Stephenson Harwood

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Stephenson Harwood LLP
Headquarters London, United Kingdom[1]
No. of offices 9[2]
No. of lawyers 415[2]
Major practice areas General practice
Revenue £145 million (2014/15)[3]
Profit per equity partner £763,000 (2014/15)[3]
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.[2] In 2014/15 it achieved total revenues of £145 million and profits per equity partner of £763,000 (2014/15)[4]


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.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8]


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.[9]

In February 2012, Stephenson Harwood became the first UK firm to serve court papers via Facebook.[10]

In March 2012, the firm converted to LLP status.[11]

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.[12] This follows the firm's work on the sale of Piramal Healthcare's $3.7 billion generic branded business to Abbott Laboratories in 2011.[13]

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.[14]

In December 2012, the firm opened an office in Dubai, its first in the Middle East.[15]


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.[16][17]

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.[18]

In the same month, the aviation practice advised on a US$24 billion deal for 200 passenger jets for Indonesian carrier Lion Air.[19]

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.[20] It also advised on the sale of the Park Lane InterContinental Hotel.[21]

The firm's rail finance practice won 'Rail Finance Law Firm of the Year 2013' at the Global Transport Finance awards.[22]

Key practice areas[edit]

  • Competition
  • Corporate and commercial
  • Employment and pensions
  • Environment
  • Finance
  • Funds
  • Insolvency and restructuring
  • Insurance and reinsurance
  • Information technology
  • Intellectual property
  • Litigation and arbitration
  • Outsourcing
  • Projects, including PFI/PPP
  • Real estate
  • Regulation
  • Shipping and maritime
  • Tax[23]


  1. ^ "Stephenson Harwood LLP - True Picture | Chambers Student Guide". Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  2. ^ a b c "Key facts and figures". Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  3. ^ a b "The Lawyer UK 200 Preview: Come on, united". The Lawyer. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  4. ^ "20% revenue growth at Stephenson Harwood sees turnover top £145m with PEP surging to £763,000 |". Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  5. ^ "Our History". Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  6. ^ "Legal Week - Stephenson Harwood". Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  7. ^ John E. Hoffman (27 August 2009). "Lessons From the Iranian Experience: National Currencies as International Money" (PDF). Proceedings of the Conference on the Internalization of the Capital Markets. Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  8. ^ "Stephenson Harwood finesses the finer details as Lion Air mega deal with Boeing takes off". The In-House Community of Legal & Compliance Professionals. 
  9. ^ Freedman, Joshua (2012-07-13). "Stephenson Harwood turnover nudges up 3 per cent as PEP falls | News". The Lawyer. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  10. ^ Dowell, Katy. "Stephenson Harwood uses Facebook to serve court claim | News". The Lawyer. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  11. ^ Freedman, Joshua (2012-03-30). "Stephenson Harwood joins majority as LLP | News". The Lawyer. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  12. ^ "Stephenson Harwood takes lead on $1.5bn Indian healthcare deal". Legalweek. 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  13. ^ Hollander, Gavriel (2011-05-16). "Awards contenders show corporate is still a big deal | News". The Lawyer. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  14. ^ "Awards: Mishcon de Reya, Brick Court scoop top prizes | News". The Lawyer. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  15. ^ Ames, Jonathan (18 December 2012). "Stephenson Harwood latest to plant flag in Dubai". The Global Legal Post. 
  16. ^ "Stephenson Harwood pioneers Myanmar expansion with association | News | The Lawyer". Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  17. ^ "Stephenson Harwood unveils Beijing launch and Singapore association | News | The Lawyer". Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  18. ^ "Regulation - Landmark appeal dismisses Sovcomflot fraud claims - Lloyd's List". Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  19. ^ "Legal Week - Stephenson Harwood flies high on record $24bn Airbus order from Indonesia's Lion Air". Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  20. ^ "BLP and Stephenson Harwood in store for £121m Oxford Street development | News | The Lawyer". Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  21. ^ "Legal Week - GTM and Stephenson Harwood advise on hotel group's £302m Park Lane sale". Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  22. ^ "Stephenson Harwood wins Rail Finance Law Firm of the Year award | Firm News | The Lawyer". Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  23. ^ "Legal500". Legal500. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 

External links[edit]