small and mid-cap, Olswang LLP is a second tier firm,

Olswang LLP fields a sizeable ECM team led by the well-respected Paul Blackmore. Drawing on the firm’s core sector knowledge, TMT expert Anthony Waller acted for leading UK cinema operator Cineworld Group plc in connection with its £16m secondary placing. Simon Morgan advised Tottenham Hotspur plc on its delisting from AIM and subsequent conversion to a private company, a matter which involved dealing with a broad and complex shareholder base.

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

Olswang LLP advised on 48 deals with a combined value of £1.4bn in 2012, many of them in the firm’s core areas of media, technology and retail. Highlights included acting for Reed Business Information Limited on the £110m sale of online recruitment business Totaljobs Group to Stepstone. Practice head Fabrizio Carpanini and David Roberts are recommended.

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Within Partnership, tier 4

At Olswang LLP, employment partner Melanie Lane is a key contact for advice on the establishment of partnerships, and relationships between partners.

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Within Private equity: transactions, tier 6

Olswang LLP features regularly on mid-market European buyouts, acting for investment houses such as ISIS Equity Partners. It has also been handling an increasing number of mandates for management; in 2012 it advised the management team of Pizza Hut (UK) Limited on the £20m sale of its dine-in restaurant business to Rutland Partners. Practice head Stephen Rosen is recommended.

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Within VAT and indirect tax, Olswang LLP is a second tier firm,

Olswang LLP’s wide-ranging practice, led by Mark Joscelyne, includes bespoke advice on the application of regulatory developments, assistance in minimising VAT irrecoverability, and VAT/SDLT disputes. Graham Chase acted for Ronson Capital Partners Limited on the £77m acquisition of Riverwalk House. Senior associate Matthew Wentworth-May is also recommended.

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Within Venture capital, Olswang LLP is a third tier firm,

Olswang LLP provides a ‘very strong service’ to clients in the media and technology sectors. Team head Stephen Rosen advised Revieworld on a fundraising from existing investors Eden Ventures and Banexi Ventures and new investor MMC Capital. Chris Mackie has been involved in multiple fundraisings for Hailo. Other clients include ViewPoint Capital and Eplanet Capital.

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London: Crime, fraud and licensing

Within Fraud: civil, tier 4

At Olswang LLP, Steven Corney continues to lead the advice to Ildar Khazhaev in the defence of four sets of Commercial Court proceedings brought by JSC BTA Bank. Richard Bamforth is also recommended.

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Within Gaming and betting, Olswang LLP is a second tier firm,

Olswang LLP’s ‘first-rate’ team advises on a range of commercial, regulatory, finance, corporate and tax matters in the gaming and betting sector. It remains the main legal adviser to Gamesys and Sportech, as well as regularly acting for betting giants Paddy Power and William Hill. David Zeffman is recommended.

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London: Dispute resolution

Within Banking litigation: investment and retail, tier 6

Jeremy Mash and Richard Bamforth are the principal contacts at Olswang LLP. The team represented Ildar Khazhaev in proceedings concerning allegedly sham loans or loan facilities.

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Within Commercial litigation, tier 5

Olswang LLP’s practice ‘solves issues’. Richard Bamforth is ‘an effective fighter’; Andrew Aglionby is ‘a great problem-solver’; Steven Corney is ‘a savvy litigator’; Ian Felstead is ‘a strategic thinker’; and Jeremy Mash is also highly rated.

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Within Defamation and privacy, Olswang LLP is a first tier firm,

The ‘market-leading’ team at Olswang LLP attracted a number of high-profile mandates, including advising ITV and Phillip Schofield in a claim brought by Lord McAlpine, and acting for News Group in relation to phone hacking claims. Practice head Geraldine Proudler is a ‘very big name: something of a legend’, and Dan Tench attracts consistent praise; he ‘excels in the changing reputation management environment’, and his ‘cheerful, constructive pragmatism regularly exceeds clients ’ expectations’. Newly promoted partner Ashley Hurst is an ‘up-and-coming powerhouse in online defamation’ whose ‘down-to-earth approach to complex issues is a breath of fresh air to most CEOs’.

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Within International arbitration, tier 5

Olswang LLP’s team is focused on the technology, media and telecoms sectors, but also acts in broader commercial matters. Andrew Aglionby is recommended, Richard Bamforth is ‘a profoundly upstanding lawyer’, and Jeremy Mash is ‘a star’.

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London: Finance

Within Corporate restructuring and insolvency, tier 5

Headed by Alicia Videon, the ‘friendly and approachable’ seven-partner team at Olswang LLP is particularly experienced in restructurings and insolvencies within the real estate industry. Séamas Gray is recommended.

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Within Derivatives and structured products, tier 5

Olswang LLP focuses on deals in the real estate and technology sectors. Charles Kerrigan has ‘detailed knowledge, and gives clear advice on legal aspects with a commercial view’. Ruth Marken is also highly recommended.

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Within Investment funds, tier 5

Antony Tulloch’s team at Olswang LLP provides good advice across private equity and venture capital funds, as well as REITs. It advised ViewPoint Capital Partners on ViewPoint Growth III.

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London: Human resources

Within Employee share schemes, tier 4

The ‘user-friendly’ team at Olswang LLP receives multiple plaudits, with Michael Deeks singled out for his ‘technical, pragmatic and commercial’ advice. Cineworld Group and Imagination Technologies Group are clients, along with new gain ITV.

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Within Employment: employers and senior executives, tier 5

The ‘excellent’ team at Olswang LLP is noted for its expertise in High Court employment litigation. Daniel Aherne, who is ‘clever and thorough, and an excellent tactician’, leads the team, which represents an impressive array of broadcasters. Recent work includes acting in a claim in respect of an alleged failure to inform and consult under TUPE. Catherine Taylor is ‘experienced’, and Melanie Lane is ‘knowledgeable, pragmatic and approachable’.

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Within Pensions, tier 6

Olswang LLP acts as lead adviser to household names such as Nationwide, handling day-to-day advisory and contentious matters. Warner Music International, Cineworld Cinemas and Bloomberg are also clients. Former practice head David Farmer left the firm for DLA Piper UK LLP, while experienced pensions partner Ron Burgess joined from Lawrence Graham LLP.

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London: Public sector

Within Administrative and public law, tier 4

Olswang LLP represented William Hill, Ingenious Media Holdings and Patrick McKenna in judicial review claims. The ‘experienced and tenaciousDaniel Tench has ‘strong analytical skills’, and Ian Felstead is also recommended.

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London: Real estate

Within Commercial property, Olswang LLP is a second tier firm,

Olswang LLP has a ‘good ability to cross-refer to other areas of the firm for specialist advice’. It acted for Capital & Regional on the £130m acquisition of Kingfisher Shopping Centre, Redditch. Hotels work included acting for Melia as future tenant and occupier of a 208-bedroom hotel in Manchester. Jonathan Lewis, Tim Westhead and Simon Kanterknow their stuff and are very responsive’. Graham Lloyd-Brunt has left the firm.

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Within Construction, tier 4

Olswang LLP’s ‘excellent’ team acts for investors, purchasers and suppliers in contentious and non-contentious matters. Recent work includes drafting contracts for retail and sporting developments, and Nick Lane acted in several mid-range residential disputes. Andrew Aglionby handles international arbitrations.

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Within Planning, tier 6

Olswang LLP’s broad planning practice extends to inquiries and appeals, statutory agreements, compulsory purchase, heritage and highways issues, and judicial reviews. Clients include Imperial College London, UBS and Helical Bar. Suzan Yildiz now heads the team.

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Within Property finance, Olswang LLP is a second tier firm,

Olswang LLP advised Santander and Hypothekenbank Frankfurt on a £177m acquisition facility to Legal & General UK Property Income Fund. ‘Other law firms could learn from the firm’s successful client service delivery’, with Eleni Skordaki* and Alicia Videon singled out for particular praise by clients. *Eleni Skordaki is now at Dechert LLP.

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Within Property litigation, Olswang LLP is a second tier firm,

At Olswang LLP, team head Marcus Barclay is ‘probably the best property litigator in London’. Dilapidation specialist Cameron Lawes combines ‘extreme intelligence’ with enthusiasm,; and Simone Ketchell, who focuses on insolvency-related matters, is ‘down to earth and responsive’. Clients include Legal & General Property and Motcomb Estates.

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London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Within Brand management, Olswang LLP is a first tier firm,

Olswang LLP draws on its media sector expertise to advise brand owners and advertising agencies on commercial, regulatory and trade mark matters. Joel Barry heads the trade mark prosecution practice, and Iain Stansfield leads on advertising and marketing work. Clients include BSkyB, Aegis, YouGov, Microsoft, and Direct Wines.

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Within Data protection, Olswang LLP is a third tier firm,

Olswang LLP’s practice head Ross McKean, who joined from Baker & McKenzie LLP, is a popular choice for data compliance projects; he is ‘knowledgeable and pragmatic, and a good negotiator and great team player’. Newly promoted partner Ashley Hurst focuses on contentious matters, and is acting for a group of Apple’s Safari users in a matter regarding an alleged security breach by Google. Clive Gringras advised Visa Europe on data protection issues regarding the product launch.

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Within Intellectual property, Olswang LLP is a second tier firm,

Olswang LLP’s team has ‘in-depth industry knowledge and a real understanding of commercial situations’. It draws on the firm’s wider media sector capabilities, and has particular strength in soft IP matters. Paul Stevens is handling various copyright disputes, including representing ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 against internet services such as TVCatchup; and is also advising Yahoo! on rights relating to professional football fixture lists. Department head Michael Burdon is acting for ZTE in patent infringement proceedings brought by Vringo. Helen Newman is ‘a complete expert in her field: totally reliable and highly practical’. Clive Gringras is a hi-tech sector expert, and copyright lawyer John Enser is also recommended. Justin Hill joined from Ipulse.

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Within IT and telecoms, Olswang LLP is a first tier firm,

Olswang LLP is ‘sensitive to client needs’, ‘understands the IT and telecoms industries well and provides pragmatic, business-focused advice’. It has reinforced the team with lateral hires including IT lawyer Craig Rattray, who joined from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. Technology head Clive Gringras has ‘awesome industry experience and insight, and is a pleasure to work with’. Newly promoted partner Louis Glass is ‘a thoughtful corporate lawyer, with a candid approach and sense of humour’. Dominic Dryden advised BP on its first global cloud outsourcing of its messaging service. Telecoms head Purvi Parekh advised Vodafone on network sharing arrangements with Telefónica. Rob Bratby is ‘a star - his advice strikes the right balance between the legal issues and the relevance for a business’. He recently represented certain fixed-network operators in the BT appeal regarding charges for partial private circuits.

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Within Media and entertainment, Olswang LLP is a first tier firm,

Olswang LLP combines ‘immense sector knowledge with a practical approach’. Film and TV practice head Jacqueline Hurt advised Magnolia Mae Films and Baby Cow on the production and financing of independent British film Philomena. Media group head Mark Devereux and Selina Potter, who leads the broadcasting team, advise UK terrestrial broadcasters and multi-channel operators such as Viacom, AETN and Discovery. Stephen Hermer advised ITV on its acquisition of So Television. The publishing team advised Reed Business Information on the sale of Totaljobs Group. Mark Bertram advised Yattendon Group on the sale of Iliffe News and Media group to joint venture platform Local World. Guardian Media Group is another key client. Clive Gringras, who is ‘outstanding in all things technology’, advises clients such as Raspberry Pi. ‘Exceptionally practical and effective’ music group head John Enser advised ITV networks on music rights. Other key clients include Universal Music and Warner Music. Ross McKean joined from Baker & McKenzie LLP, while Tony Leifer has joined the Charity Commission.

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Within Media finance, Olswang LLP is a first tier firm,

Olswang LLP’s ‘business acumen and industry knowledge are second to none’. The six-partner practice advises lenders - including 20 UK banks - and borrowers. Highly regarded practice head Charles Kerrigan and Ruth Marken advised Sportech on its £75m international refinancing. Other clients include Lloyds Banking Group, Bank of Ireland, Clydesdale Bank and Cineworld. Jacqueline Hurt handles co-production structuring.

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Within PATMA: Patent attorneys, Olswang LLP is a third tier firm,

Olswang LLP’s ‘very good’ team drafts patent applications on behalf of clients such as Microsoft, Cambridge Silicon Radio and GlaxoSmithKline, and Kinetic Concepts recently appointed the firm as sole European provider of patent prosecution services. Helen Wallis is ‘a superb patent attorney with great commercial awareness’. Robert Stephen’s ‘advice is always business-focused and pragmatic’. Justin Hill joined from Ipulse.

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Within PATMA: Trade mark attorneys, Olswang LLP is a third tier firm,

Olswang LLP’s trade mark team is led by Joel Barry, who is experienced in advising advertising agencies, brand owners and artists on contentious issues. The firm coordinates Sky’s international brand protection and enforcement programme as well as acting for Vodafone, ITV and Microsoft. Stephen Reese and Sarah Wright are recommended.

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Within Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, Olswang LLP is a second tier firm,

Olswang LLP is recommended for IP and commercial matters, providing ‘added-value advice with a good contextual knowledge of the sector’. Practice head Stephen Reese gives ‘sensible, pragmatic, commercial advice that you can trust’ in relation to transactional and patent litigation matters. Stephen Rosen has ‘excellent strategic oversight’ on venture capital and private equity deals. IP practice head Michael Burdon focuses on life sciences patent litigation. Key clients include GlaxoSmithKline, The Wellcome Trust, Vectura Group and Kymab.

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Within Sport, Olswang LLP is a third tier firm,

The ‘first-class’ team at Olswang LLP is mainly focused on football and horseracing, but also has experience in other sports. Clients include the RFU, the British Horseracing Authority, FIFA, Manchester City FC, and new client IMG Media. Practice head David Zeffman is ‘very knowledgeable’, particularly in sports media, gambling and horseracing. Dan Tench is noted for his ‘reliable advice and thorough identification of issues’ in administrative law and reputation management disputes. Corporate partner David Roberts is highly rated.

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Further information on Olswang LLP

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