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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > West Midlands > Real estate > Commercial property: Birmingham > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. Commercial property: Birmingham
  2. Leading individuals
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Who Represents Who

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Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP handles agenda-setting transactions across real estate asset classes, ranging from infrastructure and retail through to office space and residential. David Jones handles commercial developments and heads the firm’s Birmingham real estate team – he advised SEGRO EMG on the site acquisition and pre-letting elements of the planned East Midlands Gateway rail freight terminal. Gurjit Atwal is the firm’s global real estate sector head – he handles retail, student housing and leisure deals such as advising Landsec on purchasing three outlet centres from Hermes Investment Management for £333m, which was partially structured through Jersey Property Unit Trusts (JPUTs). Helen Annable advised a hospitality company on the sale of 73 pubs across Great Britain as going concerns for £50m. Meg Heppel advised HM Revenue and Customs on pre-letting 22,300 sq m of space in 3 Arena Central. Philip Medford, the head of the residential development practice, advised Taylor Wimpey on purchasing the former Flightshed in Longridge for residential development in a transaction conditional on remediation. Mark Chester is a new hire from Gowling WLG – he and Iftkhar Ahmed advised Iron Mountain on the purchase of two leasehold data centres for £83m – one in Slough, the other in Singapore. Other clients include the Blackstone Group, which Atwal advised on selling a £460m social housing portfolio to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Gateley Plc handles a mix of work, with a particularly strong roster of work for housebuilders. Callum Nuttall  advised Harworth Group on promoting a scheme to develop 3,000 homes near Derby, while Richard Pettifor continues to advise the consortium backing the Langley Sustainable Urban Extension, which is a proposed 6,000-unit residential development in the West Midlands. In addition, Tim Ledger is acting for Keepmoat Homes on an £80m development on the banks of the River Soar in Leicester. Pamela Scott advises a consortium of two housebuilders and a social housing provider on the purchase of sites as part of the Hull Citywide Framework. Robert Thompson is also a name of note for major house-building developments, while Ray Simpson advised Regal on financing its plan to construct Birmingham’s tallest residential tower. Away from housebuilding, Pettifor advises Mountpark Logistics on a speculative commercial development in Warrington, and Soulplane on developing a logistics property near Manchester Airport. James Madill advised Avignon Capital on the acquisition of a long-term lease of the arts complex in Southampton’s Cultural Quarter. Rebecca Sherwin advises HSBC on real estate finance matters. James White advised Gymshark on letting a new headquarters in Solihull. Andrew Mellor is now at Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

Gowling WLG handles a range of work, with a particular strength in the residential space. Susan Bennett and director Matthew Walker continue to advise Ballymore on the development funding from M&G Real Estate for Three Snowhill. Duncan Murphy and principal associate Simon Brown advised Clarion Housing Group on its purchase of 603 residential units as part of the development of AFC Wimbledon’s new stadium. Michael Twining and senior associate Paul Lloyd advised HSBC Alternative Investments on purchasing Brindleyplace for £260m, which involved purchasing shares in six Luxembourgish companies. Nisha Jassal heads a team advising advising The Arden Cross Consortium on a planned urban development in Solihull near the proposed Birmingham Interchange HS2 station. John Burns, who divides his time between London and Birmingham, and Susan Bennett  handle heavyweight logistics deals. Other clients include Blackstone, which Twining advised on the sale of the Hilton Hotel Westminster to Westmont Hospitality Group, and Warwickshire County Cricket Club. Richard Bate, who is based in Birmingham, heads the firm’s UK real estate practice.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s real estate practice in Birmingham handles a range of heavyweight development work concerning housebuilding. David Meecham advises the Homes and Communities Agency, a cornerstone client, on various projects, and also advises Birmingham City Council on procuring a development partner for a site near Sutton Coldfield earmarket for industrial use. Tom Johnson continues to advise Henry Boot Developments on its role as preferred development partner for the Phoenix 10 site near the M6 in Walsall. Away from the residential sector, Lisa Middleton and Johnson advised Arena Central Developments on the pre-letting of 3 Arena Central to HM Revenue and Customs. Legal directors Tom Eastwood and Carl Scott are key contacts for health-related work, with Medicx and Order of St Johns and Methodist Homes key clients in this space – another legal director of note is Victoria Potterill-Tilney, who handles transactional housebuilding work.

Squire Patton Boggs’ ‘great’ team includes Victoria Camfield, who advised Birmingham City Council on the disposal of the 3 Arena Central Building to Legal & General, which in turn let it to HM Revenue and Customs, and separately led the due diligence aspects of Warrington Borough Council’s purchase of a multi-occupier business park. Practice head and Birmingham office managing partner Nick Green advised Amaris Hospitality on the real estate elements of its sale of the Jurys Inn hotel chain. Neil Taylor is also ‘an excellent partner with strong commercial knowledge, but also the ability to manage a great team of people’. Other work concerns social housing deals. Anne O’Meara has retired, and Mohammed Alam is now at Hogan Lovells International LLP.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s Birmingham real estate team handles work covering deals ranging from infrastructure-related land purchases through to large-scale portfolio transactions. Monique Sutherland ‘takes ownership of legal issues and discussions and is quick to respond with well thought out, balanced advice’. She continues to advise Gulf Ventures on the development and leasing of a distribution park, on top of transactions concerning site purchases of infrastructure developments, as well as transactions of existing buildings with sitting tenants. Roger Collier advised Busy Bees Holdings on the sale and a sale and leaseback transaction concerning over 100 properties used for childcare. Fiona Thomson  is also a name of note. Simon Hambly left the firm for an in-house position.

Fieldfisher LLP in Solihull has a strong track record of development work, spanning commercial and residential assets. Sue Simpson, Jonathan Wright and Mark Lee – who is dual-qualified as a chartered surveyor – are key partners in the team.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP is ‘a strong law firm: reliable, professional and always helpful. Andrew Mellor, a new recruit from Gateley Plc, handles challenging work concerning leases, including ones with threats of dispute. James Gooch handles significant work concerning housebuilding, including sales of options over land – Debbie Irwin is also a name of note for major residential developments. Kevin Nagle handles heavyweight residential portfolio sales. Rob Adey has retired, while Laura Murphy, who was a legal director of the firm, is now a principal associate at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

At Shoosmiths LLP, Jason Jackson heads a practice which handles work concerning industrial, office, leisure, retail and logistics spaces, much of which involving pre-lets. Patrick Garner advised St Modwen Developments, a cornerstone client, on the real estate aspect of its creation of a new rolling stock factory for CAF in Newport, and separately advised IM Properties on the letting space in the newly-expanded 55 Colmore Row.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP, which is instructed by both public and private sector clients, provides ‘excellent service, great response times and a team with strength in depth’. Christopher Plumley heads a team advising the Urban Growth Company, which is owned by Solihull Council, on the proposed UK Central Hub, and advised Leicester City Council on a redevelopment, including the disposal of an office block to Mattioli Woods. Turning to the private sector, Amanda Hanmore, who has ‘great technical knowledge and commercial acumen’ advised Hinton Group on purchasing two Travelodge hotels in the West Midlands from the relevant local authorities; she also advised the West Midlands Pension Fund on a range of real estate investments. Simon Robinson’s work includes acting for Richborough Estates on a range of land promotion agreements. Inox Group is another client – Hanmore advised it on purchasing two strategic sites outside Truro with planning consent for 1,700 residential units and a new stadium, as is the Greater Manchester Pension Fund. Digby Morgan is a new partner promotion in the team.

Browne Jacobson LLP handles a mix of work for government bodies as well as private sector clients. On top of work for local authorities and institutional investors, Thomas Howard advised Amcor on the sale and partial leaseback of a former tobacco packaging site, which completed within six weeks. Lisa McGinn advised Handelsbanken on refinancing Cygnet Property Management’s Sock Island development in Leicester, and in the property transactional space advised the Homes and Community Agency on purchasing a 14.5 acre site from Birmingham City University, which could potentially be used as the site of the athletes’ village for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Dominic Swift  handles work concerning large property portfolios, including for public sector clients. Zo Hoida  joined from Weightmans LLP in May 2018.

DWF's Melanie Williams heads the firm’s hospitality group – she handles transactional and finance work, including hotel deals. Toby Askin handles a range of work concerning retail real estate. Both divide their time between London and Birmingham.

Emms Gilmore Liberson handles a range of work, with sales of land to developers a particular bright spot for the practice. Director Simon Jobson advised Warwickshire College on the £5.3m conditional sale of its former campus for development, and also assisted Revelan Estates with the development of a factory site near Coventry. In addition, Mark Dakeyne advised Stoford Developments on the letting and sale of two warehouses in the Worcester Six business park – he also has heavyweight housebuilding expertise. Director Beth Margetson works with the Gooch Estate, a key client, on various maters concerning residential developments. Other clients include Sustainable Energy Centre, which Margetson advised on a lease for additional land for developing a waste to energy facility.

Irwin Mitchell’s team, which is headed by Ben Acheson  and handles a range of significant residential developments, is ‘excellent, with good knowledge and timely responses’. He advised Persimmon Homes on the conditional purchase of part of the former Longbridge site from St Modwen Properties for £10.8m. Other clients include SECP, which he advised on the sale of land for £11.8m after planning permission for 2,700 homes was granted, and Henry Davidson Developments, which he advised on purchasing development site on Faversham. He also advises tenants on high-profile office relocations.

Capsticks LLP’s ‘excellent’ associate Henry Matveieff handles the real estate elements of a range of public sector deals. He advised Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust on the disposal of a part of the Birmingham City Hospital site to the Homes and Communities Agency, on top of various work for private health care providers on deals including the sales of existing sites for residential development and the purchase of buildings and land for conversion to medical use. Other NHS clients include the South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust, which Matveieff advised on selling the former Shelton Hospital to a residential developer, and the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which the practice advised on a similar transaction.

Clarke Willmott LLP provides ‘prompt, accurate, professional and effective’ advice, with a particular strength in retail properties. Lidl is a key client of the team – ‘very thorough property specialist’ Jonathan Morton advised it on the purchase of a long lease of a site for the development of its new headquarters in Tolworth, and also assisted it with a programme of mortgaging its existing stores, plus selling a site to Crest for it to develop a Lidl store topped with housing. Iain Harrison  advised the same client on the acquisition of a site for the development of a new store in Lichfield. Senior associate Fiona Rendell advised the Royal British Legion Austin Branch on the sale of part of its site to developers, with consideration coming in the form of the redevelopment of its existing building. Other clients include CWRP Manchester, which Morton advised on the sale of a property in Oldham, and De Montfort University.

Mills & Reeve LLP has a particular following among higher education clients. Christian Bull advised the University of Birmingham on becoming a tenant in the former Municipal Bank building in central Birmingham, and also advised Coventry University College on purchasing the the Dagenham Civic Centre building. Below partner level, principal associate Robbie Turner is a key contact.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s team handles a range of multimillion-pound deals. Consultant Georgina Walsh in Shirley handles work concerning purchases and sales of development sites, while Stewart Coles, an associate, has experience in handling hotel deals. At partner level Div Singh , who is based in Birmingham, also handles buy-side deals, often involving title issues. Fahmida Ismail is also a key contact.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards)’s Clive Read and senior associate Julie Newell advised Birmingham Law Society on leasing an unused and derelict building to Revolution Bars. The firm also acts for a number of local authorities; Read and senior associate James Overstall advised the University of Northampton, a new client win, on developing a new tannery. Consultant Adrian Watson's clients include universities and investment funds such as MGTS St Johns Property ICVC, a regular client, which he advised on purchasing newly-built student housing in Taunton. The firm also acts for Jaguar Land Rover, Wing Yip and several United Reformed Church entities.

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Legal Developments in West Midlands for Commercial property: Birmingham

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 


    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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