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Lewis Silkin LLP


Lewis Silkin LLP - London
  • 5 Chancery Lane
  • Clifford's Inn
  • London
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC4A 1BL
  • Managing Partner Ian Jeffery
  • Number of partners 61
  • Assistant solicitors 102
  • Other fee-earners 31
  • Total fee-earners 194
  • Total staff 315

The Firm The firm’s lawyers and business services personnel are focused on providing effective and commercial solutions to clients’ needs from offices in London, Oxford and Cardiff. In addition to expertise in the legal fields of real estate; corporate; employment and reward and immigration; litigation and dispute resolution and media, brands and technology, the firm focuses in particular on the creative industries, media, people and urban regeneration and mixed use development. Surveys show that clients particularly value Lewis Silkin’s cost-effectiveness, their personalised approach to the needs of their business and distinctive approach to legal updating, know how and training events (details on www.lewissilkin.com). The firm was ranked in The Sunday Times ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ 2014 for the sixth year running and achieved two-star accreditation in ‘Best Companies’ 2014.

Principal Areas of Work The firm organises itself around the unique needs of each of its clients, drawing on experts in the following practice areas and industry sectors. Academies: A leading adviser to organisations that have been establishing academies.
Construction: Highly regarded in this area, the firm works as part of the project team from the outset, offering a comprehensive service from new build property to heavyweight civil engineering, and contentious matters when they arise. Corporate Services: An active role that may include documenting the deal as well as acting as a business adviser, structuring the deal or conducting complex negotiations. The range of work includes shareholder agreements, project finance, flotations, employee benefits, insolvency and regulatory advice. A particular focus is on growing companies and businesses in the media and marketing sectors. Commercial expertise includes publishing, franchising and outsourcing.
Defamation: Expert and practical advice to corporations, firms or individuals whose reputation has been put at risk by libel, slander or malicious falsehood.
Employment, Reward & Immigration: The firm has one of the highest-rated teams in London, a group of outstanding lawyers with a reputation for straightforward practical advice when a sensitive and commercial approach is needed. Lewis Silkin is a member of Ius Laboris, an international alliance of employment lawyers.
Housing: A recognised leader in this field, Lewis Silkin’s innovative thinking and long experience feed a strong record of challenging work in the social housing sector, regeneration schemes and related private finance arrangements.
Litigation & Dispute Resolution: From sensitive mediation to High Court litigation, the firm works with clients to achieve their commercial objectives. Lewis Silkin is known for its success in winning disputes, as a result of a string of high profile victories, but, increasingly, many problems are being resolved effectively with appropriate dispute resolution techniques.
Marketing Services: From long established advertising agencies to start-ups across the spectrum of marketing services, clients value Lewis Silkin’s understanding of the challenges they face, the result of over 30 years spent advising many of the industry’s leading names. The firm’s track record in this sector is second to none, and it regularly advises on international matters through its membership of the Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA).
Media, Brands & Technology: An active convergence practice advising a range of brand and media owners, marcomms, consultants, digital and technology businesses on contentious and non-contentious matters, including regulatory clearance, rights protection and exploitation, competition, patents, trade marks, procurement or outsourcing of IT systems, data protection, software, licensing and distribution agreements.
Partnership Law: Advising professional partnerships, LLPs and individual partners, the firm’s multidisciplinary contentious and non-contentious team understands the unique nature of partnership environments.
Real Estate & Development: Advising occupiers, investors and developers on all property-related needs, from financing to planning, environmental issues, regeneration and development, from leases to litigation or dispute resolution.
Sports: An expert squad that combines strengths in employment, immigration, brands and marketing, publishing, IP, corporate finance and property.

Clients The firm’s clients range from large corporations and plcs to government agencies and entrepreneurs, across a wide range of sectors – from advertising, media, publishing and the internet to social housing and property, restaurants, partnerships and retailers, to sport and utilities.

International Lewis Silkin regularly offers international service through its carefully built network of contacts and alliances, including the Global Advertising Lawyers’ Alliance (GALA), the international association of corporate communications lawyers, www.gala-marketlaw.com and Ius Laboris, the leading global alliance of employment, incentives and pension lawyers www.iuslaboris.com.

Areas of Practice

  • Employment & Incentives 40%
  • Property/Project Finance/Construction/Social Housing 13%
  • Advertising/Media/Defamation/IP/IT 22%
  • Corporate Finance/Commercial 15%
  • Litigation & Dispute Resolution 10%
  • Academies Clare Reddy
  • Advertising & Marketing Services Brinsley Dresden
  • Arbitration Tamar Halevy
  • Commercial Helen Cavanagh, James Gill 
  • Computer Games Simon Morrissey
  • Construction Clare Reddy
  • Corporate Finance Jo Evans
  • Defamation Jonathan Coad
  • Employment Michael Burd, Russell Brimelow, James Davies
  • Employee Reward Sara Cohen, Victoria Goode
  • Environmental Judith Damerell
  • Government Agencies Fergus Payne
  • Immigration Andrew Osborne
  • Insolvency Jo Evans
  • Intellectual Property Simon J Chapman, Giles Crown, Ian Jeffery 
  • IT Simon Morrissey, James Gill 
  • Litigation & Dispute Resolution Tom Coates, Philip Foster
  • Media & Entertainment Cliff Fluet, Jonathan Coad, Phil Rymer
  • Outsourcing Simon Morrissey, James Gill 
  • Partnership Law/LLP Clive Greenwood, Fergus Payne
  • Project Finance Gillian Bastow
  • Real Estate Leonard Goodrich, Rachel-Francis Lang
  • Planning Judith Damerell
  • Property Litigation Brian Kilcoyne
  • Publishing Simon Entwistle
  • Retail Laura Farnsworth
  • Social Housing Gillian Bastow, Linda Convery
  • Sports Dominic Farnsworth, Andrew Osborne
  • Technology Simon Morrissey, James Gill 
  • Trademarks Dominic Farnsworth, Steven Jennings, Simon J Chapman


Corporate/M&A - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 10 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Remains a top-drawer practice in the creative services and media spaces, which form a large part of the firm's core sector focuses. Praised by clients and respected by peers for its transactional capability in this area.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very insightful, they've got a good overview of structure and are very good at implementation."

"A first-class service in all respects." 

Work highlights Assisted Lowcosttravelgroup with the disposal of its 90% stake in Intuitive Limited for £10.65 million.

Represented CPC Group in its purchase of the entirety of Logical Finance.

Notable practitioners  

Jo Evans is highly thought of for her pragmatism and commercial awareness, with sources also noting that she is "so good technically." Highlights include advising the management of Red Brick Road in its buyout of the company.

Significant clients Publicis Groupe, Integrated Dental Holdings, Ebiquity, Vision 7, Relendex.

Employment - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 25 partners
- 69 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Large employment team well known for its work with claimants and respondents. Its employer work covers a range of sectors including financial services, legal, media and advertising. Its senior executive practice is focused on representing individuals employed in the financial services sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They understand their clients' commercial environment and work with a personal touch."

"The service they provide and the access you have is good. They are reasonable and if there is an issue they are always open to a discussion on fees." 

Work highlights Advised Linklaters on the defence of a high-profile employment tribunal claim brought by a former paralegal who accused the firm of discrimination and fraudulent billing.

The firm acted alongside existing deal counsel to provide employment advice to IRESS in relation to its acquisition of Avelo, including a due diligence exercise and post-deal restructuring.

Notable practitioners  

Michael Burd is joint head of the department. One impressed source refers to him as "the doyen of employment law," whilst another calls him "very impressive, pragmatic and sensible because he uses good commercial knowledge and he challenges our thinking in a tactful way."

James Davies is joint head of the employment practice and considered to be "one of the best around" by impressed sources. His expertise is wide, but one interviewee notes him as being "very good on age discrimination."

Toni Lorenzo is called "a proper High Court litigator," with one client commenting: "He will take on litigation with an ADR outlook; he is always looking for a resolution and uses litigation to its best effect rather than running it for the sake of it."

Sources say Ellen Temperton "really gets to know her client and their culture, and is able to translate the letter of the law and give it practical application." She regularly advises employers on a range of issues with expertise in handling High Court litigation.

Nicholas Hadaway advises City-based senior employees with a focus on those working in financial services. His work includes litigation in the employment tribunal and High Court, with recent experience including bonus claims and team moves.

Significant clients Ford, Freshfields, Credit Suisse, Nokia, Jaguar Landrover.

Immigration - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acts on a full range of immigration matters for clients in a range of sectors, with notable work for law firms and large multinational companies. The team stands out for its niche strength in sports-related immigration.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They were very responsive and efficient, and I always felt they were there when I needed to speak to them."

"The standard of their senior management is very high and they have quick turnaround times."

Notable practitioners 

Head of department Andrew Osborne is described as "hugely responsive and proactive" and is praised for his understanding of clients' needs and ability to deliver. He is renowned for his work with sports clubs.

Significant clients Freshfields, Carphone Warehouse, White & Case, Marks & Spencer, Fulham FC.

Intellectual Property - London (Firms)

What the team is known for A profoundly deep bench in soft IP, highly recommended for trade mark and copyright disputes, as well as related advertising and media cases. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We’ve stayed with Lewis Silkin because of the consistently high standard of work that has been produced."

"The firm has a top-rate IP and media practice and client base."

What's new? Jeremy Summers joined the firm from Pitmans LLP in 2014.

 Notable practitioners  

Giles Crown heads up the firm's media, brands and technology department. He impresses peers and clients alike with the quality of his advice.

Adam Glass is a solicitor advocate with a strong reputation for litigating IP and media disputes. One source says: "Adam's quick responses and sensible, uncomplicated approach to the issues have benefited the fast pace of our business."

Nick Walker focuses mainly on IP and media disputes, the former concerning copyright, passing off and trade marks. Sources draw attention to his client management skills and "water-tight" drafting.

Simon Chapman has a celebrated contentious IP practice, which takes in patents as well as copyright, trade marks and confidential information. He is also regarded as one of the finest advertising lawyers in London.

Jeremy Summers is highly regarded in the media and entertainment world for his expertise in commercial and contentious copyright and trade mark work.  

Litigation - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Broad experience including professional negligence claims, insolvency and partnership disputes and regulatory work. Acts for clients in areas such as energy, retail and sport.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They don't give you any stories; they want to make sure you win. They punch way above their weight, and they're excellent in every aspect."

"They produce exceptionally high-quality work; they have very considerable expertise and I hold them in high regard."

What's new? Appointed to EDF Energy and One Housing Group's panels.

Work highlights Acted for House of Fraser on a competition investigation by the OFT into retail price maintenance.

Notable practitioners  

Tom Coates heads the department, and handles work in fields as diverse as retail and engineering with notable cross-border experience. Sources comment: "He comes across as very calm when litigation is about people being upset and fighting, and I find that very helpful. You need a calm head helping you."

Tamar Halevy's practice includes expertise in disputes involving charities, individuals and retail clients, receiving acclaim for her expertise in professional negligence work. Sources praise her "good understanding of complicated law. She gets involved, and she's very detail-oriented and careful and good at dealing with difficult clients."

Significant clients UK Power Networks (Operations), Momart, Harrods, PizzaExpress (Restaurants), Fulham Football Club.

Real Estate Litigation - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 4 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Strong mid-market offering handling a full range of issues for clients in the commercial and residential property markets. Particular expertise in dilapidations issues, enfranchisement and portfolio management.

Work highlights Acted for McCann Manchester on a dispute with its landlord concerning the operation of a break clause and a related professional negligence claim against its former solicitors.

Advised Southern Housing Group on a number of litigation issues across its portfolio.

Notable practitioners  

Brian Kilcoyne is particularly praised by sources for his expertise in rights of light issues. Sources say he "offers a really good service to his clients."

Significant clients PizzaExpress, Rio Tinto, Interpublic Group, Destan, Wandle Housing Association.

Real Estate - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Broad base of housing association clients, with particular expertise in residential development work. Also handles office lettings and portfolio management for corporates and retailers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're very knowledgeable and incredibly responsive. They're very thorough and cover issues we would never have thought of."

"Lewis Silkin are excellent. They are very pragmatic - it's not about point-scoring but about finding solutions to legal problems. They have a very personable approach to clients, they're very joined up and you never catch them off guard."

What's new? New client wins include London & Quadrant and Metropolitan Housing Trust.

Work highlights Advised Fulham Football Club on its project to expand the Riverside Stand at Craven Cottage.

Acted for Cheil Europe on taking a lease over four floors of the Crane Building, Southwark Street.

Notable practitioners  

Leonard Goodrich specialises in development matters. "He manages to simplify everything," reports one enthusiastic client; "when he reports back to us and advises, somehow everything becomes crystal clear. Whenever it's complicated we wouldn't go anywhere but Leonard."

Significant clients Whitecross Dental Care, Rio Tinto, Espirit GB, Peabody Trust, Network Housing Group.

Social Housing - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Compact team handling a broad range of social housing mandates, including regeneration and development schemes, asset management, housing management, corporate governance and regulatory issues. Dedicated housing litigation practice.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"I think they are excellent. There is very little they do not know – they are extremely knowledgeable and also approachable."

"Clear and quick understanding of complex deals." 

Work highlights Advised the Peabody Trust on the Chambers Wharf development in Southwark, including the purchase of 182 affordable housing units.

Assisted London & Quadrant Housing with its 'golden brick' acquisition of the affordable housing at the Trafalgar Place development project in Elephant & Castle.

Represented the Southern Housing Group in litigation matters concerning possession claims and injunctions against tenants.

Notable practitioners 

Highly respected practice head Gillian Bastow has advised on a number of large-scale development and regeneration schemes. She has recently acted for Wandle Housing Association on the Streatham Hub development, negotiating leases, warranties and planning agreements.

Linda Convery "knows her stuff and is able to explain complex legal matters in a way we can work with," say clients. She recently advised Network Housing Group on its acquisition of redevelopment sites.

Paul Hayes primarily represents registered providers in housing litigation matters. "He is easy to get on with and his knowledge and experience are faultless," clients report.

Significant clients Family Mosaic, Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association, Notting Hill Housing Trust, Peabody Trust, Viridian Housing.

Employment - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for A well-regarded practice with diverse sector expertise in areas such as the media, advertising and the financial services. Clients include household names such as MTV, Nokia, Jaguar LandRover, Man Group and Eli Lilly. Advice ranges from large-scale restructurings to issues involving senior employees and boardroom matters. Ranked office in Oxford.

Notable practitioners  

James Davies and Michael Burd are joint-heads of the department. 

Employment - Thames Valley

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Oxford

What the team is known for Market-leading employment team with wide-ranging experience in acting for national and global clients from a broad industry base. Vastly experienced in complex TUPE, outsourcing, restructuring and contentious matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"This is a huge, pre-eminent employment team. A great practice, which stands alone in the field."

Notable practitioners  

Department head Russell Brimelow remains a top-rated figure in Oxford employment circles. High-profile clients from sectors such as IT and pharmaceuticals appreciate his in-depth understanding of the employment issues faced by sizeable organisations.

Jonathan Carr impresses interviewees with his extensive, transaction-focused employment practice. One source states: "He is practical and commercial, giving me advice tailored to my circumstances."

Carolyn Soakell joins this year's rankings, thanks to her "extraordinarily bright and capable" approach to substantial employment cases. This has recently included a range of contentious matters, notably involving discrimination issues.

Significant clients MTV, Nokia, Jaguar Land Rover, Oxford University Press, Man Group.

Defamation/Reputation Management - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Multidisciplinary group acting for corporate entities, individuals and PR, talent and sports agencies on reputational concerns. Additional capabilities in defendant work, providing clearance advice to publishers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"It's been an extremely positive experience. They're very dependable and trustworthy."

"Always look for solutions and suggest the best way to compromise when needed."

What's new? Adam Glass has joined from Davenport Lyons (as was).

Notable practitioners  

Jonathan Coad acts for brands and individuals on a range of reputational matters. He is praised as "a confident and assertive lawyer" who is "full of energy and enthusiasm."

Significant clients Haymarket Media, Wonga, Tulisa Contostavlos, Heston Blumenthal, Amazon.com.

Media & Entertainment - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 12 partners
- 37 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Indomitable force in the advertising and marketing sphere, acting for pre-eminent agencies on regulatory, content and contract issues. Multidisciplinary group of acclaimed individuals, offering media and technology expertise across the digital, film, television and music industries.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)  

"There's nothing that would come up that they couldn't handle within this sector."

"They go the extra mile. That personal approach is really valuable in the media industry."

Work highlights Acted for Spark44 and TAG Europe on the drafting and negotiation of talent agreements with Sir Ben Kingsley, Mark Strong and Tom Hiddleson for the high-profile Jaguar F-Type television commercial.  

Advised Heyday Films on the production of a feature film adaptation of 'Paddington Bear'.

Notable practitioners  

Giles Crown heads the firm's media brands and technology group and is an acclaimed leader in the advertising industry, considered to be "one of the best" and a consummate expert in the field. He has significant experience in dispute resolution, and is admired by peers as being "absolutely wonderful." 

The pre-eminent Brinsley Dresden is "correctly viewed as one of the leading advertising lawyers in the country." Clients place particular value on his ability to diffuse crisis situations, and note that "he's really well connected and super-respected in the industry." Recent work includes advising Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO in relation to Sainsbury's 'Christmas in a Day' television campaign.

The "very wise" Guilherme Brafman is an established advertising industry figure, advising a range of financial services and creative industry clients on strategic matters. Clients note that "the depth of experience he brings is amazing," while peers indicate that " he knows the answer to any advertising question."

Cliff Fluet continues to impress as an expert in digital music and licensing matters, and is identified as being "very well informed about trends in the market," with a burgeoning client base including Deezer and Vevo. Clients praise his "healthily commercial outlook" and extol him as "a brilliant people person with vast knowledge of the industry."

Jo Farmer is well regarded for her advertising expertise and routinely handles large client contractual projects, where she is "always looking for the best solution." She acted for Bacardi Martini on Martini's 150th anniversary celebrations. 

The "wonderful" Jonathan Coad has a broad media practice. He earns particular praise for his film and television work, where he is admired as "an absolute expert on the format rights business." 

Dominic Farnsworth acts for brand owners and agencies on a broad spectrum of advertising and marketing matters. His intellectual property expertise ensures he is particularly adept at handling brand protection concerns.

Significant clients Publicis Groupe, Mother London, AMV BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, Syco.

Partnership - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: London

What the team is known for Standout group offering full-service expertise for partnerships and LLPs, displaying skill in M&A, tax, internal partner disputes and claims involving discrimination. Acts for clients from the professional services, marketing, communication and financial services arenas.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Always efficient, always charming, always get the job done." 

"A very professional, excellent service. I've had a very good experience of working with them. It's the responsiveness and availability which has been most impressive for me."

Work highlights Advised Grant Spencer on its merger with Harrison Goddard Foote.

Counselled Headland Consultancy on its conversion to an LLP. 

Notable practitioners  

Clive Greenwood, head of the firm's contentious partnership practice, is skilled in partner exits, team moves and disputes between individual partners and firms. Sources state: "Clive's service has been impeccable. He is available and responsive, and his advice is calm and considered."

The "commercial and creative" Fergus Payne heads up the firm's non-contentious partnership practice. A client remarks: "He has many years' experience, and understands the relationships between partners and the culture that many partnerships have."  

Significant clients United Agents LLP, Cozen O’Connor, Haywards, TP Bennett, CWM & Partners.

Retail - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 13 partners
- 30 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office location: London

What the team is known for Strength across the full spectrum of retail work, with regular work for a range of household names. The firm is notable for its employment work, and regularly advises clients about their HR requirements.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have got to know our business and its personalities." 

Work highlights Advised Marks & Spencer on the UK and international roll-out of its new beauty products strategy.

Notable practitioners  

Laura Farnsworth and Lisa Patmore co-head the retail, hospitality and leisure team.

Significant clients Superdrug, Tesco, Carphone Warehouse, House of Fraser, French Connection.

Sports Law - UK-wide

What the team is known for Well regarded by market commentators for its commercial, IP, employment and immigration expertise. The firm has a strong track record in advising on football, rugby and athletics matters. 

Notable practitioners 

Owen Eastwood is especially active in representing clients in contentious and non-contentious employment and disciplinary matters, especially in rugby and football.

Andrew Osborne acts for clubs, players and agencies on player transfers in rugby and football. He has significant expertise in immigration matters, and also handles sponsorship, regulatory issues and associated disputes.