Baker McKenzie has enjoyed a position at the top of the international trade market for two decades, and continues to advise multinational companies on export controls, sanctions and custom issues at an EU and UK level, in addition to WTO disputes. In 2020, the firm was particularly busy advising clients on the implications of Brexit, as well as advising on FDI issues in light of the UK's new National Security & Investment Act. Group head Sunny Mann is 'a true star performer'; having previously worked in several of the firm's US and Australia offices, Mann is well-placed to advise multinational companies on global compliance regimes. Other key team members include customs expert Jennifer Revis, newly promoted partner Ben Smith and of counsel Sven Bates. Ross Denton departed to join Ashurst in June 2020.
EU and competition: trade, WTO anti-dumping and customs in London
Other key lawyers:
Jennifer Revis; Tristan Grimmer; Sven Bates; Ben Smith
‘Very professional team which works very well across different jurisdictions to provide globally integrated legal advice.’
‘It is a very well rounded team with outstanding individuals acting as a real team. There is a great friendly and informal atmosphere in the trade team making it a real pleasure to work with them. Able to provide a very broad range of services in trade compliance.‘
‘Ben Smith has stepped up as a very effective relationship manager between the firm and our in-house legal team. His friendly style makes working with the firm a pleasure. On top of that he is outstanding in a broad range of trade compliance related matters.‘
‘Overall professionalism of the firm, wealth in knowledge and accurate in guidance are key strengths.’
‘Sunny Mann, partner EU, competition and trade – a true star performer. He has an in-depth knowledge of sanctions and export control matters. Fantastic on ABC and AML compliance issues, and somebody who adds real value in the strategy and planning of an internal investigation. Tristan Grimmer – a real cool head in the middle of a fluid and fast moving investigations. Deft at handling client expectations. Fantastic work ethic.’
‘As with other practice areas, Baker McKenzie learns its clients’ businesses well, understands our risk profile, and provides practical, workable advice.’
‘The partners provide no frills guidance when asked and direct guidance is appreciated.‘
Take Two Interactive Software Inc
- Represented Harley-Davidson in a trade disruption case resulting from the US-EU trade war.
- Advised a multinational technology company in relation to a criminal investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into alleged breaches of financial sanctions in the Middle East.
- Provided ongoing sanctions and export controls advice to three multinational technology companies.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides 'first-class legal advice' to multinational private companies and sovereign governments on WTO law and trade policies, in addition to export controls and sanctions issues. The group's undoubted highlight in recent years has been representing Nord Stream in arbitration proceedings against the European Union relating to the EU Third Gas Directive. Lode Van Den Hende, who splits his time between London and Brussels, leads the team, supported by key partners Susannah Cogman and Daniel Hudson. Beyond the partnership team, consultant Eric White has vast experience in WTO cases, having previously led the Trade Policy and WTO team at the European Commission's Legal Service. Senior associate Morris Schonberg also stands out, assisting with the department's largest matters.
Lode Van Den Hende
Other key lawyers:
Susannah Cogman; Daniel Hudson; Eric White; Morris Schonberg
‘First-class legal advice coupled with a very commercially-orientated and pragmatic approach. My go-to team on many issues, in particular involving significant regulatory matters. I have always felt I get very good value considering the quality of the advice, and billing is always transparent.’
‘Lode Van Den Hende is the stand-out partner for me. Thoughtful, insightful, very sharp and to the point. Excellent.’
‘Service levels combined with expertise. Fast response and friendly communication.’
‘Our main contact person is Eric White. Eric’s performance is outstanding. His advice is quick, timely and always extremely useful. When it comes to drafting suggestions relating to possible settlement solutions Eric is capable of combining his enormous knowledge with creative, forward-looking proposals and solutions.’
Nord Stream 2
National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China
British American Tobacco
- Advising Nord Stream 2 on its legal challenge of an EU Directive extending EU gas law to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
- Advised Rosneft on its appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union concerning a legal challenge to EU trade and financial sanctions.
- Advising Aquind on the trade and EU aspects of the construction and operation of a direct current interconnector between the UK and France.
Under the leadership of John Forrest, DLA Piper‘s growing trade team has extensive expertise in export control, sanctions and customs and WTO work. In 2021, the firm was one of the few to be appointed to the UK government’s new trade law panel, and will be advising the government on both WTO disputes and trade negotiations. Paul Hardy is the firm’s dedicated Brexit expert, and has been working with businesses, public sector bodies and States to influence UK-EU partnership negotiations and utilise existing EU trade deals. Beyond partner level, Chloe Barker was promoted to legal director in May 2020 and advises foreign governments on negotiations with the European Union.
Other key lawyers:
Paul Hardy; Chloe Barker; Daniel Jones; Rupert Ekblom
UK Government Trade Law Panel
International Consolidated Airlines Group S.A.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (Great Britain) Ltd
Tokyo Electron Europe Ltd
Brisko Scaffolding Limited
Coca Cola European Refreshments
Circor International, Inc
The University of Sheffield
- Appointed to the UK Government Panel to provide specialist legal advice and support on international trade law, disputes and negotiations.
- Advising IAG on the consequences of the Boeing-Airbus WTO dispute for imports of Boeing aircraft by British Airways.
- Advising Brisko Scaffolding Limited on the legislative and regulatory framework governing the transition of EU tariff rate quotas on steel imports into UK domestic legislation.
Akin Gump LLP focuses on providing compliance advice to clients involved in high-stakes, complex corporate transactions, and has expertise in trade issues at an UK, EU and US level. The London team forms part of the firm's leading international trade group, which includes dedicated trade experts in many of the firms offices in the US, Europe and Asia. Practice co-Jasper Helder and Chiara Klaui 'are both outstanding partners'; the former is a 'leading light' in export controls and sanctions issues, while the latter assists multinational companies with internal and government investigations.
Jasper Helder; Chiara Klaui
Other key lawyers:
‘Akin Gump is unique in providing advice on sanctions regulations both in the EU and the US. Within 48 hours from our request we will have received an extensive advice with a summary.’
‘Chiara and Jasper are both outstanding partners – very commercial and thoughtful about their advice and the wider impact. They consistently get the basics right (which is surprisingly uncommon in an area with a lot of grey space) and think through the practical realities of their advice.‘
‘The team in London is led by two extremely able partners – direct, extremely knowledgeable and commercial.’
‘Jasper Helder and Chiara Klaui are very responsive and provide actionable, business-friendly advice on complicated EU export control and sanctions topics.’
‘Excellent knowledge of a tricky subject area.’
‘Jasper Helder is a leading light. His analytical skills and ability to explain complex matters in simple terms make him our go-to lawyer of choice.‘
‘Jasper is certainly one of the best lawyers in the area of EU export controls. He guidance is always clear, concise, and practical. He is knowledgeable about export controls and sanctions as it relates to my industry (semiconductors and technology).‘
‘They can be emphatic to the certain situations when the matter is sensitive, also stay professional. They are there, available to you when you need them. They are willing to send you an update if they know it is important or interesting for your business. They will go that extra mile for their customer.’
Eastman Chemical Company
Government of the United Arab Emirates
Mitsui & Co
Palo Alto Networks
Raytheon Technologies Corporation
Royal Boskalis Westminster
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX)
The Coca Cola Company
United Parcel Service (UPS)
Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors
- Advising a cloud computing provider on Brexit and other trade regulatory developments and policy changes.
- Advised Royalty Pharma on the trade compliance aspects of its $2.5bn initial public offering and listing on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
- Developed a global trade compliance programme on behalf of a global leader in technology and engineering.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is particularly strong in relation to sanctions, and utilises the firm's strong presence in Moscow to advise leading Russian banks and other companies on sanctions affecting the region. In addition to its sanctions work, in 2021 the firm was appointed to the new UK government trade law panel, and will work with the government on WTO disputes and trade negotiations with other countries. Chris Bryant leads the practice and is experienced in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases, while Sarah Klein's arrival from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP in January 2021 further strengthened the sanctions practice.
Other key lawyers:
Sonja Hainsworth; Kate Ison; Mukul Chawla QC; Sarah Klein
‘BCLP, I think, stands out because they deliver a first rate service to clients in a straightforward and unfussy way. I think that it is very refreshing for clients that BCLP just get on and do a really great job, in quite a low key way. Stand out partners – Chris Bryant, Kate Ison and Mukul Chawla QC.’
‘The practice concerned has a unique business-oriented approach based on vast experience of its members. Efficient cross-border cooperation is also worth mentioning.’
Clifford Chance LLP has been busy in 2021 assisting international companies from a number of sectors with the implications of Brexit. In addition, the department has a close relationship with the UK government and was recently appointed to its new trade law panel, in addition to having advised the Department for International Trade on trade agreements with non-EU countries. Jessica Gladstone and Michael Lyons, both of whom sit within the wider dispute resolution team, are the key partners; the former advises sovereign governments on their obligations under WTO rules and free trade agreements, while the latter focuses on sanctions and export control work.
Jessica Gladstone; Michael Lyons
‘Impressed by the level of collaboration – willingness to discuss and reflect real life/commercial experience in advice making it more practical and useful.’
‘Jessica Gladstone – Particularly impressed at how she leads her team giving due credit and responsibility to others but adding valuable insights from her rich experience and knowledge.’
‘Jessica Gladstone has extensive arbitration experience in addition to trade law and litigation experience. This is a formidable combination. She is a strong team leader.’
‘Regarding trade, WTO anti-dumping and customs practice: Clifford’s deep experience in international arbitration, combined with its experience in WTO disputes including those involving anti-dumping, plus their recent addition of a top trade person from the US Commerce Department, and their ability to draw on a global network Clifford offices, combine to make Clifford Chance easily one of the best UK law firms for trade and customs issues. They do not hesitate to work collaboratively with specialised law firms when it helps the client. They are very accessible and pleasant to work with.’
UK Department for International Trade
Her Majesty’s Treasury
Louis Dreyfus Commodities and Energy
Holdings N.V. (“LDCEH”)
International Military Services Ltd.
- Advised the Department for International Trade on the final drafting stages and implementation of its continuity free trade agreements with non-EU countries.
- Advised a European Energy Company on sanctions issues.
- Advised a consortium of companies on the international trade law implications of Brexit.
The lawyers at Dentons are 'willing to get their hands dirty' when assisting clients with sanctions, export controls, WTO law and trade remedies; in 2020, the group has also been heavily involved in Brexit-related issues. The practice has developed significantly in recent years and has been appointed to the new UK government trade law panel to assist with WTO disputes and trade negotiations. When it comes to advising on sanctions, practice head Roger Matthews 'understands what the client wants' and previously worked at the European Commission and HM Treasury Sanctions Unit.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team are very knowledgeable. They were very good at identifying the issue and coming up with ideas to solve the problem. They quoted for the work and did not go over the cost quote.’
‘Experienced in the area. Willing to get their hands dirty. Not afraid to challenge the status quo.‘
‘Very client oriented, the client comes first and Dentons is there to provide advice that adds real value to the transaction.‘
‘Roger Matthews. He gets it. He understands what the client wants, the things that they haven’t thought about and meets their needs. Straightforward and very effective.’
‘The area of practice that we sought advice on, regulations relating to PPE, is fairly niche. The advice provided was very detailed and specific, which was invaluable.’
‘Roger Matthews was a pleasure to work with – his advice was provided efficiently and the advice that was given was of a very high standard in a very fast moving and evolving area of law.’
Tui Travel Aviation Finance
- Advised Aggreko in relation to trade and sanctions issues.
- Advised Frog Bikes on the Department of International Trade’s decision not to extend the Chinese anti-dumping duty on bicycle parts into UK.
- Advising BASF on adjusting its EU-UK business to the post-Brexit arrangements.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's international trade group provides 'top-notch' advice in relation export controls, economic sanctions, compliance audits and customs. James Lindop leads the team; his experience includes representing clients before a range of institutions, include the European Commission, OFAC and HMRC. In addition to the core trade group, the firm is able to utilise is wider expertise, particularly with regards to tax, to provide a comprehensive service to clients. Among the associates, Monika Zejden-Erdmann 'is skilled in providing clear guidance' in relation to the potential impact of Brexit and Covid-19 border closures.
Other key lawyers:
Monika Zejden-Erdmann; Giles Salmond
‘The collaborative manner in which the practice is set up allows Eversheds to serve as a primary point of contact for legal advice needed to support business globally. This saves the company time/resources and helps facilitate a consistent and reasonably digestible work product across a multitude of different circumstances.’
‘James Lindop and Monika Zejden-Erdmann have been our primary contact points. Both provided quality advice and showed a good value for the money.’
‘Responsive and practical advice.‘
‘We work primarily with James Lindop. We find him to be extremely responsive, and highly proficient at translating complex law into practical actions.’
‘Easy straight to the point communication.‘
‘James and his team were able to jump start helping us practically immediately after the initial contact of more than a year ago and have proved to be very valuable since. They helped us to analyse our compliance situation, provided reasonable legal guidance with various steps to take to set up a compliance project. When a certain situation occurred that didn’t require expert legal skill they came with a very reasonable specific price arrangement.’
‘Monika Zejden-Erdmann is well-versed in her practice areas of expertise. She is responsive and collaborative in the services she provides. Monika is skilled in providing clear guidance without superfluous information that does not provide value to the business. This is critical to helping balancing legal compliance needs with fast-paced business demands.‘
‘James Lindop and Monika Zejden-Erdmann are both extremely talented lawyers who know what they are talking about in a very complicated area of law. Their application of complex multi-jurisdictional rules and legislation is impressive. They are responsive and commercial. Top notch.’
ESET, spol. s r.o.
Santé Global LLP
Shell Trading & Supply
- Assisting Santé since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic with regulatory issues related to the sourcing of infection control medical devices and personal protective equipment for hospitals.
- Assisting Sonnedix with regular reports on Coivd-19 regulatory developments.
Operating across the London and Brussels offices, Gowling WLG is also able to call upon expertise in its other European, North American and Asian teams to advise on issues relating to sanctions, trade defence investigations, customs compliance work and export controls. Much of the firm's recent work has related to Brexit; this has included providing strategic advice to EU and US-based clients on compliance with the UK's new 'roll over' free trade agreements. Departmental head Bernadine Adkins' practice spans competition and international trade law.
Other key lawyers:
David Lowe; Ursula Johnston
Hill & Smith Holdings plc
Aston Martin Lagonda Limited
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
The Hut Group
- Advising a leading automotive manufacturer on the development of a global customs and trade compliance programme.
- Advising a wellness brand on a variety of customs compliance matters.
- Advising a leading multinational manufacturer on the potential application of EU and UK sanctions in relation to prospective energy projects in Russia.
Hogan Lovells International LLP's broad practice spans export control issues, investigations, sanctions and trade negotiations. The group is particularly active in national security issues, assisting clients with navigating complex regulatory regimes (particularly in relation to China), as well as FDI screening issues. Aline Doussin leads the team; praised as 'a highly recognised expert in the field of international trade regulations', Doussin is a key member of the firm's Brexit strategy group and advises on post-Brexit EU-UK free trade agreement negotiations.
Other key lawyers:
‘Excellent professionals, high quality team.’
‘Aline Doussin is a highly recognised expert in the field of International Trade Regulations. She is extremely knowledgeable and a very appreciated partner, client-focused and dedicated to always helping find the right approach, resources and solution for the business. Aline is absolutely brilliant to work with and I cannot recommend her enough.’
Society of Lloyd’s
Department for International Trade
- Appointed by the UK Government to provide regulatory and legal advice on the negotiations of the UK-Australia and UK-New Zealand free trade agreements.
- Advised Dell on the sale of its IT security business RSA to Symphony Technology Group for $2.1bn.
- Assisted Lloyd’s of London with working with the UK Government on the first General Trade Licence under the new UK SAMLA sanctions concerning Russia.
As part of the firm's global trade group, Mayer Brown International LLP's London office is able to offer expertise on a range of issues including economic sanctions, export controls, and customs, as well as trade remedy investigations and WTO disputes. The team, which has developed a niche specialism in dual-use and military export controls, is led in London by the 'knowledgeable and thoughtful' Jason Hungerford; a dual-qualified US and English lawyer, he frequently represents clients before public bodies including the OFAC, the UK Export Control Joint Unit and the US State Department.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very strong experience with trade sanctions, work well with clients to understand their business to be able to advise on very specific situations.’
‘Their depth of insightful knowledge and expertise in this complex area is extremely high.’
‘Jason Hungerford has in-depth and diverse knowledge about corporate investigations, including as it relates to sanctions, export controls, and anticorruption.’
‘Jason Hungerford is a delight to work with. He is knowledgeable and thoughtful, providing excellent and well-considered advice.’
International Swaps and Derivatives Association
Civil Aviation Authority