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

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Living Wage

Emerging markets Tier 3

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP operates in emerging markets across the world, acting on the lender side of major projects, with financial institutions and funds among its clients. It also acts for sponsors and borrowers in debt and equity financing, M&A, outward and inward investment, and other corporate and finance transactions. London corporate practice head James Campbell leads the firm-wide Africa group. Also recommended are corporate partner Gavin Watson; Matthew Oresman, who advises on international trade and sanctions; London head of finance and co-head of the global asset finance group Graham Tyler; senior counsel and Russia specialist Nick Burgess, who joined from Jones Day; and senior associate Henrietta Worthington. Trevor Wood moved to Vedder Price.

Practice head(s):


‘The team has remarkable range that is backed up by smart planning, strategy and, most importantly, execution. They really deliver results.’

‘Matthew Oresman is a master at driving a process, developing and working with teams to deliver the result the client wants. He has very impressive professional and interpersonal skills.’

‘It is a highly professional and experienced law firm. They handle debt restructuring and equity transactions and offer a really a good range of services which they can easily cover with their team.’

‘The firm has exceptional individuals who are proactive, very experienced, extremely client-oriented and hardworking. There are no delays, delivery is on time and there is a professional approach to every problem and situation.’

Key clients

Association of Cyprus Banks

Bank of America


BNNP, Bk West, First Hawaiian, Fortis


Deutsche Bank


European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Fannie Mae


Government of Kosovo


Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)

JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Natixis Wholesale Banking Americas

Pacific Continental Bank

TD Bank

Wells Fargo

Transport finance and leasing Tier 3

Led by the 'commercial and business-orientedGraham TylerPillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP's 'well-rounded' two-partner team has strong traction in the aviation market for asset managers, banks, lessors and airlines, with work spanning ECA-backed financings, EETCs, cross-border leasing and portfolio trading. As well as handling a considerable number of stand-alone matters, the team also regularly works alongside lawyers based out of the firm's New York office, allowing clients to benefit from the ability to structure mandates utilising both US and UK-governed law. The 'helpful and responsiveDebra Erni is the driving force behind the firm's 'very strong' lessor practice and benefits from particularly strong relationships with Asian entities which are prevalent in the space.

Practice head(s):


‘The team is very quick, responsive and creative. Also, the team members communicate with each other within their organisation. They always respect the corporate culture of the client and give their advice and support keeping it in mind.’

‘Debra Erni is very helpful and responsive. She always completely understands what the client’s intention is and comes up with creative solutions based on a variety of experiences with a number of industrial players.’

‘Rakhi Savjani is responsible, practical and takes a thoughtful approach. She knows transactions well and catches everything to proceed with transactions even if it is not major.’

‘We have known them at least for three years and have worked on two engine sale transactions in the past 18 months (where we were the Seller and PWSP was our legal counsel). There are reputable aviation law firms but I believe PWSP is unique in that they have a deep understanding and experience in both aircraft- and engine-related transactions.’

‘It was Debra Erni. I would describe it as excellent. Both transactions were very challenging but we overcame together. Her strengths include the deep understanding about engine transactions (not only aircraft), the ability to communicate both in English and Japanese and strong commitment toward closing a deal on time (she constantly checked e-mails and sent advice in the winter holidays).’

‘Debra Erni in London and Olivia Matsushita in Tokyo are so excellent. Debra and her team are proud that the team is able to produce stable good output not depending on who becomes window lawyer. In other words, Debra’s team management is excellent. The aviation business is dominated by English language and a non-native English speaker like myself is quite often frustrated by the language barrier and both Debra and Olivia are so distinctive and different from other lawyers because although they are English native speakers, their capability in Japanese language is excellent. There are a few English native lawyers who can communicate orally in Japanese but they usually can’t by email. Both of them can.’

‘Graham Tyler is a long-term provider of pragmatic, knowledgeable and commercial legal advice. Friendly, approachable and open. Excellent network established over many years across a broad range of airlines, lessors and banks. Knows how the industry ticks.’

‘Our relationship partner at Pillsbury is Graham Tyler, based in the London office. In addition to having excellent technical knowledge, Graham is one of the most commercial and business orientated partners I have come across in my career and is someone who genuinely cares about his clients and goes out of his way to find ways to help them develop their business.’

Key clients

Air Lease Corporation

AMCK (an amalgamation of former clients MC Aviation Partners, Vermillion Aviation and Accipiter)

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise

DVB Bank

Emirates Airlines

ICBC Leasing

Jackson Square Aviation

Macquarie AirFinance

Chishima Real Estate

Oaktree Capital

BOT Lease Company


Minsheng Financial Leasing

SMBC Aero Engine Lease

Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance

Deutsche Bank

Sky Leasing


Data protection, privacy and cybersecurity Tier 4

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP acts as the 'go-to for all data protection activity' for many clients in the technology sector. Rafi Azim-Khan heads up the practice and is noted for his 'superb' data protection and privacy advice; he works on a range of matters including global compliance issues as well as cybersecurity incidents. He is supported by Steven Farmer, who is active in the financial services, technology and manufacturing sectors, advising on multijurisdictional data processing matters.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘Quick, expert – our go to for all data protection activity.’

‘Rafi is extraordinarily well-connected to the decision makers and policy writers concerning data privacy.’

‘Steven Farmer has steered our firm expertly through the changes brought on by GPDR and our move into bringing digital products to market which have required a complete overhaul in our approach to data protection and information security.’

‘Rafi understands the need for actionable advice that even small, in-house departments can implement. Its rare to find a partner at a large firm that can see your team and customise their guidance based on that.’

‘Rafi is superb for technology and data privacy advice. He has worked with the business for a number of years, in particular advising on a range of cybersecurity, data subject response, data privacy and e-commerce matters. He brings rare depth of experience in data, e-commerce, web platforms, marketing etc. to his advice.’

Key clients

Victaulic Company

Sinclair Broadcast

CSC (Corporation Service Company)

Upland Software, Inc.



Decision Logic

State Street Corporation

HM Electronics, Inc.

SpyCloud, Inc

TMT Tier 4

The ‘stellar' Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP has a breadth of practice across the TMT area and a ‘genuine international reach allowing it to draw on knowledge and experience globally’. The practice has particular expertise in data privacy, cybersecurity and the internet of things, as well as providing commercial contracts and digital advertising advice. Rafi Azim-Khan leads the team and his broad experience covers the IP, IT, data, digital media, internet and e-commerce spaces. Also notable is the ‘responsive and very knowledgeableSteven Farmer, who acts for customers and suppliers in a range of matters from contractual agreements and IT, to payment systems and data protection.

Practice head(s):


‘Bring an entrepreneurial and creative perspective to their work. In addition, we have been impressed by Pillsbury’s ability to surge resources as needed’

‘Each of the lawyers we have interacted with has been a pleasure to work with and are true leaders in their fields’

‘Whatever expertise we have needed, they have been able to provide it, from anti trust to IP’

‘Rafi Azim-Khan brings a rare depth of experience in data, e-commerce, web platforms, marketing etc. to his advice. He would be my go-to lawyer for data expertise. He has outstanding experience and has rare transatlantic legal expertise that I would recommend. He is superb for technology and data privacy advice’

‘Matthew Oresman has been instrumental to our success. He has provided exceptional advice and support’

‘Steven Farmer provides a first-class client service and is a very safe and reliable pair of hands.  He is responsive and diligent, pragmatic and a genuine expert in his field; and he leads with a really great level of enthusiasm and sense of humour’

‘Henrietta Worthington is a very strong and capable lawyer’

Key clients

State Street Bank and Trust Company

Victaulic Company

HM Electronics Inc

SpyCloud Inc.

Upland Software Inc

Juniper Square

Infohealth Limited

World Travel and Tourism Council

Fintech Tier 5

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP handles commercial and regulatory matters for fintech clients, focusing predominantly on payment companies using cryptocurrencies. James Campbell advises start-ups and financial institutions on the regulation and licensing of digital trading platforms and the structuring of ICOs. Deborah Thoren-Peden specialises in payments and DLT.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

First Global Credit

Augment Partners



Global Voice AS

Alibaba Coin


International arbitration Tier 5

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP's department is particularly well known for energy-related disputes, and is also highly rated for work in the MENA and CIS regions. Focused on international arbitration in the energy, infrastructure and construction, telecoms and financial sectors, Deborah Ruff leads the firm's US and international arbitration practice, which also showcases counsels Julia Kalinina Belcher and Charles Golsong.

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

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP's London M&A team has significant expertise in the tech, energy, petrochemicals, natural resources and financial services sectors, acting on both domestic and international transactions. Energy specialist Gavin Watson joined the team in January 2019 and is experienced advising on midstream and downstream transactions for clients operating in gas, LNG and petrochemicals. James Campbell leads the corporate and securities group and has a practice focused on M&A, corporate finance, joint ventures, IPOs, private equity and venture capital.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

GlobalVoice A.S.

Borealis AG

Cavendish Kinetics, Inc.

Chevron Global Energy Inc.

Chevron Technology Ventures LLC

EBRD – European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

RhythmOne plc

Upland Software, Inc.

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 and media, energy, financial services, and real estate and 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 and 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 and 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 James Campbell +44.20.7847.9504
Cybersecurity, Data Protection & Privacy Rafi Azim-Khan +44.20.7847.9519
Cybersecurity, Data Protection & Privacy Steven Farmer +44.20.7847.9526
Emerging Growth James Campbell +44.20.7847.9504
Energy Gavin Watson +44.20.7847.9513
Finance Christopher Harrison +44.20.7847.9525
Fintech James Campbell +44.20.7847.9504
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
International Arbitration Deborah Ruff +44.20.7847.9528
Mergers & Acquisitions James Campbell +44.20.7847.9504
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 Mr Azim-Khan is a partner in Pillsbury’s global sourcing group and head…
 Julia Kalinina Belcher  photo Julia Kalinina Belcher Julia Belcher is a dispute resolution counsel based in Pillsbury’s London office, focusing…
 James Campbell  photo James Campbell Mr Campbell’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, private equity,…
 Debra Erni  photo Debra Erni Ms Erni focuses on international asset finance and leasing with a particular…
 Steven Farmer  photo Steven Farmer Steven Farmer advises clients, particularly those with a technology focus, looking to…
 Charles Golsong  photo Charles Golsong Charles Golsong is a dispute resolution senior associate based in Pillsbury’s London office,…
 Christopher Harrison  photo Christopher Harrison Christopher Harrison represents financial institutions, underwriters, investment funds sponsors, corporate, and government…
 Chris Knight  photo Chris Knight Chris is a senior associate in the London office of Pillsbury’s Asset…
 Matthew Oresman  photo Matthew Oresman Matthew Oresman is able to navigate complex international challenges, succeeding where cross-border…
 Samuel Pearse  photo Samuel Pearse Mr Pearse has wide experience in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, joint…
 Deborah Ruff  photo Deborah Ruff Deborah Ruff leads Pillsbury’s Arbitration – U.S. & International practice. She has extensive experience…
 Rakhi Savjani  photo Rakhi Savjani Rakhi Savjani has acted for clients across the aviation industry including several of…
 Graham Tyler  photo Graham Tyler Mr Tyler is the leader of the law firm’s London office finance…
 Gavin Watson  photo Gavin Watson Pillsbury partner Gavin Watson advises clients on cross-border corporate and commercial transactions,…
 Trevor Wood  photo Trevor Wood Trevor Wood, a partner in Pillsbury’s Finance Practice in London, advises on…
 Henrietta Worthington  photo Henrietta Worthington Henrietta Worthington focuses her practice on domestic and cross-border debt financings, representing…
 Vincent Zabielski  photo Vincent Zabielski Vincent Zabielski focuses on international nuclear energy matters, including providing strategic advice…
Number of UK partners : 12
Number of other UK fee-earners : 25
Number of worldwide partners : 320
Number of worldwide fee-earners : Approx. 700