Firm Profile > Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP > London, England

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Living Wage

Brand management Tier 3

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is well known for its 'outstanding' capabilities in marketing and advertisement law. As chairman of the UK Ad Law Group and head of practice, Rafi Azim-Khan is 'the go-to adviser' for brand owners looking for advise on the launch of new products and services, social media and data use, rebranding, comparative advertising claims and competitor disputes. Recently promoted partner Steven Farmer advises on product launches, advertising clearance, helping brands comply with direct marketing codes and prize competition regulations, in addition to handling  ASA complaints.


The teams is up to date and savvy about current practices and commercial angles.’

Transport finance & leasing Tier 3

Led out of London by the 'very commercialGraham Tyler and also benefiting from a presence in many key global jurisdictions, including the US and Asia, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP provides a 'knowledgeable and pragmatic service' across a range of complex aviation finance mandates. These include ECA-backed financing, EETCs, cross-border leasing and portfolio trading. Following on from his innovative work for Oaktree Capital on its acquisition of 18 aircraft from Investec, Tyler continues to act for the asset management firm on its acquisitions and financing of a new number of aircraft as it builds up a second portfolio. The 'practical and responsiveDebra Erni is noted for her 'wide range of experience with a number of market participants'. Erni is particularly active within the Asian lessor market, where she is distinctly tapped into Japanese participants by virtue of her 'in-depth knowledge of unique Japanese corporate culture and legal concepts'.


The team takes a practical and commercial approach; it avoids getting bogged down in legal debates which are not moving the transaction forward‘.

The team has such a breadth of knowledge, both in London but also globally, it makes cross-border transactions much easier and faster to navigate‘.

The friendly and pragmatic team is keen to help the deal close on time instead of meandering to a close‘.

Graham Tyler has years of experience – you feel confident that he is able to provide effective advice on whatever issues may come up on a deal‘.

Debra Erni is always eager to assist, takes time to listen, thinks of alternatives, has great experience, good contacts, and is patient with non-English speaking clients‘.

Chris Knight is very knowledgeable and is also commercially minded‘.

Rakhi Savjani is a confident and diligent lawyer who takes a considered and thoughtful approach, both in her work ethic and in client engagement‘.

Key clients

Accipiter Three

Air Lease Corporation

Arab Banking Corporation

BOT Lease Company

Deutsche Bank

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise

DVB Bank

Emirates Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines


HPS Investment Partners

Investec Bank Plc

Kuwait Airways


Macquarie AirFinance

MC Aviation Partners

Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Company

Mitsubishi Corporation

Oaktree Capital

Sumisho Aero Engine Lease

Sky Leasing


Vermillion Aviation

Commercial contracts Tier 4

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is known for advising on multi-jurisdictional sourcing, with a distinctive practice that combines lawyers and sourcing consultants. The firm acts for a range of corporates, global suppliers, and e-commerce and social media platforms and developers. Rafi Azim-Khan, who heads the data privacy and cybersecurity practice in Europe, co-leads the team; his expertise includes advising on entry to new markets, data privacy, cybersecurity, regulatory and commercial matters. Fellow co-head Steven Farmer was promoted to partner in 2019 and focuses primarily on technology and financial services.


‘The team is experienced and practical’ 

‘They get things done in a timely fashion’

‘Client relationship management is superb’ 

‘Knowledgeable partners and associates are always at hand and at short notice for calls and discussion’ 

‘The team has good knowledge of client sectors, it is cost effective and its delivery of service is always on time’

‘Practical, hardworking, engaging’

‘Great attention to focusing on client needs and also demonstrably agile in their work approach’

Key clients

State Street Bank and Trust Company

Deutsche Bank AG

Stylehaul Inc

HM Electronics Inc

eGain Corporation

Infohealth Limited


Upland Software Inc

Hanbury Strategy and Communications Limited

Emerging markets Tier 4

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP's global financial services practice acts for financial institutions, including many of the world’s largest banks, as well as insurance companies, investment funds and public and private corporate borrowers. The firm continued to expand its practice, which is centred on Christopher Harrison  and Trevor Wood who joined in 2017, with the hire of projects partner Gavin Watson from Dechert LLP. Watson specialises in the oil and gas sector and frequently handles projects in emerging markets. The London finance group acts in debt and equity financing, M&A, and both outward and inward investments, which in 2018 included advising Borealis AG on its investment in a large-scale polyethylene project in Central Asia. Clients praise the '"hands" on involvement from the highest level of the practice'. Partner Matthew Oresman  and senior associate Henrietta Worthington are ones to watch.


“They have an interest in doing a good job and delivering on the client’s objectives. They proactively try to get feedback while executing the mandate so that they can deliver the best results and adjust, if necessary, the strategy.”

“The firm has considerable depth of experience in the energy sector both in the US and in international markets, and to complement their corporate and financial legal advisory they also have seasoned advisors with expertise in environmental, intellectual property, political, regulatory and tax challenges affecting the industry. This has only added to the confidence we have in Gavin Watson to continue delivering exceptional legal, and commercially focused, advice.”

“Gavin Watson has been a trusted advisor for many years. He unfailingly provides intuitive and encompassing advice on a range of transactions and matters including in relation to major international project development as well as cross-border corporate and M&A matters.”

“Gavin Watson is an astute facilitator and skilful negotiator, and his understanding of the dynamics and sensitivities involved in cross-border matters, gained from his extensive experience advising clients on corporate transactions and project developments in emerging markets, is greatly appreciated.”

“Trevor Wood is an experienced, efficient and commercially-minded lawyer, always willing to go the extra mile to help.”

“Trevor Wood is an excellent lawyer, with experience not only in banking and finance, but also in restructurings. He is one of a few solid ‘generalists’ in the market, with the added benefit of being far more cost-effective than most other lawyers with similar backgrounds.”

“The firm provides great client management and excellent internal and team communication.”

“Matt Oresman is a terrific team navigator and integrator of all details and strategy, keeping everyone on the same page. Invaluable.”

Key clients

Bank of America

Bank of New York Mellon


BNNP, Bk West, First Hawaiian, Fortis


Deutsche Bank


EBRD – European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Fannie Mae



Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)

JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Natixis Wholesale Banking Americas

Pacific Continental Bank

TD Bank

Wells Fargo

Fintech Tier 5

Focusing on fintech companies in the payments and alternative finance areas, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP regularly provides advice to clients on the regulatory and technical aspects of STOs, ICOs, the implementation of DLT. Moreover, the team has additional strengths in IP, platform restructuring and the development of new products. Practice head James Campbell advises start-ups, trading platforms and financial institutions on the regulation and licensing of trading platforms and on the structuring of ICOs.

Key clients

First Global Credit

Augment Partners



Bunker Capital

Global Voice AS

Alibaba Coin


M&A: lower mid-market deals, £50m-£500m Tier 5

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP's London office handles work across both the public and private markets, with a particular nod to activist investors. The team works closely with offices in the US, in addition to handling international components spanning the Middle East and Asia. Key sectors include technology, energy and natural resources and financial services, all of which department head James Campbell is experienced in. His practice covers M&A, joint ventures and corporate finance, in addition to acting on fund formation and private equity. The team was bolstered with the arrival of Gavin Watson from Dechert LLP, where he headed the international oil and gas team.


Pillsbury’s London corporate team advised us on a large, complex transaction with insight, a deft touch and a responsiveness that was critical to bringing it to a successful closing

Sam Pearse is exceptional in all aspects of transactional work, from deal structure to diligence to negotiations

Key clients

YuMe, Inc. / RhythmOne plc

SYNNEX Corporation

HM Electronics / Clear-Com

Upland Software, Inc.

Cavendish Kinetics, Inc.

Mitsubishi Corporation

Borealis AG

Teleios Capital Partners

International arbitration Tier 6

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP 'has a strong understanding of international arbitration'. Deborah Ruff leads the global arbitration practice, working with arbitration partners across the US and in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Beijing. Julia Kalinina Belcher is a well-regarded counsel and Charles Golsong is a key senior associate.


The team provides thorough explanations and is able to map out various courses of action‘.

Deborah Ruff is clearly an excellent advocate; when recommending the best course of action, she has a strong appreciation of the various legal strengths and weaknesses‘.

Pillsbury’s London office works on transactions across Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our attorneys also support clients looking to do business in the UK.

The Firm

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is an international law firm with a long-standing and strong presence in London. The firm has a particular focus on the technology & media, energy, financial services, and real estate & construction sectors. The London office similarly has particular strengths, with practice groups in outsourcing, IP, finance, corporate and securities and litigation, along with all other key ancillary practice areas such as data protection, advertising and marketing, tax, employment and real estate. Pillsbury’s clients are UK headquartered corporates and institutions, as well as global clients looking to do business in the UK and Europe.

Establishing and Managing a Business in the UK

Types of work undertaken

Our London office includes the following practices:

  • Advertising, Marketing and Product Launch
  • Aviation, Aerospace & Transportation
  • Corporate and Securities, including Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Cybersecurity and Data Protection
  • E-commerce and Social Media
  • Employment Law
  • Energy and Infrastructure Projects
  • Finance, Investment Funds, Private Equity and Venture Capital
  • Financial Services Regulation
  • Global Sourcing & Technology Transactions
  • Intellectual Property
  • International Arbitration and Litigation
  • International Trade
  • Nuclear Energy
  • Real Estate
  • Tax
Department Name Email Telephone
Advertising & Promotions Law Rafi Azim-Khan +44.20.7847.9519
Advertising & Promotions Law Steven Farmer +44.20.7847.9526
Corporate Osama Abu-Dehays +44.20.7847.9588
Corporate James Campbell +44.20.7847.9504
Corporate Samuel Pearse +44.20.7847.9597
Cybersecurity, Data Protection & Privacy Rafi Azim-Khan +44.20.7847.9519
Cybersecurity, Data Protection & Privacy Steven Farmer +44.20.7847.9526
Emerging Growth & Venture Capital James Campbell +44.20.7847.9504
Energy Gavin Watson +44.20.7847.9513
Finance Christopher Harrison +44.20.7847.9525
Finance Trevor Wood +44.20.7847.9561
FinTech, Payments & Blockchain James Campbell +44.20.7847.9504
FinTech, Payments & Blockchain Samuel Pearse +44.20.7847.9597
International Trade Matt Oresman +44.20.7847.9516
Intellectual Proprety Rafi Azim-Khan +44.20.7847.9519
Intellectual Proprety Steven Farmer +44.20.7847.9526
Investment Funds James Campbell +44.20.7847.9504
Investment Funds Samuel Pearse +44.20.7847.9597
International Arbitration Deborah Ruff +44.20.7847.9528
Mergers & Acquisitions James Campbell +44.20.7847.9504
Mergers & Acquisitions Samuel Pearse +44.20.7847.9597
Projects Gavin Watson +44.20.7847.9513
Public Policy Matthew Oresman +44.20.7847.9516
Technology & Media Rafi Azim-Khan +44.20.7847.9519
Technology & Media Steven Farmer +44.20.7847.9526
Transportation Finance Graham Tyler +44.20.7847.9562
Transportation Finance Debra Erni +44.20.7847.9595
Photo Name Position Profile
 Rafi Azim-Khan  photo Rafi Azim-Khan
 Julia Kalinina Belcher  photo Julia Kalinina Belcher
 James Campbell  photo James Campbell
 Debra Erni  photo Debra Erni
 Steven Farmer  photo Steven Farmer
 Charles Golsong  photo Charles Golsong
 Christopher Harrison  photo Christopher Harrison
 Chris Knight  photo Chris Knight
 Matthew Oresman  photo Matthew Oresman
 Samuel Pearse  photo Samuel Pearse
 Deborah Ruff  photo Deborah Ruff
 Rakhi Savjani  photo Rakhi Savjani
 Graham Tyler  photo Graham Tyler
 Gavin Watson  photo Gavin Watson
 Trevor Wood  photo Trevor Wood
 Henrietta Worthington  photo Henrietta Worthington
 Vincent Zabielski  photo Vincent Zabielski
Number of UK partners : 12
Number of other UK fee-earners : 29
Number of worldwide partners : 320
Number of worldwide fee-earners : 707