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Dentons

ONE FLEET PLACE, LONDON, EC4M 7WS, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 020 7242 1212
Fax:
Fax 020 7246 7777
DX:
242 LONDON CHANCERY LANE WC2
Web:
www.dentons.com
Abu Dhabi, Albany, Almaty, Amman, Amsterdam, Astana and 89 more

Top-tier Firm rankings

Firm Rankings


London: Corporate and commercial

Commercial contracts
Commercial contracts - ranked: tier 1

Dentons

Dentons’ strong credentials in the commercial contracts sphere are underpinned by the firm’s international footprint, and its wide sector coverage, which includes energy, retail, healthcare, education, financial services and aviation. The diverse workload covers large-scale IT and business process outsourcings and procurements, technology projects, sale of goods agreements, franchise agreements, distribution agreements and joint ventures, among other areas. Andy Lucas, Dan Burge and Scott Singer jointly head the standalone practice, which generates mandates of significant scale and complexity from blue-chip clients such as Royal Mail Group, EDF Energy and ASOS. Scott Singer, John Woolley, Martin Fanning and others assisted longstanding client Sainsbury’s with a number of matters in 2016, including the renegotiation of its merchant acquiring agreements with Worldpay and Barclaycard for their Visa and Mastercard payment systems, and separately, on a facilities management agreement with Argos. In another highlight, Fanning, Singer and Richard Macklin led the advice to John Lewis Partnership on its commercial joint venture with Clipper Logistics for a click-and-collect service for customers, as well as a next-day delivery service at its high street stores across the UK. In addition to acting for private sector companies, the team generates work from public sector bodies; Lucas and Catherine Bingham are experienced in advising central government departments and agencies on outsourcing and technology projects. Babette Märzheuser-Wood and of counsel Tatiana Kruse are other notable individuals in the team.

Leading individuals

Martin Fanning - Dentons

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Corporate tax
Corporate tax - ranked: tier 6

Dentons

Dentons offers ‘technical and commercially reliable’ tax advice in connection with M&A, reorganisations, joint venture agreements and funds and real estate transactions. Department head Alex Thomas, who has an active transactional and advisory tax practice, advised John Lewis on the tax provisions of a joint venture agreement with Clipper Logistics. The team has extensive experience in the oil and gas sector and acted for Hurricane Energy on its £74m capital raising and open offer to existing shareholders, for the purpose of developing certain North Sea assets. Another ‘first-class tax lawyer’ in the team, senior associate Suhail Qureshi displays ‘exceptional commercial acumen’ and has been involved in a range of corporate transactions in 2016-2017. Jeremy Cape joined Squire Patton Boggs in 2017, and Andrew Thornton took a position with one of the firm’s underwriter clients.

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EU and competition
EU and competition - ranked: tier 5

Dentons

Dentons has a sector-focused practice with particular strengths in the energy, financial institutions, retail, transport, construction, and media areas. Practice head Adrian Magnus and managing associate Alex Haffner continued to advise World Fuel Services Corp on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of ExxonMobil’s aviation fuelling operations, which involved securing clearance in multiple jurisdictions, including by the European Commission. Other recent work includes advising John Lewis on competition aspects of its partnership with Clipper Logistics, and advising NYX Gaming Group on merger control aspects of its acquisition of OpenBet, which involved multiple jurisdictions. Managing associate Rebecca Owen-Howes is part of the team advising Total Outre-Mer on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of shares in Gulf Africa Petroleum Corporation from Reliance Industries. The team’s other clients include Flextronics, Aegon UK, Accor Hotels, J Sainsbury, and Royal Mail Group.

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

Dentons

Although the team was weakened on the commodities and derivatives regulatory front by the departure in December 2016 of Rosali Pretorius to Simmons & Simmons, Dentons still remains a presence in the market, particularly in relation to the regulatory aspects associated with retail and wealth management sectors. ‘Commercial and technical’ team head Michael Wainwright recently provided the regulatory overlay pursuant to Aegon’s £140m acquisition of investment platform Cofunds. Wainwright also advised UBS Private Bank on an update of the bank’s mortgage documentation to reflect changes to FCA rules following the implementation of the mortgage credit directive. ‘Responsive and commercial’ managing associate Nicholas Ralph has ‘extensive technical knowledge of financial services laws in the UK and is able to identify risks and solutions quickly and succinctly’. Other clients include Skipton Builing Society, The Co-operative Bank and LGT Group Foundation.

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Flotations: small and mid-cap
Flotations: small and mid-cap - ranked: tier 3

Dentons

Dentons’ footprint in the Middle East, CIS region and Africa is a notable driver of work for the London team, which is led by David Collins. It has a strong track record in mid-market IPOs; transactions span a wide range of sectors, with oil and gas, automotive and technology being particular areas of strength. Its workload also covers secondary offerings, reverse takeovers, private placements and tender offers. Darren Acres and others are acting for Hurricane Energy in a $520m fundraise through an accelerated bookbuild to finance the development of an untapped oilfield on the UK Continental Shelf. The firm also advised the same client on two other separate fundraisings in 2016. In addition to acting for issuers, Collins’ team also advises NOMADs and brokers on AIM-related issues; clients include Brandon Hill Capital, Westhouse and Allenby Capital. Neil Nicholson, Jeremy Cohen and recently promoted partner Joseph Altendorff are recommended. US securities law expert Cameron Half recently joined from Allen & Overy LLP.

Leading individuals

David Collins - Dentons

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M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+
M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+ - ranked: tier 5

Dentons

Dentons fields an ‘incredibly responsive’ team that frequently handles high-value, multi-jurisdictional M&A; it is ‘hugely impressive’ in its ‘speedy provision of accurate, commercially sound advice’. Clients also praise the team for its ‘high-quality, very professional service’ and its ‘high-end industry exposure’, especially in the energy and manufacturing sectors. Nigel Webber acted for PT Pertamina on its $13.8bn joint venture with Rosneft to develop a refining and petrochemical complex in East Java, while Martin Kitchen advised ONGC Videsh on its $2.2bn purchase of shares in Vankorneft. Other energy clients include Statoil, Tenaga Nasional Berhad and World Fuel Services. David Collins heads the group, which welcomed private equity expert Stephen Levy from Pinsent Masons LLP and corporate real estate specialists Jayne Schnider and Jonathan Cantor from Irwin Mitchell and Nabarro LLP, respectively. Darren Acres is ‘incredibly commercial, pragmatic and responsive’.

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Private equity: transactions
Private equity: transactions – Mid-cap deal capability - ranked: tier 2

Dentons

Dentons has a significant client following of mid-market private equity houses, which includes Graphite Capital, Barclays Ventures and Waterland Private Equity. Nicholas Plant acted for GB Railfreight’s management team on the €180m sale of the business by Eurotunnel to EQT Infrastructure II. The firm also generates work in the large-cap space; Plant recently led the advice to QIC Investment on the €336m sale of Grup Maritim TCB and its maritime services container terminal portfolio in Europe and Latin America to APM Terminals. Illustrative of the international dimension of the practice, Plant and Richard Macklin have particular experience handling private equity investments in Africa. Stephen Levy, who joined from Pinsent Masons LLP in 2016, possesses ‘an exceptional legal mind and is a consummate negotiator’. Also recommended are Jayne Schnider and Jonathan Cantor, who joined from Irwin Mitchell and Nabarro LLP, respectively. In other developments, Eleanor Shanks departed for Proskauer Rose LLP, while Igor Krivoshekov moved to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Jonathan Polin departed for Howard Kennedy LLP. David Collins leads the group, which includes Matthew Tinger.

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London: Dispute resolution

Banking litigation: investment and retail
Banking litigation: investment and retail - ranked: tier 3

Dentons

Dentonsruns cases efficiently’. The practice recently hired Daren Allen as business crime and investigations head from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP and Celyn Armstrong joined from Linklaters LLP, where he was counsel in its financial regulation group. The financial markets disputes group represents financial institutions in complex, high-profile disputes and investigations, and it has been especially active in swaps and mis-selling cases. Other areas of expertise include wholesale banking disputes relating to letters of credit; fraud, money laundering, corruption and compliance; and professional negligence. On the investment banking side, the firm fields specialists in structured products, including credit-linked notes; and equity and commodity derivatives. Highlights included successfully acting for RBS in a high-profile derivatives mis-selling case. Richard Caird is ‘very experienced and gives good counsel’; Felicity Ewing specialises in financial services disputes and contentious regulatory matters; and Thomas Leyland has particular expertise in advising major financial institutions on high-profile, complex, High Court disputes and related appeals, as well as all forms of alternative dispute resolution. Sam Coulthard joined the FCA as a technical specialist.

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Commercial litigation
Commercial litigation - ranked: tier 5

Dentons

Dentons is ‘a really good firm that is very frank with clients regarding legal advice and the commercial aspects of cases’. It routinely advises on litigation arising from shareholder agreements and joint venture disputes; unfair prejudice petitions; derivative claims; and warranty, indemnity and misrepresentation claims arising out of M&A deals. Other areas of strength include disputes concerning pre-emption and subscription rights; issues regarding directors’ duties and board disputes; and urgent remedies such as injunctions. Adrian Giles ‘identifies the key issues with razor-sharp acuity’; Liz Touthas an intuitive sense of the bigger commercial picture’; and Richard Caird is ‘an excellent solicitor’. Felicity Ewing and Thomas Leyland are also key contacts.

Leading individuals

Liz Tout - Dentons

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International arbitration
International arbitration - ranked: tier 5

Dentons

Dentons’ ‘excellent team has very detailed knowledge of the issues from the outset’. It has a robust investor-state practice, and fields lawyers with significant energy and and infrastructure (including construction and transport) sector expertise. The practice also increased its volume of banking-related arbitrations; was recently instructed in aviation, telecoms, education and real estate matters; and its emerging markets expertise is increasingly focused on Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, and the CIS region. Liz Toutvisibly enjoys finding solutions for clients’, and Dan Bodle is ‘impressive’. Dominic Pellew divides time between London and Moscow. Michelle Bradfield moved to Dechert LLP.

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Public international law
Public international law - ranked: tier 4

Dentons

Dentonsgives clear advice’. The practice has particular strength in advising energy clients on PIL issues, including investor-state matters; and it extends beyond investment treaty arbitrations to include sanctions, maritime boundaries, outer continental shelf delimitation issues, and sovereign immunity. Other areas of strength include state responsibility and self-determination; state succession; and ICJ proceedings. It acted for Silver Ridge Power in an investment treaty arbitration claim against the Italian Republic for ECT violations. Dominic Pellew and Andrew Cheung are highly rated. Michelle Bradfield moved to Dechert LLP.

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London: Finance

Acquisition finance
Acquisition finance - ranked: tier 5

Dentons

Led by the ‘experienced, pragmatic and commercialCatherine Astruc, Dentons’ two-partner team provides an ‘excellent service’ to a varied mix of corporates, banks, alternative capital providers and private sponsors. Astruc recently advised a UK clearing bank on the facilities to be provided to an Irish investment fund in relation to its acquisition of shares in a Colombian airline. Praised for his ‘clear and concise communication skills’ and his ‘ability to explain complicated matters in plain English’, Lee Federman has handled numerous financings for NYX Gaming Group, including its £125m unitranche facilities with Ares Capital to facilitate its acquisition of Openbet. Federman also recently advised Cathay Investments on its €29m senior financing with HSBC for its acquisitions of Lantor, PNC Global Logistics and The Original Poster Company. Other clients include KSL Capital Partners, Oak North Bank and Fortress Credit.

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Asset finance and leasing
Asset finance and leasing - ranked: tier 3

Dentons

The ‘very knowledgeable’ and ‘commercial’ team at Dentons acts for a varied mix of operators, lessors, banks and manufacturers on finance transactions within the aviation sector. Paul Holland has a focus on Middle East-related matters and recently acted for Emirates on eight JOLCOs for Airbus A380 and Boeing 777ER aircraft, arranged by Credit Agricole CIB and niche aviation finance advisers Veling. The ‘excellentGreg Kahn regularly handles ship finance mandates for clients including VTB Bank, which he recently advised on a $260m loan for Sovcomflot for the construction of the first ice class LNG vessel and for TUI UK on its acquisition of a 915-cabin cruise ship "Legend of the Seas" from Royal Carribean Cruises. Other recommended partners include the ‘very intelligentSarah Dyke, Nick Chandler and Serge Sergiou. William Gibson joined Vedder Price in June 2017.

Leading individuals

Greg Kahn - Dentons

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Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans
Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans - ranked: tier 3

Dentons

Leveraging its growing international network, Dentons has a strong reputation among banks for syndicated loans work, particularly in the emerging markets. ‘Excellent’ team head Isaac Felberbaum is noted for his work on behalf of banking syndicates providing liquidity to other financial institutions in the emerging markets. Felbarbaum is particularly experienced at handling work emanating out of Turkey and recently advised UniCredit Bank, as facility agent, on the $1.2bn syndicated dual currency loan facility agreement for Turkish financial institution Akbank Türk Anonìm Şìrketì. Lee Federman regularly handles cross-border syndicated financings amnd acted for BNP Paribas and Erste Group Bank, as arrangers, on the €615m syndicated revolving credit facilities with MOL, the Hungarian integrated international oil and gas company. Other clients include Commerzbank, Mizuho Bank and BNP Paribas.

Leading individuals

Isaac Felberbaum - Dentons

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Commodities: derivatives
Commodities: derivatives - ranked: tier 3

Dentons

Energy, infrastructure and project finance partner Mark Cheney, who devotes part of his practice to energy trading matters, and banking partner Matthew Sapte, who focuses on debt capital markets and derivatives, are the key partners in the team at Dentons following the departure of Rosali Pretorius to Simmons & Simmons. Counsel Luca Salerno specialises in non-contentious financial services regulation and advises numerous banks and trading houses on OTC and exchange-traded deals in gas, power, emissions, metals and other commodities. His work includes advice on regulation and credit risk mitigation such as netting, clearing and collateralisation. He recently advised an international oil and gas company on the impact of EU regulations EMIR, MiFID II and CRR on OTC derivatives trades. Salerno also played a key role the team’s work for independent gas and power supplier Utilita Energy Limited on agreements with BP Power and Gas Marketing that included hedging services. The firm also acts for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Export Development Canada.

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Corporate restructuring and insolvency
Corporate restructuring and insolvency - ranked: tier 5

Dentons

Able to leverage the firm’s international network as well as its longstanding presence in the UK insolvency market, Dentons is well-placed to advise a range of stakeholders including banks, funds and corporates engaged in formal insolvencies, in addition to corporate restructurings, often involving cross-border issues. Nigel Barnett is noted, in particular, for his contentious expertise and continues to represent the administrators of Lehman Brothers Intermediate II in the ongoing Waterfall proceedings regarding the disputed distribution of the company's surplus assets. Neil Griffiths is also highly regarded for his contentious expertise, and in a matter involving participation from practitioners in offices across three continents, is representing the special administrator of Cypriot bank FBME Bank on restructuring issues following the DOJs decision to bring sanctions against it for alleged money laundering violations. Other highlights included advising the liquidators on the disposal of the BHS property portfolio. Will Gunston was involved in the aforementioned matter and is a key member of the team that also includes Rachel Anthony, Byron Nurse and Celia Hayward.

Leading individuals

Neil Griffiths - Dentons

Nigel Barnett - Dentons

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Debt capital markets
Debt capital markets - ranked: tier 3

Dentons

Clients are ‘impressed by the diligence, responsiveness and level of knowledge’ at Dentons, which focuses on Islamic finance and debt issuance in growth markets and has a long track record of acting for sovereign entities. DCM specialist David Cohen, who has extensive experience in sovereign debt issues in emerging markets, and associate Gareth Burton ‘provide deep insight and quick responses’. DCM and derivatives partner Matthew Sapte is well known for his work on shari’ah-compliant structures and for his advice to corporate trustees. Corporate partner Nikolas Colbridge focuses on international debt and equity capital markets transactions. Cameron Half, formerly counsel at Allen & Overy LLP, joined as a partner to advise issuers and underwriters on equity and debt offerings. The firm also hired ‘high-quality associate’ Nick Hayday from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP; he joins as a partner. The firm’s diverse workload from 2016 included advising Commerzbank on Lebanese financial institution BankMed’s $500m offering of short-term certificates; acting for the Republic of Ghana on a $750m amortising notes issue; and handling a consent solicitation regarding €600m in outstanding notes for Kazakh state-owned company KazAgro National Management. The firm also acts for Standard Bank of South Africa, mBank and FirstRand Bank.

Next generation lawyers

Gareth Burton - Dentons

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Derivatives and structured products
Derivatives and structured products - ranked: tier 3

Dentons

Dentons has become a more prominent force in the London structured finance market having invested heavily in building out its capability. Working closely with the firm’s strong structured finance practices in New York, Europe and Asia, the London team acts as a key hub for advising rating agencies, banks and corporates including Investec, Credit Suisse, Hyundai Capital and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Its diverse workload includes acting for emerging markets buy-side financial institution and corporate clients on structured equity and credit transactions. Matthew Sapte regularly advises banks and corporates on derivatives and structured finance matters including credit and equity-linked trades and Islamic finance instruments. Edward Hickman, who is co-head of the team, is recommended for structured products, and Mark Cheney for transactions in the energy, infrastrucrure and project finance space. Peter Voisey, who joined in early 2016 from Clifford Chance LLP focuses largely on securitisation but has a broad structured finance practice. Voisey was joined last year by the former head of Clifford Chance LLP’s CLO practice Martin Sharkey, who ‘has industry-leading product knowledge’.

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Emerging markets
Emerging markets - ranked: tier 2

Dentons

Dentons is best known for its capital markets work in emerging markets, though it also has significant expertise in energy, trade finance and project finance. In a standout matter, the London team advised the Republic of Ghana on a $750m sovereign bond issuance, which was combined with two tender offers for outstanding notes; DCM specialist David Cohen led on that deal. The firm’s capital markets team grew in 2016 with the addition of partner Nick Hayday from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, who advises on debt issuances, equity transactions and Islamic finance matters, and whose experience includes deals in the CEE and Africa; and Cameron Half, formerly counsel at Allen & Overy LLP, who joined as a US securities partner to advise issuers and underwriters on equity and debt offerings, and who has a track record of deals in Russia. Infrastructure partner Dominic Spacie acted for Twebaze Development Limited as the preferred bidder on one of the first PPP projects in Uganda, which involves the construction of new accommodation premises in Kampala. Paul Holland is head of the London banking team and is also a member of the firm’s Islamic finance group. Energy finance expert Tim Pipe is active in deals involving Russia, the CIS and Nigeria. Celia Gardiner is recommended for structured trade and commodity finance. Also recommended are private equity partner Nicholas Plant, senior projects lawyer John Woolley and energy partner Danielle Beggs.

Leading individuals

Paul Holland - Dentons

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Islamic finance
Islamic finance - ranked: tier 1

Dentons

Dentons fields a full-service Islamic finance team from its London office, which handles shari’ah-compliant structures in project finance, asset-based lending, real estate finance and structured transactions, including derivatives and hedging products. The department is co-headed by Matthew Sapte, who specialises in debt capital markets and derivatives and assisted two leading global banks with the update of the SIB Sukuk Company III Limited Trust Certificate Issuance Programme; similarly, he advised the two banks on the establishment of the first sukuk programme for the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector. Sapte also acted for a London investment bank on a $5m shari’ah-compliant loan granted by a Qatari investment bank. Joint London-head Richard de Belder co-ordinates the firm-wide Islamic finance practice across its European and Middle Eastern offices and acts on an ongoing basis for ADBI (UK) in relation to ijara financings for UK real estate, and also provides the bank with regulatory advice. Indeed, with notable expertise in regulatory compliance and shari’ah-compliance for structured products, the group has won instructions from a range of global and Middle Eastern banks. Richard Garvan left the firm in 2016 to become a freelance consultant whileJeremy Cape joined Squire Patton Boggs in 2017.

Leading individuals

Richard de Belder - Dentons

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Securitisation
Securitisation - ranked: tier 2

Dentons

Dentonscompares well to its peers and is developing a good team with a deep bench that can cover issues in multiple jurisdictions’. One client remarks that ‘both senior partners and associates have strong engagement and provide excellent value for money’. Residential mortgage finance, including RMBS transactions, covered bonds and warehousing transactions, is a key area of focus for the London team, though it is also a prominent player in the auto loan securitisation market and has raised its profile in the market for CLOs. Edward Hickman, who is a leading practitioner for securitisations involving consumer assets such as auto loan receivables, and ‘industry-leading capital markets expertPeter Voisey, who ‘manages his resources very well and ensures that the service is always very good’, jointly lead the team. CLO specialist Martin Sharkey, who joined from Clifford Chance LLP, ‘is hands-on and available, and is well supported by a good team of associates’. Clients also single out ‘extremely diligent’ associate Moeen Qayum, who ‘can be relied on to deliver under pressure’. Voisey’s standout deals included acting for Skipton Building Society on the £525m securitisation of prime mortgage loans under its Darrowby RMBS programme, and acting for Morgan Stanley as arranger on a €560m public securitisation of prime mortgage loans. In the CLO space, Sharkey advised manager Barings (UK) on English and US law aspects of its partial refinancing of the Babson Euro CLO 2014-1. Hickman advised Teva Pharmaceuticals on its €750m pan-European trade receivables securitisation.

Leading individuals

Edward Hickman - Dentons

Peter Voisey - Dentons

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Trade finance
Trade finance - ranked: tier 1

Dentons

Dentons provides ‘excellent responsiveness and a high level of knowledge in syndicated trade facilities and structured deals’, with clients praising the firm’s ability to deliver ‘clear advice in a timely manner’. The trade finance team, which is now led by Celia Gardiner following the departure of Veronika Koroleva, regularly acts for major institutions on large and complex borrowing base, reserve-based lending and ECA-backed financings. Through the firm’s extensive network of international offices the London team is involved in deals in Latin America, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Russia and the CIS. Gardiner leads a team that includes oil and gas specialist Tim Pipe, who stands out for reserve-based lending and pre-export finance; senior associate Ian Clements, who is recommended for cross-border structured trade and commodity finance transactions; Mark Cheney, whose focus on commodity trading and structured transactions in the energy sector is a boon to the trade finance practice; and banking partner Paul Holland, who regularly acts for ECAs. In a standout matter, the team advised facility agent Deutsche Bank on a $1.2bn borrowing base facility for Trafigura Group, and acted for Société Générale on an extension to Trafigura’s $375m syndicated metals concentrates and refined metals borrowing base facility on behalf of. It also assisted facility agent Natixis with the restatement of a $400m borrowing base facility for Trafigura Peru. Among the firm’s other trade finance clients are ING Bank, Rabobank, Vitol and Statoil UK.

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London: Human resources

Employment: employers and senior executives
Employment: employers - ranked: tier 5

Dentons

The team at Dentons regularly acts for financial institutions across a broad range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Group head Michael Bronstein advised Sanofi on claims brought against the company regarding the recruitment of a senior individual from a competitor. Ryan Carthew led advice to Dutch insurer Aegon on the employment aspects of its acquisition of shares in Cofunds. Also recommended are Virginia Allen, who assists clients with day-to-day matters, grievances and exit negotiations with senior executives, and Gilla Harris. Other clients include John Lewis Partnership, Informa and Cathay Group.

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Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 4

Dentons

Dentons’ team has notable experience handling contentious and non-contentious matters, including compliance issues and prosecution. Sam Boileau acted for Humbly Grove Energy in a number of health and safety issues, including a HSE prosecution and regulatory investigation. Boileau is also assisting Virgin Media with the health and safety aspects of Project Lightning, which includes advising on regulatory investigations and enforcement issues. Stephen Shergold jointly heads the team with Boileau. Senior associate Helen Bowdren is another name to note.

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Pensions
Pensions (non-contentious) - ranked: tier 4

Dentons

Pensions: dispute resolution - ranked: tier 3

Dentons

Dentons’ team handles both contentious and non-contentious matters, with particular strength in litigation and insolvency-related cases. Practice head Elmer Doonan advised the Bank of China on the closure of its defined-benefit scheme to future accrual. On the contentious side, Doonan has been assisting the trustees of the JCB Finance Pension Scheme in a dispute concerning the application of a pension increase, and also acted for the trustees of the FDR Limited Pension Scheme in Dutton v FDR Ltd, concerning pension increases. Jay Doraisamy is now with Mayer Brown International LLP.

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London: Insurance

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

Dentons

Dentons’ ‘incredibly responsive’ team provides ‘a partner-led service’, and is ‘able to provide accurate and commercially sound advice within a very short window of time, i.e. in the final stages of a transaction’. The firm focuses on high-end M&A, commercial and regulatory matters across all sectors of the market including underwriting, broking, life, non-life and run-off, and regularly utilises its global offices in a range of cross-border transactions. Highlights included advising Virgin Money South Africa on the creation of Virgin Money Insurance, an unincorporated joint venture with AIG Life South Africa; acting for AIG on various M&A matters spanning the UK, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic; and handling a range of regulatory issues for longstanding client Ambridge. Practice head Martin Mankabady has ‘an all-round knowledge of the insurance industry’, and is ‘always prepared to do what needs to be done in order to execute a deal’. The ‘commercial, pragmatic and responsive’ Darren Acres is also a key figure, and provides ‘excellent advice to M&A insurers’.

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London: Projects, energy and natural resources

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

Dentons

John Woolley jointly heads Dentons’ UK infrastructure practice and works closely with Matthew Hanslip-Ward, who heads the firm’s rail group and recently acted for Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles on the design, manufacturing, supply and maintenance contracts for two fleets of rolling stock for TransPennine Express. Associate Tom Guilfoyle and project finance co-head Dominic Spacie teamed up to advise Equitix and Shanghai Tunnel Engineering on the Silvertown road tunnel under the Thames, which is still at pre-qualification stage, while Stephen Ashworth is acting for several local authorities on the establishment of three garden communities as part of a government initiative. David Moore, who has a particular expertise in the transport sector across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, recently joined the team from Clyde & Co LLP. Other notable clients include Akiira, Santander, and the Government of Mozambique.

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Mining and minerals
Mining and minerals - ranked: tier 4

Dentons

Dentons’ corporate partner Neil Nicholson heads the London mining practice, which includes Evgenia Laurson, who shares her time between London and Moscow; she is experienced in complex cross-border financing matters and recently acted for Eurochem on a $800m five-year pre-export financing provided by a group of international banks. Other work highlights include advising a major mining company on the financing of a gold mine in Central Asia, and assisting a household name bank with the facility agreement for a gold project. Managing associate Emma Jarvis and restructuring and insolvency specialist Will Gunston are also recommended.

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Oil and gas
Oil and gas - ranked: tier 1

Dentons

Clients describe the oil and gas team at Dentons as ‘excellent in quality and first class in terms of industry and contractual knowledge’. The firm’s global reach allows the team to act in matters in the UK as well as emerging markets in Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia. In an illustration of its track record in emerging markets, Alistair Black, who joined the practice from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, is advising Pertamina on its joint venture agreement with Rosneft to develop the Tuban oil refinery in East Java. The team is led by M&A specialist Danielle Beggs and the ‘vastly experiencedDavid Tennant; Tennant assisted National Grid with the regulatory aspects of the client’s separation from its gas distribution and transmission business in advance of the disposal of a majority interest in the distribution assets to third-party investors. Other key figures include Charles Wood, who acted alongside Tennant for the Energy Networks Association with regards to the implementation of new funding, governance and ownership arrangements for Xoserve; and Liz Tout, who is leading the team handling ICC arbitration proceedings between two multinational energy companies in connection with a price review following an LNG sale and purchase agreement.

Leading individuals

Charles Wood - Dentons

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

Dentons

Dentonsis proactive, effective, knowledgeable and sensible in its approach’ and is noted for its strong experience in solar projects. The team, led by Christopher McGee-Osborne and Charles July, has become increasingly active in the secondary market following the collapse of subsidies for new onshore wind and solar projects; highlights included acting for an Asian client on its bid for numerous onshore wind farms across Europe and the UK. Lucille De Silvais very attentive to detail and easy to work with’; she leads the team assisting Tenaga Nasional Berhad, a leading Malaysian electricity utility, with its bid to acquire 50% of TerraForm’s UK solar portfolio, and is acting for a major client on the development of several large-scale solar projects across Africa. Mark Cheney represented a household name bank in a route to market trading agreement with an equity fund following the latter’s acquisition of an electricity generating business in Spain. Enbridge, the South African Department of Energy and Canadian Solar also feature among the firm’s client roster.

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London: Public sector

Administrative and public law
Administrative and public law - ranked: tier 4

Dentons

Dentons obtained a major new client with its appointment into tier one of the Crown Commercial Service’s legal panel. Other clients include Places for People, the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company, and local and central government bodies such as Ministry of Defence, Transport for London and Essex County Council. Jan Willem van den Bos won a tender to advise the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, together with the Department for International Development and the British Council, on procurement for its telecoms network and services contract, and also handled Vodafone’s exit from its contract with the government body. Through the efforts of planning and regulatory expert Stephen Ashworth, a councillor from Winchester City Council won a judicial review in the High Court regarding changes that the council made to its development agreement with TH Real Estate for a redevelopment project. Key figures include Christopher McGee-Osborne, who co-heads government sector practice with Catherine Bingham, and public procurement practice head Mark Bassett, who is ‘an extremely capable lawyer’.

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Local government
Local government - ranked: tier 4

Dentons

Dentons’ ‘experienced’ team ‘inspires confidence in its clients thanks to consistently high levels of service, in-depth industry knowledge and a commercially aware approach’ that ‘ensures the team always provides the best support from the beginning’. The group has core strengths in real estate work and key names in the team include real estate practice head Virginia Glastonbury, planning specialist Stephen Ashworth and Mark Bassett, who focuses on public procurement mandates. In a recent highlight, Bassett and Glastonbury advised the GLA on its involvement in the Beam Park development, including assisting with the land acquisition and environmental risk plans. Other work includes Ashworth assisting GLA with a compulsory purchase order made by London City Airport wishing to acquire its land, Madeleine Smallwood acting for the Royal Borough of Greenwich on the Spray Street regeneration scheme and managing associate Michele Vas handling various housing and urban extension mandates for Huntingdonshire District Council. Roland Gray is recommended for development and regeneration work.

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London: Real estate

Commercial property
Commercial property: development - ranked: tier 2

Dentons

Commercial property: general - ranked: tier 2

Dentons

Commercial property: hotels and leisure - ranked: tier 1

Dentons

Commercial property: investment - ranked: tier 2

Dentons

Commercial property: retail - ranked: tier 1

Dentons

Industry knowledge is second to none’ at Dentons, and the team’s ‘considerable strength in depth’ was further enhanced by a number of key hires during 2016, including Rob Thompson, Rupert Dowdell, Lewis Myers, Simon Tweedle, and Jayne Schnider from Irwin Mitchell, and corporate real estate specialist Jonathan Cantor who joined from Nabarro. Thompson and Myers, who have particular expertise in investment work, advised Secure Income REIT on the £196m acquisition of a portfolio of 55 hotels held in Jersey Unit Trusts; and in another key investment deal, practice co-head Richard Budge advised Topland Group on the sale of the Cyrus property portfolio to Fortress Investment Group for in excess of £400m. Budge also handles development work and is singled out for his ‘first class experience of Local Asset Backed Vehicles and public/private partnerships’; he is advising HOOPP/ Verdion on a £400m logistics development project on a 337-acre greenfield site located just south of Doncaster. Another name to note is practice co-head Virginia Glastonbury, whose ongoing work includes handling a substantial volume of retail instructions for Network Rail, including the Paddington Lawn retail and dining hub at Paddington station. Besides landlord-side retail work, the practice also has a strong tenant-side client base including the likes of John Lewis and Sainsbury’s; Miriam Best acted for the latter on the sale of its pharmacy business to Celesio. Hospitality and leisure is another strength, where key players include US qualified practice head Mark Daliere; the ‘highly respectedSimon Masri; and Babette Märzheuser-Wood, who ‘knows the franchise world inside out’. The ‘top qualityMatthew Tinger and Masri advised the Al Habtoor Group on the corporate acquisition of the Hilton London Wembley from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management.

Leading individuals

Rob Thompson - Dentons

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Construction: contentious and non-contentious
Construction: contentious - ranked: tier 3

Dentons

Construction: non-contentious - ranked: tier 4

Dentons

Dentons’ Milton Keynes-based contentious team is now led by Akin Akinbode and Gurbinder Grewal, following Alastair Young’s move to the firm’s Dubai office. Akinbode is ‘calm under pressure, and leads by example’, while the ‘very able and practical’ Grewal is an ‘adjudication specialist’; he is currently acting for Ensign Highways in various disputes arising out of a PFI contract with Portsmouth City Council for the upgrade and maintenance of the highway network in Portsmouth. The team impresses with a broad service offering that takes in litigation, international arbitration and construction adjudication. On the non-contentious side, London-based practice head John Woolley focuses on the power-and-infrastructure sector, where he advises clients such as Mota-Engil. Other names to note include managing associates Shaun Tame (who provides ‘clear and concise technical responses’), and Jane Miles, who is advising Troy Verdion Holdco on all aspects of a £400m multi-phase and multi-tenanted rail and freight logistics development project on 337 acres of greenfield land in Doncaster. Both Tame and Miles are based in Milton Keynes. Robert Turner left for Devonshires Solicitors LLP.

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Environment
Environment - ranked: tier 1

Dentons

The practice at Dentons is noted for its ‘sound legal advice on a wide range of environmental matters’, and the team enjoys a strong following in the oil and gas, and waste sectors. Practice head Stephen Shergold, who is ‘capable of combining technical and strategic positioning’, advised World Fuel Services on the cross-border acquisition of ExxonMobil’s aviation fuelling operations. In other transactional highlights, Sam Boileau provided environmental advice to the Greater London Authority on its acquisition of land at a derelict former Ford factory plant in East London; Boileau also assisted Marshall Motor Group with its acquisition of Ridgeway Garages. Boileau was also active in the corporate reporting space, where, together with senior associate Helen Bowdren, he advised Flextronics on various issues including compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Environmental insurance is another key specialism; Shergold regularly assists AIG with claims brought under environmental insurance policies, as well as the underwriting of specialist warranty and indemnity insurance policies on acquisitions. Eleanor Reeves joined Ashurst.

Leading individuals

Stephen Shergold - Dentons

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Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 2

Dentons

In 2016 Dentons’ ‘accessible and professional’ team handled a number of substantial residential schemes for both public and private sector clients; examples included community infrastructure levy (CIL) specialist Stephen Ashworth acting for a group of North Essex authorities on planning for various garden communities, and Roy Pinnock advising Linkcity on two major private rented sector (PRS) development projects in the Royal Docks Opportunity Area. The retail sector is another area of expertise; Pinnock is assisting Sainsburys with the planning, CIL and highways aspects of the 700-unit mixed-use schemes at Whitechapel Square and Ilford Opportunity Areas. The team also handles some of the Capital’s most high-profile development projects for clients including Great Western Developments, which Ashworth is assisting with the planning application strategy for the development of the Paddington Cube. On the contentious side, managing associate Michele Vas is representing various clients in their objections to the London Borough of Barnet’s Brent Cross Cricklewood CPO.

Leading individuals

Stephen Ashworth - Dentons

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Property finance
Property finance - ranked: tier 2

Dentons

The ‘trusted, experienced’ team at Dentons, which is especially active on the lender side and is noted for its cross-border capabilities, provides ‘very good service’ and ‘strong advice at competitive prices’. The ‘knowledgeable, approachable’ partners, who ‘balance commercial points with legal considerations’, include two recent recruits from Irwin Mitchell: Simon Tweedle and Rob Thompson. They join a team headed by James Irvine and featuring Lorraine Davis, Simon Masri and Catherine Astruc, who acted for CIMB Bank Berhad on a £120m development finance loan to an IJM Berhad-led consortium for a luxury residential and leisure development at Royal Mint Gardens. Davis also advised European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and a leading global bank on a PLN121m loan to Oaktree Capital Group-owned entities for the acquisition, renovation and development of a portfolio of 15 student accommodation complexes across Poland. Other clients include Société Générale, United Overseas Bank, International Hotel Group and Bank of London and the Middle East. Brendan Slack and Jason Sheard are also recommended.

Leading individuals

Simon Tweedle - Dentons

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 3

Dentons

Dentons’ team has core strengths in rights of lights issues and ratings disputes; its recent work in the latter space includes representing Sainsbury’s and The Co-operative Group in a business rate appeal in the Valuation Tribunal for England relating to the rating assessments made for the stores’ ATM machines. Other recent highlights include successfully acting for Sainsbury’s in the Court of Appeal in dismissing a declaration that the client had unlawfully terminated a purchase contract, and handling a dispute and arbitration for the London Borough of Southwark with Transport for London regarding the acquisition of land by vesting declaration. The group has further strengths in portfolio management issues and the property elements of corporate insolvencies. Practice head Bryan Johnston is ‘sensible and pragmatic with excellent client handling skills’ and ‘runs an excellent team of property litigators’, which includes recently promoted partner David Payton, who is ‘a pleasure to work with’.

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London: Risk advisory

Data protection, privacy and cybersecurity
Data protection, privacy and cybersecurity - ranked: tier 1

Dentons

With a substantial global platform to draw upon and a high-profile client roster including Virgin Media, Delta Airlines and EDF Energy, Dentons covers the full gamut of data protection issues including regulatory compliance, cybersecurity and international privacy. Department head Nick Graham is ‘one of the go-to names in the field’; his recent work includes advising John Lewis on various data protection strategies and data transfers, and acting for One Savings Bank on GDPR compliance. Martin Fanning attracts high praise from clients, and is noted for his ‘practical advice and all-encompassing sector knowledge’; he is handling Virgin Atlantic’s data protection governance projects; assisted Daily Mail and General Trust with a global data governance project; and advised Intralinks on the data issues related to its secure collaboration and virtual data room suite solutions. Scott Singer is a key name to note for international data transfers; he is advising First Data on compliance issues following the approval of its BCRs. Senior associate Simon Elliott is also recommended.

Leading individuals

Nick Graham - Dentons

Next generation lawyers

Simon Elliott - Dentons

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

Dentons

Dentons’ highlights included acting for a bank in a highly publicised matter involving allegations of money laundering, a case currently being brought before the Court of Appeal; and advising the Cypriot special administrator of FBME Bank on the decision of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to designate the bank as an entity of primary money laundering concern. Recent arrival Daren Allen from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP heads the practice, and Celyn Armstrong is the other key individual.

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London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Franchising
Franchising - ranked: tier 2

Dentons

Dentons is singled out for its ‘ability to deliver quality advice under a tight time frame’. The team is a popular choice among blue-chip clients, which it advises on franchise agreements and on the use of franchising as part of their international expansion strategies. Leveraging its global footprint and its strong retail sector expertise, the firm advises a broad range of retail clients such as DFS, Cath Kidson, SK:N and John Lewis Partnership. The team also acquired several new clients in 2016, including Godiva Chocolatier, Charlotte Tilbury and Whittard of Chelsea. Babette Märzheuser-Wood ‘knows the franchise world inside out’, and continues to advise Starwood Hotel and Resorts Worldwide on its European hotel expansion, including advising on the Sheraton Offenbach Hotel, two projects in Paris, a new hotel in Cyprus, A Sheraton in Krakow Poland, a new Westin hotel in Sarajevo, and a Sheraton in Slovakia. Another highlight saw the team handling the termination of a franchise agreement and the subsequent enforcement of the post-termination obligations, as well as on renewals and the grant of new franchise agreement in more than 35 countries. Senior associate Robert Bedford has notable experience of handing franchise disputes. Associate Emma Bowman is also recommended.

Leading individuals

Babette Märzheuser-Wood - Dentons

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IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 1

Dentons

Dentons’ practice is ‘responsive’ and ‘easy to work with’. Andy Lucas is head of the technology, media and telecoms department, and is particularly known for his advice on public sector IT procurements. He recently assisted the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs with a complex ICT outsourcing programme. Dan Burge heads the TMT sector group, and has a strong reputation for his work on technology transactions and sourcing projects in the retail, financial services and energy sectors. Recent work of his includes advising Home Retail Group on a major outsourcing contract with Wipro. Data processing expert Scott Singer is ‘a good person to pick up the phone to on difficult issues on IT contracts’, and has recently handled technology projects for Sainsbury’s and Royal Mail. Martin Fanning is highly regarded for his work on technology projects, where clients include Virgin Atlantic and IntraLinks. Jan Willem van den Bos, who heads the telecoms group, recently advised the West Indian Ocean Cable Company on The Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System. He also advised Gulf Bridge International on a major sub-sea cable telecoms network connectivity project. Other clients include Argos and Homebase.

Leading individuals: Telecoms

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 4

Dentons

Dentons has an intentional practice that covers a wide range of IP issues. Clients include Virgin, Nokia and the Ministry of Defence. John Linneker, who is the practice co-head, has a strong track record handling contentious IP matters. Patent litigator Campbell Forsyth and patent prosecution expert Justin Hill were new arrivals from King & Wood Mallesons and Olswang LLP respectively. Forsyth acted for Resolution Chemicals in a dispute before the High Court, concerning Astra Zeneca’s drug Crestor, and represented Positec in a dispute with Husqvarna before the High Court; the court declared an infringement patent invalidity against Husqvarna. Andy Lucas is also noted.

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Media and entertainment (including media finance)
Media and entertainment (including media finance) - ranked: tier 2

Dentons

Dentons acts for a number of global media companies and has expertise across the film, TV, advertising, marketing, music, publishing, gaming, social media and interactive content sectors. It advised Lions Gate Entertainment on the English law aspects of the $4.4bn merger of Orion Arm Acquisition and Starz. Ingrid Silver heads the media and entertainment team and advised the shareholders of Essence, alongside Jeremy Cohen, on its sale to WPP. Darren Acres’ ‘advice is always practical, clear and concise’; he advised ole! Media Management on its acquisition of UK-headquartered rights management group Compact Media from Lyceum Capital. Managing associate Alex Haffner handles regulatory issues and ‘replies swiftly and promptly with clear and practical advice’. TMT head Andy Lucas is also recommended. England and Wales Cricket Board, Tribune Media Services and Virgin Media are also clients.

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Sport
Sport - ranked: tier 3

Dentons

Active across a wide range of sports, Dentons’ practice is noted for its cross-border capabilities and its strength in corporate, commercial and financial work. Managing associate Alex Haffner, who is a competition law expert, advised Bestseller and Kevin Magnussen on a driver and sponsorship agreement with the Renault Formula One team, under which Magnussen became one of Renault’s two main drivers for the 2016 season. Haffner also acted for the ECB on all its domestic and international broadcasting arrangements, including broadcasting agreements with SuperSport for sub-Saharan Africa and Fox Sports for Australia. On the contentious side, the Milton Keynes-based James Fairbairn represented Qingdao Jonoon FC in bringing various employment-related appeals of FIFA decisions before the CAS. beIN Sports is also a client. M&A and finance expert Richard Barham heads the group and commercial consultant Adrian Barr-Smith is noted for his sector expertise

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London: Transport

Aviation
Aviation - ranked: tier 4

Dentons

Although Dentons is principally noted for its ‘outstanding’ aviation finance practice, it also handles dispute resolution and litigation, competition, corporate, TMT, data protection and employment mandates in the sector, leveraging its global footprint where necessary. Virgin Atlantic and SITA are clients. Team head Nick Chandler is recommended.

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Rail
Rail - ranked: tier 1

Dentons

Dentons’ ‘strong rail practice’ is ‘very pro-active and commercial’ and has ‘vast experience in the sector’. It handles a wide range of rail-related matters, including passenger and freight, infrastructure development and operation, light rail and trams, franchises and concessions, operations, regulation, rolling stock procurement and maintenance, finance, technology and disputes. Highlights included advising MTR Corporation on its joint venture with First Group and subsequent joint bid for the South Western Trains rail franchise; acting for the same client on all aspects of its bid for the new Wales and Borders franchise; and advising Mitsui on its investment in a 40% stake in the Abellio Greater Anglia franchise. Network Rail Infrastructure, London Overground Rail Operations Limited, Deutsche Bahn Group, Virgin Trains and London Overground are also clients. Team head Matthew Hanslip Ward is an ‘expert in the UK rail market and in franchising’. He is assisted by Christopher McGee-Osborne, who has ‘longstanding experience in the rail sector’, and head of real estate in London Virginia Glastonbury, who advises on rail infrastructure projects. Managing associate Martin Watt specialises in rolling stock. The team was recently joined by David Moore from Clyde & Co LLP.

Leading individuals

Matthew Hanslip Ward - Dentons

Next generation lawyers:

Martin Watt - Dentons

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Further information on Dentons

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Legal Developments by:
Dentons

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    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is strategically placed between Europe and the Far East. The UAE has been ranked among the top 15 maritime nations by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the UAE Government is working on plans to transform the shipping industry into one of the country’s major economic sectors.
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