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

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Planning
  2. Leading individuals

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP provides ‘excellent and thorough service, focused on mitigating the risk of legal challenge through the planning process’. As well as continuing to advise on nationally significant infrastructure projects, the team also assisted clients such as the Homes and Communities Agency and Land Securities with planning applications and judicial reviews of major development and regeneration schemes. The seven-partner practice is ‘an incredibly strong team at all levels’; key figures include ‘the very measured and knowledgeableTim Smith, Timothy Pugh and practice head Tim Hellier.

Pinsent Masons LLP is a ‘leader in the Development Consent Order (DCO) arena’. Recent highlights include Richard Griffiths assisting Stag Energy and Watt Power with their proposals for four new gas-fired power plant projects. On the real estate side, Richard Ford has been advising the London Borough of Croydon in respect of the £1.3bn Whitgift Shopping Centre development in Croydon. Other names to note are national practice head Iain Gilbey, ‘great strategic thinker’ Robbie Owen and Nicholle Kingsley. The team experienced further growth through a number of new hires, including Gareth Phillips and his team from Watson Farley & Williams LLP.

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At Ashurst, Trevor Goode’s team wins praise for its ‘high degree of expertise in Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) and related work’. Among other matters, it successfully obtained a CPO for Berkeley St James on a mixed-used development at Southall Gas Works. Lucy Thomas acted for TFL in securing planning permission for a major commercial office development at Paddington. GLA is a new client.

Bircham Dyson Bell has ‘a wealth of practitioners with strength and experience in the planning of infrastructure’. Recent highlights include advising TFL on the promotion of Crossrail 2 and acting for London Resort Company Holdings in obtaining a DCO for a new leisure and entertainment resort in Kent. Practice head Angus Walker has ‘an encyclopaedic knowledge of the national infrastructure system’, and Mark Challis is ‘calm and thoughtful’. The practice also handles real estate planning.

Under the leadership of Ashley Damiral, CMS provides ‘excellent and well-informed service’. Damiral has particular expertise in retail planning and advised key client J Sainsbury on a number of mixed-use regeneration projects. Infrastructure specialists Robin Hutchison – who has ‘particular strength in marine and onshore consenting knowledge’ – and the ‘pragmatic and decisiveStephen McNaught continued to assist National Grid with the DCO for the King’s Lynn Connection project.

At DLA Piper, Howard Bassford was particularly busy, advising Highways England on promoting the M4 Smart Motorway DCO and London Borough of Newham on a s106 agreement for Royal Albert Dock’s regeneration project. For the latter client, Karen Howard assisted with planning of a major regeneration project at Silvertown Quays. The practice benefits from in-house counsel when dealing with contentious matters.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) specialist Stephen Ashworthleads the team brilliantly’ at Dentons, where recent highlights include advising Royal Borough of Greenwich on a number of significant schemes including Greenwich Peninsula. Roy Pinnock is ‘very personable and has sound judgement’ and managing associate Michele Vas has ‘an extensive knowledge of CPO procedures’.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s team includes newly promoted partner Catherine Howard, who was active in the infrastructure and energy space for clients such as EDF Energy and Cuadrilla Resources. Practice head Matthew White and Patrick Robinson focus on real estate matters and, in one key piece of work, White acted for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in successfully resisting a High Court challenge of the validity of a CPO relating to land for the club’s new stadium.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘rock-solid and innovative’ practice is led by the highly rated Michael Gallimore, who has particular expertise in urban regeneration projects; Gallimore acted for Braeburn Estates Limited Partnership on the redevelopment of the Shell Centre, South Bank. Also on the real estate side, the ‘insightfulClaire Dutch won two appeals for Londonewcastle on residential-led schemes in Shoreditch. The practice extends to infrastructure work and acted on a DCO for Carlton Power.

The ‘terrificSimon Ricketts heads the team at King & Wood Mallesons, where the team was active on a number of mixed-use development projects including assisting British Land with the planning aspects of its Blossom Street scheme in Shoreditch. Residential schemes is another strength of the team and Stephen Webb acted for St Modwen Developments in securing planning permission for 500 new homes at Copthorne, near Gatwick Airport.

Nabarro LLP wins praise for its ‘proactive contribution to real estate projects’. As well as being busy on behalf of key client Hammerson, the team also advised Heathrow Hub on the promotion of its extension to the northern runway at Heathrow Airport. Practice head Martin Evans is ‘technically superb and tactically very sound’, Joshua Risso-Gill has ‘excellent judgement’, and consultant David Hawkins is well known for his CPO expertise. Christopher Stanwell moved to DAC Beachcroft LLP.

Noted as being ‘very strong on residential development and strategy’, Winckworth Sherwood LLP remains busy on behalf of clients such as Redrow and Persimmon. The infrastructure side of the practice was augmented by the arrival of Brian Greenwood from Osborne Clarke. The well-regarded Karen Cooksley heads the department.

As well as securing some significant new panel wins on the advisory side, Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s practice also enjoyed success in contentious mandates; in one highlight Gary Sector defended the grant of a marine licence on behalf of Brunswick Developments in the Court of Appeal. Marnix Elsenaar heads the practice.

Clifford Chance remained active on behalf of key client Canary Wharf Group, advising on a number of matters including the Wood Wharf Regeneration scheme. The team is also assisting Horizon Nuclear Power with planning for a power station in Wales. Practice head Nigel Howorth is ‘a very safe pair of hands’.

Eversheds LLP’s practice was boosted by the hire of the ‘vastly experienced and very wiseMorag Thomson from Shakespeare Martineau LLP; Thomson has particular expertise in infrastructure projects and is advising Roxhill Developments on the DCO for a new rail freight interchange and two highway schemes for the M1. Birmingham-based Stuart Andrews heads the team.

Clare Fielding’s team at Gowling WLG was once again busy with numerous design-led projects, including assisting Battersea Power Station Development Company with all planning aspects of the regeneration of Battersea Power Station. Stephen Turnbull is now a consultant.

Lewis Silkin LLP handles a range of significant mandates for private and public sector clients. The team is advising Sager Group on planning for the old Royal Mail sorting office in Islington. Former sole practitioner Paul Winter joined the firm as a consultant; practice head Judith Damerell is on sabbatical until 2017.

At Linklaters LLP, David Watkins is ‘excellent with clients and local planning authorities’. He acted for Palace Street Development in relation to a s106 agreement and subsequent deed of variation concerning a significant development adjacent to Buckingham Palace. Great Portland Estates is a key client.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Duncan Field has ‘unrivalled, up-to-date knowledge of the aviation market’ and continued to advise London City Airport on its development programme. Senior associate Sarah Bischoff is ‘fabulously efficient and hardworking’.

Osborne Clarke’s practice takes in a wide range of clients, including Barratt Homes, Asda and Heron Land Developments. Head of practice John Baird was successful in obtaining planning permission for Ptarmigan Land at the Albert Wharf site in London.

At Stephenson Harwood, ‘excellent negotiatorBen Stansfield leads a growing team that is particularly known for its work in energy infrastructure projects. The team has also been busy on behalf of objectors to major schemes such as HS2 and the Westfield shopping centre in Croydon.

The ‘hugely enthusiastic’ Alistair Watson leads the practice at Taylor Wessing LLP and has specialist expertise in sports stadium developments; recent clients in this respect include Brentford Football Club and Saracens Rugby Club. The team was also busy in the student accommodation sector for McLaren Developments.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP provides ‘a good level of service and regular reporting’ under the leadership of Claire Fallows. On behalf of key client The Church Commissioners for England, the team advised on the promotion of a major urban extension in Hereford. Senior associate Helen Hutton has significant experience in hydrocarbon planning.

Clyde & Co LLP’s ‘small but diligent and hardworking team’ is led by Ian Ginbey, who is ‘a first-rate tactician, particularly in contentious proposals for new residential development’. In one example of work, the team secured planning permission for Commercial Estates Group in relation to a large residential site in Rownhams, Hampshire.

At Farrer & Co, the ‘very personableKaren Phull has been acting for various promoters and objectors. Key mandates included acting for the Institute of Cancer Research in a planning application for a new research building in Sutton.

The ‘very cleverOliver Wright leads the group at Forsters LLP, which was boosted by the arrival of Claire Saffer from CMS and Matthew Evans from the London Borough of Hackney. The team continued to advise Knight Dragon Investments on its plans for the regeneration of Greenwich Peninsula.

At Irwin Mitchell, Martha Grekos ‘turns around matters very quickly’ and advises in relation to real estate and infrastructure projects. Highlights included providing strategic planning advice to Almacantar regarding the redevelopment of Marble Arch Tower, Westminster. National Grid is a new client. Since publication Martha Grekos has joined Howard Kennedy LLP.

K&L Gates LLP’s practice is now led by recently promoted partner Feroze Abbas following the departure of Sebastian Charles and Jane Burgess to set up their own firm. In 2015, the team handled a variety of planning work for public and private sector clients such as Workspace Group and London Borough of Hounslow.

Keystone Law’s four-consultant team was reinforced by the arrival of port specialist Andrew Hignett from Lester Aldridge LLP. Other key figures are David Evans and Oliver Goodwin, with the latter advising Barwood LaSalle Land on planning for a large residential and community site in north Wales.

Mishcon de Reya LLP is ‘very sound on judicial review and High Court challenges’. The team handles a range of contentious and non-contentious mandates for private wealth and major property companies, such as Delancey and Capco. Key figures include practice head Anita Rivera and managing associate Daniel Farrand, who is ‘level-headed and thorough’.

Sharpe Pritchard’s ‘responsive and approachable’ practice is best known for its public sector work and has ‘a very good knowledge of the local authority perspective and way of working’. The team continued to act for London Borough of Wandsworth in relation to the DCO for the Thames Tideway tunnel. Practice head Brian Hurwitz and Denise Stephenson are the names to note.

The ‘committed and knowledgeable’ Jacqueline Backhaus leads Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s team, which ‘demonstrates an in-depth understanding of local government’. It is representing the London Borough of Enfield in strategic planning of the Meridian Water Regeneration Project.

Practice head Sara Hanrahan at Blake Morgan LLP shows ‘attention to detail and knowledge of the subject’. Hanrahan advised Berkeley Homes on planning issues pertaining to a large mixed-use development in Buckinghamshire.

Burges Salmon LLP’s four-partner practice is particularly noteworthy for energy and infrastructure projects; the team is advising Highways England on planning relating to the M20 Junction 10a project. Bristol-based Gary Soloman heads the practice.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s department is now led by Christopher Stanwell, who joined from Nabarro LLP. Key clients include Crest Nicholson and Taylor Wimpey.

Specialist real estate firm Davitt Jones Bould attracted a number of significant new public sector clients and also advised the Royal Parks on planning of the new London Cycle Super Highway. Mark Brumwell is the main contact.

Under the leadership of the ‘intuitive and efficient’ Christopher Proudley, Druces LLP is ‘especially good at drafting and advising on s106 obligations’. Clients include Dogs Trust as well as Bank of London and the Middle East.

Mark Harnettexplains issues very clearly’ at Fladgate LLP, where the team focuses on mid-size schemes for clients such as Hodson Developments and CLTX.

Howard Kennedy LLP’s Christine Hereward has ‘first-rate commercial sense’ and her experience as a former head of planning at Westminster City Council allows her to determine ‘best tactics with local authorities’. The team recently achieved a good result for Galliard Homes in the first Planning Enforcement Order case to be defended. Since publication, Martha Grekos has joined from Irwin Mitchell as the new head of planning.

Maples Teesdale LLP’s growing team has seen an increase in judicial review work and is acting for Gatwick Obviously Not in relation to contesting an air space decision made by the Civil Aviation Authority. ‘Hard-workerChad Sutton heads the team.

Boutique practice Richard Max & Co undertakes a full range of planning work, including public inquiry advocacy. Name partner Richard Max is the main contact.

Alex Ground heads the practice at Russell-Cooke LLP, where recent work includes representing Woodcock Holdings in an appeal to the Secretary of State relating to a mixed-use project at West Sussex.

At Slaughter and May, associate Richard Keczkes – who joined from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP – leads on planning matters following the retirement of David Waterfield. Recent mandates include advising Delancey/Minerva in connection with the proposed Queen’s Square mixed-use development project in Croydon town centre.

At Watson Farley & Williams LLP, senior associate Nick Walker arrived from Norton Rose Fulbright to take charge of the practice. The team has been particularly active in its specialist area of energy infrastructure for clients such as Dong Energy and Solar 21. Gareth Phillips joined Pinsent Masons LLP.

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