About us

We have 10 offices worldwide, a variety of sectors to explore and unlimited opportunities for you to develop an incredible career. Here, you can expect to work in tight, focused teams alongside associates and partners, where you'll always be right at the heart of the action.

Our work

We’re dedicated to helping our clients achieve their objectives and we’re proud of the consistently impressive work we do in every practice area of our firm.

We pride ourselves on delivering ground-breaking deals across the globe. As one of our 20 trainees, you’ll be exposed to high-profile clients and cutting-edge projects. With offices in London and across Asia, Europe and the Middle East, our diverse mix of expertise and culture provides deep, local insight and the capability to provide a seamless international service to our clients.

The clients we work with are hugely varied. Whether they’re corporations, institutions or individuals, we assemble teams of bold thinkers to match our clients’ needs and ensure they receive the right advice, from the right person, at the right time. Our experience encompasses corporate, commercial litigation and arbitration, employment and pensions, finance, marine and international trade, and real estate.

Major practices

As a trainee, you'll have access to a huge breadth and depth of expertise as you work alongside our partners and associates to develop your knowledge of our key practice areas.

Commercial litigation and arbitration

Our award-winning team advises on many of the most complex and high-profile commercial litigation cases. For example, we have been involved in providing anti-counterfeiting advice to luxury brands and helping trace up to US$70 billion of assets misappropriated by a former regime in Egypt.

The high calibre nature of our cases means that we regularly feature in The Lawyer magazine's 'Top 20 cases of the year'.

Corporate

Focused on deals that range from £50 million to £500 million in value, our corporate finance team is known for outstanding commercial thinking. Our track record is particularly strong in energy and resources, financial services, pharmaceuticals, real estate and transportation. We advise on a wide range of matters, from mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, to equity capital markets, private equity venture capital and takeovers. 

Deals in the past year have included: advising long-standing client Acadia Healthcare on its £1.5 billion acquisition of Priory Group, and acting for Woodford Investment Management LLP on the largest ever investment trust IPO, raising £800 million upon launch.

Employment and pensions

We are an international employment practice of highly regarded employment law specialists. Our expertise and cross-industry experience enables us to deliver innovative solutions to meet our clients' needs. For over 30 years we have provided an integrated legal and support function to our clients. Our pensions expertise also stretches across the firm and we have dedicated specialists to assist with all pensions-related issues.

The employment team is ranked by the leading legal directories in the 'elite' category for employment law advice when acting for employers.

Finance

We're one of the very few international firms that field market-leading asset finance teams in all three key transportation sectors – aviation, rail and shipping. Our clients include many of the leading organisations in the global transportation sector including almost every major transportation finance bank, leading lessors and aviation, rail and shipping companies.

We recently advised HI Investment & Securities Co. Ltd on the financing of US$209 million Emirates aircrafts. This represented the fifth Korean focused deal completed by our Singapore aviation and structured finance team, further strengthening its reputation in the Korean market.

Marine and international trade

Our world-leading marine law practice offers a breadth of services to clients in the shipping, offshore and commodity sectors. Our practice is international and is serviced by specialist lawyers based in key shipping and trade hubs worldwide. We deliver market-leading maritime expertise to a truly international clientele, including many of the world's largest ship-owners, shipyards, major ship finance banks, marine insurers and IG P&I clubs, energy services companies, oil and gas businesses and commodities traders.

We acted for Mercuria in the successful defence of a headline-making US$270 million claim – relating to commodity 'repo' deals affected by a major metals warehousing fraud in China.

Real estate

We've been behind some of the UK and Europe's biggest real estate deals. Regularly advising leading international developers, investors, financiers and individuals, we guide our clients on everything from investment acquisitions and disposals to development projects and environmental issues.

We have recently advised on a string of high-profile deals including the redevelopment of Sea Containers' House on London's Southbank, the redevelopment of the Natwest Tower in Birmingham and a number of major retail acquisitions in the UK, Italy and France.

Trainees

Our culture & values

We're committed to being the best and delivering the highest standard possible in everything we do.

That's why we encourage creativity and continuously develop our people, harnessing individual talent to create the most effective teams. Ours is a culture that clients feel the benefit of too, as we work together to forge strong and open relationships. In our experience, relationships based on candour, trust and ease in each other's company are the very best foundations on which to deliver and demonstrate great value on every piece of work.

Whilst it's no surprise that delivering pioneering, influential and complex £multi-million deals is extremely pressurised, we see no reason why performance and enjoyment at work can't go hand-in-hand. Our small trainee intake and open culture means you'll get to know your colleagues at all levels, work shoulder-to-shoulder with partners and have the opportunity to make a huge impact on the future of our progressive firm.

Achievements

Naturally, we're delighted when our know-how wins independent industry recognition. Here are a few of our most recent achievements:

  • Corporate team of the year – Legal Business Awards 2018
  • Private client team of the year – Legal Business Awards 2018
  • Transport law firm of the year – The Legal 500 UK Awards 2018
  • Advisory firm of the year – HeathInvestor Asia Awards 2018
  • Commercial litigation advisory firm of the year – ACQ5 Global Awards 2017
  • Rail law firm of the year – Global Transport Finance 2017
  • Pensions law firm of the year 2017 – Pensions Age Awards 2017
  • Private client law firm – Wealth Briefing European Awards 2017
  • Shipping law firm of the year – Asia Legal Business, China Law Awards 2017
  • KPMG sustainable procurement award 2017
  • Shipping law firm of the year – Asia Legal Business China Law Awards 2017
  • Pensions law firm of the year – Pensions Age Awards 2017
  • Private client law firm of the year – WealthBriefing European Awards 2017
  • Private client lawyer of the year – James Quarmby – WealthBriefing European Awards 2017
  • Legal advisors of the year – Health Investor Awards 2017
  • Law firm of the year – OpRisk Awards 2017
Trainees

Help us deliver ground-breaking deals

We excel at solving complex problems and generating novel solutions.

The quality of our people and our partner-led approach has enabled us to steer the most high-profile deals through to a successful outcome. Here are a few we've tackled recently:

Hotel Chocolat prices its IPO

We recently advised Hotel Chocolat Group plc on its initial public offering (IPO) and successful £167 million flotation on AIM. Hotel Chocolat, a long standing client of ours, is a premium British chocolatier and omni-channel retailer. We advised Hotel Chocolat on all aspects of its IPO. This involved a corporate restructuring and conditional placing of new and existing ordinary shares with institutional and other investors to raise gross proceeds of approximately £43.5 million on behalf of the founders and senior management, and £12 million on behalf of the company. The market capitalisation on admission to trading on AIM will be £167 million.

Securing victory for the Nigerian National Petroleum Company

In January 2018 Stephenson Harwood successfully settled a unique, ground-breaking case on behalf of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, one of the world's most important national oil companies, after extensive attempts by a contractor, IPCO, to enforce a Nigerian arbitration award in England. The matter began in 2004, and became one of the longest running cases in the Commercial Court in London. It is also the most important case in recent times on the enforcement of arbitration awards under the New York Convention 1958 and the interaction with the Arbitration Act 1996.

Republic of Iraq's first international bond offering

We advised on the issuance of the Republic of Iraq's first bond in the international financial markets. The five year bond, which has a total value of US$1 billion, has a 2.149% yield and it is guaranteed by the United States Agency for International Development. The proceeds of this offering will be used to partially cover Iraq's budget deficit in 2017. Entering the international financial markets represents a significant step forward for Iraq, and we're delighted to have been able to assist them in this landmark transaction.

Full steam ahead for Welsh railway transformation

We have a number of vital roles in modernising and transforming Welsh railways. KeolisAmey was awarded a ground breaking new fifteen year franchise in June 2018 which will deliver a major package of improvements for rail services in the principality – with investment of £5bn over the life of the franchise. Key to this transformation will be a complete replacement of all trains running in Wales – more than half of which will be manufactured by our long standing client CAF in a deal worth over Euros 400 million. The new trains will be assembled in a brand new, state of the art factory in Newport Wales. The firm acted for CAF in relation to this new £30m factory which will generate over 300 skilled jobs in Wales. We also advise on various aspects of financing for the railway improvements as well working with the previous operator Arriva in handing over the franchise to KeolisAmey.

LIBOR investigations

We are, along with a number of other major firms, advising traders charged in connection with LIBOR manipulation. This is a very high-profile legal area, involving up to 16 UK banks across a number of jurisdictions. US regulators are currently investigating whether LIBOR was manipulated from 2006 and, in particular, during the financial crisis in 2007-2009. The Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) investigation focused on controls and 'Chinese wall' arrangements at the respective institutions. Meanwhile, the Serious Fraud Office has indicted a large number of individuals on charges of conspiracy to defraud and there have been a number of high profile trials in which we have been involved.

Advising Pradera Ltd on French retail park acquisitions

We advised Pradera Ltd on the purchase of three retail parks in France. The sites are part of a portfolio of 25 Ikea retail parks across Europe acquired by Pradera, valued at €900million. The retail parks, situated next to Ikea stores, comprise circa 500 units and cover approximately 538,000 square metres.

Locations

We're an international law firm with teams working regularly together across borders.

  • Beijing
  • Myanmar
  • Paris
  • Piraeus
  • Seoul
  • Shanghai
  • Singapore