United Kingdom

Review

Dispute resolution
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Akin Gump is recognised for its work in dispute resolution and the firm has a distinct focus on commercial and banking litigation. Key names in the dispute resolution team include partners Richard Hornshaw and Justin Williams who led the majority of cases worked on during the research period.

One highlight saw the firm advise Oceanwood Opportunities Master Fund on financial restructuring proceedings. Another case highlight saw the firm represent Bridgestone Licensing Services in an intellectual property case regarding trademark license comprises.
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft

Cadwalader Wickerham & Taft focuses on corporate and financial services litigation and Melis Acuner heads the disputes team.

All cases provided during the research period remain confidential but highlight the firm's strengths in international arbitration.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb is a reputable firm in the United Kingdom and is well-recognised for its work in dispute resolution, particularly in banking litigation, commercial litigation, EU competition and international arbitration. 

Key London partners in the firm include Jonathon Kelly, Sunil Gadhia, Christopher Moore, James Norris-Jones and James Brady. 

Key clients for the firm include The Hellenic Republic, Vale, Natixis and Board of VEON. 

In the commercial litigation space, the firm is advising Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund in a dispute concerning the collapse of the Dubai-based private equity fun which has a value of $1 billion. 

In the competition space, the firm is acting as counsel to NSK concerning a damages claim by companies of the FIAT Chrysler group. 

Client feedback 2020

"Highly skilled, down to earth, friendly, fast advice. There are no weaknesses of the practice." - Competition/antitrust

"All lawyers are very skilled, friendly, responsive, down to earth with great expertise in their field."

Davis Polk & Wardwell

Competition work remains a key focus for Davis Polk & Wardwell and Nicholas Spearing is the key name in the firm’s antitrust department. The London team regularly represent its clients before the European Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority.

Key highlights for the firm during the research period include advising Comcast Corporation on its $39 billion acquisition of Sky. The firm also advised Goldman Sachs Group on its $3 billion acquisition of Boyd Corporation, advising on the antitrust aspects of the matter.Spearing was the lead partner on all cases worked on during the research period.

Debevoise & Plimpton

Debevoise & Plimpton has a strong team across all areas of dispute resolution but is recommended for its work in white-collar crime and international arbitration.

Key names in the firm include Peter Goldsmith QC, Kevin Lloyd, Wendy Miles QC, Jane Shvets and Patrick Taylor.

During the research period the firm advised the State of Qatar in an international law dispute concerning a case set before the International Court of Justice on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.

The firm also advised the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) on international human rights law and laws regarding access to abortion before the United Kingdom Supreme Court.

Other key cases worked on during the research period remain highly confidential, but it can be noted that the firm has acted on a number of international arbitration proceedings.

The firm made a number of promotions during the research period including Samantha Rowe in international arbitration. Alexandre Bisch, Gavin Chesney, Robin Lööf and Nicola Swan were all promoted to international counsel.

Client feedback

“The quality of work offered was excellent in every respect, without exception. They are efficient, responsive, eager to help, collaborative and professional. Their advice and approach are always top-class and practical.” - Commercial arbitration, International arbitration

“High quality legal work applied to technically complex project issues. Willingness to assess merits without fence-sitting. Clearly a very busy team.” - International arbitration

“An absolutely first-rate firm at the top of its game. A go-to form for the largest, most complex commercial disputes. The litigation team is fantastically led and stacked with talent.” - Commercial and transactions

“Nothing to improve they are stellar” - White-collar crime

“The firm was absolutely dedicated, detail oriented and engaged in the matter. Very easy to work with, very receptive of information, very collaborative with local counsel.”

“Excellent in every respect. Very responsive, practical and diligent.” - International arbitration

“The work has been of an extremely high quality, with results being focused on client needs, speed and thoroughness of communication extremely effective and the knowledge level is very high.” - White-collar crime

Akima Paul Lambert

“Professional, brilliant and dedicated to the task. Very communicative and responsive.”

“Akima is a very responsive and diligent lawyer. She is very capable of handling complex matters and always delivers what she promises.

Jane Shvets

“She is a very accomplished professional and very highly recommended - for good reason. She is knowledgeable, totally client-orientated and very professional. I regularly recommend her to clients.”

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is part of the London’s ‘magic circle’ and is one of the largest and most respected corporate and M&A firms in the world. The firm has a strong base of casework in the commercial and transactions areas linked to its wider strengths and the firm also has a compelling competition offering. 

Some of the key names in the firm’s commercial, finance and corporate disputes team include Andrew Hart, Kames Kennedy, Paul Lomas, Simon Orton, David Scott and Ian Taylor. Lomas also advises on competition and white-collar crime matters. 

In the competition area the firm has a large team and the standout figures include the likes of James Aitken, David Aitman, Rod Carlton, John Davies and Deirdre Trapp. 

Sylvia Noury and William Thomas are recommended for their arbitration experience, with Thomas also picked out for his experience in the construction sector. 

Case highlights in the finance area includes work for MasterCard on a class action claim relating to interchange fees. The firm also acted for Deutsche Bank on a case related to the liquidation of Hellas Telecommunications and advised CarVal Investors in relation to the Waterfall I case related to the Lehman Brothers litigation. 

Elsewhere the firm acted for UCP Industrial Holdings on a case in the Cayman Islands relating to the value of shares in the context of a buyback. 

In the competition space the firm advised on the merger control elements of a number of substantial M&A deals including Liberty Media’s acquisition of Formula One Group and Coty’s acquisition of Procter & Gamble’s hair, perfume and colour cosmetics business.  

The firm has a notable presence in the international arbitration space and during the research period acted on matters including work for Anglo American on a case against the Venezuelan government relating to allegedly seized assets and the issue of tax credits. The firm also advised Anglo American on a case against the Republic of Yemen.

Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills secures a tier 1 ranking in commercial and transactions and is highly recognized amongst peers and clients for its strengths in commercial and corporate litigation. but  

Damien Byrne Hill is head of the firm’s disputes team, Alan Watts heads the commercial litigation team and Stephen Wisking heads the global competition and regulation team. Other key names in the department include Julian Copeman, Philip Carrington, Natasha Johnson and Rachel Lidgate. 

The firm is representing Iveco and Fiat Chrysler in a case relating to follow-on damages claims stemming from the European Commission’s settlement decision on Trucks. The firm represented Post Office Limited in a class action brought by more than 550 claimants. Allegations were concerning deficiencies in a computerised point of sale and accounting system 

Notable clients include British American Tobacco, Lloyds Banking Group, Morgan Stanley, and Uber. 

King & Spalding

King & Spalding has a key focus on arbitration work and represents its clients from across 13 offices worldwide. The firm has a strong focus on international commercial litigation. Key names in the firm include Tom Sprange QC and John Savage QC.

The firm represented Unión Fenosa Gas in commercial arbitration proceedings relating to a natural gas contract.

Another case highlight saw the firm advise German companies KS Invest and TLS Invest in an ICSID arbitration. The case related to a violation of investor rights and was brought under the Energy Charter Treaty against Spain.

Another arbitration proceeding saw the firm represent a group of UK investors against the Republic of Uruguay. The case concerned a UK- Uruguay bilateral treaty.

Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis is a reputable firm known for its work in international arbitration and commercial litigation. The international arbitration team has over 30 lawyers dedicated to the practice with 15 of those lawyers based in the firm’s London office.  

Key names in the international arbitration team include Chris Colbridge, Rajinder Bassi and Richard Boynton. 

The firm had a significant number of new partner arrivals in the IP litigation team including Nicola Dagg, Katie Coltart and Daniel Lim. 

Within the firm, Philipp Kurek and Jonathan Newman were also promoted to partner in the commercial litigation team. 

The firm remains busy on high-profile casework that remains confidential. The details of the cases highlight the firm's strengths in the international arbitration space. 

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown advises its clients on commercial and transactions, competition, and international arbitration matters. Key names in the litigation and arbitration department include Ian McDonald, Susan Rosser, Miles Robinso and Sally Davies. Key areas of service for the firm include banking and financial services, commercial and transactions and competition/antitrust. The firm has experience with cross-border cases and disputes concerning fraud and breach of contracts.

The firm advised Société Générale on an appeal against a judgement which had freezed orders from a Turkish counterparty. The firm have been representing UBS Bank in a litigation involving $320 million against Kommunale Wasserwerke Leipzig (KWL), a German waste provider.

Milbank

Milbank is recommended for its disputes work by peers and clients. Julian Stait is a partner and the practice head. Stait is supported by other partners in the department including Charles Evans, Tom Canning, Mona Vaswani and William Charles.  

The firm is representing Rabobank in competition and fraud claims brought in the English High Court.  In another case, the firm is representing Visa who is being sued for alleged infringements of English, Irish and European competition law.

William Charles was promoted to partner on January 1, 2020.

Client feedback 2020

“Milbank have been very strong on this topic.  There is no obvious area where improvement is needed.” - Commercial and transactions

“The quality of work is exceptionally high.  Losing is not an option for Milbank, but that comes at a price, but in the end it was worth it.” - Commercial and transactions

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling is recommended for its disputes work by peers and clients. The firm has a key focus on corporate and commercial contentious work. Key figures in the firm include Barney Reynolds and Susanna Charlwood. The details of all cases the firm worked on during the research period remain highly confidential.

Watson Farley & Williams

Watson Farley & Williams advises on all areas of litigation including commercial and corporate litigation, banking litigation and commercial arbitration. The firm’s litigation department consists of nine partners and 17 lawyers and is headed by partner Andrew Savage. Other key names in the litigation team include Andrew Hutcheon, Andrew Ward and Charles Buss. Key industry sectors for the firm include financial services, real estate finance and transportation

Notable clients for the firm include Prince Arthur Ikepchukwe Eze, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and BNP Paribas.

The firm recently advised NatWest Markets before the commercial courts in damages claims for alleged breach of terms of loan agreements between Lamerdo Shipping Company.

In the international arbitration space, the firm advised Luxembourg solar energy company Belenergia in a claim for damages arising from breaches of the Energy Charter Treaty by the Italian State.