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"A pre-eminent set with an impressive stream of work," 3 Verulam Buildings is widely praised for having "really top-calibre people doing really high-quality work." First and foremost it is known as a banking set, but its expertise stretches beyond this into the wider chancery world. It has broadened its skill set over the years and now has involvement in a wide range of matters including claims against directors, joint venture disputes and cases concerning share purchase agreements to name but a few. Cases of note recently include Vincent Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton, PCP Capital Partners v Barclays Bank, and Investec Trust Ltd v Glenalla Properties Ltd.
Client service: "The clerks are professional, responsive and personable." "They are highly pragmatic and you get good service from them." Stephen Penson is the senior practice manager.
Adrian Beltrami QC
A very well-respected silk, regarded by his peers as a "straight bat" and an intellectually formidable opponent. He has an excellent practice in banking work, in particular, as well as recognised strengths in cases concerning freezing and search orders and interim remedies.
Strengths: "A very steady and considered advocate who is decent to work with outside court and very effective in court." "He is taken seriously by the best at the Bar as he has got a great analytical mind and a very clear way of presenting an argument."
Recent work: Acted for Grant Thornton in two claims brought separately by Robert Tchenguiz and Vincent Tchenguiz. The claims are for alleged conspiracy to defraud and malicious prosecution arising out of the arrest of the Tchenguiz brothers in 2011, and are worth around GBP2.2 billion.
Ali Malek QC
A respected advocate with a strong practice in banking, joint venture and shareholder disputes among many others. He is well regarded as an appeals advocate.
Strengths: "A superb leader who is hard to beat in terms of his ability to read the bench and present cases appropriately in order to maximise prospects. He has an impressive depth of experience in large Russia/Ukraine litigation, and is also very accommodating and a pleasure to work with." "Ali is very smooth and polished in court."
Recent work: Acted for one of the defendants in a claim brought by Privatbank against its shareholders. The claim was alleged to be worth USD2.5 billion.
Ewan McQuater QC
A heavyweight silk who provides powerful advocacy, good case management and strong strategic guidance. He has handled a number of significant cases arising from corporate insolvencies and he regularly acts in banking and financial disputes.
Strengths: "A heavyweight silk producing absolute top-quality paperwork." "He is very good at big, heavy, commercial arbitrations, and always presents briefs in an attractive way."
Recent work: Led the team defending Barclays Bank in its dispute with financier Amanda Stavely relating to Barclays' GBP5.8 billion capital raising at the height of the financial crisis. Ms Staveley claims that she would have made profits of over GBP1 billion if she had been aware of defining and true facts at the time.
A junior with a growing commercial chancery practice. Sources highlight his technical ability and hard work. His practice focuses on disputes and claims involving investment banks, insurers and pension schemes.
Strengths: "Extremely diligent, impressively hard-working and a very nice guy. He interacts well with the clients and explains things to them very clearly."
Recent work: Acted in Afkar Capital Limited v Seif. This was a shareholder dispute concerning Afkar Capital, a high-profile investment fund firm operating in the Middle East.
Has a broad commercial chancery practice that includes insolvency, fraud and company law cases. Sources describe him as an efficient junior and an experienced advocate. He regularly acts in claims against directors and shareholder disputes.
?Strengths:? "His advocacy is magisterial and he is not someone to be underestimated." "He is very calm and clear and really understands how best to advance a client's case."
?Recent work:? Represented a Zambian government-backed fund in a case concerning a claim for USD140 million owed pursuant to copper and cobalt price participation agreements.