WilmerHale > London, England > Firm Profile

49 Park Lane

Dispute resolution > International arbitration Tier 1

The 'truly specialist international arbitration practice group' within WilmerHale‘s London office has a leading market reputation for both commercial and investor-state arbitration work. With a track record of serving as counsel in over 675 arbitrations, practice chair Gary Born is 'well known as the preeminent expert in international arbitration'; Charlie Caher has particular experience in energy, construction, telecoms, insurance, joint venture and M&A-related disputes; Steven Finizio is an 'incredibly knowledgeable and talented partner', who specialises in investment treaty and public international law issues; and Franz Schwarz has enviable experience in winning high-profile arbitration cases. The second line of key practitioners features 'extraordinarily gifted lawyer and forceful advocate', Jonathan Lim, a triple-qualified English solicitor, Singapore advocate and New York lawyer, who was elevated from counsel to partner in January 2023.

Practice head(s):

Gary Born; Franz Schwarz; Steven Finizio

Other key lawyers:


It is a privilege to collaborate with this esteemed team, which comprises, without a doubt, the top practitioners in the field of arbitration.’

Adeptly manages challenges arising from multilingual and multi-jurisdictional disputes.

A truly specialist international arbitration practice group, comprising of lawyers from diverse backgrounds with very wide expertise and experience.

‘Exceptional and broad expertise, a high-level of service and responsiveness, and an impressive combination of legal acumen and commercial awareness.’

Gary Born is well known as the preeminent expert in international arbitration, and his reputation as a living legend is certainly well deserved.

Gary Born has exceptional strategic insight, and that insight helps deliver many important wins. His exemplary professionalism in communication and rapid responsiveness are decisive factors.

‘Steven Finizio is an incredibly knowledgeable and talented partner with an outstanding ability to distill the decisive issues.’

Jonathan Lim is an extraordinarily gifted lawyer and forceful advocate – a consummate professional, who is exceptionally responsive and always provides highly incisive and practical advice.

Crime, fraud and licensing > Fraud: white-collar crime (advice to individuals) Tier 2

Consistently advising clients in multi-jurisdictional SFO investigations, the London WilmerHale team effectively combines ‘US law firm heft’ with  ‘gold-standard’ UK lawyers, according to one client. The group has considerable expertise handling white-collar proceedings being investigated by the NCA, FCA, and HMRC, along with international cases involving the US DOJ and SEC. The ‘legendary’ Stephen Pollard heads the practice, specialising in financial services fraud, market manipulation, and internal investigations, while the arrival of Richard Burger as a partner from DWF in January 2023 adds more than 25 years’ experience in domestic and global regulatory enforcement and criminal proceedings to the department. Meanwhile, counsel, Lloyd Firth , is highly knowledgeable in all matters relating to bribery and corruption, money laundering, and insider dealing. David Rundle left the firm for Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in May 2023.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Pollard

Other key lawyers:


‘Their team, led by the legendary Stephen Pollard, is second to none. US law firm heft coupled with gold-standard UK lawyers makes them as good as anyone in this area.’

‘Lloyd Firth is extremely thoughtful and always on top of the details, he provides excellent advice, is always available, and extremely reliable.’

‘Recently recruited the hugely impressive and experienced Richard Burger, who is a stellar addition to their ranks.’

‘WilmerHale’s business crime department in London houses a small  but dedicated team who punch above their weight. They deal with matters in a discreet and effective manner, are flexible and can draw from an extensive US team if necessary.’

‘Take a no nonsense approach in achieving the best result. You get what you pay for.’

‘Stephen Pollard is the standout lawyer – absolutely brilliant and remains one of the most sought-after lawyers in the world of white-collar crime whether for senior executives, the board or corporates. Very smart, pragmatic, clever, wise and determined. Emotionally intelligent and global in his thinking and approach to a problem.’

‘Stephen Pollard has a huge depth of knowledge and experience, is always available, provides exceptional advice and thinks of the interests of his client.’

Work highlights

Dispute resolution > Public international law Tier 3

The London group at 'outstanding firm' WilmerHale has longstanding experience in heavyweight PIL disputes. Its coverage encompasses territorial boundary issues, PIL matters that arise in national courts, sovereign immunity, and foreign judgment enforcements. The team also handles legal proceedings before international and national tribunals, particularly in relation to freedom of speech and belief. With decades of experience as lead counsel in PIL-related cases, Gary Born is 'an encyclopaedia of international arbitration'; and Steven Finizio is particularly focused on cases involving freedom of expression issues. Raised to partner in January 2023, Jonathan Lim is a complex international disputes specialist.

Practice head(s):

Gary Born; Steven Finizio

Other key lawyers:


‘Wilmer Hale is an outstanding firm with exceptional expertise in international arbitration.’

‘Led by major figures in the field, such as Gary Born, for decades it has been a leading firm in the field of international arbitration.’

‘Gary Born has long been recognised as a (if not the) leading practitioner in the field of international arbitration (through his influential writings and vast experience).’

‘The team has decades of experience – they know everything!’

‘Gary Born is an encyclopaedia of international arbitration.’

‘The team is fantastic in creating and developing innovative legal arguments to apply in relatively new areas of litigation.’

‘Steven Finizio is extremely helpful and provides expert guidance on difficult matters.

Key clients

Asian Development Bank

Media Defence

Risk advisory > Regulatory investigations and corporate crime (advice to corporates) Tier 3

The WilmerHale practice is headed by ‘the Top Gun in the London white-collar market’, Stephen Pollard, who brings vast expertise in advising clients in high-profile proceedings brought by the SFO, FCA, and NCA. The team’s client list includes notable companies from within the extractives and technology spheres, along with authorities from across the globe, as the department is highly regarded for dealing with proceedings arising from allegations of historic bribery and market manipulation. Richard Burger joined the firm as partner from DWF in January 2023, specialising in complex international regulatory enforcement and criminal investigations, whilst counsel Lloyd Firth focuses on money laundering and tax evasion issues.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Pollard

Other key lawyers:


‘Stephen Pollard leads a strong team at WilmerHale in London who are attracting some excellent instructions. A particular strength of the firm is its ability seamlessly to work across borders. Its US team in Washington and New York are superb. I would expect WilmerHale to be among the top few firms in this area in the next few years.’

‘The team at WilmerHale is incredibly talented and hard-working. Stephen Pollard is an extremely talented and highly experienced practitioner. He is a cool head and a great strategic thinker. Richard Burger has been a great addition to their team and brings a fantastic client base.’

‘Some outstanding individuals. Lloyd Firth is a partner in waiting and brilliant to work with. He is doggedly committed to his clients and someone you would always want in your corner.’

‘A large team in London when compared to other US law firms with a London office, led by the incomparable Stephen Pollard who has been the premier white collar crime adviser to senior executives and corporates for many years.’

‘Stephen Pollard is extremely wise, tactically brilliant and incredibly personable. He commands respect and loyalty from his clients and others working on a matter, in particular independent legal advisers for individuals. He is straight talking and will not shy away from the big calls.’

‘A Rolls-Royce option in the London market for corporates and individuals, with a top-tier US practice.’

‘Steven Pollard has led the Wilmer Hale practice in London for ten years and is the Top Gun in the London white collar market. Pollard’s trusted apprentice is Lloyd Firth, easily the best white collar lawyer at his level of qualification. He is exceptionally bright, very hard working and very good with clients. I would trust Lloyd with my life.’

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property: patents (contentious and non-contentious) Tier 3

Regarded as a ‘hugely experienced’ and ‘innovative’ team, WilmerHale maintains a strong practice in the tech space, handling numerous different types, from mobile phones to pharma products. Recent examples of contentious work include some large multijurisdictional patent litigation, working on cutting-edge SEP/FRAND issues. Justin Watts helms the team with vast experience in litigation, being particularly active in the pharma, medical devices, biotech, communications and hardware and software industries. ‘Calm and motivating team builder’ Anthony Trenton routinely leads on complex litigation, and Matthew Shade also possesses capabilities across pharma, medical devices, consumer electronics and technology spaces. ‘Clear star of the future’ Annsley Merelle Ward, who was promoted to partner in January 2023, counts innovative technology companies in her roster; she also possesses significant expertise in cross-border litigation. Associate Christina Guazzi is also recommended for her capabilities across life sciences and consumer electronics sectors.

Practice head(s):

Justin Watts

Other key lawyers:

Anthony Trenton; Annsley Merelle Ward; Matthew Shade; Christina Guazzi; Delicia Clarke; Alex Calver; Ashley Cameron


‘A hugely experienced international team uniquely capable of handling effortlessly the largest and most complex IP litigation.’

‘Anthony Trenton is unbelievably hard-working and truly exceptional in managing huge multi-disciplinary litigation for international clients.’

‘Annsley Merelle Ward takes her well-deserved role as a partner – a clear star of the future and one to watch.’

‘Justin Watts is unbeatable on complex technology patents.’

‘A tireless and innovative team – at the forefront of developments in the standard essential patents/FRAND space; always alert and alive to new arguments, developments and opening that will get the result for the clients.’

‘Anthony Trenton is a calm and motivating team builder, ensures everyone’s contribution is acknowledged and valued.

‘Annsley Merelle Ward – a font of patent law/FRAND knowledge and fresh ideas. Totally committed to client service, flexible and hugely impressive in her ability to find ways to balance the client’s wider business concerns with the requirements of the particular case.’

‘Alex Calver is a clear star of the future and a pleasure with whom to work.’

Key clients

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Corporate and commercial > Financial services: contentious Tier 4

With ‘market-leading‘ practice head Stephen Pollard at the helm, WilmerHale continues to be a firm of choice for stellar individual-side representation. Senior executives facing regulatory exposure value the firm’s ‘high quality advice‘ and breadth of experience with leading financial regulators, including the FCA and FRC. In January 2023, Richard Burger joined the team from DWF, bringing with him extensive experience acting in complex domestic and international regulatory enforcement proceedings and criminal investigations.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Pollard

Other key lawyers:


‘High quality advice for individuals under investigation.’

‘Stephen Pollard is the figurehead of the practice and has a strong reputation for representing high-profile individuals.’

‘Richard Burger is excellent. He takes huge time and trouble for clients, worrying and thinking through all aspects of a case, and as a result achieving great results.’

‘Richard Burger is a man to have on your side when the chips are down.’

‘Stephen Pollard is a market-leading practitioner whom we have instructed and recommended over many years. He has outstanding judgement.’

Dispute resolution > Professional discipline

Photo Name Position Profile
Gary Born photo Gary Born Chair of WilmerHale’s International Arbitration Practice Group
Charlie Caher photo Charlie Caher Partner
Steven Finizio photo Steven Finizio Partner
Christina Guazzi photo Christina Guazzi Counsel
Jonathan Lim photo Jonathan Lim Partner
Annsley Merelle Ward photo Annsley Merelle Ward Partner
Cormac O'Daly photo Cormac O'Daly Partner
Franz Schwarz photo Franz Schwarz Vice Chair of WilmerHale’s International Arbitration Practice Group
Anthony Trenton photo Anthony Trenton Partner
Justin Watts photo Dr Justin Watts Partner
Photo Name Position Profile
Lloyd Firth photo Lloyd Firth Counsel
Stephen Pollard photo Stephen Pollard Partner