The Legal 500

Steptoe & Johnson

Work 020 7367 8000
Fax 020 7367 8001
Washington DC, Phoenix, Palo Alto, New York, Los Angeles, Los Angeles and 4 more



London: Corporate and commercial

Within EU and competition EU and competition: Trade, WTO, anti-dumping, customs

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

Steptoe & Johnson completed ten deals in 2012, in areas such as manufacturing, retail, technology and real estate. Highlights included advising Illinois Tool Works on the UK aspects of the sale of its paint finishing business to Graco. Michael Thompson heads the three-partner team, which also has a growing emerging markets focus.

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London: Crime, fraud and licensing

Within Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption), Steptoe & Johnson is a third tier firm,

Steptoe & Johnson has been acting in some significant fraud disputes. Ray Werbicki is recommended along with Patrick Rappo, who joined from the SFO.

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Within Fraud: civil, Steptoe & Johnson is a third tier firm,

Steptoe & Johnson is assisting various European companies in relation to compliance with EU economic sanctions and export control issues. Ray Werbicki is a key contact.

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London: Dispute resolution

Within Commercial litigation, tier 6

Steptoe & Johnson’s group is ‘extremely client friendly’. It has particular skill in disputes involving trade, EU regulation, fraud, technology, energy and insurance, and deals with public and private international law matters. Ray Werbicki is ‘recommended without reservation’.

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Within International arbitration, tier 6

Steptoe & Johnson represented 12 investors in two BIT-related arbitrations against Zimbabwe. Ray Werbicki and Matthew Coleman are recommended. Global arbitration co-chair Patrick Norton has relocated to London from Washington DC, while Egishe Dzhazoyan joined King & Spalding International LLP.

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Within Public international law, Steptoe & Johnson is a third tier firm,

Steptoe & Johnson’s global arbitration co-chair Patrick Norton relocated to London from Washington DC in 2012. The team served as lead counsel to 12 investors in two ICSID arbitrations against Zimbabwe, which arose from alleged BIT breaches. Matthew Colemanalways commits to cases’, and has significant experience in Africa and Middle East related investment treaty arbitration.

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London: Insurance

Within Insurance and reinsurance litigation, tier 6

Angus Rodger heads the insurance practice at Steptoe & Johnson, which was active in 2012 on behalf of clients such as Pacific & Orient and HDI-Gerling. Gavin Coull and Damian Cleary moved to Locke Lord LLP, and associate Tim Searle is now with Clyde & Co LLP.

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Within Insurance: corporate and regulatory, tier 4

Angus Rodger leads the team at Steptoe & Johnson, which advises insurers on regulatory and transactional issues. Active clients in 2012 included CIGNA and XL. Rodger advised French insurer CNP on a pension buy-in and buy-out for a multinational corporation.

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London: Real estate

Within Commercial property, tier 4

Steptoe & Johnson is ‘very good at giving sound and practical advice’. Brendan Patterson heads the team, which includes Matthew Farmer, who has ‘a strong grip on complex agreements for developments and joint ventures’, associate Simon Collis, who is ‘very competent with a good eye for detail’, and Sam Kelly. The firm acted for Bride Hall Group on a number of mixed-use schemes.

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Within Construction, tier 5

Steptoe & Johnson’s Jonathan Raynes represents suppliers in high-value defect and construction disputes. Clients include Zamil Steel Industries and Electroglass.

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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