In March 1981, the Academy Award-winning film Chariots of Fire was released, celebrating determined British athletes competing for fame in the Olympics, and the city of London held its first London Marathon to massive success. That March, Morgan Lewis made its own run at the United Kingdom’s political and business capital, opening its London office with just three lawyers. The same spirit of determination that motivated the London founders continues to this day, carried on by a growing team of top-tier talent.
The London of 1981 was regaining momentum as a global financial center amidst great economic and political turmoil. It was clear that the city was where Morgan Lewis needed to be to serve our growing roster of European and international clients. We opened our doors in London on March 1, 1981 with a focus on business, corporate, and tax matters, becoming one of the first multinational partnerships in the city.
This month, as we mark our 35th anniversary in Britain, there is much to celebrate. The London office today is a linchpin in the Morgan Lewis network of 28 offices in Europe, Asia, North America, and the Middle East. It is the professional home of nearly 80 lawyers, offering a broad English law practice focused on top-tier business and commercial services to UK clients and companies around the globe. Our scope covers everything from complex cross-border transactions and financings to a range of sophisticated international commercial litigation, arbitration, insurance recovery, and white collar matters, as well as UK and EU antitrust matters, tax, and labor and employment services for clients across a variety of industries. Our lawyers regularly share insights on a wide variety of topics, ranging from the latest developments in the European pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors, to European data protection laws, to investment opportunities in Africa.
Morgan Lewis has been fortunate to attract stellar talent in a number of crucial areas of interest for our clients.
In the last year, we further deepened our leading global structured transactions capability with the arrival of partners Matthew Duncan, Julian A. Goodman, and Paul J. Matthews. We continued the momentum with the addition of structured finance partner Theresa Kradjian and corporate tax partner Paul Beausang, who reunited with Matthew, Julian, and Paul after having practiced together as a core structured transactions group at another global law firm. Most recently, securitizations and structured finance transactions partner Lisa Cargill came aboard from another international law firm.
The addition of partner Pulina Whitaker, who handles employment investigations and data privacy, further enhanced our global employment law capability, while the arrival of Omar Shah, who defends clients in complex global cartel and anticorruption investigations, continues the expansion of our leading antitrust and competition team.
We also recently launched an EU data center in the United Kingdom to assist clients affected by changes in data transfer and privacy rules within the European Union and worldwide.
Peter Sharp, our London office managing partner who maintains a broad litigation practice, sat down with us to discuss the key milestones of the office and the client successes that have allowed us to thrive in the United Kingdom.
Why is London a critical location to have lawyers “on the
ground” for a firm like Morgan Lewis?
English law is a globally accepted choice for international business transactions and, as a result, frequently governs disputes that arise in cross-border business. London is the global hub for this worldwide service.
How has the office come along since
Today, we are able to offer a comprehensive service to respond to the English law needs of our global clients. We have deep benches in core skills such as mergers and acquisitions and other corporate transactions, all types of finance, and in litigation and international arbitration. These are backed by specialist capability in many areas such as tax, antitrust, and labor and employment. We also have specialists in investment management and other disciplines.
Tell us about a landmark case or deal that defines the capabilities we offer.
We are representing Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited in relation to its claim against Visa that its multilateral interchange fee arrangements violate EU competition law and caused Sainsbury’s damage. We also advised the international building materials group CRH plc on the global merger control and antitrust issues related to its commitment to acquire assets from Lafarge and Holcim for €6.5 billion, a deal that won us recognition in The American Lawyer’s Global European Deal of the Year award.
Where do you envision that the London office will be with
respect to type and scope of services in the next five years?
We are continuing energetically to grow and develop the London office so that it can deliver all the capabilities that our clients need in a rapidly changing world. Whether that means innovative new forms of finance transactions, or the careful study of sanctions in an unstable and global political climate, we will be there for our clients.
Why do clients continue to turn to the London team for
We have a vibrant and enthusiastic team who combine high-quality English law advice with Morgan Lewis’s long-standing tradition of excellence in client service. And, for those clients who are able to visit us in person, the view of St. Paul’s Cathedral is a great attraction, too!