Firm Profile > Keystone Law > Bristol, England

Keystone Law

Construction Tier 4

Keystone Law, whose team in the South West is part of a wider UK construction group, provides partner-led advice on both contentious and non-contentious construction matters. The names to note at the firm are Louise Garcia, Martin Howe, Jon Close and Tom Phillips. Practitioners undertake work across a number of industries, including the education, transport, healthcare, central and local government, energy, waste, and leisure sectors. In addition to acting for employers, the firm acts for contractors, sub-contractors and consultants.  

Intellectual property Tier 4

Keystone Law assists businesses, which range from start-ups to large corporations, with copyright and database rights, trade mark registrations, patent licensing and dispute resolution. Jessica Bent, who is a recent arrival from Royds Withy King, advises on both contentious and non-contentious issues. Charlie White, who joined from Edwin Coe LLP, is experienced in IP-related commercial contracts and data protection.

Practice head(s):

Jessica Bent

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Adam Matthew Digital Limited

Mytton Williams Limited

Anthem Publishing Limited

Susan Flood

Neptune (Europe) Ltd.

IT and telecoms Tier 4

Keystone Law in Bristol advises an array of businesses, including start-ups and large companies, on IT contracts and data protection issues. The firm retains strong links with businesses in the local area, supporting new companies and SMEs on technology acquisitions and licensing requirements. Both practice head Jessica Bent and Charlie White are recent arrivals to the firm, joining from Royds Withy King and Edwin Coe LLP respectively.

Practice head(s):

Jessica Bent

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Adam Matthew Digital Limited

Nevaya Limited

Ecotricity Group Limited

Licensing Tier 1

Keystone Law has a full service licensing capability advising on early morning alcohol restriction orders, enforcement issues, temporary event notices and restaurants. The firm has a mix of new and long-standing clients. Gareth Hughes is a key name for clients in the hospitality and entertainment sectors; he is advising Dragon Knight on the licensing issues concerning a large-scale development in London, which involves thousands of residential buildings and leisure premises. Andrew Wong also has strength in the leisure, entertainment and hospitality sectors. Niall McCann and Richard Williams joined from Joelson in April 2019; the pair now have a consultancy agreement in place to continue to provide services to their former firm.

M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m Tier 2

Keystone Law is best known for advising SMEs and entrepreneurs, particularly in the TMT, healthcare and real estate sectors. The firm's sizeable group of partner-level consultants handle work for high-growth businesses, encompassing start-ups and publicly traded companies. Although there is no officially delineated practice head at the firm, Nadim Zaman and Andrew Stilton  continue to be the key names to note on corporate M&A matters. The firm continues to hire a large number of partners each year, with 2018 witnessing arrivals from Slaughter and May, Jones Day and Withers LLP.

Employment: senior executives Tier 3

The lawyers who make up Keystone Law's employment team have a strong track record of advising high-net-worth individuals and senior executives on high-profile employment issues, such as discrimination, whistleblowing and sexual harassment. Key clients include senior executives at major brands across a range of sectors including media and entertainment, financial services, sport, property and leisure. Paul Daniels now leads the team after joining from Slater and Gordon in early 2018; he is one of a raft of new recruits to have come on board in recent months, including Nick Tsatsas and Angharad Harris from Fladgate LLP and Watson Farley & Williams LLP respectively.

Gaming and betting Tier 3

Keystone Law boosted its practice with the recruitment of consultants Richard Williams and Niall McCann from Joelson in April 2019. The team advises both land-based and online gambling clients on regulatory compliance, anti-money laundering measures and prosecutions arising from breaches of licence conditions. The practice also assists with the drafting and improving of policies and procedures, and licence review proceedings, which regularly involve the negotiation of financial settlements. Another area of expertise is the provision of advice to social media companies about the legality of proposed offerings with or without the need for licensing.

Personal injury: defendant Tier 3

Keystone Law handles the full range of defendant personal injury matters arising from accidents at work, public liability issues, industrial disease and abuse. The team receives instructions from insurers, local authorities, self-insured organisations as well as income protection providers. Steven Conway is the go-to lawyer for local authority litigation and Cordelia Rushby stands out for representing defendants in substantial claims for psychiatric loss. The department also includes Naomi Hatchard, who has experience in claims involving foreign and multi-jurisdictional issues.

Professional negligence: claimant Tier 3

Keystone Law’s Yorkshire professional negligence offering is led by Leeds-based solicitor Jonathan Watmough. His substantial experience includes working for indemnity insurers, while he has also previously acted on the defendant side, meaning he has extra insight to offer clients. He mainly acts in tax-related cases against accountants and insurance brokers, while conveyancing claims are also a key source of work.

Aviation Tier 4

Keystone Law has 'excellent knowledge and experience of the industry'. It is instructed on contentious and non-contentious aviation mandates where it acts for major airlines, airports, government departments, regulators, manufacturers, insurers, trade associations and ground handlers. UK and EU competition law and state aid issues are a key focus; here the team was recently bolstered by the arrival of Philippe Ruttley from Ince. The team also offers in-depth experience in regulatory work where barrister Hugh O’Donovan is particularly active; O'Donovan led advice for Blue Islands on a formal investigation by Channel Islands competition authorities (CICRA) into franchise arrangements between it and Flybe.

Fraud: civil Tier 4

The fraud specialists at Keystone Law handle matters relating to bribery, corruption, directors’ disqualification, disciplinary and regulatory issues, embezzlement, extradition, tax investigations, money laundering and SFO prosecutions. A raft of lawyers joined the new model law firm during 2018, including Matthew Hennessy-Gibbs from Devonshires Solicitors LLP and Iain Roxborough, who previously spent decades as a partner at Clifford Chance LLP.

Media and entertainment (including media finance) Tier 4

Keystone Law handles contentious and non-contentious instructions across the advertising, marketing, publishing and photography industries. The team acts for corporations and individuals on a range of reputation management and privacy matters, and acts for broadcasters and publishers on defamation and privacy disputes. High-profile work includes representing TV personality Noel Edmonds on a £65m claim against HBOS. The team is also active in the marketing and advertising space where it advises on sales promotions, consumer rewards-schemes, sponsorship and endorsement agreements, lotteries, games, merchandising and regulatory matters.

Partnership Tier 4

Keystone Law's lawyers main area of expertise is advising clients on drafting agreements for a variety of partnership structures, including for traditional partnerships and LLPs. The group also handles alternative business structures, M&A, restructuring, employment issues, insolvency, risk management and regulatory issues, as well as partnership disputes. Experienced commercial litigator Peter Garry leads the team, which includes  Emma Clark, whose practice spans advisory and disputes work, particularly relating to discrimination and whistleblower cases.

Product liability: defendant Tier 4

Keystone Law's team is regularly instructed by insurance companies to handle a variety of product liability matters; it is experienced in handling disputes that arise from international trade and has a specialised marine practice. Key contacts at the firm are Antony Colman, who has strength in multiple sectors, including technology, food and medical devices, and Jason Kallis, who is a key contact for product recalls and resulting claims.

Shipping Tier 4

Keystone Law's 'fast acting' marine and shipping offering 'delivers a personalised service'. It handles an array of contentious and non-contentious shipping work. On the contentious side, insurance disputes, collisions, regulatory breaches, charterparty disputes, crew claims, personal injury claims, yacht arrests, cargo disputes and salvage claims are key focuses. Non-contentious work includes yacht construction contracts, refit and management contracts, crew agreements and sale and purchase work. The team advises major yacht distributor Sunseeker London Group on marine matters.

Commercial contracts Tier 5

The unique structure of Keystone Law focuses on the individual specialities of the practitioners that make up the firm. In the area of commercial contracts, some key names in the team are the ‘immensely talented, intelligent and technically brilliantJeremy Schrire, who specialises in commercial agreements and related competition and regulatory matters; Jimmy Desai, who has expertise in commercial contracts as well as internet and technology law, data protection and IP/IT in M&A transactions; commercial and corporate lawyer Jaan Larner, who particularly focuses on entrepreneurial activity; and the 'extremely knowledgeable' Rebecca Halford-Harrison, who is a well regarded IP, technology and disputes lawyer, notably in relation to IP law in the chemistry-based industries. Timothy Deacon joined from Burges Salmon LLP in 2019.

Commercial litigation Tier 5

Keystone Law 'has significant expertise in the field and provides quick answers and flexibility to match clients' needs, while caring about good legal solutions'.  Alex Ferrari's practice covers various sectors and encompasses both domestic and international disputes, Matthew Reach specialises in business-related and company disputes, and Robert Lawrie acts in cases involving shareholder and general commercial disputes, as well as fraud allegations. Patrick Pennal is also an experienced adviser. New arrivals in 2018, included Gagan Ranu, the former India desk head at Lewis Silkin LLP; as well as corporate and commercial disputes specialist Iain Roxborough and Dharmendra Nair, a disputes lawyer specialising in shipping, commodities and commercial litigation, who joined from Clifford Chance LLP and Squire Patton Boggs, respectively.

Planning Tier 5

The client list for Keystone Law’s planning practice comprises developers, local authorities and high-net-worth individuals, who instruct the team on a range of planning mandates. The team is particularly active in planning disputes, with expertise in promoting planning refusal appeals as well as promoting planning permission appeals in defence of client's interests by way of judicial review. Mixed-use redevelopment schemes and site acquisitions (including green belt property) are strong points for the non-contentious side of the practice, with Ben Garbett offering expertise on all stages of the planning and transactional processes.

Reputation management Tier 5

Keystone Law helps a range of clients from celebrities to large corporates protect their reputation. The firm acts for claimants and defendants alike and has special expertise in matters related to intellectual property violations, as well as brand exploitation and protection. The 'extremely accomplished' department head Jonathan Coad takes on the majority of the workload in this practice area. He receives key support from Sofia Syed, who provides advice to ultra-high-net-worth individuals and handles matters with an employment aspect, such as contentious terminations.

Employment: employers Tier 6

On the employer front, Keystone Law provides advisory, transactional and contentious support for a range of domestic and international clients. The employment team has been significantly boosted in recent months by a raft of new arrivals, including Nick Tsatsas and Angharad Harris, who joined from Fladgate LLP and Watson Farley & Williams LLP respectively, as well as other new additions from firms including Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Baker McKenzie. The individuals who make up the team are drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds, providing a broad experience base, with sectors covered including financial services, retail, hospitality, marketing, sport, education, charity and transport.

Family Tier 6

Zoë Bloom is a key member of the team at Keystone Law. The group was pleased to add Richard Collins  from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP and Caroline Kelly  from Mishcon de Reya LLP to its ranks. It has dedicated children law specialists in addition to financial, property and more general separation lawyers. The team predominantly advises weatlhy individuals often with complex situations both domestically and international.

Insurance and reinsurance litigation Tier 6

Keystone Law's insurance disputes lawyers handle coverage disputes and claims in the aviation, construction, property, personal injury, cyber insurance and professional indemnity sectors. Jane Harte-Lovelace focuses on workplace safety and property damage disputes, while Jason Kallis covers product liability and personal injury claims. James Crabtree, who joined from Cooley (UK) LLP in November 2018, advises on a wide range of issues in the insurance and reinsurance space.

Intellectual property Tier 6

Keystone Law‘s team benefits from ‘a great roster of talent’ and provides ‘responsive, cost-effective advice and robust litigation support and execution‘; the group's expertise spans a range of disputes, non-contentious matters and transactions. Anthony Misquitta is a name to note for SME companies and software, technology, fashion, media and entertainment sector clients, while Jeremy Schrire is highlighted for his commercial IP expertise. The team has been bolstered by the arrival of the ‘outstandingRebecca Halford-Harrison, who focuses on patent litigation for chemical industry clients, and ‘absolutely excellent‘ trade mark specialist Karen Fong; they joined from Kemp Little LLP and Collyer Bristow LLP respectively.

Sport Tier 6

At Keystone Law, equine expert Rachel Flynn has a niche in advising horseracing clients on the full range of contentious and non-contentious matters, including employment issues and acquisitions. Paul Daniels and Nick Tsatsas, who joined the firm in 2018, also have employment expertise, advising clubs and sportspeople on dismissals, discrimination, whistleblowing and contract disputes. In the commercial space the team also advises individuals and private companies on IP, copyright and sponsorship matters.

Venture capital Tier 6

Operating under a business model which utilises sophisticated technologies but which incentivises practitioners to generate a strong workflow since their salary flows directly from it, Keystone Law has a number of well regarded venture capital practitioners who had 'cut their teeth' at several established traditional law firms and thereby have strong traction in the market. Formerly a partner at Marriott Harrison LLPDee Sian has excellent ties with numerous institutional investor clients, including Beringea and Calculus Capital, who she regularly advises on financings throughout the investment continuum.  The 'very knowledgeable and accessibleNadim Zaman has more of an investee focus to his practice.

Practice head(s):

There are no team heads

Other key lawyers:

Nadim Zaman; Dee Sian; Catherine Williams


The firm delivers advice in a personal and effective way.

Nadim Zaman has a unique ability to see and to vocalise my aims and objectives before I am fully aware of them.

Key clients

Open Cosmos

Calculus Capital


Lord Stanley Fink

WFL Media (DesignMyNight)

Shackleton Ventures

Buckland Capital

Hygea VCT Plc


A legal pioneer, Keystone Law was established in 2002 by a group of forward-thinking lawyers who were determined to build a law firm that would serve the needs of its clients more effectively than the conventional alternatives. Now a full-service firm with 250 lawyers and 45 support staff, Keystone has won countless awards and is considered a significant force within the legal sector.

The firm: While predominantly practising corporate and commercial law, Keystone’s private client team also caters to the needs of senior executive and high-net worth individuals. The firm’s offering is delivered across 23 service areas and 14 sectors with clients including: FIFA, Amlin, Bosch, Siemens, RSA, Cancer Research Technology, the V&A, Galderma, HMV, Glencore, Hiscox, Nationwide and Thyssenkrupp.

Representing somewhat of a dichotomy, Keystone invests heavily in technology in order to increase human interaction and enhance business relationships. Keystone only recruits senior partner-level lawyers with an average of 23 years’ experience, obtained at the UK’s best law firms and in-house with major FTSE 250 and Fortune 500 multinationals. Lawyers work collaboratively with colleagues across the firm and with others involved in the transaction, whether they are the client themselves, the client’s external legal advisers or their in-house legal team. Keystone also has a range of expert lawyers who specialise and work full time in particularly niche legal areas and are routinely instructed by other law firms to plug any gaps in expertise or capacity and thus to offer a fuller service to their own clients. These niche areas include tax, construction, share schemes, regulatory and pensions in addition to the wider services offered by the firm. In 2014 Keystone launched operations in Australia as Keypoint Law. Two years later, the firm opened its doors in the offshore jurisdiction of the Isle of Man and in 2017 Keystone Law Northern Ireland (KLNI) was launched in Belfast. Keystone continues to have plans in place for further expansion in the near future.

Types of work undertaken: Keystone Law is a full-service corporate law firm offering a complete range of business legal services and additionally providing private client advice to senior executives. The firm operates across a range of industry sectors and boasts a number of former in-house counsel from leading companies who work closely with the rest of the team to ensure they are fully aware of industry insight and issues. The firm also has a range of expert lawyers who specialise and work full time in niche legal areas and are routinely instructed by other law firms to plug any gaps in expertise or capacity and thus to offer a fuller service to their own clients. These niche areas include tax, construction, share schemes, regulatory and pensions in addition to the wider services offered by the firm.

Other offices: Bristol, Douglas (Isle of Man), London, Belfast (Northern Ireland), St Peter Port (Guernsey), Melbourne and Sydney

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing director James Knight
Operations director William Robins
Number of UK partners : 250