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Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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London: Corporate and commercial

Commercial contracts
Commercial contracts - ranked: tier 4

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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.

Practice head(s):Steven Farmer; Rafi Azim-Khan


'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

Work highlights

  • Assisted State Street Bank and Trust Company with a global service contract remediation project.
  • Assisted DMT Solutions (dba BlueCrest) with a range of commercial contracts following divestment.
  • Representing HM Electronics, Inc (HME) on a range of cross-border B2B agreements.
  • Advising eGain Corporation on numerous customer agreements, particularly those with a data privacy focus.
  • Advising Upland Software, Inc on a range of commercial contracts associated with various UK acquisitions during 2018.

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

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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.

Practice head(s):James Campbell

Other key lawyers:Samuel Pearse


'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

Work highlights

  • Represented YuMe on its merger with RhythmOne, with a consideration of $185m, made up of one third cash and two thirds shares.
  • Represented RhythmOne on its £135m agreed takeover by Taptica, by way of a scheme of arrangement.
  • Represented Upland Software on three acquisitions over the year, including the $65m acquisition of Rant & Rave.

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London: Dispute resolution

International arbitration
International arbitration - ranked: tier 6

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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.

Practice head(s):Deborah Ruff

Other key lawyers:Julia Kalinina Belcher; Charles Golsong


'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'.

Leading individuals

Deborah Ruff - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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London: Finance

Emerging markets
Emerging markets - ranked: tier 4

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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.

Practice head(s):Trevor Wood

Other key lawyers:Christopher Harrison; Gavin Watson; Matthew Oresman; Vincent Zabielski; Henrietta Worthington


"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

Work highlights

  • Represented EBRD in the restructuring of the Bulsatcom Group.
  • Advised EBRD on the restructuring of a loan to MP Development Ltd and JSC Smart Retail.
  • Advising Export Development Canada (EDC) on Financing made available to India Infoline Finance Limited.
  • Representing Rusatom Overseas in its nuclear energy sector development in emerging markets.
  • Serving as the international legal advisor for the 4,800MW Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) project in Turkey, the world’s first NPP project implemented on build-own-operate principles.
Leading individuals

Trevor Wood - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Next Generation Partners

Matt Oresman - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Rising stars

Henrietta Worthington - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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Transport finance & leasing
Transport finance & leasing - ranked: tier 3

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Led out of London by the 'very commercial' Graham 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 responsive' Debra 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'.

Practice head(s):Graham Tyler

Other key lawyers:Debra Erni; Rakhi Savjani; Chris Knight


'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

Work highlights

  • Continued to represent Oaktree Capital Management and World Star Aviation in respect of ongoing and new leasing and financing matters as they grow their portfolios.
  • Represented Dubai Aerospace Enterprise in its financing and leasing of two aircraft to flyadeal in Saudi Arabia.
  • Handled multiple leasing and financing deals for Emirates for new A380 and B777 aircraft.
  • Advised Ethiopian Airlines on two separate deals being the first JOLCO’s in Africa for new B787-9 aircraft.
  • Represented MC Aviation Partners in the transfer of a 35-aircraft portfolio.
Leading individuals

Debra Erni - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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London: Risk advisory

Data protection, privacy and cybersecurity
Leading individuals

Rafi Azim-Khan - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Brand management
Brand management - ranked: tier 3

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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.

Practice head(s):Rafi Azim-Khan

Other key lawyers:Rafi Azim-Khan


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

Work highlights

  • Advised Velvet (part of the SCA group) on disputes with rival Kimberly-Clark via the ASA over unfair competitor claims. The team also advised Velvet on new media communications through Facebook, social media platforms, website marketing and general e-commerce issues.
  • Advised Cushelle on allegedly misleading marketing claims by rival Andrex, specifically the softness aspects, which negatively impacts Cushelle's core messaging.

  • Advising Holland America Cruise Lines on EU marketing advice, including website and social media issues, new EU rules for consumer contracts, and digital marketing.
  • Advising Burt’s Bees on various UK marketing campaigns, cosmetic product claims, comparative adverting, ASA issues and substantiation requirements.
Leading individuals

Rafi Azim-Khan - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Rising stars

Steven Farmer - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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Fintech - ranked: tier 5

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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.

Practice head(s):James Campbell

Key Clients

First Global Credit

Augment Partners



Bunker Capital

Global Voice AS

Alibaba Coin


Work highlights

  • Advising Blockchain on various commercial and regulatory issues arising during the year.
  • Advising Global Voice AS on strategic options and regulatory questions associated with Project UBU.
  • Advising Verseon on the regulatory aspects of their ground breaking security token offering and the development of blockchain technology to create a new funding model.

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Further information on Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP

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Hong Kong

Offices in Hong Kong


Offices in Tokyo


Offices in London

United States

Offices in Houston, New York, Washington DC, Sacramento, Palo Alto, San Diego, Los Angeles, McLean, San Francisco, Austin, Palm Beach, Nashville, Miami, and San Diego North County

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