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London: Corporate and commercial

Equity capital markets ‚Äď small-mid cap
Equity capital markets ‚Äď small-mid cap - ranked: tier 3


DWF¬†has been involved in a number of standout placing and IPO mandates in 2018‚Äď2019, not least of which included assisting with its own main market IPO, making it the only legal business listed on London's Main Market. Headed by¬†Frank Shephard, who splits his time between London and Manchester, the corporate group acts for a host of nomads, brokers and investment banks and also has experience acting for corporate issuers, particularly in the technology sector. Also of note, the firm recently launched two legal technology products, which can be used specifically for managing IPOs, fundraisings and takeover transactions.¬†Matthew Doughty¬†leads the firm's ECM practice group.

Practice head(s):Matthew Doughty; Frank Shephard

Other key lawyers:Lisa Stavropoulos; Jeremy Swift

Key Clients

Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG (Berenberg Bank)

finnCap Ltd

Zeus Capital Limited

Immotion Group plc

Mercantile Ports & Logistics Limited

Tatton Asset Management plc

Cloudcall Group plc

Learning Technologies plc

Erris Resources plc

Plant Healthcare plc

Liberum Capital Limited

Nplus1 Singer Advisory LLP

PSC Insurance Group

Grant Thornton UK LLP

Polemos plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Berenberg as the sole global coordinator and Grant Thornton as the nominated adviser on the IPO of Tekmar.
  • Acting for Berenberg and Liberum Capital as joint bookrunners on the placing and acquisition by SigmaRoc plc via an accelerated bookbuild process.
  • Acting for Immotion Group plc on its £19.5m IPO on AIM.
  • Acting for Zeus Capital and Peel Hunt as joint broker for The Simplybiz Group plc on its £21.9m secondary placing to part fund the £74.3m acquisition of Defacto.
  • Advised Canaccord Genuity Limited on its capacity as sole bookrunner and nominated adviser to Attraqt Group plc on a conditional placing to raise £17.1m.

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M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m
M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m - ranked: tier 2


DWF's growing corporate practice handles transactions primarily across the retail, hospitality, corporate real estate and technology and media sectors. The team of partners are experienced in cross-border M&A and a large proportion of their matters include international aspects. DWF has been on a hiring spree, with additions including Linda Fu , who joined from Addleshaw Goddard, who heads up the firm's China-facing corporate offering. Matthew Doughty is in charge of the London corporate team, while Frank Shephard heads the national practice from the Manchester office.

Practice head(s):Matthew Doughty; Frank Shephard

Other key lawyers:Laurence Applegate


'Practical, commercial and fast, with a 'can do' approach.' 

'Jay Birch is shrewd, experienced and commercial. Sophie Morris provides excellent client-orientated support'

'I never doubt the advice that Matthew Doughty gives me and trust his entire team to act in my best interest'

Key Clients

Aprirose Holdings Limited

Catalis SE

Colony NorthStar Inc.

Craven Street Capital Limited

Keywords Studios plc

Kolbus GmbH & Co. KG


MSX International

National Pension Service of the Republic of Korea


Pepkor Europe Limited

PepsiCo, Inc.

Punter Southall Group Limited

William Martin Compliance Solutions Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised PepsiCo on its acquisition of Lancashire-based Pipers Crisps.
  • Advised boutique property investment SF Management on the establishment of a €100m Danish student housing joint venture.
  • Advised GFH, a Bahraini investment group, on its £62m acquisition of the entire issued share capital of a Luxembourg SPV holding a UK business park.
  • Represented Keywords Studios on five M&A transactions, including the acquisition of Sperasoft Studios for $27m.
  • Advised LXi REIT PLC, a listed commercial property investment specialist, on its acquisition of a car storage facility in Northamptonshire for £60m.

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London: Crime, fraud and licensing

Fraud: civil
Fraud: civil - ranked: tier 5


DWF's fraud team was established following practice head Richard Twomey's arrival from Pinsent Masons LLP in April 2017. With the assistance of the firm's forensic accounting, intelligence and forensic IT teams, the practice advises on physical and procedural controls, and offers software development that identifies fraudulent activity. Areas of expertise include consequences of fraud, asset recovery and defending allegations of fraud. The team also has complementary skills in employment, data protection, regulatory, criminal and insurance law. The practice has expanded recently, with Naomi Pryde joining from Dentons and senior associate Sarah Smith joining from Irwin Mitchell.

Practice head(s):Richard Twomey

Other key lawyers:Naomi Pryde; Sarah Smith; Andy Leach; Lorraine Carolan; Joshua Fineman; Ben Johnson; Darren Kenny


‘Richard Twomey is a very experienced, intelligent, thoughtful, resourceful, creative and diligent litigation solicitor’.

‘The team is multi-skilled, has extensive experience in the sector and takes a pragmatic approach, thinking outside the box’. 

‘Able to clearly articulate risks and options and not afraid to take a different approach when needed’.

‘They are fantastic at client management and know what the strengths and weaknesses are’.

‘Joshua Fineman is a very hardworking individual, who is incredibly committed to his clients’.

Key Clients


Jamtoff Trading Limited

Sergey Fedotov

Work highlights

  • Defending three individuals in relation to a very high-profile claim brought by the Danish tax authority.
  • Acting in the public dispute in relation to the international enforcement of a £1.6 bn debt against the Indian billionaire businessman behind the Kingfisher brand and Force India Formula One team.
  • Representing a leading Russian-Cypriot manufacturer of polyethylene terephthalate in fraud proceedings.
  • Defending Sergey Fedotov, a Russian tycoon, in a £26m debt claim and worldwide asset freezing order brought by a company in the BVI.

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London: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation
Commercial litigation - ranked: tier 7


DWF is 'accessible, knowledgeable and meets deadlines'.  The London office is particularly focused on disputes involving retail and international trade, commerce, banking and finance, technology, and energy. Jonathan Isaacs has a particular interest in High Court commercial contract, corporate and boardroom disputes, and Richard Twomey has a strong track record in dealing with international disputes. Joshua Fineman is the senior associate to note.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Isaacs; Richard Twomey

Other key lawyers:Joshua Fineman


'Jonathan Isaacs is personable and provides a good balance of legal advice together with good common sense - he understands the bigger picture'.

'Senior associate Joshua Fineman is a very hardworking individual, who is incredibly committed to clients'.

Key Clients


Jamtoff Trading

Highland Estates

Western International Market

Arcadia Group

Rathore Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for two Russian nationals against a Russian billionaire in a claim that arose out of the sale of interests in two nickel plants.
Next Generation Partners

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Commodities disputes
Commodities disputes - ranked: tier 3


DWF handles large disputes with instructions from international traders, charterers and shipowners, as well as marine insurers. Its matters often involve piracy, theft or detention of cargo. Although its focus is primarily on shipping and insurance, the firm also handles significant cases in the commodities sphere, notably for large trading houses such as Trafigura. The firm is also known for its innovative products and cost-effective case handling methodologies, including a case-handling software product that enables traders, ship managers and insurers to contest smaller cases and track the evolution and development of each claim at every stage. The London practice, which works closely with the commodities group in Paris, frequently handles international commercial arbitrations and litigation, in both English and French, in many jurisdictions. The firm has been involved in cases stemming from high-profile incidents in Sierra Leone, Guinea, South Africa, Singapore and Malaysia.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Moss

Other key lawyers:Antony Woodhouse; John Groome; Iftikhar Ali; Elliott Bromley; Peter Olymbios

Key Clients

Trafigura Beheer BV

HDI Gerling Verzekeringen NV

Tonkolili Iron Ore (SL) Ltd

Shandong Steel

MS Amlin Marine

Travelers Marine

Willis Marine International Trade & Logistics

Cronimet Eesti Metall

Van Dalen Metals Recycling & Trading

Nimex Petroleum

Impala Terminals

Vallis Commodities

Vallis Group Limited


American Bureau of Shipping

Fusion Insurance

Chaucer Syndicates

Berkshire Hathaway

PS Maritime

Lighthouse SPA



Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Tonkolili Iron Ore (SL) Ltd, owned by parent company, Shandong Steel in a large, high profile action brought by villagers in the Tonkolili region of Sierra Leone.
  • Representing Dual Australia in an action against another insurer involving double insurance.
  • Representing a large commodities company in a claim involving the theft of a large amount of metal from a warehouse in Morocco, North Africa.
  • Acting for Fusion Insurance Services Ltd in a subrogated recovery action.
  • Acting in a dispute which involves long standing litigation between the Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto and Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz.

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Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 1


The team at DWF, which is split between Leeds and London, 'applies a common-sense commercial attitude' to debt recovery, handling front-end collections, strategic enforcement and insolvency proceedings, as well as contested and defended litigation. Clients include a variety of major corporates, central government departments and local authorities. Debt litigation and insolvency expert David Scottow leads the national team, while the civil recovery service is led by director Kevin Feehan. The technical team is headed by director James Perry, who handles non-standard, complex cases for departmental clients.

Practice head(s):David Scottow

Other key lawyers:Kevin Feehan; James Perry


'David Scottow is extremely personable and approachable whilst retaining a practical and professional approach to dealing with clients and staff alike.'

'They are efficient in processing and delivering the service required.'

'Clients are very highly regarded and that translates across the team in terms of whomever you might speak to about specific cases.'

Key Clients

Anglian Water Services

Fleetcor UK

Sainsburys Supermarkets

High Court Enforcement Officers Association

Marks And Spencer Plc

Asda Stores


Work highlights

  • Dealing with various complaints against High Court enforcement officers. James Perry is the High Court Enforcement Officers Association's independent solicitor, which involves sitting on a complaints panel.
  • Dealing with the recovery of unpaid invoices, interest and late payments for the supply of 20 tonnes of steel for Hillsborough Steelstock.
  • Advised on recovery of recruitment fees for Chester Wharfe.
  • Representing large healthcare provider in the recovery of care home fees and in the same action defending a clinical negligence counterclaim.
Leading individuals

James Perry - DWF

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International arbitration
International arbitration - ranked: tier 7


Most of DWF's international arbitration work is in the insurance, maritime and commodities, technology and natural resource sectors; the practice, which is 'hands on, efficient and client friendly', is also active in Russia and CIS-related matters. The principal London-based advisers are Richard Twomey, Stefan Paciorek and Jonathan Moss.

Practice head(s):Richard Twomey; Oliver Bolthausen

Other key lawyers:Stefan Paciorek; Jonathan Moss


'Richard Twomey is an excellent solicitor, who is a hard worker and involved in major arbitrations'.

Key Clients


Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for Trafigura in a claim for insured and uninsured losses, which related to cargo loss following an oil terminal fire.

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Professional discipline
Professional discipline - ranked: tier 4


DWF 'has strength in depth across many sectors'. The practice regularly defends professionals across a number of sectors, including medical, legal, actuarial, accountancy and financial services. Regulatory partner Richard Burger was recently hired from RPC; he represents clients under investigation by the FRC and Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales. Tracy Sell-Peters frequently defends doctors and other healthcare practitioners whose registration is called into question by the GMC and other healthcare regulatory bodies.

Practice head(s):Tracy Sell-Peters; Richard Burger


'Being a large firm, it is well able to support its professional discipline practice'.

'Richard Burger has an encyclopaedic knowledge of financial services and regulatory law as well as a wealth of experience'.

'Tracy Sell-Peters is extremely thorough, professional and makes sure she is available for telephone consultation at all times, including evenings and weekends'.

Key Clients


Abbey Legal


Work highlights

  • Defended two senior surgeons in two separate full GMC fitness to practise proceedings, which involved allegations of attempted bribery of a patient and dishonesty.

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London: Human resources

Employment: employers
Employment: employers - ranked: tier 6


DWF¬†advises employers across a range of sectors including banking, insurance, education and professional services on issues ranging from large-scale redundancies, independent investigations and inquiries, multijurisdictional HR projects and executive recruitment and terminations. ‚ÄėTop-class‚Äô practice head Helga Breen¬†also has expertise in outsourcing arrangements, compliance audits and issues surrounding self-employed contractors.

Practice head(s):Helga Breen

Key Clients

British Medical Association

PepsiCo UK & Ireland

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Endeavour Mining

China Unicom

Brown Shipley & Co

Token Group

Cherry Pie Music

Guidepoint Global UK

World Gold Council

Sandhills East

ADG Market Making

Chesterfield Insurance Brokers

Places for People Leisure

Punter Southall Group

Work highlights

  • Advised a client in the F&B sector on the successful outsourcing of over 300 lorry drivers and associated employees to Eddie Stobart.
  • Advising a German subcontractor working on the Chelsea Barracks redevelopment on a range of employment issues pertaining to the project.
  • Advised on the appointment of a new global CEO for a multinational trade association.
  • Advised a public sector employer on claims by a senior executive of whistleblower protection and sex and disability discrimination.
  • Supported a client to manage a large-scale collective redundancy project across two international jurisdictions affecting circa 600 staff.

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Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 1


DWF represents a substantial roster of big-name name clients, including Marks and Spencer, Arcadia and RSA, advising on both regulatory compliance and high-profile investigations. Manchester-based Steffan Groch leads the team nationally and is an expert in crisis management pertaining to construction, infrastructure and insurance. Dominic Watkins is a key figure and very active in retail-related investigations. Hilary Ross has a focus on the retail sector, as well as food and beverages.

Practice head(s):Steffan Groch

Other key lawyers:Dominic Watkins; Hilary Ross


'Senior associate James Jevon is very knowledgeable, astute and on the ball regarding strategy.'

Key Clients


Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Marks and Spencer

Booker plc


Arcadia Group


Work highlights

  • Represented Arcadia in a case where a child suffered a serious brain injury at one of its stores.
  • Acted for Electricity North West on appeal against a charge involving a fatal accident in 2013.
  • Represented Harford Attachments during a police investigation into corporate manslaughter arising out of an explosion in a paint spraying booth.

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Pensions: dispute resolution
Pensions: dispute resolution - ranked: tier 3


Recent highlights for DWF’s team of pensions litigators include representing scheme sponsors and regulatory bodies before the European courts in matters concerning high-value equalisation matters and PPF compensation limit challenges. Amanda Banister - 'an expert in her field' - leverages her extensive regulatory knowledge to advise on PPF assessment periods and Pensions Ombudsman disputes, while also acting in a broad range of rectification proceedings, professional negligence claims and contentious scheme closures. 'Extremely commercial' practice head Tim Green, who is based in Manchester, is also well-regarded.

Practice head(s):Tim Green; Joel Heap

Other key lawyers:Amanda Banister


'The team is extremely knowledgeable of the subject matter, with the relevant experience to draw on and a great style of delivery'

'Solutions focused with the client's objectives always in mind'

'Amanda Banister has a great leadership style and is a specialist and expert in her field. Extremely impressive'

'Tim Green and Joel Heap are excellent at understanding their client's needs'

'Provides technical knowledge on high-profile cases'

'A high-energy, high-class team that has built an impressive case record in a relatively short period of time'

'Tim Green is a stand-out individual'

'Lucinda Burgoine always produces high-quality work'

'Tim Green is a very bright lawyer, extremely commercial and great to work with'

'A delight to work with, bringing a sharp intellect and a strongly collaborative style of working to every project. This practice an only go from strength to strength'

Key Clients

WM Morrisons


Board of the Pension Protection Fund

Entrust Pensions Limited

Bentley Motors Limited


Trustees of the Nottingham City Transport Pension Fund

Allegion Pension Scheme Trustees

Trustee of the CNA Pension Plan

Representative beneficiary of the Nomura Pension Plan

Work highlights

  • Advising the Board of the Pension Protection Fund in the Hampshire v PPF & Secretary of State for Work and Pensions case in the European Court.
  • Advising the sponsor in the Safeway v Newton equalisation case.
  • Acting for a logistics sector client in a Pensions Ombudsman dispute concerning a former shareholder's pensions entitlement from a SSAS occupational pension scheme.
  • Successfully defended the trustees of the Nottingham City Transport Pension Scheme against a Pensions Ombudsman ill-health benefits claim.
  • Assisting the trustee of an industry-wide pension scheme with alternative dispute resolution including arbitral proceedings in respect of 15 non-paying employers.
Next Generation Partners

Amanda Banister - DWF

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London: Insurance

Insurance and reinsurance litigation
Insurance and reinsurance litigation - ranked: tier 3


With growing capabilities in the marine and energy sectors, DWF handles reinsurance, coverage, liability, personal injury and property damage claims. David Abbott, who was promoted to co-head of the team after joining from Clyde & Co LLP in November 2018, specialises in trade and political risk, credit insurance and reinsurance, while John Groome covers product liability, casualty and property work and Jonathan Moss focuses on marine, trade and energy matters. Antony Woodhouse regularly handles disputes with a cross-border element.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Moss; John Groome; David Abbott

Other key lawyers:Antony Woodhouse


'The team is flexible, fast, and watches out for any details'

'The firm is unarguably good'

Key Clients

ACE New York

Generali and Generali IARD (France)

Zurich Corporate Global

Novae Syndicates Ltd

Markel International Insurance Corporation Limited and Markel Syndicate 3000



Canopius Group Limited

The American P&I Club

Dual Underwriting

Work highlights

  • Acting for Travelers Marine and its insured ship owners in a case involving the collision between a container vessel and a mobile harbour crane in Sierra Leone.
  • Appointed by an insurer on a subrogated recovery action concerning an oil platform which suffered water ingress under tow off Shandong, China.
  • Advised an insurer on the extent of cover in connection with the damage to a vessel's cabling, hydrophone tanks and main engine fuel oil heater after a fire in the engine room.
  • Instructed by Dual Australia to seek a contribution from the insured's marine protection and indemnity insurers in a case of double insurance.
  • Advising an insurer on reinsurance recoveries from the US, European and London reinsurance markets.
Leading individuals

David Abbott - DWF

John Groome - DWF

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Insurance: corporate and regulatory
Insurance: corporate and regulatory - ranked: tier 5


The team at DWF is led by Richard Burger, who joined from RPC in late 2018 and is now head of financial services regulatory investigations at the firm. Burger, who previously worked at the Financial Services Authority and also carried out a secondment as head of compliance for a London market insurer, works with head of financial services regulatory Robbie Constance, who also joined from RPC in 2018 and who has a particular focus on insurance-related matters.

Practice head(s):Richard Burger

Other key lawyers:Robbie Constance

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Personal injury: defendant
Personal injury: defendant - ranked: tier 1


DWF 'is one of the market leading defendant firms' for catastrophic injury and large loss, and also fields other specialist teams advise insurers on occupational health and industrial disease, as well as motor traffic accidents and public liability cases. The practice has particular strength in claims involving spinal injury and paralysis, amputation, fatal accidents and severe brain injury. Claire Bowler heads the international claims team and has a proven track record acting for UK and European insurers in claims of the utmost severity, including those with multi-jurisdictional elements. Graham Dickinson leads on catastrophic injury work, while John Lezemore's expertise includes 'invisible illnesses' cases, such as chronic pain claims. Recently promoted partner Rhys Sanchez is active across the full array of severe injury cases, but stands out for his depth of knowledge in complex brain injury cases.

Practice head(s):Steven King; Claire Bowler; Graham Dickinson

Other key lawyers:John Lezemore; Paul Greaves; Rhys Sanchez; Catherine Kober


'The DWF team is fantastic: it takes on important cases, seeking to uncover insurance fraud where there is cogent evidence of it, and runs its cases in an efficient manner.'

'It has a level of knowledge and understanding beyond compare and is known throughout the industry as leaders.'

'One of (if not the) top firms in the defendant insurance market, a vast pool of talent with a sharp commercial mindset, capable of servicing all needs for defendant insurers.'

'Some excellent individuals in personal injury litigation with a breadth of expertise in dealing with claims in all jurisdictions worldwide.'

'Rhys Sanchez leads a very experienced and knowledgeable team which deals with serious and catastrophic work. Rhys and his team are meticulous and have a fine eye for detail.'

'Rhys has an invaluable range of experience in dealing with both UK and cross-border disputes; he is always available when required and is commercially focused, personable and adept at putting clients at ease.'

Key Clients

MS Amlin



First Central





Work highlights

  • Acting for SompoCanopius Managing Agency in dismissing a claim regarding a head injury, on the basis that the defendant did not owe an employer's duty of care to the claimant.
  • Represented MS Amlin in criminal and multimillion-euro civil proceedings brought in France as a result of a serious road traffic accident.
Leading individuals
Next Generation Partners

Rhys Sanchez - DWF

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Product liability: defendant
Product liability: defendant - ranked: tier 3


Acting for insureds and insurers alike, DWF provides its clients with seamless support across Europe, Africa and Asia. The team includes various industry specialists: David Kidman is knowledgeable in the life sciences sector while Bristol-based Peter Barnes focuses on the aviation, automotive, engineering and construction industries. Dominic Watkins is noted for his expertise in technical food law compliance work and food litigation. John Groome acts for insurers and reinsurers in casualty coverage and product liability claims. Hilary Ross is well versed in regulated industries, where she advises on the compliance of products, systems and safety across the EU. Senior associate Tom Mungovan has strong technical expertise in chemical and medical issues.

Practice head(s):David Kidman; Dominic Watkins

Other key lawyers:Peter Barnes; John Groome; Hilary Ross; Tom Mungovan


'The team handles the most complex, sensitive cases with exceptional skill and good judgement.'

'The DWF group provides good, reliable coverage advice. The lawyers are very approachable and experienced.'

'David Kidman handles sensitive, often high-profile cases with rare skill. He combines his exceptional legal knowledge with good judgement and commercial sense.'

'John Groome has significant knowledge of US laws and coverage and product liability.'

Key Clients

RSA Insurance Group




HDI Global


Travelers Insurance Company

MS Amlin

Direct Line Group

Newline Group


Marks & Spencer

2 Sisters Food Group


Chivas Brothers

Weight Watchers

Whitbread Group

Red Bull


WSH Group

Liberty Mutual Insurance

Tokio Marine Kiln

Pret A Manger

John Lewis Partnership

Work highlights

  • Advised Jelly Belly on EU requirements for labeling and food compliance, as well as assisting the client with its plans for expansion across the EMEA region.
  • Successfully acted for a supermarket chain in an investigation following the sale of a bread product which was erroneously labelled without the necessary allergen information; the client avoided prosecuted.
  • Appointed as the regulatory adviser across the EU for a global sugar refining company.
  • Assisted a British meat producer with multiple invitations to attend an interview under caution in relation to potential breaches of food hygiene legislation.
  • Advised a food producer on product naming and advertising in compliance with EU law.
Next Generation Partners

David Kidman - DWF

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Professional negligence
Professional negligence - ranked: tier 3


DWF acts for a raft of the UK’s largest general professional indemnity insurers and syndicates and handles a raft of construction, engineering, legal, financial and insurance sector claims. The firm offers an integrated service to professional indemnity insurers which includes claims handling (DWF Claims), legal defence (DWF) and loss adjusting (DWF Adjusting). It represented a professional indemnity insurer on a £3.4m coverage dispute relating to SRA minimum terms involving the first consideration of dishonesty. Peter Sewell and Eileen Pathiraja recently joined Beale & Co; Peter Campion  joined Caytons Law; Tim Barr joined Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP; Andrew Davis has retired; and Simon Gildener also departed the firm.

Practice head(s):John Bennett; Harriet Quiney; Mark Klimt

Other key lawyers:Sheona Wood; John Groome; Michael Robin; Joanne Staphnill; Jonathan Hyde; Joanna Batchelor; Tom Mungovan; Helen Smith; Ruth Lane


The team is comprised of highly intelligent, commercial and experienced  lawyers.

John Bennett is excellent.

The team is strong on volume work.

Work highlights

  • Represented a trade union on its refusal to pay the costs of a member in pursuing a claim against her employer following a retrospective application for support, on the basis that the member should have used the union's solicitors rather than her own solicitors.
  • The team represented a tax advice firm and its tax adviser, who was the subject of a regulatory investigation by the Chartered Institute of Taxation and the firm faced a large number of related professional negligence claims.

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London: Public sector

Local government
Local government - ranked: tier 3


Mark Whittaker and Perry Hill head a practice at DWF that handles a wide range of contentious cases for county and district councils and London boroughs where councils' liability is in issue. The claims range from personal injuries and professional negligence, to human rights and privacy breaches, and may relate to decisions in areas such as construction projects. The team is skilled in dealing with the insurance aspects of such claims together with the  establishment of insurance-based funds. Caroline Sanders  is also a noted team member for this work.

Practice head(s):Mark Whittaker; Perry Hill

Other key lawyers:Caroline Sanders


'They go the extra mile to deliver an excellent service to their clients and take time to really understand their client's point of view and make sure they are happy with how a case is progressing.'

'We trust who is appointed to deal with a case and know that the service will be of excellent quality and know that your case is in safe hands.'

'Special mention goes to Caroline Sanders and her team who go above and beyond to delivery a good quality service.'

Key Clients

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Westminster City Council

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

London Borough of Sutton

Surrey County Council

Brighton and Hove Council

Somerset County Council

London Borough of Ealing

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Work highlights

  • Advising the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on claims arising from the Grenfell tower tragedy.
  • Advising the City of Westminster regarding a defamation claim brought against a councillor.
  • Advising Surrey County council on the collection of social care debt.
  • Advising Somerset County Council on the establishment of new insurance arrangements for schools and academies within the county.
  • Advising Spelthorne District  Council  in respect of an inquest and subsequent threatened proceedings following the death of an individual who died from carbon monoxide poisoning at his home during the floods of 2014.

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London: Real estate

Commercial property: hotels and leisure
Commercial property: hotels and leisure - ranked: tier 4


DWF’s hospitality team has notable expertise in the establishment and structuring of real estate funds and SPVs for the purpose of hotel acquisitions and related hospitality development projects. The practice, which is active on matters across the globe, undertakes all aspects of subsequent investment transactions through to sales and leasebacks. Licensing and regulatory work is integral to the group as it advises hotels, restaurants, public houses and events on the full breadth of relevant issues. Richard Birks heads the overall real estate department which also represents both private and public sector clients on forward funding projects, regeneration works and the management of property across all asset classes. Andrew Edwards, a new arrival from Greenberg Traurig, LLP, has added experience of acting for institutions, fund managers, private equity houses and corporate occupiers.

Practice head(s):Melanie Williams


'The team offers sound and considered advice, within agreed time frames and budgets.'

'Mark Shepherd is not only a proactive, practical and good lawyer, he's a thoroughly nice guy. He is exceptionally accessible and responsive, and offers helpful advice'.

'The team are highly responsive, provide solutions and exceptionally accessible.'

'Mark Shepherd is a pleasure to work with. He provides solutions when issues arise, and is always available and accessible.'

Key Clients

Whitbread plc (Premier Inn, Costa etc.)

Bridgestreet Global Hospitality

Starboard Hotels

Berkeley Square Developments

Greene King


Maven Capital Partners

Coutts & Co

Village Hotels

Work highlights

  • Acting for Keys REIM/Best Hospitality Inc on the acquisition, development, leasing and finance in respect of the acquisition of a historic cinema site in East London to be redeveloped for use as boutique hotel.
  • Represented Premier Inn in respect of a new 137 bed hotel at Princes Street Edinburgh, to form a centre piece of the mixed use development to be converted out of the former BHS department store.  

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Property finance
Property finance - ranked: tier 5


DWF's 'commercial' team is noted for advising institutional lenders, as well as an increasing number of new, non-bank lenders. The team assists with acquisition and development finance, refinancing and restructuring, and has expertise in healthcare, hotels and data centres. The firm saw a number of departures in early 2019, with Christian Francis and Iain Thomas moving to Fieldfisher and John Fox retiring, but was joined by Brendan Slack from Dentons, who brings expertise in the financing of technology and energy assets. The 'on-the-ball' Simon Elphick and head of banking Iain Shurwood lead the practice alongside Slack.

Practice head(s):Iain Shurwood; Brendan Slack; Simon Elphick


'The team demonstrates a helpful and commercial approach, with good communication.'

'Simon Elphick is particularly good at reviewing the options with us and has a strong in-depth knowledge of our requirements. Also, he is willing to provide informal assistance ahead of instructions which is valuable.'

'The team offers professional, timely, cost-effective property advice.'

'Simon Elphick is an outstanding property lawyer who provides thoughtful, effective, timely advice.'

'Access to partners at DWF is exceptional - they have great knowledge and risk awareness but at the same time are practical in their conclusions.'

'Simon Elphick is a top-rate real estate lawyer with an excellent grasp of commercial principles.'

Key Clients

The Royal Bank of Scotland plc



The Royal Bank of Scotland International Limited

Santander UK plc

Lloyds Banking Group/BoS

Barclays Bank plc

HSBC Bank plc

Secure Trust Bank

Fortwell Capital Limited


Unity Trust Bank

Rothschild & Co

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London: Transport

Shipping - ranked: tier 5


DWF's shipping and commodities offering is 'relatively small but is capable of delivering an excellent service'. It acts for marine insurers, ship owners and charterers on a range of disputes, often involving piracy, theft or cargo detention issues. The team is best known for its international arbitration expertise and it handles cross-border disputes involving ports, terminals cargo contamination, fires, explosions and casualties. It is advising the ship owners in a dispute concerning an arrest of a livestock vessel in Chile. The team is increasingly handling non-contentious mandates and is engaged on M&A transactions, charterparty contracts and crew agreements.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Moss

Other key lawyers:Elliott Bromley; Radhika Ruparelia; Laura Segger


'One of the strengths of the team is that the lawyers are commercially minded and really focus on practical solutions for the dispute.'

Jonathan Moss listens to his client's needs and takes a pragmatic and commercial approach to litigation.'

Key Clients

HDI Gerling Verzekeringen NV

American Bureau of Shipping

Travelers Marine

Serco Marine Services

Willis Marine International Trade & Logistics

Cronimet Eesti Metall

Van Dalen Metals Recycling & Trading

MS Amlin Marine

Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (‘CMAL’)

Lighthouse (SPA)

Edra Energy Bhd

Tonkolili Iron Ore (SL)

Kwik-Fit (GB)

Stapleton's (Tyre Services)

The American Club


Vallis Commodities

Fusion Insurance

Work highlights

  • Instructed by a Nigerian shipping company to prepare a legal opinion on the prospects of success of appealing an arbitration award under sections 68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
  • The team assesed the merits of a claim against Hyundai Elevator Turkey's carrier for misinformation.
  • Advising a major German insurance group in a £400m claim in relation to the Tianjin Port explosion.
  • Advising a leading independent insurer in Singapore on a subrogated recovery action.
  • Advised a leading independent insurer in Singapore on the terms of a BIMCO contract (TOWCON 2008) to determine whether a tug owner is responsible for damage caused to an accommodation vessel.

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Travel: personal injury - ranked: tier 3


DWF is engaged on international travel injury claims for insurer clients and is particularly noted for its expertise in jurisdiction and applicable law issues. The team represented a German insurer on complex applicable law arguments in the UK arising from a fatal road traffic accident in Germany. International insurance claims expert Sara-Jane Eaton and Claire Bowler, who is experienced in high-value claims involving motor accidents abroad, head the team.

Practice head(s):Sara-Jane Eaton; Claire Bowler

Other key lawyers:Graham Dickinson; Steven King; Rhys Sanchez

Key Clients


Van Ameyde (UK)

MS Amlin

Hastings Direct



The Markerstudy Group



HDI Global

Mannheimer Versicherung AG

Wuerttemburgische  Versicherung AG

Zurich Rechtschutzversicherung AG

Guardian General Insurance

Work highlights

  • Represented the insurers of an employer in a multi-million pound compensation claim following a helicopter crash in Peru.
  • Represented RSA in connection with complex applicable law arguments arising from a road traffic accident in France.
  • Represented a Spanish insurer in the defence of complex proceedings in the UK following a serious road traffic accident in Spain.
  • The team is representing UK and German insurers in the defence of a serious road traffic accident in Germany
Leading individuals

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