Firm Profile > Watson Farley & Williams LLP > London, England

Watson Farley & Williams LLP
15 APPOLD STREET
LONDON
EC2A 2HB
England

Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 1

Watson Farley & Williams LLP's London dispute resolution practice fields 'an experienced and multinational team with in-depth knowledge'. In recent years, it has been involved in some of the highest profile and precedent-setting commercial litigation in the English courts. It has particular expertise in handling large-scale, complex commercial and corporate litigation on behalf of organisations in the firm’s specialist sectors of transport (maritime and aviation), energy and real estate. The firm also has a highly rated practice in construction, engineering and commodities disputes. Andrew Ward and Rebecca Williams co-head the London dispute resolution group, which includes commercial, banking and maritime litigation and arbitration expert, Charles Buss, as well as real estate litigator Dev Desai. Andrew Hutcheon, Rob Fidoe and Thomas Ross are also experienced partners. A strong line of senior associates includes Jemma Dhillon, Andreas Efstathiou, David Handley and Mark McAllister-Jones.

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Testimonials

‘Andrew Ward is calm, focused, diligent, thorough – and always good-humoured.’

‘The best thing about the team is their commercial awareness. They are as closely involved with banking/ship finance litigation as any other firm and their awareness of the global issues which arise is as good as anyone’s.’

‘Charles Buss is the author of the leading textbook on ship financing, and has a very deep understanding of enforcement action and related litigation.’

‘Watson Farley & Williams have a strong oil, gas and renewables practice based on the firm’s extensive finance practice and has built a small but formidable construction disputes team over the past five years.’

‘Robert Fidoe is an outstanding lawyer, adept at managing complex technical disputes and with a good eye for the issues that are important in a dispute. Robert’s easy-going manner is very popular with clients and other team members who find him very easy to work with.’

‘Experienced and multinational team with in-depth knowledge of issues related to certain very specific sectors (maritime, air, oil and gas).’

‘Andrew Hutcheon is attentive to concerns and concerned with the clients’ objectives – he is pragmatic, very combative, persevering and successful.’

‘WFW have an incredible level of industry knowledge in the energy and transport sectors, which gives them a real understanding of what their clients want and the issues which they face.’

‘Andrew Hutcheon is one of the most intelligent, careful and diligent lawyers I have ever worked with. Andrew Ward also stands out as intelligent and capable.’

‘Andrew Ward is excellent. Insightful, incisive and commercial. Really bright and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Natwest Markets Plc

The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc

Bank ABC

HSBC

Citibank

Bester Generacion UK Ltd

PTT Public Company Limited

CMA CGM S.A.

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company

Debenhams Retail Ltd

KrisEnergy

Transport finance and leasing Tier 1

With 25 partners in London sitting within the firm's assets and structured finance team, Watson Farley & Williams LLP undoubtedly has one of the largest practices in the City. It therefore has the firepower to resource a tremendous volume of mandates for lenders, operators and lessors involved in the financing of both shipping and aviation assets. The 'very pragmatic and solutions-oriented' Lindsey Keeble is global head of the maritime group and is effectively able to marshal resources, not only from London, but also utilising lawyers based in key locations including Athens, Singapore and Hamburg. Consequently, the team has 'impressive capability to execute transactions in a smooth and efficient way', not only for its traditional banking clients, but also a growing number of private equity funds which are increasingly deploying capital in the sector. Praised for his 'strong awareness of market conditions and intel'Jim Bell has done a superb job of rebuilding the firm's aviation practice, following the departure of Rex Rosales to Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in April 2018. Enhanced by a number of new hires, including most significantly that of the 'sensible and pragmaticPete O’Hare  from Milbank in September 2019, the group has been particularly productive on the bank and lessor side, including work within the debt capital markets. In addition to her work on the aviation front, Louise Mor is the principal contact at the firm for rail finance work and has recently handled substantial bank and bond financings for several major European rail leasing companies.

Testimonials

‘WFW are a hugely experienced partnership with a huge depth of expertise in aviation financing and aircraft leasing. What sets them apart is that they work with me as if they were part of my own in-house deal team. This means they are led by me, the client, to deliver the outcome we require as expediently as possible with no ego or grandstanding. This means that they will work with me and provide counsel as required to get the deal done as opposed to allowing themselves to be drawn into a legal stand-off between opposing counsel, as is too often the case and creates no other value than for the partners at the respective legal firms. To summarise, they provide the exact service that I require with very high levels of customer service and satisfaction.’

‘The Transport finance and leasing practice at WFW is one of the foremost experts in the global aviation leasing world. It brings a wealth of market experience to the table and has an industry leading team. They are large enough to have a global reach yet have an individually focused service that brings close attention to the individual nuances of each transaction.’

‘Louise Mor and her team in WFW London supported us throughout our refinancing project (circa EUR1.5bn). Its in-depth knowledge of financing of transport assets and of our group enabled it to draw up the new legal framework for our financing, which moved from an asset-based financing model to a corporate financing model.’

‘Deep understanding of the company and its structure, always responding promptly, always following up on outstanding issues (reminding us if we forget to respond), strong legal expertise and good at arguing our case.’

‘Jim Bell has clearly differentiated himself as the next industry leader in aircraft finance. Jim is able to combine his best in class legal skills with a deep understanding of transaction economics making him a valuable partner. He has hired some promising young partners and as a consequence Watson Farley & Williams looks set to become the number one law firm in the space under his leadership.’

‘Lindsey Keeble is, as far as we are concerned, the best lawyer in the ship finance sector. She has deep knowledge of the industry, regulations and market practice. Very pragmatic, she knows how to get a deal done and is always looking for solutions when parties reach a blocking point. She is fully dedicated to her clients and will always go the extra mile for them.’

‘Patrick Kirkby, partner,  is intelligent, diligent, gets into the detail without losing sight of the bigger picture and is able to suggest workable solutions and compromises on tricky sticking points during negotiations. He is a linchpin in our deal negotiations. He is also very good at managing/overseeing other parts of the firm with which we are working in his capacity as our relationship partner.’

‘Gary Walsh is an outstanding partner, with a very strong expertise in the maritime finance sector. His advice is always most helpful and his commitment is exceptional. He has a very constructive approach thereby facilitating the communication between all parties involved in the deal.’

Key clients

Ermewa Holding

Alpha Trains

Investec

Norwegian Air Shuttle

Aviation Working Group

Macquarie Bank

J.P Morgan Asset Management

MSC Cruises

ING Bank

Sovcomflot

Commodities disputes Tier 2

The commodities practice at Watson Farley & Williams LLP focuses predominantly on finance and investment matters, so frequently acts for banks, private equity funds and other financial institutions. It also has a strong track record in high-profile commercial litigation involving energy and natural resources companies, and it is a strong player in shipping disputes, including cargo claims. In 2019, the firm was busy not only with disputes in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market, but also cases involving metals and cotton trading. Andrew Ward and Rebecca Williams lead a dispute resolution group in which Andrew Hutcheon and Rob Fidoe are known for their work in the commodities field. Hutcheon focuses on commercial and financial litigation in the offshore oil and gas, energy, natural resources and shipping sectors. Fidoe's broad litigation practice sees him act for corporate clients in the energy, infrastructure and international trade sectors.

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Key clients

PTT Public Company Limited

KrisEnergy

Hospitality and leisure Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has a solid track record acting for investors, property owners, and developers nationally and internationally on all aspects of hotel matters. Headed by Felicity Jones, the hospitality and leisure practice sits within the real estate group and has a large offering across construction, finance, and property planning. Barry Hembling advises property clients on contentious and non-contentious construction matters and has two decades of experience in this sector, while Petar Orlic , who joined from Reed Smith LLP , brings M&A experience. Other core members of the team include experienced corporate associate Rohan Inamdar who supports practice head Jones on transactional work.

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Testimonials

‘The team spirit at WFW is one of the best in industry as it combines integrity, deep knowledge of the legal and commercial matters and very good spirit among the team players.’

‘We see Felicity Jones as a colleague, rather than a consultant. She understands our needs and where we need extra support. She is always a step ahead in her advice.’

‘Felicity Jones has great passion, deep knowledge of the industry, great commercial knowledge, and high personal engagement.’

‘They take a ‘small firm’ approach to clients, which enables excellent relationship development – they have the ability to attend to client needs at all times. They also adopt a commercial approach.’

‘Keen to ‘get the deal done’. Practical, pragmatic and realistic.’

‘Great professionalism, with strong reactivity and excellent knowledge of the industry. We have been working and growing together for 20 years and have never been disappointed. Why look for other firms if you have a good one?’

‘Felicity Jones is always a pleasure to work with, and establishes an excellent rapport with her clients, allowing a trusted adviser relationship to develop. Her strengths include a strong commercialism and the ability to successfully negotiate challenging points during a negotiation.’

‘Barry Hembling is very honest and open on the best way forward – he deals with technical issues very efficiently and handles negotiations extremely well.’

Key clients

Norlake Hospitality Ltd/Ennismore International Management Ltd

BP Pension Fund

Frasers Hospitality UK

Chandris Hotels Group

Aprirose

Millennium Hotels and Resorts

Khanna Enterprises Limited t/a KE Hotels

Xenia Leisure Group Limited

The Petersham Hotel Group

Grupo Inversor Hesperia SA (Hesperia Hotels & Resorts)

Grivalia Hospitality

M&A: lower mid-market deals, £50m-£500m Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP is particularly strong in the energy and infrastructure sector, where the team specialises in conventional power and renewables. Other areas in which the practice has bench strength include maritime, transport, natural resources and real estate. The bulk of the work undertaken by the team has a cross-border element, with the firm making use of its 14 offices outside the UK, as well as a network of local counsel, to advise on these transactions. Chris Kilburn leads the corporate group and specialises in the energy, mining and commodities sectors. Jan Mellmann and Daniel Saunders  are also names to note.

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Testimonials

‘This firm really thinks of all possibilities and has solutions to everything.’

‘Really easy to work with, easy to get hold of, very professional and I would highly recommend them.’

‘WFW have been extremely entrepreneurial in their approach and have assisted our business with insights we did not foresee – this has meant huge savings and better negotiations.’

‘They have helped with the cashflow management of billings, and have been willing to take a longer term view on the project and an upside in the success.’

‘Chris Kilburn has been very flexible with us, especially during Covid, helping guide us through the transaction, and showing a willingness to work to ensure a great outcome for all parties involved.’

Key clients

Rheinmetall AG

Azimuth Group

Ørsted

Lightsource Renewable Energy

Coro Energy

Maas Capital

Chaarat Gold

Star Bulk Carriers Corp

NYK (Europe) Ltd

Bondcare

Oil and gas Tier 3

The energy team at Watson Farley & Williams LLP is 'very well connected with the market' and has a notable focus on corporate transactions in the oil and gas sector. Practice head Chris Kilburn is the key figure for M&A and equity capital market transactions, while Joe Levin advises lenders, sponsors and investors on projects in the North Sea and Africa. Heike Trischmann and Jan Mellmann are also recommended.

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Testimonials

‘Very well connected with the market – on top of latest developments, transactions, and players which when combined with their undoubted legal prowess makes them a go-to law firm for straightforward or more challenging transactions. Highly responsive and take a good pragmatic, commercial perspective when considering options.’

‘Invaluable expertise and knowledge, readiness to help, sometimes at short notice.’

‘As per the wider organisation, the individuals at WFW are prepared to take ownership of their work scopes and work closely with their clients to provide the optimal outcome in the most efficient and pragmatic manner.’

‘Joe Levin – high energy, principled, thorough and very knowledgeable of the sector and relevant transactions. Great individual to work with and brings with him broader network of partners, industry contacts and experience.’

‘Their level of knowledge on all subject matters is outstanding, and each person on the team goes above and beyond what you would expect from a law firm. They ensure that all aspects of the transaction are dealt with – from contracts, tax advice and country-specific legislation that could potentially cause issues later down the road – and bring up potential hurdles we had not thought of, including non-legal issues.’

‘Chris Kilburn is committed to providing a first-class service, and has extensive and in-depth industry knowledge, which engenders a high level of commerciality in his advice – he won’t attempt to point-score and is prepared to drop arguments of limited practical importance.’

‘WFW’s oil and gas team adopts a refreshingly commercial approach, without compromising on the quality and thoroughness of the legal advice.’

‘A close knit, personable team who are prepared to work with their clients to provide a solution that is tailored to their client’s needs.’

Key clients

DNB Bank

Coro Energy plc

PTT Public Company Limited

KrisEnergy

Tower Resources plc

BNP Paribas

ING Bank

BW Energy

Cal Energy Resources

Improved Petroleum Recovery (IPR)

Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables) Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP acts for banks, funds and leading utilities and power companies on a diverse range of financing and M&A transactions in the solar, wind and biomass sectors and the developing areas of battery storage and electric vehicles. Global co-head of energy and infrastructure Henry Stewart focuses on big-ticket financings of wind farms and solar energy portfolios. Martin Lucas and Daisy East are also recommended. Evan Stergoulis departed to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP.

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Testimonials

‘Martin Lucas – exceptional availability, engagement and efficiency.’

‘They have a lot experience and knowledge in the power sector on the finance docs and project docs side, having acted as borrower adviser and lender adviser. They are able and willing to go beyond objective legal due diligence and put forward expert judgement, advice and recommendations.’

‘They have an outstanding ability to grasp a new project with complex requirements and difficult counterparties and then to find a way through to a successful completion.’

‘Dedicated, approachable and always looking for constructive solutions!’

‘Daisy East has outstanding experience in the energy sector. Daisy is able to summarise and communicate complex matters in a way which enables her clients to make informed decisions.’

‘Emmanuel Ninos – extremely good drafting and exceptional availability.’

‘Accessible and client-focused.’

‘Daisy East’s personal involvement and dedication to the transaction made the difference. She was well assisted by a strong team.’

Key clients

Ørsted

Equinor

Macquarie / GIG

Lightsource BP

Vattenfall

National Westminster Bank

Investec

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners

Greencoat Capital

Sonnedix

Private equity: transactions - mid-market deals (up to £250m) Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP advises on a range of domestic and cross-border private equity transactions, including buyouts, investments, and exits. Focus areas include energy and infrastructure, transportation, natural resources, and real estate, supported by established practices elsewhere in the firm. Chris Kilburn leads the team, and specialises in natural resources, energy, and transport deals, including joint ventures and financing issues. Andy Savage has a particular focus on Africa-based infrastructure work, while Tom Jarvis offers in-house tax and structuring expertise to transactional PE clients.

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Key clients

LeapFrog Investments

DIF

Helios Energy Investment

Canadian Solar

Salutem Healthcare

Cerberus Capital Management

Shipping Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP handles a broad range of contentious and non-contentious shipping matters, including transactions, ship financing, and disputes related to sale and purchase agreements. The team is also notable for its work on ship mortgages, with Charles Buss particularly experienced in this area. Asset finance specialist Lindsey Keeble is global head of maritime, while Robert Platt, Daniel Saunders , Andrew Ward and Andrew Hutcheon are also key partners in the team. Platt, Ward and Hutcheon focus on litigation, while Saunders handles corporate matters such as M&A and joint ventures. Toby Royal is also well-regarded, and is praised as 'thorough and commercially minded'.

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Testimonials

‘Andrew Ward is calm, focused, diligent and thorough – and always good-humoured.’

‘Charles Buss has unrivalled knowledge of Admiralty work and procedure.’

‘A very good team, always available. Pragmatic, with excellent knowledge. Very well organised.’

‘Toby Royal is very strong. Very pragmatic, leads the team excellent. Very intelligent way of communicating messages. Humour. Intelligence. Excellent legal knowledge.’

‘A very capable and commercially minded team – a deep bench across maritime/shipping disciplines.’

‘The team is known for their efficient solutions across complex projects in shipbuilidng, financing and time chartering. They are able to simplify complex issues in project and provide diligent and intelligent advice. We like to have their deep, comprehensive view on our transactions and their involvement is one of keys of success in our transactions.’

‘Toby Royal is a commercially minded lawyer, great in both chartering and contract law. He is one of rare lawyers who is involved in seismic marine business and is able to provide efficient solutions for our offshore operations in various regions.’

‘Marcus Dodds is very well-regarded for his incisive and well-thought-out advice, particularly on casualty matters.’

Key clients

Reliance Industries Limited

Star Bulk Carriers Corp.

Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha

Constellation Oil Services Holding S.A

Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas

KrisEnergy

NatWest Markets PLC

The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC

Trade finance Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has a dedicated commodities finance practice that handles both financings and contentious matters for banks and trading houses. The practice has a strong focus on natural resources sectors such as mining, metals, soft commodities and energy. 'Principled and thorough' practice head Joe Levin advises lenders and sponsors on project, borrowing base and other structured financings in the commodities and trade finance sectors. Among his clients are DNB Bank and BNP Paribas. Associate Oliver Acland focuses on upstream finance transactions, including borrowing base and structured financings. One client remarks that the practice is 'very impressive, very available and very client-focused'.

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Testimonials

‘We started with Watson Farley two years ago and its output is very impressive. It is very available and very client-focused.’

‘Joe Levin is an exceptional lawyer who is very keen to get deals done.’

‘Joe Levin is a brilliant and commercially minded banking lawyer extraordinaire.’

‘The firm is very well connected with the market and is on top of latest developments, transactions and players, which when combined with its undoubted legal prowess makes it a “go-to” law firm for straightforward or more challenging transactions. It is highly responsive and takes a good pragmatic, commercial perspective when considering options.’

‘Joe Levin is high energy, principled, thorough and very knowledgeable of the sector and relevant transactions. He is a great individual to work with and brings with him a broader network of partners, industry contacts and experience.’

Key clients

DNB Bank

Coro Energy plc

PTT Public Company Limited

KrisEnergy

Constellation Oil Services Holding S.A.

Sandfire Resources NL

Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd

CalEnergy Resources

Tower Resources plc

Commercial property: investment Tier 4

Watson Farley & Williams LLP's team is praised for its ‘hands-on, partner-led approach’. Led by Gary Ritter, the team’s investor client base includes REITs, private equity entities and family offices in addition to offshore and institutional investors. It possesses knowledge of the full array of assets including office, mixed-use, logistics, retail, hotels and leisure with a workload that spans sales and purchases, leasing matters, asset management and project development.

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Testimonials

‘A hands-on, partner-led approach with an excellent team of associates. Timely and proactive approach. Transactions concluded efficiently. Strong commercial understanding of what is important and what can be conceded.’

‘Hetan Ganatra is very commercial, deals with matters very efficiently and his approach has filtered down through the rest of the team.’

Key clients

Ropemaker Properties Limited (the property arm of BP Pension Fund)

Frasers Hospitality

Frasers Centrepoint

P3P

Clinitek

Bondcare

Equity capital markets - low-mid cap Tier 4

Watson Farley & Williams LLP specialises in matters with a nexus to the energy and natural resources, and transport sectors. Chris Kilburn leads the London corporate team, which handles a wide variety of transactions, with a particular strength in matters involving a hybrid of debt and equity elements. It is also experienced in IPOs, secondary fundraisings, rights issues and public takeovers. Kilburn has particular experience in advising dual-listed AIM companies, including many ASX listed companies accessing the UK markets. Jan Mellmann is the head of the global natural resources group. Simon Ovenden joined from Simmons & Simmons in 2019.

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Testimonials

WFW has a good range of expertise available across the commercial spectrum as well as a network of lawyers and clients with considerable experience in the energy sector.

Jan Mellmann is thoughtful, painstaking and committed to being a trusted adviser.

‘We have had the pleasure of working with Watson Farley & Williams in the context of AIM transactions. This is a firm we are very comfortable working with, one of our go-to firms, particularly in natural resources, where their sector expertise and international reach makes them a very capable firm. With Jan Mellmann’s team, you know you are in good hands.’

‘WFW and Jan Mellmann’s team have provided great assistance for a number of years. The consistency of working with the same team of lawyers has proved to be a benefit and has increased our efficiency.’

‘Jan Mellmann is a calm and reassuring presence who has a solid knowledge of the small cap plc sector. Easy to work with and particularly good when the transaction faces challenges.’

‘Jan Mellmann is very diligent and attentive to our requests – it a pleasure to work with him and include his advice in our decision-making.’

Key clients

88 Energy

Tower Resources plc

Allenby Capital Limited

Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd

Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited

Coro Energy Plc

Advance Energy Plc (formerly Andalas Energy)

Aminex plc

United Oil & Gas plc

Mining and minerals Tier 4

Watson Farley & Williams LLP acts on a broad range of mining-related work including M&A and equity capital markets transactions, debt and project financings and dispute resolution. The practice has recently been appointed to Anglo American plc's panel for legal work. Jan Mellmann acts as the global head of mining and commodities.

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Key clients

Sandfire Resources NL

Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd

Planning Tier 4

Nick Walker leads the planning team at Watson Farley & Williams LLP. The practice offers expertise across the spectrum of planning work including onshore and offshore consents, CPOs and PRS schemes. The team also regularly takes on contentious work and can draw on a strong international corporate client base through the wider firm. A notable specialism comes in advising clients in the renewable energy sector, particularly on large wind farm developments.

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Testimonials

‘Nick Walker has a truly exceptional client base that reveals the core strength of his practice: commercially practicable advice informed by hard edged sound legal analysis.’

‘Hands-on partner-level approach. Timely and astute advice.’

‘Nick Walker has provided significant assistance in successfully securing planning consent for us. He has provided valuable advice and direction to secure this consent against some resistance from the local planning authority.’

‘The team has exceptional insight into the challenges faced when developing projects.’

‘Nick Walker’s truly high calibre advice is shown by his being able to advise a wide range of clients – comprising his firm’s wider client base – as opposed to having a narrow, boutique focus.’

‘Nick Walker is always level-headed and explores all options and practicable outcomes thoroughly, so as to ensure that each client gets the best advice they can, and that the client really understands the advice in lay terms.’

Key clients

Race Bank Wind Farm

Rheinmetall

P3P

Cubico

Clinitek

Greencoat

Investec

Ropemaker Properties

SMBC, Helaba and NatWest

Bondcare

Rail Tier 4

Watson Farley & Williams LLP primarily focuses on cross-border deals for a range of international rail clients, including financing and refinancing on matters such as rolling stock, while also drawing on members of the firm's corporate, disputes, regulatory and employment teams to provide a more rounded service to clients. In 2019, the team took roles on two significant rail financing deals: advising Ermewa Holding on its €1.5bn debt raise and Alpha Trains on its €700m debt raise. Practice leader Louise Mor has experience in Islamic financing, asset acquisitions and sales.

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Key clients

Ermewa Holding

Alpha Trains

Construction: contentious Tier 5

Watson Farley & Williams LLP's practice is led by Rebecca Williams, who 'gives everything for her clients in each and every case.' She is experienced in all forms of dispute resolution including litigation, domestic and international arbitration as well as adjudication. The petrochemical and energy sectors are key areas of focus for her practice. The team has been boosted by the 2019 addition of Barry Hembling, who joined from Fladgate LLP and works with clients in the hotel, energy, sports and leisure sectors.

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Testimonials

‘The team are always professional, supportive and offer good, to the point advice. In contentious and legally challenging situations they are able to step in and provide the required clarity.’

‘A small and effective team; lots of continuity and a dogged determination to find a solution for their clients.’

‘The WFW construction team is unique because of the service it provides with the client and professional care it delivers.’

‘Rebecca Williams gives everything for her clients in each and every case. She is a real winner, and leads with confidence and tenacity a large team, who all support her completely. That support and loyalty is a real testament to her. Rebecca has great energy and enthusiasm for each case, which drives the team.’

‘Barry Hembling is particularly well organised, Reliable, knowledgeable and always willing to analyse issues in detail.’

‘Mark McAllister-Jones is highly able and experienced. He is extremely well-liked by clients and peers, thoroughly charming and a good leader. He is always calm under pressure and finds detailed, practical solutions for his clients.’

‘Rebecca Williams is a savvy operator. She is discerning about the way she will run a case and this sets her apart and gives her a real edge. Rebecca is the epitome of the new generation of leaders in the construction legal industry.’

‘Rebecca Williams is completely committed and determined to do the best for her clients. She does not under or over sell cases but tells it as it is. She knows which cases are worth the fight. and which are not. She also has a very strong team.’

Key clients

Equinor

Bester Generacion

Zaha Hadid Architects

Sonnedix

Ropemaker Properties

PTT

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners

Colas

Bondcare Care Homes

Sustainable Development Capital

The Gemdale Group Ltd.

International arbitration Tier 5

Watson Farley & Williams LLP's commercial arbitration specialists are well known for disputes in the finance, shipping, energy, oil and gas, construction and commodities sectors. The team also acts in matters for and against states, in addition to arbitrations surrounding political risk, CIS-based frauds, and the full range of corporate and commercial disputes. Andrew Ward and Rebecca Williams co-lead the London dispute resolution group, which also fields Charles Buss, Andrew Hutcheon and Rob Fidoe.

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Testimonials

‘In London, Andrew Ward has an excellent mixed shipping and international arbitration practice. Andrew is extremely clever and has close attention to detail.’

‘I was impressed by WFW’s ability to bring together members of their transactional and dispute resolution teams to provide support on our case. The team displayed a wealth of knowledge on both the law and commercial practice of shipping, and I was thoroughly impressed by them.’

‘WFW’s London office has an impressive international arbitration practice which covers disputes in IT, projects, power and energy in the Middle East and Africa.’

‘Robert Fidoe is an outstanding lawyer, adept at managing complex technical disputes and with a good eye for the issues that are important in a dispute. Robert’s easy-going manner is very popular with clients and other team members who find him very easy to work with.’

Key clients

Belenergia S.A.

Property litigation Tier 5

Watson Farley & Williams LLP's practice, including team head Dev Desai, has been particularly active in commercial and residential landlord and tenant disputes, including those with an insolvency element. Other recent work included disputes over property management and lease renewals.

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Testimonials

The strength in depth of the team and its responsiveness marks it out as exceptional. The team obviously functions collectively and communicates well, which is reflected in the level of service you receive, irrespective of who you talk to.’

Invariably provides astute and timely advice centred upon commercial common sense. Always prepared to offer a point of view. Hands-on partner-level leadership.

Team led by Dev Desai with assistance from Alexander Mulroney. Always available at short notice. Strategic level advice with timely implementation.’

Great ability to cover all cases in the broad range of property litigation, with specialist expertise in telecommunications cases. Very user-friendly for clients and provide a bespoke service for each client. Provide careful and thoughtful strategic and technical advice.

Dev Desai – highly responsive, excellent legal and industry-relevant knowledge, overlaid with a very practical and commercial perspective and approach to cases.’

We have dealt mainly with Dev Desai, who was always efficient, knowledgeable and communicative. When partners from other disciplines within the firm were required to provide input, they were readily available and provided clear and valuable advice.’

Broad expertise across the whole range of property disputes, led by Dev Desai.

Dev Desai – very experienced and very hands-on. Looks at a case from every angle. Alexander Mulroney is a very impressive associate.’

Key clients

Investec Bank Plc

Debenhams Retail Ltd

MSC Cruises

Wellesley Finance Plc

The Advertising Association

British American Tobacco

ISS Governance

The Collective

De Villiers South West Ltd

Ropemaker Properties Limited

Banking litigation: investment and retail Tier 6

Watson Farley & Williams LLP brings and defends claims against investment banks in disputes over matters such as derivatives, capital markets, bondholder disputes, trade finance disputes and other complex financial products. It counts asset and trade finance disputes in the maritime, aviation and energy sectors among its areas of specialism and has the ability to coordinate cross-jurisdictional cases. Andrew Ward and Rebecca Williams jointly lead the London dispute resolution team.

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Key clients

Arab Banking Corporation (B.S.C.)

NatWest Markets plc & The Royal Bank of Scotland plc

Corporate tax Tier 6

The tax offering at Watson Farley & Williams LLP is a core part of the wider corporate group services department, which is led by Chris Kilburn. The main areas of focus are transactions, tax consultancy and disputes, with the firm being noted for its strong presence in the energy, transport and real estate sectors. Partners to note include maritime tax expert Richard Stephens and Tom Jarvis, who specialises in energy and infrastructure deals.

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Testimonials

‘The firm possesses a strong mix of niche experts, ranging from the tax to the state aid fields. Advice is provided in a manner tailored to your particular industry and with a commercial sensibility.’

‘They are a go-to for sound advice on complicated issues.’

‘Tom Jarvis possesses the perfect combination of tax technical astuteness, commercial sensibility and client responsiveness. His advice is laser-focused and he has an innate ability to discuss complex tax issues in an easy-to-understand manner.‘

‘WFW were excellent in assisting us on a referred matter. They worked as a great team together with their M&A colleagues, led by Jan Mellmann. They were extremely professional and highly responsive and measured when dealing with an aggressive adversary – I would most definitely highly recommend WFW’s tax team, in particular Tom Jarvis.’

‘Whatever the complications within a transaction, the team at Watson Farley & Williams will rapidly find a solution, communicate this clearly, identifying the benefits and any risks associated with their proposed solution and then efficiently and diligently execute the required steps of the said transaction.’

‘Their key strength is the depth of their talent pool; the same level of quality runs through all the members of the team that I have had the pleasure to work with and simply you can rely on them to do a great job. They feel like an extension to our in-house team and provide the additional independent resource and areas of experience where and when the need arises on commercial transactions. In comparison to other firms, the working relationship is one more of a partnership rather than client and adviser.’

‘Tom Jarvis is a superb tax lawyer who has a great way with the clients but also a calm but incisive way of getting his point across and negotiating for his side of the table. An excellent lawyer.’

‘Tom Jarvis is exceptional at very quickly assimilating the specific fact pattern and providing clear, concise and most importantly relevant technical advice. Tom’s knowledge and passion for his area of expertise shines through and it is always an interesting and engaging experience sharing time with him; one thing is for certain – when I leave a meeting with Tom I know a lot more than when I turned up!’

Key clients

Orsted (formerly DONG Energy)

Salutem Healthcare

NatWest

HRL Morrison

BP Pension Fund

Bondcare

LightsourceBP

Royal Caribbean Cruises

Virgin Cruises

MSC Cruises

EU and competition Tier 7

Watson Farley & Williams LLP assists clients with securing merger control clearances, competition investigations, state aid and compliance issues. The team’s work is prominent in the energy, natural resources and transport sectors. Practice head Jeremy Robinson has niche expertise in the area of offshore wind projects, as well as the overlap of competition law with aviation regulation.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘We use them for aviation work and EU competition law. They are excellent and experts in their field which is why we have chosen to work with them.’

‘Jeremy Robinson can make even the most anti-legal person in the business interested in competition law and how it impacts them. Excellent at delivering training and also always on hand with commercial advice on complex competition law matters.’

‘Based on our experience so far, we believe that WFW provide a hands-on, proactive service at overall reasonable and competitive cost. In a recent M&A transaction where we as purchaser retained WFW’s services, their value-add and turn-around time clearly exceed that of a magic circle law firm acting for the seller.’

‘We have worked with Jeremy Robinson on competition and national security issues; he displayed the right balance between attention to detail and timely receipt of the clearances we sought.’

‘Jeremy Robinson delivers a suite of competition law advice.’

‘While other firms may make more use of leverage, we prefer the substantial and experienced advice of a WFW partner at a competitive rate supported by a few capable associates to educating a larger team of younger associates.’

‘At all times, our work was guided with our strategic goals at the forefront of negotiations.’

Key clients

Rheinmetall Defence UK

Macquarie Group / Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (Europe)

Saudia Airlines

Maple Power

The GSM Association

Starbulk Carriers

Property finance Tier 7

Watson Farley & Williams LLP is notably strong in acquisition and development finance for asset classes such as hotels, mixed-use properties, student accommodation and care homes. The 'helpful, constructive and commercialRanjeev Kumar leads the practice and acts on the lender and borrower side of major mandates, which often involve a cross-border element.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘Very approachable and knowledgeable, and the property finance team sits within a wider real estate team which can be helpful. Ranjeev Kumar is clearly an expert in the field.’

‘Ranjeev Kumar is very helpful, constructive and commercial and takes a real interest in his clients.’

‘Efficient, cost conscious and good to deal with. Ranjeev Kumar is personable, very technical and keen to get the job done.’

‘Excellent in real estate financing for both commercial properties and residential properties, very involved, transparent billing.’

‘Ranjeev Kumar and his team act at an excellent pace and tempo and, having acted extensively for both borrowers and lenders, understand what is reasonable and what is not. They have what it takes in terms of character, expertise and tenacity to get the job done.’

‘Talented, amazingly client-centric, and a perfect fit for an entrepreneurial client who could like to seek legal counsel in difficult and complex situations.’

‘Ranjeev Kumar is an absolute warrior, with deep knowledge of banking, real estate and construction law, all in one individual. Ranjeev possesses what it takes to get multi-faceted complex deals over the line. ‘

‘Ranjeev Kumar is clearly an expert in the field; the firm also make a real effort to make introductions amongst their client base and share knowledge.’

Key clients

Downing Capital LLP

Welkin & Meraki

JS Bank Limited

In5 Capital

Bondcare Group

Fed Mac Limited

OakNorth Bank Plc

CFM Indosuez Wealth

Immigration

Watson Farley & Williams LLP advises companies on Tier 2 visa applications and on the transfer of executives, an area in which practice co-head Anna Robinson has extensive experience, as well as in complex settlement and naturalisation applications. Other key areas of work for the practice include organising UK visas for large-scale cultural events, assisting start-ups in the digital and technology sectors (team co-head Devan Khagram has a strong reputation in this area), and advising individuals on a wide range of issues including immigration-related family matters and personal investments.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘A solid and sound professional partner; very structured and proactive in their relationship with the client.’

‘Our experience was extremely positive at all times – a very reliable team’.

‘WFW has provided us with multi-year service. Each year they have met timelines, given the proper advice based on the year, changes in laws and policies. Their knowledge along with their excellent customer service is why we continue to retain this firm each year. The lawyers who work on our file have been consistent and have our complete confidence. They have always been responsive and commercially aware and focused. proactive and supportive.’

‘The team provide clear and pragmatic advice. They also take a commercial approach.’

‘Very professional and knowledgeable of the unwritten rules and procedures in relation to immigration.’

‘The individuals we work with have provided support, loyalty, excellent advice and have worked with us to find the best solutions to our company’s needs. Their advice has been honest, straightforward and has helped us to manage both time and fees. The lawyers we work with directly have done everything within their means to make sure our immigration needs are met.’

‘Rapid responses to queries at a reasonable cost.’

‘Devan Khagram is outstanding.’

Key clients

TransferWise Ltd

Longleat Safari Park

More Contract UK Limited / Mobal UK Limited

Svenska Handelsbanken AB, London Branch

DDM Entertainment and Events Inc.

KBC Advanced Technologies Limited

Woods Bagot Europe Ltd


Briefing
Key trends in contentious construction (https://www.legalbusiness.co.uk/co-publishing/sponsored-briefing-key-trends-in-contentious-construction/)
The team at Watson Farley & Williams discuss the latest developments in the sector

The Lex 100 Verdict

'Great international opportunities' and 'top-notch finance work in the shipping and energy sectors' sum up Watson Farley & Williams. A training contract made up of six four-month seats affords trainees the 'opportunity to try as many practice areas as possible'. Recruits receive 'excellent client-facing opportunities' and consider a large proportion of the work they undertake to be 'NQ level'. While 'at most firms, securing an international secondment can be a competitive process', at Watson Farley & Williams secondments are 'actively encouraged' and there is even an 'option to complete two overseas placements'. One trainee went to the Paris office and 'loved every second. There was interesting work, a lovely team and the trainee flats were incredibly located in the Marais!'. It therefore comes as no surprise that the firm holds onto its Lex 100 Winner award in this category. A 'good work/life balance for good pay' and 'friendly and approachable people' are the cherry on the cake. Trainees noted that teams 'can be leanly staffed' which can lead to high workloads at times. Respondents would also have liked to have more contact with the firm between accepting their offer and starting their training contract. Among the worst moments were 'working until 7am (and sitting on a call at 5am)' and 'attending a closing which started at 4am'. But 'running a finance deal, including the drafting of documents and coordinating with the client' and 'helping to conclude a bridge financing in real estate in one day' more than made up for it. For a guaranteed international secondment and multijurisdictional, high-quality work in the company of lawyers who 'value the opportunity to do interesting work while also having a good work/life balance', investigate Watson Farley & Williams.