Firm Profile > Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP > London, England

Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP

Banking litigation: investment and retail Tier 3

As 'a boutique able to take on cases the big practices can't', Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP has developed a reputation for bringing claims against leading financial institutions. Key names of note include the 'extremely bright' name partner Philip Young, who counts LIBOR manipulation and fraud disputes among his areas of experience; Sinead O’Callaghan, who has experience in bringing mis-selling claims and acting for receivers in structured finance disputes and Stephen Elam who 'makes good use of his in-house experience' in banking litigation and contentious regulatory matters. 'Exceptional senior associate' Sam Roberts is highlighted for fintech disputes. Former name partner Marc Keidan left to set up corporate, insolvency and banking disputes boutique Keidan Harrison.


‘A boutique able to take on cases the big practices can’t and bring a punchy style to the big disputes’ 

‘Sam Roberts has that sought after (and very hard to find) combination of technical skill, client care, and case management. He is an exceptional commercial disputes lawyer’

‘Stephen Elam makes good use of his in-house experience to bring a client plus counsel perspective’

‘Real specialism in the area. Refuse to be fobbed off by banks and other institutions, who accordingly know they have to respect the firm’

‘Philip Young  is extremely bright with great vision. Lydia Danon puts in the hours and has great relationships with clients. Rosie Wild is super efficient, the match of many a partner in other firms’

‘They have an extremely good knowledge of the sector and are able to give practicable guidance marrying both legal and market experience’


Commercial litigation: premium Tier 3

The ‘flexible, responsive and conflict-free‘ litigation boutique Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP has ‘the cost-efficient gravitas to get results’. Traditionally known for bringing claims against large financial institutions, the group has expanded its expertise to include the technology sector and, in particular, fintech and venture capital-related disputes. Key names to note include named partner Philip Young and the ‘consistently excellentSinead O’Callaghan, who is strong for financial services and IT and telecoms sector disputes, as well as professional negligence claims. Other names to note include Stephen ElamLydia Danon and Daniel Burbeary for contentious regulatory issues, financial sector litigation and disputes relating to China, Russia and former CIS countries respectively. Marc Keidan left the practice to establish corporate, insolvency and banking disputes boutique Keidan Harrison.


CYK has the cost-efficient gravitas to get results. I’m always impressed by their ability to command the attention of defendants, bring them to the table to settle and extract a healthy settlement. Practically, they are flexible, responsive and conflict-free. Two things emerge when comparing them to peers: (i) they avoid the belligerence and bluster of some others and (ii) economical fees.

The team has strong, highly talented individual lawyers, which enables it to compete shoulder-to-shoulder with much larger firms.

Everybody in the firm is a very decent person to deal with. They all commit 100% to their cases, and invest themselves in them. Few match them in this regard.

 Sinead O’Callaghan is consistently excellent in commercial disputes. She is my ‘go to’ litigation adviser.

Steve Elam is technically very savvy and pro innovative fee structures. Rosie Wild is technically strong, able to absorb complex data and concepts and distil it into sensible advice.’

Philip Young is extremely bright with great vision; Sinead O’Callaghan is fearless, very smart with tactical foresight. Lydia Danon puts in the hours, has great relationships with clients. 

Lydia Danon is a legend; totalling charming and totally on the ball. Sam Roberts is very bright and finds angles others don’t.  Liam McNeely is really clever, completely on top of the law and very commercial.’

Key clients

Infund LLP

Corplaw Ltd

ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc

Reliantco Investments Ltd

Cheyne Capital International Limited and Cheyne Capital Holdings Limited

Esquiline Asset Managers Limited

CMOC Sales & Marketing Ltd

Mary Ward House Limited

Financial services: contentious Tier 4

The 'really excellent and unique' Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP is a 'fantastic litigation firm' specialising in acting for institutional and retail clients in payments services issues and contentious broker work. Notable in the area is the 'dynamic and experienced' Stephen Elam, who has a particular focus on financial services and banking disputes, as well as contentious regulatory matters.


‘The team are very clever and efficient – things get done and done in a thoughtful way. They inspire trust and the individuals are bright, thoughtful and very easy to work with’

‘CYK act fiercely in our best interests as a payments firm and we were very happy with the outcome’

‘Stephen Elam is a standout partner and our primary contact at CYK. Not only is he incredibly intelligent and produces excellent work, but he is also very personable, has great humility and willingness and ability to listen to his client’

‘Technically and strategically, CYK have the presence and profile to command attention. They are nuanced and clever, cost-effective compared to their peers’

‘More of a powerhouse than a boutique these days. Everybody invests themselves personally in their cases, and the client receives a great service’

‘Rosie Wild is clever, dynamic and ambitious. Lydia Danon is charming, no nonsense and cuts to the quick’

‘Sam Roberts is very bright and creative and works hard to extract the best points for his clients’

‘Liam McNeely is a true brain and highly practical’ 

Fraud: civil Tier 4

Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP acts for clients in various sectors, including financial services, IT and energy, in fraud claims, showing particular expertise in injunctive relief applications. 'Brilliant partner' Philip Young has a strong track record in complex fraud in the financial services sector. 'Real fighter' Sinead O’Callaghan advises clients in cases spanning cyber-fraud, unlawful means conspiracy, fraudulent misappropriation and cross-border asset tracing. 'Measured and effective' Daniel Burbeary is well-versed in large-scale fraud and corruption matters.

Practice head(s):


‘CYK is a very strong litigation boutique that is generally conflict-free.  I send referrals to them regularly with good results.  They are known for being aggressive and effective particularly in financial services cases.’

‘Philip Young is one of the best litigators in the City.  He is perfect for cases that require creative but dogged teams who enjoy the process of litigation.’

‘The team has experience of complex, cross-border disputes and arbitration-related enforcement work. It often goes toe-to-toe with the biggest firms and comes out on the winning side.’

‘Dan Burbeary deals with a mixture of litigation and arbitration and his flexibility in how he runs and manages a case is very attractive to clients.’

‘CYK does what it says on the tin – it takes on complex and sensitive commercial litigation and gets excellent results without fuss or waste.’

Partnership Tier 4

Dispute resolution boutique Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP has a strong contentious partnership offering, representing partnerships and their partners and members in a variety of cases in the financial sector. The main contact at the firm is Lydia Danon, who has vast experience of partnership disputes involving fund performance, conflicts of interests and restrictive covenants. Sinead O’Callaghan is recommended for her work with high-net-worth individuals and hedge funds.

Other key lawyers:


It is a top notch firm and punches well above its weight.’

Highly commercial in everything they do and (appropriately) aggressive in their approach to litigation. Well attuned to commercial clients. Determined to serve their client.’

Its a small boutique with a unique focus on financial services litigation and partnership. The partners, which are all very good, take a very hands on approach to their cases, in contrast to bigger firms.’

Lydia Danon and Sinead O Callaghan are both very user friendly, tenacious yet pragmatic, with a clear focus on what is in their clients’ best interests.

Key clients

Infund LLP, Corplaw Ltd and Hector Garcia

Christopher Scott

Professional negligence Tier 5

Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP’s ‘dynamic and client-focused disputes practice’ advises on complex, high value claims against bankers, financial service providers, accountants and architects. Sinead O’Callaghan has experience handling claims against real estate valuers. Name partner Marc Keidan left to found his own firm in early 2020.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘CYK are a fantastic boutique firm who punch well above their weight and manage to attract work of the highest quality. They are at least on a par with other London firms of this size and are a pleasure to deal with, they can easily go pound for pound with any of the commercial solicitors within the Square Mile.’

‘Lydia Danon is dynamic, can-do and brings bags of enthusiasm to her cases. She is a great team player too who instils great confidence to her clients.

‘Stephen Elam is a great lawyer, who is very calm under pressure and can see the bigger picture of a claim at a very early stage.’

‘A dynamic and client-focused disputes practice.’

‘Lydia Danon is very experienced and brings a calm head to any dispute.’

‘Lydia Danon is a legend – totally on the ball.’

‘Stephen Elam is completely committed and thinks through every move very carefully.’

‘They have a very good knowledge of the market, making collaboration very easy.’

‘They are very easy to deal with and they have the ability to communicate complex issues so that practicable decisions can be made to progress matters.’


Key clients

Mary Ward House Limited and Timothy Murphy

International arbitration Tier 6

Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP 'invests a lot of time in relationships and secures big-ticket work'. It is historically well known for acting in major claims against banks, but a significant number of its recent cases are non-financial sector-related international arbitrations. Daniel Burbeary is noted for disputes involving entities in China, Russia and former CIS countries, while Sinead O’Callaghan's experience includes matters concerning South and Central America, Russia and the CIS region.


‘Dan Burbeary. Unafraid – willing to take – and win – difficult applications. Excellent with international clients.’

‘A team of capable and experienced associates and partners who are building an impressive international arbitration footprint for themselves.’

‘They invest a lot of time in relationships which is appreciated and means work is more enjoyable. For a boutique they have a lot of team members who speak various languages which has been key to them securing some big ticket work.’

‘I worked with Liam McNeely in an arbitration challenge in the Commercial Court. He is a technically proficient lawyer and very easy to deal with.’

Key clients

Eastern European Engineering Limited

ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc

Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP is a leading specialist firm of commercial disputes lawyers. We specialise in undertaking substantial English Court litigation, international arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, working for businesses in the UK and abroad as well as for high-net-worth individuals.

We are known for outstanding successes in complex cases thanks to our experience, innovation and tenacity. Our specialist focus assists us to remain free of conflicts of interest, meaning that we can act fearlessly against most financial institutions and substantial multinational companies.

The firm: Since our foundation in 2009 we have built a formidable reputation for achieving results for our clients in high-value commercial disputes, including both court litigation and international arbitration cases. Offering a combination of commercialism, strategic thinking and tenacity, we are also able to act creatively and flexibly in a way that sets us apart from our competitors. Our commitment to retaining our boutique size and focus means we also offer exceptional, personalized service.

We are known for our adroit handling of complex cases, and our specialist focus assists us to avoid the conflicts of interest often experienced by larger firms with transactional departments, meaning that we can act fearlessly against most financial institutions and substantial multinational companies.

Our reputation was built initially on landmark high-profile cases against major UK banks, but we now offer a broad range of commercial dispute resolution expertise. In addition to our work in the field of banking and financial services (including benchmark manipulation claims, brokerage disputes, and regulatory issues), we have significant expertise in partnership and corporate disputes, trade disputes, civil fraud, and international arbitration across a wide range of industries and jurisdictions.

CYK is a destination of choice for referrals from leading international law firms and barrister chambers, as well as from elsewhere in the professional services sector. CYK is proud of its reputation for being a tenacious firm, helping clients to achieve significant success in high-value, (and sometimes high-profile) claims.

Types of work undertaken: CYK undertakes a range of complex and high-value commercial and corporate litigation and international arbitration for domestic and international corporates, private equity houses, hedge funds, professional services firms and high-net-worth individuals, as well as various forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution, such as mediation.

CYK’s areas of specialist expertise include civil fraud, international arbitration, professional negligence, partnership and corporate disputes, financial sector disputes, technology disputes and alternative dispute resolution. The firm acts in cases across a broad range of markets and industry sectors. A significant proportion of the firm’s work has an international element and the firm has particular experience and connections with the following jurisdictions: USA, EU, India, Russia/CIS, The Middle East and Offshore.

CYK has acted in a number of groundbreaking cases in recent years. The work of the firm has been praised in  the main legal directories and its lawyers have been named as some of the top legal professionals in the UK.

Department Name Email Telephone
Civil and commercial disputes Sinead O'Callaghan
Financial services regulatory Stephen Elam
Financial, banking and hedge fund disputes Philip Young
Financial, banking and hedge fund disputes Stephen Elam
International arbitration and alternative dispute resolution Philip Young
IT, telecoms and outsourcing disputes Sinead O'Callaghan
IT, telecoms and outsourcing disputes Sam Roberts
Partnership, LLP and corporate disputes Philip Young
Professional negligence Sinead O'Callaghan
Commodity and international trade Gerald Cooke
Commodity and international trade Philip Young
Insurance and reinsurance disputes Gerald Cooke
Insurance and reinsurance disputes Philip Young
International arbitration and alternative dispute resolution Daniel Burbeary
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Daniel Burbeary  photo Mr Daniel Burbeary Partner at CYK
Mr Robert Coffey  photo Mr Robert Coffey Managing Partner of CYK
Ms Lydia Danon  photo Ms Lydia Danon Partner at CYK
Mr Stephen Elam  photo Mr Stephen Elam Partner at CYK
Ms Sinead O’Callaghan  photo Ms Sinead O’Callaghan Partner
Mr Philip Young  photo Mr Philip Young Partner and co-founder of CYK
Number of UK lawyers : 28

The firm is proud of the diversity across all levels of its fee earners. One third of the firm’s fee earning partners and about half of its associates are female. A partner and a number of associates are in the LGBT community and we have five BAME associates. We are also very international with associates and paralegals from India, Russia, Greece, Romania, New Zealand and Australia to name but a few and speak a wide range of languages.