The Legal 500

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

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London: Corporate and commercial

Within Financial services, tier 4

Speechly Bircham LLP provides a ‘consistently high level of service' to clients across the bandwidth of the industry from private banking clients to market infrastructure entities. Elizabeth Budd is ‘respected as a leader in the fund management world' and is a key member of the team that also includes private banking expert Jonathan Bayliss and William Garner, who heads up the firm’s wholesale trading and markets offering.

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Within Flotations: small and mid-cap, Speechly Bircham LLP is a third tier firm,

At Speechly Bircham LLP team head Tom Shaw ‘provides speedy, clear and appropriate advice', Chris Putt is praised for his ‘ability to get to the commercial aspect of a matter', and Andrew Collins is ‘valued as a very careful and wise counsellor'. Victoria Younghusband joined from King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin.

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Within Investment funds, Speechly Bircham LLP is a third tier firm,

Speechly Bircham LLP’s clients include Fidelity, CBRE and Cazenove Capital. Elizabeth Budd and practice head Nick Janmohamed advised various Fidelity investment trusts on the impact of AIFMD. The hire of Victoria Younghusband from King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin bolsters the team’s hedge funds offering. Other key contacts include Jonathan Bayliss and Luxembourg-based David Louis.

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Within M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m, tier 5

Speechly Bircham LLP serves a broad client base of corporates in various sectors including real estate and natural resources, and has a strong private wealth offering. Providing an ‘excellent level of service utilising more junior members of staff where appropriate', praise is levelled at both partners and associates, including senior associates David Hicks and David Coates. Practice head Tom Shaw ‘comes into his own when managing complex projects'.

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Within Private equity: transactions, Speechly Bircham LLP is a third tier firm,

At Speechly Bircham LLP, Malcolm MacDougall (‘knows how to get a deal done and what points to focus on') leads a ‘high-quality' team that is noted for its ‘partner-led service' and for its ‘tailored approach'. In 2013 it completed 15 private equity deals for a mixed client base of PE houses, management teams and investee companies. Highlights included advising Elysian Capital on the MBO of Wellbeing Software Group. Andrew Clarke is singled out for his ‘many years of experience, which gives clients the reassurance to know that he will get the job done with the minimum of fuss and confusion'.

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Within Venture capital, tier 4

At Speechly Bircham LLP, Chris Putt leads the firm’s work for growth companies and is aided by Andrew Clarke, who frequently handles work as an adjunct to his private equity practice.

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London: Dispute resolution

Within Commercial litigation Commercial litigation

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London: Finance

Within Corporate restructuring and insolvency, tier 5

Speechly Bircham LLP handles a significant flow of instructions from IPs including KPMG and Ernst & Young, particularly in relation to retail insolvencies. Simon Ridpath gives ‘sensible advice', and handles both personal and corporate insolvency work.

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Within Securitisation, tier 4

Paul Kay, Daniel Sullivan and Brendan Slack at Speechly Bircham LLP are notable for advising investment managers and corporate finance boutiques on their participation in securitisations; recent examples include a £450m deal in the geothermal energy sector.

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London: Human resources

Within Employment: employers and senior executives, Speechly Bircham LLP is a second tier firm,

Trevor Bettany leads the six-partner team at Speechly Bircham LLP, which represents employers and senior executives. Bettany advised Gain Capital on the employment aspects of its acquisition of GFT Global Markets UK, including TUPE and a combined collective redundancy and harmonisation exercise.

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Within Immigration, tier 5

The ‘excellent' Rose Carey leads the team at Speechly Bircham LLP, which is ‘extremely professional' and represents Cobb Europe, Quayle Munroe and Regenersis.

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Within Pensions, tier 4

Clients at Speechly Bircham LLP appreciate the firm’s speedy response and sensitivity to costs, while advice is ‘very sound, and always given with our business needs in mind'. Clients include Heron Corporation, Lorne Stewart plc and PA Consulting. Head of department Penny Cogher leads on both contentious and non-contentious matters, while Jane Wolstenholme ‘is able to explain complicated pensions issues to directors in a fairly simple way, cutting through the pension jargon'.

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London: Insurance

Within Insurance: corporate and regulatory, tier 4

Speechly Bircham LLP’s corporate and regulatory insurance practice is led by Nick Janmohamed. In 2013, the team handled transactions including Belmont International’s sale to Arthur J Gallagher and Ecclesiastical Insurance’s acquisition of a smaller broker. David Hicks was promoted to partner.

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London: Private client

Within Agriculture and estates, Speechly Bircham LLP is a third tier firm,

Speechly Bircham LLP is ‘a preferred firm' noted for its ‘rounded practice and technical expertise in all areas'. In 2013 it advised on a range of complex issues arising from the Finance Act 2013, as well as acting on major restructurings and transactions. Tom Moran ‘has the ability to apply his technical knowledge both practically and commercially', and Charles Hutton is praised for ‘attention to detail'.

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Within Art and cultural property, Speechly Bircham LLP is a third tier firm,

John Ward is the name to note at Speechly Bircham LLP, which has a track record acting for collectors and philanthropists.

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Within Charities and not-for-profit, tier 4

Speechly Bircham LLP’s Graeme Kleiner has advised the trustees of the Christopher Dawes Charitable Trust on a range of issues including the making of £5.5m in grants over the last three years. The ‘extremely knowledgeable' John Ward heads the team, in which Dominic Lawrance is also a significant figure.

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Within Contentious trusts and probate, Speechly Bircham LLP is a second tier firm,

Speechly Bircham LLP has ‘a well-deserved reputation' in the area, and Graeme Kleiner is ‘generally excellent'. Recent work includes successfully defending the trustee of an offshore trust against an application in the English courts for charging orders, and defending a £10m claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

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Within Family, tier 4

Speechly Bircham LLP is ‘a practice on the rise' under the leadership of James Freeman, who ‘wears his learning lightly but is one of the cleverest lawyers about'. The firm regularly handles high-value work, often with intricate trust elements. Victoria Francis is ‘scarily bright'.

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Within Personal tax, trusts and probate, Speechly Bircham LLP is a second tier firm,

Speechly Bircham LLP is ‘a leading provider of private client services and advice', and has ‘a particularly good view of what is going on in Europe'. Team head Tom Moran ‘has the ability to apply his technical knowledge both practically and commercially'; James Trafford is ‘a pleasure to work with'; and William Begley has ‘a reassuring manner and the ability to bring proceedings back on track'. Solicitor Sangna Chauhan ‘has particular strength in the field of advising non-doms and in offshore tax planning, and is very impressive in front of clients'.

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London: Public sector

Within Healthcare, tier 5

Matthew Newing, who has a 'can-do attitude', and Michael Lingens, who is 'sharp, very commercial and well-connected', co-head the team at Speechly Bircham LLP. The firm represented Elysian Capital on its separate acquisitions of Wellbeing Software Group and Accelyon.

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London: Real estate

Within Commercial property, Speechly Bircham LLP is a third tier firm,

‘Very knowledgeable and commercial', Speechly Bircham LLP continues to act for P&O Estates and Aberdeen Asset Management, and has a good reputation for regeneration and urban renewal development work. It recently acted on the £300m structured sale and leaseback of 44 care homes. Mark Smith, Robin Grove, Ashley Kopitko and Lee Medlock are ‘unflappable, and quick to respond'.

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Within Construction, Speechly Bircham LLP is a third tier firm,

Led by Steven Carey, Speechly Bircham LLP’s ‘very professional' department covers UK real estate and international engineering matters. It is advising Derwent London on the redevelopment of a corner site at Old Street in London, and is also acting for Pocket Living LLP on its low-cost housing scheme. Tim Raper is ‘first class', and Kevin Forsyth takes a ‘thorough' approach. Paul Henty was promoted to partner, while Jonathan Rosshandler has retired and David Gwillim has joined Pitmans LLP.

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Within Planning, tier 5

Speechly Bircham LLP ‘understands commercial drivers, which is essential'. The practice remained active in planning matters for sites owned by the Church Commissioners for England. Claire Fallows is ‘approachable, easy to get on with, and gives clear advice'.

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Within Property finance, tier 4

‘Very knowledgeable, responsive and commercial', Speechly Bircham LLP acts for borrowers, lenders and funds, including RBS, Lloyds Banking Group and Derwent London. The firm advised Caring Homes Group on a £300m restructuring and sale and leaseback financing. Brendan Slack is recommended.

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Within Property litigation, Speechly Bircham LLP is a second tier firm,

The ‘calm and able' Graham Ling heads the team at Speechly Bircham LLP. Also recommended are the ‘very able' James Souter, who is notable for his rights of light expertise; and Jeremy Hudson, who has ‘thoroughly commercial judgement'.

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London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Within Data protection, Speechly Bircham LLP is a third tier firm,

At Speechly Bircham LLP, the highly respected Robert Bond leads a team which is ‘committed to providing timely and practical insight' on data protection and information security issues. It recently advised both Actavis and Pentair on cross-border data compliance matters. Other key clients include Holland America Line, Diageo and Cray.

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Within Intellectual property, tier 5

At Speechly Bircham LLP, Mark Bailey leads the IP, technology and data practice.

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Within IT and telecoms, tier 5

Speechly Bircham LLP’s Mark Bailey has ‘sound knowledge of legal issues and excellent business acumen', and is recommended for technology licensing and contractual matters.

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Within Media and entertainment, tier 4

Speechly Bircham LLP’s media work includes advising on publishing, merchandising and broadcasting rights for a children’s TV series, and handling high-profile copyright litigation for celebrities. Alexander Carter-Silk and Robert Bond are recommended. Michelle Lewiston has moved to an in-house position, and Nicholas Tall is now with Keystone Law.

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Further information on Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

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Offices in Manama


Offices in London EC4M and London EC4A


Offices in Luxembourg

South East

Offices in Guildford

South West

Offices in Cheltenham


Offices in Geneva, Zurich, and Geneva

Legal Developments by:
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

  • Annual reports and annual general meetings

    With the Summer annual general meeting (AGM) season now on the horizon, many company secretaries and general counsel will be considering the preparation for their AGMs and the publication of their annual reports. 

    - Speechly Bircham

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

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

  • The role of arbitrators in EU antitrust law

    In May 2014, it will be ten years since Regulation No 1/2003 entered into force. When the legislator of the European Union adopted this Regulation on 16 December 2002, its main objective was to decentralise the enforcement of the two main provisions of EU antitrust law, Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). Where do the arbitrators fit in this picture?

  • New Immigration Bill, October 2013: cause for concern or appeasing public sentiment?

    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

    The publication on 26 June 2013 of the European Union Regulation EU 610/2013 modified the incumbent Regulation EU 562/2006 in relation to third country nationals (ie non-EU citizens) and those travelling on a short-stay visitor visa, as well as those who do not require a visa to enter the Schengen area, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria. Exceptions include EU and EEA nationals travelling to other EU/EEA states within the Schengen area together with foreign nationals holding either long-stay or residence permits for their destination Schengen countries.

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces