The Legal 500

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Living Wage
87-91 NEWMAN STREET, LONDON, W1T 3EY, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 020 3206 2700
Fax:
Fax 020 3206 2800
DX:
87-91 Newman Street W1T 3EY
Email:
Web:
www.smab.co.uk

London: Corporate and commercial

Commercial contracts
Commercial contracts - ranked: tier 6

Simons Muirhead & Burton

Simons Muirhead & Burton's commercial contracts team is particularly highly regarded for its work in the retail, franchising, media and entertainment, IT/technology and publishing sectors. A significant proportion of the mandates handled by the group, which is led by Simon Goldberg, have an international angle. Maninder Gill, who 'thinks outside the box on all matters', advises on international franchising issues for fashion brands, restaurants and publishers. Marc Sobol, who heads up the firm's sports and broadcasting teams, acts for clients such as Econet Media (the largest telecoms company in Sub-Sahara Africa) and NBC Universal. Another notable individual is Richard Baskind, who handles a wide variety of commercial issues for clients in the music industry, including artists and songwriters, independent record labels and publishers, and industry executives. In 2017, Goldberg, Razwana Akram and senior associate Blaise Gaymer acted for California-based production and finance company Automatik Entertainment in the production, finance and distribution of feature film 'Teen Spirit'. In another matter, Baskind and others advised DJ Alan Walker and MER Recording on an agreement for Walker to be a brand ambassador for the electronic dance label Liquid State (a joint venture between Sony Music and China's Tencent Music). Simon Halberstam, and senior associates James Greenslade and Raoul Lumb, are among other recommended individuals.

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M&A: smaller deals up to £50m
M&A: smaller deals up to £50m - ranked: tier 2

Simons Muirhead & Burton

Media, technology and events are core sector strengths for Simons Muirhead & Burton’s practice, which is jointly led by Peter Weiss and Simon Goldberg. Highlights included Weiss advising Stagwell UK Holdings, a subsidiary of a US-based digital marketing investment group, on the acquisition of Forward 3D Group, a UK digital marketing agency with subsidiaries located around the world; Neal Hodges acting for Banijay UK on the acquisition of media production company 7Wonder; and Natalie Wright assisting UK property consultancy Investments. The team has a number of corporate finance houses among its clients; Hodges and Weiss acted for Atlantic Leaf on the £71m acquisition of 45% of the units in a Guernsey property unit trust and 50% of the shares in a Guernsey management vehicle. Other clients include PEX Software, First Access Entertainment, Duck Soup Films and Bryter.

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London: Crime, fraud and licensing

Crime: general
Crime: general - ranked: tier 1

Simons Muirhead & Burton

Simons Muirhead & Burton¬†advises on a broad range of general crime matters such as drug offences, theft, complex sexual offences and media-related criminal law. It is adept at handling sensitive cases for celebrities and high-net-worth individuals. Anthony Burton CBE¬†heads the department with ‚Äėa wealth and breadth of experience‚Äô. Philip Smith¬†joined as partner from Tuckers Solicitors¬†,¬†he has ‚Äėan excellent client manner and gives clear and effective advice in dealing with highly complex and serious issues‚Äô. Pamela Reddy¬†left the firm for Norton Rose Fulbright. Recent highlights included advising a former parliamentary candidate with mental health issues who has been accused arson with intent to danger life and possession of class A drugs and a stun gun.

Leading individuals

Anthony Burton - Simons Muirhead & Burton

Phillip Smith - Simons Muirhead & Burton

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Fraud: white-collar crime
Fraud: white-collar crime - ranked: tier 3

Simons Muirhead & Burton

Simons Muirhead & Burton¬†¬†is¬†adept at handling a variety of fraud matters including cybercrime, market abuse, mis-selling, insider dealing and tax evasion. The firm continues to act for a defendant in the EURIBOR SFO investigation in a multibillion-pound case. The ‚Äėextremely experienced, smart and charming‚Äô Anthony Burton¬†co-heads the team alongside new arrival Philip Smith, who is ‚Äėa high-quality addition to the team and a fierce litigator with a fantastic desire to succeed for his clients‚Äô.¬†Smith and associate Henrietta Ronson¬†joined from Tuckers Solicitors. Pamela Reddy¬†left the firm for Norton Rose Fulbright¬†.

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London: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation
Commercial litigation - ranked: tier 8

Simons Muirhead & Burton

Simons Muirhead & Burton 'works diligently and is pro-active at all times'. Razi Mireskandari is 'very good and very fair'; Stephen Shotnes advises media groups and the corporate film finance and investment sector on commercial litigation; and consultant Peter Gould 'brings to bear years of commercial litigation experience'.

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London: Private client

Family
Family - ranked: tier 4

Simons Muirhead & Burton

Simons Muirhead & Burton¬†has a ‚Äėrising family department that is easily able to take on the well-established ‚ÄėMagic Circle‚Äô firms‚Äô. Jane McDonagh¬† leads a ‚Äėvery strong young team and guides it well- it is a star firm of the future‚Äô. The department ‚Äėattracts high calibre clients‚Äô mostly drawn from the music and arts industries who are generally wealthy. New recruit from Farrer & Co¬†senior associate Tessa Bray¬† ‚Äėachieves excellent results with the minimum of fuss‚Äô.

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London: Public sector

Civil liberties and human rights
Civil liberties and human rights - ranked: tier 2

Simons Muirhead & Burton

Simons Muirhead & Burton¬†has an extensive track record in death penalty cases, as illustrated by its role as founder and long-term supporters of the Death Penalty Project, an international human rights organisation which provides free legal representation and advice to individuals who face the death penalty in over 30 countries around the world. The firm has successfully challenged the mandatory death penalty for anyone convicted of murder in Kenya and is actively involved in international delegations looking into death penalty reform in other countries around the globe. Co-executive directors of the team are ‚Äėdedicated and inspiring‚Äô Parvais Jabbar MBE¬† and ‚Äėexceptionally efficient and thorough‚Äô Saul Lehrfreund.

Leading individuals

Parvais Jabbar MBE - Simons Muirhead & Burton

Saul Lehrfreund - Simons Muirhead & Burton

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London: Risk advisory

Reputation management
Reputation management - ranked: tier 1

Simons Muirhead & Burton

Simons Muirhead & Burton¬†¬†acts for major broadcasters and television production companies. Clients include Simon and Schuster, Channel 4 and Penguin Random House. Partners Louis Charalambous¬†,¬†Martin Soames¬† and¬†Razi Mireskandari¬† are all ‚Äėreassuringly capable lawyers‚Äô. They‚Äôve acted for News Group Newspapers Limited in a number of claims including successfully opposing a libel claim brought by cleric Ali Hammuda and defending a libel and breach of Data Protection Act claim brought by Max Mosley. In addition, the practice carries out all legal clearance work for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Erica Henshilwood¬†,¬†Gordon Clough¬† and¬†Jeffrey Smele¬† are additional names to note.

Leading individuals

Louis Charalambous - Simons Muirhead & Burton

Razi Mireskandari - Simons Muirhead & Burton

Next generation lawyers

Erica Henshilwood - Simons Muirhead & Burton

Jeffrey Smele - Simons Muirhead & Burton

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London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Brand management
Brand management - ranked: tier 4

Simons Muirhead & Burton

The team at Simons Muirhead & Burton¬†is led by Maninder Gill, who has a ‚Äėsolid reputation‚Äô advising individual clients and retailers on brand strategy, brand management issues and IP protection matters. ‚ÄėExtremely knowledgeable across all fields',¬†Gill is noted for his expertise in the retail sector, having assisted high-end retailers on cross-border branding strategy¬†and trademark protection issues. In the music industry, he advised Alan Walker and McBusted on trade mark strategy and prosecution against sellers of infringing merchandise. Emma Linch¬†is recommended for media work and Raoul Lumb¬†advises start-ups and digital agencies on their IP matters.

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Franchising
Franchising - ranked: tier 3

Simons Muirhead & Burton

Simons Muirhead & Burton represents a number of household names such as Selfridges, Urban Outfitters and Dennis Publishing. Maninder Gill  leads the team and has extensive experience in the retail, publishing and education sectors. Also recommended are Natalie Wright , Peter Weiss  and associate Anne Rose.

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Media and entertainment (including media finance)
Media and entertainment (including media finance) - ranked: tier 2

Simons Muirhead & Burton

Simons Muirhead & Burton¬†regularly handles contentious and non-contentious mandates for media and entertainment sector clients and has significant expertise across film and TV, publishing, sports and music. Simon Goldberg, who is noted for his publishing expertise, and Razwana Akram¬†head the film and TV department, and advised California-based production and finance company Automatik Entertainment and Violet Dreams on the production, finance and distribution of feature film, Teen Spirit. Akram also advised Nutopia on production matters during the development of two proposed series‚Äô for Netflix. Stephen Shotnes¬†heads the film disputes department and defended the Future Film Group on a claim brought by Copthall Ltd regarding the financing of Hollywood film, Odd Thomas. Peter Weiss¬†leads on digital media matters and advised Renowned Films on an investment by US company Critical Content and the sale of its shares owned by Channel 4. Richard Baskind¬†heads the music department and advised Good Soldier Records‚Äô arrangements with Kobalt Label Services for the physical and digital distribution of Good Soldier Records‚Äô repertoire in North, Central and South America; and negotiated an agreement for DJ Alan Walker to become a brand ambassador for electronic dance label, Liquid State. Martin Soames¬†is noted for his publishing expertise and advises Simon & Schuster UK and Penguin Random House on a range of pre-publication clearance issues. The key figures include consultant Alasdair George, who is active in music transactions; Marc Sobol, who leads the broadcasting and sports media department; senior associate Blaise Gaymer, who is active across publishing and digital media work; senior associate Jonny Petch¬†who is ‚Äėexcellent‚Äô; consultant Damien Yare, who recently joined from Warner Music UK; and senior associate James Greenslade, who specialises in film and TV work. Charles Law has left the firm.

Leading individuals

Martin Soames (Publishing) - Simons Muirhead & Burton

Next generation lawyers

Blaise Gaymer (Publishing; digital media) - Simons Muirhead & Burton

Jonny Petch (Music) - Simons Muirhead & Burton

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Sport
Sport - ranked: tier 5

Simons Muirhead & Burton

Media and commercial expert Marc Sobol heads the group at Simons Muirhead & Burton, which is also experienced in regulatory work and litigation; charity-related matters are another area of activity. Sobol advised European Professional Club Rugby on its award, via auction, of exclusive pay TV rights to BT Sport, including a cross-border media rights licensing agreement. He also advised the client on its sale of free-to-air TV rights in the UK and Ireland. Watford FC instructed Stephen Shotnes on reputation management matters following the English Football League's investigation of the club for alleged financial misconduct. Consultant Laurie Cooke continues to advise British Eventing on sponsorship, marketing and data protection matters. Other clients include Cage Warriors, Total Performance data and the Professional Squash Association Foundation. Simon Goldberg and commercial associate Anne Rose are also active in the sports space.

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