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7 May 2013
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Firms shortlisted for The Lawyer Awards upped their game in a grim market, with imagination and hard work the watchwords
Each year The Lawyer’s editorial team sifts through the hundreds of entries we receive for the annual The Lawyer Awards in association with Travelers.
For weeks, the identities of those lucky enough to make it through to the shortlist is a closely guarded secret. Today, we reveal who made it.
With the high number of entries, The Lawyer’s team and the excellent judging panel had their work cut out whittling down each category. Hours of research have gone into compiling the shortlist, with our judges imparting the knowledge gained over years working in their fields. The standard of entries this year was exceptional - those making it on to the list are true market-leaders.
The winners will be revealed at a sparkling ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on Tuesday 25 June
Finance Team of the Year
In the current market, the best finance deals are reorganisations that require innovative thinking, and many of the shortlisted transactions this year are likely to provide a roadmap for other deals in the sector. Take Berwin Leighton Paisner, which advised TPG and Patron Capital Opera Finance in relation to the acquisition of the 600m (£500m) loan underlying the first CMBS in Europe. Led by structured finance head Paul Severs and banking partner Lucy Oddy, the transaction was structured as a credit bid that also entailed vendor-financing and involved multiple stakeholders. The deal enabled Uni-Invest to move forward as a properly capitalised business.
CMBS was also flavour of the month at Paul Hastings, where partners Charles Roberts and Conor Downey advised Deutsche Bank on the first euro CMBS since 2007, the 887m Florentia (Vitus) deal.
There was more structured finance wizardry from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which advised RBS on the refinancing of Center Parcs. The £740m whole business securitisation with a £280m high-yield bond necessitated a complex group reorganisation that entailed some hard thinking around the perennial issues of ratings, structure and security.
Norton Rose confirmed its position as a leading firm in Islamic finance when partner Farmida Bi advised longstanding client Gatehouse Bank on its UK real estate-based sukuk - the first sukuk of its kind in the UK.
Slaughter and May partner Guy O’Keefe advised on an entirely new capital structure for energy company Drax plc, requiring £650m of capital investment and preparing the model so it could operate successfully at sub-investment grade.
Latham & Watkins leveraged its deep knowledge of the high-yield market in its role advising Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan on Perstorp’s $1.09bn (£700m) multi-tranche bond issue.
Reed Smith, which advised the trustee on the Perstorp deal, is shortlisted for its work on the £950m refinancing of the Co-operative Group, a debt deal regarded as one of the most complex and strategically important corporate financings of last year. Philip Slater advised the Co-op on the finance package.
Restructuring Team of the Year
Sponsored by Cork Gully
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
There is no doubt that restructuring is the practice area to be in at the moment, and the number and quality of submissions for this category reflected the amount of activity.
The types of restructuring deals are many. Hogan Lovells’ entry focused on the restructuring of environment group AEA in the UK and US, while Clifford Chance’s team advised Travelodge on a restructuring which helped the company avoid administration.
Natural resources was a theme for a number of restructuring teams, such as Nabarro, which acted for UK Coal on its complex restructuring.
Macfarlanes and Allen & Overy also reached the shortlist, for advice to the Four Seasons Health Care Group and a German real estate group respectively.
Burges Salmon worked with the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority on the appointment of an interim contractor to maintain London’s fleet of fire engines at a time when a number of large events were taking place in the city.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton rounds off the shortlist for its work advising Greece on its debt restructuring - a process that has lasted several years.
Competition Team of the Year
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
It’s an interesting time for competition lawyers, something highlighted by former Competition Commission chairman Peter Freeman QC, now one of the chairmen of the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), who argued earlier this year that the law must “get real, get simple, get credible”.
What is certain is that this year’s nominations for the category are not short of real and credible entries, though few of them are simple.
Take Burges Salmon. A team from the firm’s competition group led by Laura Claydon provided long-term strategic advice to municipal operator Cardiff Bus, saving it from a life-threatening ‘follow-on’ competition damages claim.
Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) proved to be no slouch for longstanding client BSkyB either. After an eight-week hearing in 2011, in the summer of 2012 Herbert Smith (now HSF) secured a major victory for the broadcaster, overturning Ofcom’s decision to force Sky to make its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels available to rivals at prices and on contractual terms set by the regulator, one of the largest appeals to come before the CAT.
Communications was the name of the game at Clifford Chance, which advised Everything Everywhere (EE) on the competition and regulatory aspects of its successful application to become the UK’s first provider of fourth generation (4G) mobile services, while Morrison & Foerster advised on some of the most complex and high profile M&A deals and cartel investigations in Europe. SJ Berwin’s competition team, led by partners Stephen Kon and Philipp Girardet, were instrumental in shaping Universal Music Group’s bid strategy and securing EU and other worldwide regulatory approvals for its £1.2bn acquisition of EMI’s global record business, while Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton was counsel to Google in connection with a variety of antitrust complaints filed with the European Commission.
Wrapping up this outstanding list is Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which won unconditional clearance for the London Stock Exchange Group of its acquisition of a majority stake in LCH.Clearnet through one of the most extensive and rigorous first-phase investigation procedures ever undertaken by the OFT.
Regulatory Team of the Year
Herbert Smith Freehills
Companies are becoming increasingly concerned about regulation, with investigations now common in many fields. In this category a number of sectors were covered by entries and the shortlist.
CMS’s regulatory team advised insurer Reliance Mutual on a capital restructuring in line with a focus on with-profits policies by the FSA.
Financial services regulation also gave Shearman & Sterling a place on the shortlist for its innovative work for over-the-counter operator ICE on the clearing of forward foreign exchange contracts. Similarly, Norton Rose won a shortlist spot for its advice to CME Group on the launch of a new derivatives exchange.
Herbert Smith Freehills’ regulatory entry was more contentious in nature. The firm acted for UBS as KPMG undertook an investigation into rogue trading at the FSA’s behest, amid much media attention.
Lawrence Graham, meanwhile, won a role for the British Bankers’ Association as the regulators turned their attention on the Libor-fixing scandal, with the firm’s regulatory team working closely with its employment and litigation teams.
But regulatory work was not all about financial institutions. Berrymans Lace Mawer defended a plumbing company in a prosecution over alleged carbon monoxide poisoning which followed a two-year investigation by the Health & Safety Executive. And DWF was instructed by retailer Iceland amid the scandal over horsemeat in beef products.
Corporate Finance Team of the Year
Sponsored by Laurence Simons
Despite the tough economic environment, numerous firms secured some major corporate finance mandates, ensuring plenty of choice when selecting this shortlist.
On Telefónica Deutschland’s €6.5bn German IPO CMS led for the telecoms company alongside CMS Hasche Sigle.
Equity capital markets work was also to be found in Turkey, where Chadbourne & Parke advised the Privatisation Administration of the Republic of Turkey on the sale of a 23.9 per cent stake in Türkiye Halk Bankası, the country’s sixth largest bank by total assets. The deal raised $2.5bn and was, according to the firm, the largest-ever offering on the Istanbul Stock Exchange.
Sullivan & Cromwell is shortlisted for its standout European deal, the re-domiciliation and relisting of Coca-Coca Hellenic, the world’s second largest Coca-Cola bottler, while Travers Smith led for CPA Global on its sale last year to private equity group Cinven. The deal involved battling the tough market conditions and managing the fact that CPA has around 50 subsidiaries in more than 15 countries, a task and a half for the largely London-focused Travers Smith.
Clifford Chance makes the cut for its dual role acting for Cinven on two acquisitions: Mercury Pharma, which it bought from Linklaters client HgCapital, and Amdipharm, which it acquired from its founders in one of the largest buyouts of 2012. The two companies were then merged to form the AMco Group. Both deals were signed within a couple of months, with the Amdipharm deal conditional on Mercury being signed. To make matters more curiously complex, neither set of sellers could find out about the other deal, with both committed to a conditional transaction despite not knowing what that deal was.
Kirkland & Ellis’s London private equity team has had a stellar year, advising Vista Equity Partners on its acquisition of software business Troy from Thomson Reuters and its purchase of Swiss-listed Misys. The Troy deal, which was structured in more than 50 jurisdictions, also involved a contract race between two bidders, while Misys was one of the largest take-privates of 2012 and the first sizeable competitive takeover bid since the new Takeover Code came in, during autumn 2011.
M&A Team of the Year
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Slaughter and May
Slaughter and May is shortlisted for an African deal that demonstrates the firm’s reach goes well beyond its traditional City domain. It advised Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production on its takeover of Aim-listed Cove Energy, enabling the client to enter the promising East Africa hydrocarbon province and help Mozambique’s natural gas economy.
Lawrence Graham (LG) acted for Cove, a client since 2009, with corporate head Geoff Gouriet leading alongside partner John Reed and getting onto the shortlist in the process.
Ashurst’s shortlisted deal of 2012 was William Hill and GVC’s joint bid for Sportingbet, with partners Anthony Clare and Jonathan Earle acting for William Hill on the £490m bid, which included a mixture of cash and share consideration.
Linklaters led on one of the standout M&A deals of all time, Glencore International’s $70bn merger with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer client Xstrata, an all-share merger between two FTSE 100 resources giants and the biggest UK public M&A deal by legal fees since the new Takeover Code came in almost two years ago. Linklaters partner Charlie Jacobs led for Glencore, while Freshfields London partners Julian Makin and Piers Prichard Jones led for Xstrata.
Taylor Wessing’s entry was for a complex African mining deal, illustrating the European firm’s footprint on the continent. Partner David Roberts led for Namakwa Diamonds, a publicly listed group, on the restructuring of its mining divisions, including the sale of operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo to a management buyout team, a debt-equity swap with Jarvirne, which bought the company in July 2012, two credit facilities and the switch from the stock exchange’s main market to Aim.
Norton Rose’s move into South Africa in 2011 paid off with a key mandate from Barclays on its £1.3bn sale of its African operations to South African bank Absa. Clifford Chance advised Barclays on its original investment in Absa in 2005 through its relationship with South African firm Deneys Reitz, which later merged with Norton Rose. Partly thanks to this combination, Norton Rose partner Alan Bainbridge won the role for Barclays on the latest deal.
Employment team of the year
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Leigh Day/Outer Temple Chambers
Wragge & Co
Employment law is in the spotlight at the moment, with pensions reforms and restructurings adding to the usual flow of tribunal cases for businesses and their legal advisers. Entries for the category this year reflect the type of work out there and the shortlisted firms have acted on a range of issues which have a real impact for employees and employers.
The Olympic Games caught everyone’s attention last summer but kept Eversheds’ employment team busy in a different way. The firm was instructed by London’s bus operators to challenge strike ballots by Unite, which sought bonuses for transport workers. Just weeks before the Olympics kicked off, Eversheds brought three successful injunctions against the strikes and a further seven injunction applications led to settlement on the court steps, helping the games to run smoothly.
Fox Williams’ entry focused on a termination dispute. The firm took the case of ex-Société Générale banker Raphael Geys all the way to the Supreme Court and established his right to a termination payment of €12.5m, setting precedent on repudiatory breaches of employment contracts.
Leigh Day and Outer Temple Chambers also submitted a Supreme Court case. Their work for 174 Birmingham City Council employees could influence the fight for equal pay as the Supreme Court ruled that equal pay claims can be brought in the civil courts rather than just the Employment Tribunal - giving claimants a much longer period to bring a claim. Some claimants will win more than £50,000 as a result of the case.
Restructuring was the focus for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, winning a shortlist spot for its advice to the Government on the new shape of Royal Mail - notably its pension scheme. Meanwhile Baker & McKenzie’s work for General Motors, negotiating a collective agreement for the company with trade union Unite, meant the future of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant and thousands of jobs were secured.
Wragge & Co completes the shortlist with its work for supermarket company Morrisons, developing a brand new pension scheme in response to the recent workplace pension reforms.
Infrastructure Projects Team of the Year
Sponsored by Noble Legal
Allen & Overy
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Sullivan & Cromwell
Wragge & Co
In these times of austerity the jury’s out whether the way back to boom is via building, but for the firms in this shortlist bricks and mortar, and plenty more besides, have provided some genuinely groundbreaking instructions.
Pinsent Masons combined with Heathrow Holdings on the high-profile disposal of Edinburgh Airport to Global Infrastructure Partners for £807m.
The London team at US firm Sullivan & Cromwell has played a key role on many of the largest, most complex multi-source international project finance transactions in the natural resources sector, including advising the project company Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) on its multibillion dollar LNG project.
Ashurst’s global infrastructure team has had an exceptionally strong year, with one standout example being its advice to the funders of the Agility trains consortium on the £4.5bn Intercity Express Programme (IEP).
DLA Piper also broke ground in the rail sector, advising the Hitachi Rail Europe and John Laing Investments consortium Agility Trains on the £4.5bn contract to build and maintain the new ‘Super Express’ trains.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer also featured prominently on the IEP, the largest privately financed rolling stock deal in history, advising the Government.
At Wragge & Co it was a different kind of essential infrastructure, though still a multibillion-pound deal, that kept its lawyers busy. The firm advised Amey on a 25-year £2bn highways maintenance and management contract, a vital project for the company and the population in the context of local authority cut-backs and the tough climate in the infrastructure sector.
At Norton Rose it was the firm’s advice to the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) on its first major transactions that secured it a place on the shortlist. A team led by partner Jon Ellis advised on the financing of Dutch pension fund PGGM and Ampere Equity Fund’s interest in Walney offshore wind farm, the first time GIB provided direct lending support to a project financing.
Completing the shortlist is Allen & Overy, which helped develop a new product (‘Pebble’, a platform that allows the funding of greenfield project financing by institutional investors) that facilitates long-term debt. It is a doubly significant initiative at a time when there are serious questions surrounding the capacity of the bank market generally and on long-term lending to projects in particular.
Litigation Team of the Year
Sponsored by Ernst & Young
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
All but one of the litigation teams shortlisted in this category have been instructed on top-level international cases, which brings into focus the fierce competition for work in this arena.
Hogan Lovells has worked for Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank against its former chairman Muktar Ablyazov, who was alleged to have absconded from Kazakhstan after embezzling funds out of the bank. It has been a groundbreaking case, which has so far been in court more than 200 times, included the work of 40 barristers and resulted in 49 reported decisions. So far Hogan Lovells has recovered upward of $2bn and more is on the way.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan also has its share of international work, acting for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in his high-stakes battle with rival Michael Cherney. The case settled just days into the trial. The firm’s biggest win of the year was for businessman Derek Quinlan, who was accused of dishonesty against clients in connection to a case related to the Barclay brothers’ acquisition of the Maybourne Hotel Group. It was a hard-fought battle, but a decisive victory for Quinn Emanuel.
White & Case, meanwhile, earns its nomination for the work it did for Turkey’s largest telecoms company, Cukurova, in its bruising battle with Russia’ Alfa Group. The case concerned share ownership of Turkey’s largest mobile telephone operator, Turkcell.
White & Case secured seven substantive judgments for its client over six years, including judgments from the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council.
As the business world gets smaller there is no shortage of litigators attempting to bring jurisdictions closer together. Mayer Brown, which is also nominated, persuaded the Supreme Court that the Australian liquidators of New Cap Reinsurance Corp could enforce a foreign ruling in England, arguing that a universal approach was needed to insolvency matters.
There has been no shortage of jurisdiction battles post-2008 either, but this has been one of the most hard-fought and significant of the past 12 months.
The final firm to be nominated is Eversheds for its outstanding contribution to the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry. It was a mammoth task at a significant cost to the taxpayer, but Eversheds helped cut the length of the inquiry by 75 per cent, to be completed with in 12 months instead of four years.
The case involved 37 weeks of public hearings and 352 witness statements taken over that 12-month period - no mean feat. The firm has created a smart model for all public inquiries, something that is sure to save taxpayers money in the future.
Pinsent Masons’ work for Willbros in defence of a claim against it by the West African Gas Pipeline Project Company (WAPCo) has proven exemplary. The firm managed to persuade the court to down the value of the case from $320m to $50m while also setting the standard for e-disclosure in global battles. In total, the firm processed 3.2 million documents in under four months, proving how disclosure can be the best cost saving measure.
Burges Salmon picks up a nomination for its Eurostar work during the company’s procurement battle with Alstom over its rolling stock. The firm set up a case management team and knocked out a series of highly charged cases against Eurostar, creating new case law in the specialist area of public procurement and eventually forcing the case to be dropped.
Private Wealth Team of the Year
Baker & McKenzie
Maurice Turnor Gardner
The private wealth market has experienced a new dynamic in flows of capital, particularly through the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Baker & McKenzie’s multi-jurisdictional private wealth practice, whose new offices in Istanbul and Casablanca added to its international portfolio, had a year dominated by cross-border asset-tracing and freezing orders, but non-contentious work also included using bilateral investment treaties as part of a corporate restructuring for a wealthy family.
Maurice Turnor Gardner’s standout mandate involved advising an ultra-high-net-worth European family on establishing a discreet and tax-efficient Jersey-based structure, in the face of forced heirship issues, which required both private client and partnership law expertise.
In similar vein, Withers is shortlisted for its work on the estate of venture capitalist Nigel Doughty following his unexpected death in February 2012 and whose interests included Nottingham Forest FC and his own philanthropic foundation.
Field Fisher Waterhouse advised a major bank on an art finance deal that gave rise to complex title issues around the art itself and also entailed a corporate reorganisation, while Burges Salmon had a distinctly French accent to its work this year, with partner Beatrice Puoti helping clients through the new French taxation law for trusts, which imposes a duty to reveal the value of trust assets and declare when a trust has a connection with France.
On the matrimonial law side Farrer & Co’s Jeremy Posnansky QC, the firm’s in-house advocate, led on Petrodel Resources Ltd & Ors v Prest, heard in the Supreme Court earlier this year. The dispute, a complex interplay of matrimonial and company law, has implications for divorcing couples whose assets are held in company and trust structures.
Lastly, a Pinsent Masons team led by partner Michael Pulford worked with litigation funder Novitas in acting for Saudi businessman Adnan Sharbatly against his former wife in a high-profile jurisdictional case that narrowed the criteria for launching secondary financial proceedings following divorce.
Real Estate Team of the Year
Davitt Jones Bould
Wragge & Co
Times may be hard and margins may be tiny but there were still some monumental deals to be had last year. In media circles the move of the BBC from its world-famous Television Centre in London’s White City was one of the biggest developments in years. It was also big news in real estate circles, with Hogan Lovells advising the broadcaster on the £200m sale to a consortium led by developer Stanhope.
Trowers & Hamlins, known for its social housing practice, advised longstanding client Aviva Investors’ REaLM Fund on its investment of £25m into 411 units of tenanted social housing last year. The innovative lease and lease-back structure was designed to provide secure, inflation-linked income streams and is expected to be rolled out to other providers, providing funding to the affordable housing sector.
Ashurst and Eversheds’ joint submission reflects the firms’ roles as key advisers on one of the best-known recent real estate projects, the 1,016 feet high Shard and the associated 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use space known as London Bridge Quarter (LBQ). Ashurst had advised the developer, Sellar Property, since 2006, with Eversheds coming on board in 2008 to advise the Qatari debt and equity investors and later the parent company of the property-owning entities, LBQ Ltd. With LBQ situated at London Bridge station, one of Europe’s busiest interchanges, projects don’t come much more exciting or challenging.
Following its appointment to the Grainger panel last summer, Pinsent Masons was appointed by G-Res, the UK’s largest residential property fund, on the £349m disposal of its portfolio to Grip, a fund established by APG Real Estate and Grainger. The novel deal illustrates the trend for institutional investors from Europe and the US to invest in UK property.
Nabarro, meanwhile, acted for new client Google on aspects including real estate, construction, planning, environment and tax, of the acquisition of a site for the £1bn development of around 1 million square feet at the Argent-led King’s Cross estate for a new European headquarters.
Davitt Jones Bould found itself at the centre of one of last year’s landmark events, represented longstanding property client the Royal Parks on matters relating to the hosting of more than 40 Olympic events on Royal Parks land, including the beach volleyball on Horseguards Parade, the equestrian events in Greenwich Park, the triathlon and marathon swimming in Hyde Park and the use of The Mall in St James’s Park.
When US private equity group Harbert Management Corporation’s made its latest ‘giant’ acquisition Wragge & Co was the obvious choice. The firm has advised Harbert since 2009 so when the US group acquired 19 multi-let industrial estates, equating to 4.7 million square feet and more than 250 commercial tenants from UK-listed developer Segro in one deal for £204.5m, there was only one place to go.
There was more overseas investment in Mayer Brown’s key 2012 deal, which saw China Overseas Holdings Limited (COHL) purchase One Finsbury Circus for £152m. This was the first time a Chinese state-owned development company had invested in real estate outside its home market, a coup for the firm.
TMT Team of the Year
Herbert Smith Freehills
Simmons & Simmons
Few areas are as fast-changing as TMT, but Lewis Silkin has made genuine efforts to build a converged media and entertainment practice. This is reflected in the firm’s role advising Syco Entertainment on the launch of The You Generation, the world’s first global talent show run exclusively on YouTube.
Covington & Burling’s work at the intersection of data protection and sports law over the past year marks it out as a contender for this award. During the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, Covington was working behind the scenes to ensure that all ran smoothly.
Olswang, meanwhile, led on a TMT deal that set a new standard for innovation in the global telecoms industry, advising Vodafone on its network-sharing deal with Telefónica UK. Across the table, Herbert Smith Freehills was sole adviser to Telefónica on the deal.
In this sector contentious matters don’t come any higher profile than the smartphone wars, and Simmons & Simmons, which has assisted Samsung in its dispute with Apple in relation to the former’s Galaxy Tabs since July 2011, is nominated for its work in this area.
Pinsent Masons’ work for the Tax Incentivised Savings Association (Tisa) may have been lower profile than smartphone battles but it was no less complex. In the wake of FSA concerns that the financial services industry was dragging its feet transferring customer assets or refusing to transfer assets at all, Pinsents advised Tisa on an innovative industry-wide solution that facilitates electronic asset re-registration while reducing cost, risk and duplication to meet regulatory requirements.
For Bird & Bird, Nokia has been a key client for a decade. Since 2008 the firm has advised the telecoms giant on more than 70 separate patent troll-related actions involving 49 patent families. It is the largest and longest running patent litigation in the electronics sector.
Funds Team of the Year
Sponsored by JTC
O’Melveny & Myers
Schulte Roth & Zabel
Wragge & Co
After two years of frantic hiring by US firms in the London private equity funds market, the moves are starting to pay off with deals, as The Lawyer’s first funds award shortlist demonstrates.
O’Melveny & Myers has been in the market for several years and this year advised key UK client Coller Capital, a secondaries specialist, on the formation of its fund VI, which raised more than €5.5bn. London partner John Daghlian led for Coller.
Osborne Clarke, not known for its funds practice, closed an impressive €2.2bn real estate fund for Niam Nordic, with Tim Simmonds leading for Niam alongside Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton on US law and Wistrand on Swedish law.
Wragge & Co advised on the UK’s first venture capital trust set up to allow investors to put large funds into social enterprises. Tax partner Neil Pearson led a Wragges team for the chief executive of Social Finance, David Hutchison, while a corporate and financial services team advised on its IPO.
Linklaters is shortlisted for its role advising private equity house Cinven on its raising of over €4bn for its latest pan-European fund - the first fundraising for the group following Linklaters’ appointment as Cinven’s fund and house counsel in 2010. London partner Jonathan de Lance-Holmes led.
Schulte Roth & Zabel advised the principals of Falcon Edge Capital on the structuring of its US and UK management companies, and fund offering. London partners Christopher Hilditch and Daniel Shapiro led out of London.
Norton Rose partner Richard Sheen led for new client Starwood Capital Group on the IPO of its first listed investment fund in Europe, Starwood European Real Estate Finance. This was the largest investment company IPO in 2012.
Macfarlanes makes the cut for its role advising Haymarket Financial on its quest to access funding under the Business Finance Partnership. Partners Alex Amos led on the fundraising, with Damien Crossley leading on tax and structuring.
In-house Banking and Financial Services Team of the Year
Sponsored by Barclay Simpson
Barclays M&A Legal
Capital One (Europe) plc
Credit Agricole Corporate and
Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank’s year was full of challenging technical issues, notably the transfer of credit risk of CA’s structured credit portfolio and the auction sale of the bank’s commodity portfolio to JP Morgan.
Standard Life’s legal team was strongly involved in the recovery of £100m plus costs following a successful claim against its professional indemnity insurers. This came after a cash injection of over £100m to compensate customers who complained after a fall in its Pension Sterling Fund in 2009.
WorldPay’s legal and compliance team was active in 2012, as one would expect in the mobile payments sector. Still in build mode following the spin-out from RBS in 2010, it led new product launches across 160 markets.
Virgin Money’s 17-lawyer in-house team did not stop in 2012 following the acquisition of Northern Rock. It advised on two mortgage-backed securitisations, the latter raising £1bn, the acquisition of a £465m mortgage portfolio from UK Asset Resolution and a £1bn credit card portfolio from MBNA. And on top of that, the team still finds time to lead a monthly employment law clinic at Newcastle Law Centre.
Also busy was Canada Life’s legal department, which dealt with a host of new business and regulatory issues. It ensured the smooth launch of the company’s UK investment arm in early 2013 almost entirely without external legal input; not bad for a team of nine.
Capital One (Europe)’s legal team, numbering 15 people, broadened its traditional financial services and regulatory remit when the company became official sponsor of the League Cup and launched a white-label credit card. The team had to get to grips with product liability, broadcasting rights and branding issues while grappling with the consumer claims culture.
Also shortlisted is Barclays M&A Legal, which was central to the absorption of Barclays’ ABSA operations across Africa.
In-house Commerce & Industry Team of the Year
Sponsored by Pure Search
National Car Parks
In-house lawyers are used to pressure but by any measure 2012 was a remarkable year for the handful of lawyers in BG Group’s legal department’s corporate team. A portfolio rationalisation programme aimed at raising $5bn in divestment proceeds over two years. Ten major deals later, the target has been exceeded by $3bn.
At National Car Parks last year the legal team was instrumental in helping the company successfully operate in the midst of a pioneering financial restructuring involving hundreds of millions of pounds and encompassing an injection of new equity, a reduction of senior debt, and negotiated rent reductions.
Under general counsel George Turner, global hotel company InterContinental Hotels’ legal team has been transformed from a set of regional legal departments into a globally aligned, collaborative legal group of 90 lawyers that advises at every level on key decisions made by the company.
A major refinancing deal at Premier Foods overseen by the legal department and aimed at cutting debt by £330m over 27 months resulted in a disposal programme that raised £370m 16 months ahead of time.
Spire Healthcare’s in-house team amply demonstrated its engagement with the company’s consultant surgeons following the Competition Commission inquiry into the private healthcare market. The team went out of its way to raise awareness of the inquiry, resulting in a several-fold increase in the number of submissions received by the commission to create a fairer and more rounded outcome.
Few companies cover as much ground as McDonald’s Restaurants, yet the European team is relatively tiny, with just seven lawyers handling the legal issues for 1,300 restaurants. Last year the huge range of matters included advising McDonald’s on its role as a sponsor in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In-house TMT Team of the Year
bwin.party digital entertainment
Hitachi Data Systems
BT’s legal team has been instrumental in implementing a ‘best-sourcing’ approach to blending off-shore, in-house and external panel resources. Under this scheme, the complexity/value of work determines the appropriate resource to be used and cost to be incurred, an approach that has significantly contributed to BT’s groupwide drive for cost-efficiency.
The launch of GlaxoSmithKline’s ‘One Legal’ philosophy, aimed at promoting a greater level of enterprise thinking, saw more than 600 legal team members across 40 countries work closer together, thanks to innovations such as the Legal Dashboard.
ITV, the largest commercial television network in the UK, is more than halfway through its five-year transformation plan launched by CEO Adam Crozier in 2010. So far, the plan has resulted in increased profits, the elimination of debt and a five-fold rise in share price - tangible results of a plan in which the legal team has been integral.
Online betting and gaming company bwin.party digital entertainment celebrated its first birthday in April 2012, and its legal team was integral to the success of a busy first 12 months during which the business struck a real money gaming deal with Zynga, its CEO was asked in for questioning by the Belgian authorities and it became Manchester United FC’s official online betting and gaming partner.
The Football Association also celebrated a birthday - its 150th - of which the development of St George’s Park, the new National Football Centre which was opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in October 2012 and which presented the legal team with a range of challenges far outside its normal workload, was a cornerstone.
Hitachi Data Systems’ relatively small decentralised legal department of just 22 lawyers and contract managers handles issues across 170 countries and advised on three acquisition in the past 18 months.
At Channel 4 the legal and compliance team is at the heart of an area that has never been under more scrutiny. The broadcaster’s statutory remit includes demonstrating ‘innovation, experimentation and creativity’ in its programmes and the legal team faces daily challenges as editorial and creative boundaries are pushed. The team’s success is reflected in the fact that its approach is generally not to say no to an idea, but to look creatively at how it can be realised.
In-house Lawyer of the Year
Jeremy Cross, Anesco
David Haigh, GFH Capital
Gregory Mappledoram, Truphone
Nicola Shand, Scotia Gas Networks
Richard Vary, Nokia
Geoff Wild, Kent County Council
Head of legal at green energy company Anesco, Jeremy Cross has made a real impact since joining the business in April 2012, not least in terms of cost efficiency. His input into Anesco’s deals has seen legal and technical adviser fees typically cut by up to 80 per cent, a major benefit as Anesco has become one of the UK’s fastest growing companies.
David Haigh of GFH Capital, a private equity investor and fund manager based in the Dubai International Finance Centre, personally led the first-ever successful bid by an Islamic bank to acquire a major English football club, namely Leeds United FC. Since then, Haigh has been heavily involved in many aspects of the club’s business, including ongoing landmark litigation proceedings. In addition, the Middle Eastern-based GC is overseeing the conduct of a £75m investment dispute on behalf of Gulf Finance House, GFH Capital’s parent company.
Nicola Shand joined gas distribution network company Scotia Gas Networks in June 2007 as a trainee solicitor and is now the proud holder of the senior legal services role in the business. As such, Shand has spearheaded a range of matters handled by the legal team in relation to the next gas distribution price control, known as RIIO, which commenced in April 2013.
Gregory Mappledoram, of UK-headquartered, international mobile communications company Truphone has an understanding of business issues that has given him the ability to lead on transactions even as the company has grown significantly, including most notably the £70m investment by Roman Abramovich.
Geoff Wild of Kent County Council, who developed the ‘in-house private practice’ has changed the landscape of legal services through combining the best elements of commercial entrepreneurship with a staunch public service ethos. In so doing at Kent he has built a law practice of more than 125 lawyers with an annual turnover of nearly £12m and a profit centre of over £2m, a surplus that goes directly to funding the council and relieving a burden that would otherwise have to be met through taxation.
Richard Vary, Nokia’s head of the worldwide litigation team, last year led the phone company through a substantial and ground-breaking claim against the participants in a cartel which was fixing the prices of LCD screens. Vary also helped Nokia complete the bulk of its six-year long successful litigation against IPCom. Quite a year.
In-house Public Sector Team of the Year
Essex Legal Services
Kent Legal Services
London Borough of Brent
London Borough of Enfield
London Borough of Lambeth
Solicitor’s Office of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs
Few areas have been as under pressure in these days of austerity as the public sector, so the lawyers in this category really do have to know how to achieve more with less. Added to that, with tax and tax avoidance making front page news throughout 2012 and into 2013, the work of the Solicitor’s Office of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in challenging avoidance schemes has never been more topical or important. In a year when HMRC faced unprecedented scrutiny, its in-house team protected £5bn-worth of revenue through litigation, working effectively with the bar to achieve success in 85 per cent of its cases.
In what was a particularly busy year, the London Borough of Brent’s four-strong legal team provides expert advice across the council’s services, ensuring clear governance and accountability as well as support to internal and external clients.
A significant challenge for the in-house legal team at the London Borough of Lambeth last year was to help support the establishment of the first Lambeth Youth Co-operative. It was also closely involved in supporting the Children and Young People’s Services Department’s move towards new service delivery models.
Essex County Council’s Essex Legal Services (ELS) is a trading unit within the council operating a zero-based budget with an annual turnover in excess of £8m. Last year was exceptional, with the ELS team delivering several prestigious projects including helping Essex become the first local authority to use social impact bonds to finance a project to provide multi-systemic therapy that helps keep at-risk children out of care.
Transport for London (TfL) is the owner and operator of the largest integrated public transport network in Europe, managing assets of over £23bn. The legal team’s work is diverse, technically challenging and novel, particularly so in 2012 when TfL Legal played a pivotal role in advising on the mayoral elections in May and the Olympic Games shortly after, all the while providing legal support on a daily basis on a series of major projects affecting Londoners’ lives.
Kent Legal Services is unlike virtually any other public sector legal team or in-house legal department. The department trades, insofar as regulatory and statutory powers allow, and has provided services to more than 350 bodies, councils and organisations. Last year it made a contribution to the council of around £3m, invaluable at a time of budgetary pressure.
The legal team at the London Borough of Enfield Legal Services was instrumental in helping deliver the ambitious Alma Regeneration Project, which included an uplift in the number of new homes from 720 to 1,000, improved green space and secure play areas, and a green link to the Ponders End Park. The project exemplified the legal team’s vision, management strategy and the ability of its staff to work across disciplines and across the council itself.
Barrister of the Year
Sponsored by Harbour Litigation Funding
James Dingemans QC, 3 Hare Court
Timothy Dutton QC, Fountain Court Chambers
Robert Francis QC, Serjeants Inn Chambers
Lord Peter Goldsmith QC, Debevoise & Plimpton
Melanie Hall QC, Monckton Chambers
Nathalie Lieven QC, Landmark Chambers
Tim Ward QC, Monckton Chambers
These are tough times for the bar, with legal aid under threat, but the number of civil cases making the headlines in the past year shows no sign of slowing.
Each barrister shortlisted for the coveted title of The Lawyer’s Barrister of the Year has featured in the news in the past 12 months, both at home and abroad.
Take Monckton Chambers’ Tim Ward QC who was compared, by an Icelandic newspaper, to Colin Farrell and Justin Timberlake, after being hailed a hero in the jurisdiction. The accolade even earned him a bear-hug from Iceland’s foreign minister, Ossur Skarpheoinsson.
Ward persuaded the European Free Trade Area Court that Icelanders should not have to repay British and Dutch nationals with savings in collapsed bank Icesave.
He is not the only silk on the shortlist to be instructed on top-level cases spinning out of the financial collapse. Ward’s setmate, Melanie Hall QC, has been one of the go-to lawyers for HMRC in recent years. The taxman has been cracking the whip of late and Hall is credited with saving the taxpayer £20bn in the past year after she successfully defeated a challenge by sandwich chain Subway over its tax obligations, while also defeating a test case on landfill tax.
Also cracking the whip is the SFO, which will face its biggest case in the next year as Debevoise & Plimpton partner Lord Peter Goldsmith QC challenges its decision to investigate business tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz. The former attorney-general has thwarted every move by the SFO to investigate Goldsmith’s client, for whom he is instructed by Wilmer Hale, even forcing the agency to admit internal errors during the original 2012 investigation. The case has been dropped and Tchenguiz has launched a £200m claim, due to be heard in 2014.
That has not been the only problem facing the Government. Landmark Chambers’ Nathalie Lieven QC was successful in reversing a government flagship campaign earlier this year. The court ruled in February that regulations allowing benefit payments to be docked if people refused to take work were unlawful because they were not specific enough. It was a tough and high-profile fight and one that has earned her this nomination.
Also shortlisted is 3 Hare Court’s James Dingemans QC, who followed his two-year tenure as chair of the Bar Council’s international committee, until 2010, with a series of high-profile cases. Most recently, Dingemans persuaded the European Court of Human Rights to change its stance of religious discrimination after representing Nadia Eweida in her discrimination case against British Airways. Dingemans successfully argued that BA’s decision to prevent her wearing a cross to work was unlawful.
Serjeants’ Inn Chambers silk Robert Francis QC hit the headlines last year after chairing the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry. He led the exhaustive investigation into failings at the NHS trust, and his recommendations have the potential to reshape the way patients are cared for in the future. Francis and his team uncovered horrifying tales of neglect and a culture that failed to recognise and deal with problems and complaints. His recommendations centred on the need to change the culture both at Mid Staffordshire and, more widely, in the NHS.
Former chair of the Bar Council Timothy Dutton QC of Fountain Court also makes the shortlist having been involved in some of the most significant and complex professional negligence cases in recent years. He is considered a lawyers’ lawyer who is a go-to adviser to the SRA for professional conduct matters. He is also representing legacy Herbert Smith later this year when it faces a £130m claim from London Underground.
Chambers of the Year
Essex Court Chambers
Fountain Court Chambers
Old Square Chambers
Thirty Nine Essex Street
3 Verulam Buildings
The battle for The Lawyer Chambers of the Year is always hard fought and this year is no different, with all of the nominees recognised for their commitment to excellence.
Gray’s Inn’s 3 Verulam Buildings has had a stellar year, with members involved in the VTB v Nutritek trial, namely Cyril Kinsky QC Michael Lazarus and Christopher Burdi, while also having two silks, Ali Malek QC and Sonia Tolaney QC, instructed in defence of claims fought by Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky in the Commercial Court.
Likewise demand for Littleton’s barristers has shot up, with the set gaining places on several top-line cases, including VTB v Nutritek. The set has implemented a number of initiatives aimed at improving client service including the Barristers on Call service, which enables solicitors to obtain free advice on difficult issues where they have no immediate funds for payment.
Essex Court Chambers, meanwhile, broke new ground in Singapore last year after Tony Landau QC and David Joseph QC went head-to-head at the Singaporean High Court in a $300m battle, a demonstration of the set’s success in Asia. Back home, Essex Court cracked open the champagne after the High Court ruled in favour of 21 bankers who sued Commerzbank over their lack of bonuses. It was a highly charged case with Andrew Hochhauser QC appearing for the claimants.
Fountain Court has also been muscling in on Russian-rooted disputes, with silks picking up instructions in the VTB v Nutritek trial and also getting involved in the ground-breaking JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov. The set is riding the wave of new instructions that are being created at home and abroad, and in the past three years has seen turnover rise by 30 per cent as a result.
Devereux Chambers has had its share of headline making cases over the last twelve months. Robert Weir QC, for instance, acted for the families of soldiers killed in Iraq in Snatch Land Rovers. Weir was instructed by the families to launch negligence claims against the Ministry of Defence alleging that the government failed to provide armoured equipment suitable to protect against improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The case is awaiting an outcome from the Supreme Court.
Gray’s Inn set Monckton Chambers also produced a strong set of results in 2011/12, with turnover rising by 22 per cent last year to £21m, making it the biggest grower in the top 30. In the past five years turnover has risen by 59 per cent. With its focus on competition law and tax disputes, Monckton has worked hard to keep the cases coming in. Clients last year included HMRC, Nokia and BSkyB.
Also shortlisted is Old Square Chambers, which is one set that has come to dominate employment law circles. John Hendy QC is a go-to advisor for a range of trade unions, including the Communication Workers Union and Unite. Last year he was given the opportunity to cross-examine Rupert Murdoch during the Leveson Inquiry when he was instructed for the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
Paul Gilroy QC too has had his share of top notch instructions. When England manager Roy Hodgson got the call up for the job Gilroy was part of the legal team he called up on to advise him. Not content with its dominance in employment circles the set is also developing expertise in environmental law and the field of public inquiries.
London-based 39 Essex Street became the largest civil set in the capital in December after agreeing a deal to acquire 24 new members from rival set 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square - including seven silks. The logistical challenges of such a move are huge but that has not stopped the set developing its overseas presence with a launch in Singapore last year. Meanwhile, members have been involved in high-profile cases and inquiries in England and Wales. Robert Jay QC gained fame for his role in the Leveson Inquiry, while Eleanor Grey QC was involved with the Mid-Staffordshire Inquiry.
Also in the running is Matrix, which has also seen profits shoot upwards post-2008. Hugh Tomlinson QC has become a go-to silk in media circles, acting for claimants in the phone-hacking investigation. Helen Mountfield QC, meanwhile, was successful in her representation of Ofqual when it was challenged over the marking of GCSE exam papers last year.
Boutique Firm of the Year - City
Sponsored by Michael Page Legal
Cooke, Young & Keidan
Maurice Turnor Gardner
Richard Max & Co
Tottenham Hotspur FC’s proposed new stadium will represent one of the most significant pieces of regeneration in the London Borough of Haringey, a particularly deprived borough. Richard Max & Co has assisted with all legal planning and CPO advice on the £450m project.
Corker Binning, which in 2010 acted in the first insider dealing prosecution in which the FSA used its powers to agree a plea bargain, has represented individuals in almost all subsequent FSA prosecutions, including James Swallow in the Blue Index case, described by the FSA as the most serious and complex prosecution ever brought for insider dealing.
Technology boutique Kemp Little advised Avanade UK on all aspects of a deal to migrate Unilever’s global email platform (120,000 mailboxes at multiple data centres worldwide) from Microsoft Exchange 2003 to 2010, and the subsequent platform hosting by Avanade at Unilever’s UK datacentres.
In a world where multiple-layer tax planning structures are increasingly seen as opaque or unethical, the best solution often lies with relatively simple, yet still highly commercial, arrangements and advice. That is the Maurice Turnor Gardner approach to advising high-value private wealth clients, even on multibillion-pound matters.
The disputes-focused Cooke, Young & Keidan made it into The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2013 when it was instructed by care home business Graiseley Properties in a Libor-related claim for approximately £40m against Barclays Bank, the first to be brought in the English courts alleging Libor manipulation.
Harrison Grant’s aim is to provide top-quality but affordable legal services primarily to NGOs and charities campaigning to protect people and their environment. Last year that focus saw it instructed by 15 local authorities in the judicial review of the decision to proceed with the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail link from London via Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds in two phases.
Employment and partnership boutique CM Murray is acting pro bono for the UK’s leading whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work on its planned intervention in the appeal to the Supreme Court in the high-profile case of Clyde & Co v Bates Van Winkelhof.
Boutique Firm of the Year - National
Sponsored by Towry
Davitt Jones Bould
Gibson & Co
Several of this year’s national boutiques have appeared on matters that also involved the UK’s largest firms. Take Gibson & Co for example. The litigation boutique represented Sri Lankan state oil utility company CPC in a $160m claim brought by Standard Chartered, a matter that also featured Linklaters, Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy.
Jordans Solicitors Abuse Lawyers, which has been working on behalf of victims of child abuse since 1998, is a trailblazer in this fast-moving area of law, much of which is publicly funded.
DR Solicitors is unique because, as the name suggests, it only works with medical professionals. The firm is a one-stop-shop for the legal and regulatory needs of primary care providers, including property issues, contract reviews, employment matters and disputes resolution.
Gunnercooke’s partner-only approach has secured the corporate boutique a string of solid deals including advising the US-based Wabtec Corporation on the £30m acquisition of LH Group.
Zyda Law’s expertise in the utilities and energy sector meant the firm was the first choice to advise EDF in its response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, while two-year-old IP boutique Sipara’s credentials have won it new instructions from the likes of Direct Line, Arcadia, New Look and Whittard.
Meanwhile, last year property specialist Davitt Jones Bould played a key part in ensuring the success of the Olympics, advising the Royal Parks on the siting of more than 40 Olympic and Paralympic events.
International Firm of the Year
King & Spalding
Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy
Shearman & Sterling
White & Case
K&L Gates has been one of the fastest growing firms in the global legal market for years and last year was no exception. Over the past 12 months it added seven new offices, including four in Australia when it completed its fully integrated merger with Middletons.
Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy’s London office scored a notable instruction when a team led by partner Tim Peterson represented Virgin Media in its $24bn sale to Liberty Global. Rapidly growing headcount and London financials underscore the maturity of Milbank’s offering in the UK.
White & Case is longer in the City but 2012 was still a standout year. The breadth of its London office plays to its strengths, with capital markets, M&A and disputes in particular all firing.
King & Spalding’s work for Houston-based oil company Anadarko Petroleum on the landmark $40bn Anadarko LNG export project - the largest deal of its kind in the region - underscores the firm’s strong background in African matters, especially in the energy and oil and gas markets.
Asian expansion and development has characterised much of Shearman & Sterling’s recent strategic focus. This has led to success on numerous deals recently, including the Foundation Wind I and II power projects in Pakistan, which involved innovative Sharia-compliant financing structures, and Chinese real estate developer Future Land Development Holdings’ $265m Hong Kong IPO.
Slightly closer to home, a London team at Weil Gotshal & Manges advised Access Industries, Alfa and Renova on Russia’s largest ever takeover, the $28bn sale of their stake in the Russian oil joint venture TNK-BP to state-owned oil company Rosneft.
Meanwhile at Dechert, 2012 saw the conclusion of the firm’s six-year representation of Ukrainian businessman Michael Cherney in his extremely well-publicised litigation against Oleg Deripaska.
Offshore Firm of the Year
Sponsored by Taylor Root
Harney Westwood & Riegels
Maples and Calder
The offshore market continues to grow, expanding into new jurisdictions and practice areas. This year’s shortlist bears testament to the growth over the past year, and whittling the entries down to seven proved a difficult ask.
Of the shortlisted firms, Bedell Cristin and Maples and Calder both launched in Singapore, Mourant Ozannes opened in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Carey Olsen took its first steps outside the Channel Islands with a launch in the Cayman Islands and an association in the BVI.
Meanwhile, Harney Westwood & Riegels bulked up in Asia and formed an association in Mauritius in February. Last year’s winner, Ogier, continued to invest in its Luxembourg office.
Four of this year’s shortlisted firms are originally Channel Islands outfits, now expanding significantly beyond the boundaries of Guernsey and Jersey. Bedell Cristin’s growth efforts are beginning to pay off, with increased billings in its newer offices and a varied and interesting range of deals and cases from across the world.
Carey Olsen’s move to Cayman and the BVI was a significant step. The firm chose to go for the greenfield approach to launching in Cayman, picking a team from rivals with the aim of establishing a similar culture in the Caribbean to that which it has in the Channel Islands.
Two years on from its merger, Mourant Ozannes continues to hit strategic targets and has proven successful in its growth in new jurisdictions.
In the Caribbean, Maples and Calder’s raid of a funds team from Walkers set offshore tongues wagging, but Walkers’ own strategic moves in the past year - particularly the sale of its fiduciary arm - also earned it a place on the shortlist.
Client Partner of the Year
Sponsored by Saunderson House
Alex Latner, Berwin Leighton Paisner
Jane Mutimear, Bird & Bird
Jason Harding, CMS
Ian Felstead, Olswang
Neil Upton, SJ Berwin
Ben Rose, Hickman & Rose
Philip Smith, Tuckers Solicitors
Jane Mutimear, IP litigation partner at Bird & Bird, is nominated by Nokia for her work on its litigation and arbitration since 2006, which has included patent and cartel claims. CMS partner Jason Harding is shortlisted for his work with Goldman Sachs on complex contractual work relating to outsourcing, while Berwin Leighton Paisner partner Alex Latner is put forward by Playtech for his work advising the company on a range of corporate finance and commercial deals.
ITV has nominated Olswang commercial litigation partner Ian Felstead who has become the go-to relationship partner for the channel on contentious issues, and SJ Berwin energy partner Neil Upton is shortlisted for his projects work with Macquarie. Lastly, criminal specialists Ben Rose of Hickman & Rose and Philip Smith of Tuckers Solicitors have been shortlisted for their committed work for a number of clients, both corporate and private.
Ethical Initiative of the Year
Sponsored by Therium Litigation Funding
Allen & Overy
Coventry Law Centre
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Islington Law Centre
Kent Law Clinic
White & Case
Refugee Action set up its Access to Justice project in 2012 to challenge refusals of legal aid to asylum seekers with a view to exploring whether, how often and why the most vulnerable are excluded from protection in order to contribute to the current policy debates around legal aid. So far the project has helped 24 asylum seekers to overturn refusal of legal aid.
Coventry Law Centre (CLC) provides social welfare legal advice to troubled families as part of a wider initiative to turn around those families’ lives. CLC’s specialists work within the council’s troubled families team, organising interventions from the Law Centre’s legal specialists in housing, family and community care. In similar vein, Islington Law Centre set up a legal service last year for young people trapped within cycles of poverty and deprivation and offers a multi-disciplinary service spanning immigration, social welfare, housing and education.
Reed Smith is shortlisted for its funding, volunteer and pro bono legal support work with creative charity Create and the U-Turn Project, a shelter that works with vulnerable and hard-to-reach women. The project builds their self-esteem through developing creativity and teamwork.
Kent Law Clinic has reacted to the withdrawal of legal aid from immigration cases by focusing even more on asylum casework, especially for those in Dover Immigration Removal Centre. Since September 2012 it has acted in 25 cases including a successful judicial review action.
Freshfields has made homelessness a focus of its CSR activities, joining forces with the Law Centres Network last year. It has partnered with Shelter’s Children’s Legal Service, acting pro bono on litigation from complaints to local authorities and local government ombudsman to test cases in the Court of Appeal.
A 200-strong cross-border White & Case team worked with charities Lawyers without Borders and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on a research project to create a comprehensive database which includes detailed memos on every human trafficking case found, covering the nature of the crime, parties, jurisdictional issues and legal reasoning, supplemented by high-level analysis, totalling 6,500 hours of pro bono work. The data will be used by enforcement agencies worldwide.
Allen & Overy has committed to its Rwanda project since 2008. In that time it has assisted in the creation of a new judicial college, as well as technical training programmes for lawyers and government legal teams. The firm has delivered 450 training slots to Rwandan lawyers; the project has totalled 3,500 hours of pro bono work.
Law Firm of the Year
Sponsored by Travelers
With growth in a flat market topping almost every firm’s to-do list there could hardly be a more important time to win the Law Firm of the Year award. Rampant consolidation, unprecedented competition, massive overseas expansion, targeted investment and canny use of operational intelligence are all themes in the UK legal market.
And those themes are all represented in a shortlist that ranges in size (though not importance) from Derby firm Flint Bishop to magic circle giant Linklaters. The latter’s year was characterised by a spurt of international expansion, with the firm’s Australian alliance with Allens, another with South African firm Webber Wentzel and the opening of an office in Washington DC.
Flint Bishop, meanwhile, has blazed a trail characterised by innovation in client service, with offerings such as its fixed-fee employment law and HR advice service FB Support.
In between Linklaters and Flint Bishop is a pot pourri of class.
Shakespeares is one of the market’s most rapidly expanding firms and couples that with modern thinking around client service, while Osborne Clarke’s recent growth has been international, with mergers in Italy and Spain and a new office in Hamburg. By January the firm had 13 overseas offices, with further openings planned for New York, Paris and Brussels.
RPC has also achieved growth over the past few years and, unlike many of its rivals, this has been organic, not via merger. Nevertheless, headcount at RPC has grown by 24 per cent in the past 12 months while the firm has maintained its all-equity culture.
In contrast, DWF has transformed itself into one of the UK’s fastest growing firms primarily through a string of mergers. Since April 2012 it has secured three strategic mergers, an acquisition and several key lateral hires that have taken turnover to £102m.
Taylor Wessing’s story is also one of unprecedented growth, with a five-year plan launched in 2010 seeing, in 2012 alone, nine new offices opened, 14 lateral hires and a total revenue that, for the first time, exceeded £200m.
This year’s judges
With so many excellent entries, having a stellar cast of judges to help us come up with our shortlists and pick the winners is, as ever, indispensable.
This year’s judges are:
Nilema Bhakta-Jones, Top Right Group
Gordon Brough, Aberdeen Asset Management
Richard Clifton, Greenergy
Darryl Coulter, Celerant Consulting
Nick Deeming, former GC, Transocean
Askan Denstaedt, GoldenTree Asset Management
Brett Farrell, Media Ingenuity Group
Charlotte Heiss, RSA
Tim Lord QC, Brick Court Chambers
Kenneth MacRitchie, former Shearman & Sterling partner and GC of UK Green Investment Bank
Philip Price, Arle Capital Partners
Adrienne Seaman, CME Group
Ed Smith, Telefónica UK
Daniel Toledano QC, One Essex Court
Karena Vleck, RFU
Lesley Wan, Lloyds Banking Group
Kiaron Whitehead, BPI
Andrew Winterton, easyJet
Last year’s winners
In-house Banking & Financial Services Team of the Year
1st: Oaktree Capital Management
2nd: Virgin Money
3rd: Lloyds Banking Group (corporate real estate legal team)
Banking & Finance Team of the Year
1st: Hogan Lovells
2nd: Weil, Gotshal & Manges
3rd: Allen & Overy
Corporate Team of the Year (midcap)
2nd: Addleshaw Goddard
3rd: Berwin Leighton Paisner
Corporate Team of the Year (large)
1st: Allen & Overy
2nd: Shearman & Sterling
3rd: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Employment Team of the Year
1st: Faegre Baker Daniels
2nd: Russell Jones & Walker, part of Slater & GordonLawyers
3rd: Leigh Day & Co
Infrastructure/Energy Team of the Year
1st: Mayer Brown
2nd: Wragge & Co
3rd: DLA Piper
Real Estate Team of the Year
1st: Mishcon de Reya
3rd: Bircham Dyson Bell
TMT Team of the Year
1st: Osborne Clarke
2nd: Powell Gilbert
3rd: Baker & McKenzie
Litigation Team of the Year
1st: Stephenson Harwood
2nd: Simmons & Simmons
3rd: Reed Smith
Competition/Regulatory Team of the Year
1st: Ashurst, Baker & McKenzie, Burges Salmon, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose
2nd: Bevan Brittan
3rd: Berwin Leighton Paisner
Private Client Team of the Year
1st: Berwin Leighton Paisner
2nd: Lawrence Graham
3rd: Harbottle & Lewis
Pro Bono Team of the Year
1st: Hogan Lovells
2nd: Reed Smith
3rd: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Best Technology Project
1st: IRIS Legal to No5 Chambers
2nd: Canotec to Bond Pearce
3rd: LawWare (LawCloud) to Matthew Cohen & Associates
Assistant Solicitor of the Year
1st: Stephen Fox, Weil, Gotshal & Manges
2nd: Mike Cain, Russell Jones & Walker, part of Slater & Gordon Lawyers
3rd: Kate Jackson, Anthony Collins
In-house Public Sector Team of the Year
1st: Treasury Solicitors Department
2nd: Financial Services Compensation Scheme
3rd: Essex County Council
Partner of the Year
1st: Jocelyn Cockburn, Hodge Jones & Allen
2nd: Mark Lewis, Taylor Hampton
3rd: Neil Kinsella, Russell Jones & Walker, part of Slater & Gordon Lawyers
In-house Commerce & Industry Team of the Year
3rd: Imperial Tobacco
Offshore Law Firm of the Year
2nd: Harney Westwood & Riegels
3rd: Maples and Calder
Boutique Firm of the Year - London
2nd: Powell Gilbert
3rd: Robin Simon
Boutique Firm of the Year - Regional
1st: Hawkswell Kilvington
3rd: Zyda Law
Regional Law Firm of the Year
International Law Firm of the Year
2nd: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
3rd: Edwards Wildman
Barrister of the Year
1st: Robert Jay QC, Thirty Nine Essex Street
2nd: Charles Gibson QC, Henderson Chambers
3rd: Stuart Catchpole QC, Thirty Nine Essex Street
In-house Lawyer of the Year
1st: Daniel Toner,
2nd: Rachel Small, LV=
3rd: Lesley Wan, Lloyds Banking Group
Chambers of the Year
1st: Brick Court Chambers
2nd: 3 Verulam Buildings
3rd: Matrix Chambers
Law Firm of the Year
1st: Mishcon de Reya
2nd: Taylor Wessing
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