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United Kingdom > London > Real estate > Commercial property > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: general
  2. Commercial property: development
  3. Commercial property: hotels and leisure
  4. Commercial property: investment
  5. Commercial property: retail
  6. Leading individuals

Who Represents Who

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Ashurst’s practice, led by Richard Vernon, draws on the expertise of global practice head Hugh Lumby, who continued to advise key client Westfield on a number of mandates including its joint venture with Hammerson to develop the Croydon town centre. On the investment side, David Jones has ‘tremendous energy and enthusiasm’ – he assisted the Employees Provident Fund of Malaysia with the £210m sale of One Sheldon Square, London. The practice was augmented by the hire of investment specialists Darren Rogers and Patrick Williams, both of whom joined from King & Wood Mallesons.

For some clients, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP is ‘head and shoulders above the rest’. In one key deal, chairman Robert MacGregor advised Quintain Estates and Development on the £700m recommended cash offer by Bailey Acquisitions. The firm continued to be highly active on behalf of key clients such as Land Securities, Blackstone and Tesco. The team is particularly recommended for its hotels work, where the ‘technically brilliantKaren Friebe advised hotel owner YC Amsterdam on a new hotel management agreement with Intercontinental Hotels. Other key figures are practice head Chris de Pury, investment specialist James Knox and Claire Milton.


Maples Teesdale

The only property law firm you’ll ever need. As commercial property experts, Maples Teesdale advise on the acquisition, management and disposal of investment and occupational properties, joint ventures, secured finance transactions, planning issues and development projects including site assembly and constraints mitigation, lettings and all other aspects of landlord and tenant law and portfolio management.

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Market leader’ Jonathan Solomon is in charge at Clifford Chance, where the practice is noted as being ‘very thorough and quick to grasp complex property structures and issues’. Solomon advised key client Helical Bar on the disposal and forward funding of the development site at One Bartholomew Close, London. In another standout deal, global sector co-head Adrian Levy acted for Brandeaux Student Accommodation Fund Sterling on the £1.1bn sale of its UK student property portfolio. Mark Payne has ‘a rare mix of technical excellence and commercial acumen’.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s practice has been busy with a number of infrastructure-related mandates, including advising London and Continental Railways on the £371m sale of its interests in the King’s Cross Central Partnership. The team also secured some significant new panel appointments and continued to work for leading developers such as Hammerson and Brookfield Property Partners; head of practice Donald Rowlands acted for the latter on the first pre-letting at 100 Bishopsgate, London. Julian Pollock and Jeremy Walden lead the investment team.

Hogan Lovells International LLP delivers a ‘first-class service’ under the leadership of global practice head Jackie Newstead, who is praised for her ‘very thorough knowledge’. Highlights in 2015 included Daniel Norris acting on the European aspects of General Electric’s sale of its global real estate equity and debt portfolio business, and Nicholas Roberts advising an Argent and Related Companies consortium on its bid for the Brent Cross South redevelopment project. Dion Panambalana can ‘simplify the most complex matters’ and Gill McGreevy is ‘good in an emergency’.

At Nabarro LLP, team leader and newly appointed senior partner Ciaran Carvalho advised Lendlease and London and Continental Railways on the £615m forward funding of two buildings at the International Quarter. The team has particular strength in acting for UK REITs and counts Land Securities, Hammerson and Segro among its clients; in one significant deal, Barry Morris advised Land Securities on the £268m sale of its 95% stake in Times Square, London, to private equity group Blackstone. Clare Thomas and Simon Staite also handled major transactions for Queensgate Investments and Hammerson, respectively. Deborah Parry retired.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s practice attracted a number of new Asian investor clients including Tabung Haji, for which it acted on the £256m disposal of 151 Buckingham Palace Road. Practice head Leona Ahmed, who impresses with her ‘initiative and acumen in spotting potential pitfalls in transactions’, is acting for Omega Warrington on the redevelopment of Warrington town centre. Newly elected partner Andrew Martin is regarded as ‘a rising star’.

CMS’ practice is particularly well known for its institutional client base and the team was active again in this regard, advising M&G Real Estate on a number of mandates including the £115m purchase of Bridgend Designer Outlet Centre in Wales. Another area of strength is the hotels and leisure sector, where Louise Wallace and Thomas Page were busy on behalf of investors and asset managers such as Algonquin and LRG Acquisitions. Mark Heighton heads the practice.

DLA Piper provides ‘very detailed and pragmatic advice’ to clients such as Blackstone, Brookfield and Tishman Speyer. Key players include Richard Hopkinson-Woolley, who advised Oxford Properties on the sale of a 50% interest in an SPV that owns 1 Angel Lane, London, and Richard Wilkinson, who leads the London team. The firm’s regional offices handle a substantial amount of work for major retailers.

Dentons’ ‘capable and diligent’ team has been particularly active on behalf of US private equity funds, with Ian Outen advising Karlin Real Estate on the £260m sale of its K2 portfolio. The practice has significant strength in the retail, hotels and leisure sectors – in one standout deal, Matthew Tinger and Mark Daliere acted for KSL Capital Partners on its disposal of Frasers Hospitality UK. Richard Budge and Virginia Glastonbury head the team.

At Eversheds LLP, ‘exceptional’ practice head Bruce Dear advised Legal & General Capital on the purchase of a 50% stake in the BBC MediaCityUK scheme in Salford. In another example of the firm’s strong institutional client base, the ‘highly responsiveRichard Lampert acted for Scottish Widows on the £167m sale of Bedfont Lakes to M&G PAIF. Mukhtiar Tanda joined from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP to take charge of development and regeneration work.

Jones Day secured mandates in a number of sought-after asset classes including student accommodation and retail warehouses; for example Anna Cartwright and Neil Ferguson advised Hansteen Holdings on the £192m sale of Hansteen UK Industrial Property Unit Trust, while global head of practice David Roberts acted for LondonMetric Property on the acquisition, development and pre-letting of a distribution warehouse in Thrapston. Stephen Walter heads the London team.

King & Wood Mallesons’ practice was busy with a number of substantial investments for Asian investors such as China Life and HK CTS Metropark Hotels. On the development side, practice head Edward Page advised joint venture partners AXA and Blackrock on the acquisition, development and letting of 6 Bevis Marks in London. Another name to note is Bryan Pickup, who continued to service key client the Crown Estate. The practice was afflicted by a number of departures.

Practice head Andrew Bruceoffers red-carpet service’ at Linklaters LLP, where key mandates included acting for AustralianSuper on the acquisition of a 67% interest in the Kings Cross Central regeneration scheme and advising Abu Dhabi Financial Group on the proposed £1bn redevelopment of the New Scotland Yard site in London. Recently promoted partner Tom Watkins specialises in joint ventures.

Macfarlanes LLP’s practice was boosted by the hire of Gerald Kelly from Ashurst and the promotion to partnership of Dan Marriott. As well as handling a number of matters for key client Stanhope, the team also acted for Legal & General Property on the £370m acquisition of the Bishopsgate Long Term Property Fund Unit Trust. Practice head Ian Nisse and Anthony Burnett-Scott are recommended.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s ‘fantastic’ global practice head Jeremy Clay advised Brookfield Property Partners on its acquisition of Center Parcs from Blackstone. The team has experienced an increase in transactional work from Asian investors; for example, Martin Wright acted for Ping An Life Insurance on the £330m acquisition of Tower Place in London. Chris Harvey is ‘professional and proactive with experience to match his commercial nous’.

Mishcon de Reya LLP continued to provide ‘efficient service’ on a range of significant development projects for clients such as Capital & Counties and Delancey. Investment work included Stephen Hughes advising Minerva on the £575m sale of the Walbrook Building to Cathay Life. Other names to note are practice head Nick Doffman, Philip Freedman CBE, QC and Ian Paul, who is particularly active in the retail sector.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, practice head David Sinclaircomes up with flexible solutions’ – he is advising Hinduja Group and OHL on the acquisition and redevelopment of the Old War Office Building in Whitehall. The impressive hotels and leisure team includes Nick Clayson, who relocated from the Dubai office, and ‘excellent client relationship manager’ Richard Hughes, who joined from Simmons & Simmons.

Allen & Overy LLP’s strong investment expertise was once again in evidence with the team being active on a number of deals for private equity players such as Kildare Partners and Tristan Capital Partners. Elsewhere, practice head Imogen Moss is advising Croydon Gateway Limited Partnership in relation to the development of Ruskin Square next to East Croydon Station. Christopher Woolf is the other main contact following the retirement of Adam Cleal.

Baker McKenzie LLP was active on a number of transactions for Asian investors, including advising Shimao on the £260m purchase of an office building in Paternoster Square, London. Another area of strength was the hotel sector, where Justin Salkeld, who ‘knows the property industry inside out’, advised a joint venture between Singha Estate and Fico on the purchase of the Jupiter hotels portfolio. Stephen Turner heads the practice.

Advice is given efficiently and with a very high level of attention to detail’ at Fieldfisher, where the team has been particularly active in the healthcare, hotels and leisure sectors. In one standout deal, Paul Houston advised Gala Coral Group on the real estate aspects of the disposal of its bingo trading division. Key lawyers include practice head Antony Phillips, Rhodri Pazzi-Axworthy and Jayne Elkins, who has a ‘leading understanding of the market’.

Forsters LLP fields ‘solution-focused commercial property experts’ and is best known for its institutional investment expertise; in one example, Ronan Ledwidge advised Aberdeen Asset Management on the £154m sale of its Amber portfolio. The team is also active on various residential and retail-led developments for clients such as Knight Dragon and LXB Retail Properties. Matthew Swainston’s team includes founding partner Smita Edwards, who is ‘second to none in her field’.

Although Gowling WLG is particularly well known for its retail expertise, the firm was busy in a number of other sectors including student accommodation and data centres; for example, Reena Patel advised Empiric Student Property on the acquisition of seven student properties from Urban Sleep. Other key players in the Birmingham-based team are practice head Richard Bate, Jon Lloyd and Peter Thorne. Julian Innes-Taylor is now an independent consultant.

Head of practice *Rob Thompson at Irwin Mitchell provides ‘first-rate service’ to clients such as Mercer Real Estate Partners and Caudwell Properties. Also of note is *Louise Cartwright, who ‘gives excellent, targeted advice’, and continued to act for IDI Gazeley on its major transactions at Magna Park, Milton Keynes. The team advised key client Ellandi on a number of shopping centre deals. *Following completion of research, Rob Thompson and Louise Cartwright joined Dentons and Osborne Clarke, respectively.

Olswang LLP’s team mainly focuses its work on data centres, shopping malls, student accommodation and residential deals. Stephen Slater acted for key client UBS Global Asset Management on the £113m acquisition of New Brook buildings in London. Active clients in the hotels and leisure sector include Prezzo and Hardrock International Hotels. Jonathan Lewis heads the practice, in which other key figures include Simon Kanter and Martyn Needham.

Head of department Peter Day at Osborne Clarke handled a range of investment mandates for clients such as Orchard Street Investment Management and Henderson UK Property Fund. Rajindh Mangat is acting for Icknield Port Loop on the eponymous regeneration scheme in Birmingham. The ‘exceptional’ Dolf Darnton leads the firm’s strong retail practice from Bristol.

Pinsent Masons LLP has a ‘sophisticated property knowledgebase’, which was in evidence on a number of significant investment and development mandates including advising a leading UK property investment company on the £490m acquisition of a portfolio of 20 properties. Hotel specialist Claire Hughes heads the team and acts for clients such as Accor Hotels Group, while other important figures include the highly rated David Taylor and the ‘first-class’ Michael Reid.

Reed Smith LLP has ‘good bench strength’ through partners such as global practice co-head Andrew Jenkinson, Graham Reid and Danielle Martin. Recent work includes advising key client Commercial Estates Group on the development of a 23-hectare site at Kirkstall Forge, Leeds, and a key investment mandate advising VBR Investments Limited and Nationwide Building Society on a £100m property portfolio sale to Goldman Sachs.

Simmons & Simmons’ client roster includes Deka Immobilien Investment, the Ministry of Defence and Avenue Capital. As well as handling development work in the social housing sector for Cheyne Capital, the team also advised HNA Group on the £235m acquisition of the long leasehold interests of the Reuters Building at Canary Wharf. John Kelsey’s team includes Matthew Hooton, who is a ‘reassuring presence for clients’.

Slaughter and May’s practice continued to advise key client Derwent London on various major development and investment schemes, including Jane Edwarde advising it on the development of the site above the new Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road. Steven Edwards is acting for London Resort Company Holdings on the proposed London Paramount Entertainment Resort.

Taylor Wessing LLP was busy with significant transactions for clients such as InfraRed Capital Partners and Tritax Big Box REIT. The ‘attentive and professional’ Keith Barnett assisted an Isle of Man SPV with the £99m sale of two office buildings in Croydon. One particular area of strength is the hotels sector, where the highly regarded Richard Bursby advises operators and owners alike. Christopher Turley heads the practice.

Trowers & Hamlins LLPrapidly distils complex issues and finds solutions’ for a broad-ranging client base that takes in public sector bodies and institutional investors. Examples of work included Scott Dorling acting for the London Borough of Enfield on the Meridian Water regeneration project and Julien Allen advising American Realty Capital on its £100m acquisition of the Foster Wheeler headquarters in Reading. Practice head Philip Peters and Adrian Leavey are also names to note.

Technically as good as the biggest but probably with a more personal touch’, Boodle Hatfield LLP’s team is led by Caroline King. As well as handling a variety of mandates for clients such as Grosvenor and Marriott International, the team is also acting for IGB Corporation on the redevelopment of a major site on the South Bank in London.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is perhaps best known for its expertise in the housebuilding sector and the team was once again active in this regard on behalf of Pocket Living. On the investment side, Lee Medlock and Louise Ward acted for Stonegate Pub Company on its acquisition of 53 pubs from Tattershall Castle Group. Mark Smith heads the team, in which Simon Ewing leads on transactional work.

Clyde & Co LLP’s expertise in the retail sector was once again in evidence, with David Wyatt active on behalf of clients such as B&Q. The team also experienced an increase in mandates from Hong Kong and the Middle East, and advised an international consortium led by Native Land on a joint venture to acquire Sampson House and Ludgate House on the South Bank. Robert Pilcher heads the team, which includes Martin Quicke, Graeme Taylor and legal director Annabel Evans.

Robert Lee leads DAC Beachcroft LLP’s team, which acts for a broad range of clients including Royal Mail, Irish Life and Essential Living. The group is well known in the housebuilding sector, where it advised Linden on a significant land sale to Bovis Homes. Further depth was added by the recruitment of James Ross from Ashurst and Nick Marshall from EMW Law LLP.

Farrer & Co’s ‘hidden gem of a department’ is led by Henry Goulding and the ‘unflappableAndrew Bailey. Alongside mainstream real estate work, the practice has niche expertise in acting for charities, education and arts bodies, landed estates and private individuals. Highlights in 2015 included advising the Duchy of Cornwall on its Poundbury Development and acting for Hub Group on the acquisition of an office block in Wembley.

Fladgate LLP’s ‘on-the-ball’ team is led by Richard Reuben, who advised ING Real Estate Development UK on the sale of Hayle Harbour to Sennybridge. Antonia Brandes is advising Castle Lane Property on the redevelopment of 6 Castle Lane in Westminster. The team continued to handle a number of instructions in the hotels and leisure sector for clients such as Odeon Cinemas and Starboard Hotels.

Emma Kendall heads the practice at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP; her areas of expertise range from joint ventures to large developments and energy projects. Global head of real estate Mark Wheelhouse is active in the hotels and leisure space.

Alan Samson’s team at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP focuses on transactional work for private equity clients and advised Oaktree Capital Management on a number of deals, including the sale of a UK portfolio to Logicor. The practice is also noted for its expertise in the hotel sector. Wayne McArdle is recommended.

Practice head Joe Conder and newly promoted partner James Spence ‘provide excellent service’ at Goodwin, where the practice remained busy with a range of deals for inbound investors. Conder advised RREEF on the £385m acquisition and forward funding of the new headquarters of the Financial Conduct Authority at Stratford in London. The team’s strength in the hotels and leisure sector was further enhanced by the hire of Gretchen Scott from King & Wood Mallesons.

Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP’s practice head Tim Webb is ‘a great networker who links his clients and contacts where mutual benefit and interest lies’. Recent highlights include advising Highbridge Properties on a £450m data centre development in Newcastle and acting for Osprey Equity Partners on the £188m disposal of a portfolio of supermarkets, hotels and retail developments.

Howard Kennedy LLP’s ‘large and experienced team’ has a strong reputation for occupier work, particularly in the retail and leisure sectors, where it acts for clients such as Mothercare UK and Cartier. In one key mandate the team advised new client Pep on the acquisition of 44 new retail stores across the UK. Julian Hindmarsh and the highly recommended Paul Springall lead the team.

K&L Gates LLP’s practice was active on behalf of a range of institutional and public sectors clients such as TIAA Henderson Real Estate and Barking and Dagenham Borough Council. For new client Henderson UK Property OEIC the ‘very personable’ Melanie Curtis advised on the acquisition and development of various student accommodation blocks and data centres. Wayne Smith heads the practice.

Lewis Silkin LLP’s practice was busy with a number of substantial development projects, including advising Rio Tinto on the redevelopment of its former St. James’ Square headquarters. The team is well known for representing corporate occupiers in the advertising and media sector, and was once again active in this regard on behalf of clients such as Havas UK and Karmarama. Key contacts include head of practice Leonard Goodrich and ‘excellent negotiator’ Ursula Harriss.

Outstanding real estate firmMaples Teesdale LLP has particular experience in handling investment work for institutional clients, private equity firms and private individuals. The ‘very thoroughRoger Thornton acted for Rockspring in the development, letting and sale of 24 Monument Street, London City, while the ‘brilliant’ Declan Power is advising Legal & General on the redevelopment of the Grafton shopping centre in Cambridge. Mark Bryan heads the practice.

David Ryland, who leads the team at Paul Hastings LLP, is singled out as having ‘broad hotel industry knowledge and experience’. Besides continued activity in the hotels and leisure sector for clients such as Starwood Capital, the team was also busy in the office space; Ryland, Michael James (who was promoted to the partnership), Mark Shepherd (who joined from DLA Piper) and Mark Rajbenbach advised Evans Randall on various acquisitions and disposals.

Squire Patton Boggs’ ‘commercially minded’ team has particular sector experience in healthcare (both NHS and private), hotels and leisure, as well as retail. Head of practice Michael Shaw advised Aviva Investors on a number of acquisitions and disposals, while Gary Paddison was active in the residential and student accommodation space for new client Vinco Group.

At Stephenson Harwood the team has been particularly active in the West Midlands, where its work included advising Rockspring on the £150m development of 103 Colmore Row. In London, Simon Brading acted for Schroders on the £150m acquisition of Kings Mall shopping centre in Hammersmith. Other key players include the ‘very client-facing’ head of practice Jonathon Wilkes and hotels and leisure specialist Robert Newman.

Travers Smith LLP provides a ‘great service at partner level’, with private equity specialist Simon Rutman particularly recommended. He advised Voreda on the £150m sale of an office building in White City to Aviva. The team is also established in the hotels and leisure sector, where Julian Bass acts for clients such as Bannatyne Health & Fitness and Pinewood Studios. Anthony Judge heads the practice.

Wedlake Bell LLP’s practice provides a ‘personalised service and a dedicated team’ under the leadership of Justin Lewis-Vivas. The large team enjoyed an increase in activity in the healthcare sector and also handled significant mandates in the office and retail space for clients such as Melford Capital Partners and Warburg HIH Investment Estate.

Depth was added by the hire of four partners including the ‘attentive and diligentClaire Nelson, who joined from DWFM Beckman.

White & Case LLP’s strength on the investment side was again in evidence, with practice head James Dodsworth advising Digital Realty on numerous investments, including its global data centre acquisitions. David Cox advised Cerberus Capital Management on the purchase of Motherwell Shopping Centre. The team includes recently promoted partner Victoria Landsbert.

Andrew Smith heads Bircham Dyson Bell’s practice, which handles a mix of investment and development work for clients such as South Kensington Estates and Smurfit Kappa. The team acted for Blaircourt Investments on the £20m sale of a mixed-use property in Red Lion Square, London.

Blake Morgan LLP’s offering was enhanced by the firm’s merger with Piper Smith Watton. The ‘hardworking and effective’ team handles a range of public and private sector mandates and is advising the City and County of Swansea on the regeneration of Swansea city centre. Head of practice Jeremy Taylor focuses on investment work.

Burges Salmon LLP’s Bristol-based team led by Colin Ligman continued to be active on behalf of the Crown Estate, which is a key client, advising on the £84m disposal of Morfa Shopping Park, Swansea. The practice is known for its retail expertise and acts for clients such as Waterstones and the John Lewis Partnership.

Bristows LLP’s practice leverages the firm’s strength in TMT and life sciences to represent clients from those sectors, such as Monster and Dolby. One area of specialism is garden centre retail, in which practice head Alexandra Lethbridge advised LaSalle Investment Management on the sale of the assets of its LaSalle Garden Centre Fund.

Cripps LLP’s Kent-based team handled a quantity of London development work including advising Kato Kagaku on the refurbishment of the Aldwych quarter. On the retail side, the team acts for clients such as Waitrose and the John Lewis Partnership. Mike Scott heads the department.

For some, Dechert LLP is the ‘firm of choice for international property acquisition’. Head of practice William Fryzer and the ‘swiftly responsive’ David Gervais continued to handle a range of investor mandates for clients such as AGC Equity Partners and Haymarket Media Group.

Business acumen’ is strong at Druces LLP, where the team specialises in private investor syndication. Key players include ‘calm and confident’ practice head, Nicholas Brent, the ‘very thorough’ Suzanne Middleton-Lindsley and Karen Chapman; the latter named acts for retailers such as Yours Clothing. Adrian Footer was made up to partner.

Edwin Coe LLP’s practice was boosted by the hire of William Thompson, who joined from Fieldfisher. The team has strength in the hospitality and retail sectors, where it acts for clients such as Lush and Corus Hotels. Key players include practice head Stephen Brower and the ‘thoughtfulIan Gilmour.

Lauded for its ‘proactive adviceHamlins LLP’s team is led by investment specialist Mark Hurst, who remained active on behalf of key client William Pears Group. The team was also busy in the hotels and leisure sector, where Paul Spacey and the ‘vastly experiencedNigel Mason act for clients such as Casual Dining Group and Hilton Worldwide.

Norwich-based Keith Hamilton is in charge at Mills & Reeve LLP, where the team handled a number of London mandates from the firm’s Cambridge office. In one example, the ‘client-focusedNick Finlayson-Brown advised Nesta Trust on the £78m acquisition of 58 Victoria Embankment. Charles Staveley leads on investment work.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP’s practice has particular strength in the retail sector where it acts for clients such as Intu Group and the Potteries Shopping Centre. Key figures include ‘persuasive negotiator’ Anne O’Neill and the ‘commercially minded’ Fiona Stone, who jointly head the practice. Andrew Denye was promoted to partner and Simon Cockshutt retired.

Payne Hicks Beach’s practice head Andrew Berry has ‘great expertise and entrepreneurial spirit’. The team is particularly known for representing private individuals and, in one example of work, advised 18 landowners on the £100m disposal of a major development at Highfields Littleover in Derby. Peter Black retired in 2016.

As well as handling a number of student accommodation development schemes for Alumno Developments, Peter McElligott’s team at Penningtons Manches LLP was also active in the investment space for clients such as Aviva Investors and Sellar Property Group. James McNeilly was promoted to partner.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP’s practice is now led by senior associate Amit Unadkat, who joined from Ashurst. As well as handling various transactions relating to hotels and shopping centres, the team is also advising the Dooba Group on the development of a brownfield site near Leeds. Simon Hardwick retired.

Sarah Blunn and David Johnston are in charge at RPC, which acts for a range of clients including Sports Direct and Imperial College London. Aside from corporate occupier work, the team was also busy on the investment side and advised Zeno Capital on the £90m sale of the London Fire Brigade’s headquarters.

At Ropes & Gray LLP, practice head Iain Morpeth is ‘consistently thorough’ and advised on a number of high-value corporate investments, including acting for new client Gaw Capital on its £256m acquisition of all the issued units in the Elizabeth Bridge Unit Trust. The ‘extremely pragmatic’ Carol Hopper joined from Allen & Overy LLP.

At Sharpe Pritchard, practice head Joannah Pickering specialises in acting for public sector clients on large redevelopment and regeneration projects; Pickering is acting for London Borough of Enfield on the regeneration of its New Avenue estate in North London.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s practice is led by Stephen Hubner, who continued to undertake a large amount of energy-related work for clients such as Dong Energy and IGas Energy. Sally Morris-Smith was busy, advising on a number of development and investment mandates for key client Scarborough Group International.

Areas of specialism at Steptoe & Johnson include retirement villages and acting for data centre operators such as Telecity Group. The team was active on a variety of development and investment projects, such as practice head Brendan Patterson advising Coln Park on a £220m residential development scheme in the Cotswolds.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP continued to be very active in the mixed-use development space for clients such as Barratt, Redrow and London & Quadrant New Homes. Roger Fittonunderstands the housebuilder perspective’, Francesco Ferrari shows ‘excellent breadth of knowledge’ and Andrew Bedford has ‘a tireless persuasiveness’. Jodie Campbell joined from Howard Kennedy LLP.

Bates Wells Braithwaite’s practice ‘treats all work with the same high level of care’. The team has particular expertise in the charities and education sectors and advised on a number of leases. Tony Cartmell and Nick Ivey head the department.

Key figures at Bevan Brittan LLP include Ian Caplan, who focuses on healthcare-related property matters, and Steven Smith, who leads on local authority work. Smith is advising Greater London Authority on the £250m mixed-use Lewisham Gateway Development.

Jonathan Baker’s team at Bird & Bird LLP includes data centre specialist Ben Henry, who advised AT&T on the renewal of its UK data centre portfolio. The team was also active in the healthcare sector on a number of development mandates.

At Bond Dickinson LLP, practice head Martin Stacey was busy with various major public sector development schemes for clients such as Oxford City Council. The team draws on support from its regional offices to advise on investment and retail matters.

Real estate boutique Brecher LLP handled various substantial investment mandates for clients such as Ridgeford Properties. The practice’s varied client base takes in retailers and the team advised Diesel on a number of new lettings. Nicky Richmond and Jeremy Abram lead the team. Capsticks LLP’s ‘collaborative’ team continued to be active in the healthcare, social housing and local authority sectors and advised Public Health England on the relocation of its headquarters to the former GlaxoSmithKline science park in Essex. Philip Brown heads the practice.

Collyer Bristow LLP’s practice is best known for its expertise in the residential and mixed-use space, where it acts for clients such as Bewley Homes and Crest Nicholson. On the investment side, Alex O’Connor and Rory Macpherson advised Ipsus Developments on the £20m sale of a London development site. John Rochman heads the team.

At DWF, practice head Toby Askin divides his time between Birmingham and London. Askin and Lorraine Reader have particular expertise in investment work and act for a range of funds, including Ares Management and Colony Capital.

Taunton-based Madeleine Davitt leads the practice at real estate boutique Davitt Jones Bould, which has a strong public sector following. The team also handles private sector mandates and acted for Seafood Trading on a number of acquisitions.

Fox Williams LLP’s practice is led by Phillip Hope, who provides ‘smart, relevant advice’ to clients such as FM Global and Tennants Consolidated. Also of note is the ‘extremely experiencedSimon Smith and the well-regarded Elizabeth Ruff, who jointly advised on a number of substantial leasehold acquisitions.

GSC Solicitors LLP’s practice was active on transactional and development work in the hotels and leisure sector and also handled mandates for media clients such as Universal Music and Channel 4. ‘Innovative thinkerHarvey Posener and Peter Belcher are key contacts.

As well as handling various high-end residential schemes for property development and investment companies, Goodman Derrick LLP’s practice continued to advise QA on its commercial real estate portfolio. Practice head Michael Collins and the ‘exceptionalChris Langan are names to note.

Gordon Dadds’ merger with Jeffrey Green Russell saw the addition of Timothy Cope and Kiran Yadav. Jeremy Davy’s team was particularly active on the investment side, where it advised a mix of offshore and domestic clients.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s practice draws on the firm’s strength in the media sector to advise clients such as Really Useful Theatres and The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama on a range of development and investment projects. Robert Reilly heads the team, which includes the ‘excellentLeo Marino and the ‘highly skilledMelanie Benson.

At Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP, Peter Sugden’s team was busy with various transactions, including advising key client Shiva Hotels. Other active investor clients include Wasp Investments and Aprirose.

Kingsley Napley LLP’s practice is led by Paul Harbour, who advised Amsprop Cheapside on the letting of 5 Cheapside, London. In another significant piece of work, the team advised Fairfax (Retail) Properties on its purchase of retail units from Friends Life.

Department head Alex Coulter is ‘good at pulling things together’ at Maclay Murray & Spens LLP, where the team excels on the investment side; it advised Helical Bar on a number of matters including the £34m acquisition of Power Road Studios, Chiswick. Anju Suneja relocated to London from the firm’s Glasgow office and director Michelle Kershaw joined from McClure Naismith LLP.

Eugene O’Keeffe’s team at Memery Crystal LLP is particularly known for its retail expertise, where it acts for clients such as Asda and Debenhams. Nicola Kravitz advised Sapcote Developments on the £34m sale of its Power Road Studios to Helical Bar.

Michelmores LLP’s practice, led by Paul Paling, was active on a range of office lettings, residential sales and joint ventures for clients such as Carlyle Group and Boultbee Brooks Real Estate. The team shows ‘strong acumen and comprehensive knowledge’.

Pemberton Greenish LLP counts Helical Bar, Native Land and Birchall Properties among its clients and advises on a range of investment and development mandates. The team, led by Jason Tann, brought in a number of hires at the junior end.

At real estate boutique RLS Law, founding partners Julien Rutler and Craig Themis lead a team that wins praise for its ‘great personable style’. Highlights in 2015 included advising Deliveroo on the acquisition of a large office and control facility in central London.

RadcliffesLeBrasseur’s two-partner team is led by Karen Mayne and includes Mark Baker, who advised Kurt Construction International on the £5.2m acquisition of John Vetch House in Clapham.

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP’s ‘excellent, problem-solving’ team is led by John O’Callaghan and Sarah Hung, who have ‘in-depth knowledge’. The ‘super-reliable’ Simon Lawrence was particularly active and advised on a number of high-value deals in the hotels and leisure sector.

Russell-Cooke LLP’s team was once again highly active in the retail sector for clients such as Pret A Manger and Sports Direct Group. The ‘self-assuredHelen Edwards specialises in development work and acted for Petros London on the purchase and development of student accommodation at Canterbury Christ Church University. Peter Dawson heads the practice.

Seddons’ practice focuses on investment work for a range of high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs, corporations, and small and medium-sized enterprises. Key figures include practice head Andrew Jacobs and Tessa Naylor, the latter of whom advised foreign investors on a number of multimillion-pound property transactions.

At Teacher Stern LLP, David Irwin and Oliver Azzuri’s team shows ‘commendable attention to detail and commerciality’. The team has particular strength in the retail and leisure space and acted on various significant shopping centre transactions. Student accommodation was another area of activity.

Barry Shaw and consultant Simon Edwards lead Wallace LLP’s practice, which wins praise for its ‘business acumen and industry knowledge’. In the hotels and leisure sector – a particular area of strength – active clients include Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and Giraffe Restaurants, as well as Soho Estates, which the team is advising on the redevelopment of Kettners Restaurant.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s expertise in the hotels and leisure sector was further enhanced by the hire of Ranjeev Kumar, who joined from Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP. In one major deal, the team advised Frasers Hospitality on the acquisition of Malmaison Hotel du Vin hotel group from KSL Capital Partners. Key figures include Gary Ritter and Felicity Jones, the latter of whom shows ‘excellent understanding of hotel and restaurant contractual arrangements’.

Huseyin E Huseyin leads the practice at Bowling & Co., where the team handled a number of hotel and public house acquisitions. The firm has extensive experience across retail, industrial, commercial space and residential developments.

Browne Jacobson LLP’s Caroline Green has very strong retail sector expertise and advises a range of major retailers, including LVMH and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Clarkslegal LLP represents private and public sector clients such as Carillion and NHS Property Services. Highly recommended practice head Rachel Krol was particularly busy with investment mandates.

Glovers Solicitors LLP’s practice is best known for its leisure and restaurant sector expertise, where it acts for clients such as Prezzo, Nando’s and PizzaExpress. On the development side, practice head John Barber continued to act for R&M Projects on the Crayford Town Hall regeneration project.

Kennedys’ practice head Dennis Ko advised key client Scarborough Group International on a major development near the centre of Manchester. Jeremy Palmer is another name to note.

Keystone Law’s team includes Lara Cole, who was busy with various transactions, including advising FW Properties on the £10m purchase of Westlegate Tower in Norwich. Nick Ellis has been acting on development mandates.

Laytons acts for high-net-worth individuals, private property companies and corporate occupiers in relation to investments, leasing arrangements and developments. John Beesley heads the department.

Mark Lavers and Guy Hitchin head the team at Marriott Harrison LLP, which also includes ‘very detail-focused’ consultant Vivienne Elson. As well as attracting instructions from Planet Organic in the retail sector, the team also advised the Fulham Shore on the £27.5m purchase of the Franco Manca pizza chain.

At McGuireWoods London LLP, Martin Barrett has been active on a number of matters for key client AstraZeneca, including advising on the acquisition and development of long leasehold interests at Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Arlington Investors and Revera are also clients.

Moon Beever provides ‘excellent value for money’ under the leadership of the ‘calm and controlledDaniel Moore. Among other work, the team was busy on the investment side for key client Vernon Smith. Associate Deepak Gupta is ‘pragmatic’ and has particular expertise in the healthcare sector.

REN Legal’s practice, headed by Laurence Applegate, is best known for advising on corporate investments for private equity clients. Emma Bucknall is the other name to note.

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, counsel Lucy Keeble focuses on the property aspects of M&A transactions.

Simons Muirhead & Burton’s team is led by Martin Smith, who is particularly active in the retail and leisure space. Smith advised Connolly Retail on the £12m purchase of a property in Mayfair, London.

Veale Wasbrough Vizards’ four-partner team handled a mix of development and investment work for clients such as the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music. Mark Hughes’ team includes Jon Durham, who has ‘first class technical and communication skills’.

Rupert Jones continued to handle various corporate investment mandates at Weil, Gotshal & Manges and advised a consortium including Blackstone, Cinven and CPP Investment Board on its bid for assets sold by Holcim and Lafarge.

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