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Gowling WLG

3 WATERHOUSE SQUARE, 142 HOLBORN, LONDON, EC1N 2SW, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 0870 903 1000
Fax:
Fax 020 7644 0340
DX:
155790-BLOOMSBURY 8
Email:
Web:
www.gowlingwlg.com

Top-tier Firm rankings

Firm Rankings


London: Corporate and commercial

Commercial contracts
Commercial contracts - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s team has expertise in a wide variety of commercial agreements, such as those centred on BPO and IT outsourcing, sales and marketing, direct and distance sales, and agency and distribution. A hallmark of the practice is its broad sector coverage, which spans automotive and travel, food and beverage, healthcare, life sciences and retail, among many others. Practice head David Lowe leads the advice to Marks & Spencer on various national and international logistics contracts concerning the transport and delivery of its general merchandise and food and wine products purchased by its customers via its website. Lowe, Sally Mewies and others also counsel Nomad Foods Europe Limited on a wide range of contracts, with recent work including advice on procurement systems and processes, as well as market research agreements, and PR and design services agreements. Sarah Sasse and Vanessa de Froberville are also recommended. Other clients include The Rugby Football Union, Molson Coors and Vaillant.

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Corporate tax

The tax team at Gowling WLG has experience in a wide range of corporate transactions including work in the technology and pharmaceutical sectors, but is especially strong in the investment funds space. Michael Murphy specialises in corporate M&A and capital markets transactions and has particular experience acting for clients in the life sciences sector. National department head Lee Nuttall splits his time between the firm’s Birmingham and London offices and specialises in the tax aspects of private funds transactions, but has also been instructed in advisory roles in stand-alone matters. Elliot Weston joined Hogan Lovells International LLP in 2016.

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EU and competition
EU and competition - ranked: tier 6

Gowling WLG

At Gowling WLG, practice head Bernardine Adkins advised Estée Lauder Companies on merger control issues in relation to its acquisition of Too Faced for approximately $1.4bn, and continues to advise Carter Thermal Industries in relation to the Competition and Markets Authority’s cartel investigation into the supply of galvanised steel tanks. The team also advised Opus Energy Limited on merger control issues arising from the sale by auction of its entire share capital, worth £340m, to Drax Group. Other key clients include Dixons Carphone, AstraZeneca UK, Aston Martin Lagonda, and Seiko Epson Corporation. Samuel Beighton and Birmingham-based Anna Cundall were promoted to director and associate, respectively.

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Financial services
Financial services (contentious) - ranked: tier 4

Gowling WLG

Financial services (non-contentious/regulatory) - ranked: tier 6

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG provides a ‘responsive and commercial service’ across a broad range of regulatory issues impacting on clients in the consumer credit, Fintech, asset management and insurance space. Associate Richard Ellis has ‘significant insurance knowledge’ and delivers advice from a ‘pragmatic industry standpoint’. Alongside Sharon Ayres and Penny Sanders, Ellis has been handling a significant amount of work for Ecclesiastical Insurance Office, including ensuring insurance products are compliant with regulation, structuring and presenting insurance products appropriately and assistance drafting delegated underwriting arrangements. Other highlights included advising the Singapore Exchange on the regulatory aspects underpinning its acquisition of the Baltic Exchange. Other clients include Gravis Capital Partners, Crowdcube Capital and Route 66 Ventures.

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Flotations: small and mid-cap
Flotations: small and mid-cap - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG has been active in the AIM arena since the market first launched in 1995; the firm acts for companies located worldwide on their transactions in this space. Sunil Kakkad, who jointly heads the practice with Jeffrey Elway, acts for Indian companies and financial institutions on cross-border matters. Sefton Collett handles equity capital markets transactions across a number of jurisdictions, particularly in Australia. Dominic Prentis has experience acting for companies based in Russia and French-speaking parts of West Africa. John Reed advised Vinacapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund Limited on its move from AIM to the Official List, one of only six investment funds to have moved since 2011. Another recommended individual is Kristian Rogers, who acted for venture capital investor Draper Esprit on its admissions to the AIM market and Irish ESM Market, as well as associated fundraising of more than £100m.

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M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m
M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s ‘very responsive’ department is ‘client-focused’ and ‘truly provides value for money’. Energy and real estate are sector strengths: energy expert Gareth Baker advised Primrose Solar Management on its sale of four UK solar farms to Bluefield Solar Income Fund for a total of £118m, while Stuart Young, who is also noted for his strength in the automotive space, acted for Opus Energy Group’s shareholders on the company’s proposed £340m sale to Drax Group. Cross-border highlights included John Reed and Michael Lacey’s advice to Dolphin Capital Investors on its €64m sale of the Playa Grande Golf and Resort in the Dominican Republic to a joint venture company. Equity capital markets specialist Hugh Maule advised Audley Court on its £170m purchase by Moorfield Audley Real Estate Fund. Technology and life sciences specialist Ian Piggin advised STAR Capital Partners on its £50m purchase of Synergy Health Management Services from Synergy Health (UK). The ‘extremely responsiveCharles Bond is strong in the natural resources space; his clients include Hummingbird Resources, GoldBridges Global, Stellar Diamonds and Trafigura. Sunil Kakkad leads the group.

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Private equity: transactions
Private equity: transactions – Mid-cap deal capability - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG

Led by Ian Piggin, Gowling WLG’s 11-partner team regularly handles mid-market transactions involving the real estate, energy, technology, healthcare and life sciences sectors. Andy Stylianou recently assisted Equiom Group with a series of acquisitions as part of its plans to expand internationally through a buy and build strategy. In another highlight, Piggin acted for Star Capital Partners on its £50m acquisition of Synergy Health Managed Services Limited. LDC, Livingbridge and NVM Private Equity are among the longstanding clients of the practice. Jeremy Millington and Gareth Baker are recommended, as is recently promoted partner Chris Towle.

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Trade, WTO, anti-dumping, and customs
Trade, WTO, anti-dumping, and customs - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG

Bernardine Adkins heads the practice at Gowling WLG, which is noted for its expertise in relation to EU and UK sanctions law, export control and international trade, and EU trade defence investigations. David Lowe, senior associate Oyebola Ajayi, and associate Rory Jones are the key figures. Adkins’s highlights included advising clients on bringing an anti-dumping complaint to the European Union, on the potential application of US, EU, and UK sanctions regimes in multiple jurisdictions, and on the impact of the introduction of the Union Customs Code on importing, exporting, and the storing or processing of goods prior to payment of customs charges in the EU. Key clients include Dixons Carphone, AstraZeneca UK, The Estee Lauder Companies, Aston Martin Lagonda, and Seiko Epson Corporation.

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Venture capital
Venture capital - ranked: tier 4

Gowling WLG (London, Birmingham)

Led out of London by Ian Piggin, and also aided by a well-established offering in Birmingham, Gowling WLG has a significant following among venture capital funds and investee companies, with a particular focus on the healthcare and tech sectors. Recent highlights include advising Epidarex Capital on its Series A investment into biotech company Nodthera. The team also continues to be active on behalf of BGF Ventures in a series of its venture capital investments into growth-stage UK businesses, including on its £4m Series A investment and its £4m investment into Mastered Limited as part of a Series A fundraising round. On the investee front, Piggin recently acted for mobile ticketing app platform, Dice FM, on a Series A investment which was led by Evolution Capital Partners alongside five other venture capital funds. Gareth Baker has experience of handling venture capital-related energy deals. Other clients include Draper Espirit, Primrose Solar and Neyber.

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London: Crime, fraud and licensing

Fraud: civil
Fraud: civil - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG provides ‘commercial and practical advice in complex situations’ and ‘has great strength and depth in the team, given its international coverage’. The firm is particularly strong in asset tracing matters, and also has notable expertise in financial services, contentious trusts, insolvency and anti-bribery. Practice head James Sidwell specialises in disputes across the banking and financial services sectors, and, along with Andrew Witts, acted for The Federal Republic of Brazil and The Municipality of Sao Paulo in proceedings against two companies on the grounds of unjust enrichment. The team also continues to advise First Peninsula Trustees in a multijurisdictional litigation arising out of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

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London: Dispute resolution

Banking litigation: investment and retail
Banking litigation: investment and retail - ranked: tier 6

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s ‘outstanding team’ frequently acts in high-profile regulatory matters, including LIBOR and FX cases; the practice is also recommended for disputes involving structured finance, restructuring and fraud, as well as complex cross-border banking litigation. The team acted for First Peninsula Trustees and Port of Hercules Trustees, as defendants to claims relating to two of the largest Madoff feeder funds. James Sidwell has extensive experience in banking and finance litigation, as well as contentious regulatory matters; and Catherine Naylor was promoted to director; she has a particular focus on complex multi-jurisdictional cases.

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Commercial litigation
Commercial litigation - ranked: tier 6

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s ‘very commercial team provides practical advice to deal with complex situations’. James Sidwell specialises in domestic and cross-border disputes in the banking and financial services sectors, together with fraud and asset tracing, contentious trusts and regulatory enforcement work; Sidwell’s experience includes acting for the Federal Republic of Brazil in relation to the successful recovery of assets. Alex Jay is ‘a very accomplished lawyer’.

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International arbitration
International arbitration - ranked: tier 6

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG hired Reed Smith LLP’s former co-head of international arbitration, Gordon Bell. The practice has sector expertise in energy and natural resources; defence; international insurance and reinsurance; large international construction disputes, particularly in relation to the Middle East and Africa; and complex international IP disputes, especially in the mobile phone technology and aerospace sectors. David Breslin and Birmingham’s Tom Price, who is ‘very commercial in approach and always on top of the detail’, are the international arbitration co-heads.

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Mediators
Mediators - ranked: tier 3

Andrew Manning Cox - Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s Andrew Manning Cox is ‘definitely competent in terms of possessing a thoughtful and analytical, lawyer-mediator approach’. Recent experience includes acting as a mediator in disputes that ranged in value from £100,000 to £24m, involving joint venture and partnership issues, property claims, franchises, construction and engineering, as well as product liability, professional negligence cases, fraud, employment, and commercial agency agreements.

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London: Finance

Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans
Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans - ranked: tier 6

Gowling WLG

Led by the ‘responsiveKirsty Barnes out of London and also including practitioners based in Birmingham, Gowling WLG is particularly well regarded for its mid-market work, where it advises on multi-currency secured and unsecured domestic and cross-border matters. The ‘pragmatic and efficientChris Brierley recently advised Hill Smith Holdings on the amendment and restatement of its banking facilities with a syndicate of banks (including HSBC and Lloyds). ‘Responsive and client-focused’ director Ed Hall is also recommended and handles a range of work for banks and borrowers including corporate banking and real estate finance matters.

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Corporate restructuring and insolvency
Corporate restructuring and insolvency - ranked: tier 8

Gowling WLG (London, Birmingham)

Spread out between the firm’s London and Birmingham offices, Gowling WLG’s five-partner team handles a range of contentious and non-contentious work for stakeholders including investors, pension trustees, clearing bank and asset based lenders, IPs and turnaround professionals. ‘Strategic thinkerAndrew Witts is noted for his contentious expertise which includes fraud and asset recovery matters; he continues to represent the liquidators of Stanford Bank on all matters concerning its UK assets. The ‘knowledgeableAlex Jay provides an ‘excellent client service’ across a range of contentious insolvency matters and is also involved in the aforementioned matter. Julian Pallett is also recommended. Clients include Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and Menzies Business Recovery.

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London: Human resources

Employment: employers and senior executives
Employment: employers - ranked: tier 7

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s ‘strong’ team assists employers with regulatory matters and in litigation brought by former employees. Mark Greenburgh has been advising the Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchestser on severance agreements and pension rights issues before the Ombudsman and the High Court. The team is led by Jane Fielding, who is ‘pragmatic, clear, balanced and quick to respond’, and includes Jonathan Chamberlain and Martin Chitty.

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Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s ‘excellent’ and ‘responsive’ team is highly rated for its ‘tailored advice’. Practice head Andrew Litchfield, who ‘has a wealth of experience’ and ‘can be relied on in a crisis’, represented food manufacturer Bakkavor in a HSE prosecution arising from an employee suffering an arm injury at the client’s bakery site. ‘Calm and measured’ senior associate Natalie Barton-Howes is also recommended. Susan Dearden is now at Finch Consulting. Other clients include Starbucks, Tuffnells and Cemex UK.

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Pensions
Pensions (non-contentious) - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG

Pensions: dispute resolution - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG

Considered ‘strong’ and ‘very good’ by clients, Gowling WLG’s practice has particular strength in pensions disputes, covering professional negligence and breach of trust claims, rectification and regulatory investigations, among other areas. The ‘very experienced’ and ‘proactivePeter Shave, who heads the contentious practice, acted for the trustees of the Sea Containers 1983 Pension Scheme in a negligence claim brought against former professional advisers regarding members’ benefits and liabilities. Ian Gordon assisted a telecoms employer in relation to claims of breach of duty following the closure of a scheme. Non-contentious highlights included advising insurer Ellipse regarding the structuring of a new product, including compliance matters. Clients single out Jason Coates, Paul Feathers and associate Nicky Yarwood, who is ‘easy to engage with’ and ‘appreciates the needs of the client’.

Leading individuals

Peter Shave - Gowling WLG

Next generation lawyers

Nicky Yarwood - Gowling WLG

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London: Insurance

Insurance and reinsurance litigation
Insurance and reinsurance litigation - ranked: tier 6

Gowling WLG

Allianz, Arthur J. Gallagher and Validus are among Gowling WLG’s key clients. Practice head David Breslin is ‘very insightful with respect to the London market’ and also excels in industry loss warranty claims, multijurisdictional disputes and Bermuda Form arbitration. He has been acting in marine reinsurance, D&O and property damage matters. Principal associate Susannah Fink is recommended for financial lines coverage issues. Before joining DWF, Antony Woodhouse represented Grands Moulins de Mali in Commercial Court proceedings brought under a marine cargo insurance policy against Nedbank.

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Insurance: corporate and regulatory
Insurance: corporate and regulatory - ranked: tier 4

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s group acts for insurers and policyholders alike, and regularly advises corporate and real estate clients on policy wordings, risk transfer projects and various regulatory issues. The firm also has a strong track record in M&A transactions, and has been actively involved in assisting clients with warranty and indemnity insurance procurement and contingent risk policy issues to support their M&A activity. Highlights included advising Thomas Miller on its proposed merger with Tindall Riley, a transaction that would significantly impact the protection and indemnity sector; acting for Ecclesiastical Insurance Office on a variety of tax, data protection and employment issues; and assisting internet-based risk insurer Ellipse with the structuring of its new life product. Other active clients include Marsh, Crispin Speers and Partners, and the Trustees of the Pirelli Tyres Pensions Scheme. David Breslin heads the team, and has notable expertise in the financial lines, marine and energy sectors. Michael Lacey is the name to note for non-contentious matters.

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Professional negligence
Professional negligence - ranked: tier 5

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s practice is noted for its pensions disputes expertise, acing for accountants, actuaries and other pension professionals, and is also active in construction disputes. It acted for Philips Electronics UK and Philips Pension Trustees in a £300m claim against Aon Hewitt and AllianceBernstein, the fund’s investment advisers and investment managers. It is also representing E.On in a dispute pertaining to defects encountered at E.On’s offshore windfarm development, known as Robin Rigg. ‘Excellent litigatorIan Gordon and the ‘fantasticPeter Shave are noted for their expertise in pensions-related cases. Recently promoted director Tim Crockford is ‘bright, highly capable and very personable’. Former team head Jane Howard joined Reed Smith LLP in 2017, and James Gordon has also left the firm.

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London: Investment fund formation and management

Listed funds
Listed funds - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG had a strong 2016, handling two investment fund IPOs in a relatively quiet year for the market. Kristian Rogers advised Draper Esprit on its IPO, which raised £100m on both the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and the Enterprise Securities Market in Dublin. Rogers also advised Pacific Industrial & Logistics REIT on its IPO, which raised £10m on AIM. As far secondary share issuances are concerned, John Reed advised Empiric Student Property on a £125m share issuance programme, while Oliver Riley and senior associate Kate Seabourne advised GCP Asset Backed Income Fund on a £60m accelerated book build. Other highlights included Reed advising Vinacapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund on its transition from the AIM to the London Stock Exchange’s main market. Practice head Nick Heather advised Liberum Capital on a £53m issuance of zero-dividend preference shares.

Leading individuals

Nick Heather - Gowling WLG

Next generation lawyers

Kate Seabourne - Gowling WLG

Kristian Rogers - Gowling WLG

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London: Private client

Personal tax, trusts and probate
Leading individuals

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London: Projects, energy and natural resources

Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP)
Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP) - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG handles high-value defence and transport infrastructure PPP work domestically and has recently increased its international presence, especially in Africa, where Andrew Newbery, who joined the firm in 2016, is acting for the Emerging Infrastructure Fund and GuarantCo on its loan to a fuel storage provider to fund existing commercial agreements and a new independent power project. Projects practice head for the UK Stephen Kenny recently advised new client MUJV on the extension of the Connaught PFI with the MoD and also acted for the South London Waste Partnership on the procurement of a long-term contract for waste and recycling collection, street cleaning and maintenance. Birmingham-based senior associate Alexandra Poynter assisted Kenny in both these matters. Other notable client wins include Natixis, Greenage Power and Exim, who has appointed the firm to assist with the financing structure of the NuGen nuclear power project in Moorside.

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Mining and minerals
Mining and minerals - ranked: tier 4

Gowling WLG

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Oil and gas
Oil and gas - ranked: tier 4

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG advises clients such as NuStar, Essar and EOG on the full range of oil and gas work both internationally and abroad. On the transactional front, global head of oil and gas David Ponsford has significant experience in upstream, midstream and downstream M&A, private equity and capital markets transactions, and joint ventures; he was part of the team advising Upland on farm-ins to a 10% interest in two UK onshore petroleum exploration and development licenses in the Wressle Field. The team also acted for the shareholders of Opus on its sale to Drax, while global head of natural resources Charles Bond acted for AGR Energy on its acquisition of shares in Max Petroleum’s Dutch subsidiary. Gordon Bell, who specialises in international arbitration and oil and gas disputes in emerging markets, joined the practice from Reed Smith LLP, where he co-headed the international arbitration unit.

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Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables)
Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables) - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG

Derek Goodban heads Gowling WLG’s UK energy offering and co-heads the global energy group; he is noted for his experience in M&A transactions, regulatory work and contractual matters. Goodban Gareth Baker and Andrew Newbery, who recently joined the firm from Thames Water, led a team advising Greenage on the development of the NeuConnect subsea interconnector power cable between the UK and Germany. Goodban and the Birmingham-based Gus Wood advised Opus on its sale to the Drax Group, while Chris Brierley – who is also based in Birmingham – acted for Ecotricity on the financing of a portfolio of wind and solar parks. The team is also involved in the government’s smart energy meter rollout programme – where John Cooper plays a key role – as well as the funding structure of a proposed major nuclear project, and the power purchase agreement for a high-profile offshore wind farm in the North Sea. Other recent arrivals include infrastructure and planning partner Vicky Fowler, who joined the from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, and counsel Robert Armour, who transferred from a leading UK nuclear power entity and heads the UK nuclear group.

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Water
Water - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s new practice head Andrew Newbery, who joined after having run his own consultancy, acts for clients such as Ofwat, Severn Trent and the municipality of Dubai. Stephen Kenny, who leads the UK projects practice, assisted MUJV with the sub-contracts for utilities works and services with Aspire Defence for the extension of the Connaught PFI with the ministry of defence, and head of the EU, trade and competition department Bernardine Adkins is representing a manufacturer and distributor of water storage tanks in a civil investigation into cartel behaviour. For environmental law, the team can rely on regulatory expert Lee McBride and Andrew Litchfield, who specialises in defending claims brought by the Environment Agency and civil bodies; they are both based in the Birmingham office.

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London: Public sector

Administrative and public law
Administrative and public law - ranked: tier 5

Gowling WLG

The ‘business acumen and industry knowledge is first rate’ in Gowling WLG’s Birmingham-based team, which includes director Ravi Randhawa and principal associate Kieran Laird. ‘Very professional’ practice head John Cooper – who ‘always produces tailored and relevant advice’ - represented Hovis, together with principal associate Chris Warburton, in appealing the Environment Agency’s decision to fine the company for failing to meet targets that were outlined in a climate change agreement in the First-Tier Tribunal. TradeMark East Africa and Kenya Ports Authority have retained the firm in reviewing and redrafting its port sector legislation, in order to attract investments from international port operators. The DBEIS, Office of Rail and Road, and Southampton City Council are key clients.

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Healthcare
Healthcare - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s ‘responsive and well-connected’ team’s expertise in the healthcare space spans projects, corporate transactions, procurement matters, and alliance contracting in the private and public sector. The group counts NHS contractors, investors, clinical commissioning groups and NHS foundations trusts among its clients. Inquests and investigations form an important part of the group’s regulatory practice, which is headed by Andrew Litchfield. Practice head Robert Breedon led a team assisting NHS Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Newark and Sherwood Clinical Commissioning Group with the governance, procurement and commercial aspects of the development of its system-wide ‘Better Together’ alliance with Nottinghamshire County Council and ten service providers. Breedon also advised NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group with procurement for a primary and acute care system contract and related governance matters. In another highlight, the group assisted Labco Diagnostics UK and Synlab UK with the merger of the UK operations of the group following its acquisition by Cinven. Michael Lacey, finance specialist Jon Lent and real estate lawyer Christine Jackson are also recommended.

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Local government
Local government - ranked: tier 4

Gowling WLG

At Gowling WLG, Mark Greenburgh is noted for his employment expertise, regularly advising clients on general employment issues, equality mandates, bribery cases and whistleblowing matters. Sarah Sasse heads the firm’s public sector IT and outsourcing practice and is recognised for her public procurement and commercial contract experience advising public bodies, local authorities and commissioners. The multidisciplinary team also includes experts from the firm’s pensions, real estate, IP, infrastructure, energy and regulation practices.

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London: Real estate

Commercial property
Commercial property: development - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG

Commercial property: general - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG

Commercial property: hotels and leisure - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG

Commercial property: investment - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG

Commercial property: retail - ranked: tier 1

Gowling WLG

Although Gowling WLG’s offering is led from Birmingham by Richard Bate, the practice maintains a substantial London presence that includes key players such as Jon Lloyd, Rabinder Chaggar, and Peter Thorne. Lloyd recently acted for Merlin UK Property Venture Luxembourg on the £120m sale of The Broadway Shopping Centre, Bexleyheath, to New River Retail UK; and in another example of investment work, Robert Adam assisted TIAA Henderson with the £115m sale of Ryder Court, St James’s, to Vanke. In the development sub-sector, Thorne continued to advise VSM on all aspects of the redevelopment of the New Covent Garden market, including its pending sale; and Chaggar represented a joint venture of the Crown Estate and TIAA Henderson on the development arrangements with Exeter City Council for the development of a new mixed-use retail/leisure shopping centre at Princesshay, Exeter. The retail sector is a particular area of strength and the team enjoys a good balance of landlord and tenant work, with retailer clients including Specsavers Optical Superstores, Jaeger and Under Armour. In one highlight, Chaggar advised a joint venture partnership between the Crown Estate Commissioners and TH Real Estate on the mixed-use leisure-and-retail development of the existing bus garage site in Exeter city centre. Corporate specialist Michael Lacey leads on hotel and leisure work, and advised Dolphin Capital Investors on the disposal of its 100% interest in the Playa Grande Golf and Resort project in the Dominican Republic.

Leading individuals

Jon Lloyd - Gowling WLG

Peter Thorne - Gowling WLG

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Construction: contentious and non-contentious
Construction: contentious - ranked: tier 4

Gowling WLG

Construction: non-contentious - ranked: tier 4

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s predominantly Birmingham-based team, continued to be engaged on a number of important London projects during 2016; non-contentious head Richard Green and London-based Philip Baker are advising Battersea Power Station Development Company on the construction aspects of various elements of the £8bn redevelopment of Battersea power station, and Green is also assisting VSM (NCGM) with the redevelopment of the New Covent Garden market site in Nine Elms, London. The team’s recent contentious-side caseload saw Daniel Wood represent E.ON Climate & Renewables in the Supreme Court in a significant claim arising from defects encountered at E.ON’s offshore windfarm development in the Solway Firth; and Sue Ryan and Ashley Pigott act for Commercial Management (Investments) in multi-party TCC proceedings arising from the design and construction of a manufacturing warehouse in Erith. Other names to note include contentious head Michael O'Shea and London-based international arbitration specialist Gordon Bell, who joined from Reed Smith LLP. All named partners are based in Birmingham except where stated otherwise.

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Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s practice welcomed the ‘excellent’ Vicky Fowler from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, who took charge of the team following Clare Fielding’s departure for Town Legal LLP. Fowler’s expertise takes in city offices, residential, retail and major regeneration projects; her recent work includes providing strategic planning advice to U+I in relation to a major regeneration scheme at Morden Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula, and also advising Friends Life and DMI Properties on all planning aspects for the development of a strategic employment site in Sevington, Ashford. The practice handles a high volume of public sector work, where clients include Westminster City Council and London Borough of Barnet; Fowler is advising TfL on CIL issues raised by Battersea Project Holding Company in connection with Battersea Power Station. On the contentious side, Fowler and senior associate Tim Sharp successfully acted for Grafton Group in challenging the Secretary of State for Transport’s decision to make a compulsory purchase order to acquire Orchard Wharf.

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Property finance
Property finance - ranked: tier 3

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s ‘speedy, commercial’ department is noted for its ‘partner-led’ service and lender-side strength; clients include UK clearing banks, German banks, debt funds and alternative lenders. It also acts for borrowers on hotel investment and development financings. The ‘commercial, clairvoyantJon Lent and practice head Nick Turner advised a high-profile UK clearing bank on the amendment of an existing £102m facility and on a new £22m facility for Commercial Estates Group to develop a seven-storey office building – the first phase of a £400m, 57-acre development at Kirkstall Forge, Leeds. Turner also acted for ICG-Longbow Debt Investments as arranger on a £118m facility to finance the acquisition of Welbeck Street car park, to be developed into a 145-bedroom hotel; and advised HSBC Bank and Bank of East Asia on a £166m loan to Knight Dragon for the construction of a residential tower on Greenwich Peninsula. On the borrower side, Lent acted for Empiric Student Property on a £120m loan secured against a portfolio of income-generating property assets. Legal director Oliver Bretherton is also recommended.

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG

Martin Thomas, who splits his time between the firm’s London and Birmingham offices, leads the national practice at Gowling WLG, which includes rights to light expert Anne Waltham, Birmingham-based Carole Peet, who handles arbitration and mediations, principal associate Charlotte Tyfield, who is recommended for lease renewals, development disputes, dilapidation claims and rent reviews, and Clive Chalkley. Other areas of expertise for the group include service charge issues, option agreements, landlord and tenant disputes and insolvency-related matters. Clients include JPMorgan, Royal London and Waitrose.

Leading individuals

Anne Waltham - Gowling WLG

Martin Thomas - Gowling WLG

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Social housing: finance
Social housing: finance - ranked: tier 4

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s practice head Chris Brierley is handling various matters for key client the Sanctuary Group, including advising on its entrance into a revolving credit facility with HSBC, assisting with the recent transfer of Sanctuary (North West) Housing Association’s work to Sanctuary Housing Association, and handling the transfer of engagements of its Scottish entities Cumbernauld Housing Partnership and Tenants First into Social Housing Association. Pension Insurance Corporation, Iliad Cosgrove and Home Group are also clients. Key figures include tax specialist Lee Nuttall, Angela Rawlins, who regularly handles finance arrangements for housing associations, and Navin Prabhakar. Colin Hurt retired in 2016.

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London: Risk advisory

Regulatory investigations and corporate crime
Regulatory investigations and corporate crime - ranked: tier 4

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s team is ‘excellent on all fronts’, and is appreciated for its ‘very quick responses, pragmatic advice, and current and appropriate knowledge’. The firm has advised on the regulatory aspects of claims arising from two major Ponzi schemes, and retains a strong client base of accountancy firms, banks and insolvency practitioners involved in FCA and SFO investigations. Practice head James Sidwell specialises in cross-border asset tracing and white-collar criminal cases, and chairman Andrew Witts is also a name to note.

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London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Brand management
Brand management - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG handles multi-jurisdictional brand management and advertising matters for clients in food and drink, automotive, retail and technology sectors; representative clients include Weetabix, Mothercare, Oxfam and Volkswagen Group. The group is primarily an advertising and marketing practice, with considerable experience in intellectual property management and enforcement. Recent highlights include assisting A Nelson & Co with trade mark enforcement and protection issues across a number of jurisdictions; advising Baker Tilly International on its global brand licensing project; and acting for Carlsberg on the successful defence of an ASA complaint regarding its YouTube advertisement. Key contacts include advertising expert Dan Smith and Kate Swaine, who specialises in the enforcement and clearance of brands, advertising and designs; they are supported by George Sevier, who has particular expertise in online brand management, covering issues involving the use of trade marks in keyword advertising, domain name recovery matters, and removing infringing products from online stores. Mathilda Davidson has particular expertise in food and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) marketing and charity promotions.

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IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 4

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s technology team is spread across the firm’s London and Birmingham offices, and has strengths in IT and outsourcing. Clients include Marks & Spencer and the London Borough of Croydon. Sally Mewies heads the team, and has considerable experience handling technology contracts-related matters. Patrick Arben, who focuses on contentious issues in the technology sector, recently acted for Sanctuary Housing in a SAP software implementation dispute with Ciber UK. Sarah Sasse has expertise in IT and outsourcing, most notably in the public sector, and is handling a significant procurement project for the University of Leeds. Vanessa de Froberville is a data protection specialist.

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG

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Media and entertainment (including media finance)
Media and entertainment (including media finance) - ranked: tier 4

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG is best known for acting for global brands, providing national and international brand management and advertising advice. It advised Nomad Foods on the consolidation and re-tendering of its pan-European media account, and advises Weetabix on IP matters, as well as international advertising law issues. Director Dan Smith is noted for his expertise in advertising law. Carlsberg and Mothercare are also clients. Birmingham-based Kate Swaine is head of brands and specialises in the enforcement and clearance of brands, advertising and designs.

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Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology
Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology - ranked: tier 2

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG has ‘a very responsive and strong team with a wealth of experience in delivering practical and reliable advice’. The team, which includes highly regarded patent litigators Paul Inman and Luke Kempton, has had a knockout year; highlights included successfully represening Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics in patent litigation regarding the validity of certain Humira dosing regiments against AbbVie. Patrick Duxbury heads the life sciences practice from its Birmingham office, and is assisted by London-based corporate lawyer Ian Piggin, who is ‘a very strong, business-oriented and creative negotiator’. The team handles a steady flow of collaboration transactions in 2016, as well as a number of corporate and investment mandates; highlights included assisting Heptares Therapeutics with its $3.37bn agreement with Allergan, advising Crescendo Biologics on its collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company for the development and commercialisation of therapeutics aimed at cancer indications with a high unmet medical need, and acting on the collaboration deal and commercialisation of Argenx’s preclinical-stage human antibody ARX-115 with AbbVie.

Leading individuals

Patrick Duxbury - Gowling WLG

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London: Transport

Aviation
Aviation - ranked: tier 4

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG handles a range of mandates for aviation-sector clients inlcuding IP, competition, dispute resolution, pensions and employment matters. It is acting for Thai Airways in proceedings brought by British Airways in the UK Air Cargo litigation. dnata and Monarch Airlines are also clients. The team is predominantly based across its London and Birmingham offices and is led by litigation partner Clark Sargent. Bernardine Adkins handles competition and antitrust matters, and principal associate James Barr is noted for IT, commercial and outsourcing advice in the aviation sector.

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Rail
Rail - ranked: tier 5

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s rail practice advises on new station developments, station upgrades, as well as overstation and over-track developments. It also advises on Network Rail interface agreements on behalf of developers and London Underground, and acts for freight operators and users. It is advising Barnet Council on the closure of existing rail freight facilities, the delivery of a new rail freight facility and new railway station as part of a regeneration scheme. It is also acting for Crossrail Ltd on an over-site development at Liverpool Street. Key figures include non-contentious construction specialist Richard Green, who advises on new station developments; consultant Michael Whitehouse, who is experienced in UK rail projects; and of counsel Michael Hallowell, who is experienced in real estate. Giles Clifford heads the team.

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