Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International Law

UK Bar: Banking & Finance 2017

We highlight 82 individuals for their outstanding banking and finance practices. Each has a proven track record of advising and representing major financial institutions regarding both regulatory and transactional disputes. Below we identify the most highly regarded practitioners.

Most Highly Regarded
Ali Malek QC 3 Verulam Buildings
Tim Lord QC Brick Court Chambers
Richard Handyside QC Fountain Court Chambers
David Railton QC Fountain Court Chambers
Laurence Rabinowitz QC One Essex Court
Robin Dicker QC South Square
Laura John Fountain Court Chamber


3 VERULAM BUILDINGS leads the way with an impressive 10 silks identified by our research. Known in the market as a foremost banking set, practitioners are frequently involved in some of the highest value and most prominent disputes before the courts.  
Ali Malek QC is described by sources as “at the top of his game” and “a certain inclusion”. He has a broad practice including large banking litigation which often has an international component. He is also highly experienced in appearing as lead counsel in international arbitrations in relation to the sector.
The “superb” Ewan McQuater QC is very popular among city law firm partners. Respondents cite his fantastic understanding of banking practices.
Sources describe Andrew Onslow QC as a “top-flight” commercial and banking silk. He receives particular praise for “understanding clients’ commercial sensitivities and how they interacted with the legal arguments in a case”.
Andrew Sutcliffe QC has a reputation for being “a joy to work with”. He has a wide-ranging banking practice, with a focus on banking disputes with allegations of fraud and those concerning the payment processing industry – Barclaycard is a key client.
Jonathan Nash QC is often across the table in key disputes, according to peers. His technical knowledge of intricate financial arrangements is also highlighted.
David Head QC wins praise for being “really good in court and very sensible”. Sources also describe him as “very knowledgeable on banking law matters” and “very pragmatic in his advice.”

FOUNTAIN COURT CHAMBERS follows closely behind with nine banking and finance silks recognised. This reflects the set’s substantial involvement in high-profile banking and finance disputes and inquiries, often representing the world’s most prominent financial institutions.
David Railton QC has a reputation for being “one of the cleverest men at the Bar”. He acts for major banks, investors, issuers and other financial institutions, and is one of the most active silks in terms of high-profile litigation in this field. He is also recommended for being “excellent to work with”.
Richard Handyside QC is described as a “very eminent practitioner”. As one of the leading banking experts he receives a significant number of his instructions from major banks and is “deserving of his brilliant reputation”.
Bankim Thanki QC is “a major name” with “phenomenal sector knowledge”. He frequently represents well-known banks in litigation, arbitration, regulatory investigations and inquiries.
Patrick Goodall QC has a very high-quality practice” with experience handling large-scale, multi-jurisdictional actions, and is admired by sources for his “extremely sensible and calm approach to complex matters”.
Ben Valentin QC stands out for being “an excellent barrister with a very successful practice”. With a significant international dimension to his work, he also has extensive experience in complicated offshore litigation in the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands.
Henry King QC frequently acts for major offshore clients and has extensive experience of cases in the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Trinidad and Tobago. He stands out for his “expert analytical skills” when interpreting and understanding financial reports.

ONE ESSEX COURT has a widely recognised reputation for excellence in the sector. Members frequently advise domestic and international banks, hedge funds and financial institutions on a broad variety of transactions, structures, regulations and banking litigation. This year we list eight silks.
Laurence Rabinowitz QC is widely regarded as “one of the megastars if the Bar” and “the top pick for many solicitors”.
Sonia Tolaney QC, a new tenant following her recent move from 3VB, is regularly seen in the big cases – including acting for RBS in its rights issue litigation. One source adds, “She is a genuine star who has opponents sitting up straight.”
Daniel Toledano QC impresses clients with “his intellect, calmness under pressure and willingness to work in a team”. He is regularly engaged both in court and arbitration hearings for major banks and hedge funds.
David Wolfson QC is “a terribly good advocate, very persuasive and frighteningly clever”. He is much in demand for high-value, complex disputes as both an advocate and arbitrator.
Orlando Gledhill QC is described by commentators as “very, very good” and is widely seen as “one of the Bar’s leading senior juniors”, with excellent experience of complex banking litigation.

BRICK COURT CHAMBERS is certainly a strong banking set and builds on last year’s listing with seven silks identified in this chapter.
Tim Lord QC has a strong international practice, with significant experience handling heavyweight disputes arising out of the Middle East, East Asia and Russia. He stands out to peers and clients for his “ability to win very hard cases”.
Simon Birt QC impresses clients with his “dedication and incredible work ethic”. He is known to be “very bright and analytical” with the ability to “remain calm under pressure and always demonstrates great common sense.”
Mark Howard QC has “an excellent reputation as a cross-examiner”. As “a very established leader in the field” he has extensive experience handling a range of complex banking disputes before arbitration tribunals and at trial, handling cases up to the Supreme Court.
Recent silk Stephen Midwinter is “excellent” having been involved in some of the leading cases arising out of the global financial crisis. He is known in the industry as someone who “works phenomenally hard”.

SOUTH SQUARE ranks highly, with seven outstanding practitioners identified in our research. Often its instructions in the sector relate to its renowned expertise in restructuring and insolvency.
Robin Dicker QC is widely regarded in the market as a “brilliant advocate and a great tactician”. Specialising in banking and financial services law, his practice comprises some of the most substantial disputes in recent years including in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and at first instance.
William Trower QC is described by sources as “an obvious star”. He is particularly liked by clients because he is “approachable and practical”, with experience handling banking disputes arising from high-value insolvencies.
Antony Zacaroli QC has a reputation as a “star of the Bar”. One respondent states, “His strong advocacy, command of the facts and meticulous approach marks him out for the heavy-duty cases.”

From ESSEX COURT CHAMBERS, Joe Smouha QC is praised for being “extremely thorough an leaves no stoneunturned.” Clients say he is “obviously in the star category” for his broad banking arbitration and litigation experience. Richard Millett QC is also strongly endorsed.


FOUNTAIN COURT CHAMBERS maintains its forefront position in the research this year, with six notable practitioners highlighted.
Laura John is described as an "absolutely excellent operator", who specialises in banking and financial services litigation and arbitration.
Adam Sher wins praise as a leading banking junior and is a popular choice as junior counsel in high-profile disputes. His practice comprises a broad range of banking law litigation. In particular, he is known in the market for his experience in the Libor and Euribor manipulation claims.  
David Murray is highly regarded by sources for his up-and-coming practice. He commonly acts for investment, commercial and retail banks in a variety of banking and finance disputes, with specific experience of managing cases involving different kinds of derivatives, as well as regulatory disputes.  

ONE ESSEX COURT earns four listings, reflecting the high quality of its banking work.
Jamie Goldsmith is praised for being “one of the most formidable juniors at the Bar” and “a pleasure to work with”.  He is active in banking disputes at first instance and before the Court of Appeal, as well as in offshore jurisdictions.
Conall Patton is “really impressive in court” and “his diligent approach just shines through in a case”, according to sources.
James MacDonald and Laurence Emmett are also highly recommended.

BRICK COURT CHAMBERS follows closely behind in our research with threestandout juniors.
Craig Morrison is “exceptionally accessible and client-friendly”, with experience of having been involved in some of the major banking litigation and regulatory disputes emerging from the credit crunch.
Fionn Pilbrow has been described by clients as a "brilliant junior who is taking the Bar by storm" with his broad disputes practice.
Richard Eschwege has a reputation among peers as "ridiculously hardworking, fast and effective".  

From 3 VERULAM BUILDINGS, Adam Kramer is active in large-scale, high-profile banking disputes and is highlighted as an expert on contract matters. One client effuses: “Adam is dedicated and extremely thorough in his approach to his work; he also has a great sense of humour and a strong teamwork ethic.”

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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