The multidisciplinary corporate governance team at Baker McKenzie has board-level expertise in relation to corporate, regulatory and financial matters, among other areas and acts for large PLCs, global organisations and banks. It stands out for its high-level expertise, which has included pushing forward the governance agenda globally by collaborating with organisations such as the World Economic Forum. Practice head Beatriz Pessoa de Araujo has over 35 years’ experience in the corporate sphere and has recently been advising clients on stakeholder engagement and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) matters. Also jointly leading the practice are Helen Bradley and Jo Hewitt; Bradley ‘manages and guides her team well’ and heads up the firm’s dedicated UK public company advisory group, while Hewitt handles a range of governance issues, including the design and implementation of governance policies. Nick O’Donnell left for Bird & Bird LLP in August 2021.
Corporate governance in London
Beatriz Pessoa de Araujo; Helen Bradley; Jo Hewitt
‘Well-informed expert team, light on their feet with interesting content and able to give advice to sophisticated clients’.
‘Good mix of experience and youth’.
‘Team works well with the in-house company secretarial and legal team’.
‘Their grasp of the legal technical minutiae is second to none which is quite something given the vast panoply of laws governing corporate, commercial and regulatory matters’.
‘They can cut through a morass of detail to arrive exactly at the point in a no-nonsense and very amiable fashion, so it is also a pleasure to deal with them on that basis’.
‘Baker provides us with a comprehensive corporate governance approach through what they call the Global Corporate Governance Solution’.
‘The Baker team is incredibly responsive and their work product is first class’.
‘Individual team members are readily available to answer questions or work through problems’.
Jones Lang LaSalle Inc
Natura Group – The Body Shop
Colt NoBank of China
L’Oreal (UK) Limited
Westinghouse Electric Company
TBC Bank Group PLC
Willis Towers Watson
ofi Group Limited
Spirax Sarco Engineering PLC
RAK Petroleum PLC
Kape Technologies PLC
Georgia Capital Plc
Bank of Georgia Plc
Photo-Me International Plc
Zebra Technologies Inc
Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund
Clifford Chance LLP acts for a range of top international blue-chip clients across the full spectrum of corporate governance issues, including compliance, regulatory and risk management matters. The practice stands out for its dedicated international ESG board and strong global platform, allowing it to handle cross-border mandates with ease. David Pudge co-heads the team and acts for financial institutions and corporate entities on transactions and governance issues, including shareholder engagement, annual general meetings (AGMs) and board effectiveness reviews. Luke Tolaini, who jointly leads the team, is a key name for corporate crises and investigations brought by regulators; Steven Fox is recommended for public company-related law, including regulatory and compliance matters, and Richard Crosby handles M&A, equity capital markets matters and restructurings. Rae Lindsay is a litigation and disputes practitioner with considerable expertise in ESG matters, policy development and implementation, due diligence and risk management, while at the more junior end of the team, senior associate Alanna Hunter is recommended for advice pertaining to AGMs, market abuse regulation and governance policies.
David Pudge; Luke Tolaini
Other key lawyers:
Steven Fox; Alanna Hunter; Rae Lindsay; Richard Crosby; Kate Norgett
‘Deep subject matter expertise, responsiveness and excellent engagement’.
‘Focus on the client’s needs’.
‘The team consistently delivers commercial and practical advice tailored to our circumstances, based on its second-to-none legal and regulatory insights’.
‘The responsiveness of our main client partner, David Pudge, and his capacity to deliver consistently the highest quality commercial advice is outstanding’.
‘They bring a pragmatic, approachable style to solve complex problems’.
‘Strength in depth at all levels of seniority’.
‘Superb technical knowledge and very responsive’.
‘Steven Fox is an absolute star. Capable of managing challenging board level issues with pragamatic and clear advice’.
Jupiter Fund Management
Legal & General
- Advised THG plc (formerly the Hut Group Limited) on its IPO onto the standard listing segment of the UKLA’s Official List and the LSE’s main market in September 2020, and continued to advise it across the full spectrum of corporate governance work.
- Worked with Serco in all aspects of its recovery, following charging irregularities in relation to contracts with the MOJ.
- Advised HSBC Holdings plc on the full range of corporate governance and corporate advisory issues.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP ‘consistently goes above and beyond and is always very accommodating and reliable, as well as producing work to an excellent standard’. The firm acts for top FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and AIM-listed companies on key governance issues and regulatory developments under the leadership of Gareth Sykes and Ben Ward. Sykes handles a range of governance and compliance issues, with particular experience in corporate reporting requirements, the UK Corporate Governance Code and listing rules, while Ward is a name to note for M&A and corporate finance work. James Palmer is another name for governance and corporate work, and Paul Ellerman handles remuneration and incentive scheme advice.
Gareth Sykes; Ben Ward
Other key lawyers:
James Palmer; Bob Moore; Paul Ellerman
‘Dedicated corporate governance capability with a good view across a range of FTSE companies’.
‘The HSF corporate governance advisory team is extremely responsive and able to support the Company Secretarial team as matters develop at pace, and clear and concise advice is needed within tight timescales’.
‘Detailed knowledge with significant associates in support to assist the lead practitioners’.
‘They have worked hard in ensuring that the advice is fit for purpose and meets our requirements’.
‘Each individual is a delight to deal with, offering quick turnarounds and always able to meet the client’s needs no matter how complex the area for consideration’.
‘They consistently go above and beyond and are always very accommodating and reliable, and produce work to an excellent standard’.
‘Gareth Sykes has advised on corporate governance matters for a number of years; his technical and commercial knowledge around governance is of the highest calibre’.
‘Very attentive, pragmatic and easy to deal with’.
Associated British Foods
British American Tobacco
Kin + Carta
- Advising global digital transformation consultancy Kin and Carta plc on its accreditation as the first certified B Corp listed on the London Stock Exchange as well as on a range of ongoing corporate governance issues.
- Advising Made.com Group plc on a range of corporate governance issues following its initial public offering in 2021 including in relation to corporate reporting requirements, its annual report and annual general meeting, director and board matters, remuneration and share plan issues, continuing obligations under the listing regime and day-to-day corporate governance issues.
- Advising a large number of listed companies (FTSE 100, FTSE 250, FTSE Small Cap and AIM) 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 continues to build on its ESG expertise, with a focus on governance and compliance issues and crisis management work. Drawing on multi-jurisdictional and multidisciplinary expertise from its global network of offices and banking and finance, employment, dispute resolution and regulatory practitioners, the team is well placed to act for international companies in a wide range of industries. Vanessa Havard-williams heads up the practice and is well versed in environmental and climate change matters, and she also handles compliance issues in a range of areas. Alexandra Beidas is a name to note for remuneration issues, gender equality and workforce engagement, and Rachel Barrett is recommended for human rights matters. Tom Cassels is a key name for crisis management, while managing associate Aileen Buchanan handles health and safety and environmental matters, among other areas. Raza Naeem was promoted to partner in May 2022.
Other key lawyers:
Rachel Barrett; Alexandra Beidas; Tom Cassels; Aileen Buchanan; Raza Naeem
Goldman Sachs Asset Management
CFRF, IETA and ISDA
Equator Principles Association
- Acting as Nestle’s ESG counsel supporting Nestle on ESG matters across a broad range of topic areas including climate-related commitments, preparation of offsetting and insetting templates, advice on food regulation, supplier related claims and screening and product claims.
- Advised numerous corporates and financial institutions on remuneration structures, compliance with rules and ESG criteria for inclusion in remuneration.
- Advising a number of clients on their compliance with the UK and EU Benchmarks Regulation and the FCA rules for benchmark administrators.
RPC has a broad range of corporate governance expertise relating to board-level matters and board effectiveness reviews, remuneration policies, regulatory matters, data protection work and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. The team, which is headed up by Jeremy Drew, Patrick Brodie and Matthew Griffith, encompasses practitioners with in-house, compliance and financial regulatory experience. Drew handles contentious and non-contentious matters pertaining to governance, culture and conduct, while Brodie is recommended for the design and implementation of corporate governance programmes and initiatives, and high-profile investigations and reputation management issues. Griffith is a name to note for corporate, commercial and regulatory issues, with a focus on the insurance and financial services sectors. William Hogarth joined in September 2021 from Clyde & Co.
Patrick Brodie; Jeremy Drew; Matthew Griffith
Other key lawyers:
‘Always offer practical advice taking into account the comply or explain provisions of the corporate governance code. Excellent knowledge of listing rules and good relationship with brokers.’
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
- Continued to advise one of the UK’s largest high street retailers on its strategy for workforce safety and furlough, including direct correspondence with government.
- Representing the Federal Republic of Nigeria in its claim against JP Morgan, arising out of the bank’s role in the fraudulent and corrupt acquisition of an oil prospecting licence by the oil majors Shell and Eni for the sum of $1.3bn.
- Advising The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia on a Supreme Court case, which is of international importance and effect and will define the appropriate governance of diplomatic employee relationships.
The governance and corporate risk team at Travers Smith LLP is well versed in risk management and compliance issues, and acts for a range of domestic and international clients including blue-chip companies. Its multidisciplinary team draws on strength from corporate, disputes, commercial, employment and regulatory practitioners to provide a holistic approach to governance and corporate risk issues. Doug Bryden leads the team and is a name to note for the implementation of policies and procedures, along with matters pertaining to bribery and corruption, corporate crime, human rights and ethical investments, among other areas. Neal Watson is a key name for ESG matters and compliance and acts for Main Market and AIM-listed companies, while senior consultant Simon Witney handles regulatory and transactional matters, with a focus on the private equity sector. Senior associate Laura Smyth focuses on corporate crime and ethics issues.
Other key lawyers:
Simon Witney; Neal Watson; Jon Reddington; Laura Smyth
‘Travers Smith has a great reputation for M&A and market cap advice’.
‘I have never been disappointed by Travers Smith and its teams’.
‘They provide very pragmatic and commercial support’.
‘Able to respond very quickly to high-level requests from the in-house team and management’.
‘Very much oriented towards meeting and surpassing clients’ needs and expectation’.
‘Sound, practical advice’.
‘Completely committed to clients’ needs’.
‘They understand our needs and provide timely, actionable, practical, sound legal advice’.
Micro Focus International plc
SSP Group plc
Hostelworld Group plc
Noble Corporation plc
S4 Capital plc
Brewin Dolphin Holdings plc
Smithson Investment Trust plc
Safestore Holdings plc
Mears Group Plc
McColl’s Retail Group PLC
Breedon Group plc
Shepherd Neame Limited
Pets at Home Group plc
Auction Technology Group plc
- Continued to support on a ‘root-and-branches’ review of Micro Focus International’s policies and procedures on corporate governance, anti-bribery and corruption, expenses, sanctions and export controls, human rights, tax evasion, AML, conflict of interests, confidential information, human rights and sustainability concerns.
- Advising multiple publicly quoted clients, such as SSP Group plc, Hostelworld Group plc, Microfocus plc, 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.
- Following the defence of a longstanding multinational agribusiness on two novel parental company claims in the English courts relating to allegation of wrong-doing by overseas subsidiaries and associate companies, continued to advise on governance and crisis control measures.
The governance and compliance team at Addleshaw Goddard is ‘knowledgeable, accessible and supportive’ and is particularly strong in advising high-profile domestic clients in the financial services sector. The multidisciplinary practice draws on strength from experts in building societies and mutuals, employment, banking and finance, environment and health and safety to advise on ESG matters, climate change and diversity and inclusion, among other areas. Jaya Gupta is a key corporate practitioner with considerable experience in compliance, governance and transactional matters, including those with a cross-border dimension; and Ben Koehne acts for a range of finance sector clients, such as banks, asset managers and stock exchanges, on corporate, M&A, and regulatory issues. On the more junior end of the team, managing associate Richard Preston is a corporate governance and compliance specialist, while Jack Edwards, who is dedicated to corporate governance work, was promoted to managing associate in October 2021.
Jaya Gupta; Ben Koehne; Nichola Peters; Jonathan Fletcher Rogers; Erin Shoesmith; Michelle Headrige
Other key lawyers:
Richard Preston; Jack Edwards
‘Expert knowledge in corporate governance in respect of annual reporting, corporate governance disclosure requirements and notice of meeting requirements and able to advise on the practical and commercial application of these’.
‘Richard Preston is very responsive and manages and meets expectations in respect of timelines’.
‘I really value the responsiveness at a high pressure time in the corporate cycle’.
‘The corporate governance experts we use at AG are knowledgeable, accessible and supportive’.
‘They know our sector and the legislative framework for it extremely well’.
‘We get a very quick turn around to queries, some of which can be time critical and we have never been disappointed’.
‘Some of the matters we can deal with might be complex and the team are able to ‘translate’ advice for us in a way that is easy to understand and relay internally’.
‘My team and I refer to Ben Koehne quite often. Nothing is too much bother and invariably he has the answers at his finger tips’.
International Personal Finance
Morgan Advanced Materials
- Advised Rathbones on multiple matters in relation to the implementation and operation of its executive and employee share plans, as well as providing day-to-day advice in connection with share plans and governance matters.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP leans on its global network for support when advising large multinational companies on a range of governance and strategic issues. It is particularly strong in AGM and annual reporting issues, ESG matters, and also litigation relating to board-level disputes. Richard Browne and Paul McCarthy are key practitioners, while Richard Cranfield retired from the firm. Counsels Kate Astley and Victoria Rankmore are also noted.
Other key lawyers:
Richard Browne; Paul McCarthy; Kate Astley; Victoria Rankmore
‘The Allen & Overy corporate governance team is adept at providing first-class technical legal advice promptly and pragmatically, contributing to very helpful analysis of best practice’.
‘Proactive and on the front foot when it comes to corporate governance matters’.
‘Subject matter experts and friendly and engaging’.
‘The team is extremely well-led and demonstrates a collaborative, responsive and service-driven approach to its clients’.
‘Richard Browne is a stand-out leader’.
‘Richard Browne can always be reached by phone or email when you need him and he provides pragmatic and grounded responses to a variety of questions and queries’.
‘The team has broad experience of the sector and in particular are excellent at supporting AGMs and the preparation of the associated documents’.
‘I have worked with the A&O team for a number of years and they respond quickly and ensure that the team are fully briefed if a member is not available’.
Ashurst fields a fully integrated UK and international corporate governance team that advises companies and financial institutions on a broad range of governance and regulatory compliance matters. The team was significantly bolstered in 2021, with the arrival of Will Chalk from Addleshaw Goddard; he co-heads the team alongside Anna-Marie Slot, who splits her time between London and Hong Kong. Also arriving in 2021 were data privacy expert Rhiannon Webster from DAC Beachcroft LLP; disputes specialist Nathan Willmott from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP; financial regulatory expert Etay Katz from Allen & Overy LLP; and Florian Drinhausen who joined from an in-house role at Deutsche Bank. Chalk acts for large private and listed companies on corporate reporting and stakeholder engagement, ESG matters, and FCA compliance obligations. Slot is also a key name for ESG matters and has considerable experience in corporate finance matters.
Will Chalk; Anna-Marie Slot
Other key lawyers:
Rhiannon Webster; Nathan Willmot; Etay Katz; Florian Drinhausen; Eleanor Reeves
‘Incredibly technically knowledgeable but also able to apply in practice and demonstrate extensive experience on their recommendations on how to do so’.
‘Very responsive and willing to take time to ‘thrash out’ answers on tricky questions’.
‘Able to give meaningful insights and able to demonstrate a real depth of understanding on the ‘why’ as well as ‘what’ of the guidance they issue’.
‘The team provide real, practical advice that you can use because it is provided by practitioners who have done the job and understand the real life implications of it’.
‘Will Chalk is an exceptional lawyer who always takes time to understand the issue at hand, discuss it plainly and comes back with practical and thoughtful advice that can be acted upon and implemented’.
‘Will Chalk is a trusted advisor and a sensible sounding board’.
Essar Oil UK Limited
- Advising on 30-35 AGMs and annual reports for listed and AIM-quoted companies including British Land, Intermediate Capital Group, Oxford Instruments and Peel Hunt and on governance and remuneration arrangements.
- Advising AVEVA Group and numerous other listed, AIM-quoted and larger private companies on their integration of strategically significant ESG issues into their governance arrangements.
- Advising numerous clients on regulator-driven investigations and governance reviews, each involving cross-disciplinary teams.
Dentons’ corporate governance team is ‘always helpful and supportive in providing quick advice on corporate governance matters’. With the ability to leverage its global platform, the firm is well placed to advise large international clients on cross-border governance matters and has particular expertise in data privacy, employment, tax, finance and regulatory issues. The team is jointly led by Richard Barham and Katharine Harle; Barham handles governance-related M&A, joint venture and restructuring issues in the transportation, banking, manufacturing and sports sectors; and Harle is recommended for disputes, regulatory and investigations work. In December 2021, former practice co-head Martin Mankabady left for Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, while counsel Dan Lund joined from Akin Gump LLP. Daren Allen left for Shoosmiths LLP in June 2021 and Chris Brennan joined from White & Case LLP in January 2022.
Richard Barham; Katharine Harle
Other key lawyers:
Dan Lund; Chris Brennan
‘Very efficient and supportive’.
‘Always helpful and supportive in providing quick advice on corporate governance matters’.
‘Depth and breath of experience in respect of all aspects of legal advice, transparency in respect of fee quotes and billing’.
‘Global reach and reputation’.
‘Katharine Harle, who has been my main contact in recent years regarding corporate governance issues, has provided excellent timely advice’.
‘Katharine Harle is always proactive, responsive and provides clear and accurate advice and guidance’.
- Acted for Eric Parry Architects Limited on the corporate restructuring to allow for the existing shareholders to retire over a period of time; and to fulfil the client’s desire for the company to be owned by its senior employees through an employee benefit trust (EBT).
- Advising the Uzbek company Artel Engineering & Management LLC on a joint venture to operate a goldmine in Uzbekistan. The transaction involved negotiating a shareholders’ agreement and the constitution of the joint venture company.
- 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.
Hogan Lovells International LLP’s corporate governance practice acts for companies and their directors, officers, and shareholders, as well as governmental and non-governmental organisations on corporate controls, compliance, governance and shareholder matters. Drawing on strength from its international network and broad range of practice areas, which includes corporate, litigation, tax and regulatory, the firm caters to a wide range of domestic and global clients. Patrick Sarch joined from White & Case LLP in March 2021 and now co-heads the team alongside Ben Higson. Sarch focuses on ESG, shareholder activism and M&A matters, while Higson is another name for corporate matters, with a focus on the energy and natural resources, infrastructure and automotive sectors.
Patrick Sarch; Ben Higson
The Crown Estate
The Gambling Commission
- Advised the Gambling Commission on the design and delivery of the competition for the fourth National Lottery Licence.
Norton Rose Fulbright is notably strong in UK Modern Slavery Act (MSA) compliance and other human rights issues and offers high-level advice on criminal and regulatory investigations. Its broad practice also provides advice on board-level governance issues, shareholder matters, risk management and regulatory matters to corporate clients and financial services companies. The team is headed up by Jon Perry and David Harris; Perry handles a range of corporate work, including cross-border transactions, with a focus on the commodities, mining and financial services sectors, and Harris is recommended for civil and criminal law investigations and proceedings before domestic and international authorities. Claire O’Donnell is a name to for governance and ethics issues, while Jonathan Herbst is recommended for UK and EU financial services law and regulations.
Jon Perry; David Harris
Other key lawyers:
Claire O’Donnell; Jonathan Herbst
‘Made what is a complex and dry area to work in, clear and straight forward to understand’.
‘The team are excellent in explaining complex matters, and provide excellent practical advice’.
Barrick Gold Corporation
Coca Cola HBC
F&C Investment Trust
Lloyds Banking Group
Victor Dahdaleh and associated companies
Civitas Social Housing
- Advised a former senior executive of Petrofac in relation to a criminal SFO investigation.
- Advising on business and human rights matters, including compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act (MSA) and other human rights reporting requirements, including those under the UK Companies Act.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP is a heavyweight in the corporate sphere and is well versed in handling the governance aspects of high-profile M&A deals nationally and internationally. In addition to its strong transactional expertise, the firm acts for private and publicly held companies, investors and board committees on new legal regulatory frameworks and emerging market trends, shareholder issues, and corporate disclosure, activism and listing matters. Practice head George Knighton is a name to note for M&A and related governance issues, while Scott Hopkins has considerable cross-border experience and is recommended for regulatory matters. Simon Toms also has a solid track record in transactional matters and focuses on the technology, fintech, media and telecoms sectors, while Elizabeth Robertson is a key name for business crime and compliance issues.
Other key lawyers:
Louise Batty; Bruce Embley; Scott Hopkins; Simon Toms; Elizabeth Robertson
‘Highest quality legal advice, and overall service levels’.
‘Simon Toms and Bruce Embley and their teams know what is relevant to a client, and how to deliver it’.
‘A “go-to” team for consequential matters out of Europe’.
‘Simon Toms is a grace under pressure’.
‘Best in class legal advice’.
‘You always get the impression that Simon Toms has seen your facts before, which always tends to put him one step ahead of the current issues and therefore makes negotiation and client delivery best in class’.
Janus Henderson plc
DWF Group plc
Phoenix Group Holdings
The Investor Forum
Social Impact Investment Taskforce
MJ Gleeson plc
Borr Drilling Limited
DRD Gold Limited
ASML Holding N.V.
Kenon Holdings Ltd
Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure plc
- Advised on the creation of corporate governance structures for Convera – the business solutions business of Western Union acquired for $90m by a consortium of financial sponsors.
- Advising FREYR Battery, a Norwegian clean battery manufacturer, on its listing on the NYSE and on the provision of corporate governance advice to its board.
- Advising the board of James Henderson Group plc on its response to activist investor Trian, which has acquired a 99% stake in the listed company.