Meet the judges

With so many excellent entries, having a stellar cast of judges to help us come up with our shortlists and pick the winners was, as ever, indispensable.




Nilema Bhakta-Jones

Group Legal Director, Top Right Group

Nilema Bhakta-Jones is Group Legal Director and leads a team of lawyers advising on international and domestic M&A, JV partnerships, strategic and contractual, commercial, litigious and IPR issues. She joined Emap in 2007 advised on a JV with Channel 4 to create 4Music, on the £2.2bn sale of the consumer and radio divisions, the delisting of the PLC after acquisition by Apax and GMG, a complete group restructure and incorporation of overseas entities in Brazil and China. Nilema was called to the Bar in 1994, spent 3 years with the Government Legal Service, 6 years with Simmons & Simmons and 7 years in-house.


Gordon Brough

General Counsel, Aberdeen Asset Management

Gordon is General Counsel at Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, a FTSE 100 asset management company with a global business managing over US$250bn. Gordon is responsible for both the Legal and Compliance functions at Aberdeen and currently heads a team of around 130 people worldwide. Prior to joining Aberdeen in February 2009, Gordon was a corporate lawyer in private practice. He established and built up a specialist financial services law firm, City Law, before merging that business with Maclay Murray & Spens.


Richard Clifton

General Counsel, Greenergy International

Richard is General Counsel of Greenergy International having joined the business in 2010. With a business turnover last year of £12 billion, Greenergy supplied 10.9 billion litres of petrol, diesel and biofuel - more than one quarter of the UK's road fuel. Richard's work at Greenergy continues to draw on his experience from private practice (core M&A, finance, private equity and corporate real estate). Greenergy's recent co-investment in Thames Oilport (Coryton) added to its increasing infrastructure and service capability. Richard is company secretary to the group holding company, Greenergy Fuels Holdings Limited, by turnover one of the UK's largest private companies.


Darryl Coulter

Group Legal Manager, Celerant Consulting

One of The Lawyer's 'Hot 100' 2013, Darryl Coulter is a solicitor and an experienced senior in-house counsel. He joined Celerant Consulting as Group Legal Manager in 2000. He was previously general counsel with Oiltools International. In addition to his legal qualifications he is a graduate in Management Studies and Organisational Psychology and he has completed the Advanced Management Programme at INSEAD.


Nick Deeming

Former GC, Transocean

Nick Deeming is currently Chief Executive Officer of the European Brain Council (EBC), a NGO based in Brussels. The EBC promotes research, education and awareness of the brain.

Prior to his current role, Nick has worked in a number of different sectors as General Counsel, his last with Transocean, the offshore driller, leading the defence litigation in connection with Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster in 2010. Prior to that he was with Christie's the Art auctioneers and BOC Group - a FTSE 100 company, subsequently merging with Linde AG.

Nick has significant leadership and management experience, developing international multidisciplinary teams. He has specialised in corporate governance of publicly and private owned companies and he has been involved in major projects including international litigation, business restructuring, change management and business development.


Askan Denstaedt

General Counsel — Europe, GoldenTree Asset Management

Askan Denstaedt is the General Counsel - Europe of NY based GoldenTree Asset Management. Askan is based in London and responsible for all legal and structuring aspects of GoldenTree's portfolio in the EMEA area with a particular focus on distressed opportunities and restructurings. Before joining GoldenTree, he was with US law firm Fried Frank practicing in New York and London.

Askan was recognized by The Lawyer as one of the "Hot 100" lawyers for 2013 and by Financial News as one of the "40 Under 40 Rising Stars" in the European legal market.


Brett Farrell

General Counsel, Media Ingenuity Group

Brett is a technology lawyer with experience in financial services and media. He is a regular contributor to technology and social media publications. Prior to joining Media Ingenuity, Brett handled legal initiatives for some of the world's largest law firms and companies, including Baker & McKenzie and Norton Rose (formerly Deacons), Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International and BMG Music Publishing. Brett moved back to Australia just before the Awards dinner to continue his career in Sydney.


Charlotte Heiss

Head of Group Legal, RSA

Charlotte joined RSA as Legal Counsel in the Group Corporate Centre in 2010 and was appointed Head of Group Legal in 2011. Prior to that Charlotte trained and qualified at Linklaters LLP where she acted for a variety of corporates and banks specialising in public and private M&A, joint ventures and equities capital market transactions. Charlotte's current responsibilities include corporate, capital and commercial transactions and non-regulatory compliance.


Tim Lord QC

Brick Court Chambers

Tim Lord QC was called to the Bar in 1992 and took Silk in 2008. He practises commercial law at Brick Court Chambers, specialising in banking and finance litigation including structured product and derivatives disputes generated by the credit crunch. His practice extends to professional negligence, insurance, conflicts, energy, TMT, employment and arbitration. He is leading counsel in two of The Lawyer's Top 20 cases for 2013, including the LIBOR test case, and was nominated as one of The Lawyer's "Hot 100" for 2013. He played first class cricket and rugby when at Cambridge University (Blue 1986), which stands him in good stead for the combative nature of life at the Commercial Bar.


Kenneth MacRitchie

Former Shearman & Sterling Partner and GC of UK Green Investment Bank

Kenneth has had a high profile legal career in law firm management and as a leading finance lawyer. He was the first 'magic circle' partner move to a US firm, joining Milbank, Tweed from Clifford Chance in 1993. Subsequently joining Shearman & Sterling, he established their English law practice, serving many management roles including London managing partner and Executive Group member. He has been consistently in the top rank of project finance lawyers, winning many Team and Deal of the Year awards. Since 2012, he has undertaken consulting roles, recently taking a lead in establishing the UK Green Investment Bank.


Philip Price

Partner, Chief Operating Officer, Arle Capital Partners

Philip is responsible for Arle's legal, regulatory and compliance, risk, HR and IT functions. He works closely with deal teams on all transactions and sits on Arle's Investment Committee.

Prior to joining Arle, Philip was COO & General Counsel at SRM Global Fund and was a Managing Director at UBS Investment Bank.

Philip holds a degree in law from Leicester University. He is a member of the BVCA's Legal & Technical Committee and the Law Society.


Adrienne Seaman

Executive Director and Associate General Counsel, CME Group

Adrienne is responsible for legal support for CME Group's London-based, entities which include CME Europe, the derivatives exchange pending regulatory recognition and CME Clearing Europe, the FCA registered clearing house. In addition she represents London matters on the international legal team.

Previously, Seaman was a partner at Taylor Wessing LLP with a particular emphasis on IT law. She earned a bachelor of laws from the London School of Economics, a master of laws from the University of London's University College and a legal practice diploma from Guildford College of Law.


Ed Smith

General Counsel, Telefónica UK

Ed has been in post as GC of Telefónica UK (principal brand is O2) since 2011 where he leads a Legal & Regulatory function which provides a near full function service to its in-house clients, including expertise in: IP, regulation, employment, commercial contracts, litigation, competition, consumer law and property.

Ed trained at Pinsents and then he practised corporate law at Freshfields before joining O2 in 2001 where he became Head of Commercial Law, then Head of Legal in 2010 and GC in 2011.


Daniel Toledano QC

One Essex Court

Daniel Toledano has a wide ranging commercial practice encompassing court, arbitration and advisory work. Daniel has been singled out for many years by the leading directories as an outstanding choice in many areas of commercial practice including, banking and finance, commercial dispute resolution, energy and utilities, civil fraud, sport and international arbitration. Daniel is included in The Lawyer's Hot 100 2013.


Karena Vleck

Legal and Governance Director, Rugby Football Union

Karena Vleck is the Legal and Governance Director at the Rugby Football Union, a position held since she joined in January 2005 from Farrer & Co where she was a partner and Head of the Sports Group. Karena heads up the RFU's team of lawyers advising on all aspects of the RFU's business from sponsorship and broadcasting agreements to intellectual property, data protection, regulations, property, charity and integrity issues. She also leads the teams dealing with player discipline on and off the field, game governance, the RFU's secretariat and the safeguarding of children. She is a member of the Executive team and attends all Board, Council and subsidiary company meetings.


Lesley Wan

Corporate Real Estate Counsel, Lloyds Banking Group

After private practice stints at Russell McVeagh, Norton Rose and A&O, Lesley joined Lloyds TSB Bank plc in 2006 where she is responsible for a team advising on matters relating to new property lending in the UK for the Commercial Bank.

Following the financial crisis in 2008, Lesley is credited with bringing key players together (the LMA, financial institutions, clearing banks and UK specialist real estate finance law firms) to agree a new and uniform approach to property lending, which approach has been widely adopted throughout the UK property market giving much needed confidence to this battered industry.

Lesley has recently been appointed to lead Lloyds' Breakthrough Mentoring programme designed to identify, promote and retain female talent in the organisation.

Lesley has substantial in-house experience working for a number of financial institutions and in private equity. She has previously worked in China, Laos and Vietnam as a legal advisor for various international corporations with business interests in South East Asia.

Kiaron Whitehead

General Counsel , BPI


Andrew Winterton

Head of Legal and Compliance, easyJet

Andrew manages a team of 6 that provides legal support to easyJet plc and its subsidiary companies which includes companies in the UK & Switzerland and branches in France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal. He advises on both contentious and non contentious matters ranging from M&A and Competition to Contract and Consumer law. He is responsible for the legal budget and managing the panel of legal advisers. The role also requires his involvement in many regulatory and public policy issues. He is a member of the easyJet Executive Leadership Team and sits on several country review boards.