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

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

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 1

A well-known commercial litigation firm that is capable of taking on larger firms and winning‘, Watson Farley & Williams LLP fields experts in large-scale, commercial and corporate litigation in the transport, energy and infrastructure sectors. The firm also has enviable aviation, commodities, real estate, and construction and engineering disputes practices; and it is able to leverage the cross-border disputes expertise of its Europe, Asia, US and Middle East offices. The principal figures are Andrew Ward, who ‘deserves to become one of the leading lights in commercial litigation‘; construction and energy sector specialist Rebecca WilliamsRob Fidoe, who is particularly focused on energy matters; and Charles Buss, who specialises in maritime litigation and arbitration, as well as general commercial and banking disputes. Within the firm’s senior associate ranks, Jemma Dhillon is experienced in a range of dispute resolution forums, including litigation, arbitration and mediation, while Mark McAllister-Jones is ‘an excellent disputes lawyer‘.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Williams; Rob Fidoe

Testimonials

‘The commercial disputes team at WFW is a delight to work with. The lawyers are extremely sharp, hardworking, and have excellent instincts when it comes to commercial disputes.’

‘Rebecca Williams is an outstanding disputes lawyer. Her instincts in relation to strategy and how matters are likely to be received by a judge or tribunal are always spot on.’

‘Rebecca Williams – when dealing with difficult opponents she is a fighter that clients want in their corner.’

‘A well-known commercial litigation firm that is capable of taking on larger firms and winning. They are strategic in their outlook.’

‘Andrew Ward is clearly a very able lawyer with an impressive following.’

‘Andrew Ward is an excellent litigator, who deserves to become one of the leading lights in commercial litigation. He is an excellent strategist, who works tirelessly. He clearly enjoys the confidence of his clients.’

‘Rob 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.’

Regardless of the size or complexity of a dispute, Mark McAllister-Jones is all over the detail. Even at crunch points, he manages to ensure that everything is under control and difficult issues are dealt with promptly, carefully and skilfully. He is an excellent disputes lawyer.

Key clients

Abbey Healthcare

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council

Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Fund

Colas Limited

Ørsted

Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for Abbey Healthcare before the Court of Appeal to decide whether statutory adjudication rights apply to collateral warranty claims.
  • Acting for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council at the pre-action stage, in relation to their investigations into the ongoing defects at landmark Twin Sails Bridge, Poole.
  • Acting for Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund, as secured creditor, in relation to the energy administration of Bulb Energy.

Finance > Transport finance and leasing Tier 1

Drawing upon ‘an enormous wealth of knowledge and experience’ throughout the transportation sector, Watson Farley & Williams LLP‘s ‘technically impressive’ 25-partner team provides ‘pragmatic and commercial’ advice to a myriad stakeholders on an eclectic mix of asset finance transactions, ranging from relatively commoditised bilateral loans, through to heavily structured transactions, as well as advice on politically sensitive issues including as it relates to Russian sanctions. Under the leadership of the ‘technically excellent and commercially pragmatic’ Jim Bell, the firm’s aviation offering has ‘extraordinary broad experience in all aircraft finance and lease topics’, and is now the equal of its historically better-known maritime practice. Chris Mitchell , who is ‘able to structure complex legal projects’, including as it relates to debt financing in the capital markets, is also key to the team’s success, as is the ‘no nonsense’ Louise Mor (who also has significant rail expertise) and the ‘solutions focused’ Patrick Moore, who regularly advises creditors on aviation restructurings. Led from London by ‘trusted advisor’ George Macheras, and also able to call upon expertise in other key maritime centres throughout Europe and Asia, the firm remains a ‘remarkable one-stop-shop for shipping financing’, with expertise across structured financing and long term charters, new builds and second hand sale and purchase. Other key practitioners on the ship finance front include the ‘pragmatic’ Gary Walsh, who is popular among banking clients; Simon Petch , who has ‘extensive knowledge especially in the field of maritime finance and ESG related business’; Patrick Kirkby, who has ‘vast experience in shipping financing’, including on highly structured mandates; and Kate Silverstein, who provides ‘great quality advice’ to owners, lenders and charterers. Hall of fame practitioner Lindsey Keeble is now managing partner of the firm.  

Practice head(s):

Jim Bell; George Macheras

Other key lawyers:

Louise Mor; Lindsey Keeble; Jeffrey Wool; George Macheras; Kavita Shah; Gary Walsh; Chris Mitchell; Patrick Moore; Patrick Kirkby; Dominic Pearson; Kate Silverstein; Richard Smith; Alison Weal; Simon Petch; Abi Carter; Liam Clozier; Natasha Collins; Jane Keith; Michael Keightley; Sarah Lunn; John Man; Katie Shiels; Emily Widdrington; Emeline Yew; Nicholas Yu

Testimonials

They have an enormous wealth of knowledge and experience which they apply in a calm, pragmatic and commercial manner.’

They provide a first-class service – they are technically impressive, well managed and co-ordinated, sensible and pragmatic and good to work with.’

‘A remarkable one-stop shop as far as shipping financing is concerned’.

‘The aviation team has extraordinary broad experience in all aircraft finance and lease topics.’

‘Jim Bell is both technically excellent and commercially pragmatic.’

‘Louise Mor is extremely quick to grasp the commercial needs of the transaction and identify the potential sticking points for clients and financiers. Her no nonsense approach is very refreshing and transactions move along at a good pace.’

‘George Macheras is a highly trusted advisor with unmatched contacts throughout the shipping world. Pragmatic and commercial, he is highly effective at cutting through obstacles and getting the deal done.’

Patrick Kirkby: able to comprehend complex issues, find the right solutions and then compose perspicuous and intelligible contractual clauses. A craftsman in precise drafting. Very knowledgeable and with vast experience in shipping financing.’

Key clients

Air Seychelles

Airbus Bank

Aircraft & Leasing Management

Alpha Trains Luxembourg S.a r.l

Avolon

Buss Global

Ermewa

Eurazeo

Falko Regional Aircraft Limited

Entrust

Investec

JP Morgan

KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH

Minsheng Financial Leasing

NatWest

Nexrail

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Minsheng Financial Leasing in relation to the restructuring of AirAsia X (AAX), pursuant to a Malaysian Scheme of Arrangement.
  • Advised various clients on Russian sanctions advice. The most significant aspect of the work was the timely unwind of the bank financings (c. $1.5bn) to Sovcomflot, the Russian-state owned shipping company and one of the largest tanker operators globally, in accordance as EU, US and UK sanctions.
  • Advised Alpha Trains on its raising of €548m in a combination of senior and HoldCo level secured bank debt within its existing common terms financing platform.

Dispute resolution > Commodities disputes Tier 2

Watson Farley & Williams LLP frequently handles cross-border disputes in the commodities sector. Rob Fidoe regularly handles arbitration on behalf of multinationals in the energy, infrastructure and international trade sectors. Clients describe Fidoe as ‘calm and collected, a good strategist who is able to guide clients through difficult disputes‘. He acted for trading company JE Energy in a multimillion-dollar oil trading dispute with Vitol SA in a matter that has since gone to the Court of Appeal.  Key partner Andrew Hutcheon, who handles contentious matters in the commodities, mining, oil & gas, shipping and aviation sectors, ‘goes the extra mile to understand new business concepts and to give wise counsel‘. He was part of a team that acted for Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Fund in matters arising from the administration of Bulb Energy.

Practice head(s):

Robert Fidoe

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘My colleagues and I have valued the advice and support that the team have given us. They have supported us in an innovative area of business – the team’s knowledge and experience have helped to create a deeper understanding of this emerging area of the law.’

‘The support that Andrew Hutcheon has given us has been exemplary. He goes the extra mile to understand new business concepts and to give wise counsel accordingly.’

‘The scope of the disputes covered by WFW’s teams, reflecting its strong Asian presence, have included complex infrastructure, IT, energy, renewables, shipping, oil and gas, commodities, aviation and commercial disputes relating to all of those sectors and more. The partners in the London and Bangkok offices provide a highly personal and efficient service. Teams tend to be small, but with exceptional partner engagement which international clients value greatly.’

‘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. Rob’s easy-going manner is very popular with clients and other team members who find him very easy to work with.’

‘Thoughtful and strategic leadership from Rob Fidoe. Calm and collected. Strength in depth behind him, with good support.’

‘Rob Fidoe – calm and collected, good strategist, able to guide clients through difficult disputes.’

Key clients

JE Energy Ltd

Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund

Work highlights

  • Advising JE Energy Ltd (an independent commodity trading company with offices in the UK, Asia and Africa) in respect of a multimillion-dollar oil trading dispute with Vitol SA.
  • Advising Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund (“Sequoia”) as secured creditor regarding the energy administration of Bulb Energy Limited (“Bulb”) in the first ever use of the UK’s energy supply company administration regime, intended to be used for large energy supply companies where it is not feasible to appoint a “Supplier of Last Resort”.

Projects, energy and natural resources > Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables) Tier 2

Watson Farley & Williams LLP‘s power team, described as being ‘a delight to work with’, is well-established and able to handle the array of complex work in the sector, both domestically and internationally. The scope of its workload includes assisting in infrastructure matters regarding both renewables, including solar, wind and energy-from-waste work, and conventional power. Jennifer Charles was notably promoted to partnership in May 2022. Henry Stewart, who has a particular focus on M&A and financings in the renewables space, leads the team. Standout practitioners include Daisy East, who is advising Sequoia as secured creditor regarding the high-profile administration of Bulb Energy Limited. ‘Outstanding disputes lawyer’ Rebecca Williams is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Henry Stewart

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Williams; Mark McAllister-Jones; Jan Mellmann; Daisy East; Nerina Erasmus; Emmanuel Ninos; Jennifer Charles; Martin Lucas; Alexander Creswick; Marianne Anton

Testimonials

‘The team are a delight to work with – extremely sharp and hardworking with excellent instincts when it comes to energy matters. Their sector knowledge is always right up to date, they really know their market and what their clients want.’

‘Rebecca Williams is an outstanding disputes lawyer. Her instincts in relation to strategy and how matters are likely to be received by a judge or tribunal are always spot on, and when dealing with difficult opponents she is a fighter that you want in your corner. Her knowledge of the renewables market and the economic dynamics behind legal disputes is second-to-none.’

‘Mark McAllister-Jones is all over the detail of matters and even at crunch points, he manages to ensure that everything is under control. He deals with difficult issues promptly, carefully and skilfully. He is an excellent disputes lawyer with great commercial sense.’

‘A great and highly competent team, very good at helping solve their client’s problems. They also have diverse experience across various projects.’

‘Jan Mellmann, Daisy East and Nerina Erasmus are highly committed to bringing results with a practical approach and impressive experience.’

‘Emmanuel Ninos is an excellent lawyer with deep knowledge on power purchase agreements and electricity markets. His advice is clear and pragmatic and he collaborates effectively with his colleagues in London and overseas to provide his clients with coordinated and comprehensive advice.’

‘Martin Lucas is very knowledgeable in offshore wind and renewables, and great to work with.’

‘Alexander Creswick is extremely clever, and very adept in identifying and developing legal arguments that are not always obvious but potentially devastating. Marianne Anton’s insight demonstrates her extensive experience in energy regulatory law and industry.’

Key clients

Lightsource bp

Orsted

Equinor

Vattenfall

CREDITAS Group

Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Fund

Lloyds Bank

NatWest

Palestine Power Generating Company

Nala Renewables

GIG

TEPCO

Edmond de Rothschild

Cero Generation

Sonendix

Foresight

BlueFloat

Santander

Hitachi Zosen Inova

Investec

Work highlights

  • Advising Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund as secured creditor regarding the energy administration of Bulb Energy Limited in the first ever use of the UK’s energy supply company administration regime.
  • Advising CREDITAS on its acquisition of InterGen Projects (UK) Limited and its UK business from InterGen’s parent company.
  • Advising TEPCO Renewable Power on its acquisition of Flotation Energy Limited, TEPCO’s first major offshore wind venture outside of Japan.

Corporate and commercial > M&A: Lower Mid-Market Deals, £100m-£750m Tier 3

Possessing a wealth of experience in a number of core sectors - including energy, transport and infrastructure - the team at Watson Farley & Williams LLP is praised for its high quality service, deep industrial knowledge and very pleasant cooperation’ particularly in relation to maritime matters. The team is able to draw on a wide network of offices outside of the UK and frequently works with business owners, private equity investors and funds on matters spanning the entire acquisition process. Practice head Chris Kilburn is noted for his expertise in energy M&A. The ‘highly committed’ Jan Mellmann specialises in M&A and corporate finance work. Described as ‘brilliant, both technically and commercially,’ Mark Tooke focuses on maritime, energy and infrastructure-driven work, regularly advising on acquisitions, private equity, joint ventures, venture capital and commercial agreements. Daniel Saunders is praised by one client as ‘one of the best shipping and commercial legal experts’  in the market. Transport sector focused Christina Howard is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Chris Kilburn

Other key lawyers:

Jan Mellmann; Mark Tooke; Daniel Saunders; Christina Howard; Andy Savage; Nerina Erasmus

Testimonials

‘The team offers high quality service, deep industrial knowledge and very pleasant cooperation. Jan Mellmann and Nerina Erasmus are highly committed to achieve results with a practical and impressive approach.’

‘WFW has a strong corporate team combined with a deep understanding of shipping. They are the go-to law firm for shipping corporate matters. Mark Tooke is brilliant, both technically and commercially, user-friendly and responsive.’

‘The team develops an understanding of the commercial needs of the client and incorporate and document the needs in the most beneficial manner. They are always providing insights on a complicated transaction and finding solutions.’

‘Daniel Saunders stands out for the commercial knowledge of the industry and building a relationship based on trust. He always finds a way out of complicated and complex situations leaving all sides satisfied and more importantly in the most beneficial way for the client.’

‘A genuine full service law firm handling matters across shipping charters, shipbuilding contracts, JV agreements, merger control and competition issues, employment (ship related) and shipping disputes. Mark Tooke is very user friendly, hardworking and pragmatic.’

‘The team has in depth industry knowledge, commercial awareness and good responsiveness. Daniel Saunders is one of the best shipping and commercial legal experts on the field.’

‘The team gives very swift, practical and hands-on legal advice.’

‘High quality advice and strong transaction management is what we experienced with this team. The work was delivered on time and they had a pragmatic approach. Andy Savage is a standout partner. He is strong on corporate law matters and has strong energy and infrastructure and energy sector knowledge making him a go-to person for M&A deals in these areas.’

Key clients

Transitional Energy Group

Nala Renewables

CREDITAS Group

Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas Ltd

TEPCO Renewable Power

Green Investment Group / Macquarie Asset Management

Orsted

Trafigura

NYK Shipping

Beacon Energy plc

Celsius Resources Limited

InfraRed Capital Partners

United Oil & Gas plc

Work highlights

  • Advising the Republic of Guinea on the US$15bn Simandou project, a large mining and related rail and port infrastructure project.
  • Advising CREDITAS on its acquisition of InterGen Projects (UK) Limited, one the largest independent power producers in the UK and its UK business from InterGen’s parent company.
  • Advising Macquarie Asset Management’s Green Investment Group on the sale of its 170 MW onshore windfarm portfolio held by Nordic Renewable Power Holding to Vauban Infrastructure Partners. The deal marks Vauban’s first investment in the wind power sector.

Dispute resolution > International arbitration Tier 3

With 'excellent instincts when it comes to international disputes', Watson Farley & Williams LLP‘s practice stands out for its specialist sector expertise in energy, transport and infrastructure across the firm's international network. Construction and energy disputes expert Rebecca Williams is 'a fighter that clients want in their corner'; Rob Fidoe acts in ad hoc and institutional arbitrations under various rules; Mike Phillips is maritime disputes leader; Andrew Ward specialises in heavyweight international arbitration; and Andrew Hutcheon is 'skilled at securing good outcomes'. Mark McAllister-Jones is a recently-elevated counsel, while Archit DhirAlexander Creswick and Jack Moulder are experienced senior associates.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Williams; Rob Fidoe

Testimonials

‘The commercial disputes team at WFW is a delight to work with.’

‘Extremely sharp, hardworking, and have excellent instincts when it comes to international disputes.’

‘They really know what they are doing in international arbitration, and take care to manage the process at every stage to put their clients in the best possible position.’

‘Rebecca Williams is an outstanding disputes lawyer. Her instincts in relation to strategy and how matters are likely to be received by a tribunal are always spot on; and when dealing with difficult opponents, she is a fighter that clients want in their corner.’

Regardless of the size or complexity of a dispute, Mark McAllister-Jones is all over the detail. Even at crunch points, he manages to ensure that everything is under control and difficult issues are dealt with promptly, carefully and skilfully. He is an excellent disputes lawyer.

‘Andrew Hutcheon is highly experienced, conscientious of the needs of his clients, and skilled at securing good outcomes for them.’

‘Rob 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. Rob’s easygoing manner is very popular with clients and other team members, who find him very easy to work with.’

Alexander Creswick is extremely bright, and shows maturity and ability beyond his years. He is dependable and unflappable – a partner in the making.

Work highlights

  • Acting for a project developer and EPC contractor in consolidated LCIA arbitration proceedings, in respect of a framework purchase agreement to procure approximately $140m of PV panels and equipment for 13 solar projects.
  • Successfully representing a state-owned energy company in LCIA proceedings (and related injunctive and anti-suit applications), which relate to a dispute under a matched sale-purchase agreement for the supply of 60 LNG cargoes.
  • Acting for vessel owners in a complex dispute in the maritime sector, involving the interpretation and enforcement of vessel pooling arrangements where the claims and counterclaims are over £3.5bn.

Finance > Trade finance Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has 'an excellent team that manages to achieve the rare combination of excellent technical legal skills, strong market knowledge and contacts, and a personable and human approach'. The firm's long-standing commitment to the commodities sector, combined with experience in complex finance structures, make it a prominent adviser on commodity and upstream finance transactions. Lead partner Joe Levin and senior associate Jordan Joannides assisted FBN Bank (UK) Ltd with commodities mandates with a total value of $185m, including trade finance and working capital facilities. Levin also advised BW Energy Holdings on a new $300m reserve-based lending facility to finance the development of the Dussafu offshore oilfield in Gabon. Head of the mining and commodities group Jan Mellmann and head of the global oil and gas practice Chris Kilburn are closely involved in the financing of major projects across the globe.

Practice head(s):

Joe Levin

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘An excellent team who manage to achieve the rare combination of excellent technical legal skills, strong market knowledge and contacts and a personable and human approach to their work.’

‘Joe Levin is excellent.’

‘Very knowledgeable group and involved in numerous financings matters, particularly on the shipping side.’

‘As a group, they are practical and thoughtful and have excellent industry knowledge.’

‘WFW has the capabilities of a larger firm and the flexibility of a smaller firm.’

‘Jan Mellmann is a committed and commercially minded partner and a trusted advisor.’

Key clients

Republic of Guinea

FBN Bank (UK) Ltd

BW Energy Holdings Pte. Ltd

Black Sea Trade and Development Bank

Trafigura Pte Ltd

African Export and Import Bank (“Afrexim”)

Coastline Exploration

JE Energy

Altamin Limited

Teichmann Company Limited

United Oil & Gas plc

Tenaz Energy Corp.

CalEnergy Resources (UK) Ltd

Celsius Resources Limited

Beacon Energy plc

Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advising BW Energy on an up to US$300m new international RBL (“reserve-based lending”) facility. The facility will be used initially to further finance and develop the Dussafu license offshore Gabon.
  • Advising Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (“BSTDB”) regarding an up to €90.5m loan granted to Energean Oil & Gas S.A. (“Energean”), as well an associated guarantee to be provided by the Greek State for up to 90% of the total committed investment, to develop the Prinos Basin offshore of Greece.
  • Advising Trafigura on an up to US$150,000,000 facility agreement for Gran Tierra Energy with two Swiss entities from the Gran Tierra group acting as the borrowers.

Industry focus > Hospitality and leisure Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has significant geographical reach and a growing client roster spanning the full range of industry stakeholders, and featuring names such as Canon Corporate UK and The Wolseley Hospitality Group. The ‘forward-thinking team’ regularly assists with acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures, developments and sales, investment structures, and management and franchise agreements. Team leader and corporate and commercial expert Felicity Jones has ‘great specialist knowledge of hotels', and has extensive experience in hotel and resort transactions, operational and commercial contracts, and other real estate trading activities. Praised for his ‘efficiency and commercial judgement', Richard Hughes is well versed in financing transactions. Construction expert Barry Hembling offers ‘top-notch’ advice.

Practice head(s):

Felicity Jones

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Felicity Jones stands head and shoulders above other hospitality lawyers I have dealt with over many years. She takes a business view rather than simply a legal perspective and acts like one of our team. This means she is always available. She’s interested in achieving the result you want rather than simply winning arguments but can be robust when required. Above all, she is a pleasure to work with.’

‘Felicity Jones is fierce in negotiations and has great specialist knowledge of hotels. She has worked to extremely tight deadlines and negotiated a management contract in 3 weeks.’

‘In tight timing scenarios, the team was very responsive and thorough, especially in some non-traditional work. The team has been efficient and commercial.’

‘Richard Hughes’ efficiency and commercial judgement are great.’

‘They have excellent negotiating skills and draft wording to protect our interests.’

‘A prompt, imaginative, positive, and solution-based practice. They are a great and forward-thinking team.’

‘Barry Hembling, alongside having impeccable manners, offers wise and efficient counsel. His technical knowledge and experience is second to none and he is well versed in dealing with complex cases and offering solutions to overcoming them. Having tried other commercial construction solicitors, he is, in my view, the best out there.’

‘Barry Hembling’s professionalism and dedication to our business is evident and we like his relaxed yet clear approach to business. He has good availability and the advice and support given is top-notch, always succinct and to the point, and extremely practical.’

Key clients

Jastar Capital

Norlake Hospitality Limited

BP Pension Fund

The Wolseley Hospitality Group

Grivalia Hospitality

Millennium Hotels and Resorts

Zaha Hadid Architects (“ZHA”)

Grupo Inversor Hesperia SA (Hesperia Hotels & Resorts)

Cannon Corporate UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Jastar Capital on its £40m+ acquisition of Native Bankside, a luxury aparthotel in London, and the conversion to a management agreement with Native Places.
  • Providing construction law and related advice to Millennium Hotels & Resorts on a number of hotels within its UK portfolio, including assisting with the refurbishment of the Chelsea Harbour Hotel.
  • Advising Cannon Corporate UK on terminating existing arrangements at The Crowne Plaza London Albert Embankment and its rebranding under the Hyatt Regency portfolio.

Projects, energy and natural resources > Infrastructure: M&A and acquisition financing Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP is active across the infrastructure and energy space. The team shows notable expertise in acquisitions, bid processes and debt financing regarding transport related mandates, as well as battery storage projects and renewable energy developments. Ryan Ayrton and Andy Savage co-head the practice, with the former highlighted for his range of acquisition financing work, and the latter for his strong transactional work involving social infrastructure. Christina Howard  handles a strong body of international mandates, advising investors and funds across a range of asset types, while Chris Kilburn, who heads the corporate department, specialises in energy work.

Practice head(s):

Ryan Ayrton; Andy Savage

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Watson Farley & Williams LLP is a very impressive firm, with outstanding knowledge and experience. We engaged Watson Farley & Williams LLP to assist on a complex M&A transaction..from day one they felt like part of the team and drove the transaction forwards from the front.’

‘I think a key attribute that sets Watson Farley & Williams LLP apart from the rest is their collaboration; a client isn’t just another number on a time sheet, they are a valued partner looking to achieve shared success.’

‘Strong offering which is able to leverage off a leading energy and infra practice. Advice goes beyond just M&A and the team have a real understanding of the underlying assets, how they work and where the value lies. I really appreciate being advised on M&A deals by an actual M&A lawyer rather than a projects lawyer who is desperately clinging on to the deal in order to meet the relevant partner metrics of a given firm.’

‘Andy Savage has a deep knowledge of infra and energy projects and can bring these to bear to the wider WFW team’

Key clients

REDITAS Group

TEPCO Renewable Power

Orsted

Green Investment Group / Macquarie Asset Management

Banco Santander S.A.

HKZ Investor Holding B.V.

Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Fund

Nordea and SEB as lenders

The Republic of Guinea

Allied Irish Banks PLC, Barclays Bank PLC, Lloyds Bank PLC

and National Westminster Bank PLC

Wielton S.A.

Work highlights

  • Advising CREDITAS on its acquisition of InterGen Projects (UK) Limited and its UK business from InterGen’s parent company.
  • Advising TEPCO Renewable Power on its acquisition of Flotation Energy Limited, TEPCO’s first major offshore wind venture outside of Japan.
  • Advising Macquarie Asset Management’s Green Investment Group (“GIG”) on the sale of its 170 MW onshore windfarm portfolio held by Nordic Renewable Power Holding to Vauban Infrastructure Partners (“Vauban”).

Projects, energy and natural resources > Infrastructure: Project finance and development Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP handles a range of financing work, advising lenders, government, credit support agencies and contractors on a variety of projects, with particular proficiency in multi-lender financings. With experience of both the lender and borrower side, the team has been involved in offshore wind, solar, and oil and gas developments and infrastructure projects. Team head Henry Stewart has been a key driver of the group's solar projects work, with far reaching expertise across the full range of energy assets, while Julian Nichol is noted for his financing expertise and natural gas and coal experience. Joe Levin 's practice focuses on upstream oil and gas.

Practice head(s):

Henry Stewart

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Palestine Power Generating Company

Lloyds Bank

NatWest

BW Energy Holdings Pte. Ltd

Black Sea Trade and Development Bank

Trafigura Pte Ltd

FBN Bank (UK) Ltd

The Republic of Guinea

Natixis, S.A. Sucursal en España

Santander

ABN AMRO Bank NV

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA

HKZ Investor Holding B.V

Edmond de Rothschild

Cero Generation

Investec

Lightsource bp

Sonnedix

Nord/LB

Afrexim

Work highlights

  • Advising Palestine Power Generating Company (PPGC) on the development and financing of Palestine’s first project-financed gas-fired power plant, the 455 MW Jenin Power Generation Plant (or the Jenin IPP).
  • Advising Lloyds Bank, NatWest and Allied Irish Bank acting as lenders on an innovative £230m finance facility granted to Low Carbon to create 1 GW of solar PV capacity.
  • Advising BW Energy on an up to US$300m new international reserve-based lending facility. The facility will be used initially to further finance and develop the Dussafu license offshore Gabon.

Projects, energy and natural resources > Oil and gas Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP‘s oil & gas team is ‘exceptionally knowledgable in the sector’ and is known for possessing ‘a wide breadth of experience across the industry, not only in respect of pure upstream oil and gas work but also in areas such as LNG, hydrogen and other more green sources of energy’. The group focuses on large multi-jurisdictional transactions and disputes, including advising on the acquisition and disposal of oil and gas assets, project development, investments and financing. Corporate partner Chris Kilburn leads the team and is extremely well-versed on transactions in Europe and Africa. Heike Trischmann is a key name for LNG to power projects.

Practice head(s):

Chris Kilburn

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Chris Kilburn – great oil and gas industry knowledge, great AIM knowledge; well respected by other AIM related service providers; accessible; always cool under pressure – keeps his head when others are losing theirs.’

‘Compact but full service oil and gas offering; partners with real expertise in the areas it’s needed, who work on the matters and engage directly with the client (rather than delegating to an associate once instructed), and who are available when you need to speak. Always practical and working towards the big picture outcome and the client’s goals. Core team of associates who are also proactive, diligent, and responsive.’

‘Joe Levin is a solution focused and adaptable finance partner with a breadth of oil and gas expertise who wants to work with and support his clients, taking a commercial approach to help ensure deals close.’

‘Heike Trischmann – highly knowledgeable and determined E&P partner who is a valuable asset for commercial O&G contracts, Heike has experience advising on matters in many different jurisdictions which helps her to bring new perspectives to transactions.’

‘Rob Fidoe – whether leading on a dispute or acting in an advisory capacity on a wider transaction, Rob’s experience across the energy sector and beyond ensures he provides comprehensive, practical, and strategic advice.’

‘The oil and gas team at WFW have a wide breadth of experience across the industry, not only in respect of pure upstream oil and gas work but also in areas such as LNG, hydrogen and other more green sources of energy which are of importance in the present day.’

‘Heike Trishchmann is one of the best I have worked with. She is down to earth and has a knack of getting right to the heart of any matter before her – both from a commercial and legal viewpoint. Her attention to detail is second to none and she understands the commercial drivers and always seeks to propose solutions which ultimately benefit the client’s business goals.’

‘Our firm is highly focussed on the natural gas and – increasingly – green hydrogen space. The direct experience of assignments in the natural gas and LNG sector of Partner Heike Trischmann has ensured that WFW are our preferred legal partner. Heike has been working with the German firm to jointly develop the Green Hydrogen offering and this has led to our firm being able to introduce additional legal expertise to enhance our own client offerings.’

Key clients

BW Energy Holdings Pte. Ltd

Black Sea Trade and Development Bank

Trafigura Pte Ltd

Coastline Exploration

Tenaz Energy Corp.

CalEnergy Resources (UK) Ltd

World Bank Group and the Government of Namibia

Titan Energy Holding BV (trade name: Titan Clean Fuels)

JE Energy Ltd

Beacon Energy plc

United Oil & Gas plc

Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advising BW Energy on an up to US$300m new international RBL (“reserve-based lending”) facility. The facility will be used initially to further finance and develop the Dussafu license offshore Gabon.
  • Advising Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (“BSTDB”) regarding an up to €90.5m loan granted to Energean Oil & Gas S.A. (“Energean”), as well an associated guarantee to be provided by the Greek State for up to 90% of the total committed investment, to develop the Prinos Basin offshore of Greece.
  • Advising Trafigura on an up to US$150,000,000 facility agreement for Gran Tierra Energy with two Swiss entities from the Gran Tierra group acting as the borrowers.

Real estate > Construction: contentious Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP specialises in the energy, transport, and real estate sectors. Practice head Rebecca Williams boasts extensive experience in various dispute resolution forms in the construction, engineering, process, petrochemical, and energy sectors. Ryland Ash has carved a niche in adjudication and litigation proceedings, as well as in dispute avoidance and early dispute resolution through less formal procedures. Barry Hembling offers blue-chip clients construction law advice throughout a project’s lifecycle. Theresa Mohammed and her team of four others joined the department from Trowers & Hamlins LLP during 2022. Mohammed is an authority in handling large-scale infrastructure, landmark heritage, and high-risk residential disputes.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Williams

Testimonials

‘The WFW disputes team is excellent. They are responsive, sharp and have great strategic and tactical instincts. Work is consistently done to a high standard, on time, and focused on the right issues.’

‘Rebecca Williams is an outstanding disputes lawyer. Her instincts in relation to strategy and how matters are likely to be received by a judge or tribunal are always spot on, and when dealing with difficult opponents, she is a fighter that you want in your corner.’

‘The construction team in London has developed greatly under the leadership of Rebecca Williams. She has gathered a formidable team which offers real strength in depth. One of the true experts in offshore wind projects.’

‘Rebecca Williams is driven, focused and leads from the front. Theresa Mohammed is an authority on public housing and infrastructure disputes. Rebecca Williams has developed a diverse team which is modern, dynamic, and progressive.’

‘The team is dynamic with an emphasis on developing next-generation talent. Rebecca Williams is a great figurehead who has also grown the practice with some impressive lateral partner hires. They are particularly strong in renewables and have a long track record in buildings related disputes. They’ve risen to prominence over the last few years and their trajectory is clearly upwards.’

‘Rebecca Williams is charismatic, commercial and a real go-getter. She communicates very clearly. Barry Hembling is very strong on hotel-related disputes. Ryland Ash has a strong contractor practice and is very easy to deal with. Alexander Creswick is clearly a partner in waiting. Very astute with really good client skills too.’

‘Ryland Ash is astute and fantastic to work with. He brings great drive and commercial insight to all his cases. Mark McCallister-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.’

‘Laura Lintott has remarkable intellect and dedication to the subject area. Increasingly high profile and rubs shoulders with giants of the area.’

Key clients

The Wolseley Hospitality Group

Ardmore Construction Limited

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council

Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust

Poplar Harca

GMS Estates

Abbey Healthcare

BP Pension Fund

Colas Limited

Zaha Hadid Architects

Ørsted

Perenco UK Limited

Millennium Hotels & Resorts

Work highlights

  • Acting for Abbey Healthcare in a stunning win before the Court of Appeal to decide whether statutory adjudication rights apply to collateral warranty claims.
  • Advising Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council in the pre-action stage with their investigations into the ongoing defects at the landmark Twin Sails Bridge, Poole.

Real estate > Construction: non-contentious Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP offers comprehensive cradle-to-grave services in the energy, infrastructure, and transport sectors. Team head Martin Lucas specialises in offshore wind construction and project development. Barry Hembling provides both contentious and non-contentious support throughout a project’s lifecycle, from initial contract negotiations to dispute avoidance, with particular emphasis on real estate assets, especially in the hotel, leisure, and healthcare sectors. Emmanuel Ninos adds expertise in working with major utilities companies, developers, and contractors to the practice.

Practice head(s):

Martin Lucas

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Barry Hembling is extremely thorough in all that he does. He is never flustered and always provides reasoned robust advice and legal positions in a fair and balanced way, and has a skill of articulating his argument always in a manner that seems to avoid confrontation such that the other side sees his point and can engage positively.’

‘Watson Farley & Williams cover all sectors of industry with unrivalled knowledge and excellent counsel.’

‘Barry Hembling is an excellent communicator, giving a thoroughly professional service at all times. Cannot recommend him highly enough.’

‘The team possess excellent technical knowledge and clear communication skills. They have collaborated closely with the client.’

‘Jamie Bell is very driven and helpful. He is capable of creative thinking whilst also possessing strong technical knowledge and is a very good communicator. Jamie understands the problem quickly and seeks to find sensible solutions.’

‘Experienced and knowledgeable team. Keep in regular touch and provide excellent quality industry legal updates. Always contactable for high-level advice when required.’

‘The individuals are extremely knowledgeable about our business, our governance and what is important to us. They take the time to maintain regular contact even when not directly commissioned.’

‘I am very glad we opted for WF&W and in particular Barry Hembling. He clearly has the experience, and he has excellent legal knowledge and is a good communicator, which is important when dealing with material contracts. I am pleased we have Barry in our corner in order to best protect the business in a period of growth.’

Key clients

The Wolseley Hospitality Group

Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust

Poplar Harca

GMS Estates

Zaha Hadid Architects

BP Pension Fund

Colas Limited

Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farm

Vattenfall

Ørsted

Equinor

Millennium Hotels & Resorts

Hitachi Zosen Innova

Work highlights

  • Advising the special purpose vehicles set-up by SSE plc and Equinor on all the construction elements for the development of the large-scale wind farms that are often referred to as the “Dogger Bank” offshore wind farm.
  • Continuing to provide non-contentious construction law advice on a portfolio of real estate development projects for the BP Pension Fund (Ropemaker Properties), one of the UK’s largest pension funds.
  • Advising Vattenfall on the development and construction of the 4.2 GW Norfolk Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farms, one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world.

Transport > Aviation Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP offers clients ‘extraordinarily broad experience’ in the aviation sector, advising on the spectrum of commercial issues, restructuring and insolvency and regulatory matters in addition to handling major disputes. The firm has also acted for clients in relation to Russian aircraft seizures and sanctions. Jim Bell heads the practice, acting for financiers, lessors and operators on structured finance transactions, while Andrew Ward, who co-heads the dispute resolution team, acts for banks, investors, airlines and lessors. Patrick Moore focuses on restructuring matters, handling matters ranging from lease arrangements to Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. A number of arrivals have augmented the practice, with Jeffrey Wool, on secondment as secretary general of the Aviation Working Group, arriving from Holland & Knight LLP as a senior global advisor in January 2023 and aviation disputes specialist Tim Murray following in June. Alison Weal arrived from Winston & Strawn LLP in May 2022, taking up a position as head of aviation knowledge management.

Practice head(s):

Jim Bell

Other key lawyers:

Robert Fidoe; Andrew Ward; Chris Mitchell; Patrick Moore; Dominic Pearson; Jeffrey Wool; Tim Murray; Alison Weal; Simon Jennings; Liam Clozier

Testimonials

‘The aviation team at Watson Farley has extraordinarily broad experience in all aircraft finance and lease topics.’

‘They are able to apply their knowledge perfectly in line with the economic needs of an airline and provide perfect, fast and reliable services.’

‘Chris Mitchell is an excellent partner for every aircraft-related transaction on the side of an in-house legal counsel. He is able to structure complex legal projects and gives excellent guidance so that every transaction becomes a success! He is extremely fast and on the spot with advice. The same applies for his associate Liam Clozier.’

‘Tim Murray has tonnes of experience in aviation. He has been involved in every kind of aviation dispute and has a massive amount of experience and knowledge.’

‘Tim Murray is an absolute pleasure to work with.’

‘Tim Murray is a brilliantly clever lawyer: he is always thinking at least two moves ahead of his opponents. His analysis of the law is always spot-on, and he gives very clear and commercial advice.’

‘Tim Murray: a brilliant source of knowledge in the aviation industry.’

‘Tim Murray achieves great solutions for his client. He combines his knowledge with a keen strategic insight and ability to master complex materials.’

Key clients

Air Seychelles

Ryanair

Apollo Global Management

JP Morgan Asset Management

NordLB

Minsheng Financial Leasing

Wilmington Trust

Aviation Working Group

Kroll

SDH Wings

Work highlights

  • Advised Air Seychelles in regard to its restructuring negotiations relating to its ongoing participation and obligations under a securitisation of loans to various Etihad Alliance partner airlines, with an aggregate value of $1.2bn.
  • Advised Apollo Global Management as special aviation counsel on the $700m debtor-in-possession financing for Scandinavian Airlines as part of the airline’s Chapter 11 restructuring.
  • Advised the Aviation Working Group (AWG) as its primary international advisors on five important areas including the development of the AWG’s sustainability and ESG framework, the design and build of the Global Aircraft Trading System (GATS), the continued development and support in relation to the Cape Town Convention, the development of a new approach to political risk for investors in aviation and specific actions relation to Russia and insurance.

Transport > Shipping Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP‘s shipping team delivers comprehensive advice to maritime clients, showcasing deep proficiency in the enforcement of ship mortgages alongside insolvency and restructuring work. The firm also sports expertise in sanction-related matters as well as disputes and ESG issues. George Macheras is the key partner, acting as global maritime sector co-head, and noted for his experience in dry shipping and ship finance matters. Mike Phillips is lauded for his ‘valuable and creative support’, while Robert Platt focuses on contentious matters and commercial contracts. Marcus Dodds left the firm for an in-house position in November 2022.

Practice head(s):

George Macheras

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Consistently punches above its weight and provides a high-quality service.’

‘A genuine full service law firm – we use WFW for our shipbuilding contracts and time charterparties and they can pull in other practices when needed.’

‘Robert Platt – intelligent negotiator, understated style and manner which achieves results, very user friendly and thinks of practical solutions under pressure. Recommended for shipbuilding contracts.’

‘Daniel Saunders stands out for his commercial knowledge of the industry and building a relationship based on trust. He always finds a way out of complicated and complex situations leaving all sides satisfied and more importantly in the most beneficial way for the client.’

‘Commercial acumen, responsive client approach, problem-solving attitude, in-depth expert knowledge of shipping.’

‘Mike Phillips brings excellent knowledge and experience to the table which is key to getting on the front foot and preventing potentially expensive disputes escalating. Contactable if and when needed within reason and in line with the severity and timeline of the matter.’

‘This firm have long history in the shipping law practice and had created several new practice areas following the market flow.’

‘Mike Phillips always gives valuable and creative support that is solution oriented.’

Key clients

MSC Cruises

MSC Group

NIBC Bank

Genco Shipping & Trading Limited

EnTrust Global

Maas Capital Shipping BV

Navigator Holdings

Clean Sea Transport LLC

PointState Capital LP

YieldStreet Management, LLC

Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale

Royal Caribbean Group

Ardmore Shipping Corporation

Altera Infrastructure

Tor Boreas

Anglo American

Work highlights

  • Advising Sovcomflot on its exit of the Western debt market.
  • Advising MSC Cruises on the delivery of the “MSC Seascape”.
  • Advising NIBC Bank on the sale of its offshore energy portfolio to an undisclosed buyer.

Corporate and commercial > Equity capital markets – small-mid cap Tier 4

Watson Farley & Williams LLP advises a varied mix of listed companies, investment banks, NOMADs and brokers on a diverse range of transactions, including IPOs, secondary placings, reverse takeovers and private placements. Practice head Chris Kilburn is a key name for M&A, corporate finance and commercial transactions in the energy, mining and transport sectors. 'Technically excellent and also commercially focused', corporate finance and M&A specialist Jan Mellmann is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Chris Kilburn

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Sarah Williamson, great knowledge of the legal process in financing – equity raise cross multiple jurisdictions. Adaptability dealing with very different personalities on our Executive and Board. Excellent and delivering legal process to board in a concise manner that engaged them and go their attention!’

‘Responsive and solutions focused.’

‘Jan Mellmann is technically excellent and commercially focused.’

‘Very competent, practical advice.’

‘Jan Mellmann is a strong lawyer and always gives timely, practical advice.’

‘Very strong and deep team with good knowledge. They are very practical, highly responsive and cost effective.’

‘Jan Mellmann and Chris Kilburn are extremely practical and responsive. Always a pleasure to work with.’

‘WFW has the capabilities of a larger firm, but remains flexible like a smaller firm.’

Key clients

Beacon Energy plc

Celsius Resources

Southwind Corporation

Teichmann

88Energy Limited

Aminex plc

Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd

Chesterfield Resources Plc

Coro Energy plc

Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas

Pala Investments Limited

Sandfire Resources Limited

Tianqi Lithium Corporation

TORM plc

Tower Resources

United Oil & Gas plc

VSA Capital Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised AIM-traded Beacon Energy plc on its reverse takeover of Rhein Petroleum GmbH.
  • Advised Celsius Resources Limited on its admission to trading on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and connected fundraising.
  • Advised TSX-listed Tenaz Energy Corp.on its all-share combination with AIM-listed SDX Energy PLC.

Employment > Immigration Tier 4

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has carved out a niche advising clients in the maritime sector in relation to the full range of immigration issues, as this is one of the firm’s core sector focusses, alongside the energy sector and tech and digital spaces. Co-head of the practice Devan Khagram leads the work in these sectors, and has particular expertise in matters concerning the relocation of executives in companies with complex structures. Anna Robinson co-heads the team, and has a focus on complex settlement and naturalisation applications as part of a broader practice assisting HNW individuals.

Practice head(s):

Devan Khagram; Anna Robinson

Other key lawyers:

Elliott Marshall

Testimonials

Spot on, tailored advice.’

Pragmatic, friendly, and nice to deal with.’

Watson Farley & Williams have provided an amazing service. The immigration lawyers that I worked with were so patient and explained everything thoroughly. No question was a silly question!

Everyone I had dealings with at Watson and Farley gave excellent service. One person I would like to point out in particular was Elliott Marshall. Even in the most stressful situations, he made me feel at ease. I feel that his patience and dedication was great and something I wouldn’t have got from a previous immigration law firm. I learnt a lot from Elliott!

The team are professional and personable, and work well with their industry contacts to keep ahead of, and to inform, policy changes to the regulatory framework.’

The team has significant experience in dealing with UK immigration requests. They are timely and provide good cover when other team members are not available.

Key clients

PGS Exploration (UK) Ltd

More Contract Limited

Frasers Management (UK) Limited

Work highlights

Projects, energy and natural resources > Mining and minerals Tier 4

Watson Farley & Williams LLP‘s global mining practice, which is praised for its ‘extremely strong technical and sector specific knowledge’, advises high-end clients across various jurisdictions on the full life-span of mining projects including M&A, equity capital markets, debt and project finance, and dispute resolution. Jan Mellmann heads the practice and is an expert in corporate finance and M&A work.

Practice head(s):

Jan Mellmann

Testimonials

‘Extremely strong technical and sector specific knowledge.’

‘Jan Melman and Daisy East were both incredible. They were available, knowledge and clear in their delivery of information.’

‘Watson Farley has the wonderful advantage of Jan Mellmann. He has spent time building a relationship with us and our firm for many years; his ability to manage his international teams and translate legally and culturally for us has made them our number one choice for resources work in Europe. One of the most commercial and technically sound firms.’

‘Jan Mellmann. He has spent time building a relationship with us and our firm for many years; his ability to manage his international teams and translate legally and culturally for us has made them our number one choice for resources work in Europe.’

‘Very competent, practical advice.’

‘Jan Mellman is a strong lawyer and always gives timely, practical advice.’

Key clients

The Republic of Guinea

Altamin Limited

Teichmann Company Limited

Southwind Corporation

Celsius Resources Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the Republic of Guinea on the US$15bn Simandou project, the world’s largest mining and related rail and port infrastructure project.
  • Advising Altamin Limited on its joint venture agreement with Appian Natural Resources Fund II, via Appian Italy B.V., for Appian to invest A$96m into the Gorno zinc project in Northern Italy.

Transport > Rail Tier 4

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has a large asset finance practice. It has specialists who cover a broad range of matters across areas such as financing, capital markets, corporate, dispute resolution and regulatory. Clients include lessors, banks and other financiers as well as operators, rolling stock lessors, investors and train operators. Practice head Louise Mor is recommended. Theresa Mohammed joined the team from Trowers & Hamlins LLP in July 2022.

Practice head(s):

Louise Mor

Other key lawyers:

Ryland Ash; Theresa Mohammed

Testimonials

‘Highest quality of personal service; always available to speak whenever I call; never delays with responses to queries and always provides very best advice and options for action’.

‘Ryland Ash has been an outstanding ally and superb advisor in all matters legal, helping us to avoid situations and to take advantage of situations too whenever the opportunity has arisen’.

Key clients

Nexrail

KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH

Alpha Trains Luxembourg S.a r.l

InfraVia Capital Partners

Ermewa

Railpool GmBH

Work highlights

  • Advised a syndicate of lenders and noteholders led by KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH on a €1.07bn financing provided to rolling stock lessor Railpool in a combination of secured bank debt and European private placement notes within its existing common terms financing platform.
  • Advised Alpha Trains on its raising of €548m in a combination of senior and HoldCo level secured bank debt within its existing common terms financing platform.
  • Acted for Ermewa as issuer on an issuance of private placement notes to European and US investors, including a deferred payment tranche.

Corporate and commercial > Private equity: transactions - mid-market deals (up to £250m) Tier 5

Operating as a subset of the wider corporate and tax team, Watson Farley & Williams LLP notably works with management teams and sponsors on deals across the energy, infrastructure, and transport sectors, and particularly in emerging markets. Corporate head Chris Kilburn is especially noted for his capabilities in energy sector deals, acting for a range of investors and portfolio companies, both domestically and internationally. Andy Savage‘s experience encompasses renewables and social infrastructure, while Daniel Saunders is rated by clients for his expertise in shipping and offshore oil and gas. Mark Tooke is also recommended for his knowledge of maritime matters.

Practice head(s):

Chris Kilburn

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Daniel Saunders stands out for his commercial knowledge of the industry and for building relationships based on trust. He always finds a way out of complicated and complex situations leaving all sides satisfied and more importantly in the most beneficial way for the client.’

Key clients

Transitional Energy Group

Nala Renewables

Altamin Limited

Snam S. p.A

Apollo Global Management

InfraRed Capital Partners

LeapFrog Investments

DIF

Helios Energy Investment

Trafigura Pte Ltd

Transitional Energy Group

Work highlights

  • Advising a private equity fund on its investment into a financial services business.
  • Advising Apollo Global Management as special aviation counsel on the US$700m debtor-in-possession financing for Scandinavian Airlines as part of the airline’s Chapter 11 restructuring.
  • Advising on the joint venture between Hive Energy and Transition Energy Group Holdings Limited for the development of the 3+GW Gente Grande, green ammonia project in Tierra del Fuego, Chile.

Real estate > Environment Tier 5

Watson Farley & Williams LLP‘s team is noted as being ‘very approachable and accessible’. Nick Walker heads up the cohort and is described as being ‘pragmatic and clear in his advice’. The team advises on the broad spectrum of EHS law, sustainability and nature-based solutions to its clients, with a partial focus on the maritime industry. Senior associate Valentina Keys has a notable focus on decarbonisation work.

Practice head(s):

Nick Walker

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘A very approachable and accessible team who offer consistent advice.’

‘Very proactive and quick to pick up phone and chat through queries.’

‘The team comprises comprehensive knowledge who apply attention-to-detail.’

‘The team has great initiative and pre-emp issues.’

‘The practice has exceptional experience and knowledge. They are respectful of client regardless of the size of the matter.’

‘Nick Walker is responsive, knowledgeable and considerate of all issues.’

‘They are very experienced in dealing with environmental regulators in different jurisdictions, and able to give sound practical advice about how to communicate with them successfully.’

‘Nick Walker is pragmatic and clear in his advice when it comes to dealing with regulatory investigations.’

Key clients

Republic of Guinea

BW Energy

Work highlights

  • Advising the Republic of Guinea on ESG, and EHS risks and liabilities in connection with the $15bn Simandou project, the world largest mining and related rail and port infrastructure project.
  • Advising BW Energy on an up to $300m new international RBL facility which will be used initially to further finance and develop the Dussafu license offshore Gabon.

Real estate > Planning Tier 5

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has a wide ranging planning and environment health and safety offering. The planning team advises on both non-contentious and contentious matters, from onshore and offshore consents, compulsory purchases, development planning, and regeneration, to judicial reviews and inquiries. The team also has an environmental focus, advising on minerals and waste matters, as well as new energy technologies. Nick Walker leads the team with a particular focus on the energy and infrastructure sectors.

Practice head(s):

Nick Walker

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Ropemaker Properties

InfraRed Capital Partners

Lightsource BP

Work highlights

  • Advising Ropemaker Properties on a number of multi-million pound developments, including planning and EHS matters.
  • Advising Ropemaker Properties on the forward funding development, comprising 27 industrial units of 581,040 sq. ft in Bristol.
  • Advising Ropemaker Properties on securing planning permission for the £32m redevelopment of a former office building in central Cardiff.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 5

Active across the full-range of contentious real estate services, Watson Farley & Williams LLP is particularly experienced in regard to development and infrastructure disputes. Other focus areas include cladding and fire safety, residential disputes and property insolvency. The 'excellent' Dev Desai leads the group and specialises in landlord and tenant disputes, while also representing developers and financial institutions.

Practice head(s):

Dev Desai

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Mulroney; Rupi Chandla

Testimonials

‘A highly responsive and experienced client-focused team providing commercially-minded advice to achieve the optimum financial outcome for the client.’

‘Dev Desai and Alex Mulroney are both highly experienced property litigators who work well together. They are easy to talk to and invariably provide timely and commercially-focused advice. They have provided us with a high-level of service over a number of years.’

‘The team at WFW are very personable and appreciate the holistic approach to development and its associated risks. The WFW team are very much part of the development team and collaborate with all, providing sensible, commercial advice.’

‘The team is diverse, multi-talented and takes a holistic approach. They tackle problems quickly and efficiently.’

‘Dev Desai has been excellent. His commercial acumen and experience are second-to-none. He is transparent, direct and cost-effective in his approach.’

‘What makes this practice unique in my eyes is the responsiveness of the lawyers. They are always on-hand to respond to queries swiftly.’

‘The team is particularly strong when it comes to development support, ESG, property-related insolvency and high-class residential matters.’

‘Alexander Mulroney has a great analytical mind and is very strong when it comes to strategic thinking.’

Key clients

BP Investment Management Limited

Ropemaker Properties Limited

The Advertising Association

Eastern Pyramid Group Corporation SA

The Guide Association

Nordea Bank

Optimus Wind Limited

Collier Contracts Limited

Austringer Group of Companies

South Coast Furnishing Company Limited

De Villiers South West Ltd

Tower Hill Property Investments (10) Limited

Generation Investments Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Girl Guides in a complex forfeiture case against the administrators of the operator company running the luxury hotel situated by Buckingham Palace.
  • Advising the Eastern Pyramid Group in relation to its landmark building in London’s prestigious Lancaster Gate (Spire House).
  • Representing the client in a complex lease and elapsed guarantee dispute where we deftly manoeuvred the parties to a resolution whilst avoiding costly litigation.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate tax Tier 6

Watson Farley & Williams LLP advises on transactions and disputes, and has key expertise in the maritime sector. Team lead Richard Stephens is a leading name for maritime tax, and advises on tonnage tax and the operations of international cruise companies. Claire Miles joined the group from Willkie Farr & Gallagher (UK) LLP in February 2023.

Practice head(s):

Richard Stephens

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Eurazeo

NIBC

Entrust Global

Work highlights

  • Advised the Eurazeo Sustainable Maritime Infrastructure fund on the sale and leaseback of the jack-up wind farm support vessel ‘Thor’ for German shipping and logistics group Harren & Partner.
  • Advised NIBC Bank on the sale of its offshore energy portfolio to an undisclosed buyer. The entire portfolio was originally valued at €1.5bn and comprises assets across Europe and the US.
  • Advised the private equity fund, EnTrust Global on its acquisition of Maas Capital Shipping B.V., the private equity platform of ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

Corporate and commercial > EU and competition Tier 7

Praised for its ‘high quality service, deep industrial knowledge and very pleasant cooperation’, the competition group at Watson Farley & Williams LLP has particular expertise in the transport sector, providing cutting-edge advice on EU competition law, regulations, international policy and trade rules in the maritime. Practice head Solange Leandro advises on a broad range of aviation, maritime and energy clients on EU and UK competition and regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):

Solange Leandro

Other key lawyers:

Philippe Ruttley; Lauren Buchan; Daisy East; Simon Kavanagh

Testimonials

‘High quality service, deep industrial knowledge and very pleasant cooperation.’

‘Daisy East and Solange Leandro – highly committed to bringing results, with a practical approach and impressive experience.’

‘WFW are one of the stand out firms in shipping and oil and gas litigation.’

‘I have worked with Solange Leandro for a long time on competition matters in the shipping area. She is bright, efficient and always brings something new to the table – a pleasure to work with.’

‘I have worked more recently with Simon Kavanagh on sanction matters – he is extremely bright and always keen to explore every possibility in this fast-growing area. and he is also a pleasure to work with.’

‘Watson Farley & Williams reveals a deep technical and practical knowledge of the aviation industry and competition issues. In my view, what makes this team unique is the attitude towards the client, specifically the will to help the client solve its problems, giving the client the necessary and relevant tools to deal with the same.’

‘We have worked with Solange Leandro in various matters and I would strongly recommend Solange to potential clients in all EU and competition matters.’

‘Solange Leandro is highly professional, dedicated and available to her clients and has various skills that allow me to qualify her as one of the best lawyers in the areas where she works.’

Employment > Employers Tier 7

Watson Farley & Williams LLP advises on the employment aspects of transactions, including in sectors such as renewable energy development and investment management. The team is jointly led by Devan Khagram, a maritime employment law expert, and aviation and financial services expert Anna Robinson. Senior associate Aarti Jagpal is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Devan Khagram; Anna Robinson

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The main strength of the WFW team was the effective collaboration. From the get go of the project, they were extremely well-informed, conscientious and efficient.’

‘The team is very pragmatic and has extensive knowledge.’

‘The matter was lead by Aarti Jagpal, who’s fantastic at managing all situations. Turnaround is swift and always very in-depth.’

‘Specialist employment lawyers in the transport sector with particular experience of cross border issues’

‘Devan Khagram – a leader in international employment law in the transport sector.’

‘I have had excellent experiences with Devan Khagram. He is an expert in UK maritime employment law. He has top-notch, ready knowledge of employment and migration law in the maritime sector.’

‘The team proved to be professional, experienced, knowledgeable, open and approachable.’

Key clients

PGS Exploration (UK) Ltd

Fairphone B.V.

Tufton Investment Management Limited

Gamesys Ltd

Holland America Group (which included Princess Cruise Lines and is part of Carnival Corporation)

Frasers Management (UK) Limited

NGT Services UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Provided Fairphone with pro bono legal advice and support on the drafting and development of its Living Wage Bonus Agreement template.
  • Advised on the employment aspects of Societe Generale’s proposed acquisition of PayXpert.
  • Assisted on the employment aspects of a transaction for TEPCO.

Real estate > Property finance Tier 7

Real estate > Commercial property: development

Greece > Energy

Advising on the supply, financing and operational stages of traditional and renewable energy projects, the ‘truly insightful’ energy practice at Watson Farley & Williams LLP often represents financial institutions and international energy companies. The team specialises in handling M&A transactions and joint ventures, with the ‘very commercial’ Virginia Murray being an expert in project and acquisition finance, and Marisetta Marcopoulou assisting in banking regulation and stock exchange law matters. Maira Galani focuses on environmental law affairs; Valina Giouzelaki is knowledgeable on structured finance issues; and Matina Kanellopoulou concentrates on the hotel and energy sectors.

Practice head(s):

Virginia Murray

Other key lawyers:

Marisetta Marcopoulou; Maira Galani; Valina Giouzelaki; Matina Kanellopoulou; Maria Charontaki; Anastasios Giannopoulos; Eleni Stylianou; Katerina Stringari; Asimina Papakosta

Testimonials

‘The team is truly insightful not only regarding the most legal-related issues but also regarding the energy business and in general, a great strategic partner that provides relevant information of the dynamics of the renewable energy sector in Greece.’

‘Virginia Murray has a deep knowledge of the sector and the market. She goes far beyond legal advice.’

‘Tasos Giannopoulos is a great lawyer and professional you definitely feel comfortable with. Tasos is the kind of lawyer you want to have by your side because of his extraordinary commitment, approachability, readiness and thoroughness, among others. He advises in a strategic manner considering the reality of the business and market, which is very appreciated especially when it comes to advice to a foreign company starting in Greece.’

‘Within the Greece market and renewable energy sector, Watson Farley and Williams is one of the most important law firms. They can combine the international experience with a strong knowledge of the local aspects. They cover all the legal aspects connected to a development process of renewable energy projects and are very well positioned with the most important players like the banks. ’

‘Virginia Murray is very commercial and one of the best contract negotiators with whom I worked. Also her team follows the same approach and it is able to provide a service very valuable for the client like us. I would like to mention Eleni Stylianou, Maira Galani, Katerina Stringari and Tasos Giannopoulos.’

‘This Team has a deep knowledge of the energy sector procedures and legislation in Greece. This Team is always up to date with the recent developments both on the legal and the Business environment within the Greek State.’

‘Hard working Individuals, always on time, never had a delay on deliverables. Ample understanding of the energy environment (procedures and legislation) in Greece. Top person Virginia Murray: I bet that there is no other lawyer in Greece with so much knowledge on this particular subject. Asimina Papakosta, Matina Kanellopoulou the other Jewels of the Team.’

Key clients

CUBICO SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENTS LIMITED (UK)

IMPAX ENERGY

NEXT ENERGY

INTER ENERGY (Israel)

SOLEGREEN LIMITED (Israel)

NOFAR ENERGY (Israel)

CERO (part of Macquarie group)

TOTAL EREN SA (GREECE)

EUROPEAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT

METKA EGN LIMITED (UK, CYPRUS AND GREECE)

JASPER WIND HELLAS SA (GREECE)

EMERGYA WIND TECHNOLOGIES (EWT) (NETHERLANDS)

547 ENERGY (QUANTUM ENERGY CAPITAL) (USA)

CANTREVA SA (GREECE)

BAYWA R.E. (GERMANY)

ALPHA BANK SA (GREECE)

THEMELI SA (GREECE)

NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE SA (GREECE)

RF ENERGY SA (GREECE)

PURENERGY SA (LUXEMBOURG)

BLUE ELEPHANT

WATTCROP

Work highlights

  • Advised NextEnergy Capital (NEC) on its first strategic solar and battery storage acquisitions in Greece.
  • Advised the beneficial owners of construction company Cantreva on its sale of 75% of the shares of Unagi to Motor Oil Renewable Energy.
  • Advised Cero Generation on the acquisition and financing of Project Delfini, a 100MW solar PV project in Prosotsani, Drama, Greece, as well as the negotiation of a long-term PPA with Axpo.

South Korea > Shipping: foreign firms

Watson Farley & Williams LLP fields a ‘highly specialised’ shipping practice, with particular expertise in restructurings involving shipping companies, and shipping disputes. The practice is co-headed by Ricky Kim, who oversees the assets and structured finance side, and Philip Do Youn Kim who is in charge of dispute resolution. The team also includes Madeline Leong, who is highly knowledgeable in finance matters relating to the maritime sector, and Christoforos Bisbikos, another ship finance specialist with experience in  a wide range of shipping projects, such as acquisitions of fleets and joint ventures in the maritime space.

Practice head(s):

Ricky Kim; Philip Do Youn Kim

Testimonials

‘Watson Farley & Williams LLP has a strong presence in shipping finance in multiple maritime centers in Asia, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Seoul. The people are all more experienced than other firms and highly specialised, which leads to high efficiency in deal executions and in general communication with industry players.’

‘Madeline Leong, Christoforos Bisbikos and Ricky Kim are all outstanding lawyers with many years experience in shipping. They are great listeners, have wide networks on both the finance and client side, and are very responsive in addressing queries or comments.’

Key clients

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Singapore Branch

Korea Development Bank

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on the financing of a 174,000 cubic metre newbuild LNG carrier.
  • Advised The Korea Development Bank, Seoul Branch, on the refinancing of two large gas carriers.
  • Advised Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank on the financing of two newbuild LPG carriers for SK Shipping.

Dedicated to client care, industry focus and investment in our people
We are a sector specialist international law firm in the Energy, Infrastructure and Transport sectors advising on complex transactions and disputes through local knowledge and an integrated international network.

Our business exists to help our clients achieve their goals, partnering with them to meet the challenges they face today and will face tomorrow.

Our values rest on developing deep and long-lasting relationships externally and internally through respect, sharing, communication and integrity.

We strive for excellence in all that we do and view investment in our people as key to achieving our business goals and values.

Our teams are integrated across legal disciplines and offices delivering consistently high levels of service locally and in combination across borders.

History: Sector focus has been at the heart of our strategy since we opened for business in 1982.  Having started life as an asset finance boutique focussing on the maritime and aviation industries, our transport focus quickly expanded to other supply-chain led industries, most notably, renewable and conventional energy and infrastructure across these industries.

Through our offices around the world, we provide a full suite of services within our core sectors enabling us to deliver exceptional value to our clients.

Facts

  • Founded 1982
  • 200+ partners
  • 700+ lawyers
  • 19 offices

Senior Partner: George Paleokrassas
Managing Partner: Lindsey Keeble

Key Contacts
Aviation: Jim Bell, Charles Viggers
Energy: Malte Jordan, Henry Stewart
Infrastructure: Florian Kutzbach, Jose Maria Anarte
Maritime: George Macheras, George Paleokrassas
Mining & Commodities: Sumeet Malhotra, Jan Mellmann
Oil & Gas: Chris Kilburn

Photo Name Position Profile
Ryland  Ash  photo Ryland Ash Qualified as a Barrister and Solicitor-Advocate, Ryland is a skilled construction lawyer…
Jim Bell photo Jim Bell Jim has significant experience in advising financiers, lessors and operators on structured…
Charles Buss photo Charles Buss He specialises in commercial, banking and maritime litigation and arbitration. In the…
Nikki Chu photo Nikki Chu Nikki has over 11 years’ experience as a disputes lawyer in the marine and international…
Alexander  Creswick photo Alexander Creswick Alexander joined the firm as a trainee in 2014 and qualified in…
Nicola Davies photo Nicola Davies Nicola’s practice focuses on shipping and aviation finance, with particular emphasis on…
Deepa Deb photo Deepa Deb Deepa specialises in both real estate investment and development, acting for domestic…
Dev Desai photo Dev Desai An expert real estate litigator, Dev advises on landlord and tenant disputes,…
Jemma Dhillon photo Jemma Dhillon Jemma focuses on commercial litigation and international arbitration, acting on cases before…
Archit Dhir photo Archit Dhir Archit is a Senior Associate in the Maritime Disputes Team with over…
Richard Dibble photo Richard Dibble Richard specialises in international finance and commercial contract work and in particular…
Daisy East photo Daisy East Daisy specialises in advising sponsors and lenders on all aspects of project-related…
Rob Fidoe photo Rob Fidoe He specialises in international commercial dispute resolution (particularly arbitration) and advises corporates…
Christina Howard photo Christina Howard Christina specialises in international, cross-border and domestic M&A, joint ventures, corporate restructurings,…
Andrew Hutcheon photo Andrew Hutcheon Andrew has experience in a broad range of commercial and financial disputes…
Felicity Jones photo Felicity Jones Felicity primarily acts for clients with operating assets which are frequently real…
Simon Kavanagh photo Simon Kavanagh Simon specialises in asset, project and structured finance, including debt capital markets…
Lindsey Keeble photo Lindsey Keeble She specialises in structured finance and leasing within the maritime space, with…
Patrick Kirkby photo Patrick Kirkby Patrick has over 21 years’ experience advising on a wide range of…
Joe Levin photo Joe Levin Joe advises lenders and sponsors on a number of project finance, acquisition…
Martin Lucas photo Martin Lucas Martin has over 15 years’ experience of advising on projects in the…
Mark  Mcallister-Jones photo Mark Mcallister-Jones After training with the firm in London, Mark spent six years in…
Jan Mellmann photo Jan Mellmann Jan specialises in corporate finance and M&A work, with an emphasis on…
Theresa Mohammed photo Theresa Mohammed Theresa specialises in contentious construction and has significant experience of acting for…
Louise Mor photo Louise Mor Louise has significant expertise in the rail and aviation sectors. Her transactional…
Jack Moulder photo Jack Moulder Jack Moulder is a Senior Associate in the Dispute Resolution Group. He…
Tim Murray  photo Tim Murray Tim is an aviation and dispute resolution expert with over 25 years’…
Michael O'Donnell photo Michael O'Donnell Michael specialises in international financial transactions with a particular emphasis on advising…
James Penn photo James Penn James specialises in commercial, banking and property disputes. He has over 30…
Mike Phillips photo Mike Phillips Mike specialises in shipping, contentious ship finance and ship and offshore vessel…
Robert Platt photo Robert Platt A commercial contracts and dispute resolution specialist, Robert’s expertise spans a broad…
Gary Ritter photo Gary Ritter Gary has extensive experience in all aspects of commercial real estate, including…
Toby Royal photo Toby Royal Toby has a wealth of experience in the maritime sector advising shipowners,…
Kavita Shah photo Kavita Shah Kavita specialises in international, structured, asset and project finance and leasing transactions…
Richard Stephens photo Richard Stephens Richard advises UK and multi-national companies on all aspects of UK corporation…
Henry Stewart photo Henry Stewart Henry has extensive finance, commercial and corporate experience in the energy and…
Nigel Thomas photo Nigel Thomas Nigel was a Partner at Watson Farley & Williams from 1988 to…
Mark Tooke photo Mark Tooke Mark’s practice encompasses mergers, acquisitions, domestic and international joint ventures, venture capital…
Heike Trischmann photo Heike Trischmann Heike specialises in all aspects of oil and gas law, and also…
Charles Walford photo Charles Walford Charles’ areas of practice include cross-border and domestic acquisitions and disposals of…
Andrew Ward photo Andrew Ward Andrew specialises in international arbitration, commercial litigation and resolving disputes outside the…
Rebecca Williams photo Rebecca Williams Rebecca has extensive experience in all major forms of dispute resolution in…
Partners : 200+
Lawyers : 700+
Offices : 19
25+ languages

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers Verdict

‘The guaranteed international secondments offered, together with the specialist nature of the work sets Watson Farley & Williams apart from any other firm’, one respondent explains. A ‘focus on maritime law’ and ‘expertise in the energy sector’ also makes the international firm an attractive choice for those interested in those practice areas and industries. WFW is a Future Lawyers Winner for its overseas secondment offering, especially as trainees even have ‘the potential of doing two or three’. And trainees have ‘even more opportunity to try different areas of law’ thanks to a six-seat training contract. Recruits get ‘more responsibility in terms of work, and work in more collaborative teams’ than at some comparable firms, and many enjoyed the fact that ‘everyone at WFW came across as approachable and genuinely interested in you succeeding on the vacation scheme’. The ‘graduate recruitment team are very helpful and approachable’ too. ‘The benefits (or lack thereof)’ leave something to be desired. Other grumbles focused on ‘the variability between seats in terms of culture and workload’, and that the firm is ‘very specialised in its sectors, which isn't ideal at the junior end as there is danger of specialising too early’. Work highlights include ‘when a 10-ship deal that I had worked on from start to finish closed successfully’, ‘being trusted with one-to-one client contact and running a large portion of a deal in my first seat’, and ‘going to the Court of Appeal very early on’. More stress-inducing moments were ‘having to work on weekends to put together a bundle’ and ‘getting signing instructions incorrect last minute’. For ‘interesting sectors’ and ‘plentiful international opportunities and involvement in cross-border transactions’, consider Watson Farley & Williams.

WFW enhances London dispute resolution practice with new partner hire

Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) is pleased to announce that international arbitration expert Alexis Martinez has joined the firm as Partner in London. He was previously an International Dispute Resolution Partner at Squire Patton Boggs in the same city.

WFW strengthens London projects team with new Counsel hire

Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) is pleased to announce that trade and commodity finance expert Philip Beswick has joined the firm as Projects Counsel in London. He was previously Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells International.

WFW advises Infranity on €120m financing for 178 MW Italian solar PV portfolio

Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) has advised Infranity SAS (“Infranity”), on behalf of its funds, on a circa €120m financing for the construction of a 178 MW portfolio of seven solar PV assets in Italy, owned by Peridot Solar Limited (“PSL”) a portfolio company of FitzWalter Capital Limited.