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



Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: corporate occupiers
  2. Commercial property: development
  3. Commercial property: hotels and leisure
  4. Commercial property: investment
  5. Commercial property: retail
  6. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  7. Leading individuals
  8. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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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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Addleshaw Goddard ‘pulls all the stops to meet client needs and exceed expectations’. Headed by Leona Ahmed, the real estate team ‘excels in its ability to incorporate practical commercial input into its legal advice’ and ‘provides invaluable cross-practice interaction’. In one stand-out mandate, Ahmed, Lee Sheldon and Hemal Kotecha assisted HB Revis with its acquisition of the One Waterloo redevelopment site on London’s South Bank, and continue to advise the developer on the regeneration of the roughly 1m ft site with a projected GDV of £1.4bn. Further, Andrew Martin assisted Muse Developments, in partnership with Lambeth Council, with the regeneration of Lambeth Town Hall, comprising civic office buildings, three residential towers and retail and leisure space. On the pure investment side, the department remains active in the office space market in Canary Wharf, the West End and the City, though many of the team’s domestic investors have been increasingly interested in logistics and student accommodation assets in the UK regions and throughout Europe. Also in the alternatives market, Adrian Collins is advising University Partnership Programme on the development and operation of 12 new student housing blocks at the University of Hull. The team also has experience in investment transactions in the hotel and leisure sector. Iain Hindhaugh has handled a variety of letting work for a major US client, which has been one of the most innovative players in the London real estate market in 2017-2018. Similarly, William Boss assisted Battersea Power Station Development Company with a 500,000 ft office space pre-let to Apple, which will house its new European HQ. Managing associate Simon Morris joined from Macfarlanes LLP.

Baker McKenzie’s ‘highly regarded’ London real estate team is regularly instructed to handle corporate real estate mandates for overseas, in-bound investors and also has a strong real estate finance practice. Of particular note, the ‘experienced and hands-on’ Stephen Turner assisted Hong Kong-listed Spring REIT with its £73.5m acquisition of 84 let properties in the UK, which marked the client’s first real estate acquisition outside the Asia Pacific region. Turner also advised Singapore-based Mapletree Investments on its £60m acquisition of a 796-bedroom student housing block in Essex. Leveraging its global network, the ‘commercial and capable’ London team is often involved in real estate transactions involving property in various European jurisdictions. Justin Salkeld is counselling Michael Kors on its EMEA store expansion and maintenance, which has included new store openings and portfolio rationalisations. Indeed, the team has particular experience in the hotel and retail sectors. Salkeld is also acting for Edwardian Group on the development aspects of its £300m luxury hotel development in Leicester Square. The department is also involved in the infrastructure, energy and utilities sectors and has recently assisted CLdN Cobelfret with multiple matters, including the £35m sale of a freehold property in London and, separately, advice regarding the redevelopment or sale of a decommissioned port.

Bevan Brittan LLP is one of the market’s go-to firms for public sector bodies and local authorities involved in development and regenerations projects. Major development highlights have included Steven Smith advising London Borough of Ealing on the creation, funding and management of the Housing Zone in Southall, which was the first London Housing Zone to achieve financial close. Smith is also acting for City of London Corporation in relation to the £500m redevelopment of the former Smithfield Market. Ian Caplan, who has considerable experience with health-sector property, has advised Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust on the planning application and site sales in relation to the redevelopment of the Chase Farm Hospital. Also recommended is Andrew Shaw, who has particular experience in residential development.

Bird & Bird LLP has a track record of handling IP and licensing matters in the hotel and leisure sector, but has significantly strengthened its hotel practice with the addition of Karen Friebe from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP. A true leisure-sector specialist, Friebe has significant experience negotiating hotel management and service agreements, and is also instructed by major hospitality groups. Since moving to the firm, Friebe has continued to advise well-known operators on hotel management issues, and has also acted for a client in relation to a restructuring of its interest in a London property, where it owns hundreds of leasehold apartments, a premier hotel asset and various restaurants and other interests. Further, Friebe has continued to attract instructions from new clients and a variety of property investors and hotel owners.

Boodle Hatfield LLP runs a ‘very professional’ real estate department, with a steady base of private investment clients and experience in residential and mixed-use development projects. Though the team is best known for handling private investment portfolios for Grosvenor and Bedford Estates, department head Caroline King is also instructed by clients such as IBM UK Pensions Trust. In the development space, King assisted a property developer with multiple site acquisitions for the development of elderly care facilities. Karen Mason and Andrew Wilmot-Smith have been involved in numerous strategic site acquisitions and residential developments; Mason also has experience with petrol filling station properties and roadside retail. Dennis Ko joined the team from Kennedys, while former head of construction David Johnson retired.

Browne Jacobson LLP is highly sought after by prominent retailers for its property spanning strategic transactions, leasing, office relocations and property refinancing. The practice is jointly led by Caroline Green and Sarah Parkinson, who are instructed by major retail and hospitality companies including House of Fraser, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Papa John’s. Green advised DPDgroup on its purchase of a state-of-the-art parcel hub at Burbage, and Parkinson assisted a furniture retailer with the restructuring of its core business, which included an audit of the client’s title and the re-gear of certain business operations. New clients in 2017 include Europcar and Patisserie Holdings.

The team at Burges Salmon LLP provides ‘technically sound and commercially astute advice’ and is ‘able to leverage and smoothly coordinate its vast experience in supporting disciplines, such as tax, which are integral to a real estate deal’. Of particular note, Philip Beer is advising the GLA on its development arrangements with ABP for the creation of a new business district at Royal Albert Dock. The team also has a longstanding reputation in Bristol, where Ross Polkinghorne is acting for Change Real Estate in relation to the 600,000 ft urban regeneration project at Redcliffe Quarter. Richard Read leads the firm’s real estate investment practice and has been involved in a number of portfolio transactions and major asset management mandates in the hotel and leisure sector. Cross-departmental head Richard Clark advised Aerium Finance on the £51m acquisition from Legal & General of units in a JPUT owning property in Cardiff; this matter was funded through conventional and Islamic finance structures. Colin Ligman heads the broader real estate group, which includes senior associate Drew Nesbitt, who is ‘instrumental in strategic investment and letting transactions’.

Cripps LLP handles a range of portfolio management work for growing retailers and asset managers and is ‘highly recommended for any group that wants to develop or maintain retail sites in the UK’. Ed Fowler has handled a number of high-profile London retail lettings, which included assisting Mariage Frères with the lease of its UK flagship store in Covent Garden, and, on the landlord side, acting for SMCP in relation to the letting of Maje Stores’ new flagship store on Regent Street. The team has also been active in the investment space, where Sarah Ferguson advised M&G Real Estate on the £27m disposal of a variety of real estate assets across the UK. Stephen Hedley handles a host of asset management work for Kennedy Wilson, and Kate Robinson is advising Liberty Property Trust on a £200m mixed-use development in Horsham, Sussex.

The lawyers in DWF's hospitality team are 'diligent, highly knowledgeable' and have 'a tremendous amount of experience in the hotel and hospitality industry'. Melanie Williams heads the hospitality and leisure practice and is instructed in real estate investment, trading and development transactions. Williams advised Whitbread Group on the forward funding and development of a Hub branded hotel in Shoreditch, and also assisted Starboard Hotels with its £7m acquisition of a Holiday Inn at Derby Riverlights. Also recommended are real estate finance specialist Helen Johnston, and Iain McLean, who advised McAleer & Rushe on the acquisition of a site in Glasgow for a hotel development and a subsequent build and let agreement with Maldron Hotels. Mark Shepherd, who has experience in real estate investment and development, joined the team from Paul Hastings LLP.

Farrer & Co provides the kind of ‘client-focused service that one might expect from a mid-market firm’. Clients have particularly noted the team’s ‘personable, practical and proactive’ approach to letting transactions, construction and development and general property management issues. Department head Andrew Bailey advised Hub Group on the acquisition of a building in Wembley for redevelopment as a mixed-use retail, office and residential space. Further, Bailey and Mark Gauguier acted for Charities Property Fund in relation to the forward funding of a pre-let retail park development on a brownfield site in Greenwich, and Gauguier is also advising Duchy of Cornwall on the strategic planning and development structure of the Poundbury Development – a sustainable urban extension including residential and commercial buildings and infrastructure. Charles Anderson is acting for The British Library in connection to the disposal of land for the St Pancras development site, and the construction of gallery facilities and public spaces. James Furber and senior associates Sarah Aggarwal and Fred Lee are also recommended. Robin Holmes retired and Gavin Acheson left for Birketts LLP.

The team at Forsters LLP has considerable experience acting for investors and funders in property investment transactions across a range of asset types, and mixed-use development projects. In one stand-out matter, Glenn Dunn is advising a fund managed by Savills Investment Management on its joint venture with Fruition Properties to develop a mixed-use site in Bermondsey. The team is regularly involved in hotel and retail development schemes, which has recently included Guy Jordan acting for an investment fund in relation to two boutique hotel developments outside of London. Jordan also assisted The Crown Estate with its £120m acquisition of three Central London properties. Other key contacts in the investment practice include Andrew Crabbie, who acted for Investra Capital in connection with the sale and leaseback of a retail portfolio, and Sarah Pass, who has recently handled significant single-asset and portfolio transactions. In the alternatives space, Ronan Ledwidge has been involved in a student accommodation development, and Victoria Towers  is acting for a development partner in relation to a number of industrial development sites in South East London. British Airways Pension Fund, Hunter UK Retail Unit Trust and LXB Retail Properties are among the team's key clients.

A firm that ‘definitely puts its clients first’, Fox Williams LLP provides ‘timely and commercial advice’ and ‘punches well above its weight’ in hotel and hospitality sector property transactions. Department head Phillip Hope, who has ‘a wealth of real estate experience’, recently advised a hotel operator on the funding and management agreements for the redevelopment and operation of a hotel in Spain; Hope also advised a separate major European hotel operator on the purchase of a long leasehold building at a significant London redevelopment site for the creation of a new hotel. Elizabeth Ruff assisted Castlechain with the sale of a London restaurant as part of a asset realisation project. Letting highlights have included Ruff assisting Glendower Capital with the lease of its new London premises, and Simon Smith advising FM Insurance Company on a high-value 10-year lease agreement. Rebecca Evans was promoted to senior associate, but James Young left for an in-house position.

Freeths LLP's ‘responsive and reliable’ real estate team provides ‘client-focused service at competitive rates’. The team has a strong reputation in the retail sector, which has attracted new clients such as Selfridges, Inditex and Ermenegildo Zegna. Sarah Griggs advises Hotel Chocolat on all of its property matters, and also acts alongside Jenny Cooper for PVH UK Group in relation to all of its property work across its Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brands. Senior associate Matt Stephens assisted Australian retailer kikki.K with the property aspects of entering the UK market, including the opening of its first store in Covent Garden. Department head Ian Rowson and the highly recommended Clive Pearce have experience handling strategic investment and development mandates for local authorities and developers.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s London real estate group is regularly instructed by global investors in connection with multi-jurisdictional property portfolio deals. In one stand-out matter, Mark Wheelhouse advised AXA Investment Managers on its €1bn acquisition of a logistics property portfolio from Gramercy Property Europe. Victoria Hills acted for Almacantar in relation to the pre-let of Two Southbank Place, London to WeWork. Hills also assisted Pandox with the joint acquisition of the Jurys Inn hotel portfolio in partnership with The Fattal Group. Indeed, the team has extensive experience in pan-European hotel portfolio transactions and has been instructed by clients such as InterContinental Hotels Group and Carlson Hospitality Group. Alex Watt heads the global real estate sector group and has particular expertise in acting for sovereign wealth funds.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher specialises in complex corporate real estate structures and high-value property transactions, often involving assets across various European jurisdictions. Indeed, Alan Samson advised funds managed by Apollo Global Management on the sale of a portfolio of 13 hotels located in Germany and Netherlands to three funds managed by Invesco, and also acted for Oaktree Capital Management in relation to the £743m disposal of a UK business park portfolio to Frasers Centerpoint. In the alternative asset space, Samson assisted Investcorp Bank with the acquisition and financing of a portfolio of 22 UK-based industrial logistics assets, which marked the client’s first real estate investment in Europe. Additionally, Wayne McArdle advised a real estate-focused private equity firm on the £300m acquisition of a UK care homes operator from Phoenix Equity Partners. The team is also acting for a major US-based client on its proposed acquisition of a 626,000 sq. ft estate nearby a high-profile development site in Central London. Jeremy Kenley, who specialises in private equity and real estate investment funds, joined the team from Mayer Brown International LLP.

Goodwin’s real estate team is ‘highly recommended for investment property transactions’, but is perhaps best known for its ‘comprehensive support on hotel-sector deals, drawing on expertise in property acquisitions, finance, brand negotiations and corporate structuring’. Indeed, Matthew Pohlman has advised Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts on hotel management agreements for hotels in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and France. Of particular note, Pohlman assisted the client with the management agreement in connection with the conversion of the Astir Palace in Athens into a Four Seasons resort, which marks the client’s first project in the Greek market. The team has also handled management agreements for luxury residential projects in Asia and the UK. In the broader investment space, Joe Conder acted for Medical Properties Trust, a US REIT, in relation its £25m acquisition of a site for the development of a hospital in Birmingham. Also of note, James Spence advised Gramercy Property Europe on the €1.1bn sale of its European logistics portfolio to a consortium managed by AXA Investment Managers. Additionally, the team including David Evans assisted Henderson Park with the formation of a joint venture and subsequent acquisition and forward funding of a residential portfolio from Barratt Developments. Catriona Berman left for Stephenson Harwood.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s real estate team is ‘excellent in all respects’, but is particularly stand-out in highly structured portfolio and single-asset property investment transactions. The team has expertise in structuring real estate investment vehicles and is instructed by a number of REITs, including Hines Global REIT II, which Tim Webb advised on the £49.2m purchase of 395 beds of student accommodation in Reading. Steven Cowins advised The Cannon Place on its £485m sale to Deka Immobilien of the corporate structure owning 78 Cannon Street - a mixed-use development including almost 420,000ft of Grade A office space and adjacent retail space. Cowins also acted for Lands Improvement, as joint venture partner, in relation to a £400m residential and commercial development at Houghton Regis. In the alternatives market, Matthew Priday, who is noted for his ‘responsiveness and informed advice’, assisted Paloma Capital with its £90m acquisition of 42 industrial estates via a share transfer in RVB Holdings. Priday also advised Aviva on the sale of a logistics site at Houghton Regis to Lidl.

Hamlins LLP carries ‘a strong culture of client service’ and provides ‘practical and actionable advice’ to property investors and clients in the hotel, hospitality and retail sectors. In the hotel space, Nigel Mason acted for Park Plaza Hotels in relation to the acquisition, sale and leaseback, construction and remortgaging of a 400-bed London hotel. The team is especially active in the restaurant sector, where the ‘diligent and commercial’ Ben Kilshaw assisted Leon Restaurants with the property aspects of its rapid roll-out strategy. Kilshaw is also instructed by Casual Dining Group, Pizza Pilgrims and London Union. The department also handles property investment transactions and portfolio management for prominent UK property companies. Indeed, Mark Hurst advised William Pears on the acquisition and onward sales of six industrial estates in England, and also assisted Structadene Group with various corporate real estate and property finance matters. Similarly, Paul Spacey advised Brukaros on its £42m acquisition of the Exchange Flags building in the World Heritage Site in Liverpool, while Joseph Holder is acting for Criterion Capital in relation to the acquisition of multiple investment and development properties.

Howard Kennedy LLP is ‘an excellent firm for leasing and and property management’ matters and is ‘widely recognised as a market leader in the retail and hospitality sectors’. Restaurant sector head Adam Walford is acting for Patty&Bun in relation to its restaurant expansion strategy, while Eric Gummers has experience with corporate real estate mandates in the hotel sector. Department head Julian Hindmarsh also leads the retail group, which handles a range of property issues for luxury retailers such as Pandora, Antler, and new clients Cifonelli and Oliver Peoples. Mark Johnstone heads the development practice, which is especially active in the residential space; Kate Woodgate is acting for a development joint venture in relation to the delivery of several hundred homes as part of a significant development project in London. Charles Maxwell is a contact in the investment team, Denise Condon heads the residential development sales group and Vanessa Laundon is an active senior associate in the department.

Irwin Mitchell has been involved in a range of landlord and tenant issues at prominent London locations and is especially ‘valuable’ in real estate finance mandates. The team has undergone a phase of regrowth, which brought national head of real estate Adrian Barlow to the firm from Pinsent Masons LLP in 2017. Barlow has experience advising public and private sector organisations on large-scale strategic portfolio projects. Corporate letting work has included Ian Silverblatt assisting The National Union of Journalists on the lease agreements for its recently refurbished premises at Gray’s Inn Road. Similarly, Silverblatt advised Goethe-Institut on the development of a café at the Goethe Institute in South Kensington, which included leasing transactions with multiple operators. Also recommended are associate Nikki Link and Ayesha Hasan, who specialises in property finance.

‘Thorough, flexible and ultra-responsive’, Jones Day provides ‘good all-around service’ to a variety of investor clients including private equity funds and REITs, and has experience across a wide range of traditional and alternative real estate assets. A key contact for student accommodation work, David Smith advised Greystar Real Estate Partners on two development site acquisitions at the former Royal Mail sorting office, and is also assisting the client with multiple student accommodation developments in London. Smith also advised Cortland Partners on the formation of a joint venture for the development of PRS properties. The team also has experience in modular construction deals. In the logistics sector, Alistair Grant advised CBRE Global Investors on its £1bn joint venture with Prologis for a logistics property acquisition, which involved corporate and property due diligence for 22 logistics assets and a number of English management companies. In the retail space, the department has advised investors on various strategic shopping centre disposals, which included Suzanne Davis assisting DV4 with the sale of a 50% stake in a Wandsworth shopping centre to Invesco. Further, Stephen Walter and of counsel Jaskie Chana have handled property disposals and letting transactions for British Land Company. Also recommended are of counsel Kirsty Rogerson and David Roberts, who is instructed by REITs including Hansteen Holdings and LondonMetric Property. Alex Millar left for Travers Smith LLP in 2018.

Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP has a comprehensive hospitality practice, which pulls together extensive sector-focused expertise in corporate real estate, commercial contracts, litigation, finance and IP. Headed by Peter Sugden, the team acts for every type of market participant, from well-known global hotel operators, to investors and developers, to lenders and funds, and REITs. In the development space, Sugden acted for a property group in relation to the land acquisition, development and management agreements for a hotel development in Cambridge. Terry Green assists BridgeStreet Worldwide with its management agreements, globally, and complex service agreements with a number of household name tech companies, and senior counsel Robert Asher was instructed by FRHI Hotels & Resorts to negotiate hotel management agreements for hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Further, Gavin Vollans has handled single-asset hotel investment transactions for a prominent UK property group. Additional clients include Shiva Hotels, Wyndham Worldwide, AccorHotels and Fattal Hotels.

At Laytons LLP, clients ‘can speak directly to experienced partners’, who provide ‘valuable advice backed by extensive industry knowledge’. John Beesley is a key contact in the team, which has considerable experience in London-centric residential and mixed-use development projects. Beesley also advises family property companies and high-net-worth investors on property investment transactions, which has included acting for a Middle Eastern investor in connection with its purchase of a number of luxury flats in London. Andrew Melvill handles property portfolio management for domestic and international clients in the fintech, professional and financial services and retail sectors. Mark Reis, who is ‘extremely professional, personable, reliable and efficient’, has handled strategic portfolio mandates and letting transactions for a variety of domestic and international retailers. The department also handles property finance transactions in connection with its investment and development work.

‘A one-stop-shop for commercial property work’, Maples Teesdale LLP ‘is a strong competitor in mid-tier transactions’ and stands out for its ‘commercial and economical asset management service’ and for its ‘exceptional land acquisition work’. In one high-profile mandate, Chris Wilkinson and Neil Sagoo are advising the Government of the United States of America on the sale of its embassy building at Grosvenor Square and the relocation to its new site in South London. In the alternatives space, newly promoted partner Anastasia Klein assisted Mace with the acquisition of a site for a student accommodation and PRS development. The team also acted for London & UK Property in relation to the sale and leaseback of a student accommodation development site in Birmingham. Letting highlights have included Roger Thornton acting for FremantleMedia in relation to the lease of its London HQ at Tottenham Court Road, and Declan Power assisting Capula Investment Management with the move of its London HQ to a newly opened premises in Mayfair. Power has also handled a number of deals involving shopping centre assets, which included advising Legal & General Assurance on a redevelopment project at the Dolphin Shopping Centre in Poole. Martin Smith joined the team from Hewitsons.

Following a group reorganisation in 2016, Memery Crystal LLP has continued to invest heavily in its real estate department. In a spate of recent changes, Victoria Lowe was promoted to partner, and the department brought on a number of new lawyers including senior associates Helen Abel and Ben Shore, who joined the firm from Kingsley Napley LLP and TfL, respectively. The team has handled numerous multimillion-pound letting transactions, which included Alastair Moss advising a retail bank on its lease of a Liverpool Street property, and Richard Evans assisting Travis Perkins with a lease renewal at its Hampstead premises. The group is also active in the hotel and hospitality sectors, where Joanne Kelly is advising Shiva Hotels on the refurbishment projects at its Central London properties. Kelly also acts for Vastint Hospitality in relation to the roll-out and development of its Moxy hotel brand. In the investment space, Daniel Abrahams advised PPR Streatham on the £23.3m sale of 350 Streatham High Road to an institutional pension fund. Matthew Lindsay heads the practice and specialises in real estate finance.

Mills & Reeve LLP advises development vehicles, investors and landowners in residential development projects, and investment mandates involving single assets and complex property portfolios. In the development space, Christine de Ferrars Green is advising O&H Properties on the development of an urban extension to Peterborough, which aims to deliver 13,000 new homes. Similarly, Carina Cobbold is acting for Sue Developments in relation to a sustainable urban extension at Houlton, Rugby, and Caroline Dean advised a group of landowners on land sales for a residential development ion Norfolk. Investment highlights have included Orla O’Sullivan assisting Fidelity UK Real Estate Fund with the £28.5m sale of a long leasehold to a subsidiary of a newly formed REIT, and Charles Staveley acting for Pandox in relation to the property due diligence and post-deal structuring of its £800m acquisition of Jurys Inn’s hotel chain. Beverley Firth acts as national head of real estate, and Dominic Hodern heads the real estate asset management group. Rachel Pitman and Mike Edge joined the team from Pinsent Masons LLP; Pitman has experience in a range of investment and development work, while Edge specialises in regeneration projects.

Mishcon de Reya LLP is ‘well-known and widely respected in the real estate market by clients and peers alike’. The group has become a major player in the residential development space and also has experience in the student accommodation and PRS sectors. Indeed, the ‘immensely impressive’ Stephen Hughes is advising Delancey, APG and Qatari Diar on multiple PRS-led development projects, including a high-value development at the Olympic Village in Stratford. Department head Nick Doffman is acting for Berkeley Group in relation to a major housing-led development at Royal Arsenal, and is also advising the client in a £1bn regeneration project at Kidbrooke Village. In the investment space, Simon Hart assisted Brookfield with multiple transactions, which included the £295m acquisition of a portfolio of branded student accommodations from Unite Students. Further, Ian Paul has handled a litany of high-value portfolio and single-asset investment transaction in London and the UK regions. Nick Minkoff, who is ‘a great team leader and a great communicator’, assisted The Knightsbridge Estate on a significant pre-let of 1 Sloan Street to Burberry. The team including legal director Claire Manches also handles property issues for major retailers including Victoria’s Secret and TK Maxx. Other key contacts include Kirpal Kaur and Daniel Lipman. In 2018, Nick Harris left for Reed Smith LLP, but Anju Suneja joined the team from Dentons.

Osborne Clarke LLP’s commercial property group is ‘thorough, responsive and exceedingly pragmatic’ and provides ‘partner-led advice’ to a litany of domestic investors, developers and retailers. The team has extensive experience in residential development and has been particularly active in the PRS sector. Of particular note, Rajindh Mangat advised M&G Real Estate on a number of forward funding PRS mandates, including the £71.4m investment into a PRS development in Ilford. Mangat is also acting for Henry Boot Developments in relation to the £100m GDV regeneration of Montagu Industrial Estate. In the residential space, William Gay assisted Barratt with the acquisition of a site in Cambridge with potential for 750 housing units. The department, which includes Louise Cartwright, has been increasingly active in single-asset transactions and assisted Redevco UK with the sale of 120 Moorgate to a US PE fund, which is backing WeWork. Further, the highly recommended Nick Simpson advised CLS Holdings on a £31.4m acquisition of a portfolio of office buildings, which marks the client’s first major acquisition in the UK. Simpson also advised Dalata Hotels on the £23m sale and leaseback of the Clayton Hotel in Cardiff. Dolf Darnton handles real estate issues for retailers including Marks & Spencer, Ralph Lauren, French Connection and Homebase. Department head Peter Day, Colin Kearney and Jo Footitt are also recommended. Alice Conway was promoted to partner.

‘A strong firm for corporate real estate matters’, Paul Hastings LLP is instructed by a roster of global investment firms and has extensive experience with portfolio transactions in the hospitality sector. Department head Michael James, who is known to ‘work tirelessly for his clients’, advised Internos Global Investors on the formation of the Internos Core European Balanced fund and assisted with its subsequent maiden acquisition of a €200m investment portfolio comprising a variety of real estate assets across five European jurisdictions. James also acted for Evans Randall in relation to the £258m sale of the HBOS HQ at Old Broad Street. The department’s hotel practice took a hit with David Ryland’s retirement and Mark Rajbenbach’s move to Taylor Wessing LLP, though the team has managed to remain active in the sector. Indeed, associate Stephen Nicolas worked alongside the firm’s Frankfurt office to advise Invesco Real Estate Asset Management on the €530m acquisition of a European hotel portfolio, which included advice on the terms of the related franchise agreements. Edward Meadowcroft is a recommended associate in the corporate real estate group.

When it comes to private client instructions, Payne Hicks Beach is ‘perhaps the very best firm in the market’. In the context of real estate, this expertise is reflected in high-value investment and development work carried out for family offices, high-net-worth individuals and landed estates. Department head Andrew Berry is advising a group of European investors on the development of a West London property portfolio, and is also assisting a Eurasian billionaire with various acquisitions and refurbishments in London. On the investment and management side, Richard Stapylton-Smith assisted an estate client with the disposal of a large residential scheme, and Justin Dunlop advised an investment company on its acquisition of multiple floors of a Central London premises. The team has also handled strategic sales and acquisitions in the hotel sector. Solicitor Antonia Cosby joined from Forsters LLP.

Pinsent Masons LLP is sought after for ‘particularly complex development and acquisition transactions’ and is ‘a go-to firm for hotel management and franchise agreements’. The team also has particular expertise in structuring joint development partnerships in the public sector, where Scot Morrison is advising London Borough of Haringey on the procurement of a development and investment partner for the Haringey Development Vehicle, and Anne Bowden is acting for London Borough of Southwark in relation to the development of a new town centre at Canada Water. Further, Nic Berry is acting for ABP (London) Investments in relation to the regeneration of London’s Royal Albert Dock. The group is ‘highly regarded in the specialist hotel industry’. Indeed, department head Claire Hughes is advising Capital & Counties Properties on the development of a luxury boutique hotel in Covent Garden. Nick Skea-Strachan, who specialises in hotel management agreements, advised Al Dau Development on a franchise agreement with Hyatt International for the development, branding and operation of a hotel in Cairo. The team has also acted for Accor Hotelservices UK and Meliá Hotels International. Legal director Janet Matthews assisted The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society with the launch of the £2.7bn Royal London UK Real Estate Fund. Additionally, Simon Gardiner advised Legal and General on a £70m property swap transaction, and Richard Lloyd was involved in a high-value investment transaction involving retirement village assets. Anthony Newton joined the team from Hogan Lovells International LLP in 2017. David Taylor retired in 2018.

Proskauer Rose LLP has been instructed by US private equity firms, family offices and Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian sovereign wealth funds in high-value investment transactions since forming its London real estate team in 2016. Former DLA Piper partners Joanne Owen and Vikki McKay advised Meteorite Manchester on behalf of Singapore-based REIT Hiap Hoe on a hotel acquisition, which was the group’s first real estate acquisition in the UK. Also recommended is former Berwin Leighton Paisner special counsel Ben Taylor, who has experience in the hospitality sector and assisted a US-based investment manager with the ownership and franchise arrangements of a UK hotel, which the client acquired. Real estate finance specialist Paul Lucas joined the team from Linklaters LLP.

Reed Smith LLP’s London property department has ‘the breadth and depth of a real specialist department, which provides high-quality service’ on portfolio transactions, property finance and commercial development work. Brigid North(‘a very good technical lawyer’) is acting for a major East Asian real estate developer in relation to a substantial mixed-use development project comprising a large residential tower block and a new five-star hotel. Similarly, Graham Reid advised a European investor on the acquisition of a newly developed mixed-use site in Manchester, and Lawrence Radley is acting for a developer in relation to a major redevelopment project in East London. Having joined the team from Faegre Baker Daniels, Petar Orlic and associate Josip Stajfer are advising a leading co-living provider on multiple strategic acquisitions and development projects in the UK. The team also has ‘an incredibly supportive and responsive corporate real estate practice’. Luke Mines helped lead a team that advised a multinational investment joint venture on its disposal of a portfolio of UK-based business parks totalling nearly £1bn. Jo Carter was promoted to partner, and Sarah Cunningham, who ‘delivers consistently high-quality service’, was promoted to counsel. Also recommended are Andrew Jenkinson and Jimmy Theodorou, who acts as vice chair of the global real estate group. Nick Harris joined from Mishcon de Reya LLP in 2018.

‘A stand-out player in London’s real estate investment market’, Ropes & Gray LLP acts for a wide variety of global investors and has ‘in-depth knowledge’ of the PRS and luxury senior living sectors. The team has a considerable private equity and investment fund client base and acted for a major hedge fund in relation to several complex corporate real estate mandates involving properties across multiple European jurisdictions. Similarly, group head Iain Morpeth assisted a US private equity firm with a major single-asset transaction in London. David Seymour (‘an extremely responsive young partner’) advised Said Holdings on the sale of its leasehold interest in 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf to a Chinese investor; he also assisted the client with the £48m acquisition of a Central London property through a JPUT structure. Further, the team advised a Korean investor on a joint venture for the redevelopment of a significant site in Europe. Carol Hopper is ‘a great negotiator’ and ‘has a knack for managing complex transactions involving multiple parties’. Hopper is instructed by global financial institutions and US investment managers such as American Century Investments.

At RPC, department head Sarah Blunn provides ‘outstanding, well-rounded advice’ to a range of corporate occupiers. Blunn acts for Maybrook Properties in relation to ongoing management issues at the Westway Shopping Centre in Frome. The team has also handled portfolio management issues for retailers and restaurant operators such as Kourt Food Group and LK Bennett. David Johnston has experience in property development and investment.

The real estate team at Russell-Cooke LLP exhibits ‘exceptional commercial awareness and excellent legal ability’, and while the ‘partners are always engaged’, the team has ‘the consistency and the depth to cover most transactions’. The department particularly stands out in the retail and restaurant space, where Peter Nicholson advised Khaadi Fashions on a lease acquisition in Westfield London, and consultant Rachael Rigamonti acted for Lord Alpha Investments in relation to the letting of a Grade II listed building at London Bridge to a Hong Kong Michelin-starred restaurant group. Department head Helen Edwards advised The Gym on the leasing aspects of the client’s purchase of multiple facilities in the Midlands and norther England. Matt Garrod is instructed by long-standing client Pret A Manger, which he assisted with a pre-let agreement for a Grade II listed building in the Tottenham Court Road Cross Rail development. Howard Swindall has advised clients such as Newable Property Developments on multimillion-pound development site acquisitions. Peter Dawson and Arnold Isaacson are additional contacts.

Sharpe Pritchard LLP has considerable expertise advising public sector bodies on regeneration schemes and residential and mixed-use development projects. Department head Joannah Pickering, who is highly regarded for public sector work, assisted London Borough of Camden with the procurement and development agreements for the restoration and remodelling of the Grade II Camden Town Hall building. Pickering has also advised Runnymede Borough Council and London Borough of Wandsworth with the procurement of development partners for major regeneration sites. The team has also handled a letting transaction for the Ministry of Defence. Also recommended are Gemma Duncan and Aidan Dickinson, who has experience with CPO mandates.

Simmons & Simmons’ property team has ‘great strength in depth’ and provides ‘consistently prompt and responsive service without sacrificing quality’. The department is particularly focused on large asset management, private capital and funds investment, and property finance. In one of the first major investment deals following the Brexit referendum, Matthew Hooton advised Deka Immoilien on the acquisition of a 420,000 ft development site at Rathborne Square. Similarly, John Kelsey assisted Deka Immobilien with the £485m acquisition of Cannon Place, which was among the largest single-asset deals in 2017. Kelsey also advised London Properties on its £100m+ sale of one of the market’s first large-scale co-living developments. Ali Crosthwaite has acted for various development partners in matters including a joint venture data centre development and an office-led development in Central London. Further, the ‘responsive and practical’ Richard Hopkinson-Woolley is advising Tishman Speyer on the refurbishment of Economist Plaza at London St James’s. Additional contacts include Deian Rhys and Nick Jones. Simon Gardiner joined the team from Pinsent Masons LLP, and Caroline Turner-Inskip was promoted to partner.

Squire Patton Boggs specialises in property investment work and is instructed by a variety of private and institutional investors. Patrick Ryan, who has experience in investment and development work, advised Evans Randall on the purchase of a pre-let office block in London, and also assisted LaSalle with the purchase of a multi-let retail and residential property. Ryan also acts for AXA in relation to the funding and development aspects of various office, retail and mixed-use projects. Gary Paddison is regularly instructed in investment mandates including strategic portfolio sales and acquisitions, and Rachel Orton has a wide-ranging corporate real estate and property finance practice. Also recommended are John Danahy, who handles strategic portfolio management transactions, and Michael Shaw, who heads the practice group and has particular expertise in inbound investment mandates from China and East Asia.

Stephenson Harwood has a well-known property investment practice and has been especially active in portfolio transactions in the logistics and alternatives markets. In one stand-out matter, Simon Brading assisted HC-One with its £300m acquisition of 122 care homes from Bupa. Department head Jonathon Wilkes advised Tristan Capital on the £245m sale to Brockton Capital of a portfolio of retail parks and warehouses across the UK. The team also has broad experience in the hotel and leisure sector. Indeed, Wilkes advised easyHotel UK ok the acquisition of four new properties for the future conversion or redevelopment to supplement its hotel portfolio in England and Wales. AccorInvest and Mandarin Oriental Hotels Group are additional leisure-sector clients. Stephen Laud assisted Hong Kong-based Noble Chariot on its £135m purchase of 3 St James’s Square. Laud has also advised Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust on property acquisitions, disposals and pre-letting transactions. James Trundle and Robert Newman are also recommended. Catriona Berman joined the team from Goodwin.

Steptoe and Johnson UK LLP has experience in mixed-use and residential development projects, real estate investment across the UK, and has been particularly active in property matters involving data centres and retirement villages. Indeed, the department is instructed by two of the largest data centre operators in the UK. Simon Collis and Sam Kelly advised Digital Realty Trust on a number of matters including the £22m acquisition of a new data centre site in the Docklands. Additionally, Kelly and Brendan Patterson are acting for Audley Court in relation to multiple sites outside London, which will be developed into retirement villages. Further, Matthew Farmer advised Howes Lane Projects on acquisition of a development site forming part of the Bicester Eco Town. Associate Jasvinder Sahotay is recommended.

With expertise in the restaurant and retail sectors, Teacher Stern LLP is especially recommended for letting transactions, where the team can provide ‘a continuity of service that one might lose with a larger firm’. The team includes Vanessa Cassidy and Paul Adam, who advised AP16 on the grant of a lease at Heathrow Airport to British Airways, conditional on construction works. Similarly, Russell Raphael has acted for Lola’s Cupcakes in relation to lease transactions in numerous London locations. Investment highlights have included Oliver Azzuri advising on the sale of a property with consent for student housing, and Eytan Weisz assisting a property group with a freehold purchase in Harrow. In the development space, Reetu Chopra advised Vindex Properties, in a joint venture with Regal Homes, on a mixed-use development project in Shoreditch. Additional contacts include Victoria Hodges and David Irwin.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP acts for a multitude of private investors in transactions involving retail, hospitality and office property, but is perhaps best known for its significant development work, where it acts for public and private sector clients. In the public sector, Scott Dorling and real estate head Sara Bailey continue to advise London Borough of Enfield on the £6bn Meridian Water regeneration scheme, which has recently seen the team handle land acquisitions and negotiate the master developer agreement. Further, Adrian Leavey is acting in relation to the development and plot sales for the landmark London Pinnacle residential development in Canary Wharf. Additional development highlights included Amy Shaw advising Hill Residential on its joint venture with Peabody Trust for the purpose of residential developments on multiple sites, and Sangita Unadkat acting for Bath and North East Somerset Council in relation to the redevelopment of an historic site in the centre of Bath. Key contacts in the investment practice include Jeremy Hunt, who assisted Residential Secure Income with the £100m acquisition of a portfolio of retirement properties, and Yvette Bryan, who advised Naissance Capital Real Estate on the £20.5m acquisition of Stadium Plaza in Cardiff. Julien Allen and Andy Barnard are also recommended.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP handles strategic investment mandates for its institutional investor client base, but is perhaps best known in the real estate sector for its ‘efficient and high-quality advice’ regarding hotel management agreements. Felicity Jones heads the hotel practice and is noted for her ‘robust legal and commercial insight’ and ‘prompt client correspondence’. Hetan Ganatra is instructed by BP Pension Fund (one of the department’s anchor clients), which he advised on the acquisition of two Travelodge hotels in Torquay and Chestnut. Ganatara also assisted a property company with the acquisition of a long leasehold at a prominent London hotel. Additional contacts include Simon Folley and department head Gary Ritter, who has handled strategic residential and development site acquisitions.

White & Case LLP provides ‘pragmatic and commercial advice’ to real estate investors and financial institutions in high-value investment and property finance transactions. Headed by James Dodsworth, the team is active in the retail sector, where it acts for clients such as Harrods, and is regularly involved in large investment transactions involving shopping centre and retail park assets. In one example, David Cox advised Cerberus Capital Management on its acquisition of a portfolio of five Finnish shopping centres with a purchase option for a development site. The department also has expertise in property transactions involving data and logistics centres, where it is instructed by clients including IO Data Centres, and recently completed a sale and leaseback transaction involving core UK data centres of a global investment bank. Additionally, property finance specialist Victoria Landsbert advised Piper Jaffrey on the letting of a Mayfair premises to Sciens Capital. James Johnson was promoted to partner in 2018.

Clients note that Winckworth Sherwood LLP is ‘punching well above its weight’ when it comes to residential-led development projects and large residential sales transactions. Jointly headed by Roger Fitton and Francesco Ferrari, the department is best known for corporate joint venture arrangements in relation to residential, and particularly social housing developments, but the team has also advised investors and development consultants on strategic site acquisitions and commercial development projects. Alan Duncan is advising a London property developer on its joint venture for the acquisition and future development of a plot in a prominent East London development site, while Eollyn Ives assisted Aviva Investors with its acquisition from Barratt of a portfolio of mixed-use developments for the purpose of ground rent investment. The team has also advised a property-owning company on the estate management aspects of one of London’s largest ongoing redevelopment schemes. Further, Andrew Bedford assisted Horiba Mira with the acquisition, development and pre-let of its flagship MIRA Technology Institute Conference Centre at Hinckley Leicestershire.

Allen & Overy LLP is instructed by foreign and domestic clients in corporate real estate and investment transactions, and also handles letting and asset management work for a variety of landlords, and tenants in the financial services sector. In the hotel sector, Christopher Woolf advised Dubai Holdings and Jumeirah Group, as joint venture partners with Henderson Park, on the €500m acquisition of the Westin Hotel in Paris, which involved a subsequent lease of the hotel to Jumeirah. Woolf also assisted a US private equity fund on the £93m off-market acquisition of a portfolio of industrial properties across the UK. Department head Imogen Moss acted for Ashby Capital in relation to the £320m sale of the Jersey SPV owning 200 Aldersgate in London, a multi-let office, retail and leisure complex. Further, Woolf and Moss have advised UK and Southeast Asian investors on proposed large-scale logistics portfolio transactions, and have handled HQ relocations for high-profile banks, investment companies and regulatory bodies. Counsel Emma Willoughby has experience with complex investment transactions, development finance and letting agreements.

‘By any measure’, Ashurst is ‘a top-tier real estate firm’ with significant experience in major London development projects and real estate investment throughout Europe and the UK. The department has particularly strong investment clients throughout Asia and Europe and has completed a number of market-leading transactions acting for Korean investors. Investment head David Jones advised TH Real Estate, on behalf of the Cityhold Office Partnership, on the £292m sale of One Kingdom Street in London. Sarah Sivyour handled multiple West End property acquisitions for AFIAA, a real estate investment vehicle for Swiss pension funds. Further, Melanie Jordan advised Singapore-based CDL Hospitality Trust on its acquisition of Manchester’s Lowry Hotel, and also assisted Morrisons with the £93m sale and leaseback of a Birmingham customer services centre to Tritax. The firm has also been at the forefront of London’s development market. Indeed, Hugh Lumby and Richard Vernon have acted for Lendlease on a number of £1bn+ developments in 2017-2018; most recently, the team assisted the client with its winning bid for the 25-year, £3.5bn redevelopment of Euston station. Lumby also acts for Westfield on all of its major London developments, including the phase two extension of Westfield London, the leisure and residential expansion at Westfield Stratford, and the client’s germinal joint venture with Hammerson for a £4bn regeneration project in Croydon. Henry Moss and senior associate Tim Regis (who is ‘very commercial, very intelligent, and very pleasant’) are involved in a major, seven-phase PRS-led development project in East London. In the leisure sector, Trevor Goode is advising Qatari Diar on the conversion of the current US embassy in London into a luxury hotel. The team has also handled London HQ relocations for various financial institutions, and provides ongoing landlord and tenant advice to landed estates and major domestic and international occupiers. Darren Rogers and Patrick Williams joined Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP in 2017.

The team at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP ‘can service all levels of investment and development work’ and ‘understands the importance of every deal, no matter how small’. That said, the team is often involved in some of the market’s largest transactions and development projects. Indeed, department head Chris de Pury  advised Hong Kong-listed CC Land Holdings on its £1.2bn acquisition of the Jersey company owning The Cheesegrater at 122 Leadenhall Street. Similarly, Robert MacGregor assisted Canary Wharf Group and Landsec Group on the £1.3bn sale of their joint interest in London’s Walkie-Talkie building to Hong Kong-based LKK Health Products Group. MacGregor is also advising Quintain subsidiary Tipi on the regeneration of a large estate at Wembley Park, which is among the UK’s largest build-to-rent developments. Also in the residential space, Andrew Yates and Tessa Kimber are acting for London Legacy Development Corporation in connection with two PRS-led developments at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Further, consultant Simon Allen is advising Great Western Developments on a major development scheme surrounding Paddington station. The team, which includes Laura Wild, also has experience in the hotel sector, and assisted Crosstree with the acquisition and financing of the Hotel RE Shoreditch, which included a management agreement with Mama Shelter, a Paris-based boutique brand making its first venture into the UK market. Samant Narula, who is ‘a great deal guy’, is instructed by clients including Hermes Investment Management, and Claire Milton is highly recommended. Verity Waington and Anna Robbins joined the team from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, but hotel specialist Karen Friebe left for Bird & Bird LLP and Anthea Bamford joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP. Alan Twine and Emma La Wita made partner in 2018.

In the eyes of some clients, Clifford Chance’s ‘industry knowledge across the board is second to none and the strength in depth in the real estate team is truly outstanding’. Equally adept at investment and development work, the practice has formidable experience with various investment structures and forming joint venture development partnerships. Perhaps the team’s flagship matter of 2017, Adrian Levy, Catherine Cook and Alis Pay (‘an exceptionally talented and versatile lawyer’) helped lead a large cross-border team that advised acquisition vehicles established by China Investment Corporation on the €12.3bn acquisition of Logicor, which was the largest logistics property deal to date, and the second largest European real estate transaction ever. Franc Peña assisted Gulf-based multi-family investment office Tilad on the purchase of an 83,000 ft2 site in Hammersmith, which marked the client’s first UK acquisition. The team also counselled Amadeus on the pre-let of its head office to be located at Heathrow, and advised the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan on an agreement to surrender HSBC’s underlease of a Westminster property. Mark Payne has been involved in major development projects in the logistics and office sectors, and continues to advise Battersea Power Station Land Company on its eight-phase, 39-acre redevelopment project of the Battersea Power Station. Jonathan Solomon’s ‘calm and measured approach sets the tone for productive meetings and negotiations’, while Angela Kearns ‘exhibits impressive industry knowledge and is an invaluable adviser’ in large development projects. Indeed, Kearns is acting for The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels in relation to the Peninsula London luxury hotel development adjacent to Buckingham Palace. Jane Cheong Tung Sing is also recommended. Matt Taylor and Ian Painter were made partners.

With ‘a real depth of experience and an impressive breadth of resources’, CMS is ‘hands down, one of the strongest firms in the global real estate industry’. Headed by Ciaran Carvalho, the property department is among the largest in London, and handles asset management and letting work across Europe for clients such as E&Y and Morgan Stanley. Further, the team is advising Google on the development of its new UK HQ on King’s Cross Estate, and also assisted Snap with the ten-year lease of its West End office. Nick Collins and Amanda Howard are acting for Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in relation to its joint venture with Lendlease for a targeted £1.5bn investment into the PRS sector. Also in the development space, Mark Heighton is advising Imperial College on all real estate aspects of its multibillion-pound Imperial West project, which recently involved the negotiation of an operating agreement with Central Working for the provision of flexible working space at the new development. The group’s real estate expertise spans the gamut of asset classes. Marc Franks and Rob Raimes have assisted Brockton Capital with a number of high-value investment transactions, including the £559m sale of three portfolios of light industrial properties. Additionally, Barry Morris advised Landsec on the disposal of its 50% stake in London’s Walkie-Talkie building to LKK Health Products Group. James Miller and corporate partner Thomas Page are key contacts in the hotel and leisure sub-group, which acted for Fattal Hotels in relation to the £800m acquisition of 36 hotel businesses and brand of the Jurys Inn Group. The team also handles ongoing property issues for retailers including Whole Foods, Costco, New Balance Athletic Shoes UK and Comptoir des Cotonniers. Clare Thomas, John Cumpson, Helen Johnson and Alistair Kennedy are also key figures in the department.

‘Uber impressive in every aspect of its real estate service’, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP advises inward investors, REITs and major institutional players on development projects and large single asset and portfolio investment transactions. In the student housing space, Nicholas Bartlett advised LetterOne on the £870m sale of a portfolio of student housing to iQ, which represented 5% of the student housing market in London. Richard Lampert acted for Avanton in connection with the site assembly for a mixed-use development at Old Kent Road, including the pre-sale of social housing units to A2Dominion. Additionally, Angus Ford assisted Grainger with its purchase of 234 units of a PRS scheme in Sheffield. Lee Jackson advised China Cinda Asset Management on its £500m acquisition of a portfolio of 26 UK-based hotels from Bain Capital. The team is well-known in the hotel and leisure space, where Susan Samuel acted for Hilton Worldwide in relation to the sale of three Hilton hotels and the negotiation of a franchise agreement with the client’s landlord for those hotels. Samuel also advised Yum! Brands on the refranchising of 200 UK KFC stores, which involved the transfer of title to 14 separate franchisees. The group has also been involved in a number of headline letting transactions, which included department head Bruce Dear advising Facebook UK on the lease arrangements for its new West End HQ, and Tom Goldsmith acting for Expedia in relation to the high-value tripartite lease agreement for its new European HQ in Islington. Similarly, Dear advised KPMG on the sale and leaseback of its Canary Wharf HQ, while landlord instructions included acting for Blackstone on the complete letting arrangements for the Adelphi Building in London’s West End.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is ‘able to provide sufficient resources in all areas of real estate on very short notice to ensure transaction timetables are met’. Shona Grey and Ian Cox handled a number of large-scale property mandates for Blackstone, which included its joint acquisition of a UK light industrial platform from Brockton Capital and Dunedin Properties, which involved over 130 properties and more than 1,000 separate tenancies. The team has also assisted Hines with multiple corporate real estate transactions: global practice head Jeremy Walden advised the client on the acquisition and financing of the Royal Exchange, Manchester from Trinistar Manchester, while Julian Pollock structured two joint ventures with Henderson Park, one of which targets value-add student accommodation investments, and another for the acquisition and redevelopment of a five-star hotel in Athens. Further, Donald Rowlands is advising Brookfield on all real estate aspects of its 100 Bishopsgate development, which recently involved a 20-year pre-let agreement with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, which will take occupancy in 2021. In the London office market, the highly regarded Richard Forsdyke acted for Oxford Properties on the sale of its 50% stake in the Cheesegrater building to CC Land Holdings. Forsdyke is also advising Almacantar on the £500m Marble Arch Place redevelopment project. The team is also acting for British Land in relation to the multibillion-pound redevelopment of a 46-acre site in Rotherhithe. Further, the real estate group has an active letting and property management practice, which is led by Nick Turner, who recently counselled TfL on the lease agreements for its new office hub in Stratford. Also of note, the team manages the high-profile Broadgate Estate in the City of London. Additional contacts include Shelagh McKibbin, David Rosen, and newly promoted partners Paul Chases and Will Turnbull.

Leveraging ‘decades of engagement with the real estate sector’, Hogan Lovells International LLP has the ‘knowledge, business acumen and strength in depth’ to deliver ‘sophisticated projects’. The team has particular expertise in the public sector and is instructed by major landowners such as British Land and The Crown Estate. In one stand-out matter, Victoria Sutcliffe assisted British Land with the pre-let of a Regent’s Street premises to Dentsu Aegis Network, which was among the largest West End pre-lets in two decades. Additionally, the ‘personable and pragmatic’ Dion Panambalana is acting for Calthorpe Estates in relation to a £300m urban regeneration project in Birmingham. Also in the development space, Gill McGreevy is advising the King’s Cross Central partnership on the £2bn redevelopment of King’s Cross, and Daniel Norris is acting for AFC Wimbledon in relation to the development of its new stadium in London Borough of Merton. Nicholas Roberts has assisted various clients with HQ relocations to large-scale regeneration sites in Central London and the West End. Investment highlights included Norris assisting The Prudential Assurance Company with the £300m+ sale of a South Bank property to Deutsche Asset Management, and global real estate head Jackie Newstead advising William Pears Group on a portfolio acquisition of five conference centre hotels from Principal Hailey. Oliver Chamberlain leads the luxury and fashion brands real estate subgroup, which advises clients such as Russell & Bromley. Also recommended are corporate real estate specialist Sian Owles, John Condliffe and counsel Christopher Somorjay, who is instructed by a number of institutional investors.

Linklaters LLP is ‘capable of fielding top-notch talent in every discipline affecting a real estate deal, in a way that can only be achieved with the depth of a true specialist firm’. Global real estate head Andy Bruce has ‘the unique ability to put his seniority at the service of a deal’; ‘what clients get with him is impressive commercial sensibility wrapped inside a very able lawyer’. Bruce and Simon Price advised the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund on its role in the concerted purchase of a stake in Accor’s €4.4bn hotel property business. Price has particular experience in the hotel and leisure sector and assisted Mandarin Oriental Hotels with the management agreements of a new boutique hotel and branded residences in West London. Further, the group assisted a multinational joint venture with its acquisition of a portfolio of large retail property assets spread across three European jurisdictions. In the development space, the team is advising Lendlease on the £2bn Elephant and Castle regeneration project. Additionally, Martin Elliott is acting for the Barratt Group in relation to a mixed-use development in Hounslow comprising over 500 new homes and an extensive leisure and retail complex. Patrick Plant advised Deutsche Bank on the pre-let of its new London HQ, and has acted for a global fintech company on the development of its European HQ. Tom Watkins exhibits ‘excellent business acumen’ and managing associate Siobhan Burton is ‘whip-smart’ and ‘knows how to manage a large team’. Richardson Capital and Triuva are among the department’s key clients.

Mayer Brown International LLP is sought after for major investment transactions that present ‘especially complex problems, which the team fully comprehends, and is able to explain to non-lawyer clients’. Indeed, in 2017 the team was involved in both of the UK’s two largest single-asset real estate deals to-date. Chris Harvey and Jeremy Clay advised LKK Health Products Group on its £1.3bn purchase of the Walkie-Talkie building. Similarly, Clay and Caroline Humble acted for the joint venture comprising British Land and Oxford Properties in relation to the £1.2bn sale of the Cheesegrater building. In the development space, the ‘pragmatic and commercial’ Martin Wright is advising The Silvertown Partnership on the £3.5bn redevelopment of Silvertown in London’s Docklands. Wright also assisted DLA Piper with its head office relocation to Aldersgate Street. The team also has extensive experience of modular construction projects in the student accommodation and residential sectors. Iain Roberts was promoted to partner in 2018 and has been recognised as ‘a diligent, down-to-earth lawyer, who demonstrates control over demanding instructions’. Roberts is on a team that is advising Helical on the multi-phase redevelopment of the Bower, Old Street, which is valued at over £200m. Further, the department handles a multitude of letting work for The British Land Company, and provides ongoing letting support to Teighmore, which owns the Shard. Additional contacts include Patricia Jones and Anita Jones, the latter of whom heads the corporate real estate group. Jeremy Kenley joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

Norton Rose Fulbright provides ‘excellent, straightforward real estate advice with no egos attached’. The team’s clients praise the synergy of the real estate sector group, which leverages the firm’s tax, planning, construction, finance, corporate and litigation expertise in large multidisciplinary investment and development projects. One of the group’s flagship projects, David Sinclair is acting for a joint venture between India-based Hinduja Group and Spain’s OHL in relation to the £1bn redevelopment and conversion of The Old War Office into a luxury hotel and luxury apartments; this matter also involved agreements with Accor Hotels, which were negotiated by hotel specialist Nick Clayson. Indeed, the team has a significant presence in the hotel and leisure space where it has particular experience in Middle Eastern jurisdictions. Clayson has assisted Nakheel PJSC on the appointment of an operator for an iconic hotel in Dubai, and is also advising Karan Group on the development and management of a five-star hotel in Wa’ad Al Shamal, Saudi Arabia. Back in the London market, the department has carved out a specialism in assisting new entrants to the London market on HQ leasing arrangements. Department head Wasim Khan advised eve Sleep on the leasing of its new London HQ, and also assisted Trinity Mirror with its multimillion-pound lease at 10 Lower Thames Street from Northern & Shell Media Group. Similarly, Dan Wagerfield advised on a pre-let agreement for the client’s new Holborn HQ, and Lindsay Morgan assisted ING Bank with the lease of its new London HQ at Moorgate. On the landlord side, Charles Pinkerton acted for Prudential in relation to its multimillion-pound letting of 100,000ft to WeWork. Additional contacts include David Hawkins and Neil Biswas.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has developed ‘an excellent reputation’ for advising overseas investors and high-net-worth individuals. Headed by Mark Smith, the team exhibits ‘a unique sense of commercialism and overall cohesion’, which makes it the preferred firm of some clients for portfolio transactions, development projects and corporate occupancy requirements. Development highlights have included Lynn Povey advising City of London Corporation on the land swap agreements and leasehold structures to facilitate the development of the Leadenhall Triangle, and Simon Ewing assisting Salamanca with the purchase of a brownfield development site. Smith has also acted for Zenium Technology Partners in multiple data centre investment transactions, and Lee Medlock handled a number of strategic portfolio deals for Stonegate Pub Company. The team has also handled HQ letting mandates for a household named sporting company and a major UK media and telecoms group. Robin Grove and senior associates Ruby Dalal and Eddie Richards are also recommended. Melville Rodrigues, who has expertise in real estate investment funds, joined from CMS.

Clyde & Co LLP’s real estate team ‘compares very favourably to many of its City-based competitors’. The team is ‘extremely competitive’ across a range of property services and has particular expertise in the retail sector. David Wyatt heads the firm’s global retail group, which serves as panel-appointed property advisers to major retailers including B&Q and Dixons Carphone Warehouse. In addition to large asset management mandates, Graeme Taylor has handled HQ relocations for clients such as Sasol UK and TT Electronics. Taylor is also acting for development joint venture Howard Osborne in relation to a large student accommodation development in Cambridge, which has included a pre-let of the whole site and a forward funding of the development. Similarly, Martin Quicke advised IRE-UK Resi Salford on the acquisition and forward funding of a PRS development in Salford. Annabelle Redman is assisting Regal Real Estates with the property, planning and financing of a development at Shoreditch Exchange, which involved a pre-let to WeWork. The department, which includes Adam Taylor-Smith and Will Deeprose, has also handled public sector instructions, which included advising Spelthorne Borough Council on the £47m acquisition of the first stand-alone office building at Heathrow Airport.

Focusing on residential and brownfield development projects, Collyer Bristow LLP provides ‘timely and commercial advice’ across a range of acquisition, financing and development mandates. Indeed, Alex O’Connor and Rory Macpherson, who are rated for their ‘availability and down-to-earth approach’, are acting for an entity within Ipsus Developments in relation to the funding and development of a mixed-use site in Caversham. Further, the team has extensive experience acting for development joint ventures, and is advising Aberfeldy New Village the funding, development and sales of phase three of the client’s £300m GDV project in East London. In the letting space, John Rochman advised an iconic car brand on the lease of its new Central London retail premises, and Jonathan Wood assisted a regulatory body with its lease of a Central London premises. Stephen Gawne and Jonathan Wiese advise a number of funds clients and estate managers on strategic real estate transactions and portfolio issues. Senior associate Sukina Dhillon is also recommended. Additional development clients include Be Living and Dee Park Partnership.

The real estate department at DAC Beachcroft LLP focuses on asset management, strategic investment transactions and residential development projects. Headed by Robert Lee, the team provides comprehensive portfolio management advice to shopping centre operators including Westfield Europe, and on the tenant side, advised Panasonic on the relocation of its UK HQ. Similarly, Sakis Tombolis assisted a technology company on the lease of its new HQ in Slough. The team also handles landlord and tenant work for clients such as L’Oreal and Go-Ahead Group. On the development side, Gemma Leonard has handled strategic development site acquisitions for house builders including Bellway Homes, and Crispin Tomlinson advised Galliford Try Partnerships on the property aspects of its acquisition of five freehold site with potential planning for over 5,000 residential units. Investment highlights included Helen Murcott advising Hines, in conjunction with Greenberg Traurig, on the sale of its Grade A development at Cannon Place, and James Ross acting for The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society on its £152m acquisition of Hermes’ stake in Bluewater Shopping Centre. Further, Andrew Boulton and Graham Brothwood have handled investment transactions for local authorities including Waverley Council. Lesley Hughes is another key contact.

DLA Piper’s ‘pragmatic and well-resourced’ global real estate group attracts high-value investment mandates from US private equity funds and domestic investors. ‘A giant of the commercial real estate field’, William Naunton assisted Oval Real Estate with the acquisition of 60 properties on a central Birmingham site that is part of one of the UK’s largest city centre regenerations. Naunton is also advising The Pollen Estate on the redevelopment of a complex site at Bond Street, which included two high-value retail pre-lets and a pre-let for HSBC Private Bank’s new HQ. Similarly, Paul Jayson acted for Boston Consulting Group in relation to the pre-let of its 123,000ft UK HQ in London’s West End. Jonathan Northey is acting for Mace Developments in relation to a site in Southwark with planning for a mixed-use development including a 457-unit student accommodation and a large retail and leisure space. Additionally, Richard Wilkinson advised PGIM on the structuring of a joint venture with Castleoak for the purpose of developing care homes. With ‘obvious strength in depth’, the team is well-positioned to handle large portfolio transactions with assets across various jurisdictions. Indeed, Mark Keeling and Robert O’Hanrahan were instructed by Blackstone to handle the property aspects of its €12.3bn sale of Logicor to affiliates of China Investment Corporation. The group also makes good use of its ‘invaluable regional network’. Leeds-based Tim Field has advised RBS on multiple sale and lease transactions, including the £138m disposal of Premier Place in London. Consultant Richard Crossfield is another key contact in the London office.

Fladgate LLP’s multi-disciplinary real estate group operates across property, finance and corporate real estate mandates and performs each of these services to ‘the highest professional standards’. Headed by Richard Reuben, the department is especially active in the retail and leisure sectors and has a varied corporate tenant client base. Of note, Reuben assisted Turner Broadcasting System Europe with its pre-let of 98,000 ft in a new development at Old Street. Further, Gideon Dabby-Joory advised Mindspace, a European co-working space provider, on all the property aspects of the opening its first facility in London, marking the client’s entry into the UK market. The team has acted for Odeon Cinemas for over a decade, and Mark Saunders recently assisted the client with the opening of a 10-screen cinema in Bournemouth’s BH2 leisure complex. Additional retail and leisure sector clients include Monster Energy Europe, Paul Smith, Beaverbrooks the Jewellers and YO! Sushi. In the investment and development space, Matthew Williams advised US-based Madison International Realty on the property aspects of its £200m acquisition of a 50% stake in the Paternoster Square EC4 campus. Also recommended are Adrian Wallace, Amanda Hado-Bodfield and Stephen Lewis.

The team at Gowling WLG is ‘highly responsive and technically excellent, but what sets it apart is its industry knowledge and pragmatic approach, which enables the timely resolution of any potential issues’. The team is often involved in regeneration projects and over-station developments, and also has expertise in the retail sector. Giles Clifford is advising TfL and Crossrail on multiple office developments at Liverpool Street station, and of counsel Michael Hallowell is involved in a station redevelopment in the West End. The team, which includes Peter Thorne, is also advising a joint venture comprising St Mowden Properties and Vinci on the £1bn New Covent Garden redevelopment. Further, Richard Miles is advising Legal & General and Schroders UK Property Fund on the £400m regeneration of Bracknell town centre. Newly promoted partner Felicity Lindsay acted for The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society in relation to the launch of the UK’s largest-ever property fund, The Royal London UK Real Estate Fund. Further, Rabinder Chaggar assisted The Crowne Estate with the £63m disposal of a large retail park, and also advised a multi-national development joint venture with the acquisition of land for the development of a retail scheme. Malcolm Headley, who is ‘an expert in the field and commercial in his approach’, assisted Hearst Magazines UK with the pre-let of its new London HQ in Leicester Square. Sarah Galvin was promoted to partner, and director Sarah Birchley joined the firm from Simmons & Simmons. Additional contacts include Jon Lloyd and Richard Bate.

Macfarlanes LLP ‘demonstrates a reliable accessibility, and a willingness to turn around documents quickly’ in ‘complex corporate real estate’ matters. The team has been involved in many of the market’s busiest asset classes including PRS, where Anthony Burnett-Scott is acting for Legal & General in relation to PRS developments in Bath and Birmingham, and student accommodation, where Dan Marriott advised Canadian investor Realstar Group on its acquisition of a block of student housing in Hammersmith. Burnett-Scott also acted for Legal & General in relation to the forward funding of development office sites in Cardiff, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham totalling 850,000ft. Tom Peddar, who is a key figure in the letting practice, advised The Economist Newspaper on the lease agreement for its new HQ in The Adelphi building near Charing Cross. Major landlord clients include Intu Properties, Derwent London and Stanhope. The team also has expertise in single-asset and portfolio transactions in the hotel sector. Indeed, Dominic Cunliffe and Simon Perry assisted Foncière des Régions with its £858m acquisition of 14 hotels from Starwood Capital, and also acted for Abu Dhabi-based Lulu Group International in relation to its acquisition of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Edinburgh. Other investment highlights include Nick Barnes advising Supermarket Income REIT on three supermarket acquisitions totalling £151m. Also recommended are Ian Nisse, Clare Breeze, Steven Pitchford and Gerald Kelly, who has been involved in significant joint venture development and investment mandates.

With a distinct focus on high-value, non-commoditised work, Slaughter and May has ‘the kind of strength in depth and commercial acumen that clients may expect from a highly specialised firm’. The department has built particular expertise in athletic stadium developments and has a number of such developments ongoing, including advising Everton on its new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock. Department head Jane Edwarde is advising Derwent London on a substantial mixed-use office, theatre and retail development above the new Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road. Edwarde is also acting for a joint venture comprising a Carillion entity, Beijing Construction Engineering Group and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund in relation to the development of Airport City at Manchester Airport. The team also handles a considerable number of investment property transactions for Legal & General. Indeed, Richard Todd assisted Legal & General on the £270m sale of 70 Gracechurch Street in London, and also assisted the client with the £56.5m sale of Two Central Square in Cardiff. The group also has experience with complex HQ moves; this has recently included John Nevin assisting Bupa with the lease of its new HQ in Central London, and also advising Withers LLP on the lease of its new 60,000ft HQ. In the leisure sector, the team advised Tonstate Group on the £500m sale of two Metropole hotels. Other work includes handling a range of Central London landlord matters, and advising retailers such as Marks and Spencer on strategic property issues.

Taylor Wessing LLP’s ‘exceptional’ real estate group is perhaps best known for its property investment work and its hotel and leisure sector subgroup, which was strengthened by the arrival of Mark Rajbenbach from Paul Hastings LLP. Edward Story advised Virgin Hotels on the management agreements for an Edinburgh hotel, which was the group’s first hotel outside of the US. Also in the hotel space, Richard Bursby counselled Redefine BDL Hotels UK on its appointment to manage 26 four-star QHotels on behalf of Aprirose, and also acted for Yotel in relation to Starwood Capital’s $250m investment into and partnership with the client. In other investment highlights, Alan Evans advised Tritax Big Box REIT on property acquisitions totalling over £550m in 2017, and Keith Barnett provides strategic acquisition advice to Meadow Partners. Christopher Turley is another key contact for investment work. The team is also involved in place-making and alternative asset development projects. John Whitfield is advising St George on its £750m mixed-use development at Blackfriars, comprising a 50-storey residential tower, a five-star hotel and a retail development. Similarly, Paul Leamy is acting for McLaren Property in relation to the development of six forward-funded student housing projects, and is also instructed by a joint venture urban regeneration vehicle. The team including senior associate Lauren Fendick has also handled significant letting transactions for well-known technology and financial services companies.

In 2017, BLM brought on an ‘excellent’ real estate team from Slater & Gordon, which specialises in property management work and letting, and has experience across a range of sectors including hotel and leisure. Co-headed by Peter Klim, the department is split across the firm’s London and Manchester offices, the latter of which houses practice co-heads Stephen Crook and Stephen Lintott. Klim handles property portfolio management and a host of letting work for clients such as Public and Commercial Services Union and The Police Federation of England and Wales. On the tenant side, the team advised Hunters and Partners on the relocation of its international HQ to a new development in Hammersmith. Klim also provides ongoing property support to Be At One, and has experience with hotel sale and purchase transactions.

Bristows LLP provides ‘consistently high-quality service’ and ‘works hard to understand its client’s objectives’, which makes the real estate team ‘really stand out’ in corporate occupier issues and property portfolio management. Landlord side work has seen department head Teresa Edmund acting for The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in relation to multiple letting and renewal transactions, while tenant instructions include advising Schibsted Products & Technology UK on the acquisition and fit-out of its new UK HQ at Oxford Street. Similarly, Edmund acted for Euronext London in connection with the taking of its new London HQ at Cannon Street, and also advised Dimension Data Network Services on its new ten-year lease of an office at Fleet Place in London. Also recommended is senior associate Tim Allen, who has proven ‘invaluable in lease negotiations on a tight timeframe’.

Davitt Jones Bould is 'an extremely client-focused, solutions-driven' boutique firm, which handles investment transactions, letting and notional estate management work, and is particularly noted for its prestigious central government and public sector client base. An example of the team's nationwide mandates includes Madeleine Davitt and Robin de Wreede advising a national corporate occupier on the negotiation of over 300 leases for offices and other properties. In the investment space, Philippa Hipwell is assisting Woking Borough Council with its £72m acquisition of Dukes Court from a special purpose vehicle, and also acted for an investor in relation to the £75m acquisition of a large retail park. The team provides estate and portfolio management advice to Plato Estates, The Royal Parks and Highways England. Tom Castle and Emma Gormley are also recommended.

‘By international standards’, Dechert LLP’s London real estate department is ‘excellent in all respects’. The team attracts multimillion-pound investment mandates from North American, European and Middle Eastern investors, and also provides real estate support to the firm’s corporate client base. William Fryzer assisted SAL Pension Fund with numerous occupational lease matters, handled various transactions including two restaurant disposals in Kingston Upon Thames, and also provides the client with ongoing portfolio management advice. Counsel and department head David Gervais, who is rated for his ‘responsiveness and flexibility’, assisted Bicycle Theraputics with the relocation of its research facility at Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge, and has also advised a well-known luxury retailer on the lease of its flagship store in London. Associate Isaac Bordon is also recommended.

Dentons is rated for its ‘strong business acumen’ and ‘high-quality legal advice’, but time and again clients have suggested that it’s the lawyers’ ‘top-notch client service and impressive response times’ that really make the team stand out. The firm is well known for its global hotels expertise. Indeed, the team acted for Aprirose in relation to its £525m acquisition of QHotels from Bain Capital Credit and Canyon Partners, which was among the largest hotel portfolio acquisitions of 2017. Further, Mark Daliere counselled Astir Palace Vouliagmeni on agreements with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts for the operation of the iconic Astir Palace in Athens. Similarly, Daliere advised 1875 Finance on agreements with Six Senses Resorts for the development and management of an ultra-luxury resort and branded residences in Switzerland. In the retail space, Andrew Henderson has handled a number of strategic portfolio transactions for Sports Direct, and Simon Masri assisted US-based Karlin Real Estate with its acquisition of two retail outlet centres in the UK. Richard Budge is acting for Slough Urban Renewal and North West Quadrant on multiple projects, including the five-phase redevelopment of the former Thames University Campus. The department also has particular expertise in developing student accommodations and PRS projects. Rob Thompson is ‘first-class’ and ‘personifies the team’s stellar client service’. Thompson, Rupert Dowdell and several others joined the firm in 2016, and the London real estate team continued that growth trend into 2017-2018. The firm absorbed Maclay Murray & Spens, which brought Alex Coulter, Wendy Wilks and director Nicholas Mole to the real estate team. Virginia Glastonbury is another key contact.

‘A friendly and approachable firm’, Fieldfisher provides ‘commercial, pragmatic and innovative solutions’ coupled with ‘great client service, which is an integral part of the firm’s ethos’. Rhodri Pazzi-Axworthy advised Kennedy Wilson on the surrender and variation of part of BT’s premises in Watford and the subsequent grant of a new lease to; this involved a considerable redevelopment and was among the largest letting deals outside of Central London in 2017. Similarly, Sue Simpson advised Cambridge Medipark on a letting transaction with Abcam and also assisted the client with the forward funding of a development project with Tesco Pension Fund. Jonathan Wright is rated for his ‘calm and persistence in the face of challenging transactions’; he recently assisted an international software industry client with the acquisition of its new HQ premises in Birmingham. Jayne Elkins acts for Shell Pension Funds in relation to its day-to-day property management work, and assisted the client with multiple retail warehouse acquisitions outside of London. The team also advised London Borough of Southwark on its acquisition of a portfolio of investment properties in the London Bridge area. Further, Paul Houston handles retail property management work for clients including BlackRock and Deutsche Asset Management. Houston is also instructed by Dominvs Group, which is among the team’s major hotel-sector clients. Additional contacts include Ramatu Banga and Liam Buckley.

Glovers Solicitors LLP is regarded by its clients as ‘a first-class firm in the retail and restaurant sectors, which is evinced by its extensive list of high-profile clients’. Headed by John Barber, the team is instructed by a roster of well-known restaurant operators including PizzaExpress, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Dishoom, Wagamama and Nando’s Chickenland. Further, the ‘supremely knowledgeable’ Philip Shotter assisted Azzurri Restaurants with a litany of acquisitions and disposals, and also advised Everyman Media on cinema acquisitions in London, Newcastle and Liverpool. In the development space, Andrew Nicklinson has advised clients in the self-storage and retirement village sectors on development site acquisitions. Darran Smith, who joined the firm from Fladgate LLP, assisted Switzerland-based REYL & Co UK with the lease of its new offices in Mayfair, and Philip Mundy advised luxury shoe retailer World Wide Shoes on the renewal of its head office lease. Additional retail-sector clients include Giuseppe Zanotti UK and Jack Wolfskin UK.

The real estate group at K&L Gates LLP has considerable public sector expertise and is especially well known for its property investment and finance capabilities. In one of the team’s flagship mandates, Christian Major advised University of Utah on the £40m acquisition of a campus for its new business school. Amandeep Lafferty and Steven Cox are acting for Workspace Group in relation to a number of developments, which has included advice on plot sales, boundary concerns and various other development and planning issues. Cox also assisted Home House with the lease of its premises at Great Cumberland Place. In the public sector, Neil Logan Green is advising London Borough of Barking and Dagenham on property matters concerning an innovative housing model designed to deliver housing at no cost to the local authority. The team, which includes Piers Coleman, also handles letting and various premises work for retailers and landlords. Additional contacts include special counsel Paul Alger, Melanie Curtis and department head Wayne Smith.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP has ‘a strong specialist team with a good reputation in the market’ for ‘pioneering new ways of documenting commercial retail leases as the sector adapts’. The team including Andrew Denye is particularly noted for advising prominent retail landlords including Intu and WRP Management. Further, Anne O’Neill advised Intu Property on its joint venture with LaSalle Investment Management for joint ownership of the Intu Chapelfield Shopping Centre in Norwich. Another key client is Notting Hill Housing Trust, which O’Neill is advising on the acquisition and development of affordable and shared-ownership residential units at Chobham Farm North as part of London’s Olympic Legacy scheme. The department also handles investment transactions in the renewable energy space. Also recommended are Fiona Stone and of counsel Sara Branch, who have experience with development letting and commercial landlord and tenant matters, and of counsel Jonathan Preece, who focuses on planning, construction and development issues.

RLS Law is ‘a go-to boutique law firm’, that provides ‘all the depth of knowledge and experience without some of the downsides of a massive firm’. Jointly headed by Julien Rutler and Craig Themis, the team has a strong partner pedigree, which is ‘extremely helpful in getting complex lease deals pushed through under tight time pressures’. Themis and the ‘up-and-coming’ Tom Foley advised Deliveroo on the conditional acquisition of its new UK head office at Cannon Street. Similarly, Rutler and senior associate Liam McArdle assisted Time Out England with the relocation of its head office to a King’s Cross premises. Soho Housing Association is among the group’s landlord clients. The team also has expertise in the restaurant sector, where it is advising the Flat Iron Square company with the creation of a food hub in the London Bridge area. Jason Goldsmith joined the team from Keystone Law.

Travers Smith LLP provides real estate investment funds with ‘top-quality service characterised by sound commercial and legal advice’ on development projects and strategic acquisitions, investment transactions, property finance and portfolio management mandates. The team handles a range of real estate work for Patron Capital, which included department head Simon Rutman advising on the acquisition of land in Oxford for the development of a care home. Rutman also assisted Westrock Capital with the acquisition of a site in Sheffield for a PRS development. Newly promoted partner Emma Pereira is acting for Clearbell Capital in relation to a place-making mixed-use development project at Riverwalk Durham, and has also assisted Lothbury Property Trust Company with letting transactions in retail parks across the UK. Clients also rate Paul Kenny’s ‘invaluable property advice’ on major corporate transactions, which recently included advising Micro Focus on property transfers and lease arrangements associated with the client’s merger with Hewlett Packard’s software division. Further, the team has advised tenants and landlords on significant London letting transactions involving household name tenants. In mid-2018, Alex Millar joined the team from Jones Day, which will considerably strengthen the firm’s development and investment practice. Additionally, Anthony Judge and Julian Bass retired from partnership, though the latter remains a consultant in the group.

Providing ‘outstanding service at all levels of the firm’, Wallace LLP advises clients in the leisure and retail sectors on property management matters and a variety of letting transactions, including leasehold enfranchisement work. Martin Otvos heads the real estate team and is rated for his ‘client-friendly communication and legal expertise’. Otvos is advising Harry Ramsdens on the disposal of a restaurant unit in Bluewater, and assisted Gentle Monster with the lease arrangements for its new flagship store in Oxford Circus. The team, which includes Matthew Morgan, is also instructed by hotel sector clients including Warwick Hotels & Resorts and Lester Hotels, and handles a range of property issues for a well-known athletics club. Additional contacts include Bibi Fakhrai, Jackie Boot and Mark Randolph.

Wedlake Bell LLP has a wide-ranging real estate team focusing on domestic and inbound international investment mandates, residential development and London-centric corporate occupancy work. Suzanne Gill has particular expertise in the telecoms sector and recently advised a household name telecoms provider on its lease of an innovative employee space in Central London; though Gill also has experience in development work, where she acted for Taylor Wimpey and Jaynic Suffolk Park in relation to the promotion agreement and construction documents for a 90-acre greenfield site in Suffolk. In the investment space, department head Malcolm Macfarlane advised a foreign wealth fund on its acquisition of an office plot in a prestigious London development site, and Claire Nelson assisted a private offshore investor with the due diligence on a high-value acquisition of a multi-let building in London. Macfarlane also provides ongoing advice to Fuller, Smith and Turner in relation to its pub, hotel and restaurant portfolio. The team is also active in the retail space, where Leah Freeman assisted Hugo Boss UK with three new store openings, and Grainne McCourt advised Warburg HIH Invest on lease transactions with H&M and Sushi Mania at a retail scheme in Cambridge. Marc Leyshon was promoted to partner.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP handles asset management and letting work for a variety of well-known landlords and tenants, and is also instructed by local authorities and house builders in connection with land acquisitions and regeneration projects. The team handles letting work nationwide, which has included Katherine Douglas advising Mewburn Ellis LLP on the relocation of its Bristol office, and William Akerman assisting Associated British Ports with the lease and operation of a new freight terminal in Southampton. Similarly, Craig Moore, who handles ongoing property management work for Flybe Group, advised Rittal on the lease acquisition of its new UK HQ in Canary Wharf. Tom Willows has advised Bellway North East on a litany of site acquisitions, and also acted for The Vista PRS Fund in relation to its forward commitment to purchase a PRS scheme in Liverpool, which is yet to be developed. Alistair Walton heads the retail sector group, which acts for clients including New Look Retailers, Specsavers, River Island Clothing Co and Decathlon UK. Martin Stacey heads the London real estate group, while John Ralph acts as national real estate head. Verity Waignton and Anna Robbins joined Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.

Bates Wells has ‘real strength from partner to associate level’ and is ‘a go-to firm’ for strategic property transactions and letting mandates in the charity, education and social enterprise sectors. In one stand-out matter, the ‘super-efficient’ Mark Traynor advised British Film Institute on the acquisition of a long leasehold interest in site that will be developed into a new National Film Centre. Traynor also assisted Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists with the acquisition of a London freehold premises from PwC. Similarly, newly promoted partner Jamie Huard assisted EEF with a multimillion-pound lease agreement. Also recommended are Anthony Cartmell, who heads the real estate department, and senior associate Karli Hiscock. Additional clients include Imperial Health Charity, YMCA, Goldsmiths College and Save the Children Fund.

Bircham Dyson Bell runs ‘an extremely efficient’ property group, which provides ‘high-quality advice’ on strategic property acquisitions and disposals, and letting agreements. Headed by Jonathan Fewster, the team is split between London and Cambridge and has particular expertise in the charities and not-for-profit sector. Indeed, Fewster advised Institute of Integrated Systematic Therapy on the multimillion-pound sale of a freehold interest of a property in Northamptonshire to a registered charity. The practice head also assisted The American School in England with the lease of a school estate in Thorpe Surrey. In the development space, Ellen James advised Indigoscott Group on the due diligence in connection with its purchase of an office building in Chiswick for the purpose of redevelopment, and also advised the client with its £16m sale of a development site in Balham. Senior associate Sushila Pindoria is ‘an extremely talented property lawyer’.

The team at Blake Morgan LLP is ‘responsive, proactive and extremely capable’ of handling complex lease agreements, development projects and property acquisitions and disposals. The team strengthened a number of sub-groups with the hires of Prashant Dave, senior solicitor Sophie Shaladi, Meera Jansen and legal director Navpreet Atwal. Dave, who joined from Hilmi + Partners LLP, specialises in the restaurant sector and has handled lease arrangements for well-known operators; Shaladi is ‘an extremely professional adviser’, who has a broad landlord, tenant and development practice; Jansen joined from Brecher LLP and has expertise in real estate finance; and Atwal has experience with development projects and formerly practiced at Dechert LLP. Senior associate Matthew Bell and department head Tony Coyne are key contacts for complex letting deals and lease acquisitions. In the development space, Stephen Solomons acted for Knightsbridge Capital in relation to the construction of 24 residential units in Wapping. Further, Kate Silverman advised One Housing Group on the acquisition of an affordable housing site at an Enfield regeneration site. Jeremy Taylor is recommended for site acquisitions and disposals and portfolio management work.

Clarkslegal LLP’s Reading-based property group is rated for its ‘prompt and practical advice’ on strategic investment, letting and asset management matters, and is particularly active in the restaurant, hotel and leisure sectors. Headed by the ‘helpful and efficient’ Rachel Krol, the team acts for a number of domestic investors and pension funds and also has experience handling letting transactions for US corporates entering the UK market. Simon Ralphs has negotiated lease agreements for multinational capital advisers and international corporates. The team, which includes Richard Higgs, is also instructed by hotel operators and has advised third-party contractors in hotel development projects. Kate Thomas, who is an experienced associate, joined the team from Horsey Lightly.

Druces LLP is known for providing ‘practical and considered advice on landlord and tenant issues that present particularly demanding timeframes’. Indeed, the team has experience acting for US-based first-time entrants to the UK market, and is also regularly instructed in portfolio management mandates and syndicated investment transactions. Department head Nicholas Brent provides ongoing UK property advice to Condé Nast, and Adrian Footer (‘a pragmatic and commercially minded team leader’) handles portfolio transactions and ongoing property management for clients such as Comland Commercial and Napier Capital. Key contacts in the investment team include Karen Chapman and Suzanne Middleton Lindsley, who advised Equinix on a data centre acquisition.

Specialising in the hospitality and retail sectors, Edwin Coe LLP’s real estate team is ‘responsive and commercial’ and ‘clearly outlines the risks and benefits of all the options available to a client’. The group is particularly experienced in acting for corporate occupiers in key letting agreements. In one example, Ian Andrew Gilmour advised Lush on the lease of its new London HQ in Soho. Additionally, the ‘invaluable’ William Thompson assisted a management consultant with a central London letting transaction, and Stephen Bower is a key contact in the development practice, which focuses on luxury residential developments and was strengthened by the arrival of Nik Haria from Rosenblatt. Contacts in the investment team include Philip Boursnell and Joanne McIvor, who is instructed by banks, financial institutions and other investors. Of counsel Mark Menhennet joined from Chadbourne & Parke, and Stuart Nash left for Rosenblatt.

Be it pure property work, or related fields such as tax, real estate finance or litigation, GSC Solicitors LLP is ‘exceptional by every metric’. The team has particular expertise in the hospitality sector, where it is instructed by hotel owners and numerous major fast food franchise owners. The highly recommended Harvey Posener has considerable experience in corporate letting work and assisted Universal Music with the 20-year lease of its King’s Cross HQ. Posener is also instructed by EMI and Channel 4. Peter Belcher is acting for a hotel owner in relation to the creation of a new hotel brand and the subsequent rebranding and franchising of its existing hotels. Matthew Phillips acted for a fast food franchise owner in relation to its high-value restaurant acquisition as part of a major fast food company’s strategic move toward a greater number of franchise operated stores. Also recommended is Amee Popat, who has experience with HQ leasing transactions.

As a firm that ‘really understands key points to secure a transaction’, Harbottle & Lewis LLP is particularly strong in UK lease negotiations and has unique experience acting for theatre and cinema companies. In one stand-out matter, Robert Reilly advised London Theatre Company on the pre-let agreement for the 1 Tower Bridge development and also advised on the final transaction documentation. Reilly also assisted Chester Performing Arts Centre with its 20-year lease agreement in a space including parts of Chester’s former Odeon Theatre. Similarly, Melanie Benson assisted Kobalt Music Group with the negotiation of its new head office lease near Cannon Street. Additional letting highlights include advising The Framestore on the multimillion-pound lease of its new head office at Chancery Lane, and acting for Really Useful Theatres Group in relation to subletting agreements for a restaurant premises. Also recommended are Leo Marino and Lee Greaves.

The team at Joelson 'works tirelessly for its clients' and 'always provides thorough advice within impressive timeframes'. Headed by Myles Levy, the department is especially acting in the London leasing space, where it is instructed by high-profile restaurant operators and various other corporate occupiers. David Merson is also recommended. Key clients include Regus Managed Office Solutions and Remedy Bars, which the team assisted with a lease of a Soho premises. Further, the firm has invested heavily in its property department, having recently brought on four new solicitors including associates Tegan Cummins and Kerry Coleman, who joined from DLA Piper and Ashley Wilson Solicitors respectively. Laura Bushaway left for Bircham Dyson Bell.

Lewis Silkin LLP’s real estate team has experience in the retail and leisure sectors, and provides clients ‘advice they can really rely on’. Headed by Jonathan Reuben, the team specialises in property management and leasing work, and expanded its development practice with the lateral hire of Anthony Van Hoffen from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP. Leonard Goodrich is advising Sager Group, as joint venture partner, on a 500,000ft mixed-use development in Islington. In the hospitality space, Simon Entwistle has handled concession agreements for various retail and hospitality spaces, an example of which included acting for Azzurri Restaurants in relation to agreements to operate Zizzi pizza counters in Sainsbury’s stores. Emily Meredith-Hardy assisted Walnut, which owns a potential development site in West Sussex, with a promotion agreement with Hallum Land Management. Rachel Francis-Lang is also recommended.

Marriott Harrison LLP provides ‘competent, prompt and exceedingly professional’ advice and is ‘notably well-informed’ across a variety of real estate matters including strategic investment, development, secured lending and commercial lease agreements. Headed by Mark Lavers, the team was instructed by Banco Sabadell to acquire vacant possession of the bank’s former HQ on Pall Mall, and assisted the client with a subsequent letting transactions. Additionally, the group has advised Thakeham Homes on multiple development site acquisitions, and is involved in the development of a luxury boutique hotel in London. Nick Smith is ‘a decisive thinker with infectious enthusiasm’ and Guy Hitchin is ‘a knowledgeable and thoroughly committed’ secured lending and development specialist. Additional clients include Redactive and Princetown Distillery.

Penningtons Manches Cooper acts primarily for institutional investors and developers in strategic land and investment portfolio transactions, and development projects. Development highlights have included Louis Manches advising Munroe K on its 500,000 ft2 development at White Rose Office Park in Leeds, and Alison Lewis assisting Lavignac Securities with the establishment of a development joint venture with Conygar Investment Company, and the partnership’s subsequent £13.5m acquisition of a development site in Nottingham. James Nadin led the property due diligence for a major hotel portfolio transaction, and John Hargreaves has particular expertise in the student accommodation sector. Martin Codd and James McNeilly are key contacts for site disposals and letting work. Investor clients include Aprirose and Aviva Investors Real Estate.

Characterised by its ‘responsive, practical and unpretentious’ service, Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP is well-known in the hospitality and leisure sectors and has an active development practice, where it acts for development vehicles and landowners. Indeed, John O’Callaghan (‘a real expert in his field’) is advising a property developer on the conversion of a West End office building into a hotel. Sarah Hung, who provides ‘excellent one-to-one service’, acted for an East Asian family office in relation to the grant of a new lease for a private members club in a prestigious London location. Also in the hospitality sector, Simon Lawrence assisted a property company with the purchase of a luxury hotel in a prime Central London location. Additional leisure and hospitality sector clients include Comptoir Libanais, Dodds Gin Distillery and Allegro Health and Fitness (F45 Franchise). Also recommended is Rudi Ramdarshan, who has experience in residential development and mixed-use redevelopment projects. Afsheen Nasr and Paul Cain were promoted to equity partners in 2017.

Working across its London, Glasgow and Edinburgh offices, the team at Shepherd and Wedderburn is regularly instructed in residential and commercial development projects across the UK and has experience in the hotel sector. Investment highlights have included Jonathan Rickard advising Accrue Capital on the £48.2m acquisition of a portfolio of 18 properties, and Sally Morris-Smith assisting Safestay with the sale and leaseback of three operating hostels in York and London. In the development space, Morris-Smith is acting for a property group in relation to two significant residential developments, and Stephen Hubner has been involved in a number of land transactions for house builder clients. The team has also handled letting transactions for clients including EPIC Games UK and Instant Managed Offices, and provides ongoing branch management advice to Clydesdale Bank in connection with its Yorkshire premises.

In just three short years, Shoosmiths LLP has built an active London real estate department, which has attracted significant letting mandates from landlords and tenants. Headed by Joseph Mazzucca, the team has continued to expand, and recently brought on senior associate Liam Phillips from Reed Smith LLP. Stand-out work has included Andrew Farmery and Brian Hession assisting IWG UK with the acquisition of the Crossway Building in Birmingham, which marked the largest letting in Birmingham City Centre in 2017. The team also acted for a specialist bank in relation to the relocation of its European HQ to a London location. Additional clients include Anheuser – Busch InBev and McArthurGlen Group.

VWV provides ‘user-friendly advice’ at ‘super-competitive rates’. Headed by Mark Hughes, the team is particularly active in the residential development space, where it is instructed by landed estates, development companies and funders. Jon Durham, who is ‘highly competent in investment and development transactions’, advised an estate owner on a development agreement for a multimillion-pound residential development in Southeast England. The team also handles letting mandates for landlords and tenants, which included tenant-side instructions from International Management Group and The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, and landlord-side instructions from SR Properties Manchester and Lush Estate. Kenneth Maxwell and senior associate Leila Inman joined the firm from CMS; Maxwell specialises in property finance and investment and is rated for his ‘ability to resolve seemingly insurmountable issues in debt-funded development work’. Similarly, Stephen Josephides joined from Bolt Burdon.

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Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

GC Diversity and Inclusion Report

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