Baker McKenzie’s full-service capabilities and historic trade law strength across the board allow its London-based group to provide ‘a unique perspective on the issues faced by clients’. The sizeable team’s recent workload reveals its market-leading position in relation to WTO issues, customs, sanction regime issues and export controls. Brexit-related work has also been on the increase. Further, the department’s access to the firm’s global network of 78 offices worldwide also gives its trade offering a significant boost; of recent note, the team has been working closely with teams based in Moscow, Brussels, Amsterdam and Washington DC, among others. Practice head Sunny Mann has significant credentials in the area of US trade compliance, due to his prior experience in the US. Former global group chair Ross Denton has vast experience of public regulation matters. Jennifer Revis heads up the EMEA customs and excise team. Tristan Grimmer is a key contact for export controls, anti-bribery and corruption. Senior associates Sven Bates and Ben Smith are also recommended.
EU and competition: trade, WTO anti-dumping and customs in London
‘The team has considerable strength and depth in the area of sanctions/EU compliance. Sunny Mann is the lead individual in this area‘
‘High knowledge of our industry, and curiosity to always learn more. Ben Smith is a pleasure to work with. Professional, knowledgeable and always ready to assist with practical solutions‘
‘Very professional, cohesive team, with each person having his own specific expertise. Easy to talk to, eager to learn about our business and products, very helpful, very competent, very clear in communications‘
‘This team combines legal excellence with an ability to translate complex legal and regulatory requirements in clear and immediately actionable advice for the corporate counsel. They have a sound understanding of the corporate world, and proactively seek to understand the specifics of their client’s industry and business context, which maximizes the value of their advice by adding relevance. Also, they provide the full range of trade compliance capability that we need, and have an extended network that they can quickly tap into.
This team demonstrates outstanding availability. They go the extra mile to understand our needs and tailor their offering to address them in a way that is both meaningful and practical. And they’re delightful to work with – especially Ben Smith and Ross Evans‘
‘They are very personable and provide a unique perspective on the issues faced, not just from a purely legal angle but also with a commercial focus as well which is refreshing.
Always available, friendly and very experienced from the trainees to the partners.
In particular Ben Smith and Jessica Mutton both stand out as superb counsel‘
- Led a pan-European team on acting for Harley-Davidson in relation to the move of the client’s manufacturing business from the US to Thailand.
- Advising a multinational tech company on a criminal investigation by the National Crime Agency into alleged breaches of financial sanctions in the Middle East.
- Advised a Tier 1 bank on the asset-freeze assessment in respect of accounts held by a high-profile Russian customer, including advice concerning the application of EU sanctions and litigation proceedings in Russia.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Praised for providing ‘excellent insight into trade and customs rules’, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides a full range of legal services relating to WTO law, trade policy, trade remedies, market access issues and investor-state dispute settlement, among other areas. Notably, the group has accrued significant experience in WTO trade negotiations and WTO dispute settlement mechanisms. Elsewhere, the team counts on the expertise of the firm’s corporate crime and investigations group for issues arising from the application of the international sanctions regime; Daniel Hudson and Susannah Cogman are standout practitioners in this space. Further, the team works seamlessly with the Brussels-based team, which also enhances its offering in the area of EU law; practice head Lode Van Den Hende splits his time between London and Brussels. The team’s client roster consists of a notable mix of international companies and governmental bodies. Consultant Eric White and senior associate Morris Schonberg are also noted.
‘Very useful insights on Brexit developments. Pragmatic and customer-focused cooperation!
Great advice, provided valuable Brexit insights, good discussions‘
‘Excellent insight into trade and customs rules that will apply in a post-Brexit scenario to movement of goods. Able to provide UK angle notwithstanding Brussels based and well-equipped to get on top of technical issues in a very political context.
Thorough and diligent but also pragmatic – not overly legal‘
United Carton Industries Company
Gazprom Neft PJSC
PJSC Rosneft Oil Company
British American Tobacco
Nord Stream 2 AG
- Advising Nord Stream 2 AG on EU and international trade law issues in connection with Directive 2019/692 of the European Parliament and the Council, which extends the EU Third Gas Directive to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
- Advised Prosperity UK on EU and international trade law issues in relation to the Alternative Arrangements Commission’s Report and Protocols on Alternative Arrangements for the Irish Border.
- Represented United Carton Industries Company in an anti-dumping investigation concerning cardboard paper, initiated by the Gulf Cooperation Council.
At DLA Piper, the ‘outstanding’ global trade and government affairs group assists multinational companies and sovereign entities with both contentious and non-contentious issues, such as export controls, international sanctions, WTO-specific issues and international trade agreements. Of recent note, team members are also increasingly focusing on all aspects of Brexit-related work; department head John Forrest sits on the firm’s Brexit Committee. Brexit director Paul Hardy is another name to note. A key differentiator of the practice is its strong market presence in London, and further afield across the UK. Senior associate Chloe Barker divides time between London and Birmingham. The team also draws upon the expertise of the firm’s trade specialists spread across Europe, the US and the Asia-Pacific.
‘Their advice is always exactly on point. They respond quickly and efficiently and don’t indulge in law lectures or excessive back-covering. I trust their advice 100%‘
‘The team is outstanding and consistent in the quality, applicability, relevance of the advice they provide. I also would like to give a special mention to the team’s responsiveness and outstanding customer service approach.
John Forrest is highly professional, customer-driven, clear and consistent in his advice. He is the leading world-class expert in his area and always bases his advice on client’s needs and requirements. John has a fantastic knowledge of his area and can adapt and apply it to various industries. Daniel Jones is a highly skilled and knowledgeable professional. John and Daniel together make a fantastic team and are our first point of contact on any matter related to international sanctions, trade, licensing and compliance‘
‘Able to make advisers available at short notice, great level of expertise and pragmatic advice that is easy to make a decision on. Quite often advice from other firms can be difficult to decipher or is not clear, this is not the case with DLA – very clear information indeed.
Great working with John Forrest of Global Trade and Government Affairs. Helped us to navigate the minefield of global trade risk on a number of occasions with sound, clear advice that actually really helps to determine our business decision-making process. Being unambiguous and pragmatic, as John is, is a highly valued skill‘
Kentucky Fried Chicken
ABC International Bank
Molson Coors Brewing Company
International Consolidated Airlines Group S.A.
- Advised Kentucky Fried Chicken on its no-deal Brexit planning.
- Drafting new Hydrocarbons Regulations for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, including the provision of specialist advice in respect of the inclusion of relevant WTO law-derived obligations in the regulations.
- Assisted TMF Group with reviewing and updating its sanctions compliance systems, policies and procedures across all of its international business units.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is well-placed to advise clients on economic trade sanctions, export controls, investigations, due diligence assignments and WTO matters. Complementing his expertise across all these areas, department head James Lindop is also adept at advising multinational companies on the impact of Brexit on their operations. Tax specialist Giles Salmond focuses his practice on customs duties.
Other key lawyers:
‘Pragmatic, available when needed, and expert advice/guidance can be given without further research. Fees are fair and there are no surprises. Eversheds feel like an extension of the in-house team.’
‘They are commercial experts – they offer pragmatic advice and problem-solving, with the benefit that they understand our business and operating model.’
Akin Gump LLP provides ‘constructive and understandable risk-assessed advice’ to clients in the technology, IT, defence and private equity sectors. Trade compliance and financial crime advice are mainstays of the practice. The team is particularly well-versed in conducting multijurisdictional investigations; it handles voluntary self-disclosures and subsequent settlement negotiations in this space. Reflective of the firm’s strong foothold in the US tech sector, the team is also increasingly sought out to advise on cyber-related and other innovative issues. Jasper Helder and Chiara Klaui jointly lead the department, where recently promoted counsel Daniel Lund is also a key figure.
Other key lawyers:
‘Akin Gump’s UK export team has an impressive grasp of both regulatory and policy issues in the EU and the UK, including how those different spheres (policy and regulatory) and jurisdictions (EU and UK) intersect and overlap (and where they do not).
Dan Lund, in particular, has been extraordinarily helpful in working through thorny regulatory and policy issues in the UK and EU, often on a short-turnaround basis‘
‘Very good ability to combine commercial aspects of a transaction, in-debt knowledge of trade restrictions and understanding of clients risk appetite.
Provides constructive and understandable risk assessed advice.
Very responsive and available. Ability to discuss and explain complex legal advice to both legal and non-legal clients.
Knowledgeable and updated on recent updates and trends. Good discussion partner‘
United Technologies Corporation
Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
United Parcel Service
Volkswagen Group of America
Johnson & Johnson
Bain Capital LLC
Archer Daniels Midland Company
- Assisting one of the largest cloud-computing suppliers with technical and trade policy advice concerning the handling of controlled intangible data.
- Advising one of the largest technology companies worldwide on its hardware supply chain structure.
- Advised a UK defence contractor on an internal investigation and subsequent voluntary disclosure relating to violations of UK export controls.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP distinguishes itself in the international sanctions arena, particularly in relation to the sanctions regime imposed on Russia. Its team benefits from the expertise of practitioners across the firm’s network, including those based in Moscow. The department is also regularly instructed in relation to export controls, customs, Brexit-related issues and WTO-specific rules. Chris Bryant, who heads up the practice, works with senior associate Sonja Hainsworth.
‘Excellent team – definitely my first recommendation in this area. The team members are very skilful and hard-working, but have a very good way of dealing with fellow professionals as well, of course, as the clients.
Chris Bryant is the senior partner in the team. I have known him for over 10 years, and he never fails to impress me with his knowledge and dedication. Kate Ison is a newer partner, but is extremely hard working and impressive‘
‘The practice enjoys multijurisdictional experience and has a skilled and client-oriented team. The partners and associates are client-oriented and keen to deliver the outcome not only legally impeccable but also relevant to the client’s industry and other particulars.
Chris Bryant, a partner based in London, has extraordinary knowledge and experience in the area of practice in question, relating not only to the national and EU-level regulation but also to foreign jurisdiction‘
The ‘exceptionally experienced and knowledgeable’ team at Dentons often works with counterparts based in the US, Canada, Germany and Belgium. The department focuses on trade and economic sanctions; a name to note in this space is Roger Matthews, who has honed his sanctions-related expertise at the HM Treasury and the European Commission. Matthews, who joined from Dechert LLP in 2019, is the head of the practice. The team is also well-positioned to advise on export controls, customs and Brexit-related issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘We work mainly with one individual Roger Matthews who we followed from Dechert when he moved. Roger has insightful and pragmatic advice on sanction issues – the specific area where we consult with him. He is not afraid to give opinions on complex matters and use his judgement to help us make business decisions.
Roger has insightful and pragmatic advice on sanction issues – the specific area where we consult with him. He is not afraid to give opinions on complex matters and use his judgement to help us make business decisions‘
‘The Dentons team is exceptionally experienced and knowledgeable, and seamlessly linked up with colleagues in Dentons’ offices across Europe and worldwide. Their expertise in UK, EU, US and other sanctions and export controls is second to none. Their advice and insights on the implications of Brexit and how best to navigate the risks and opportunities is invaluable.
Roger Matthews’ comprehensive grasp of sanctions and related compliance issues is world-class; one can count on the fingers of one hand the only other lawyers in his class in this specialist field. His advice is prompt, precise, thorough and highly constructive, providing a very clear understanding of our operational room for manoeuvre within the applicable regulations.
Anastasia Stankova is not only highly knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with, but also has the enormous advantage (as a native Russian speaker) of a deep understanding of and insight into Russian law that has proven invaluable‘
Nynas UK AB
The Edrington Group
- Advised a UK exporter on whether it could qualify for preferential duty rates under certain EU free trade agreements, certain regulatory requirements, and the implications of Brexit on the supply of goods from the UK to other countries.
- Assisted a European bank with conducting an extensive sanctions due diligence on the business activities.
- Advised various European energy and energy services companies on their sanctions and export control compliance.
Gowling WLG’s team, which is split between London and Brussels, regularly works with colleagues based in Canada, China, France, Russia and Germany. The firm's global reach puts it on a strong footing to advise on sanctions-related issues, export controls, customs and trade compliance. Practice head Bernardine Adkins has notable credentials in trade defence investigations. Director Ursula Johnston is a key contact for advice on customs valuation and tariff classification, among other matters.
Hill & Smith Holdings
Aston Martin Lagonda
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
- Advising a leading automotive manufacturer on the development of a global customs and trade compliance programme, including its Brexit preparations and recovering overpaid customs duties.
- Advising a billion-dollar turnover wellness brand on its UK customs compliance, including tariff classification and origin management.
- Advising a FTSE 250 manufacturer on the potential application of US, UK and EU sanctions in relation to a Russia-based natural gas project.
The trade lawyers at Hogan Lovells International LLP work seamlessly with their colleagues in the US and Brussels, and can also count on the expertise of practitioners elsewhere in the global network. The core strengths of the team lie in the fields of sanctions analysis, trade policy, customs, compliance and foreign investment screening. Brexit-related advice is also an area of focus; practice head Aline Doussin leverages her WTO and EU trade law expertise to act as a key member of the firm’s Brexit Strategy Group. Further, the group is noted for its innovative use of tech solutions in the area of sanctions and trade compliance. It also uses HL Engage to provide valuable insights on ongoing trends.
‘The ability to blend US and European legislation into practical solutions is a key differentiator. Having worked with HL as outside counsel:
Aline Doussin – has worked across multiple jurisdictions and shows a practical element of applying legislation from customs, through export controls and sanctions to GDPR in relation to screening.
The ability to break the above down into simple terms is also key.
There is then the ability to be able to listen and adapt to the needs of the business, as well as taking a risk-based approach, which is also helpful‘
Zhongxing Telecommunication Equipment
- Advised ZTE on one of the largest settlements in the history of US export control and sanctions enforcement.
The London-based team at Mayer Brown International LLP comprises of US and UK-qualified practitioners with specialist expertise in export controls and sanctions. The department, which is a part of the firm’s government and global trade group, also handles complex trade remedy investigations, and EU and international customs. Practice head Jason Hungerford has experience of the defence, oil and gas, mining, heavy machinery and engineering sectors. Senior associate Paul Whitfield-Jones is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘We work very closely with Mayer Brown, and have held a number of joint events together. Clearly, the depth of knowledge of its staff is very high, and they seemingly have an effortlessly engaging way in seeking to get across complex subjects to people. I would unhesitatingly recommend their services to anyone in need of such legal assistance.
Engaging, very knowledgeable and hugely supportive and helpful. Whilst I realise that I only know a handful of people there, Paul Whitfield-Jones and Jason Hungerford give me nothing but total confidence in the capabilities of the rest of their staff‘
International Swaps and Derivatives Association
Sanctions advice forms the bedrock of Winston & Strawn LLP’s international trade work. The team is adept at handling issues for Japan- and Russia-based clients, among other multinational companies. Peter Crowther, who heads up the department, has significant experience of providing regulatory advice.
Other key lawyers:
Liberty Specialty Markets
Apollo Syndicate Management
Argand Partners, LLC
- Advising XL Catlin on international economic sanctions.
- Assisting InterChem with compliance and international sanctions advice.
- Advising Liberty Specialty Markets on the application of international trade sanctions to its business.