Sean Adams

Sean Adams is a commercial disputes partner, based in Birmingham (but often working in London). He has a broad commercial practice, with significant experience in a variety of sectors (including within the automotive, aerospace, financial services and renewable energy sectors).

Sean focuses on corporate and commercial disputes for a wide variety of clients. Those disputes routinely include breach of contract claims, tort and negligence claims, post-M&A / acquisition disputes, investor and shareholder disputes, and serious and complex fraud claims. He also has significant experience handling supply chain disputes (across a number of sectors) and assisting clients in seeking or responding to applications for urgent injunctive relief. Sean also has experience acting for clients in relation to public procurement claims and judicial review proceedings, and has a growing interest and practice dealing with FinTech disputes, particularly related to cryptoassets and blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI).

Sean focuses on helping clients analyse risks and their legal options in order to avoid or resolve disputes with minimal impact on their ongoing business, whether through litigation, arbitration, expert determination or alternative dispute resolution. Although disputes and disagreements are an inevitable part of corporate life, and have increased due to recent economic pressures and global uncertainty, Sean's aim is to help clients obtain an efficient and cost-effective resolution which limits disruption to their underlying business where possible. When formal proceedings are required, as they often are, Sean is well-versed in the associated tactical and procedural requirements and has experience in supporting clients throughout the process, whether before the English Courts or international arbitral tribunals, deploying an experienced team to secure the client's desired objective and advising on potential litigation financing options / funding arrangements. Sean can also assist clients in assessing and responding to the rapidly increasing risk of ESG-related litigation (including the defence of group litigation proceedings).

Sean represents a broad range of clients, based in both the UK and internationally, including private individuals, and multinational corporations, across a number of different industry sectors. Sean also regularly represents manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers in the automotive and aerospace sectors, various stakeholders and businesses in the renewable energy sector and large banking, asset management and private equity clients in the financial services sector. Sean is a member of the Gowling WLG Nordic desk (with a focus on Finland and Iceland), participating in regular trips to the region, and is a member of the IBA (with a focus on the litigation forum). Sean also takes on a variety of pro bono cases where litigation / disputes support is needed, and plays a leading role on a number of the firm's diversity & inclusion initiatives.

Sean's key focus is on ensuring that he provides the highest levels of service to his clients and working with them through what can often be difficult, stressful and turbulent times. The fact that there are always interesting and unique aspects to every case (especially those in emerging areas), which need to be analysed to assess the potential impact on a particular client's business and devise the best way to proceed, is what keeps him constantly engaged and excited about working in this area.

Experience includes:

  • Acting for multiple defendants in successfully defending a high-profile and multi-faceted claim (seeking damages in excess of £100 million) including allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation, conspiracy, unlawful interference with economic interests, intimidation and blackmail.
  • Acting for automotive manufacturers in relation to supply chain disputes with Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, including injunctive relief and urgent action to secure continued critical supply of parts, and delivery up of tooling, required to keep production lines running. Experience in the automotive sector also includes acting for manufacturers in relation to various disputes with dealers in their networks, in particular around termination rights and litigation options, and restructuring of dealer and distribution networks to reflect new business models.
  • Acting for private equity clients (in various sectors) in relation to various high-value claims arising from breaches of warranty and indemnity claims post-acquisition / sale. Experience in relation to post-M&A / transaction disputes also includes acting on completion accounts disputes and expert determinations, and other purchase price adjustment disputes, as well as enforcement of post-transaction restrictive covenants.
  • Acting for various clients in the renewable energy sector in relation to disputes arising from M&A / transactional work, fundraising structures and day-to-day operational issues.
  • Acting for financial services / FinTech, automotive, aerospace, mining and food & beverage sector clients in relation to various commercial disputes (including the management of risks within supply chains, the enforcement of security and recovery of unpaid sums), often in an international / cross-border context.
  • Acting for various clients, and providing risk-management advice, in relation to a variety of ESG-related issues, including corporate governance and directors duties, shareholder and joint venture disputes and potential group litigation defence requirements.
  • Acting for a listed company in the food and beverage sector in relation to an expert determination for the recovery of damages from a logistics supplier.
  • Acting for a charitable body in relation to its defence of a high value, and high profile, public procurement challenge relating to a contract for the long-term provision of services in the entertainment and events sector.
  • Acting for various claimants in connection with the investigation and recovery of stolen cryptoassets.