Firm Profile > Simons Muirhead & Burton > London, England
Simons Muirhead & Burton Offices
87-91 Newman Street
Simons Muirhead & Burton > The Legal 500 Rankings
Crime: general Tier 1
Led by the 'exceptional' Philip Smith, the general crime team at Simons Muirhead & Burton attracts a substantive number of the UK's most high-profile cases. Supported by Anthony Burton CBE, the team is known for representing clients facing the most serious of allegations including rape, murder, possession with intent to supply and racially aggravated public order offences. Notably, the firm has niche expertise in mounting defences for vulnerable adults. The 'unshakeable' senior associate Henrietta Ronson is highly recommended for allegations of sexual assault.
Other key lawyers:
‘Exceeded all my expectations’
‘Forensic, detailed and thorough. No stone was left unturned. I felt, at every stage, that I could not have been in better hands‘.
‘Led by the ever-wise Anthony Burton and the exceptional Phil Smith, the crime team at SM&B provide a complete and unrivalled service to corporate and individual clients under investigation.The team is always knowledgeable, committed, organised and efficient.’
‘SMB are an outstanding firm. Anthony Burton CBE demonstrated extraordinary passion and expertise in fighting my case at the Old Bailey; and in lifting my occasional despair at an absurd, unfounded prosecution. Even if he and his team had not secured a unanimous not guilty verdict I would not fault them.’
‘Phil Smith’s reputation cannot be overstated – he is a force of nature. His experience in all areas of criminal law is second to none and he grasps the issues in any case quickly and reassuringly maps out the best way of dealing with crisis management. He commands respect in all criminal spheres and leads the team with a pragmatism, inventiveness and vibrancy that few can match and none can surpass’
Anthony Burton is a doyen of the criminal defence fraternity, having been a founding partner of the firm.
Henrietta Ronson is thoughtful and persuasive with a track record that is as impressive as it is lengthy. Hard-working and with a quick grasp of detail she is unshakeable as she represents a wide variety of clients with incisive determination. She is clearly a unique talent’
LR and GS
Commercial West End law firm Simons Muirhead & Burton has a strong reputation for its media and entertainment sector expertise and has the ability to assist a full range of clients including leading corporates, talent and start-ups. The group attracts praise for its 'swift, practical and commercial' advice, particularly in the publishing space, where Martin Soames is well-regarded for commercial and contentious matters. In the film and TV sector, Simon Goldberg and Razwana Akram are particularly strong for transactional work including development, production, finance and distribution matters, while clients also benefit from a disputes practice led by Stephen Shotnes. The team also has experience assisting music industry clients including artists, songwriters and producers as well as labels, publishers, agents and investors, for which Richard Baskind, Alasdair George and recently promoted partner Jonny Petch are key contacts. Senior associate Blaise Gaymer also attracts praise.
‘We use SMB for editorial advice and assessing any publication risk. We have always found them to be very swift, practical and commercial in their advice. Having worked with the team for a long time, we feel that they know and understand our business and our audience, which allows them to offer helpful advice, appropriate to our publications.‘
‘Martin Soames offers swift, knowledgeable and commercial advice, with a good understanding of our business and our industry.’
Motion Picture Corporation of America (MPCA)
Mark Lewis & Martin Toher/B-Unique Records (UK) Limited
Random House Group
Outside the Wire Ltd
Great Point Media
Early Day Films
Simon & Schuster
Pure Grass Films/Unstoppable Film & TV
Banijay Group SAS
John Callum Stewart
The LADbible Group Ltd
The London Review of Books (Andrew O’Hagan)
Pride ITTQ Films Limited/Lions Den Films
Immediate Media Limited
Dr Pluto Films Limited
Edge Investments Limited
Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Refinery29 Limited & Refinery29 Inc
The Liz Earle Group
Reputation management Tier 1Simons Muirhead & Burton excels in defamation and reputation management legal matters, offering advice to print and online media players, publishers and broadcasters. The media content and disputes department, which garners praise for its solid track record acting on behalf of defendants, is also a top choice for UK and US-based NGOs, journalist bodies and trade unions. Indicative of the firm's strength in handling highly sensitive matters which often shape the legal framework governing UK defamation and privacy law, practice head Louis Charalambous is acting as lead adviser for The Sun in a major libel claim initiated by Hollywood actor Johnny Depp. Charalambous also demonstrates extensive experience advising broadcasters and newspapers on emergency injunction applications. Litigation head Razi Mireskandari is a seasoned practitioner in all contentious matters concerning the media. Jeffrey Smele stands out in criminal law-related media aspects, but is also regularly retained to assist in privacy, data protection and confidentiality issues. Martin Soames is a practitioner to note for the extensive pre-publication clearance work the team undertakes.
‘I’m impressed by the way this practice works consistently as a cohesive team with relevant information shared across all the specialists involved. The attention to detail and client care is exceptional. The office itself is friendly and welcoming, a big plus.’
‘Raz Mireskandari is exceptionally insightful and realistically frank so that no false expectations are raised, but every possibility examined carefully. He’s kind and good-humoured, at the same time razor-sharp and forthright.’
‘Team spirit is the strongest aspect of Simons Muirhead & Burton – this has appealed to and worked for me through all the years I’ve had dealings with them. A happy environment and knowledgeable accessible staff at all levels.’
News Group Newspapers Limited (‘NGN’), as publisher of The Sun
The Random House Group Limited
Daniel Miller; Nina Power
Situation Publishing Limited, its UK editor and an employed journalist
Trinity Mirror North West & North Wales Limited
News Group Newspapers Limited (NGN)
Times Newspapers Ltd, Sky, BBC, ITN
Simons Muirhead & Burton has an excellent reputation and is distinguished for its practice in international human rights work, which includes the Death Penalty Project, a legal charity founded by preeminent practitioners Saul Lehrfreund MBE and Parvais Jabbar MBE. The team has vast experience in prisoner rights issues and undertaking lengthy cross-border litigation matters for clients. Anthony Burton CBE is also a key member of the group, noted for his expertise in domestic and international criminal law.
‘This legendary firm deserves its reputation for handling cutting edge cases nationally and internationally.’
‘Saul Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar are outstanding. Committed and knowledgeable they deliver an exceptional legal product.’
‘The firm has a profound and inspiring commitment to Human Rights, with an international focus on the rights of prisoners sentenced to death.’
‘Parvais Jabbar and Saul Lehrfreund need to be specially mentioned. They have unrivalled connections in the Caribbean, the Far East, and English Speaking Africa. They are supported by Anthony Burton, Razi Mireskandari (himself an outstanding media lawyer) and Simon Goldberg.’
‘I have worked with the team specifically in the Death Penalty Project within Simons Muirhead and Burton – led by Saul Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar. The team is truly outstanding – their work on the death penalty has saved, and continues to save, countless lives and is an outstanding example of effective human rights work.’
‘Saul Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar are truly outstanding – dedicated and knowledgeable.‘
Simons Muirhead & Burton has established itself as a seasoned operator within the UK media and publishing industries. The team assists clients in these sectors with the full range of M&A work and other more specialised areas such as seed funding, growth capital fundraising and angel investments. The practice has also seen an uptick in cross-border work involving jurisdictions including the US, France, South Africa and Spain. Joint practice head Simon Goldberg is particularly well known for his leading media industry experience, with a client list featuring television production companies, rights owners, publishers, content producers and broadcasters. Working alongside him, Peter Weiss is an expert on inbound investments involving English/US law and tax.
‘They provide a first class service and assure attention to detail on the finer points of M&A transactions.’
‘Peter Weiss – the partner and visionary behind a first-class team of associates and juniors. Without his inspiration, we would not have been as well looked after.’
Atlantic Leaf Properties Limited
Banijay Group SAS
Owner-Managers of Pure FX
Shareholders of Gate One Limited
Hungry Bear Media Limited
Dennis Publishing (UK) Limited
Shareholders of Grand Visual Holdings Limited
Family Tier 3
Simons Muirhead & Burton continues to add to its team; at a senior level, Tom Farley-Hills, who has a strong track record of handling complex family cases relating to both children and finance, joined the firm from Harbottle & Lewis LLP and is a 'good addition to the team'. Under the direction of Jane McDonagh, the group continues to act for foreign nationals in cases with an international dimension or where there are assets overseas. The team has niche expertise in Sharia, Iranian and Egyptian law (all of which McDonagh is well versed in) and in Jewish divorces (where both Lara Wulwik and Teena Dhanota-Jones have strong expertise).
‘My impression of the Simons Muirhead & Burton family practice is that it has a modern and progressive perspective, coupled with an effective and yet still compassionate approach. I view the team as definitely on the up’
‘Jane McDonagh is the consummate legal professional. She is completely calm and considered in what can often be a highly charged emotional situation. She is always clear in her advice, and supportive when hard decisions need to be made. She is understanding, not only of the intricacies of the law, but also of the personal difficulties her clients face‘
‘Jane McDonagh was quickly able to get a clear overview of our situation and throughout she gave calm and consistent advice. She was always keen to hear our view and how we wished to proceed but we were guided throughout by her professional opinion. I always felt reassured having spoken to her‘
‘Tom Farley-Hills brings strength and experience to an already well-rounded team. Teena Dhanota-Jones is very experienced in her profession. She has great communication skills‘
‘The lawyers are always ahead of the game when it comes to the opposing party, which has been such a key strength. A very reliable firm, prompt with their responses and with the work. The lawyers are very, very thorough. I found Tessa Bray to be exceptional in the work that she carried out‘
‘I have only great thoughts and words for Rhiannon Guibert and Jane McDonagh. They completely understood how difficult my situation was and tried their best to achieve the desired outcome‘
‘Lara Wulwik was a pleasure to work with. She was able to provide detailed advice and handle matters on my behalf in a professional manner. She always acted with my best interests in mind, and worked closely with me to ensure my expectations were met‘
Franchising Tier 4
Simons Muirhead & Burton regularly advises household companies in the retail sector on national and international franchise networks, aided by practice head Maninder Gill's 'broad experience and knowledge in the retail sector'. Gill is also well-versed in franchise network issues, international franchising agreements and franchising disputes. As well as it's luxury retailer capabilities, the team also has a track record in advising publishers and schools on franchising-related matters.
‘I work mainly with Maninder Gill. He is very knowledgeable, very flexible and great at managing the cost.’
‘Having worked successfully and happily with Simons Muirehead & Burton for a number of years without any undue concerns, they have always delivered and I would have no problem in recommending them.’
‘I have known and worked with Maninder Gill for many years. What has made him different for me is his availability, his immediate grasp of a problem and the quality of the people he has on his team. In addition to this, having worked as leading in house lawyer for a high profile major retailer, his broad experience and knowledge in the retail sector has been invaluable.’
The Big Issue
North London Collegiate School
Simons Muirhead & Burton is experienced in acting for individuals in criminal, regulatory and disciplinary matters. It continues to see an increase in instructions for pre-investigation work, sanctions violations and money laundering issues. The firm handles internal and external investigations such as those brought by the SFO. Philip Smith, who heads the team, handles corruption cases and related public enquiries. Anthony Burton has more than 40 years’ experience in criminal and fraud cases, some with an international dimension.
Sport Tier 4
Sports media rights and regulatory disputes are the key pillars of Simons Muirhead & Burton’s sports practice. Practice head Marc Sobol saw an increase in sports rights work in 2019, adding new clients such as ITV, 4Global Consulting Limited and Women’s Sports Group to his current roster. His work typically involves the purchase and sale of media rights surrounding sporting events. Regulatory disputes are handled by Stephen Shotnes, who recently advised Watford FC on its complaint to the Premier League regarding the alleged ‘tapping up’ of former manager Marco Silva by Everton FC.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has a breadth of experience across a number of fields of litigation, including employment law, meaning they are an up-and-coming force in sports law.’
‘Stephen Shotnes has excellent judgement, fights his client’s corner fiercely and is well respected. ‘
‘Marc Sobol is approachable and extremely knowledgeable. His work is thorough and pragmatic.’
International Hockey Federation
4Global Consulting Limited
The Women’s Sports Group
Zone Golf Limited
Fighters Choice Management
European Professional Club Rugby
Watford Association Football Club
London Irish Rugby Football Club
Total Performance Data Limited
Professional Squash Association
Go-to media litigation practice Simons Muirhead & Burton hired commercial and property litigator Antony Perlmutter in 2019 from Hamlins LLP as partner, which expanded the firm's commercial and corporate contentious offering. Managing partner Razi Mireskandari heads the dispute resolution group, which also fields experienced partners Maninder Gill, Stephen Shotnes and Jeffrey Smele, along with consultants Peter Gould and Dina Shiloh.
Other key lawyers:
The unique attributes of Simmons, Muirhead and Burton are their availability and willingness to assist on the full range of commercial issues. Their advice is clear, concise and commercially focussed. They look for the best solutions not always via legal actions.
I have worked with Maninder Gill for 12 years and he assists in so many ways, not just in his specialisms, but across the range and introducing others as required. He is knowledgeable, direct and commercially astute.
I have worked with Antony Perlmutter for nearly eight years. He is one of the most tenacious litigators I know. He seems to never sleep and is always available to clients. He is exceptionally approachable. Most of the clients that we have in common eventually view AP as more of a friend than a solicitor. He always goes the extra mile to get the client the win.
The firm has a lively collaborative ethos and has been strengthened by a number of lateral hires in recent years which have helped it to reach out beyond its traditional media-related commercial disputes into property-based litigation and financial services disputes.
Razi Mireskandari is always focused on the practicalities of the dispute. He never loses sight of the long-term objective. Anthony Perlmutter is a litigator through and through. Loves to fight his client’s corner and clients love him for it. David Phillips gets through enormous amounts of work on cases and spots opportunities that others might miss. Dina Shiloh is a recent hire who has brought with her a real range of experience and clients, including from the finance sector.
It feels like a single effective practice rather than a series of specialist groups.
Antony Perlmutter is a perceptive, responsive and able litigator. His interpersonal skills are first rate. I appreciate his straight talking and decisive advice. I had every confidence that he would do a thorough job, and he did.
A very responsive and experienced firm whose people that give practical and helpful advice at a reasonable cost.
Parish Council of Chalfont St Peter
Discovery Yachts Group Limited
Coc Coc Pte
Simons Muirhead & Burton’s IP practice is highly active in the copyright-rich sectors of sports, media and entertainment; as such, the team regularly handles copyright infringement proceedings and licensing deals, often in a cross-border context. Practice head Maninder Gill is also retained by high street fashion and third sector clients for trade mark enforcement and oppositions.
‘The team is welcoming and approachable, making it easy to ask questions – even though everybody is busy, they always have time for you.‘
‘Maninder Gill is probably one of the best IP experts around, with great commercial and legal experience within private practice and big businesses.‘
AlphaCharlie (trading as ALEXA CHUNG)
Lisa Eldridge (and the Lisa Eldridge group of companies)
Mr Black Spirits Pty
Immediate Media Limited
Crossroads Concert LLC
Professional Squash Association
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 Fengan||Partner and Joint head of Real Estate||View Profile|
|Bronwen Fitzpatrick||Consultant||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|
|Erica Henshilwood||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|
|Nicholas Lom||Consultant Solicitor||View Profile|
|Tamara Ludlow||Partner. Employment law and related HR issues, primarily acting for employers; specialist…||View Profile|
|Raoul Lumb||Senior Associate||View Profile|
|Wasif Mahmood||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|
|David Phillips||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|