Firm Profile > Simons Muirhead Burton > London, England
Simons Muirhead Burton Offices
87-91 Newman Street
Simons Muirhead Burton > The Legal 500 Rankings
Simons Muirhead Burton has a strong reputation for its work on media cases; the team also has a focus on representing fellow lawyers and other professionals, and has expertise in cases concerning serious and complex sexual offences. The firm is praised for its 'modern attitudes and ways of working', and attracts an international client base. Phil Smith heads up the crime and regulatory team, working alongside Anthony Burton CBE - the duo have decades of experience of the highest-profile cases. Burton is also chair of the Death Penalty Project, an NGO providing free legal representation for prisoners on death row. Senior associate Henrietta Ronson is widely praised by clients, who laud her 'ability to see the human aspect' of cases.
Other key lawyers:
Anthony Burton CBE; Henrietta Ronson
‘This is a team that really cares. The staff are modern in their attitudes and ways of working. You really feel that they know what they’re doing and will fight for you. Could not have wanted better.’
‘I was struck by the collaborative style of the team – playing to people’s strengths, involving me in the process and giving thorough and helpful explanations at every stage.’
‘Henrietta Ronson was both professional and also very friendly in her manner. It put me at ease during a very difficult time.’
‘Anthony Burton is a supreme criminal defence solicitor.’
‘Phil Smith has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law. Clients appreciate the fact that he provides straightforward advice while making it plain that he is always acting in their best interests. He is confident without talking down to clients.’
‘Henrietta Ronson’s communication is outstanding. She remains level-headed, even in the most extreme crisis situations, which inspires absolute trust in her clients.’
‘Henrietta Ronson – during the most dreadful time of my life, she was on hand, at any time. She is super bright, yet approachable. The combination of her legal brain and an ability to see the human aspect in my case inspired a lot of confidence. She brings clarity and empathy to an emotionless arena.’
‘Anthony Burton worked tirelessly on my defence, with incomparable dedication, resulting in a unanimous acquittal at the Old Bailey. Anthony and his team were thorough and totally focused. Their personal and professional expertise, and support for me, shone through from start to finish. I felt, and know, I was in the hands of masters of their profession. I hold SMB in the highest regard.’
Simon Goldberg; Razwana Akram; Richard Baskind; Martin Soames
Other key lawyers:
Stephen Shotnes; James Greenslade; Marc Sobol; Alasdair George; Jonny Petch; Blaise Gaymer
‘Razwana Akram, who heads the media finance team, is a commercially- focused lawyer, able to quickly get to the heart of any issue and provide tailored solutions. She’s pragmatic and responsive, with a strong understanding of the film and TV sector.’
‘The team has genuine experience of the film industry and the practical issues that face film makers.’
‘Commercially-minded, detail-oriented, good humoured and caring people.‘
‘SMB acted very quickly and was enormously flexible as to working hours reflecting different time zones. Their team consisted of well-seasoned lawyers like Simon Goldberg, but also included dynamic associates. A very convincing mixture of great experience and enthusiasm.’
‘I would definitely list Simon Goldberg and Razwana Akram, representing exceptional knowledge in the film industry and film finance.’
42 M & P
FAE Film & Television Limited
Smitten Barks Ltd
Cantiliver Media Ltd
Northern Town – Marina Abramovic Sky Arts project
Glowberry “Brave Bunnies”
Patrice Etienne – Nuwave Pictures Limited
Enlightened Kingdom Limited
It’s A Lot Limited
Sam Roman (professionally known as “Romans”)
Primary Talent International Group
Sony/ATV Music Publishing (UK) Ltd
Good Soldier Songs Limited
Random House Group / Penguin Books
Simon & Schuster
Bureau of Investigative Journalism
The Royal Institute of International Affairs
Simons Muirhead Burton is a market leader in defamation and reputation management matters for publishers and broadcasters. The team has a strong track record acting on behalf of defendants and are go-to advisers for UK and US-based NGOs, journalist bodies and trade unions. Highly regarded media lawyer Louis Charalambous, and Jeffrey Smele, a specialist in criminal law-related media issues, jointly head the practice and successfully represented The Sun in the widely reported libel claim brought by actor Johnny Depp. For contentious issues, head of dispute resolution Razi Mireskandari has over 30 years' experience in media litigation cases, whilst Martin Soames is noted for his litigation and clearance work in publishing disputes, acting for major national and international publishers. Stephen Shotnes is 'fantastic', with all-round expertise including in data protection law.
Louis Charalambous; Jeffrey Smele
Other key lawyers:
Razi Mireskandari; Martin Soames; Stephen Shotnes; Gordon Clough
‘They know the market and have a team of effective litigators. They are pragmatic and will not encourage clients down paths that waste money.’
‘Highly recommend the media disputes team at Simons Muirhead. Consistently do a fantastic job on every matter.’
‘Louis Charalambous is one the most highly regarded media lawyers. Hugely experienced and a fighter for his clients.’
‘Jeff Smele has grown in stature since becoming a partner. Always thoughtful, with good judgement and attention to detail, as well as being a delight to work with – he goes from strength to strength. A future Titan.’
‘Stephen Shotnes – a highly experienced litigator; one of the best (if not the best) tacticians in the game. No spot is too tight for Stephen to be able to find a way (or ways) out of it.’
‘Excellent lawyers who offer swift advice which is uncommonly clear, helpful, and insightful. Have a very strong understanding of journalism and its goals.’
‘Martin Soames and Gordon Clough offer exceptionally clear, constructive and timely advice. What is more, they seem to genuinely enjoy finding a way through challenging media law issues and share journalists’ passion for a good story.’
News Group Newspapers Limited (‘NGN’) (as publisher of The Sun)
Reach plc, formerly MGN Limited (as publisher of the Mirror)
The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism
Penguin Random House
Simon & Schuster
The London Review of Books
Situation Publishing Limited, its UK editor and an employed journalist
Simons Muirhead Burton is well regarded in the human rights space for its expertise in prisoner rights issues, as well as its strength in cross-border litigation. The firm is particularly well known for its work in relation to the death penalty, namely the Death Penalty Project. Parvais Jabbar MBE and Saul Lehrfreund MBE are go-to names in the area and are the 'pre-eminent players in not just death penalty but civil liberties cases that end up at the Privy Council'.
Other key lawyers:
Parvais Jabbar MBE; Saul Lehrfreund MBE; Abdul Varachhia
‘The Death Penalty Project is unparalleled in its commitment to fighting the death penalty across the globe, as well as to improving sentencing regimes and the justice system. Saul Lehfreund and Parvais Jabbar are together responsible for the continued momentum and trend towards the abolition of the death penalty across the globe but most especially in former colonial countries in the Caribbean and Africa. They have contributed more to the protection and progression of human rights and civil liberties than almost any other practising lawyers. They are the pre-eminent players in not just death penalty but civil liberties cases that end up at the Privy Council’.
‘The knowledge of the team is unmatched and they have well developed connections from path breaking work over many years of death penalty litigation, especially those arising from the Caribbean’.
‘Saul Lehrfreund is one half of the iconic duo in death-penalty abolition litigation (Parvais Jabbar being the other half). Saul knows the Caribbean public law space and translates this knowledge well in running appeals at the Privy Council on behalf of individual litigants’.
‘The Death Penalty Project at Simons Muirhead and Burton LLP is a leading force in the abolition of the death penalty world wide’.
‘Abdul Varachhia is a technically gifted and experienced professional with a proven ability to provide honest and pragmatic legal advice and guidance in complex areas of law’.
‘Working with them is a collaborative, respectful and enjoyable process. They go the extra mile for their clients, who are some of the most vulnerable in society. They are extremely knowledgeable, dedicated individuals with huge integrity and class. They also run very effective teams, including by bringing together members of their own firm, counsel, local lawyers and experts together’.
Simon Goldberg; Peter Weiss
Other key lawyers:
Neal Hodges; Natalie Wright
‘Strong deep knowledge in M&A, coupled with acute customer service focus. A powerful mix.’
‘Peter Weiss is incredibly attentive, communicative and responsive. Truly great customer service. Very good all-round commercial knowledge, augmented with strong relationships across the industry to solve problems quickly and in line with customer demands.’
‘Peter Weiss, Natalie Wright and Simon Goldberg are all very capable lawyers – technically astute, energetic ambassadors for their clients and with an excellent bedside manner.’
‘Peter Weiss is able, affable and available.’
‘A partner-led and commercially-minded team with an appetite and aptitude for working with emerging, fast-growth businesses at an earlier stage than their bigger firm peers.’
‘Natalie Wright has a very high EQ, which is vital.’
‘We found Simons Muirhead Burton to be a strong and reliable partner, experienced in all aspects of a company acquisition, ranging from the commercial side, through to product and IP, property, litigation and employment.’
‘They are highly commercial, attentive and thorough with every transaction they complete. The team’s expertise is wide and varied and they work very well across departments, resulting in speedy conclusions.’
Standby Group AB (Part of Argynnis Group AB)
Cube Management Limited
Banijay Group SAS
Dennis Publishing (UK) Limited
Hungry Bear Media Limited
Clarion Events Limited
Atlantic Leaf Properties Limited
Alpha Charlie/Alexa Chung
Private client > Family Tier 3
Simons Muirhead Burton has a focus on the resolution of complex financial disputes arising from separation or divorce, nuptial agreements and private law children matters. Much of the work undertaken by the 'strong' team has an offshore or multi-jurisdictional aspect. Head of department Jane McDonagh has continued to be instructed by several ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Tom Farley-Hills regularly acts for individuals with a public profile. Lara Wulwik is recommended for her work on cases involving complex company and trust structures. Tessa Bray has considerable experience in Anglo-French cases.
Other key lawyers:
Tom Farley-Hills; Lara Wulwik; Tessa Bray; Teena Dhanota-Jones
‘Its thoroughness is breath taking and the team is always one beat ahead. Level headed and pragmatic the lawyers gave me utterly sound advice. But also its human and empathetic side meant that the lawyers felt like partners rather than service suppliers‘.
‘SMB is an under-rated but truly excellent practice. It has quite an inimitable style of being slightly under the radar, compared to some of its more “shouty” competitors which clearly pays dividends. A strong and classy act. Tessa Bray is a stellar performer. She is bright, straight to deal with, and to the point. Tom Farley-Hills is another key individual who gets the job done without fuss. Department head, Jane McDonagh, is superb. She leads by example and has an enviable reputation‘.
‘Tessa Bray – was always highly professional and charming but also so amiable and pleasant. I felt from the get go that she has my very best interests at heart and her advice always reflected that. I felt Jane McDonagh was proactive and responded to all correspondence and enquiries promptly and in detail‘.
‘I have worked several times with Tom Farley-Hills and found him to give excellent advice, which is then executed in a timely manner. He is scrupulous about informing me of the pros and cons of a given situation, he gives careful and cautious advise but is open to challenge‘.
‘Jane McDonagh was exceptional throughout. Very experienced, thoughtful, articulate, sensitive but tough when required. She maintained a firm grasp of detail throughout whilst able to consider the bigger picture‘.
‘Tom Fairley-Hills handled my divorce with exceptional compassion and understanding‘.
‘Personal & understanding whilst being extremely professional. Teena Dhanota-Jones helped greatly with the divorce process on an emotional level she dealt with our divorce without adding stress and negative energy to an already challenging situation’.
‘A growing presence with, rightly, growing recognition as a class act of a team. Tom Farley-Hills – underneath the polite and delightful exterior lurks a master tactician and strategist. Definitely not someone to be underestimated. Tessa Bray – feisty and fun, clients love her, both for her approach and the results she gets‘.
Alex Shurko/Reading Flooring Company Ltd
Riverford Organic Foods
ETM Restaurant and Bars Group
John Scott – Franchise Consultant (Ex-Franchising Director, Debenhams and then TM Lewin Shirtmakers)
Simon Taylor – Franchise Consultant (Ex-Franchise Director, New Look)
‘Quality boutique firm’ Simons Muirhead Burton undertakes work on both complex cross-border investigations as well as prosecutions by UK authorities including the SFO, the FCA and the HMRC. The team combines civil and criminal expertise and adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to assisting clients facing allegations of money laundering, market abuse and corruption, among others. Highly regarded for his ‘exceptional feel for a case’, Philip Smith leads the crime and regulatory department, where senior associate Henrietta Ronson is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘SMB is a quality boutique firm specialising in high-profile work, which is conducted in a very discreet manner. The lawyers there are very experienced and very effective.’
‘Phil Smith is a huge figure in the field. He has an exceptional feel for a case, is terrific at handling clients, and is a pleasure to work with. You get the sense that he thinks, really thinks, about each aspect of the case, from general strategy to critical key decisions.’
‘Henrietta Ronson is an extremely able and clever solicitor.’
‘Phil Smith is responsive and practical, good understanding of the criminal law landscape.’
‘The criminal/fraud/regulatory team at SMB, headed up by Phil Smith is a superb outfit for high-end white-collar crime and fraud. They are a powerhouse.’
‘Phil Smith and Henrietta Ronson in the white-collar team are first-rate. I have known them for over seven years and think that they are absolutely excellent. Phil, as a partner, is down to earth, intelligent, personable and absolutely committed to his clients. Henrietta, an associate, is very hardworking, gets the point very quickly and is well liked by clients.’
At Simons Muirhead Burton, practice head Marc Sobol frequently advises on major sports media deals, leveraging over 20 years of in-house broadcasting experience. Stephen Shotnes offers contentious expertise, advising on regulatory and reputation management issues, while Simon Goldberg fronts the corporate and commercial offering, which covers major transactions, joint ventures, agreements, charitable endeavours and sponsorship matters. The client list includes athletes, agents, clubs and governing bodies from a broad array of sports, including football, rugby, squash and horseracing.
Other key lawyers:
Stephen Shotnes; Simon Goldberg
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
Simons Muirhead Burton has a standout reputation in media litigation, and its dispute resolution practice is able to attract a wide ambit of other contentious commercial work, under the leadership of department head Razi Mireskandari. Other drivers of activity include contractual disputes and contentious shareholder matters, as well as IP and fraudulent misrepresentation cases. Antony Perlmutter is experienced in property-related litigation, and he also handles contentious commercial cases for clients. Consultant Peter Gould has over 35 years of commercial litigation experience. Also highlighted is senior associate Emma Linch, who is 'cool under pressure'.
Other key lawyers:
Peter Gould; Antony Perlmutter; Emma Linch; Gordon Clough
‘Impressively clear minded about the best means to achieve client objectives.‘
‘A perfectly balanced team, with the drive and initiative to secure results against the odds during the toughest of commercial litigation.‘
‘They have a very innovative practice in terms of securing litigation funding for media-industry based litigation. They also have a wealth of experience in that sector, which gives them a real edge in cases that touch on those areas.‘
‘Razi Mireskandari is a real innovator in relation to getting cases off the ground by finding funding.‘
‘Razi Mireskandari has seen it all and come up smiling.‘
‘Antony Perlmutter is a strategist whose experience gives him instant insight from the outset as to the best way to run a case.‘
‘Consultant Peter Gould has great common sense and instinct, and always brings in interesting cases.‘
‘Senior associate Emma Linch is cool under pressure.‘
TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property: trade marks, copyright and design Tier 6
With strong expertise in the sports and media sectors, Simons Muirhead Burton’s IP team advises on licensing and broadcasting agreements for celebrities, record labels and sports associations. Practice head Maninder Gill is also retained by charities, luxury retailers and news publications, while the team has a track record of pursuing trade mark infringement claims in the hospitality sector.
Other key lawyers:
‘Simons Muirhead Burton has helped me significantly in all legal matters including copyright infringements.‘
‘Always easy to understand and they always get back to you – with solid advice!‘
‘Maninder Gill has been a great team lead and has been readily contactable at all points through the process to date. He has provided a great deal of care and attention and most importantly has helped us with strategy as well as execution.‘
‘Attentive team that are always available round the clock. Billing is transparent.‘
‘Overall I would say that they have a unique blend of legal knowledge and commercial understanding which means that their advice is practical and pragmatic.‘
‘I work with Martin Soames and Maninder Gill. Both have a wealth of expertise in the subjects of IP and contracts. Moreover they have an understanding of the practical realities of the publishing industry and this makes this advice not only legally correct but cognizant of the commercial realities of our business.‘
‘We work with Maninder Gill. He is an outstanding individual and an excellent professional. Exceptionally client focused, very accessible, great at finding solutions to client problems.‘
‘The key capabilities of the team are, besides an outstanding knowledge of the IP practice and international developments, accessibility: they react very quick, the same day, and very pleasant to deal with and using clear language.‘
Stanley Kubrick Estate
Fashion brands including Amanda Wakeley, Stradivarius, Zandra Rhodes and Connolly England
Professional Squash Association
News UK (publishers of The Sun and The Times newspapers)
Faber & Faber Book Publishing
Simon & Schuster Book Publishing
North London Collegiate School
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|
|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|