Regulatory Team of the Year

Blake Morgan

Blake Morgan has a strong pedigree in regulatory work, acting for a number of regulatory bodies across the UK – a pedigree boosted last year through the merger of Blake Lapthorn and Morgan Cole.

In 2014 the newly-combined firm used its expanded weight to manage an increasing number of complaints made to Europe’s largest regulator, the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC). During the year the firm handled over 500 cases relating to allegations of misconduct, lack of clinical competence and health affecting practitioners’ fitness to practise.

Those cases included a report into abuse allegations at Winterbourne View hospital in Gloucestershire and an investigation into the standard of care at Morecambe Bay hospital’s maternity unit.

The firm’s approach includes investment in bespoke systems designed to share information with its regulatory clients more quickly and transparently, and the creation of a large team of lawyers who are able to act quickly in cases of unexpected increases in the volume of instructions from regulators like the NMC. Blake Morgan also has its own in-house advocacy team, minimising its reliance on outside counsel. One judge commented that this was “a great example of a law firm listening to clients and reacting to their need”.

Runner up
  • Osborne Clarke

In the fast-growing sector of crowdfunding Osborne Clarke has been advising the UK Crowdfunding Association to help develop a regulatory regime.

The firm has prepared industry consultation responses for the association, as well as the P2P Finance Association and provided drafting input into the new P2P (peer-to-peer) regulations and legislation which extend ISA tax breaks to crowdfunding. It has also engaged in dialogue with the UK and European Commission authorities about developing sound regulation across Europe.

As an early supporter of crowdfunding initiatives, Osborne Clarke now has a substantial client list in this sector not just in the UK but also in Europe.

Third place
  • DWF

This unusual case saw DWF advise a client in the food sector on a complex case before the European Commission, protecting its business against the threat of EU infringement proceedings.

The instruction saw DWF partners Hilary Ross and Dominic Watkins undertake a lobbying campaign on behalf of the client across the EU. It actively engaged in negotiations between the UK Government and European Commission in an environment where there was no case law and numerous complex issues – as well as charting new waters, due to the fact most similar cases are handled by government lawyers.

DWF’s work was instrumental to the European Commission dropping the case.

  • Ashurst
  • Shearman & Sterling
  • Shoosmiths
  • Simmons & Simmons