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  1. Social housing: local authorities and registered providers
  2. Leading individuals

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A leader in the field’, Trowers & Hamlins LLP has a heavyweight team of specialists spread across its national office network. Ian Graham leads the practice nationally, while Sara Bailey heads the team in London. In an illustration of its cutting-edge caseload, Tonia Secker is leading the team advising the Greater London Authority on its £400m, pan-London initiative to deliver 53,000 homes across 20 housing zones. In another highlight Scott Dorling is leading advice to Enfield Council on the £2.5bn Meridian Water Regeneration project, one of the largest regenerations since the London Olympic Games. Other standout individuals include Robert Beiley, Ian Doolittle, Catherine Hand and Ian Davis.

Devonshires Solicitors LLP has ‘a tremendous background and tradition in the social housing field’, and its team ‘works very well together where there are multiple issues’. Key figures include senior partner Andrew Cowan, who has ‘good overall knowledge of a wide range of sector issues’; Nick Billingham, who has ‘a wealth of experience’; and Donna McCarthy, who is ‘well known for her commitment, pragmatism and impressive track record’. Clients include London and Quadrant Housing Trust, Home Group and Hyde Housing Association.

Excellent in all areas’, Winckworth Sherwood LLP is noted for its pragmatism and commercial awareness, which clients view as instrumental to ‘unlocking deals where other solicitors may have compounded the issue by legal wrangling’. It acts for the majority of London’s housing associations, as well as local authorities and leading house builders. It is advising Affinity Sutton on its proposed merger with Circle Housing to form the UK’s largest housing association. Andrew Murray heads the practice, which includes Charlie Proddow, who has ‘a lot of relevant knowledge and expertise’, and Charlotte Cook, who is ‘a rock’ and ‘fun to work with’.

Birmingham-based Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP has expanded its share of the London market with a number of significant client wins. Highlights included acting for Affinity Sutton on its new £600m contract with Osborne Property Services, and advising on the Helena Partnerships/Golden Gates Housing Trust merger to form Torus Group. Helen Tucker, Baljit Basra, Andrew Millross and Jonathan Cox are all recommended.

Anne Bowden heads the national practice at Pinsent Masons LLP, which includes David Meecham, who is relationship partner to key client The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). It acts for a large local authority client base including Westminster City Council and the London boroughs of Haringey, Lambeth and Wandsworth, which it advised on its flagship estate renewal scheme.

TLT is noted for its ‘highly effective and responsive service’. National practice head Paul Butterworth and Linda Convery are ‘experienced, helpful and take a strong interest in the progress of work which they are overseeing’. Also recommended are Kate Silverman, who is leading advice to the CHA Ventures/ Mulalley & Co joint venture in the £200m, 500-unit Ladderswood regeneration in Enfield; and Gillian Bastow, who is highly experienced in the sector. Andrew Shaw joined Bevan Brittan LLP.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP acts for a heavyweight client base including HCA, the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and Greater London Authority. Andrew Yates and Tessa Kimber are leading advice to LLDC on a transformational residential project at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to create two new neighbourhoods, East Wick and Streetwater.

Clarke Willmott LLP has a strong practice acting for registered providers on significant developments and transactions, including acting for Circle Housing on the £14m acquisition of five sites from Crest Nicholson, and assisting London & Quadrant Housing Trust with the £10m purchase of a freehold reversion of a lease from South Of England NHS Trust. Chimi Shakohoxha and Jonathan Hulley head the practice.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP acts for a number of registered providers operating in the London market, including Family Mosaic Housing and Thames Valley Housing Association. Wendy Wilks heads the team and is recommended for development, finance and governance matters.

Penningtons Manches LLP provides an ‘excellent’ service and is noted for its ‘prompt and sensible advice’. Real estate partner Andrew Casstles led a team advising Spectrum Housing Group on its joint venture with a south west based local authority for the development of 550 dwellings, and led advice to Paragon Community Housing on the phased purchase and forward funding for 60 apartments at Battersea Exchange. Also recommended are construction partner Peter Massey and team head Linda Storey. Key strengths include home ownership and housing management.

Ashfords LLP’s team ‘has a sound understanding of the housing sector and a firm grip on the legal issues affecting it’, while head of property litigation and social housing Sian Gibbon is praised for her ‘deft approach to litigation that clients clearly find reassuring’. Clients include The Guinness Partnership, London Borough of Croydon and London and Quadrant Housing Group.

Bevan Brittan LLP bolstered its practice through several significant partner hires: Hugo Stephens, Julie Cowan-Clark and Richard Stirk arrived from DWF; and Andrew Shaw arrived from TLT. They join head of housing Jonathan Turner, who is ‘very good’ at building the team around appropriate skill sets. The firm provides ‘sensible, pragmatic advice’ to an extensive client list that includes Peabody, Southern Housing Group and a number of London local authorities.

Capsticks LLP has proven its place in the London market earning instructions from The Guinness Partnership, Notting Hill Housing Trust, Affinity Sutton and Barking and Dagenham Council. Head of housing management Michael Owen is ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘always very helpful’, and Daniel Skinner is a ‘colossus of housing law’.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP provides ‘reliably consistent, high-quality and prompt service’ and has ‘excelled in some extremely complex transactions’. Head of real estate Anne O’Neill is ‘exceptionally sharp’ and ‘a consummate, persuasive negotiator’. Clients include Chobham Farm North, Housing Solutions Ltd and Notting Hill Housing Group.

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