|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (February 2010)|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
|No. of offices||9|
|No. of lawyers||415|
|Major practice areas||General practice|
|Revenue||£145 million (2014/15)|
|Profit per equity partner||£763,000 (2014/15)|
|Date founded||1875 (London)|
Stephenson Harwood LLP is an international law firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It has nine offices across Europe and Asia (Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Paris, Piraeus, Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore) and over 700 staff, including 120 partners and 300 other lawyers. In 2014/15 it achieved total revenues of £145 million and profits per equity partner of £763,000 (2014/15)
When lawyer William Harwood returned to London after practising in China, he and Henry Stephenson created the firm of Harwood & Stephenson in 1875. The firm's history can actually be traced back some sixty years earlier to 1828 with City law firm Tatham & Lousada. Tathams merged with Stephenson Harwood - as the firm was by then known - in 1920 to form Stephenson Harwood & Tatham, shortening its name back to Stephenson Harwood in 1977.
Two years later the firm was one of the first UK outfits to enter the Asian market, and has now been in Hong Kong for thirty years. 2002 saw the merger with City shipping specialist Sinclair Roche & Temperley, giving it a Shanghai presence.
Stephenson Harwood played an instrumental role in securing the release of American hostages during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. The firm acted for Bank Markazi, a leading Iranian financial institution, and became a de facto mediator between Iran and the US Authorities. At that time all overseas Iranian assets, including those of Bank Markazi were "frozen" as a result of US policy. A key factor delaying the release of the US hostages was the unfreezing of Iranian assets. Stephenson Harwood devised the actual means by which this could be done and were praised as a result by the then US Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance.
In 2011, the firm acted on the largest Boeing deal in aviation history - advising Lion Air on the purchase of 230 747 aircraft in a deal worth US$21.7 billion. The signing of the deal was overseen by US President Barack Obama.
The financial results for the year 2011/2012 show that Stephenson Harwood has increased its turnover to £110.2 million and has grown its equity partnership by almost a fifth over the year.
In February 2012, Stephenson Harwood became the first UK firm to serve court papers via Facebook.
In March 2012, the firm converted to LLP status.
In April 2012, the corporate team acted for Piramal Healthcare on its acquisition of molecular imaging products from Bayer in a deal worth $1.5 billion. This follows the firm's work on the sale of Piramal Healthcare's $3.7 billion generic branded business to Abbott Laboratories in 2011.
In June 2012, the firm won Litigation Law Firm of the Year at The Lawyer magazine's annual awards, for the work that it undertook for the Tchenguiz Family Trust.
In December 2012, the firm opened an office in Dubai, its first in the Middle East.
Stephenson Harwood has announced strategic growth in Asia with the opening of an office in Beijing, an association with law firm U Tin Yu & Associates in Myanmar and an association with law firm Virtus Law in Singapore.
In March 2013, the firm secured a Court of Appeal win for its client, Mr Dmitry Skarga, in a dispute with his former employer Sovcomflot, a Russian tanker company.
In the same month, the aviation practice advised on a US$24 billion deal for 200 passenger jets for Indonesian carrier Lion Air.
The real estate practice advised on a key Oxford Street development, which will form one of the new mixed use buildings comprising retail, office and residential space, along the new crossrail route. It also advised on the sale of the Park Lane InterContinental Hotel.
The firm's rail finance practice won 'Rail Finance Law Firm of the Year 2013' at the Global Transport Finance awards.
Key practice areas
- Corporate and commercial
- Employment and pensions
- Insolvency and restructuring
- Insurance and reinsurance
- Information technology
- Intellectual property
- Litigation and arbitration
- Projects, including PFI/PPP
- Real estate
- Shipping and maritime
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