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UK Bar: Competition 2017

We recognise 90 individuals for their outstanding competition law practices. Each nominee has a proven track record representing clients before the relevant authorities and courts, including the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) and the European Commission. 

Most Highly Regarded
Silks
Kelyn Bacon QC Brick Court Chambers
James Flynn QC Brick Court Chambers
Mark Hoskins QC Brick Court Chambers
Daniel Beard QC Monckton Chambers
Jon Turner QC Monckton Chambers
Juniors
Tristan Jones Blackstone Chambers
David Bailey Brick Court Chambers
Daniel Piccinin Brick Court Chambers
Ronit Kreisberger Monckton Chambers
Rob Williams Monckton Chambers

Silks

BRICK COURT CHAMBERS has a longstanding reputation of excellence in competition law and is the most widely recognised set in our research, with 14 nominees gaining significant recognition from peers and clients. Eleven silks are recognised including some of the Bar’s star names, which is testament to the set’s strength in depth at the senior end of call.
Mark Hoskins QC is regarded as “the best at the set” by several respondents, who highlight his “elegant yet robust advocacy style”. He is often acts as lead counsel on some of the most high-profile cases before the UK and EU authorities, including Sainsbury’s recent damages action against MasterCard.
James Flynn QC is widely cited and a much in-demand silk. He is particularly well thought of for cases where there is a technical overlap between competition and IP law; as such he has an impressive portfolio of tech and life sciences clients. Sources remark that he has “a wonderfully balanced mind and the ability to distil the complex into the manageable” and “an encyclopaedic knowledge of EU law.”
Kelyn Bacon QC is considered “the top young competition silk at the Bar”. In praising her, sources remark that she is “incredibly smart and tough”. She has been involved in numerous landmark UK and EU competition cases, with a particular specialism in state aid law.
Marie Demetriou QC is distinguished by her ability to “cut through complexity” and for her “excellent judgement”. She is standing counsel to the CMA, as well as a popular counsel to commercial clients and other public bodies in complex competition law actions.
Helen Davies QC is regarded as a “heavyweight” EU and competition law silk who is “fantastic to work with” and “an authority in court”.
Robert O'Donoghue QC was described as “the number-one junior” by several solicitors we interviewed and it is no surprise he has taken silk this year.  He is highlighted for his cutting edge work in the pharmaceutical sector, including acting on behalf of Pfizer in relation to the suspected unfair pricing of its phenytoin sodium capsules. He is also described as “the outstanding expert on Article 102” by peers.
Sarah Ford QC also made silk this year and was rated among the most highly regarded juniors.

MONCKTON CHAMBERS ranks alongside Brick Court as a premier set in competition law. Indeed competition and EU law is at the heart of the chambers: out of 16 Queen’s Counsel, eight are listed as leaders in the field.
Jon Turner QC is “nigh-on unbeatable”. Widely considered one of the top competition law silks, he is much in demand by clients and a highly respected name among his peers. He has a particularly active telecoms practice.
Daniel Beard QC is a “top-tier silk”, regularly acting as lead counsel in the national courts and the CAT. A notable matter includes acting as counsel to the CMA in its long-running dispute over Ryanair’s stake in rival airline, Aer Lingus. According to peers he is “fantastically bright”, “charming” and “a great advocate”.
Meredith Pickford QC is known for his economic background and his ability to effectively handle highly technical cases, with sources describing him as “absolutely first-rate”. He is very active in the telecoms and media sector for a number of noteworthy clients, including for Sky and Ofcom v BT in the pay-TV case.
George Peretz QC is highly regarded by respondents, particularly for his state aid law expertise.
Josh Holmes QC has taken silk this year. He was one of the most highly rated juniors in our research. One source says, “He is incredibly clever, measured and calm.”

BLACKSTONE CHAMBERS is the closest challenger to the established competition law pedigree of Monckton and Brick Court. Its members have become increasingly prevalent in the most noteworthy cases and are a popular choice among leading solicitors, public bodies and large multinationals. This year we list five silks.
The “outstanding” Dinah Rose QC is regularly highlighted by market commentators. Although originating from a public and regulatory law focus, “she is brilliant at anything she turns her hand to” and is much in demand for high-profile competition investigations and private litigation, including the alleged EURIBOR fixing scandal.
Thomas de la Mare QC is “a very creative advocate” and “certainly counts among the top competition silks at the Bar”.
Brian Kennelly QC has a formidable reputation and was near-uniformly seen as the top competition law junior before taking silk in 2016. Peers widely regard him as “a future superstar”.
Kieron Beal QC makes regular appearances before the domestic and EU courts, the CAT and the CMA. According to one respondent, “Kieron is absolutely excellent and a very accomplished lawyer.”

Two senior silks earn recognition from outside these main sets:

At ONE ESSEX COURT, Thomas Sharpe QC is a competition and EU law specialist and ranks highly in our research as “a well-established name”. One peer notes that he “commands huge respect as an opponent”.

At MATRIX CHAMBERS, Rhodri Thompson QC is highlighted for his “great command” of competition, EU and public law. A source adds that “he has an exceptionally good manner with clients” and is “very popular” among them and his peers.

Juniors

MONCKTON CHAMBERS earns five listings at the junior level in our research, highlighting its superlative strength and depth in this area of law.
Ronit Kreisberger is highly regarded, particularly for pharmaceutical related cases and in situations where patent and competition law interact. She is also considered “a top-tier senior junior”.
Rob Williams is involved in a significant number of leading competition cases and is currently standing counsel to the CMA. He is very favourably reviewed by respondents: “He combines competition expertise with superb intellectual capabilities and a fantastic client-facing manner.”

BRICK COURT CHAMBERS earns three listings in this chapter.
David Bailey is regarded as “a future star”. His steeped learning in this area is highlighted by numerous respondents. One client is particularly effusive, “He is an automatic choice. You have a library in front of you with an extensive knowledge of case law. He grasps key issues rapidly, is shrewd in his approach and has a very accessible manner.”
Daniel Piccinin is “a superlative junior” regularly instructed on major cases, including for Aer Lingus in the long-running battle with Ryanair. He is highlighted for “not only being an excellent lawyer but an excellent economist”.

BLACKSTONE CHAMBERS increases its listings this year with three standout juniors.
Tristan Jones again earns strong endorsements from the market. He is active as junior counsel in a number of significant cases, including in the cartel damages claim against British Airways for one of the defendants, Polar Air Cargo.
James Segan and Jessica Boyd are recognised as standouts for the first time this year.

Three further juniors are listed outside these main sets, all of whom joined the Bar after years as solicitors in major international law firms:

At MATRIX CHAMBERS, Nicholas Gibson is the standout junior. Recently, he has been notably active in the VULA litigation for BT.

Suzanne Rab of SERLE COURT specialises in the full gamut of competition law, particularly matters in highly regulated sectors. Clients praise her “superb knowledge of the law”, “creative approach to problem-solving” and “hard-working nature”.

EXCHANGE CHAMBERS’ David Went returned to the Bar last year with a strong reputation after 15 years practising competition law at Sidley Austin. A client remarks, “David is a brilliant lawyer: sharp, personable, linguistically accurate, astute, quick and reliable."

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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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