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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Corporate and commercial > Corporate tax > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Corporate tax
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP's 'very good' tax group handles the spectrum of large corporate, funds, private equity and capital markets transactions, drawing on the firm's market-leading transactional capabilities across sectors. The department is led by David Haworth. Key individuals include finance tax head Paul Davison and transfer-pricing head Murray Clayson; Sarah Falk is recommended for corporate finance transactions and restructurings.

Linklaters LLP has a sophisticated tax group which 'combines a depth of knowledge with an innovative approach and insight'. The practice acts for major financial institutions as well as multinational corporates, financial sponsors and property companies. The team is led by 'star performer' Yash Rupal , whose 'unparalleled abilities are complimented by the team he has built around him', which includes the experienced Mark Kingstone. He is acting for the joint administrators of Lehman Brothers International (Europe) on tax issues surrounding its administration. Lynne Walkington and Dominic Winter (both of whom are regarded as possessing 'great technical knowledge') assisted Old Mutual Group with its separation into four divisions. Winter and counsel Jenny Wheater advised SoftBank Group on tax issues arising from the formation of the SoftBank Vision Fund in a matter involving UK and Japanese tax constraints. Other highlights for the group included assisting Unilever with its defence of the unprecedented $143bn takeover bid by Kraft Heinz, in relation to which the team developed structural solutions. Also recommended are newly promoted partners James Morgan and Sarah Lindley; and Mavnick Nerwal, a funds and investments expert who 'shows great promise'.

Slaughter and May's 'high quality' team provides 'very commercial' advice to clients on the taxation aspects of large corporate and fund-related transactions. The firm also has a well-developed tax advisory practice which draws on the 'excellent technical and practical knowledge' within the group. Practice head Sara Luder advised Michael Kors Holdings in relation to its £896m recommended cash offer for Jimmy Choo, including the tax implications of its particular financial and FX structure. With 'an eye on the big picture', Gareth Miles assisted Standard life on the recommended all-share merger with Aberdeen Asset Management. William Watson is noted for his 'commitment to delivery' and recently advised Land Securities on the return to shareholders of proceeds from the £475m disposal of its 50% interest in the Walkie Talkie building in the City of London; a matter that involved an innovative share scheme. 'Fabulous technical specialist' Mike Lane is recommended for the 'great insight and superb advice' he provides on complex issues, whilst Steve Edge stands out for the breadth of his tax consultancy practice. Jeanette Zaman and Tony Beare retired at the end of 2017.

Allen & Overy LLP's corporate tax group draws on the firm's wider strength in structured finance and funds work, private equity and international M&A to advise a range of major clients on their UK tax affairs. The group is co-led by¬†Christopher Harrison¬†and 'outstanding tax lawyer'¬†Vimal Tilakapala, who (in addition to deal-driven tax work) regularly advises large corporates, including Pennon Group, RSA and Direct Line, on¬† hybrid bond issues. Alongside counsel¬†Tim Harrop, Harrison advised Allianz on its ¬£1.7bn acquisition of a stake in LV='s general insurance business and the subsequent creation of a joint venture structure. The duo also advised 21st Century Fox on the cross-border acquisition structure of its ¬£11.7bn takeover bid for Sky. Highlights for¬†Lydia Challen¬†included assisting Asahi Group Holdings with tax issues related to its¬†‚ā¨7.3bn acquisition of the former SABMiller businesses in central Europe from AB InBev. 'Technically very able and always alive to the commercial realities of an instruction',¬†Charles Yorke¬†advised Blackstone in a joint venture with Goldman Sachs which acquired a ¬£12.5bn portfolio of mortgages from the British government.

Baker McKenzie's sizeable tax practice is a core pillar of the firm's presence in London, offering transactional, tax advisory and planning support to the range of major corporates and other investors in the UK, with particular expertise in the technology and financial services spaces. James Smith is head of the transaction tax group and took the lead in advising Emerson Electric on its $3.2bn acquisition of Pentair's global valves and controls business, and separately in relation to a series of major complex carve-out transactions. Smith also led the team acting for Post Holdings on its £1.4bn acquisition of Weetabix from Baring Private Equity Asia and Shanghai-based Bright Foods. James Wilson managed a multi-jurisdictional team that provided post-acquisition tax advice to Tapestry following its $2.4bn acquisition of Kate Spade. Managing partner of the London office Alex Chadwick focuses on international tax planning and specialises in matters pertaining to corporate finance, M&A, joint ventures and corporate restructuring. Richard Fletcher heads the UK transfer pricing group, which includes seasoned professional Jukka Karjalainen. Kate Alexander is recommended for her expertise in financing taxation law; Patrick O’Gara specialises in UK and international tax planning.

The 'impressive' team at Clifford Chance is noted for its wide-ranging transactional tax practice, which spans financing, capital markets and investments, but it also has a strength in advisory and tax planning work. Alongside Dan Neidle, corporate and finance tax specialist David Harkness is currently advising major banking, natural resource, wholesale, investment fund and sports industry clients on compliance with the new corporate criminal offence of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. In another highlight, Harkness and Nicholas Mace advised McLaren Group on the tax aspects of the combination of McLaren Automotive and McLaren Technology Group and in a separate matter, assisted Co-operative Bank with restructuring its share capital and Subordinated Notes to raise £700m of equity capital. 'First-rate' Anthony Stewart is regularly instructed on matters relating to investment funds and structured investment products. Global head of the firm's Tex, Pensions and Employment department Chris Davies specialises in structured finance and international taxation. Senior associate Stuart Broadfoot is another key contact, who stands out for his ability to provide 'clear, useful advice in a timely manner'.

The London tax department at Hogan Lovells International LLP is led by acquisitions and disposals expert Philip Harle and houses global tax co-head, Karen Hughes, who is instructed by a broad roster of international clients. Harle advised the Department of Education on the secularisation of £4bn of income contingent repayment student loans, providing detailed analysis of UK tax issues for the securitisation vehicle, drafting and negotiating legal documentation and leading on the preparation of HMRC clearance. Hughes advised GE Healthcare on the tax implications of the $85m sale of GE Healthcare Dharmacon to Horizon Discovery Group. Elliot Weston advised NorthStar Realty Europe and China Resources Land on the tax aspects of their £300m joint venture and acquisition of the office block, 20 Gresham Street. Weston also assisted The British Land Company with the tax aspects of the structuring and execution of the unwinding of the company's joint venture with Tesco. Fabrizio Lolliri and Tom McFarlane lead on transfer pricing and supply chain matters.

The 'excellent' team at Macfarlanes LLP¬†handles the breadth of corporate tax work, with the capability to deal with investment management, group tax, M&A, real estate, remuneration and finance. The group stands out for a particularly strong transfer pricing offering, which is led by¬†Batanayi Katongera¬†and includes¬†Rhiannon Kinghall Were¬†who joined as Head of Tax Policy from the CBI in December 2017. Highlights for group leader,¬†Damien Crossley, included advising Hayfin Capital Management on its special opportunities strategy and its latest successful ‚ā¨2.2bn fundraising process. 'Innovative and user-friendly'¬†Peter Abbott¬†was instructed by the incoming management team of Burger King on the tax structure of the company's equity incentive arrangements following Bridgepoint's acquisition of the master franchise of Burger King UK.¬†Mark Baldwin¬†is noted for his expertise and 'ability to provide pragmatic advice' in relation to corporation tax and real estate, recently advising Derwent London on the tax aspects of its ¬£165m sale of The Copyright Building in West London to Union Investment Real Estate.¬†Ashley Greenbank¬†specialises in the corporate tax aspects of UK and cross-border corporate finance and M&A transactions, which is complemented by his accreditation as a mediator and role as a part-time judge in the First-tier Tax Tribunal and deputy judge in the Upper Tribunal.

Ashurst's corporate tax practice excels in major real estate transactions, M&A, financing transactions, in addition to energy and infrastructure-related tax work. The group is led by 'technically very good' funds and M&A expert Alexander Cox who, alongside Managing Partner Simon Beddow,  advised Ladbrokes Coral on its £4bn acquisition by GVC Holdings. 'Fabulous' real estate tax lawyer Simon Swann assisted Invesco Real Estate with the acquisition of a 50% interest in the Southside Shopping Centre in Wandsworth, resulting in a new 50:50 partnership with Land Securities. Fellow real estate tax experts Nicholas Gardner and Richard Vernon are currently advising Lendlease on a number of development projects, including the tax structuring of its joint venture with the London Borough of Haringey with respect to the redevelopment of sites within the borough. 'Excellent tax lawyer' Paul Miller is valued for his 'knowledge beyond tax' which enables him to provide 'value-added advice to businesses'.

Building on the merger between the US-headquartered Bryan Cave and UK-based firm, Berwin Leighton Paisner in 2018, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP's 'exceptional' team excels in matters relating to real estate tax, although it also has a credible offering on the funds side, where it supports the firm's Investment Management team. The team is led by 'incredible lawyer' Elizabeth Bradley who led on tax structuring for C C Land Holdings on its £1.5bn acquisition of The Cheesegrater from a joint venture between British Land and Oxford Properties; a deal that had aspects multiple jurisdictions. She also assisted Tristan Capital with tax structuring in its acquisition of a 90% interest in a large student accommodation portfolio and its joint venture with Downing Student Accommodation. Richard Harbot advised Canary Wharf Group and Land Securities Group on the £1.28bn sale of their joint venture interest in The Walkie Talkie to LKK Health Products Group.

The practice at CMS has both depth in terms expertise and breadth in terms of sector coverage, with particular focus on tax as it applies to the real estate, energy and technology sectors.  Aaron Fairhurst, who co-leads the team with Stephen Hignett, advised a consortium of companies, including Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, Allianz Capital Partners and Qatar Investment Authority, on matters including tax structuring as they apply to the acquisition of a 61% equity interest in the National Grid's distribution business. He also advised BP on the sale of its interests in the Magnus Field and related on- and offshore infrastructure, in preparation for the facility's decommission. Mark Joscelyne assisted euNetworks with the UK tax aspects of its $1.1bn acquisition by New York-based Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. Graham Chase advised legal software company Opus 2 on the tax implications of a significant minority investment by Five Arrows Principal Investments. Anna Burchner specialises in funds and financial services, and has a significant cross-border practice. Richard Croker left the firm in June 2018 to join Pinsent Masons LLP as a consultant.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP handles both transactional and advisory tax work for clients across a range of sectors, including upstream energy and insurance. The group has significant experience in transaction structuring and is able to draw on the firm's global presence in cross-border matters. The team is led by Isaac Zailer, who advised British American Tobacco on the $49.9bn acquisition of the remaining 57.8%of shares in Reynolds; a matter which included a significant restructure and an analysis of tax implications across the business. In another highlight, Howard Murray is advised Sky on structuring issues surrounding its potential takeover by 21st Century Fox. William Arrenberg is advising British Land on its plans for the redevelopment of a major mixed-use site at Rotherhithe.

In addition to private equity transactions,¬†Kirkland & Ellis International LLP's 'pro-active and commercial team'¬†is instructed on the tax aspects of real estate and credit transactions, as well as restructuring and fund formation. The department is led by¬†Jonathan Kandel¬†who, alongside¬†Ian Ferreira,¬†advised Global Logistics Properties on the multi-jurisdictional tax aspects of its successful¬†‚ā¨2.8bn bid for Gazeley from Brookfield Asset Management. Kandel and Frixos Hatjantonas¬†acted as fund structuring counsel for Orion Capital Managers in connection with the fundraising and formation of the ‚ā¨1.5bn Orion Eurpean Real Estate Fund V. In another highlight,¬†Dulcie Daly¬†advised Bain Capital Private Equity and Cinven on the¬†‚ā¨5.4bn successful takeover offer for Stada. The groups was greatly boosted by the arrival of¬†Alan Walker¬†from¬†Linklaters LLP¬†in 2018.

The 'well-established' team at Norton Rose Fulbright  offers clients 'an excellent level of service' while demonstrating 'good industry knowledge'. Real estate tax specialist Angela Savin advised Deutsche Finance International and Yoo Capital on their acquisition of the Kensington Olympia Exhibition Centre from Capital & Countries Properties in a £296m deal and associated post-completion structuring. She continues to advise Civitas on a number of its high value property acquisitions and compliance with the UK Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) regime. Noted for his 'excellent international tax support', head of tax for Europe, Middle East, Asia and Brazil Dominic Stuttaford focuses on M&A transactions and corporate re-organisations and has a developing practice in blockchain technology. Instructed on multiple cross-border transactions, Matthew (Matt) Hodkin advised Chinese businessman Jisheng Gao and his daughter Nelly Gao on the acquisition of a stake in Southampton Football Club, which involved the negotiation of the tax aspects of the sale and purchase documentation and jurisdiction-specific tax provisions.

The 'outstanding' team at Simmons & Simmons is both 'technically very good' and 'accessible', noted for its ability to 'work seamlessly with other departments within the firm'. 'Responsive and helpful' Darren Oswick leads the International and London Tax Groups and recently assisted the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority with amendments to and subsequent terminations of a set of procurement contracts. 'One of the smartest and most commercially astute tax lawyers in London', Nick Cronkshaw also stands out for his 'user-friendly approach'. His highlights included advising Orion Mine Finance and Fusion Capital on their joint venture and $402.5m acquisition of Lynx Resources from Solway Industries, in a transaction with a sizeable Macedonian tax component. Martin Shah advised Principal Financial Group on M&A tax and structuring, as well as warranty and indemnity (W&I) insurance tax matters in relation to the proposed acquisition of INTERNOS. Managing associate Candice Nichol is recommended for her work with financial institutions and asset management clients.

Travers Smith LLP has 'an outstanding' tax department composed of 'first-rate' solicitors. The firm is most noted for its private equity tax work, but it also has a strong corporate finance offering. The team is led by 'excellent lawyer' Simon Skinner, who advised Element Materials Technology Group on its £620m takeover of Exova Group; a deal that required tax structuring for the acquisition, with new funding into the UK and US Group and public company considerations. Possessing 'outstanding technical abilities', Jessica Kemp advised Shazam on its acquisition by Apple through a share purchase agreement. The 'business-savvy' Kathleen Russ leads on a number of matters for Zoopla Property Group alongside 'proactive' Madeline Gowlett. Hannah Manning was promoted to partner in July 2017 and specialises in the tax elements of private equity and M&A transactions.

The team at Addleshaw Goddard is 'easy to deal with' and stands out for real estate, private equity and financial services related tax work for which the team has 'a good understanding of the relevant UK and overseas tax rules'. The London corporate tax department is led by Elaine Gwilt, whose highlights included advising Lloyds Banking Group on its £1.9bn acquisition of MBNA from Bank of America and BP International on its puchase of a 43% stake in the Lightsource Group; negotiating tax structuring, protections and insurance for the client. Gwilt and Paul Concannon are continuing to advise GVC Holfings on its proposed offer for Ladbrokes Coral, with a focus on the structuring and tax implications of the Contingent Value Rights for both parties. Peter Sayer assisted Associated British Foods with its £50m acquisition of High 5 and Reflex Nutrition.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP¬†stands out for its private equity work, which includes¬† multi-jurisdictional¬†tax planning and structuring, designing tax-efficient arrangements and consultation of tax reform in the UK and US. The group also has an active M&A tax practice, with a focus on cross-border transactions.¬†Matt Saronson, noted for his ability to 'distil sophisticated concepts into plain English', advised long-standing Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on the formation of a new $100bn fund.¬†Richard Ward¬†advised Metric Capital Partners on the close of the MCP Private Capital fund III at its hard cap of¬†‚ā¨850m; a mandate that involved significant tax structuring input. 'Personable' associate¬†Patrick Fasaro¬†is recommended for his 'solutions-orientated' approach.

The 'excellent' group at DLA Piper handles the spectrum of corporate, real estate and finance tax work, in addition to a wide variety of transfer pricing matters involving acquisitions and restructuring. The team is led by 'true grandee of City tax' Richard Woolich, who advised ING on the tax aspects of its refinancing of the Gherkin building. Building on an existing firm relationship, Paul Rutherford advised Heineken UK on UK tax matters arising from its acquisition of Punch Taverns, and on the subsequent separation of the Punch Taverns Group between Heineken and Patron. He also assisted BrewDog in relation to a £1bn investment into the company by TSG Consumer Partners. Also recommended are Neville Wright (who specialises in finance and real estate work) and new arrival Ben Brown, who joined from Allen & Overy LLP in July 2017.

the primary focus of Latham & Watkins's tax group is on high value international deals, including M&A, private equity and capital markets transactions. It is particularly strong in cross-border transactions, and 'effectiveness when liaising with local counsel', in addition to 'negotiating appropriately with its counterparts'. The London team is co-led by Karl Mah, noted for his ability to provide 'sound technical advice' that is 'tailored to the commercial dynamics of transactions' and  Sean Finn. In a recent highlight, Finn advised FCM Technologies on the $13bn merger of equals with Technip; a matter that included EU cross-border and Delaware law merger regimes. He also advised Onex Corporation on its £1.35 acquisition of Parkdean resorts. Mah was instructed by Netflix on the tax element of its acquisition of Millarworld.

NGM Tax Law LLP is a boutique comprising 12 veteran partners and consultants with a background in the Magic Circle. The 'pragmatic and responsive' group is regularly called upon to assist the London offices of major US firms with particularly complex structuring and advisory issues, in addition to multinationals seeking tax efficient structures for their UK-based asst portfolios, M&A, non-contentious trusts and private equity. The full-time team includes Keith Gregory (who 'knows the law inside-out'), Mark Nichols, Simon Meredith and Stephen Hoyle. In a recent highlight, the group was instructed by a law firm in relation to the acquisition by its US-based client of a UK industrial business, which required specialist expertise in cross-border tax issues and the allocation of risk between parties.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP provides 'an excellent level of service' to clients looking to utilise the firm's 'top-quality' advice. The group is particularly active in the UK-US transactional space and private capital matters. 'Excellent adviser' James Anderson leads the department and is noted for his market knowledge and 'practical' approach. Anderson recently advised M7 Real Estate on the tax aspects of its establishment of a new closed-ended REIT with a £300m initial public offering. In another highlight, he assisted BTG Pactual Group with the reorganisation and ongoing operations of Englehart Commodities Trading Partners, which was the first public to private spin-out on the Brazilian Stock Exchange. Alex Jupp, whose focus is the tax aspects of corporate acquisitions, advised Vantiv on its $10.4bn acquisition of Worldpay Group; and in a separate matter, assisted Tronox with its redomiciliation from Australia to the UK.

Stephenson Harwood is most noted for its funds, asset and transport sector expertise, where the team stands out for having 'a deep knowledge of the subject matter'. It also has an active general corporate tax and real estate practice, alongside a growing offering of private equity tax services. Hugo Jenney heads the group and is currently advising Transport for London on tax aspects of the Crossrail development, and related structuring issues. John Meehan advised HC-One on a major acquisition of care homes from Bupa; and on Schroder UK Real Estate Fund's £44m investment in five self-storage facilities and related businesses. In another highlight, Maryanna Sharrock assisted Hong Kong-based SEA Holdings with its £258m acquisition of a corporate structure that owns 33 Old Broad Street, which included advise on tax provisions in the share sale documentation. Senior associate Kate Worthington is also recommended for her vast expertise in the real estate sector.

A 'class-act', Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP operates across M&A, private funds, insolvency, restructuring, management incentivisation and finance, and has particular sector-expertise in oil and gas. Funds and restructuring expert David Irvine advised Westinghouse Electric on the tax element of its entry into Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, the restructuring of its business and its pending $4.6bn sale by Toshiba to Brookfield Business Partners. He continues to advise Lehman Brothers Holdings on its Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. Oliver Walker was instructed by Advent International on the tax aspects of transaction structuring, management incentivisation and acquisition documentation in relation to its acquisition of multiple EU-based businesses. Senior consultant Andrew Norwood advised Barclays Bank, acting as the sole Arranger, on the tax aspects of its Barclays Income Contingent Student Loans securitisation.

Prabhu Narasimhan leads White & Case LLP's corporate tax team, which handles the tax aspects of the firm's wider corporate practices, with particular expertise in real estate, financial services, private equity. The group has an active standalone practice which focuses on structuring and restructuring mandates. Michael Wistow and Peita Menon are further practitioners of note.

Akin Gump LLP's tax group handles restructurings in conjunction with the firm's restructuring and insolvency practice; investment fund tax advice; and a range of stand-alone work for multinational clients. Stuart Sinclair heads the team and is advising the committee of bondholders of Norske Skog on the financial restructuring of $1bn debt. He continues to advise OM Asset Management alongside Sophie Donnithorne-Tait  on its equity offerings and a number of bespoke tax matters. Donnithorne-Tait's highlights also included assisting, on a pro bono basis, Global Parametrics with the establishment of an innovative disaster relief fund in conjunction with the UK and German Governments.

Dechert LLP's 'exceptionally responsive' tax team is most noted for its funds work, for which it is 'absolutely focused on the client's needs and commercial objectives'.¬† In addition to investment managers, the group handles private equity tax advice throughout the full investment cycle and a significant amount of real estate-related matters. 'Outstanding technically', Mark Stapleton¬†is 'absolutely brilliant with clients'. Stapleton advised Chrysaor on the tax aspects of its $3.8bn acquisition of a package of assets in the UK North Sea from Shell UK. He also advised Chenavari Investment Managers on its third EU CLO in relation to the issuance of¬†‚ā¨365m of Notes.¬†Jane Scobie¬†provided tax advice to Sun Capital on the sale of¬†Alb√©a to PAI Partners, which involved structuring the sale and cross-border tax issues.

The team at¬†Dentons¬†provides 'an excellent level of service' and demonstrates 'a good level of professionalism' in relation to the spectrum of transactional tax work. The team is going through a period of expansion; the 'remarkable'¬†Alex Tostevin¬†joined from¬†Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP¬†in June 2017, while in March 2018,¬†James Meakin¬†joined from¬†Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. The tax group also benefited from 2017's merger with the Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens, which added consultant¬†Alastair MacLeod. Highlights included advising KKR on its successful ‚ā¨6.82bn bid to acquire the spreads business of Unilever; which included identifying tax risks and preparing the tax aspects of the revised bid documentation. Group leader¬†Alex Thomas¬†(who 'works well with the deal team')¬†advised long-term tax client Green Property Holdings on the ¬£130m sale of 67 Lombard Street to Singapore-based Ho Bee Land. On the advisory front, the group assisted HSBC and¬†Soci√©t√© G√©n√©rale with the tax aspects of debt funding for the purpose of a re-financing in the real estate sector. Suhail Qureshi left the firm for an in-house position in September 2017.

Possessing 'great business acumen', the tax team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has particular expertise in investment fund taxation, international M&A, real estate investment and tax risk insurance. Cathryn Vanderspar heads the London group and advised UK Mortgages in relation to the establishment of a public securitisation structure backed by £590m of residential mortgages; a matter that required the implementation of an innovative, tax efficient cross-border structure. Camilla Spielman worked on the initial product design of the ACS/PAID master/feeder fund structure for Royal London Asset Management and advised on subsequent property tax issues. Ben Jones assisted SNC-Lavalin on the tax aspects of its £2.1bn acquisition and financing of WE Atkins.

Fieldfisher's corporate tax team draws on the firm's strengths in the TMT area to handle a range of work related to that sector, in addition to handling matters emanating from the financial services, energy, life sciences and retail sectors. The group is led by Derek Hill, who has real expertise in tax-structured film finance transactions. Nick Noble is a financial sector tax expert, whose clients include major investment banks; he is also dual qualified as a solicitor and chartered tax adviser in the UK. Andrew Prowse is a recommended transactional tax lawyer and regularly supports the firm's M&A group.

Goodwin's experienced team is noted for its 'commerciality and problem-solving skills' in addition to to its ability to liaise with accountants. The group has a strong offering in relation to tax structuring and an active transactional practice. Sarah Priestley leads the firm's European Tax teams, and focuses on the UK corporation tax aspects of a wide variety of commercial transactions, including take-privates, private equity investments, private and public company takeovers, corporate retructurings and spin-offs. Priestly advised Bridgepoint Advisors on the sale of LBIA Holding, which owns Leeds Bradford International Airport, optimising the tax position of the client. Highlights for Ben Eaton included advising GreenOak Real Estate Advisors on the second generation of the client's European debt platform; providing all structuring advice, which had Luxembourg and US aspects. Laura Charkin assisted UK Green Investment Bank with the tax aspects of the creation of its Offshore Wind Fund.

Jones Day's tax department predominantly focuses on real estate-related transactions, although it also has significant M&A and financing experience. The group is led by real estate expert Blaise Marin-Curtoud, whose highlights included advising Henderson Park on its £500m acquisition of Metropole Hotels Holding, as well as post-acquisition restructuring of the target company to enhance exit opportunities. Charlotte Sallabank advised GE Healthcare on the tax aspects of its acquisition of Rapidscan Pharma Solutions, which involved combining a UK-style acquisition of the UK subsidiary with a US-style merger of the US parent company. Anthony Whall advised Macquarie Capital on the joint venture between Peel Logistics Property and Ivanhoe Cambridge.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP¬†is noted for offering 'a high level of customer service' to US clients with operations in the UK. The UK Tax Principal is transfer pricing expert¬†Russell Hampshire, who assists a number of US-based multinationals with defending an Insland Revenue transfer pricing audit, and in particular, drafting responses to HMRC's analysis of matters in the context of base erosion and profit sharing (BEPS). 'Intuitive'¬†James Ross¬†advised Socotex on the¬†‚ā¨30m acquisition of ESG from 3i; a mandate that required efficient tax structuring with regard to the new hybrid mismatch and interest limitation rules. In 2017, the team lost Tom Scott to the judiciary and Matthew Herrington¬† to¬†KPMG United Kingdom.

Mishcon de Reya LLP's 'pro-active' and 'very capable' tax team provides 'an excellent level of service, technical expertise' which is complemented by 'broad commercial knowledge'. The group's broad practice spans fund raising, exit planning for entrepreneurs, M&A transactions and real estate tax matters. Head of Corporate Tax, John Skoulding, advised Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance on the $952m cross-border sale of its UK insurance subsidiary, Sompo Canopius, to Centerbridge Partners. He also advised Vestra Wealth LLP on its sale to LGT, which involved complex structuring arrangements. 'Very capable real estate specialist' Jonathan Legg is also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP is able to deploy 'an excellent technical depth' to tax matters affecting the advanced manufacturing, technology, infrastructure, energy, financial services and real estate sectors. Highlights included advising AMC Entertainment on its cross-border $929m acquisition of Nordic Cinema Group from Bridgepoint Advisers and Bonnier. The group also assisted Railpen as lead investor in Kobalt Capital's Music Royalties Fund and stress tested the Luxembourg tax advice in relation to tax risk. The team is led by 'highly professional' Eloise Walker , who is particularly strong on transactional tax matters. Christine Yuill is recommended for corporate and business tax, but also specialises in employee share incentive schemes. Former CMS tax head Richard Croker joined the team as a consultant in June 2018.

Proskauer Rose LLP's 'attentive' and 'practical' team is predominantly instructed by funds and corporates on transactional mandates. Possessing 'good industry knowledge', team leader Robert Gaut  focuses on domestic and cross-border tax matters, with a particular focus on the establishment of investment funds and M&A. Splitting her time between London (where she is the office head) and Boston, Mary Kuusisto, advised Falcon Investment Advisors on the closing of its debt-focuses fund, which required Tier One-level US law tax structuring counsel. Stephen Pevsner and Catherine Sear are further key contacts.

Private equity is at the core of Ropes & Gray LLP's 'excellent' tax practice. The 'knowledgeable' team stands out for its 'deep understanding' of the subject matter, 'user-friendliness' and 'real commercial awareness'. 'At the top of her game', practice head Brenda Coleman continues to advise Bain Capital on the tax aspects of various investments, including the purchase of a controlling stake in MKM from 3i and LDC. She also advised TSG Consumer Partners on its £213m acquisition of a 22.3% stake in BrewDog. 'Very responsive' and 'commercially astute' Andrew Howard continues to assist Metalmark Capital and Oakley Capital Investments with the UK tax aspects of multiple transactions.

Shearman & Sterling LLP's tax team services many of the firm's high value M&A and private equity transactions, which often have a cross-border dimension. Recent highlights for the group included advising Liberty Global on the structuring of the split-off of its Latin American and Caribbean business through a distribution of shares in a new listed Bermudan holding company. It also assisted Orange with the £520m bond issue, exchangeable into BT shares and, in a separate matter, Frigoglass with a major restructuring of the group's capital and its bank and bond debt. The team is led by 'solutions-orientated and patient' Simon Letherman. 'Resilient' associate Lois Howarth is recommended for her ability to provide 'robust advice'.

Vinson & Elkins RLLP's clients value the tax department's 'outstanding' service in relation to its key competencies, which include corporate and real estate transactions and oil and gas sector-specific tax law. UK practice head Jenny Doak combines 'technical tax excellence' with the commercial focus that arises from her 'deep practical experience'. Amongst a number of tax matters for the client, highlights included advising Saudi Aramco on the UK-tax aspects of its participation in a $1bn joint initiative to develop and accelerate the commercial deployment of low emissions technologies. The group coordinated cross-border counsel for Helios Towers Africa on the tax aspects of its debut $600m high yield bond issuance and listing on the Irish Stock Exchange. Andrew Callaghan is also recommended. Michael Thompson retired in 2017.

Bird & Bird LLP's team specialises in IP tax, owner-managed business tax issues and employment-related tax law matters. It also has a significant venture capital client base. The group is led by¬†Mat Oliver, whose highlights include advising Office Depot on the tax aspects of the ‚ā¨2bn sale of its European business to Aurelius. He also advised the Gates Corporation on its acquisition of UK-based GTF Engineering and Services; and in a separate matter, advised a major technology company on the UK shareholder tax aspects of a potential restructuring.¬†Zoe Feller¬†assisted Canada-based Altus Group on its ¬£36.3 acquisition of the UK-based Commercial Valuers & Surveyors. Legal Director¬†Ben Holloway¬†advised a US-based technology group on the establishment of a UK headquarters.

Burges Salmon LLP stands out for its real estate tax practice, but it is also active in the general corporate tax space, with particular expertise in transactional work. The group is led by Nigel Popplewell, who continues to advise The Crown Estate and The Church Commissioners on a variety of tax issues pertaining to commercial and agricultural property transactions. He also assisted the shareholders of International Process Technologies with the disposal of companies within its group, which involved advice on the tax implications of the deals and the negotiation of documents which apportioned tax risk within the deals. Legal director Ian Carnochan  advised a real estate investment and asset management company on a major property acquisition in Cardiff. John Barnett is recommended for his focus on private equity, remuneration and planning. Sarah Lane joined the firm from an in-house position in February 2018 and specialises in finance and capital markets-related tax issues.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP's team is led by Adam Blakemore , who has particular expertise in the tax aspects of structuring domestic and cross-border finance transactions. Highlights included advising Citigroup Global Markets on a $483.8m credit tenant lease financing in Ausstria, which involved knowledge of tax law in the UK and several EU jurisdictions. The group also acted as tax advisors to Neyber on the UK securitisation of salary-deduct consumer loans.

'Outstanding from a technical perspective', Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's London tax team 'punches above its weight' in relation to private equity funds and multinationals engaged in M&A. The group is led by the 'measured' Richard Sultman, who is noted for his 'excellent analytical skills'. Highlights included advising General Motors on the £1.14bn sale of Adam Opel and its subsidiary Vauxhall Motors to PSA Peugeot-Citroen, a deal that required significant cross-border tax advice. The group also advised Credit Suisse Asset Management on the tax elements of its spin-out of a majority interest in Credit Suisse Quantitative and Systematic Asset Management.

Clyde & Co LLP's team handles the spectrum of employment taxation, which supports the firm's broader employment practice, in addition to specialisms in the tax aspects of insurance and real estate. The group assisted One Braham on the £65m acquisition of a Luxembourg SPV which owns the Aldgate Tower. A provider of 'concise and confident advice', team head Ray Smith advised Regal Real Estates in relation to development finance for WeWork's investment into Hackney. Legal director David Blumenthal advised Leon Restaurants on the tax implications of a £25m private equity investment into the company. Susan Ball is another key contact.

Cooley (UK) LLP's tax team has a transactional focus, and draws on the firm's substantial client-base in the technology and life sciences sectors; advising both corporates and private equity funds. The group is led by Natasha Kaye who, in addition to expertise in general corporate tax issues, has a niche in outsourcing and IP transactions. Highlights included assisting RZC Investments on the purchase of Rapha, which gave rise to novel tax issues and elements of US tax law. The group also advised the senior management of ATCORE Group on structural tax matters and treatments concerning its acquisition by Inflexion Private Equity. Cross-border tax expert David Wilson joined the firm at partner-level in May 2018 from a consultancy position at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.

Mayer Brown International LLP's 'pro-active and commercial' team focuses primarily on tax matters arising in the financial services and private equity sectors, but also handles a variety of real estate tax work. Following the departure of Sandy Bhogal to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in April 2018, the team is led by M&A and group reorganisations expert James Hill who advised Vitruvian Partners, and its portfolio company JAC Travel, on its £200m sale to Webjet. He also assisted Shearwater Group with the tax aspects of various acquisitions, including of Newable Consulting and SecurEnvoy. Highlights for Ben Fryer, who became a partner in January 2018,  included advising LKK Health Products Group on its £1.28bn purchase of The Walkie Talkie. Fryer also advised Barclays, Bank of America Merill Lynch, HSBC and NatWest Markets as Joint Arrangers and Joint Lead Managers in the £472.9m auto loan securitisation issued by Globaldrive Auto Recievables UK 2017-A.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP stands out for its service to investment trusts, funds and private equity houses, and the tax department works closely with the firm's UK structured finance and private investment funds groups. In cross-border mandates, the team is able to draw on the firm's international presence. Practice head Kate Habershon advised Pantheon International plc on a share capital reorganisation which consolidated its ordinary and redeemable share capital into a single class of ordinary shares, requiring detailed tax analysis to produce a tax efficient structure. 

Osborne Clarke LLP advises a mixture of corporate and funds clients, with niche expertise in tax issues arising from fund formation and complex partnership restructurings. Drawing on the expertise of 'very knowledgeable' practice head Tracey Wright, the team also has a strong offering of real estate-related tax services. Wright advised Balfour Beatty Investment on all tax structuring in relation to the Sussex University student accommodation project, which was funded by a £200m wrapped bond. Erika Jupe advised Actavis UK on the tax elements of its £603m divestment by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries to Intas Pharmaceuticals. Following Michael Bell's departure to an in-house position in September 2017, the team welcomed David Nisbet from White & Case LLP in October 2017, adding significant expertise in private equity transactions.

Paul Hastings LLP is noted for its 'focused' work relating to the tax aspects of collateralised loan obligation (CLO) transactions and securitisations, but it has also built up a strong practice of funds work, particularly in the real estate sector. In addition to servicing the firm's other departments, the team also handles standalone matters, including restructurings for private funds. Highlights for Arun Birla, who 'leads the team well', included advising CVC Credit Partners on the structuring and establishment of a risk retention corporate entity, which combines securitisation, corporate and fund techniques across the UK, US, Luxembourg and Jersey. He is currently advising Intermediate Capital Partners on the tax aspects of structuring a major European direct lending fund.

'Excellent' Reed Smith LLP is known for its tax expertise in M&A, in addition to more niche understanding of employee benefit and share schemes. Team leader Caspar Fox advised SoundCloud on the UK tax consequences of restructuring its business and the impact on existing employee incentive arrangements. Gareth Amdor was instructed by BAMTech LLC on its acquisition of Cake Solutions. He also provided UK tax advice to the management of Warehouse REIT on the pre-float structuring and float off the company in a tax efficient manner. Senior associate Laura Gould is also recommended for her employment tax expertise.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP's strength is its transatlantic presence, which it utilises to provide UK and US tax advice on complex cross-border transactions alongside the firm's other departments. The group is co-led by Ronald Creamer and S. Eric Wang, both of whom split their time between the New York and London offices. Highlights for Wang included advising firm-wide client Elis on the structuring of its £2bn cross-border takeover of Berendsen; and in a separate mandate, he was instructed by BP on its entrance into an agreement with Bridas Corporation to form a joint-venture with operations in Argentina. European counsel Andrew Thomson advised Diebold Nixdorf on the tax aspects of the sale of its legacy Diebold business in the UK and Ireland.

Taylor Wessing LLP is most known for its real estate tax work, particularly in relation to REIT structuring. It also has expertise in the technology and private equity spaces. Head of Tax and Incentives Robert Young advised Supercell on the UK tax aspects of its $90m acquisition of a majority interested in SpaceApe Games; while he also advised, alongside Head of International Tax Peter Jackson, Canada Life on the tax implications and structuring of a number of complex income strip transactions, including the acquisition of a long-term income interest in and re-development funding for Kings Walk Shopping Centre in Gloucester. Graham Samuel-Gibbon is another practitioner of note.

The 'impressive' tax department at Watson Farley & Williams LLP stands out for its 'first-class' client service and 'highly-responsive, proactive' approach to issues. The group is led by Richard Stephens who has particular expertise in the maritime, transport and energy sectors. Highlights for Stephens included advising Velocita Energy Developments on the tax aspects of its £191.5m disposal of a portfolio comprising three under-construction onshore wind projects in France to Canada-based Innergex Renewable Energy. Possessing 'a very strong legal and tax background' and an ability to 'grasp concepts quickly', Tom Jarvis advised DONG Energy on the reorganisation of its Lincolnshire offshore wind farm joint venture, following the withdrawal of Centrica and Siemens Project Ventures from the project.

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