Allen & Overy LLP offers clients ‘depth and breadth of knowledge and insight in respect of key changes in corporate governance best practice’ and has recently been handling a number of high-profile issues raised in the media, including shareholder activism, ESG/sustainability matters and corporate compliance. The practice is led by corporate partner Dominic Morris and includes Richard Browne, a key name for governance and disclosure advice, public takeover bids and other transactional matters, and Matthew Townsend, who is a contact for environmental, climate change and regulatory issues. David Broadley is also active on corporate matters, while Claire Coppel is recommended for corporate governance and shareholder activism. At the more junior end of the team, counsels Victoria Rankmore and Kate Astley are noted for their AGM and annual reporting advice.
Corporate governance in London
Allen & Overy LLP
Other key lawyers:
Richard Browne; Paul McCarthy; Kate Astley; Victoria Rankmore; David Broadley; Matthew Townsend; Claire Coppel
‘The A&O team adds value by advising not only on technical matters, but on how those matters are being interpreted and applied as a matter of best practice by other listed companies.’
‘They are immensely kind and patient in explaining complex matters in easily comprehensible terms.’
‘Extraordinary responsiveness, which we value immensely when we’re experiencing challenging and stressful times and need a quick turnaround.’
Great Portland Estates
Quilter (formerly Old Mutual Wealth)
- Advising various clients, including Quilter, Direct Line, Man Group, TUI, Moonpig and Great Portland Estates, on AGMs, annual reports and governance arrangements.
- Advising Quilter on various matters throughout the year including the review of Annual Report and Accounts and AGM Notice of Meeting, the holding of AGM and other General Meetings, and on Listing Rules and MAR obligations, including in relation to the change of Chair of the Board and change of the Group CEO.
- Advised Checkout on various matters throughout the year including a directors’ duties matter and conflicts of interest across a number of key jurisdictions and the feasibility (from a securities, trust, tax and employment law perspective) of operating of an employee benefit trust, in conjunction with an employee shareplan, for the benefit of employees resident in 27 jurisdictions globally.
Baker McKenzie has a dedicated UK public company advisory practice which services the needs of its high-profile listed clients and is able to draw on strength from practice areas across the firm to handle on a broad range of issues, including ESG matters, compliance, annual general meetings (AGMs), workplace culture, and corporate and transaction-related issues. The team is led by Beatriz Pessoa de Araujo, Helen Bradley and Jo Hewitt, with Araujo drawing on her experience as a corporate lawyer to advise boards and multinational groups on company law, and in particular directors' duties and governance. Bradley is a name for cross-border M&A, and corporate finance and acts for a number of high-profile international banks, while Hewitt is recommended for reporting issues, stakeholder engagement and board-level matters. At the more junior end of the team, senior associates Paul Anderson and Tom Quincey advise on transaction-related governance issues and ongoing reporting matters.
Beatriz Araujo; Helen Bradley; Jo Hewitt
Other key lawyers:
Paul Anderson; Tom Quincey; James Thompson
‘Responsive and tailored advice.’
‘Helen Bradley understands our business and needs and is highly responsive.’
‘The team regularly advise us and understand our business and the individuals extremely well, and continue to make efforts to do so as we evolve.’
Jones Lang LaSalle Inc
Natura Group – The Body Shop/aesop
Bank of China
Yum! Brands, Inc.
Neutron Holdings, Inc.
L’Oreal (UK) Limited
Westinghouse Electric Company
TBC Bank Group PLC
Willis Towers Watson
IP Group PLC
ofi Group Limited
Spirax Sarco Engineering PLC
RAK Petroleum PLC
DS Smith Plc
The Takeover Panel
Georgia Capital Plc
Bank of Georgia Plc
Me Group Plc
Zebra Technologies Inc
Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund
Clifford Chance LLP acts for top domestic and international banks and corporations on the full gamut of corporate governance issues, including ESG, regulatory, compliance, risk management, strategic boardroom issues and climate change matters. The team is jointly led by David Pudge and Luke Tolaini, with Pudge handling transaction-related issues and board-level matters, and Tolaini recommended for corporate crises and investigations, with a focus on the extractive, tech, pharmaceutical and finance sectors. Steven Fox is experienced in advising boards and general counsel on compliance and governance matters, while Richard Crosby advises on directors duties’, shareholder activism, AGMs and disclosures. Rae Lindsay is another key practitioner, who focuses on disputes, ESG and issues relating to human rights and Alanna Hunter, who was promoted to partner in May 2022, is another name for corporate governance, market abuse regulation and listing rule disclosures.
David Pudge; Luke Tolaini
Other key lawyers:
Steven Fox; Alanna Hunter; Rae Lindsay; Richard Crosby; Kate Norgett; David Alfrey
‘Highly skilled lawyers, develop tailored strategies and offer practical, business-oriented advice.’
‘David Alfrey has a deep understanding of his respective practice area and stays updated on the latest legal developments.’
‘David Alfrey navigated us through complex legal issues effectively and provided valuable advice and contact with further partners that would help us. Communication with him is very effective, I have not lost a minute.’
Intermediate Capital Group
Jupiter Fund Management
Vanquis Banking Group
- Advised HSBC Holdings plc on a full range of corporate governance and corporate advisory issues in the last year.
- Advising Nielsen on all of the UK aspects (including corporate governance and directors’ duties) in relation to its $16bn takeover by a private equity consortium led by Elliott Investment Management L.P., Brookfield Capital Partners LLC, GIC and The WindAcre Partnership, which was initially opposed by Nielsen’s largest shareholder.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
The corporate governance advisory team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is led by Gareth Sykes, who was promoted to partner in May 2023, and offers clients ‘exceptional depth and breadth of knowledge, with practical as well as technical understanding’. It acts for a broad range of FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and AIM-listed clients on AGMs, regulatory matters, board-level issues, compliance and ESG matters. Sykes advises listed and private companies on corporate law and governance issues, including reporting matters, continuing obligations under the Listing Rules, and shareholder meetings and directors’ duties. James Palmer and Ben Ward are also key practitioners, while Paul Ellerman handles employment-related matters, such as remuneration and incentives and associate Caroline Hagg deals with annual and climate reports.
Other key lawyers:
James Palmer; Robert Moore; Paul Ellerman; Ben Ward; Caroline Hagg
‘Their support for the corporate governance industry is second to none, be it through regular briefings as issues develop or updates occur, or whole-day seminars to provide updates on things we should be thinking about.’
‘Very responsive to queries with knowledgeable and commercial advice.’
‘Gareth Sykes is industry leading in his corporate governance knowledge and expertise, as well as being a pleasure to deal with.’
Associated British Foods
British American Tobacco
Kin + Carta
N Brown Group
The Unite Group
- Assisting N Brown Group plc with a review of its corporate governance arrangements following its move from the main market to AIM.
- Assisted Associated British Foods plc on its £500m on market share buyback programme.
- Advising a large number of listed companies (FTSE 100, FTSE 250, FTSE Small Cap and AIM) including Associated British Foods, British American Tobacco, Hiscox, Jet2, Renishaw, the Unite Group, WH Smith and Wickes on a range of corporate governance issues including corporate reporting requirements, annual general meetings, continuing obligations under the listing regime and day-to-day corporate governance issues.
Linklaters LLP acts for top-tier multinational clients on a range of governance and ESG matters and has recently been handling a large number of ESG and sustainability-linked loans and financings for high-profile banks. It draws on a range of practice areas to handle regulatory, human rights, governance and risk management issues. Vanessa Havard-Williams heads the practice and is a key contact for environmental and climate change matters, while Alexandra Beidas is recommended for remuneration matters, ESG and diversity issues. Other key contacts include Rachel Barrett, who also deals with ESG, Tom Cassels, who handles crisis and reputation management, Raza Naeem, who advises on regulatory and governance matters in the finance sector, and managing associate Aileen Buchanan, who is experienced in matters of disclosure.
Other key lawyers:
Rachel Barrett; Alexandra Beidas; Tom Cassels; Aileen Buchanan; Raza Naeem
‘The Linklaters team has a practical approach and depth of experience, supporting corporate governance from the boardroom through to operational level across organisations. In my experience, they work closely with their clients, bringing in expertise where it’s needed. They are responsive and sensitive in dealing with delicate issues.’
‘Vanessa Havard-Williams is a highly experienced lawyer with experience in corporate governance, particularly as this relates to ESG.’
‘Extremely well organised and a pleasure to work with.’
IETA and ISDA
Various mining industry companies
Syngenta Group (HK) Holdings Company Limited
Various asset managers (names are confidential)
Republic of Chile
Banco do Brasil
Goldman Sachs Asset Management
- Advising IETA in relation to the development of global market standard trading documentation for both the primary and the secondary carbon markets, together with a market guidance document for use with the draft forms of trading documentation.
- Undertook a detailed review of Unilever’s ESG-related disclosures and advised on incoming EU, UK and US ESG regulations, climate litigation and other ESG matters.
The cross-practice governance group at RPC is led by Patrick Brodie, Jeremy Drew and Matthew Griffith and advises on a range of issues, from board-level matters to remuneration policies, regulatory issues, data protection and diversity. It has a strong investigations practice which advises on high-profile contentious issues and related governance matters and is particularly strong in financial crime. Brodie is recommended for reputation management and regulatory governance, Drew deals with governance, culture and conduct issues, and Griffith is a name for regulatory and post-Brexit issues with a focus on the insurance and financial services sectors. Sam Tate is a contact for white-collar crime and anti-bribery and anti-money laundering initiatives, while Karen Hendy advises on corporate governance, directors’ duties and AGM matters.
Patrick Brodie; Jeremy Drew; Matthew Griffith
Other key lawyers:
William Hogarth; Karen Hendy
‘This firm has advanced hugely over the last few years to become one of the go to firms in the country for corporate governance, corporate and economic crime and defamation. A mid-sized but accessible firm that never fails to produce the goods.’
‘The team had previous experience in implementing an anti-corruption compliance programs at a multinational. This experience was invaluable in resolving the practicalities of rolling out our third party risk management process framework. They also understood the technology aspect through their previous experience in working for a due diligence service provider. They were able to utilize their previous experience to design a best in class TPRM process.’
‘Sam Tate has literally written the book on anti-corruption (UK Bribery Act) because of his vast experience in the field of anti-corruption compliance. I could not have found a better partner to help steer this project. His hands on approach and also his pragmatic resolution of issues helped us to successfully launch our TPRM process in a timely manner.’
‘Ability to genuinely tailor their approach and provide advice to be bespoke to a company’s needs.’
Fraser Group (previously Sports Direct)
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Dialog Semiconductor Plc
Ceres Power Holdings Plc
The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
Studio Retail Limited
Beat Capital Partners Limited
- Acting for the diplomat of a Gulf state in a Supreme Court case (Basfar -v- Wong, UKSC) that related to human trafficking and diplomatic immunity.
- Representing the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) in its claim against JP Morgan (JPM), arising out of the bank’s role in transferring $875m to a company, Malabu Oil & Gas Limited.
- Acting for Newcastle United Football Club (NUFC) in respect of one of HMRC’s most high-profile criminal investigations into suspected non-payment of Income Tax, NI Contributions and VAT in respect of agents’ fees paid by NUFC in relation to the transfer of players.
The ‘outstanding’ and dedicated team at Travers Smith LLP handles a broad range of governance, risk management and compliance matters under the leadership of Doug Bryden and Neal Watson. It acts for blue-chip clients and draws on strength from the firm’s corporate, disputes, commercial, employment and regulatory departments to provide a holistic approach to governance issues. Bryden is a contact for bribery and corruption, corporate crime, human rights and ethical investments, while Watson handles corporate and board-level issues. Senior consultant Simon Witney focuses on regulatory, transactional and fund formation mandates and at the more junior end of the team, associate Laura Smyth advises on governance and corporate crime matters in the banking, retail and private equity sectors, and senior counsel Aisling Arthur deals with market abuse and compliance issues.
Doug Bryden; Neal Watson
Other key lawyers:
Simon Witney; Jon Reddington; Laura Smyth; Aisling Arthur
‘Approachable, friendly, unstuffy (in comparison to other firms) and keen to invest in (in terms of deepening knowledge of) client companies.’
‘Collaborative with highly relevant corporate governance updates. Responsive and does not go beyond the brief.’
‘The team I deal with on a day-to-day basis are approachable, responsive, professional and extremely knowledgeable.’
‘Instructions are acknowledged quickly and timescales adhered to.’
‘At certain times of the year (around the Annual Report and AGM), contact is very frequent and we, as the client, can be very demanding. I am aware that the TS team will have competing priorities with other clients, but it never feels that way – their calm and practical approach provides me with assurance that we are in safe hands.’
‘The team understand the sector and our requirements and seek to grow their knowledge of our business.’
‘Doug Bryden offers first-rate client service.’
‘The team at Travers who support us with corporate governance advice are outstanding.’
SSP Group plc
Hostelworld Group plc
Noble Corporation plc
S4 Capital plc
Smithson Investment Trust plc
Safestore Holdings plc
Mears Group Plc
Breedon Group plc
Shepherd Neame Limited
Pets at Home Group plc
Auction Technology Group plc
- Undertook a ‘root-and-branch’ review of Omnipresent’s policies and procedures on corporate governance, anti-bribery and corruption, etc.
- Advising multiple publicly quoted clients, such as SSP Group plc, Hostelworld Group plc, Auction Technology Group plc, Foresight Group Holdings Limited, Safestore Holdings plc and S4 Capital plc on governance and disclosure issues, including advising on annual reports and notices of annual general meetings, UK Corporate Governance Code disclosures and Section 172 statements, stakeholder engagement issues and remuneration policies/reports.
- Advising large multi-strategy alternative asset managers on ESG and good governance.
‘Professional, calm, pleasant and diplomatic’, the governance and compliance team at Addleshaw Goddard is fully embedded in its corporate practice and is particularly active in the financial services sector. Key areas of focus include ESG, audit reporting, AGMs, market abuse, remuneration and board issues and the team acts for FTSE 100 and FTSE 250-listed companies, and high-profile banks. Jaya Gupta is a key practitioner with over 28 years’ experience in corporate law and advises on regulatory issues relating to transactions, while Ben Koehne advises on constitutional, corporate governance, strategic and regulatory matters. Managing associate Richard Preston focuses on governance and compliance, and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and stock exchange-related regulatory matters; James Greig joined from an in-house role at Barclays in October 2022 and brings strong financial services regulatory expertise to the team.
Jaya Gupta; Ben Koehne; Nichola Peters; Jonathan Fletcher Rogers; Erin Shoesmith; Michelle Headrige
Other key lawyers:
Richard Preston; Jack Edwards; James Greig
‘Approachable, knowledgeable and accessible.’
‘Addleshaw Goddard have provided us with an exceptional service as a law firm on a number of large, complex projects which have involved providing high-quality expert advice in a number of areas and required industry knowledge and a commercial approach.’
‘The lawyers we have dealt with are of a very high calibre, and they are very capable and resourced in all key areas.’
‘They are very good at providing added value with regard to specialist training and knowledge webinars.’
‘The lawyers in the firm we have dealt with have been excellent.’
‘They collaborated well as a team and also liaised professionally with a number of other key stakeholders.’
‘I always find them professional, calm, pleasant and diplomatic, and they make themselves available to meet tight deadlines.’
‘Ben Koehne and Richard Preston are key individuals – they know our particular idiosyncrasies and advise accordingly.’
International Personal Finance
Morgan Advanced Materials
- Advised 10 of the UK’s largest high street banking providers on the creation and launch of Cash Access UK Limited, a new joint venture designed to enable consumers and small businesses to access cash, deposit and basic banking services where they are needed across the UK, including via shared “banking hubs”.
- Advised a leading stock exchange on various confidential governance-related matters during the year.
- Supported a broad range of main market listed companies, AIM quoted companies and building societies with their year-end reporting and AGMs.
‘Exceptionally strong on governance and corporate advice for listed companies’, Ashurst offers clients advice on governance, compliance, ESG, pensions, corporate crime, investigations and board-level issues. The team is led by Will Chalk and Anna-Marie Slot, with Chalk acting for private, listed and AIM companies on reporting, stakeholder engagement, directors’ duties and financial compliance, and Slot, who is based in London and Hong Kong, being a name for ESG and debt capital markets matters. Eleanor Reeves advises on environment and safety issues, Ruby Hamid is a name for corporate crime and investigations, as well as related governance matters, Lorraine Johnston is a contact for financial services regulatory matters, and Rhiannon Webster heads the firm’s UK data privacy and cybersecurity practice.
Will Chalk; Anna-Marie Slot
Other key lawyers:
Rhiannon Webster; Florian Drinhausen; Eleanor Reeves; Lorraine Johnston; Ruby Hamid; Tom Mercer
‘This team is exceptionally strong on governance and corporate advice for listed companies – they are exceptional at horizon scanning and have insights from the regulator and other bodies where laws are made and codes/governance is drafted.’
‘Clear and pragmatic advice and peer insight is what puts Ashurst’s corporate team out in front of the pack.’
‘Will Chalk is an exceptional communicator and industry expert who makes the time to listen, learn and build relationships.’
- Advising various listed companies on their response to cybersecurity incidents, including ransomware, and others on cyber resilience frameworks.
- Advising on 30-35 individual AGMs and approximately 20 individual annual reports for various public companies including Halma, British Land, Intermediate Capital Group, Oxford Instruments, Carnival Corp & plc, Dialight and Persimmon.
- Advising numerous listed companies on board disputes, board governance and other issues, including succession planning, as well as ESG-related governance and compliance frameworks.
The corporate governance team at Dentons is led by Richard Barham and Katherine Harle and is well placed to handle cross-border matters by virtue of its large global network and often advises large multinational clients on regulatory and governance matters, drawing on strength from its data privacy, employment, tax and regulatory practitioners. Barham is a corporate lawyer who handles transactional matters, shareholder and board processes, and governance issues, while Harle handles compliance, regulatory matters and interactions with regulators such as the FCA and Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Sarah Beeby advises on employment law and Dan Lund deals with sanctions, bribery and corruption and fraud. The team was bolstered in January 2023, with the arrival of James Vernon from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.
Katharine Harle; Richard Barham
Other key lawyers:
Dan Lund; James Vernon; Sara Beeby
National Bank of Egypt UK Limited
ING Bank NV
Dye & Durham
Development Bank of Ghana
Dignity Health investment
National House Building Council (NHBC)
- Acting as company secretary for the National Bank of Egypt UK Limited, including attending all board meetings, steering committee meetings and meetings of the audit and risk committee meetings – approximately 16 meetings per annum.
- Reviewed ING Bank’s existing anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) training, provided to a cross-section of its employees.
- Advised TSX- listed Dye & Durham, a leading provider of cloud-based software and technology solutions to the legal industry, on its proposed c.$2.5bn acquisition of the Link Group (ASX listed) and its foreign subsidiaries located in various jurisdictions.
Hogan Lovells International LLP advises on a broad range of contentious and non-contentious governance matters, acting for companies and their directors and shareholders on compliance, risk management, investigations, transactions, disputes and enforcement. Patrick Sarch heads the team and is a name for M&A-related governance matters, ESG and shareholder activism, with a focus on the consumer, industrial, tech and fintech sectors. John Livesey joined from Linklaters LLP in September 2022 and Alastair Young joined from Bracewell (UK) LLP in April 2023; both bring strong corporate expertise to the team.
Other key lawyers:
John Livesey; Alastair Young
The Crown Estate
The Gambling Commission
Global Ports Holding
- Advised FTSE-250 listed Shaftesbury PLC and its Board on its recommended £5bn all-share merger with fellow FTSE-250 listed Capital & Counties Properties PLC.
- Advised BAT and JSC CB PrivatBank amongst others on major litigation relating to corporate governance issues, where the size and/or nature of the claims were very material, the legal issues were complex, and their resolutions set new precedents.
- Advised various investors, including Gatemore Capital, and issuers on contested corporate governance matters, such as requisitioned meetings, board changes, strategic reviews, short selling attacks, and more.
Norton Rose Fulbright acts for high-profile corporate and financial services clients on disclosure, reporting obligations, shareholder issues and board-level matters, and often handles governance work stemming from its corporate investigations practice. Jon Perry and David Harris head the team, with Perry handling a range of corporate-related governance matters in the commodities, mining and financial services sectors, and Harris being a name for contentious financial services matters and cross-border investigations. Claire O’Donnell advises on transactional matters, and governance and business ethics, Jonathan Herbst handles financial regulatory and anti-corruption matters, and Katie Stephen is a name for money laundering, investigations and enforcement issues. In January 2023, Stuart Neely and Matthew Gregory were promoted to partner; Neely offers expertise in human rights and modern slavery issues, while Gregory is another name for financial services regulatory issues.
Jon Perry; David Harris
Other key lawyers:
Claire O’Donnell; Jonathan Herbst; Stuart Neely; Matthew Gregory; Katie Stephen
‘Work is distributed at the right level.’
British International Investment
Civitas Social Housing
Global Partnership for Ethiopia B.V.
Secure Trust Bank
Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company
Vodacom Group Limited
VodaFamily Ethiopia Holding Company Limited
Vodafone Group Plc
Corporate heavyweight Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP advises on the governance aspects of high-profile domestic and international M&A deals, as well as providing strategic advice to boards of directors, and advice around corporate disclosure, activism and listing issues. George Knighton heads the team and is well versed in advising on public and private M&A, as well as private equity transactions and governance issues. Scott Hopkins is strong in cross-border deals, regulatory responsibilities, and directors’ duties and liability issues, while Simon Toms, another corporate practitioner, is experienced in the tech, fintech, media and telecoms sectors. Elizabeth Robertson is a contact for white-collar crime and investigations.
Other key lawyers:
Louise Batty; Scott Hopkins; Simon Toms; Elizabeth Robertson
ASDA Group Limited/ Bellis Acquisition Company
Janus Henderson plc
DWF Group plc
Phoenix Group Holdings
MJ Gleeson plc
Borr Drilling Limited
DRD Gold Limited
ASML Holding N.V.
Kenon Holdings Ltd
Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure plc
- Acting as regular adviser to ASDA Group Limited regarding day-to-day corporate governance arrangements, in addition to advising on its most recent transaction: its $510m acquisition of 132 petrol filling stations from Co-operative Group Limited.
- Advising a FTSE100 company on corporate governance and corporate defence.
- Advising DWF Group plc in connection with the day-to-day operation of its share plan and remuneration arrangements, including in relation to UK corporate governance, regulatory and reporting requirements, and senior personnel matters.
Squire Patton Boggs
Led by London’s Jane Haxby and Hannah Kendrick in Leeds, the corporate governance team at Squire Patton Boggs acts for listed and private companies, funds, professional bodies and associations on governance issues, reporting obligations, compliance, boardroom matters and corporate strategy and is seeing an increasing number of mandates pertaining to ESG issues. Managing partner Haxby is a name for governance issues relating to corporate M&A deals and IPOs, while Kendrick deals with governance and regulatory issues and is a member of the Regional Advisory Group of the London Stock Exchange. Jonathan Chibafa is recommended for ESG compliance and supply chain risk management, as well as anti-bribery and corruption issues. Lucy Webster joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in September 2022 and brings expertise in climate change and environmental issues.
Jane Haxby; Hannah Kendrick
Other key lawyers:
Jonathan Chibafa; Lucy Webster
Hurricane Energy plc
Animalcare Group plc
Xeros Technology Group plc
Applied Graphene Materials plc
GB Group plc
Metals Exploration plc
Enwell Energy plc
Coats Group Plc
Grafton Group Plc
Polypipe Group Plc
Live Nation Entertainment
- Advising a plastics products manufacturer on environmental claims for a proposed new line of products in relation to biodegradability, end of life instructions, comparisons and claims about environmental impacts.
- Acted for MISC Berhad on the syndicated loan facility in relation to six new build Very Large Ethane Carriers (the “VLECs”) and the long-term time chartering of the VLECs to Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical Co. Ltd with the facility containing both environmental and governance key performance indicators (KPIs)