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

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Corporate governance
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

As adviser to some 26 FTSE 100 companies including Aviva, Hiscox and Associated British Foods, Allen & Overy LLP has notable expertise across compliance, regulatory and risk management mandates and regularly assists listed companies with shareholder issues, including activist investors and contentious company board disputes. The group also handles environmental, social and governance reviews, and fields a dedicated team, which specialises in annual general meetings and annual reporting issues. Recent work includes advising Electra Private Equity on several activist shareholder, strategic review and governance issues, and handling the governance elements of DWF's listing on the London Stock Exchange. Richard Browne and Richard Cranfield jointly lead the corporate group and Paul McCarthy is the key contact for corporate incentives. Other noteworthy practitioners include corporate finance partner David Broadley, Matthew Townsend, who is co-head of the international trade and regulatory law group; and senior corporate assistants Victoria Rankmore and Kate Astley. In late 2018, the firm also launched A&O Consulting, a venture which will focus on providing regulatory business advice including corporate governance work.

Practice head(s):Richard Browne; Richard Cranfield; Paul McCarthy

Other key lawyers:David Broadley; Matthew Townsend; Victoria Rankmore; Kate Astley

Testimonials

'Team members are experts in their field.'

'Manages to make the service feel personal at the same time as being clear and independent in its advice. Its accessibility is exceptional.'

'The team is very good technically, but also able to be pragmatic, which you don't always get with a Magic Circle firm.'

'The A&O team brings a tremendous combination of subject matter expertise and industry knowledge. Moreover, the highly pressurised transactions it handles require deft 'soft' skills that it also, thankfully, has. What ultimately makes its contributions so great is that it truly works collegiately to ensure the best advice is agreed by all advisers and then presented to the client. There are no arguments over scopes of work - just a desire to be fair and do what is best for the client. Common-sense lawyers!'

'Kate Astley is the jewel in the crown of A&O's UK corporate governance practice. She is exceptionally knowledgeable and her advice is also highly practical and pragmatic.'

'Kate Astley and Victoria Rankmore provide a seamless service. They have great passion and knowledge of their subject matter, and are always willing to speak no matter how small the query.'

'Their care and commitment are exceptional, as is their availability, making transactions feel like a team effort. Their sense of humour in darker moments is much appreciated and the whole experience is human, while at the same time paired with world-class legal advice.'

Key Clients

Aviva

Direct Line

Great Portland Estates

Ibstock

Imperial Brands

Sage Group

TUI

Associated British Foods

Quilter (formerly Old Mutual Wealth)

Network International

Hiscox

Consort Medical

McCarthy & Stone

DWF

Electra Private Equity

Man Group

Prudential     

Work highlights

  • Advising a range of clients including Aviva, Sage, Quilter, Direct Line, Ibstock, Imperial Brands, TUI and Great Portland Estates on their annual general meetings, annual reports and governance arrangements.
  • Assisting DWF with its IPO and listing on the London Stock Exchange and its related reorganisation including an innovative group structure and governance arrangements.
  • Acting for Man Group on its corporate reorganisation; the new corporate structure will be implemented through a scheme of arrangement.
  • Advising multiple listed companies on compliance and risk management issues including environmental law, anti-bribery and corruption issues, and data protection and privacy work.
  • Assisting Electra Private Equity with an activist shareholder, strategic review and governance issues.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's dedicated corporate governance advisory team focuses on board and head office issues including regulatory, reporting and governance standards matters for both listed and private companies; it counts roughly 116 London Stock Exchange-listed companies as clients. The group also leverages the strength of other departments including the corporate and employment practices, a specialist team which focuses on company investigations and crisis management, and the financial services group, which has been handling Senior Managers and Certification Regime and Senior Insurance Managers Regime issues. Ben Ward and Paul Ellerman jointly lead the department; Ellerman is also global head of the firm's remuneration and incentives team. Corporate partners Mike Flockhart, Robert Moore, James Palmer, Caroline Rae and Stephen Wilkinson; incentives specialist Mark Ife, financial institutions transactions practice head Alex Kay and regulatory expert Karen Anderson all contribute to the practice. Of counsel Gareth Sykes is also a corporate governance specialist. Carol Shutkever retired in 2018.

Practice head(s):Ben Ward; Paul Ellerman

Other key lawyers:Mike Flockhart; Robert Moore; James Palmer; Caroline Rae; Stephen Wilkinson; Mark Ife; Alex Kay; Karen Anderson; Gareth Sykes

Testimonials

'An exceptional grasp of the corporate governance landscape, ensuring clients are made aware of any upcoming changes so they have the opportunity to plan ahead.'

'Herbert Smith Freehills has a depth and detailed knowledge of this area, quickly capturing developments and giving insights to clients in a clear and concise manner. It provides practical and timely advice and has knowledge on a par with other leading law firms in this area, but the speed and style of keeping clients informed makes it stand out.'

'The HSF team is one of the strongest corporate governance teams in London. Practical and accurate advice is delivered in a timely and user friendly way. This area is a vital one for listed plcs and having the HSF team on call is very reassuring.'

'HSF's offering is unique as it is genuinely a corporate governance team as opposed to a corporate team that picks up corporate governance queries.'

'The team demonstrates exceptional knowledge of all the elements that are relevant to corporate governance, both current law and regulation and future developments in the area. Further, it is able to deliver this information in an engaging manner that aids retention.'

'Gareth Sykes provides excellent service and is coming into his own following the retirement of Carol Shutkever. James Palmer continues to add value and insight.

'Gareth Sykes is incredibly supportive and provides good commercial advice and recommendations in what can be a 'dry' subject. He is definitely becoming one of the leading lawyers in the field.'

'James Palmer is highly respected as a leading authority in this area, and Alex Kay is pragmatic, user-friendly and an excellent sounding board.'

'Gareth Sykes is a star - he is knowledgeable, pragmatic and swift in response, and Paul Ellerman is very strong on remuneration matters.'

Key Clients

Associated British Foods

Berkeley Group

British American Tobacco

BP

Johnson Matthey

Lloyds Banking Group

National Grid

Pearson

Severn Trent

Elementis

Ferrexpo

G4S

Genus

Hammerson

Inchcape

Man Group

Moneysupermarket.com

PageGroup

SIG

Stagecoach Group

The Unite Group

The Weir Group

Travis Perkins

WH Smith

ANZ Banking Group Ltd

Canada Life International

Coats Group

Gulf Keystone Petroleum

Kin + Carta (formerly St Ives plc)

River & Mercantile

Sky

South32

TSB

Work highlights

  • Advising British American Tobacco on various corporate governance matters including director changes, corporate governance reform issues, corporate reporting, remuneration work and business integrations.
  • Assisting BP with a range of matters encompassing annual report and accounts work, payment reporting requirements, AGM issues and compliance mandates.
  • Instructed by Ted Baker to conduct an external investigation to examine claims of inappropriate behaviour against its founder and chief executive.
  • Advising SIG on various governance issues including annual report and accounts work and listing regime matters.
  • Assisting Sky with a range of governance issues and its reporting and disclosure obligations.

Linklaters LLP's risk and resilience team provides global risk management, regulatory and governance advice to clients. The group primarily focuses on governance and compliance models, board advice, risk assessments, investigations, reporting and disclosure, and crisis management. Key practitioners  include co-head Vanessa Havard-Williams, who also leads the firm's sustainability practice and has expertise in human rights issues; co-head and corporate partner Tom Shropshire, who splits his time between London and the US; and Michael Bennett, who is global head of the dispute resolution group. Tom Cassels is also a key name for contentious work, Rachel Barrett is an expert in compliance and risk management issues, Richard Cumbley focuses on data and privacy matters, and Satindra Dogra handles fraud investigations and bribery work. Managing associate Lucy Blake is also noted for her financial crime and fraud knowledge.

Practice head(s):Vanessa Havard-Williams; Michael Bennett; Tom Shropshire

Other key lawyers:Tom Cassels; Rachel Barrett; Richard Cumbley; Satindra Dogra; Lucy Blake

Testimonials

'Linklaters provides pragmatic advice thanks to a team you can always trust to think about the nuance of their advice.'

'The team fields really great people who are a pleasure to work with.'

Key Clients

Uber London Limited

Volvo AB

Work highlights

  • Advising multiple FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 clients on new UK corporate governance requirements including stakeholder engagement issues and remuneration work.
  • Assisting various UK private companies and subsidiaries with new Wates principles issues.
  • Handling the transition from the Senior Insurance Managers Regime to the Senior Managers Certification Regime for three leading insurers.
  • Working with UK Finance on a report on ethical values in the banking and finance sector and how governance, strategy and decision making can be informed by ethical principles.
  • Assisting with an updated version of its guide for general counsel on corporate sustainability, which includes advice on fiduciary duties, sustainability in supply chains, and the role of sustainability in crisis management.

Addleshaw Goddard's multi-disciplinary team handles the full spectrum of governance, regulatory compliance and risk management mandates, with notable expertise in statutory and regulatory obligations; board, directors and general counsel support; annual reporting issues and annual general meeting matters. Will Chalk heads up the corporate governance team, which also draws from the corporate, employment, employee incentives, corporate crime and regulatory departments;. Key individuals include global investigations practice head Nichola Peters, Ben Koehne, who leads the building societies group; financial regulation head Amanda Hulme, employee incentives expert Jonathan Fletcher-Rogers and Edinburgh-based data head Helena Brown. David Pygott joined from CMS to expand the firm's contentious regulatory expertise.

Practice head(s):Will Chalk

Other key lawyers:Nichola Peters; Ben Koehne; Amanda Hulme; Jonathan Fletcher-Rogers; Helena Brown; David Pygott; Richard Preston

Testimonials

'This is the only team I know that focus solely on corporate governance - they are the closest I can find to a Company Secretary advisory service. Although a small team, their response times are impressive and they cover wide range of governance issues yet have a great depth of knowledge.'

'Will Chalk's wide ranging knowledge and experience mean he is the go-to person as a first port of call.'

'Richard Preston has an impressive grasp on detail.'

Key Clients

NFU Mutual

Celtic Football Club

Edinburgh Airport

FNZ (UK)

Standard Life

Mercy Corps

Worldpay

Argos Financial Services

City Pub Group plc

Portakabin

Reclaim Fund Ltd

Southern Water Services Limited

Threadneedle Investments

National Grid

Network Rail

Skanska Construction UK Limited and Morrison Utility Services Limited

National Grid Property

Work highlights

  • Advising an investment management client on its share plans including a replacement save as you earn scheme, the operation of the share incentive plan and the position of leavers under the executive plans.
  • Assisting Portakabin with its data protection compliance internationally.
  • Advising Southern Water Services Limited on a South Hampshire public inquiry relating to regulatory issues in the water industry including changes to water abstraction licences.
  • Assisting a retail client with supply chain transparency compliance issues.

Beatriz Pessoa de Araujo leads the corporate governance practice at Baker McKenzie, which also fields corporate finance practice head Helen Bradley, chair of the EMEA compliance and investigations group Joanna Ludlam, corporate finance partner Robert Adam and Jeremy Edwards, who heads up the employee benefits group. The cross-departmental group acts for a range of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 clients; examples include Barclays, BP and Unilever. The group's expertise encompasses corporate advisory work, compliance and risk governance issues, crisis management, investigations, executive remuneration matters and tax governance mandates. The firm also has a dedicated public company advisory service line, led by Bradley.

Practice head(s):Beatriz Pessoa de Araujo

Other key lawyers:Helen Bradley; Joanna Ludlam; Robert Adam; Jeremy Edwards

Testimonials

'The Baker McKenzie governance practice distinguishes itself as being well networked and up to date on how its clients are responding in practice to new regulatory developments.'

'Helen Bradley is a go-to lawyer on corporate governance queries due to her responsiveness and pragmatic advice. In addition, she has the rare ability to empathise with her clients, which makes taking bad news from her much more palatable.'

'Helen Bradley and her team’s governance and regulatory advice is extremely sharp, responsive and wise. In addition, liaising with Helen is easy and pleasant as she always acts in a pragmatic, resolute and user-friendly manner. She comes up with out-of-the-box solutions to achieve the client's strategic goals. All in all, she is a precious and outstanding trusted adviser.'

'Baker McKenzie is impressive on many levels: the attention to detail, the pragmatic, commercially astute advice; and the ability to see the wider picture and frame its advice accordingly. In other words, it can see both the individual trees and the wood. Also, its advice is not framed as a theoretical thesis but is to the point and incisive.'

Key Clients

AMEX

Astellas

ARM

Barclays

BAT PLC

Bank of Georgia Group PLC

BP

The Body Shop

Cadogan Petroleum PLC

Disney

IP Group plc

Deutsche

DMGT

De La Rue PLC

EDF

Georgia Capital PLC

GHG PLC

Global Ports Holding plc

Photo-Me International plc

IP Group plc

Management Consulting Group PLC

RAK Petroleum PLC

Rio Tinto PLC

Rowan PLC

Takeda

Rotork plc

Shell

Sound Energy PLC

Spirax-Sarco Engineering PLC

TBC Bank PLC

Unilever

Weir Group PLC

Westinghouse

Work highlights

  • Acting for BGEO Group on the governance aspects of the demerger of its investment business via a scheme of arrangement, including board composition issues, the creation of a proportional voting mechanism over listed shares, and remuneration matters.
  • Advising a manufacturer of musical instruments on a live CMA dawn raid and the resulting investigation into UK pricing practices.
  • Acting for Willis Towers Watson in the CMA's market investigation into investment consultancy and fiduciary management services.
  • Advising Olayan Group on the governance aspects of its proposed takeover bid for intu Properties including share purchase issues and disclosure work.

Hogan Lovells International LLP counts companies, directors, officers and shareholders as clients, which it advises on a broad range of governance issues including crisis counselling, special investigations, enforcement proceedings, compliance assessments and board duties and obligations. Jonathan Baird, capital markets specialist Maegen Morrison and consultant Richard Ufland jointly lead the practice, which also includes Crispin Rapinet, who leads the firm's global investigations, white collar and fraud practice, and counsel Liam Naidoo, who focuses on investigations into allegations of corrupt employee activity. The team counts FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies as clients. ITV is a noteworthy example. In a recent highlight, the department also advised Uber on its new governance model, which led to it successfully appealing TfL's decision in 2017 to revoke its private-hire operator licence and being granted a 15 month probationary licence.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Baird; Maegan Morrison; Richard Ufland

Other key lawyers:Crispin Rapinet; Liam Naidoo

Key Clients

British Paralympic Association

Caisse des Depots et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ)

Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport – Government Inclusive Economy Unit (DCMS)

International Public Partnerships

ITV plc

Mail.Ru Group Limited

Mars

Millennium & Copthorne plc

MP Evans Group PLC

NATS

Paysafe Group

Shaftesbury plc

The Crown Estate

Uber

Zopa

Work highlights

  • Advising Uber on its governance model in the UK to demonstrate it is 'fit and proper' to hold a London private-hire operator licence following the decision by TfL to revoke its licence in 2017. This included reviewing its corporate governance arrangements, considering issues relating to Uber's app and implementing new policies.
  • Assisting the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport with its dormant assets project.
  • Acting for Paysafe Group on all its governance work including market abuse compliance, annual report reviews and employee share plan issues.
  • Advising Millennium & Copthorne on its corporate governance work including compliance with the Corporate Governance Code, constitutional matters and AGM issues.
  • Acting for CDPQ in several investigations into alleged bribery at a Bombardier subsidiary.

With a client base of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies, Norton Rose Fulbright handles the full range of corporate governance issues leveraging standalone corporate, investigations, criminal defence and compliance practices. The group leans heavily on partners in the firm's corporate department, with significant contributors including Alan Bainbridge, Richard Crosby, Charlotte Henry and Claire O’Donnell. Jonathan Herbst and Neil O’May are also key names to note; Herbst is global head of the financial services regulatory practice and O'May leads the criminal law practice. In a recent highlight, O'May represented the former director of Tesco in a high-profile investigation and prosecution into Tesco's accounting practices.

Other key lawyers:Alan Bainbridge; Richard Crosby; Charlotte Henry; Claire O'Donnell; Jonathan Herbst; Neil O'May

Key Clients

Anglo Pacific

Barrick Gold Corporation

Coca Cola HBC

Crest Nicholson

F&C Investment Trust

Greencoat

HSBC

IMI

Lloyds Banking Group

Petropavlovsk

PPHE plc

Randgold Resources

Terra Firma

Reach

ValueAct

TeliaSonera AB

Victor Dahdaleh and associated companies

Civitas Social Housing

Work highlights

  • Advising Barrick Gold Corporation on its position as controlling shareholder of Acacia Mining, particularly on the negotiations with the Government of Tanzania to settle a long-running dispute.
  • Acting for Carl Rogberg, the former director of Tesco, in a prosecution arising out of Tesco's accounting practices and the overstatement of profits.
  • Advising the Takeover Panel Executive on separate competitive bids for Sky by Fox, Disney and Comcast.
  • Assisting the McLaren Group with the corporate governance elements of an investment into the group by a Canadian businessman.
  • Advising Trinity Mirror (now Reach) on its acquisition of Northern and Shell's publishing assets.

RPC's cross-firm group is jointly led by Jeremy Drew, Patrick Brodie and Matthew Griffith, who specialise in commercial, employment, and the insurance and financial services sectors respectively. The group primarily draws on corporate, advisory and regulatory practitioners to handle the full spectrum of governance issues including independent reports, remuneration policy advice, modern slavery issues, gender pay gap analysis, and conduct and culture work. Clients include listed companies, financial services, insurance and retail clients, and US-owned corporates. Sports Direct is a noteworthy example, with the team advising on its reporting of Debenhams to the FCA. Sam Tate is a key contact for white-collar crime and regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):Jeremy Drew; Patrick Brodie; Matthew Griffith

Other key lawyers:Sam Tate

Testimonials

'RPC feel less like an external entity and more like a group of internal colleagues. This differentiates it from normal private practice.'

'Patrick Brodie is nothing short of a pleasure to deal with and can't be praised highly enough. He is diligent, astute, eloquent and exceedingly knowledgeable in his field and the job he performs is always a resounding success.'

Key Clients

Sports Direct

Federal Republic of Nigeria

Work highlights

  • Representing the Federal Republic of Nigeria in a bribery claim against JP Morgan relating to the bank's role in the alleged fraudulent and corrupt acquisition of an oil prospecting licence by Shell and Eni.
  • Advised Sports Direct on its involvement as a witness in an FRC investigation into Grant Thornton's audit of the Sports Direct Group.
  • Assisting Sports Direct with its reporting of Debenhams to the FCA relating to the accuracy of its financial reporting.

The governance group at Travers Smith LLP encompasses multiple dedicated teams including the governance and trade risk group, listed company advisory team, anti-corruption team and the firm's boardroom risk initiative. The firm's blue-chip client base benefits from the team's knowledge of the interactions between governance, risk management and compliance, as well as substantial expertise in transactional matters. Doug Bryden, who leads both the governance and trade risk group and the environment and regulatory group, handles policies, processes and procedures relating to governance risks including bribery, corporate crime and human rights, among others. Laura Summerfield heads up the listed company advisory team, which assists publicly quoted corporates with best practice and corporate culture matters. Other key individuals include employment partner Adam Wyman and senior associate Aisling Arthur, who handles shareholder activism matters, market abuse regulation advice, board policies and best practice compliance for listed companies.

Practice head(s):Doug Bryden; Laura Summerfield

Other key lawyers:Adam Wyman; Aisling Arthur

Testimonials

'The highly flexible and responsive team at Travers Smith assists clients with time-critical and sensitive matters on a wide variety of subjects. The firm's balanced approach greatly aids management decision making.'

'The team of Doug Bryden, Laura Smyth, Hannah Duke, Dan Reavill and Ashley Avery strike an excellent balance of handling issues in a manner you would expect of a colleague while remaining respectful of the client relationship. This approach makes them an invaluable resource.'

'The group has a willingness to listen to clients requirements and give personable but professional advice with useful insights into what other similar companies are doing.'

Key Clients

Nomura

Work highlights

  • Advising various publicly quoted companies on traditional corporate governance matters including board composition and succession planning, controlling shareholders issues, remuneration policies, director changes, AGM materials and compliance work.
  • Assisting multiple shareholders and listed clients with shareholder activism matters.
  • Advising various listed clients on the implementation of market abuse regulations.

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