Wealth of Experience
Our London office first opened its doors in 1972, though Dechert’s roots here stretch back to the 1930s. The office has grown to 140 lawyers and other legal professionals.
Our lawyers help clients from all major business and financing sectors to achieve their commercial aims with practical advice grounded in thorough research and industry knowledge.
International Legal Expertise
Reflecting London’s role as a global business hub, our lawyers are qualified to practise in a wide array of jurisdictions. In addition to our English law practice, we have lawyers qualified to practise in Australia, France, Lebanon, Russia and the United States.
We are also one of the few law firms equipped with a full-service U.S. corporate practice in London, with the capability to advise domestic and international clients on a broad spectrum of U.S. regulatory and transactional issues.
From funds and financial institutions to high net worth individuals, privately owned companies and multinationals, our clients value Dechert’s creative approach to planning and executing complex transactions. We provide timely, best-in-class advice on M&A and private equity deals, capital markets and financing transactions and on commercial and regulatory matters.
Purchasers, sellers and advisers understand that we consistently earn a top-tier ranking for M&A deals by being one of the most active law firms in the field. Issuers, investment banks and financial sponsors routinely come to us when planning a UK or cross-border offering or listing. In the emerging markets, sovereigns, banks and multinationals trust us with their highest-value transactions.
Moreover, our London-based team constitutes an invaluable cross-border resource for U.S. companies operating in an international sphere and for international companies looking to invest or raise capital in the United States
- Labour and Employment
Employers from a wide variety of sectors rely on us for assistance with all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law. Working closely with our clients’ in-house legal and human resources teams, our lawyers:
- Represent clients in relation to all forms of employment litigation before the Employment Tribunals and the High Court.
- Advise on drafting and enforcing confidentiality and restrictive covenant obligations.
- Advise on new legislation and case law.
- Assist in handling disciplinary and grievance investigations and in negotiating severance arrangements.
- Devise and draft comprehensive, up–to-date employment contracts and human resources policies.
- Advise on the employment aspects of corporate transactions.
- Assist in managing redundancy exercises, restructurings and TUPE transfers.
- Advise on remuneration and incentive arrangements.
- Financial Services and Investment Management
Dechert operates one of the largest financial services practices in London. Our top-ranked team forms a critical part of the firm’s global Financial Services Group, which spans the leading financial hubs of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States.
Investment management boutiques and financial-services giants benefit from our “jurisdiction-neutral” advice that blends local experience with know-how on a global scale. Our advice covers retail and institutional products for all asset classes, strategies and structures, from equity and fixed income to credit, commodities and derivatives.
At the forefront of regulatory changes, our advice on global legislative initiatives is always forward-looking and results-focused. Our “one-stop shop” for investment funds is consistently top-tiered in the hedge funds space.
Moreover, while our English and U.S.-qualified lawyers provide on-the-spot advice on English and U.S. matters from a single platform, we are the only law firm able to source in-house advice in every leading investment fund jurisdiction in Europe.
- Financial Restructuring
Market sources regularly endorse Dechert’s proactive approach to all types of financing transactions and restructurings. Our lawyers in London know how to get deals done in both the U.S. and European markets.
Lenders and investors, agents and borrowers, servicers and special servicers come to us for help with out-of-court loan restructurings, workouts and recapitalisations, focused particularly on resolving stressed and distressed structured finance vehicles and products.
In real estate finance and real estate capital markets, we excel at developing innovative structures based on our deep experience with ABS, CMBS and CDOs. With a proven ability to master complex deals, we have the resources required to manage the crucial areas that can affect the creditworthiness and attractiveness of our clients’ offerings.
- Intellectual Property
Clients in IP-heavy industries call on our London intellectual property team when facing complex litigation, counselling and transactional IP matters.
With years of experience in managing high-profile matters related to the complete range of intellectual property, we aim to solve, settle and assert our clients’ IP rights in the UK and around the world in order to maximise their business objectives.
Our lawyers devise strategies to assert, protect and defend clients’ rights in relation to IP-related matters such as:
- Trade marks
- Database rights
- Trade secrets
- Distribution and license agreements
- Passing off
- Unfair competition
- Breach of confidence and covenant
Our team also advises providers and users of technology, often of a cutting-edge nature.
Clients of Dechert’s London office are routinely served by experienced tax lawyers at the heart of our integrated, multi-disciplinary teams. Our primary focus on all transactions is to achieve a tax-efficient structure that generates optimum returns for our clients and limits tax risk on audits.
Our leading market position in the funds industry has enabled us to build particular expertise in advising investment funds and their managers on tax and VAT issues. We also have a proven track record in relation to financial services taxation.
The tax aspects of mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity, and finance and real estate transactions figure highly among the client concerns we regularly solve, along with general assistance on all aspects of corporate tax, both in the UK and internationally.
- International Litigation and Arbitration
We have a proven record of developing effective global strategies to help clients resolve the most complex, highest-profile disputes in global commerce—and for achieving spectacular results on our clients’ behalf.
Governments, global corporations, corporate and sovereign debt holders, hedge funds and other financial institutions regularly engage us to help resolve their most intractable commercial disputes, many of which span multiple jurisdictions, cultures and legal systems.
Our team of litigation, commercial arbitration and investment treaty arbitration lawyers advocates client interests in a powerful manner. The team works seamlessly across jurisdictions and datelines and has particular experience in Europe, Russia and the CIS, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Latin America.
- International Trade and Government Regulation
A complex network of regulation, legislation and standards governs global policy making. Our lawyers blend legal, strategic and public affairs expertise to advocate your interests effectively, assisting with solutions to your regulatory and trade challenges even before regulations have been conceived and adopted.
Unlike other law firms, Dechert’s team includes international trade and investment lawyers and public affairs experts, many of whom are former EU Commission officials, national regulators or World Trade Organization trade negotiators. With vast on-the-ground experience, we provide invaluable insider insight on trade regulatory requirements to companies operating in Europe or trading with European counterparts.
Working in close cooperation with our counterparts in the United States, our London team also counsels clients on matters concerning financial sanctions, trade embargoes and export controls.
- Investigations, White Collar and Compliance
Unlike many other global law firms in London, Dechert has substantial experience in defending companies facing criminal investigation. We pass this knowledge on to our clients. Our first-hand, practical experience of how enforcement is actually carried out by the world’s law enforcement agencies underpins our approach to compliance.
Our team is particularly noted for its expert handling of the most sensitive cross-border corporate investigations. We support companies’ compliance efforts in areas such as anticorruption, accounting restatements and insider trading, money laundering, asset-tracing and recovery, tax and cartel investigations.
In addition, audit committees, boards of directors, companies and senior officers call on us for crucial, timely advice on matters surrounding internal and regulatory investigations.
- Real Estate
Buyers, sellers and advisers come to Dechert’s real estate team for useable, commercially-minded advice on planning, negotiating and executing complex real estate transactions.
Major developers rely on us at all stages of the development process, from inception through planning, acquisition, funding and forward funding, construction, pre-letting and letting. Landlords call us to help manage portfolios of all sizes.
We pass our experience on to clients, whether involved in property acquisition, real estate management or realising the value of an asset. At every stage, Dechert’s real estate team works closely with our international tax lawyers to devise a tax-efficient structure that generates optimum returns. It is this close collaboration that brings real estate clients back to Dechert time and time again.
Dechert provides wide-ranging services for complex financings and deal structuring. With a focus on sophisticated and efficient deal structuring and execution, we advise on corporate finance, leveraged finance, real estate finance, structured finance and securitization matters. Our global finance practice gives clients access to a responsive interdisciplinary, multi-jurisdictional team. Working together, we immediately react to the changing international landscape and increasing complexity facing finance transactions.
- Life Sciences and Healthcare
Dechert’s UK Life Sciences and Healthcare practice integrates multiple disciplines, drawing on the experience of our entire global practice to offer a complete range of transactional, advisory and dispute resolution services to our clients.
Able to draw on significant local resources, together with additional global dedicated resources deployed across the United States, Europe and Asia, our team collaborates seamlessly to help clients establish or expand their international presence. Whether guiding a start-up biotech through its first round of commercially significant funding, executing a strategic acquisition for a large pharmaceutical company, executing a private equity buy-out of a healthcare company, licensing a medical device company’s patents or winning antitrust, securities or patent disputes, our lawyers approach every matter with the resources of a major international firm and the focus and depth of a life sciences and healthcare boutique.
Our extensive experience includes:
- M&A and Strategic Collaborations
- Private Equity
- Venture Capital
- Capital Markets
- Product Liability
- Intellectual Property
- Investment Management and Funds
- Tax Issues and Employee Benefits
Our partnership team in London is drawn from a number of practice areas (including tax, employment, regulation, litigation, corporate and financial services) and is deeply experienced in all aspects of partnership law, particularly in the financial services sector. We regularly advise on limited partnership (LP) and limited liability partnership (LLP) structures and prepare LP and LLP agreements. We are also very experienced at handling and resolving LP, LLP and member disputes.
Clients frequently turn to us for help with all aspects of partnership law, from the design of governance arrangements and profit waterfalls through complex spin out exercises to member removals and enforcement of restrictive covenants.
Dechert LLP in the UK (“Dechert LLP UK”) is a limited liability partnership registered in England & Wales (Registered No. OC306029) and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority of England and Wales. The registered address is 160 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4QQ, UK. A list of names of the members of Dechert LLP UK (who are referred to as “partners”) is available for inspection at the above address. The partners are solicitors or registered foreign lawyers. The use of the term “partners” should not be construed as indicating that the members of Dechert LLP UK are carrying on business in partnership for the purpose of the Partnership Act 1890.
- Costs Information - Labour and Employment Group
This is a statement setting out our costs information for bringing and defending claims in the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal. Due to the nature of our client base at Dechert we tend to work on unfair dismissal cases which are high value and complex, rarely follow a typical pattern and often include additional claims such as unlawful discrimination and whistleblowing. Therefore the figures given below only represent a range of costs based on previous cases. We would be able to give a more precise estimate in any particular case. Please note that this statement does not cover Employment Tribunal cases which involve claims of discrimination in addition to unfair dismissal.
We charge on the basis of the number of hours worked on the case. Our charges are based on hourly rates for each lawyer working on the matter. The level of hourly rates depends on each person’s seniority and experience and rates are reviewed annually. Our current hourly rates from paralegal to partner range from £145 - £745 (excluding VAT).
Our range of costs for bringing and defending claims for unfair and wrongful dismissal are:
- Simple one day case: £15,000 - £25,000 (excluding VAT)
- Medium complexity two to four day case: £25,000- £100,000 (excluding VAT)
- High complexity multi-day case: £100,000 upwards (excluding VAT)
Factors that could make a case more complex:
- If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim;
- Where there are multiple parties to the litigation, for example in a case which relates to a business transfer governed by the transfer of undertakings legislation;
- Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person;
- Making or defending a costs application;
- Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is protected by whistleblowing legislation, whether the dismissal is potentially linked to the transfer of a business, or whether a claimant is disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010;
- Where there are cross border issues, for example where the employer, or witnesses are based outside the United Kingdom. Additional costs may include instructing overseas lawyers for relevant local advice, travel, translation etc.;
- Where there are other additional non-employment law issues involved, such as where the employer is in a regulated industry such as financial services;
- The number of witnesses and documents;
- If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if the employee’s dismissal is potentially linked to whistleblowing;
There will be an additional charge for the cost of our attending any Tribunal Hearings. The number and seniority of the fee earners attending the Tribunal will depend on the complexity of the matter. In complex cases more than one fee earner may need to attend the Employment Tribunal.
- Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as travel and counsel’s fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. VAT is charged on disbursements where applicable at the current rate of 20%.
- A simple one day unfair dismissal case in or close to London may incur few disbursements, such as travel to and from the Tribunal. However more complex cases may incur very significant disbursements, for example if clients or witnesses are based abroad and we have to travel to take instructions or witness statements. In complex cases with high volumes of documents we sometimes recommend using e-discovery software tools or platforms provided by specialist third party providers.
- Counsel's fees for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation), can vary very significantly depending on the seniority and experience of the advocate. However in our experience a junior barrister working on a straightforward one day unfair dismissal case may charge in the range of £1500 to £5000 (excluding VAT).
The fees set out above cover the work we may typically do in relation to the following key stages of a claim:
- Taking initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising on merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change);
- Entering into pre-claim conciliation via ACAS where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached;
- Preparing an individual’s claim or the employer’s response;
- Reviewing and advising on a claim or response from the other party;
- Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process;
- Preparing or considering a schedule of loss;
- Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing;
- Advising on the client’s obligations to carry out a full search for potentially relevant documents and other information for disclosure in the case. This will include paper documents and information held on all IT systems and electronic devices. Reviewing documents and advising on disclosure of each one. Collating bundle of documents for disclosure to the other party;
- Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents;
- Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses;
- Reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements;
- Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list; and
- Preparation and attendance at final hearing, including instructions to Counsel. A final hearing can last typically 2-3 days in a straightforward case but can be significantly longer in more complex matters.
An alternative route to settlement of a case may be mediation. If this were appropriate in a particular case, we would provide a separate costs estimate to cover the fees and disbursements relating to the mediation. This would include hourly rates for Dechert lawyers, and may also include Counsel’s fees, and travel expenses.
The stages set out above are an indication only, and if some of stages above are not required, our fees will be reduced. Conversely the fee will increase if there are additional stages.
How long will my matter take?
The time that it takes from taking initial instructions to the final resolution of the matter varies widely and depends on the stage at which a case is resolved. Many unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal cases settle before they reach a final hearing. The length of a case also depends largely on the available resources of the Employment Tribunal at the time. For example it is likely to take longer for the Tribunal to list a complex case which requires a long hearing.
If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, concluding the matter is likely to take 4-6 weeks. If the claim proceeds to a final hearing, the case could take 26 weeks or more depending on the Tribunal’s listing of the case. This is just an estimate and we would be able to give a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.
The Dechert London Employment Team
The Dechert London Employment Team will work on claims for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal. By using the “Lawyer Search” section of our website you will be able to search for our London based Labour and Employment team members to view their individual website profiles which include details of their experience and qualifications.
- Raising a Complaint
We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem. Raising a concern or complaint will not affect how we handle your matter, we will always respond in a clear and professional manner.
Resolving your complaint internally
As explained in our engagement letter and accompanying terms of engagement which we would have provided to you at the outset of our relationship, if you are not happy with our service or the bill, we hope to be able to resolve the matter to your satisfaction amicably, fairly and quickly. In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your matter to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. Full details of our complaints procedure/process are available on request, and will be provided to you in our first response to any complaint you have raised with us.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
We are an SRA regulated firm and are bound to comply with the Principles of the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct which set out the professional standards expected of all regulated firms. If your concern relates to issues such as not complying with the Principles or Code of Conduct you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
The Legal Ombudsman
The Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your matter.
Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first and that you are eligible to benefit from their services. The Ombudsman service can only be used by (i) individuals, (ii) trusts and charities provided they have an annual net income of less than £1 million and (iii) small businesses provided they meet the criteria for being considered a micro-enterprise. For further details please refer to the Ombudsman’s assessment tool.
If you have tried to resolve your complaint with us and are eligible to benefit from the Ombudsman’s services, then you must take your complaint to the Ombudsman:
- Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and
- No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
- No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
If you would like more information about the Ombudsman, please contact them.