Firms To Watch: Employee share schemes

Equity incentive plans and enterprise management incentives are two central pillars of Burges Salmon LLP’s employee share schemes practice. Edinburgh-based Nigel Watson leads the team.
Led by tax specialist Robert Birchall, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP advises a wide range of businesses on the structuring of incentive arrangements.

Employee share schemes in London

Clifford Chance LLP

Praised for its ‘high quality business-focused advice’, Clifford Chance LLP's team is particularly active across high profile advisory work, such as the implementation of broad-based employee share plans across multiple jurisdictions, and corporate transactions involving remuneration issues. The group is also well placed to advise on ESG remuneration matters and technical issues raised by the switch to a more hybrid workforce. Sonia Gilbert leads the team; her broad practice includes advising on board level hires and terminations and employee retention in the context of corporate transactions. Andrew Patterson, who is praised for his ‘industry knowledge and insight’, is well versed in corporate governance and global share plans, while David Baxter frequently guides public and private companies through the design and implementation of share incentive plans.

Practice head(s):

Sonia Gilbert

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Patterson; David Baxter


‘The incentives and share schemes practice are the best available. Very responsive, expert in our industry sector and pro-active in advising us.’

‘Andrew Patterson is exceptional. He is always available, advice is robust and client friendly, industry knowledge and insight is excellent.’

‘Clifford Chance provides high quality, pragmatic, business focused advice and service. They manage complexity very well and truly partner with you to find solutions’

‘In particular I would like to name Sonia Gilbert who was truly exceptional and I cannot recommend her highly enough.

Key clients





Airtel Africa



Harbour Energy


Wizz Air








Work highlights

  • Advising Devro as part of its takeover by SARIA, a German food and agriculture company that is part of the family run Rethmann group.
  • Advised a major tech start-up on creating a crypto-token backed long-term incentive plan for senior employees.
  • Advised Solvay on the implementation of an all-employee share purchase plan.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Praised for its ‘concise, relevant and commercial‘ advice, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP‘s practice is active across the remunerations spectrum, with key areas of focus being share plan and incentives related issues, including on major corporate transactions such as the recent reverse takeover of Shaftesbury plc, and corporate governance advice. Clients include blue chip listed and private companies, with the team advising a number of clients within the financial services sector. 'Stand-out employee' Paul Ellerman and Mark Ife, who is praised for his 'exceptional depth and breadth of knowledge', lead the team. Kiran Khetia is an expert on cash and share-based incentive arrangements, while Niall Crean has a notable focus on financial services remuneration mandates.

Practice head(s):

Paul Ellerman; Mark Ife

Other key lawyers:

Kiran Khetia; Niall Crean; Chris White; Scott Miller


‘Very focused on understanding the client, and building relationships with the client, so that advice is concise, relevant and commercial.’

‘Mark Ife is exceptional – whip smart, pragmatic and gives quick, commercially aware advice. He is a pleasure to partner with.’

‘Team is proactive. They keep abreast of market trends and suggest changes to executive incentive arrangements rather than having to be asked.’

‘Paul Ellerman and Christopher White are stand outs. Both are very knowledgeable and instill confidence with bespoke solutions to issues.’

‘Paul Ellerman and his assistant Chris White are first class. Very responsive, clear and plainly experts in their field.’

‘Exceptional depth and breadth of knowledge, with practical understanding as well as technical understanding; this combination is invaluable.’

‘The personalities of the team members make it a joy to work with them. They are always professional but know when we need to find humour in trying circumstances.

‘Paul Ellerman and Niall Crean are the stand-out employees: we rely on these two advisors specifically to make sure we link all the various strands of incentives together.’

Key clients Group Plc

easyJet Plc

Spirax-Sarco Plc Plc


The Ardonagh Group Ltd

Associated British Foods Plc



Hammerson Plc


WH Smith Plc Plc


Page Group Plc

Genus Plc

Kin + Carta Plc

Inchcape Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised on matters including the employee share schemes, remuneration and corporate governance aspects of its first annual report as a listed company.
  • Advised Capital and Counties Properties on the share plan aspects of its £1.96 billion reverse takeover of Shaftesbury.
  • Advised Stagecoach on the impact of a £595m public to private cash offer on its share plans, including its all-employee Share Incentive Plan.

Linklaters LLP

Praised for its ‘faultless technical detail’ Linklaters LLP 's broad incentives practice is well placed to advise public and private companies on major corporate transactions, global compliance and the design and implementation of executive and all-employee incentive arrangements. Known for its expertise in the financial services sector, the group assists clients from a range of sectors including retail and transport infrastructure. Alexandra Beidas leads the team, with her varied case load including advising on major corporate transactions and senior management hires and terminations. Cara Hegarty is noted for her expertise in advising boards and senior executives on remuneration strategy. ‘Commercial player’ Bradley Richardson has deep experience of advising on the establishment and operation of employee and executive remuneration programmes, while Nancy Price frequently assists major companies with assessing and managing the risks involved with international share plans.

Practice head(s):

Alexandra Beidas

Other key lawyers:

Cara Hegarty; Bradley Richardson; Ben McCarthy; Nancy Price


‘All of the Linklaters team are technically excellent, very responsive and good to deal with.’

‘Cara Hegarty is technically excellent but at the same time very good at distilling complex concepts into simple language for stakeholders.’

‘The team provide a consistently high level of advice and I appreciate both the technical expertise and the practical lens.’

‘Alex Beidas and Cara Hegarty are both excellent – responsive, commercial and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Technical experts with a proactive approach’

‘Responsive and proactive in all the work that they do, solution orientated.’

‘Incredibly commercial advice and faultless technical detail; the team has a complete grasp of the complex EMEA remuneration regulatory environment.’

‘Ben McCarthy is a commercial player who always grasps the nuances and complexities of the situation and is able to respond and advise accordingly.’

Key clients


Vistry Group Plc

Investec plc


Phoenix Group Holdings plc

AUB Group Limited

Equiniti Group Limited

Hg Pooled Management Limited

Biffa Plc

Globalvía Inversiones S.A.

Work highlights

  • Advising Brookfield on its £4bn acquisition of Homeserve.
  • Advising Vistry on its £1.25bn acquisition of Countryside Properties.
  • Advising Montagu on the acquisition of Emerging Portfolio Funds Research.

Slaughter and May

Led by Charles Cameron, the ‘technically excellent’ team at Slaughter and May advises major public and private companies from a broad range of sectors on issues, such as directors’ renumeration policies, employee share-based incentive plans and the granting of share incentives to non-executive directors. The firm also frequently advises on the incentives aspects of major corporate transactions. Philip Linnard‘s broad practice extends to the operation of malus and clawback provisions. Padraig Cronin has in-depth knowledge of executive plans. ‘Share plans guru’, Ian Brown is equipped to assist with the design and implementation of discretionary and all-employee incentive arrangements, while the  ‘outstanding’ Philippa O’Malley handles a broad range of contentious, advisory and transactional incentives matters. Rosemary Nelson and Richard Surtees are further names to note.

Practice head(s):

Charles Cameron

Other key lawyers:

Philip Linnard; Ian Brown; Philippa O’Malley; Rosemary Nelson; Richard Surtees


‘Great commercial awareness, always able to present advice on highly complex issues in a clear and persuasive manner.’

‘Philippa O’Malley – first class lawyer. Very client focused, good commercial and practical solutions to complex problems.’

‘Availability, excellent interpersonal and listening skills and good balance of the technical, commercial and pragmatic.’

‘Calm and collected; expert and pragmatic. Professional without taking themselves too seriously. Courageous when advising tough clients and up against tough demands.’

‘Highly knowledgeable, super responsive. And the friendliest, most approachable people.’

‘Phillipa O’Malley is simply outstanding – so knowledgeable, pragmatic and responsive and helpful an absolute star.’

‘The team remains, in my view, the best in the business – they are simply brilliant.’

‘Ian Brown continues to be the “share plans guru” and his experience and skillset is only matched by his likeability, utter professionalism and dedication to the area.’

Key clients

Cineworld Group plc

GSK plc

Ocado plc

Intermediate Capital Group plc

M&G plc

Micro Focus International plc

Prudential plc

Hikma Pharmaceuticals plc

Vodafone plc

Reckitt Benckiser Group plc

Work highlights

  • Advising GSK on its demerger of its consumer healthcare business to form a separate FTSE 100 company, Haleon.
  • Acting for Prudential on the implementation of a suite of employee and agent share plans complying with UK regulatory requirements and the new Hong Kong Listing Rules.
  • Acting for Hikma on the renewal of its executive incentive arrangements and directors’ remuneration policy to reflect the company’s operations in multiple jurisdictions.

Tapestry Compliance

Described by clients as a team that ‘lives and breathes share plans’, Tapestry Compliance assists a ream of blue chip clients, including Volvo, Unilever and Trip Advisor with ‘everything from day-to-day operational queries right through to complex transactional queries’. The team is co-led Hannah Needle, who is an authority on the design and implementation of new employee share plans, and Chris Fallon, whose expertise extends to employee benefit trusts. Bob Grayson is well placed to advise on matters concerning the Japanese market. Suzannah Crookes has recently leveraged her broad knowledge of share plans to assist with lobbying the government on the use of tax-advantaged plans in the context of the cost of living crisis. Lorna Parkin, Sally Blanchflower and Matthew Hunter are further names to note.

Practice head(s):

Hannah Needle; Chris Fallon

Other key lawyers:

Bob Grayson; Lorna Parkin; Sally Blanchflower; Matthew Hunter


‘The Tapestry team is well organised and each member has professional knowledge and skills in dealing with long-term incentive matters.’

‘The team at Tapestry provide pragmatic, commercial advice in a timely. They are also great fun to work with!’

‘Chris Fallon is technically excellent but has the ability to distill that knowledge into layman’s terms and provide pragmatic solutions.’

‘The entire team is just so competent. They really know their stuff.’

‘Hannah Needle provides pragmatic and to the point advice. She is very good at highlighting where we might be getting too stuck in the weeds in our planning.’

‘The team as a whole is knowledgeable and pragmatic.’

‘The team has excellent specialist knowledge of employee share plans and has strong connections with local counsel globally.’

‘Sally Blanchflower is our key contact at Tapestry and has provided excellent service over the years.’

Key clients

The Coca-Cola Company



Trip Advisor






Dr. Martens

Work highlights

  • Advise Unilever on its discretionary and all-employee awards, as well as a number of their corporate spin-offs and the impact on incentive awards.
  • Advising Volvo in relation to new executive and all-employee share plans and their global implementation.
  • Advising Morgan Stanley on their global executive incentive arrangements and assisting with the roll-out of a new all-employee plan across 33 jurisdictions.

Travers Smith LLP

Described by clients as a ‘team at the top of its game’, Travers Smith LLP excels at advising on the tax aspects of incentive arrangements, and is also well placed to advise on corporate, governance and corporate law considerations. The practice has additionally seen an increase in instructions in relation to advising on corporate governance matters for companies. ‘Thought leader’ Mahesh Varia heads the practice, and is active on the incentives arrangements of complex transactions and secondary buyouts. Elissavet Grout is instructed by a wide range of public and private company client and is praised for her ability to advise on the ‘intricacies of share plans‘. Employee benefit trusts and executive remuneration are among Claire Prentice‘s areas of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Mahesh Varia

Other key lawyers:

Ellisavet Grout; Claire Prentice; Hugo Twigg


‘Mahesh Varia is a thought leader. He strikes the proper balance between commercial needs of clients and subject matter expertise.’

‘A brilliant employee share schemes team with an enviable breadth of knowledge and experience. Trusted for their technical capability but also their user friendly, commercial approach.’

‘We have worked closely with Mahesh Varia and his team for many years. As well as Mahesh, his colleagues Elissavet Grout, Claire Prentice and Hugo Twigg stand out.’

‘Clear, confident advice, from a team at the top of their game.’

‘Elissavet Grout is outstanding – her ability to advise on the intricacies of the share plans our group operate is second to none.’

‘Very capable team with a thorough knowledge of their field. Effective and efficient’

‘Mahesh Varia and Hugo Twigg are a pleasure to work with, experts in their field and efficient in their approach.’

Key clients

Noble Corporation plc

Access Group

O.C.S Group

Autotrader Group

Brewin Dolphin

Ideagen plc

EMIS Group plc

Lifezone Metals

Crestchic plc




Saria Nederland BV


Alexander Mann


Work highlights

  • Advised Brewin Dolphin on its recommended £1.6bn takeover by RSC Wealth Management.
  • Advised AIM listed healthcare software solutions company EMIS Group on its £1.24bn takeover by United Health Group.
  • Advised Noble Corporation on its $3.4bn merger with fellow drilling company, Maersk.

Baker McKenzie

The ‘very experienced’ team at Baker McKenzie maintains a strong employee benefits offering, which regularly handles senior executive renumeration work, the incentives aspects of cross-border transactions and the global implementation of share schemes sweet spots for the unit. Practice head Jeremy Edwards is well placed to advise listed companies on the structure and disclosure of remuneration for directors, while Gillian Parnell assists clients with the design and implementation of their UK and international share plans. Assisting clients to prepare for the April 2023 changes to IR35 stands out as a recent area of activity for Victoria Kirsch.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Edwards

Other key lawyers:

Gillian Parnell; Victoria Kirsch


‘Excellent knowledge with great response times to issues or questions.’

‘Gill Parnell is an excellent resource. She has a great knowledge of the market.’

‘The team are all very experienced, and work together well – both within the London office, and with their colleagues globally.’

Key clients

Smith & Nephew plc

Prudential plc

DS Smith Plc

Daily Mail & General Trust plc

Haleon plc



Becton Dickinson

SThree plc



Work highlights

  • Acting as the lead share plan adviser for Smith & Nephew.
  • Assisting Prudential as their principal share plan adviser, with global compliance for their executive share plans and all employee share purchase plans.
  • Assisting DS Smith with all aspects of their executive and all-employee share plan design, implementation and operation.

DLA Piper

The ‘knowledgeable and pragmatic team’ at DLA Piper is well regarded for its work advising multinational companies on the design and implementation of large-scale employee incentive plans across multiple jurisdictions.  The group is well-placed to advise on the employee incentives and renumeration aspects of major corporate transactions. Practice head Nick Hipwell is praised by clients for being an ‘innovative and open partner who builds strong relationships and facilitates peer discussions’. The ‘incredibly knowledgeable’ Sarah Ferguson is well-placed to advise companies on executive renumeration, while Martin MacLeod has a strong track record of advising on bespoke executive arrangements in incentive plans. Jordan Levy is noted for his expertise pertaining to the international operation of employee share plans.

Practice head(s):

Nick Hipwell

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Ferguson; Martin Macleod; Jordan Levy


‘Compelling, efficient and strong work from the team.’

‘Sarah Ferguson is the stand-out lawyer.’

‘Knowledgeable and pragmatic team.’

‘Nick Hipwell is an innovate and open partner who builds strong relationships and facilitates peer discussions.’

‘Martin MacLeod is a clear and efficient communicator, delivers bespoke solutions for the client, good knowledge and experience.’

Key clients

Anglo American plc

NatWest Group plc

RPS Group plc

Belron Group SA


Halma plc

Hugo Boss

Enable Global Inc

PureTech Health plc

Wabtec Corporation

Guidewire Software Inc

SIG Group plc

NCC Group plc

Cellulant Corporation

Medica Group plc

Work highlights

  • Assisted Anglo American with the designing and planning of documentation for a new all-employee share plan across 15 countries.
  • Advising NatWest Group plc in relation to the tax treatment of its employee share plans in 20 countries.
  • Advising RPS Group plc in relation to the employee share plan aspects of its £636m acquisition by Tetra Tech.


Fieldfisher's 'technically very strong' team handles share schemes advisory work, corporate support and employee ownership mandates. The team is particularly well regarded for its employee ownership expertise, and is praised for its ‘pioneering’ work relating to EOT transactions. The practice is co-led between Mark Gearing and Neil Palmer, with both praised for being ‘extremely knowledgable, accessible and pragmatic’ in their approach to EOT matters. Graeme Nuttall frequently advises the likes of HM Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs on employee ownership policy, while Jennifer Martin assists start-ups with the implementation of tax efficient share option plans for senior employees.

Practice head(s):

Mark Gearing; Neil Palmer

Other key lawyers:

Graeme Nuttall, Jennifer Martin


‘A very experienced team who have pioneered EOT transactions so all issues were well thought through and nothing came as a surprise.’

‘Great Team. Strong on incentives for UK quoted growth companies.’

‘Mark Gearing is first rate.’

‘Worked with the EOT team, Neil Palmer and Mark Gearing, who are both experts in their field.’

‘They have good connections with HMRC, which means that they can deliver up to date tax advice.’

‘The team is professional in its approach and technically very strong.’

‘Mark Gearing – partner. Very experienced in EOT transactions with good breadth of tax and share scheme knowledge.’

‘Jennifer Martin is proactive in addressing problems and suggesting commercial solutions.’

Key clients

Global Law Talent Limited (trades as Shilton Sharpe Quarry)

Employee Ownership Foundation

The Center on Business and Poverty

Mick George Limited

Ocorian Trustees (Jersey) Limited

FEL Trustee Ltd

EnSilica plc

Gusbourne plc

Cleantech Lithium plc

CT Automotive Group plc

BBC Studios Distribution Limited

Blue Sky Financial Planning Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Global Law Talent on the transfer of 100% of the shares to an employee ownership trust.
  • Advised Mick George Group on critical employee incentives matters relating to its sale to Hanson UK.
  • Advised Cleantech Lithium plc on a new management incentive plan, to include equity awards to UK and overseas based management.

Macfarlanes LLP

Praised for its ‘wide range of relevant experience’, Macfarlanes LLP is engaged by a broad spectrum of clients, including international listed companies, private equity houses and family offices. The practice is well regarded for its experience related to the implementation and operation of share schemes and management incentive plans, and is handling an increasing amount of internationally mobile employment work. Robert Collard is praised for combining his ‘business experience with tax knowledge’ when assisting clients with management incentive issues. Rasmus Berglund‘s practice extends to advising banks and investment firms on compliance with UK and EU financial services remuneration regulation, and Mark Petch has an in-depth understanding of bespoke private company remuneration structures.

Practice head(s):

Robert Collard

Other key lawyers:

Rasmus Berglund; Mark Petch


‘Ras Berglund is a consummate professional and very knowledgeable about UK employee share schemes.’

‘Macfarlanes has a calm, reassuring approach with the right balance of professionalism and approachability without being old school legal.’

‘Rob Collard is able to combine business experience with tax knowledge in advising on management incentives.’

‘The team provide client-centric, pragmatic and commercial advice.’

‘Friendly and supportive approach. Very responsive to queries with quick turnaround times without compromising on quality of response.’

Pinsent Masons LLP

Venture capital-backed firms, and listed and unlisted companies make up the diverse client base which the 'excellent collaborative team' at Pinsent Masons LLP  assists. The team regularly dispenses advice concerning share plan design, governance and remuneration policy. The practice also works closely with the firm’s employment team, notably in the financial services, energy, and technology sectors. Practice head Lynette Jacobs is well versed in the international operation of incentives plans and the use of employee trusts. James Sullivan-Tailyour primarily focuses on financial services remuneration regulation mandates, while Kate Dodsworth is apt at advising on overseas due diligence work.

Practice head(s):

Lynette Jacobs

Other key lawyers:

James Sullivan-Tailyour; Kate Dodsworth


‘Team is very strong with very good knowledge and ability to respond to queries in a comprehensive and timely manner.’

‘Very professional, responsive and provide good clear advice.’

‘Excellent collaborative team, enthusiastic and engaged in our share schemes.’

Key clients

Imperial Brands PLC

Wincanton PLC

Ithaca Energy plc

Carrs Group plc

TClarke Group plc

Buildots Ltd

Portmeirion Group plc


Halfords Group PLC

Mabey Hire Limited

Coca Cola

Work highlights

  • Advising Imperial Brands on the operation of its share plans globally. This covers six executive and all-employee plans operated across multiple jurisdictions.
  • Advised Ithaca Energy plc in relation to its Main Market IPO which occurred in December 2022, and supporting Ithaca with its share incentive arrangements.
  • Advising Halfords Group plc on day-to-day matters which arise in connection with the operation of its various share incentive arrangements.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard is noted for its capabilities in advising on the impact of corporate transactions on employee incentives and renumeration, encompassing corporate governance and employment taxes.  Jonathan Fletcher Rogers leads the team, often assisting multinational clients with the implementation of global share plans. Leeds-based Martin Griffiths has extensive experience in agreeing share valuations with HMRC for Enterprise Management Incentive purposes. Ann Mosely is praised for providing advice that is 'fully aligned' to the strategy and existing constraints of her clients.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Fletcher Rogers

Other key lawyers:

Martin Griffiths; Ann Mosely


‘Very capable team, strong in constructing employee share schemes. Able to form EBTs and facilitate introductions to EBT trustees.’

‘Martin Griffiths is bright, responsive, capable and innovative in driving solutions. Stand out individual.’

‘Ann Moseley provides tailored advice that is fully aligned to our strategy and within existing constraints. ’

‘Ann Moseley is fantastic and always on hand to answer queries and provide support.’

Key clients

Britvic plc

Appreciate Group plc

Rathbones Group plc

K3 Capital Group plc

MusicMagpie plc

Associated British Food plc

Sanne Group plc

Curtis Banks plc

BNP Paribas SA

ECI Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised K3 Capital Group plc on the employee incentives aspsects of its £272m takeover by Sun Capital.
  • Advised Sanne Group on the employee incentives aspects of its £1.5bn takeover by Apex.
  • Advised Appreciate Group on the employee incentives aspects of its £83m takeover by PayPoint.


Praised by clients for being ‘highly adept at covering global corporates while still able to support early stage growth businesses’CMS‘ broad offering encompasses advice on all-employee plans, employee ownership trusts (EOTs), global share plans and non-employee issues, such as share awards for consultants. Andrew Quayle leads the team and is well regarded for his expertise in advising private companies on management incentive plan. Graham Muir is praised for providing ‘pragmatic advice that stands the test of time’. Jaspal Pachu, who joined from Freeths LLP in May 2022, is a key contact for complex EOT mandates, while Catherine Merry is apt at advising financial institutions on incentives issues. Sarah McMaster and Cathy Wears are key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Quayle

Other key lawyers:

Graham Muir; Catherine Merry; Sarah McMaster; Cathy Wears; Kate Haywood


‘Highly effective, efficient team.’

‘This team is highly adept at covering global corporates while still able to support early stage growth businesses.’

‘Andrew Quayle is a thoroughly decent human with a bright, capable mind. Exactly what you need in a lawyer.’

Key clients

InstaDeep Ltd

Evli Alexander Incentives Oy

Shareholders of Mobius

Work highlights

  • Advised InstaDeep on all of the share incentives aspects of its sale to BioNTech for up to £562m.
  • Provided legal and tax compliance advice to Evli Alexander, assisting with securities laws filings and tax filings in over thirteen jurisdictions to date.
  • Advised a large specialist construction company on the tax and incentives aspects of a move to partial employee ownership.

Cooley (UK) LLP

Praised by clients for the ability to ‘cover a wide range of countries and situations’, Cooley (UK) LLP frequently advises on the employee schemes aspects of large M&A transactions, and establishes new share plans for tech and life science companies. Additionally, the team frequently advises the boards of public and private companies on directors’ pay and hirings. Practice head Paula Holland sports extensive transactional expertise extending to UK and US IPOs. Nicola Squire, who was promoted to partner in January 2023, has longstanding experience in advising clients on private equity transactions and M&A. Bethan Chalmers has deep knowledge of share-based and cash-based incentive arrangements for employees and executives. Jia Xie is a key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Paula Holland

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Squire; Bethan Chalmers; Jia Xie


‘I mainly use this team for the ability to work on share schemes and rely on their knowledge and scope to cover such a wide range of countries and situations.’

‘Their ability to cover both executive and non-executive programmes has not been rivaled by any other firm I have dealt with. The service is consistently fast, accurate and the team are a pleasure to work with.’

‘Nicola Squire deserves special mention, she is always available, very responsive and gives excellent advice that is commercially grounded.’

Key clients

Berkeley Group Holdings plc

Amryt Pharma Plc

Chegg, Inc.

DigitalOcean Holdings, Inc

DJS Antibodies Ltd

Kpler Holding SA

Digital Shadows Ltd

UiPath, Inc.


Eagle Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Zephr Ltd

Endava plc

Exscientia plc

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has an established practice advising upon the tax aspects and practical implementation of employee incentive schemes across multiple jurisdictions. Instructed by a wide array of public and private companies, the team is praised for being ‘able to source advice from overseas offices at short notice’. Leeds-based practice head Mathew Gorringe has longstanding experience in designing and drafting bespoke incentive arrangements. Danny Blum heads the London team, and regularly advises clients ranging from FTSE100 to AIM listed companies on a broad range of incentives projects. Amanda Dodsworth and Victoria Green contribute their vast incentives expertise to the group.

Practice head(s):

Mathew Gorringe

Other key lawyers:

Danny Blum; Amanda Dodsworth; Victoria Green


‘Responsive, business minded and commercial.’

‘I’ve found the team to be very knowledgeable about tax efficient share based remuneration. They were able to provide UK advice and guidance on tax authority practice and source advice from overseas offices at short notice.’

‘Danny Blum is technically excellent and is well versed in latest HMRC practice and more generally practice within the market.’

‘Danny Blum thinks a lot about the commercial aspects of the proposed schemes and how these will be viewed by recipients.’

‘Good depth in the team.’

‘Danny Blum – dedication and generosity of time. Highly technical.’

‘Victoria Green – dedication and availability – quality senior associate that I would recommend for a partner promotion.’

Key clients

Pulse Clean Energy Limited

Corre Energy B.V.

Coventry University

MicroStrategy Inc.

Sygnature Discovery

London Heathrow Airport

Tekmar Group plc

Alcumus Group Limited

Coda Payments Pte Limited


Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells International LLP handles a broad range of issues, including the corporate, tax, and regulatory aspects of management and employee share incentive arrangements. The practice leverages its global reach to produce country specific share plans. Group head Fiona Bantock is an authority on the tax and structuring aspects of employee incentives. Paul Randall has in-depth knowledge of executive compensation mandates, while Callum Fowers has a notable focus on the incentives aspects of public M&A deals.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Bantock

Other key lawyers:

Paul Randall; Callum Fowers

Key clients

Laboratory Corporation of America

Shaftesbury PLC

Tetra Tech, Inc.

Clipper Logistics plc

Flipkart Private Limited/PhonePe Private Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Shaftesbury on its recommended £5bn all-share merger with Capital & Counties Properties PLC.
  • Advised Tetra Tech, Inc. on its competing and recommended £636m takeover offer of RPS Group plc.
  • Advised PhonePe on the separation of ownership of PhonePe Private Limited, India from Flipkart Private Limited.

Latham & Watkins

The ‘super smart’ team at Latham & Watkins is geared to advise on a broad range of employee share scheme and incentives matters on IPOs,  acquisitions and public company takeovers. The firm also stands out for its US listing expertise and wide-ranging incentives work with emerging companies. Sarah Gadd leads the practice and is well placed to advise on executive renumeration mandates. Kendall Burnett has broad expertise in cross-border M&A.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Gadd

Other key lawyers:

Kendall Burnett


‘Nothing is too much trouble for the Latham team – super smart and very efficient’

Key clients

Energy Capital Partners

Ares Management Limited

Agility Public Warehousing Co


PZ Cussons International Limited

Astorg Partners


Venator Materials plc

Darktrace PLC


Eleusis Holdings Limited

SolGold plc

Bridgepoint Advisers Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Energy Capital Partners on share incentives, including in connection with its £1.3bn UK Takeover Code governed acquisition of Biffa.
  • Advised Astorg and Epiris on share incentives  in connection with the £1.6 billion UK Takeover Code governed acquisition of Euromoney Institutional Investor.
  • Advised SATS on global incentive plans and implementation of new cashnand share based incentive plan in connection with its €1.2bn acquisition of Worldwide Flight Services.

Mishcon de Reya LLP

The ‘great team of expert share plan lawyers’ at Mishcon de Reya LLP  is well placed to advise listed companies, financial services organisations and private companies on bespoke incentive structures, personal compensation packages for senior executives and contentious incentive issues. The group regularly handles take-private transactions for private equity firms. ‘Stand out advisor’ Stephen Diosi frequently advises entrepreneurs on bespoke incentive structuring for high value and growing enterprises. Geoff Dragon, who joined the team in January 2023, is frequently sought out by start-up and scaling technology companies. Non-lawyer partner Liz Hunter joined the team in August 2023 from KPMG, she is  well-regarded for her knowledge of equity reward planning. The practice also benefits from the expertise of Sakhee Ganatra who has a ‘rich background of experience working with multiple private equity houses’. Neil Sharpe departed in January 2023.


Practice head(s):

Stephen Diosi

Other key lawyers:

Geoff Dragon; Liz Hunter; Sakhee Ganatra


‘Good team work and commercial approach – don’t get stuck in the details’

‘Stephen Diosi is particularly strong – leads from the front and very commercial.’

‘Stephen Diosi and Sakhee Ganatra are both a pleasure to deal with. They are really pleasant and truly know their stuff.’

‘Stephen Diosi and Sakhee Ganatra are both great employment benefits practitioners.’

‘They have assembled a great team of expert share plan lawyers with a track record of working with a variety of both public and listed clients.’

‘Stephen Diosi has a wealth of experience and knowledge and is a stand out advisor in the share plans field.’

‘Sakhee Ganatra has a rich background of experience working with multiple private equity houses.’

Key clients

Robert Walters plc

Freetrade Limited

Keyword Studios plc

OpenPayd Holdings Limited

GAN Limited

Kindred Group plc

ADC Therapeutics SA


Axomic Ltd

Leonardo DRS Inc

Work highlights

  • Advised Robert Walters on the operation of their employee share plans and the design and implementation of a new long term incentive plan.
  • Advised Kindred on the design, implementation and launch of a new Global Option Plan for its executive management in the UK and Sweden.
  • Advised GAN Limited on the design and implementation of a new global share purchase plan.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright exhibits ‘great breadth of knowledge across the team’, often handling complex advisory projects and international M&A matters for both public and private clients. The team also has longstanding experience of designing incentive plans for unlisted companies, frequently advising fintech clients. Matthew Findley leads the team; his varied case load includes advising on the investor relations issues associated with executive incentives. He is frequently supported by Barbara Gaffey who is singled out for her expertise in the global roll-out of employee share plans.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Findley

Other key lawyers:

Barbara Gaffey


‘I worked with Norton Rose, they are responsive, extremely knowledgeable and work well together.

‘There was a great breadth of knowledge across the team and I found the technical expertise and knowledge around share schemes impressive. ’

‘Norton Rose were very collaborative and very much contributed to feeling like we were all delivering an outcome together.’

‘The team gives practical advice and has a deep understanding of the tax and share scheme world.’

‘Matthew Findlay is a standout partner who invariably has all the answers the first time you call.’

‘They provide commercial commonsense solutions.’

‘Matt Findley is an excellent share scheme lawyer with great technical skills and a broad commercial perspective of the real world in which share plans are operated.’

Key clients

Countryside Partnerships plc

Royal Bank of Canada

Allica Bank Limited

McGill and Partners Group Ltd

IMI plc

Centamin Plc

Beamery Inc.

Siteimprove A/S

KNEIP Management S.A

MTG Gaming AB

Crest Nicholson

Altus Strategies

Work highlights

  • Advised Countryside on all share plan and executive remuneration matters arising in relation to the takeover by Vistry.
  • Advised Allica Bank Limited on revisions to its executive incentive plan and employee benefit trust arrangements.
  • Advising Crest Nicholson on all employee share plan and executive remuneration issues.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Osborne Clarke LLP‘s ‘first rate legal and commercial advice’ is brought to bear on a wide range of incentives work including the incentives aspects of IPOs and M&A and the establishment of employee ownership trusts (EOTs). Long term incentive plans and employee benefit trust matters stand out as areas of expertise for practice head Michael Carter. Anika Chandra has been a driver behind the practice’s growing activity in EOT advisory work. The Bristol-based Rhiannon Jones and Samuel Marriott are further key contacts at the practice, advising numerous clients from the life sciences and healthcare sector.

Practice head(s):

Michael Carter

Other key lawyers:

Anika Chandra; Rhiannon Jones; Samuel Marriott


‘Outstanding, proactive, first rate legal and commercial advice, delight to work with Anika, Michael and their team.’

‘Anika Chandra, clear and easy to work with, fast proactive, commercial advice.’

‘Michael provides expert advice and is one of the top tax lawyers in this area.’

Key clients

Marshall Motor Holdings plc

Capdesk Holding

Project Donna Topco Limited

Spa Worldwide Limited

Volpi Capital LLP

AB Dynamics

Robiquity Group Limited

More2 Holdings Limited

Zeus Enterprise Limited

Founders Forum Group

Saf-T-Glo Limited


Work highlights

  • Advised Marshall Motor Holdings on the £325m recommended offer by CAG Vega 2 Limited.
  • Acted for Capdesk Holding APS on its sale to eShares, Inc (t/a Carta).
  • Acted for the sellers on the sale of Project Donna Topco Limited to Mayfair Equity Partners.

Taylor Wessing LLP

Trusted by clients ranging from early-stage companies to multinational corporations, Taylor Wessing LLP houses broad practice, spanning hirings and firings, global share plan design and compliance reviews. The team is also active on transactional mandates such as fundraisings and acquisitions, frequently assisting employee benefit trusts. Team head Ann Casey is frequently sought out by technology and life science start-ups. Claire Matthews, who joined from the Linklaters’ Singapore office in July 2022, is an authority on executive renumeration. Katie Lewis and Karen Bail  further contribute to the incentives expertise at the firm.

Practice head(s):

Ann Casey

Other key lawyers:

Claire Matthews; Katie Lewis; Karen Bail


‘The team was very quick to respond and always answered in an in-depth way.’

‘Claire Matthews was incredibly knowledgeable, kind and straightforward. Her expertise meant we were able to overcome a tricky issue which could have largely altered the course of our business direction. Claire offered many realistic and practical solutions.’

‘The team at Taylor Wessing have dealt with a wide range of issues related to various option schemes.’

‘Each of the team members I have dealt with has been knowledgeable and understanding of requirements, deadlines and reassurances required.’

‘Colin McCall; Ross McNaughton, Rachael Potts; and Ann Casey are all very supportive. Professional delivery.’

Key clients

MiroBio Limited

Eneus Energy Limited

Multiverse Limited

TodayTix Group


Terrascope Limited (trading as FATMAP)

Roadchef management team

Kantox Holding, Ltd

Kili Topco Limited

Bridgepoint Growth

Vehera Limited (trading as Storage Made Easy)

E-Space Inc Limited

Safety Holdings, Inc. (doing business as SambaSafety)

SS8 Networks, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised MiroBio Limited on the equity incentives aspects of its acquisition by Gilead for approximately $405m.
  • Advised Eneus Energy on its Investment Agreement with US private equity firm Carlyle and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC.
  • Advising Kantox on its sale to French banking giant BNP Paribas.


The practice at Ashurst exhibits broad strength in advising on management incentive plans, executive appointments and dismissals, and incentives-related issues connected to major corporate transactions. Rebecca Servian heads the department and is praised by clients for having a ‘strategic eye on the best outcomes for individuals involved’.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Servian


‘Team is very integrated, both within itself and with other complementary teams working on a big M&A transaction.’

‘Rebecca Servian has both a strategic eye on the best outcomes for the individuals involved and a keen sense of what was permissible within the UK legal system and constraints.’

Key clients



Global Aerospace


Hawthorn Life

Ing Bank N.V.

JC Flowers

JP Morgan Asset Management

Lloyds Bank Plc


Pacific Life

Punter Southall Group

Swiss Re

UIA Insurance

Work highlights

  • Advised Chesnara on the acquisition of Sanlam Life & Pensions UK Limited.
  • Advised UIA on all aspects of a solvent wind-down.
  • Advised Napo Limited on a Series A investment round as part of its rapid growth strategy.

Postlethwaite Solicitors Ltd

Well regarded for its work with EOTs, Postlethwaite Solicitors Ltd is also active across a wide range of share scheme work including company share option plans (CSOPs) and agreeing company valuations with HMRC for share scheme purposes. Robert Postlethwaite and David Reuben jointly lead the team and are both well placed to advise on 'both the positives and negatives of setting up an EOT'.

Practice head(s):

Robert Postlethwaite; David Reuben

Other key lawyers:

Jo Cunningham


‘Postlethwaite’s, gave us a very comprehensive and personal service. They definitely went the extra mile to ensure we understood both the positives and negatives of setting up an EOT.’

‘We worked with David Reuben and Jo Cunningham, both of who could not have done more for us. They made the whole process a breeze, with our interest at the heart of everything.’

‘Excellent team for specialist advice regarding employee ownership options.’

Key clients

A Local Printer Limited

Concepto Diagnostics Limited

Crookes Walker Consulting Limited

D&R Jointing Services Ltd

Energi Cable Services Limited

Hattons of London Ltd

Just Pudding Basins Limited

Kim Software Solution Limited

Lyon Equipment Limited

Minehead Medical Limited

Wise Productions (UK) Limited

Evenlode Investment Management Limited

Information Grid Ltd

Readly International AB

Like Minds (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted Minehead Medical Limited with seeking approval from the South West medical boards for its transition to an employee ownership trust.
  • Assisted Hattons of London with the design and implementation of an ownership succession plan involving the acquisition by an employee ownership trust.
  • Assisted Readly with the establishment of a Company Share Option Plan for its UK based employees.

Shoosmiths LLP

Often assisting serial investors and private company clients, Shoosmiths LLP advises on the design and implementation equity incentive arrangements and management incentive plans. The practice is jointly led by tax expert Tom Wilde and Dan Sharman, who is praised for his 'superb practical and legal knowledge in the area of employee share schemes'. Marie Mann is well versed in matters concerning company share option plans.

Practice head(s):

Tom Wilde; Dan Sharman

Other key lawyers:

Marie Mann


‘Dan Sharman and the team are responsive and accessible, bringing good ideas to the fore and calmly explaining the pros and cons of different structures.’

‘Dan Sharman led from the front – he was available when I needed him and was always calm and collected.’

‘Dan Sharman and Marie Mann are superb to work with. They had a unique capacity to manage a multi-jurisdiction employee share scheme.’

‘Dan Sharman has superb practical and legal knowledge in the area of employee share schemes and related tax matters.’

‘One quality that I have valued in the individuals at Shoosmiths is their willingness to listen and collaborate.’ 

‘Marie Mann has proven to be skilled and knowledgeable, with a deep understanding of her clients’ needs and objectives.’

Key clients

Equitix Investment Management Ltd


TFC Europe Limited and Foresight Group LLP

Foresight Group LLP

Gresham House Investment Management (Guernsey) Limited

YFM Private Equity

Kortext Limited

Big Green Smile Limited

Octopus Investments Limited

Aramark Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Equitix Investment Management Ltd on its £84m investment into Freedom Fibre Limited.
  • Advised Five Arrows Principal Investments IV Investment Holding Sarl, on its acquisition of Mintec.
  • Advised EV Chargers Limited on its £165m investment from Denham which will be used to deliver EV charge points across the UK by 2027.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP acts in a number of incentives and remuneration arrangements of corporate transactions, alongside a range of advisory matters which span the day-to-day operation of incentive programmes, renumeration structures and executive appointments and departures. Team head and ‘go-to adviser’ Louise Batty is an expert on mandates that concern cross-border compliance with governance and regulatory rules. Kate Crompton is equipped to advise on the establishment and operation of employee benefit trusts.

Practice head(s):

Louise Batty

Other key lawyers:

Kate Crompton


‘Able to support and scale up quickly for urgent requests.’

We couldn’t ask for more from Louise Batty – she has a deep understanding of our incentive arrangements, our needs and our remuneration strategy.’

‘Louise and team continue to be our go-to adviser for all share incentives needs.’

‘Good responsiveness to client concerns and high level of coordination with corporate and US employment teams.’

‘Louise Batty is responsive to client concerns and a quick study on complex issues.’

Key clients

Spotify Technology S.A.

Argo Group International Holdings Ltd.

United Talent Agency

SP Plus Corporation

Barilla Iniziative S.p.A.

Sage Group plc


The shareholders of MiQ Digital Limited

JAB Holding Company LLC

Visa, Inc.

The Travelers Companies, Inc

Duck Creek Technologies, LLC

DWF Group plc

MJ Gleeson plc

Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure

Janus Henderson Group plc



Work highlights

  • Advised streaming music platform Spotify Technology S.A. in relation to the incentives aspects of its acquisition of Sonantic Limited.
  • Advised Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd on the incentives aspects of the $125m sale of Argo Underwriting Agency Limited and its Lloyd Syndicate 1200 to Westfield Insurance.
  • Advised Genesys in connection with a global compliance review of the re-structure and operation of its equity incentive arrangements in 26 jurisdictions.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood‘s employee share scheme and incentives team advises on numerous employments terminations and hires, cash incentive arrangements and regulatory remuneration issues. The group regularly assists an array of AIM traded clients, private equity portfolio companies and other private companies. Team head Nicholas Stretch is praised for his ability to simplify 'the complex area of share incentives'.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Stretch


‘Excellent understanding of share plans and how companies can get the most out of their use.’

‘Nicholas Stretch is very likable and his experience is exceptional. He is a joy to work with.’

‘The team at Stephenson Harwood is knowledgeable, practical and very responsive. Extremely easy to work with and proactive in getting in touch about potential changes.’

‘Nicholas Stretch is extremely approachable, a pleasure to work with – he simplifies the complex area of share incentives.’

Key clients

Steer Davies Gleave



Bowmark Capital

Hotel Chocolat

Futura Medical


Work highlights

  • Acted for Steer Davies & Gleave Limited on an internal reorganisation which had a number of complicated employee share plan and trust aspects.
  • Acted for Abellio and a company which has been set up as a buy-out vehicle to acquire the operator of a number of train and bus routes to establish a new share incentive arrangement.
  • Advised Hotel Chocolat on number of incentives-related matters this year.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP

Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP's tax benefits and executive compensation team advises on a wide range of share schemes, including tax-efficient employee and management incentive arrangements and support on complex cross border corporate transactions. The team is also able to advise on related issues such as tax, securities and governance laws. Oliver Walker co-heads the practice, having a proven track record of advising on corporate structuring matters and tax disputes. Co-head Kevin Donegan's practice straddles both transactional support and design and implementation of employee and management incentive schemes.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Walker; Kevin Donegan

Key clients


Clayton, Dubilier & Rice


EO Charging

Generation Investment Management

CIIG Capital Partners

Sumeru Equity Partners



Macquarie Asset Management

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Regularly instructed by overseas companies to handle Enterprise Management Incentive plan matters, the team at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner is also well versed in mandates that concern hiring and termination of senior executives. The ‘whip smart’ David Dennison heads up the department; performance share plans and employee benefit trust work stand out as recent areas of activity for the ‘experienced practitioner’.

Practice head(s):

David Dennison


‘David is a very experienced practitioner, whip smart and very user friendly. No particular innovations, but the cost of the project was very competitive.’

‘David Dennison – hugely experienced. Very user friendly. Extremely clever.’

Key clients

SDX Energy PLC

Jadestone Energy PLC

Kape Technologies PLC

Raven Property Group Limited

Greatland Gold PLC

Playtech PLC

Pensana PLC

Industrials REIT Limited.

Trident Royalties PLC

FRP Advisory Group PLC

Work highlights

  • Represented SDX Energy PLC, an AIM traded company, in connection with its recommended share for share combination with Tenaz Energy Corp with a cash alternative.
  • Retained by Greatland Gold PLC to prepare one off option agreements for non-executive directors.
  • Advised Pensana PLC on updating its employee incentive plan to take account of its delisting from the Australian Stock Exchange.

Fox Williams LLP

Fox Williams LLP frequently advises North American clients on the share incentive aspects of acquisitions or strategic investments into UK private companies. The team also frequently assists clients within the technology and fintech arenas. Practice head Emma Bailey maintains her focus on establishing enterprise management incentive option schemes for key executives. Bailey is frequently supported by 'technically very able and experienced' tax specialist Jo Varia.

Practice head(s):

Emma Bailey

Other key lawyers:

Jo Varia


‘Emma Bailey has been knowledgeable, practical and accessible in her area.’

‘We find Fox Williams to give top-level English law advice across a number of specialised areas, including employment and share schemes.’

‘Emma Bailey is a very able and innovative lawyer who is highly experienced in advising on all types of employee share schemes and incentives.’

‘Joanne Varia is technically very able and experienced.’

‘Personal service, high technical expertise, delivered by a small team of very experienced practitioners.’

Key clients

Constellation Software Inc.

Rollins Inc

Trustbridge Globa Media

Allica Bank

Miura Systems Limited

Auckett Swanke

Quorsos Limited

Metatek Group

Bladonmore Limited

Gramafilm Limited

Management of London & Capital Group

Fund Ourselves

InvestEngine (Holdings) Limited

Blis Global Limited

Zavfit Limited

Vita Brevis Limited (t/a VIP Ski)

Adsum Technology Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised a number of divisions within the Constellation Software Inc. Group in respect of employee equity incentive issues arising from their acquisitions of UK companies.
  • Advised Bladonmore on appropriate equity incentive structures for its senior employees and directors.
  • Advised Miura Systems Limited on the implementation of bespoke employee equity incentive arrangements.

Mayer Brown International LLP

International share plans, growth share arrangements, and fund structures stand out as areas of focus for Mayer Brown International LLP's practice. Andrew Stanger leads the team, utilising his in-depth knowledge of tax-advantaged arrangements and carried interest plans.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Stanger

Key clients

Tungsten West plc

Cornish Lithium plc

Mitie Group plc

Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc


Shearwater Group plc

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP's team provides 'highly relevant and timely' share schemes and incentives advice on a range of UK, European and US transactions, in addition to assisting private and public companies with the structuring and implementation of equity incentive arrangements. Practice head Anna Humphrey regularly advises clients from the technology and life sciences sectors.

Practice head(s):

Anna Humphrey

Other key lawyers:

David Walder


‘Highly relevant and timely advice. Personable.’

‘Responsive and they understand our needs.’

‘A competent and helpful team that maintains its flexibility despite the law firm’s size.’

‘David Walder is a top performer, eager to help with any issues practically anytime.’

‘Anna Humphrey is the experienced leader behind the team, ready to step in anytime, even when a very hands-on approach is needed.’

Key clients


Dream Games




Let’s Do This

National World


Outverse Limited

Phrasee Limited


Rossum Ltd

Scoro Software




Unbiased EC1



Work highlights

  • Advised Sonantic Limited on the employee share scheme aspects of its acquisition by Spotify, a Stockholm based music streaming service provider.
  • Advised Ziglu Limited, on the employee share scheme aspects of the company’s acquisition by Robinhood.
  • Advised Re:Infer on the employee share scheme aspects of the company’s acquisition by UiPath.