Simons Muirhead Burton > London, England > Firm Profile
Simons Muirhead Burton Offices
87-91 Newman Street
Simons Muirhead Burton > The Legal 500 RankingsSimons Muirhead Burton offers clients particular expertise in media matters and frequently advises household media celebrities, as well as assisting clients on criminal issues such as sexual assault, perverting the course of justice, and harassment, with a wealth of experience advising well-known musicians. Phil Smith heads the team, with skills described as ‘first-rate‘. Anthony Burton CBE, founding partner of the criminal department, is recommended for representing individuals on death row by virtue of his work as chair of the Death Penalty Project NGO, with his case-handling described as ‘exceptional‘. Senior associate Henrietta Ronson is described as a ‘standout individual‘, with ‘unparalleled domain expertise‘ in media-related criminal matters.
Other key lawyers:
Anthony Burton; Henrietta Ronson
‘SMB are passionate about their work and their clients. Their research is intensive. They show the fullest support for and liaison with clients and with case barristers. Quite simply outstanding and faultless.’
‘Anthony Burton CBE is a senior, long-standing partner. His commitment to a client’s interests and well-being is total, and demonstrably awesome. To describe his handling of a matter as exceptional is an inadequate term.’
‘Phil Smith, Henrietta Ronson and their team are a simply brilliant set of crime solicitors – their record is simply brilliant.’
‘The practice employs lawyers of deep experience and domain expertise in order to provide a very high standard of service. Communication throughout the firm is highly responsive and clear, both with regard to technical legal matters, as well as administrative issues.’
‘Henrietta Ronson was the standout individual on the team. My experience working with her is second to none. She exhibits unparalleled domain expertise and always maintains a very high attention to detail, which was decisive at critical points in the work. Her communication was always prompt and she has an uncanny ability to explain complex legal concepts clearly and in laymans terms.’
‘The SMB fraud and crime team is very strong – experienced, responsive, practical and personable. It benefits by having access to other practice areas within the firm – reputation management, employment, family and commercial.’
‘Phil Smith, head of department, is a first-rate criminal practitioner. He is very popular with clients and the barristers he instructs. Henrietta Ronson, is intelligent, hard-working, and cool under fire. She is at ease dealing with all clients and is a highly valued member of the team. I have no doubt that she will be made a partner soon, which she absolutely deserves.’
‘Henrietta Ronson – She was just amazing – fiercely smart and fiercely kind. I couldn’t have got through the case without her diligent preparation and support. Phil Smith – excellent strategist and strong judgement.’
- Advised on the Partygate scandal, giving evidence to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee, and the UK Covid 19 Public Inquiry.
- Obtained an acquittal in a high-profile trial at Isleworth Crown Court for an UHNWI venture capitalist and investor.
- Secured acquittal of leading academic in a high-profile trial attracting much media coverage.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has a deep knowledge of book publishing.’
‘The team is highly competent and have our trust.’
‘They have experience and work hard to stay on top of developments in the media space, having represented journalists and media outlets in many of the leading media law cases over the last 20 years.’
‘Louis Charalambous has a unique practice defending journalists and media organisations in criminal related media cases – clients value his calm and sensible representation of their interests.’
‘Raz Mireskandari is a knowledgeable and highly experienced media lawyer.’
‘Jeffrey Smele has a strong legal intellect and great experience representing tabloid newspapers.’
‘The team are responsive, exceptionally clear in their guidance, and provide the level of reassurance that news teams need in a fast-paced environment.’
‘Gordon Clough has been a rock-solid source of advice and guidance for our editorial team. He is responsive and stands out from the crowd in providing advice that is laser-focused on helping us to publish stories while minimising risk.’
Random House Group / Penguin Books
News Group Newspapers
Simon & Schuster
London Review of Books
Faber & Faber
Royal Institute of International Affairs
- Defending Atlantic Books’ publication of ‘Black and Blue’, an exposé of the Met by senior police officer Parm Sandhu.
- Acting for The Sun in the ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial: Vardy v Rooney.
- Advising Penguin Random House on content issues, including the publication of ‘Spare’ by Prince Harry.
Other key lawyers:
‘A wealth of experience combined with an unparalleled legal and practical knowledge of all pertinent aspects within this field.’
‘Led by the redoubtable Razi Mireskandari, the team gels remarkably effectively to cover all aspects of reputational litigation and advice. The team provides an unrivalled service to clients in this field.’
‘Razi Mireskandari is a genuine leader in this field – hugely knowledgable and tactically astute, experienced – he has few rivals. Sensible, charming and experienced, his oversight is invaluable. He just knows what to do.’
‘Dina Shiloh provides invaluable insight with her background in journalism and knowledge across all media platforms. An assured and able lawyer, her contribution to the team to the benefit of the client is considerable.’
‘All of the people we work with are sensitive to our place in the industry and understand our concerns.’
‘We find them excellent to work with.’
‘Unrivaled experience and media advice and media litigation practice for defendants and for complainants. Strength in depth.’
News Group Newspapers Limited (‘NGN’), publisher of The Sun
MGN (publisher of the Mirror)
New York Times/Serial Productions
Penguin Random House
Simon & Schuster
The London Review of Books
Royal Institute of International Affairs
Parvais Jabbar MBE; Saul Lehrfreund MBE
Other key lawyers:
Abdul Varachhia; Peter Weiss
‘Saul Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar are peerless in their field of criminal appeals, particularly death row cases, raising important issues of constitutional law and international human rights law.’
‘I work with the team in the Death Penalty Project on research, engagement and policy in countries around the world that retain the death penalty. This is a unique institution that represents clients on death row in many primary Commonwealth countries and uses strategic litigation for change that affects not only their individual clients but sometimes all those on death row and even those not yet facing capital punishment. No other UK organisation does this work.’
‘Parvais Jabbar and Saul Lehrfreund, and their excellent team, are dedicated to using the law and research to effect considerable change around the world.’
‘Saul Lehrfreund has unparalleled knowledge and experience of challenging the death penalty globally – both legally and politically. He works incredibly hard and is committed to upholding the rule of law in this exceptionally demanding area. He has been involved in most, if not all, major legal challenges to the mandatory death penalty in the Privy Council.’
‘Saul Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar are two utterly brilliant and caring lawyers who have given their life to this enormous work.’
‘Excellent team able to handle appeals to the Privy Council, where their cases are often at the cutting edge of the law.’
‘The Death Penalty Project that the firm hosts is unique in the world.’
‘Saul Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar are exceptional lawyers with total dedication to saving clients from execution and promoting the abolition of the death penalty – leading figures worldwide on this issue.’
Simon Goldberg; Razwana Akram
‘There is a collegiate attitude within the team, who are always prepared to go that extra mile for client satisfaction.’
‘Tamara Ludlow and Simon Goldberg are always available and on-hand to offer advice.’
Radial Productions Ltd.
Make Waves Productions
Loft Films Ltd
Norman Cook pka Fatboy Slim and Southern Fried Records
- Advised producer Dan Hine on the production and financing of the feature film “And Mrs”.
- Advising Radial Productions on film financing and cast and crew agreements for the upcoming film, “Skylines 4 Radial” – the fourth film in the long-standing Skyline franchise.
- Ongoing advice to Independent Talent Group on a wide range of their projects, as well as 42 M&P LTD on their feature films in development and production.
Other key lawyers:
Alasdair George; Zack Gold; Anthony Orum; Fiona McGugan
‘We use the firm as a professional advisor as well as a law firm. The vast industry experience make them extremely knowledgeable about the industry.’
‘Alasdair George is an extremely valuable asset to our company due to his industry knowledge and availability.’
‘I have known and worked with Richard Baskind and Alasdair George for over 20 years.’
NQ Music Publishing
42 M&P LTD
Primary Talent International Limited
- Advised NQ Group on their joint venture with Sony Music Publishing.
- Advised 42 M&P Ltd on their investment into Manifest Music Limited.
- Advised Grammy-winning and Emmy- and BAFTA-nominated composer Lorne Balfe (Metrophonics Limited) on the negotiation of multiple composer agreements with both major Hollywood and independent film studios.
Private client > Family Tier 3At Simons Muirhead Burton, Jane McDonagh leads the family law department, which regularly acts for high-net-worth individuals who are often successful entrepreneurs or individuals in the media and entertainment industries. In addition, McDonagh has strong links with Middle Eastern countries, as well as Pakistan, Ukraine, and Switzerland. Tom Farley-Hills is experienced in high-value, complex financial issues arising from divorce and separation, which often involve overseas and offshore elements. Tessa Bray has a wealth of experience in drafting pre and post-nuptial agreements.
‘Tom Farley-Hills has excellent judgment and runs a fantastic team.’
‘Jane McDonagh is bright, great on the law, highly personable and diligent. She is extremely dedicated to her clients’.
‘Tessa Bray is brilliant. Her approach is always refreshing. She is straightforward, collaborative and extremely hard working. She is also very human and always open to seeing things from a different perspective.’
‘SMB is a truly excellent firm. They are an excellent team with top-notch work.’
‘Tessa Bray is tough yet bright and fair. A truly stellar lawyer.’
‘Jane McDonagh leads the team with aplomb, and is an engaging and delightful person to deal with.’
Tom Farley-Hills is excellent; bright and calm in equal measure.’
‘The team is importantly human, personable, available and responsive. Great ability to listen, empathise, and come up with possible ideas.’
‘Exceptional level of engagement and commitment to client needs.’
‘Maninder Gill is very experienced in preparing and executing international franchise agreements. His knowledge of franchising best practices is invaluable when it comes to negotiating deals with tough, international franchisees.’
Riverford Organic Foods
ETM Restaurant and Bars Group
Mamas & Papas
North London Collegiate School
- Advised Riverford Organic Farmers on the purchase of franchises from franchisees, the renewal of franchises and release agreements on termination of franchises, compliance with data protection legislation, and compliance with the British Franchising Institute’s code of conduct.
- Advised ETM on the franchise of a new bar and restaurant concept at a major UK airport.
Natalie Wright; Peter Weiss
‘Casual collaborative approach. You have access to the various skills within the company.’
‘Casual approach, understanding the key points and not making a big issue on non-commercial stuff.’
‘Their team comprises highly skilled professionals with extensive expertise in their respective fields. Collaboration is at the heart of their practice.’
‘When comparing SM&B to other firms, they stand out, with a strong commitment to collaboration, innovative technology, client-centric approach, diversity, and customised solutions tailored to us and the various projects we have.’
‘Neal Hodges possesses extensive knowledge and expertise in corporate law and related areas. He has a deep understanding of the complexities of business transactions, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, securities regulations, and other relevant fields.’
‘Neal is adept at identifying key issues, analysing risks, and devising innovative solutions to complex problems.’
‘The M&A corporate team at SMB provide sensible, commercial advice to their clients to ensure that the deal moves forward in their clients best interests.’
‘Natalie Wright and Neal Hodges are star quality corporate lawyers, especially when it comes to M&A. They are my go-to legal team every time.’
42 M&P Limited and its shareholders
Banijay Kids & Family
Inviqa Group and its shareholders
The shareholders of Askonas Holt Limited
Business Marketing International Limited and its shareholders
Partners in ABG LLP (now Gravitas)
Shareholders in Equinoxe Limited
- Represented BaniJay on its acquisition of Man Tor productions.
- Acted on the sale of the entire share capital of Invite, an independent digital experience agencies, to Havas Group Limited.
- Advised 42 M&P (42) and its shareholders on a sale of shares to Lionsgate, with future put and call options and related rights.
‘Attention to detail, no matter how small.’
‘Great leadership and strength in depth.’
‘Since Phil Smith joined to head up the team it has gone from strength to strength.’
‘Properly innovative in its thinking, old-fashioned in its core values.’
‘Phil Smith is a force of nature – vastly experienced and able he gives no quarter in pursuit of his client’s needs. His instincts are spot on and he just knows what to do in every situation and in his dealings with all parties. Henrietta Ronson leaves no stone unturned in her conduct on every case. Resourceful, resilient and able she is not to be messed with and provides remarkable support to counsel and the lay client alike. She is a future star.’
‘Phil Smith is a man who controls the whole process. Give a case to Phil and a good night’s sleep is assured.’
‘Excellent criminal team that have a long-established history acting for high profile individuals.’
‘Anthony Burton and Phil Smith are both hugely experienced. Safe pair of hands.’
Other key lawyers:
‘The team’s work is very reliable – seamless communication and very good analytical skills.’
‘Antony Perlmutter is head and shoulders above most of his peers.’
‘Antony Perlmutter’s acute tactical skills are matched by a superb knowledge and experience of litigation, which he uses to his clients’ best advantage without ever losing sight of the fact that it is their interests that are paramount.’
‘David Phillips is able to understand the issues quickly – friendly attitude, while still being able to approach matters factually.‘
‘David Phillips is able to grasp the key points of a case.‘
‘The greatest asset this team have is its ability to work as a team.’
‘Its ethos is client care, which is added to an excellent awareness of litigation risks and opportunities.’
Maxima Creditor Resolutions
- Acting for an estate agency business in a £12m-plus claim concerning breach of directors’ duties.
- Acting for a HNW individual in a £10m claim against former solicitors.
- Acting for a group of film companies in a claim concerning distribution rights.
- Negotiating and advising Cage Warriors upon due diligence, shareholder agreements and all related matters on a prospective significant investment.
- Advising the global squash federation on an investment and strategic partnership with TWG Global.
- Ongoing advice relating to the pay-TV and free-to-air sports broadcasting deals on European Professional Club Rugby.
TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property: trade marks, copyright and design Tier 6Simons Muirhead Burton is noted for its experience in the media, entertainment and retail sectors, and counts private individuals and companies in the broadcasting and fashion arenas among its key roster of clients. Department head Maninder Gill handles global branding and enforcement strategies, as well as disputes, for luxury retail, fashion and jewellery brands.
‘Through SMB’s wisdom and guidance, knowing its own local jurisdiction, we pursued a course of action that resulted in an amicable resolution.’
‘Maninder Gill is well versed and knowledgeable about litigation, privacy and libel laws.’
‘The team has an excellent client service. Always reliable and actionable advice.’
‘Maninder Gill is an excellent professional. Extremely responsive, client oriented and provides actionable legal advice.’
‘SMB’s IP team is very experienced and has a nice personal touch. Trade mark applications are lodged and followed up on time and any issues are promptly resolved.’
‘We have been supported by Maninder Gill. He and his team have provided excellent support. The quality of services is second to none.’
Simon & Schuster Book Publishers
- Acted for various publishers of The Sun, The Sunday Times, The Daily Express and ITN in respect of copyright claims brought by Paul Burns concerning the unauthorised use of an official photograph taken by Burns of Saudi billionaire Dr Mahfouz bin Mahfouz being presented with a CBE by the Prince of Wales (as he then was).
- Acting for celebrity duo clients after two television personalities and authors published unauthorised images of our celebrity duo clients on its website along with wording which created the impression that our clients had endorsed the Defendants’ products, amounting to a claim under the tort of passing off.
- Advising Simon & Schuster in relation to variety of matters, including: copying extracts from books which are no longer protected under copyright, passing off in relation to books by competitors, passing off and trade mark issues in relation to potential titles of new books, drafting promotions and competitions Terms and Conditions and publishing spin offs relating to characters in a successful television series.
Simons Muirhead Burton > Firm Profile
Simons Muirhead & Burton was established in 1972. It is a very highly rated, commercially astute, medium-sized firm with a strong reputation in a diverse range of core areas.
The firm: The firm’s foundations in media, crime and human rights have expanded significantly and it now provides a competitive service for a broad range of corporate and individual clients.
Consistent with the firm’s reputation as a progressive law practice utilising specialists to deliver innovative and practical advice, it provides an accessible, responsive and efficient service through its mixture of home-grown lawyers and ex-City practitioners, many of whom have international expertise. The established areas of work continue to develop, along with the firm’s ever-increasing reputation for its general commercial practice, including media and commercial litigation, corporate work, employment work, family and commercial property. Razi Mireskandari was appointed managing partner in 2010.
The firm was the first UK practice to establish a dedicated pro bono human rights team, which operates the award-winning Death Penalty Project. It is internationally recognised for its continuing commitment to human rights work through its provision of free legal representation and support for those who face the death penalty outside the USA.
Types of work undertaken
Media and commercial dispute resolution: commercial media litigation with an emphasis on press, media and entertainment issues, including defamation, privacy, publishing, contempt, confidentiality, data rights, IP and music-related royalty disputes. The team is familiar with litigation funding, insurance and ADR, particularly mediation.
Film and TV: the team deals with film and TV production and financing, including a range of film finance schemes. It acts principally for independent producers, film financiers, distributors and broadcasters.
Music: the team represents rights holders, and talent and music industry executives, and advises on live events, IT, branding and the fashion industries.
Publishing: the team works for traditional and digital media, including national newspapers, top magazine publishers, and leading London and New York book publishers.
Corporate and commercial: the team advises start-ups, sole traders, listed companies and major international corporations on all their corporate needs, including flotations, M&A, complex investment, shareholder agreements, joint ventures, e-commerce and digital media, franchising partnerships, private equity, venture capital and acquisition finance, restructuring and insolvency.
Broadcasting and sports media: the team acts for major UK and overseas broadcasters and television platforms, and advises sports federations and licensees upon the sale and acquisition of sports media rights.
Employment: the team advises on the full range of corporate contentious and non-contentious employment law issues, including senior level and severance, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, trade union and High Court instructions. There are specialists within the team in the area of discrimination law, TUPE and team transfers.
Crime and business crime: all aspects of proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court, Crown Court and all appellate jurisdictions, including the Serious Fraud Office, HMRC, DTI and CPS in addition to insider dealing, money laundering, OFT and EU cartel enquiries, and regulatory work.
Property and construction: conveyancing (commercial, domestic and large-scale residential developments), investment leasing, development (including industrial, leisure and retail), construction, hotel and restaurant transactions, and offshore company incorporations.
Family and children: handles divorce and separation and the related issues of children, finances and property, emergency applications and ADR, also advising on cohabitation and pre-nuptial agreements.
Technology and information: the team advises a wide range of technology companies, investors and acquirers on a range of commercial, data protection, IP and regulatory issues. The firm’s clients include FinTech, Retailtech and Blockchain companies, which it has helped to close deals across Europe, the USA and the Middle East.
Privy Council: the firm’s expertise and extensive Caribbean contacts in criminal and constitutional appeals to the judicial committee of the Privy Council have formed the basis of a very active commercial and civil Privy Council practice.
|Managing partner||Razi Mireskandari|
|Razwana Akram||Partner – specialist in Finance and media, particularly film, TV and IP,…||View Profile|
|Richard Baskind||Partner and head of Music. Specialising in all aspects of music and…||View Profile|
|Tessa Bray||Tessa joined Simons Muirhead & Burton as a Senior Associate in September…||View Profile|
|Anthony Burton CBE||Anthony Burton CBE is a partner and co-head of the Crime and…||View Profile|
|Louis Charalambous||Partner and Head of Media Litigation. Recent major libel and privacy actions…||View Profile|
|Gordon Clough||Senior Associate||View Profile|
|James WR Davies||Partner. With more than 25 years’ experience James specialises in all aspects…||View Profile|
|Teena Dhanota-Jones||Consultant||View Profile|
|Andrew Farrugia||Senior Associate in the Dispute Resolution team. Andrew advises clients on commercial…||View Profile|
|Alex Fenegan||Partner and Joint head of Real Estate||View Profile|
|Blaise Gaymer||Senior Associate in the Media and Corporate and Commercial departments at Simons…||View Profile|
|Alasdair George||Partner||View Profile|
|Maninder Gill||Maninder Gill is the head of the firm’s Intellectual Property and Retail,…||View Profile|
|Simon Goldberg||Partner and head of the commercial media practice, combining traditional film and…||View Profile|
|James Greenslade||Senior Associate. Advising on all production, finance and distribution arrangements within the…||View Profile|
|Simon Halberstam||Partner||View Profile|
|Asraa Hassaan Noor||Senior Associate||View Profile|
|Neal Hodges||Partner||View Profile|
|Makbool Javaid||Head of employment, team of 15 fee earners. Acts on behalf of…||View Profile|
|Ewan Keen||Partner||View Profile|
|Saul Lehrfreund MBE||Co-Executive Director||View Profile|
|Mark Levine||Partner and Joint head of Real Estate||View Profile|
|Tamara Ludlow||Partner. Employment law and related HR issues, primarily acting for employers; specialist…||View Profile|
|Raoul Lumb||Senior Associate||View Profile|
|David Martin||Partner||View Profile|
|Jane McDonagh||Head of family law. Jane McDonagh has twenty five years’ experience in…||View Profile|
|Hazel McNaught||Senior Associate Solicitor.||View Profile|
|Razi Mireskandari||Managing partner, head of civil litigation.||View Profile|
|Jonny Petch||Senior Associate||View Profile|
|Stephen Shotnes||Stephen is a leading practitioner in media and commercial litigation, and in…||View Profile|
|Jeffrey Smele||Senior Associate||View Profile|
|Martin Smith||Specialising in all aspects of landlord and tenant ,commercial and residential property…||View Profile|
|Phil Smith||Partner with over 25 years’ experience in high stakes criminal cases, often…||View Profile|
|Martin Soames||Partner||View Profile|
|Marc Sobol||Marc’s broadcasting and content distribution work encompasses media rights holders and distribution…||View Profile|
|Abdul Varachhia||Consultant Senior Lawyer focusing solely on Charity and Not for Profit Organisations.…||View Profile|
|Peter Weiss||Partner and head of the corporate and commercial department. Advises start-ups, lenders…||View Profile|
|Natalie Wright||Partner specialising in M&A, corporate finance and restructurings, joint ventures, shareholder arrangements,…||View Profile|
|Lara WulWik||Lara is a highly experienced family lawyer and mediator. She joined Simons…||View Profile|
|Nigel Zaoskoufis||Senior Associate||View Profile|
Staff FiguresNumber of UK partners : 25 Number of other UK fee-earners : 55
- Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: general
- TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Media: Theatre, publishing and other media
- TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Reputation management
Top Tier Firm Rankings
- Public sector > Civil liberties and human rights
- TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Media: Film & TV
- TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Media: Music
- Corporate and commercial > M&A: Smaller Deals, £10m-£100m
- Crime, fraud and licensing > Fraud: white-collar crime (advice to individuals)