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Gowling WLG

TWO SNOWHILL, BIRMINGHAM, B4 6WR, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 0370 903 1000
Fax:
Fax 0370 904 1099
Email:
Web:
www.gowlingwlg.com

West Midlands

Transport
Transport - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Under the leadership of Giles Clifford and Clark Sargent, Gowling WLG’s transport team services client such as Transport for London, CRRC and Goodman. Sargent leads the aviation sub-team. Other key transport figures include senior associate James Barr. Recent highlights include advising Barnet Council on the closure of existing rail freight facilities and the delivery of new facilities as part of the Brent Cross Cricklewood rejuvenation project, and on the aviation side, a team led by Sally Mewies and supported by director Richard Smith acted for an international airline in connection with the outsourcing of its passenger services system requirements to a global provider. Dispute resolution expert Helen Davenport was also part of the team handling this matter, and acted alongside Anna Fletcher for a railway manufacturing client on key pension and employment issues. Also recommended are Richard Lee, who heads the firm’s HR solutions team, and construction specialist Richard Green, who has experience in the development of new stations.

Next generation lawyers

James Barr - Gowling WLG

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West Midlands: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Birmingham
Corporate and commercial: Birmingham - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG

At Gowling WLG, the ‘balance of expertise, strength in depth and value for money is highly competitive’, and the team regularly handles high-value work in areas such as real estate, automotive and small business sales. Recent highlights include head of practice David Vaughan advising Derek Hood on the sale of JD Classics and the reinvestment of 40% of his sale proceeds into an equity release and partnering deal with Charme Capital Partners, and newly promoted partner Chris Towle acting for Blackstone in its £300m sale of Carolia Tower Hotel to the Bhatia family. The team has been strengthened by the relocation to the Birmingham office of Stuart Young, who was active on a number of key deals, including advising the owners of Opus Energy on its £340m conditional sale to Drax Developments. Other names to note are Baljit Chohan, who ‘always balances great awareness of commercial context with excellent legal expertise’, and listed company specialist Jeremy Millington, who assisted the management team of Sigma Components with its management buyout from Avingtrans. In the cross-border space, Julian Henwood acted for Huhtamaki in its €103m acquisition of Delta Print and Packaging and its affiliated Polish unit.

Leading individuals

Jeremy Millington - Gowling WLG

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Corporate tax
Corporate tax - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG’s ‘first-rate and user-friendly team’ handles an impressive variety of work, from servicing the firm’s substantial real estate practice, to providing standalone tax structuring advice for inward investment. In one example of the latter, the team is advising a group of Lebanese investors on the establishment of a UK SPV for the purposes of operating a high-end restaurant. Practice head Lee Nuttall and director Chris Nyland are ‘both very brainy’ and represented Empiric Student Properties in the SDLT and VAT aspects of its £20m multiple-site purchase of student accommodation. In another significant real estate mandate, the team acted for the London Borough of Barnet in relation to the tax structuring of a joint venture to facilitate the wholesale mixed-use redevelopment of Brent Cross, Barnet, including the redevelopment of the Brent Cross Shopping Centre. On the corporate side, director Zoe Fatchen has wide-ranging experience of M&A and restructuring and assisted Nuttall in advising Huhtamaki on the £80m acquisition of two entities, one based in Northern Ireland the other in Poland. Neil Pearson left for Mills & Reeve LLP.

Leading individuals

Lee Nuttall - Gowling WLG

Next generation lawyers

Chris Nyland - Gowling WLG

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West Midlands: Dispute resolution

Banking litigation
Banking litigation - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG’s practice is probably best known in the consumer finance space, where practice head Greg Standing acts for the likes of Black Horse, Mercedes Benz Financial Services and Honda Finance. In an example, Standing is representing

Leading individuals

Greg Standing - Gowling WLG

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Commercial litigation: Birmingham
Commercial litigation: Birmingham - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s ‘excellent team’ is distinguished by its ‘detailed technical knowledge and understanding of the client’s requirements’. As well as delivering general commercial litigation, the practice also has in-depth specialisms in IT disputes, health and safety regulatory issues, procurement disputes, bribery and corruption issues, and international arbitration. The automotive sector is a particular area of strength and the team acts for a range of manufacturers, suppliers and dealers, including TRW Automotive and Aston Martin. Other target sectors include aviation and defence, where James Gordon is the key contact, food and drink, healthcare, manufacturing, and professional and business support services. Prominent lawyers in the sizeable practice include Andrew Smith, who is, for one client, ‘the best litigator outside of London’, the ‘experienced and analyticalAndrew Manning Cox, the ‘outstandingClark Sargent, and Andrew Nugent Smith, who is a ‘good judge of when to pick a fight’ and successfully acted for LucasVerity Electric Steering in the Court of Appeal in a £30m claim against a Portuguese subsidiary supplier for breach of an exclusive supply agreement. Regulatory specialist Andrew Litchfield co-heads the team alongside London-based James Sidwell.

Leading individuals

Andrew Manning Cox - Gowling WLG

Andrew Smith - Gowling WLG

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Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG’s practice is probably best known for its work on asset finance recoveries, with practice head Greg Standing regularly active on behalf of the likes of Credo Asset Finance and CIT Vendor Finance. Standing is also highly recommended for his motor finance expertise. Another name to note is senior associate Katie Molloy, who represented American Express Payment Services Europe in a claim arising from a large debt incurred by a high-net-worth cardholder against a Saudi national. The team also handles a large quantity of insolvency work and represents the Insolvency Service acting against disqualified directors in order to recover costs from disqualification proceedings, as well as former bankrupt individuals in order to recover pension funds. Another avenue of work is recovery arising from Consumer Credit Act regulated lending. Ian Weatherall focuses on group litigation issues and insolvency matters for lenders such as HSBC.

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West Midlands: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

At Gowling WLG, Chris Brierley has worked for funders and borrowers in a number of sectors, including health, energy, franchising and social housing, and in one example of work, he advised Sanctuary Housing Association on its entry into a new revolving credit facility with HSBC. The team is particularly noted for its project finance expertise, with Brierley advising on a number of energy projects, including acting for Ecotricity on the second tranche of funding with Aviva Investors relating to a portfolio of operational wind and solar parks across 21 sites, and advising Primrose Solar on the debt financing with Deutsche Bank to refinance its Eveley solar farm in Hampshire. Principal associate Navin Prabhakar was active on various private equity-related mandates, including assisting LDC with the finance for the MBO of Panther Warehousing, and acting for HSBC in the £52m sale by its borrower Avingtrans of its aerospace division in a buyout backed by private equity house Silverfleet Capital. Nick Iliff divides his time between Birmingham and London and focuses on project and real estate finance.

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Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG’s team has a long-established reputation for acting as advisers to regional corporates, local authorities and lenders on confidential debt restructurings, exits and workouts, and dispute matters. Jasvir Jootla has particular expertise in the retail and leisure sectors, and represented Dunelm Group in its £8.5m acquisition of the assets of online retail businesses Worldstores, Achica and Kiddicare following a pre-packaged administration sale by KPMG. In another piece of work, the same lawyer advised United Biscuits on its acquisition of a warehousing operation in insolvency. The practice was also active in the public sector, where it advised Gloucestershire County Council in the sourcing of services as part of the pre-packaged administration of 4Children. On the insolvency practitioner side, clients include PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and Baker Tilly. Contentious specialist Ian Weatherall, and London-based Julian Pallett, who heads the team, are the other main contacts.

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West Midlands: Human resources

Employment
Employment - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG’s ‘responsive, legally accurate and sensitive’ employment team is headed by Jane Fielding, who is ‘sensible, pragmatic, nice to deal with, incisive and incredibly responsive’. The practice’s expertise includes handling contentious matters relating to allegations of whistleblowing and discrimination, as well as providing corporate support and day-to-day advice on grievances and restructuring processes. Martin Chitty represents major UK housing associations, retailers and manufacturers, while Jonathan Chamberlain’s expertise extends to litigation and cross-border restructurings and outsourcing. The practice has maintained a stable undercurrent of high-value tribunal work, as demonstrated by Fielding’s representation of a global consumer food company facing a union-backed challenge to its labour force model, and Chitty’s work on a multi-jurisdictional case involving allegations of unfair dismissal and racial discrimination. On the non-contentious side, the firm has experienced an uptick in independent investigations work; recent highlights include handling the UK employment law aspects of the acquisition of two international technology groups in the recruitment sector. Other recent work includes advising clients on disciplinary and exit processes of senior executives, and data breach issues. Director Louise Clifford focuses on assisting clients with day-to-day and transactional employment matters. Principal associate Jemma O’Reilly also recommended.

Leading individuals

Martin Chitty - Gowling WLG

Next generation lawyers

Jemma O’Reilly - Gowling WLG

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Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

The health and safety practice at Gowling WLG is known for its ‘high level of professionalism’, with clients singling out ‘thorough’ practice head Andrew Litchfield, who represents corporate clients such as Starbucks, Toyota and Bakkavor in the aftermath of incidents, during investigations and throughout criminal proceedings. Recent work includes acting for a local distribution client in a fatal accident which required the solicitation of an independent expert to determine whether the victim’s cannabis consumption was a significant factor. In another key matter, Susan Dearden acted for a multinational defence company in connection with internal and HSE investigations. Principal associate Michael Hafen regularly acts for a not-for-profit housing and care provider in inquests and CQC and police investigations. The team also acted for two clients in HSE prosecutions for breach of HSWA regulations.

Next generation lawyers

Michael Hafen - Gowling WLG

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Immigration
Leading individuals

Glyn Ryland - Gowling WLG

Richard Black - Gowling WLG

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Pensions
Pensions - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG’s pension team comprises ‘talented, technically strong, commercially savvy and solution-driven lawyers’ led by the ‘experienced, calm and personableGlyn Ryland, who specialises in pensions investment law and funding negotiations. Highlights included acting for Pirelli on longevity swaps for two of its UK pension funds; Paul Carberry and director Christopher Stiles acted on that matter, while Richard Lee and ‘very reliable and knowledgeable’ director Joanne Tibbott advised a multinational group on follow-on issues concerning salary linkage, salary sacrifice matters and health benefits following the client’s switch to a career average hybrid scheme. Aided by the London office, Richard Black undertook a pensions increase exchange exercise for the trustee of the client’s defined benefits scheme, which resulted in a significant fund liability reduction. Black also assisted the same trustee with a complete review of governance documentation. Other notable clients include new client Weetabix, the ICL Group Pension Plan and Rothesay Life.

Leading individuals

Glyn Ryland - Gowling WLG

Richard Black - Gowling WLG

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West Midlands: Insurance

Professional negligence
Professional negligence - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Key figures in the Birmingham office of Gowling WLG include Andrew Nugent Smith and arbitration specialist Andrew Manning Cox. He is defending a multi-party claim with complex third-party proceedings and significant disclosure issues. On the construction side, Ashley Pigott advises on high-profile disputes with property law expert Carole Peet, who has a track record of handling Landlord and Tenant Act 1988 cases on both the claimant and defendant sides.

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West Midlands: Projects energy and natural resources

Energy
Energy - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG’s ‘reliable and competent’ team impresses with its broad practice, which covers energy regulation, M&A and joint ventures, structured financing, dispute resolution, energy project development and energy supply and trading. Regulatory specialist John Cooper continued to advise the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the regulatory framework relating to the government’s smart metering programme, while global co-head Derek Goodban, who divides his time between Birmingham and London, represented Greenage Power in relation to the proposed 1.4GW HVDC subsea electrical interconnector between Great Britain and Germany. In the renewables space, the team handled a range of solar and wind mandates, including the ‘perceptive’ Daniel Wood representing E.ON Climate & Renewables in the Supreme Court in relation to a €26.25m claim arising from defects encountered at E.ON's offshore wind farm development; and Chris Brierley advising Primrose Solar on the £42m project financing of the 49MW solar farm in Hampshire. In other highlights, Gus Wood assisted Statkraft with the power purchase agreement for the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm, and construction specialist Paul Green was active in the nuclear sector.

Leading individuals

Derek Goodban - Gowling WLG

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Project finance and PFI
Project finance and PFI - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG’s practice is possibly best known for its expertise in the defence and security sector, where it continued to advise key client the Ministry of Defence on the procurement arrangements relating to the design, acquisition, installation and delivery of military air traffic management services. The team’s government work also extends to public infrastructure, with examples including rail specialist Giles Clifford representing Transport for London in connection with its station improvement works at Finsbury Park, and

Leading individuals

Stephen Kenny - Gowling WLG

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West Midlands: Public sector

Health
Health - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

The healthcare lawyers at Gowling WLG attract praise for their ‘extensive experience and ability to provide appropriate advice’; according to one client, it ‘seems to have a more pragmatic approach to other firms involved in healthcare’. Robert Breedon leads the national health and care sector practice and has a focus on advising public and private sector clients on large commercial projects and outsourcing contracts. On the regulatory side, Andrew Litchfield specialises in assisting clients faced with criminal prosecution, guiding them through trails if they find themselves in court. In a key mandate, principal associate Hilary Drenth acted alongside Breedon on a five-year contract for integrated health services for the elderly on behalf of the London Borough of Croydon and NHS Croydon CCG. Drenth and Breedon also assisted Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and its partners in the Reachout partnership with regards to corporate structure and governance issues. Other notable clients include Beckman Coulter, Lakeside Healthcare and Horder Healthcare.

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Local government
Local government - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG’s Sarah Sasse heads the firm’s public-sector IT and outsourcing practice and advises on procurement, commercial contracts and risk minimisation. Previous highlights include acting for Croydon Council on a procurement contract with Capita for its ICT, and assisting the Department of Health and NHS trusts with issues arising from the Independent Sector Treatment programme.

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West Midlands: Real estate

Commercial property: Birmingham
Commercial property: Birmingham - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s diverse client base encompasses investors, commercial and residential developers and corporate occupiers, and the substantial team remained highly active in 2016. In development work, for which the practice is perhaps best known, head of regeneration Richard Beckingsale is representing Barnet Council in the £4bn development of Brent Cross, Cricklewood, which includes redevelopment of a shopping centre, construction of 7,000 homes and up to 4m sq ft of new office space; and housing specialist Duncan Murphy was highly active on residential development schemes for clients such as Bellway and Persimmon. The practice is regularly instructed by a number of powerhouse investor clients, such as Blackstone and CBRE Global Investment Partners, and Michael Twining advised the latter in relation to the purchase of a retail scheme at Willowbrook Centre, Bristol. In other highlights, the team continued to be instructed on high-profile Birmingham city centre mandates, including Susan Bennett advising Ballymore on the £200m development funding from M&G Real Estate in relation to Three Snowhill, Queensway, and John Burns representing Carval on the purchase of StarCity, Watson Road. Practice head Richard Bate, and Mike Trainer, who specialises in development and investment in the industrial, retail and office sectors, are also names to note.

Leading individuals

John Burns - Gowling WLG

Richard Bate - Gowling WLG

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG’s substantial practice is led by Richard Green and Michael O’Shea, who focus on non-contentious and contentious work respectively. On the non-contentious side, the team acts for an impressive mix of developers, contractors and institutional purchasers across sectors such as commercial development, energy, retail and leisure, infrastructure, nuclear, and hotels. Recent work examples include Green and legal director Mark Stephenson advising Mountpark Logistics on the construction of a fulfilment centre for Amazon at Bardon in Leicestershire, and the same pairing acting for St Modwen Developments in the construction aspects of a £100m town centre development on the former car assembly plant at Longbridge, Birmingham. The experienced contentious team includes the well-regarded Ashley Pigott and Sue Ryan, as well as Daniel Wood, who specialises in disputes connected with energy, petrochemical, process plant and civil engineering schemes; both Pigott and Ryan were engaged on major PFI disputes relating to the construction of highways. O’Shea is handling a number of multimillion-pound claims for Muse Developments relating to remedial works carried out at a large residential development site in Manchester.

Leading individuals

Ashley Pigott - Gowling WLG

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Environment
Environment - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG’s practice is led by Lee McBride, who deals with contaminated land, environmental permitting and other regulatory issues arising in commercial property transactions, major projects and large corporate transactions. On the contentious side, Andrew Litchfield advises on investigations and defending criminal proceedings brought by the Environment Agency (EA) and by local authorities, and bringing and defending civil claims for damages for environmental incidents. Recent examples of the team’s work include acting for a buyer of a 130-hectare former MOD site, including reviewing contaminated land assessments and negotiating reliance letters, and defending a prosecution relating to a potential breach of a trade effluent consent. Director Samantha Holland specialises in bespoke high-value environmental insurance policies.

Leading individuals

Lee McBride - Gowling WLG

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Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG provides a ‘proactive and reliable service’ to private and public sector clients such as St Modwen and Rugby Borough Council. Head of practice Andrew Thomas, who is a ‘great strategist’, is advising Goodman on the proposed DCO for the strategic rail freight interchange at Etwall near Derby; and in another highlight, the same lawyer acted for Greater London Authority in the first use of its compulsory purchase powers to acquire land to enable the regeneration of the Southall Gasworks site. In the development space, the team is instructed by North Whitely Consortium in connection with a planning application for 3,500 houses in North Whiteley, Hampshire. Below partner level, other names to note are ‘great organiser’ Graham Wrigglesworth, who assisted Thomas with the DCO for Palm Paper’s gas-fired power station at its industrial complex, and the ‘conscientious and personableToni Weston, who has considerable experience in compulsory purchase and compensation matters.

Leading individuals

Andrew Thomas - Gowling WLG

Next generation lawyers

Graham Wrigglesworth - Gowling WLG

Toni Weston - Gowling WLG

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG’s wide-ranging client base takes in housebuilders, developers, major telecoms operators, housing associations, retailers and public bodies. Paul Kent focuses on residential development issues and is defending Persimmon Homes against an injunction brought by Wychavon District Council to halt development at Droitwich Spa. Kent is also acting for TfL against Southwark and the City of London in an appeal concerning the vertical and horizontal extent of the interests in the roads which were transferred to TfL on its establishment in 2000. Solicitor advocate Martin Thomas heads the team and splits his time between Birmingham and London; Thomas’ specialisms include land agreements, landlord and tenant (especially development and insolvency related disputes), business rates and telecoms; in one example of work, he is advising new client Muse/ISIS Waterside on the strategy for the handling of potential claims from third parties arising from serious defects in the construction of residential apartment blocks. In the commercial property space, Carole Peet, who leads the Birmingham offering, is acting for Midcounties Co-operative in proceedings to recover possession of a vacant garage and car showroom on the Iffley Road, Oxford from squatters.

Leading individuals

Paul Barker - Higgs & Sons

Paul Kent - Gowling WLG

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Social housing
Social housing - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG impresses with its ‘excellent business acumen and industry knowledge’, and the team continued to handle high-value projects not only for registered providers, but also for local authorities, residential developers, and major pension funds investing in the sector. In the regeneration space, Richard Beckingsale is acting for the London Borough of Barnet in the £4bn regeneration of Brent Cross, Cricklewood, while in the affordable housing development sphere, director Sally Farrall is advising Croydon Council on the delivery of new homes by its subsidiary, Brick by Brick. Head of practice Jacqueline Knox specialises in development and investment and (non-contentious) housing management, and is advising key client Sanctuary Housing Group on a number of mandates, including its acquisition of the former Bullwood Hall prison site from Harrow Estates. Another name to note is Sarah Sasse, who is ‘extremely knowledgeable on ICT procurement and Public Contracts Regulations’; Sasse advised Bromford Housing on its procurement of a partner to provide enterprise solutions and transformation partner services via a competitive dialogue process.

Leading individuals

Jacqueline Knox - Gowling WLG

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West Midlands: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

The ‘extremely astute, very commercial and hardworkingSally Mewies heads Gowling WLG’s IT and telecoms practice in Birmingham and ‘runs a very tight ship’. She is supported by commercial litigation partner Patrick Charles Arben and Sarah Sasse, who specialises in public-sector IT work, including integration and service outsourcing agreements. Recent highlights included advising a major high-street retailer on the regulatory landscape and commercial aspects of the client’s plan to offer deferred interest-free payment terms to customers purchasing products online; and assisted the University of Leeds with procurement matters. Sasse and director Richard Smith acted on that deal, while Mewies assisted a corporate consultancy client with regards to a cloud agreement with a leading healthcare provider, which involved complex issues of security and data protection. Other key names include dispute resolution specialist Helen Davenport, who specialises in representing technology purchasers and suppliers in conflicts arising from contracts for the design, build and implementation of IT systems and services. Peter Hall recently retired from the practice and director Kirsten Whitfield joined Fieldfisher in London. Other clients include M&S, Capgemini and Hiscox.

Next generation lawyers

Richard Smith - Gowling WLG

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG’s clients feel they get ‘the best value for money at all times’, and the firm ‘understands what matters to them and what they will not tolerate’. Patrick Duxbury heads the life sciences team in Birmingham and recently advised on a number of high-value transactions including Heptares Therapeutics’ $3.3m deal with Allergan, which involved substantial IP aspects. Leading the brand and design team is ‘motivational team leaderKate Swaine, who specialises in the enforcement and clearing of brands, advertising and designs; she recently acted for Weetabix on the management of its global brand portfolio, with the support of principal associate and ‘real result-getter’ George Sevier, who ‘punches well above his weight in negotiating with external lawyers’. Other key contacts include Luke Kempton, who is experienced in the biochemistry and pharmaceuticals sectors, with special emphasis on drug acquisitions, and collaboration and licensing deals; and Michael Luckman, who heads the firm’s corporate, employment, pensions and projects unit and is particularly strong in commercial IP work in the life sciences, defence, automotive, retail and food and drink sectors. Dyson, Unilever and Aston Martin are among the firm’s notable clients.

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Sport
Sport - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG (Birmingham)

Gowling WLG handles media transactions, sponsorships and sports marketing matters, disputes, and regulatory and funding issues for sports-sector clients. James Gordon leas the practice and specialises in contentious matters in the motorsports sector. The firm is continuing to advise a city council on a major historic inquest and acts for a company fronted by a prominent sports personality on privacy issues, sponsorship agreements, and passing-off and malicious falsehood claims. Commercial dispute specialist Andrew Nugent Smith is defending a group of retired athletes in connection with tax issues arising from investments made into financial schemes. Sean O’Toole left to join Beswicks Legal, and Jonathan Riley joined Memery Crystal LLP in London.

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Further information on Gowling WLG

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Offices in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Hamilton, and Kitchener

France

Offices in Paris

London

Offices in London SE1 and London EC1N

Monaco

Offices in Monaco

Russia

Offices in Moscow

West Midlands

Offices in Birmingham

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