(L-R) Maltin PR’s Gavin Lunning, Signature Litigation office manager Helen Sadler, partner Ioannis Alexopoulos, associate Rory Spillman, PA Alison Gooden and CEO Kevin Munslow; awards judge Chris Johnson, chief global correspondent, The American Lawyer

Finalists: Clyde & Co; Eversheds Sutherland; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; Herbert Smith Freehills; Hogan Lovells; Mishcon de Reya (highly commended); Withers.

Signature Litigation held off a strong field of entries to collect the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year prize for its success in the RBS rights issue litigation, one of the most expensive commercial disputes in British legal history.

Shortly after its acquisition of Dutch lender ABN Amro, RBS had issued shares to investors based on a prospectus containing financial reports, the accuracy of which were called into question. As one of three lead groups of RBS shareholders, Signature Litigation project-managed a number of arrangements with 101 institutional clients and more than 35,000 individual shareholders who had bought about £1bn of RBS’s rights issue.

While other firms had instructed clients to settle for 41p per share in December 2016, Signature signalled that it intended to pursue its original mandate to take four of the bank’s senior executives, including former CEO Fred Goodwin, to trial.

Despite RBS expanding its own legal team, and amid constant pressure to settle, Signature’s team stood firm and eventually forced RBS to double its settlement offer to 82p in April this year.

Manx Capital Partners, which helped fund the RBS shareholders’ case, said: “We are remarkably pleased with Signature Litigation’s professional, imaginative and swift service.”