Firm Profile > Devonshires Solicitors LLP > London, England

Devonshires Solicitors LLP
30 FINSBURY CIRCUS
LONDON
EC2M 7DT
England

Social housing: finance Tier 1

Devonshires Solicitors LLP's heavyweight team distinguishes itself in a broad cross-section of finance transactions in the social housing sector. It has a particularly notable profile acting for registered providers and registered social landlords throughout England and Wales, as well as their wider group members (including their joint venture vehicles). The practice covers all aspects of social housing finance, including wholesale and retail bond issues, private placements, and syndicated and bilateral loans. Sharon Kirkham leads the securitisation team, which advises over 100 registered providers on charging properties to facilities, bonds and private placements. Banking head Julian Barker has an outstanding track record acting for key clients such as A2Dominion Housing Group and Notting Hill Genesis, among others. The deep bench of partners includes other highly regarded names: Chris DrabbleGary Grigor and Saghar Roya. Barker and Drabble co-led a team, which advised Great Places Housing Group on releasing and recharging 781 properties to its bond tap, and also advised the same client on the reallocation of 1,585 properties to RBS. Andrew Cowan has led on many of the largest mergers in the sector. Another key partner is Richard Sharpe, who has more than 15 years of social housing experience.

Practice head(s):

Julian Barker (head of banking); Sharon Kirkham (head of securitisation)

Testimonials

The team understands our business, approach and what matters and advises accordingly. It is always on hand and always delivers on time at a reasonable cost.

Julian Barker and Sharon Kirkham are the stand-out partners. We retain an excellent relationship with them, a relationship that has the elements of openness, honesty, feedback and learning at its core.

Devonshires has assembled an excellent team to support all aspects of business that housing associations are involved in. The team is extremely knowledgeable, offers proactive advice and solutions and works very closely with our business across a range of disciplines‘.

The breadth of experience that Devonshires is able to call upon is a real plus.

The team’s knowledge and ability to find solutions is exceptional. Issues are approached with a can-do attitude. The team is always friendly, professional, helpful and takes time to explain things in clear and understandable ways.

Chris Drabble constantly exceeds expectations. He is friendly, helpful and incredibly patient. His knowledge is vast and he makes sure that we are kept updated of current sector issues/government changes. His ability to communicate/educate to all levels of staff is a real quality. He never talks down to people, and will always take time to make sure that everyone understands why things are being done and how the jigsaw pieces fit together.

The team is extremely knowledgeable as it covers so much of the market. It is a pleasure to work with and understands clients’ needs well.

Gary Grigor is an expert in his field and is very approachable and always happy to help. Natalie Swales is also extremely knowledgeable and very hardworking.

Andrew Cowan is widely respected and influential within the industry. We greatly value his pragmatic and down-to-earth approach.

Key clients

Great Places Housing Group

Notting Hill Genesis

Metropolitan Thames Valley

Beyond

Onward Housing

Orbit Housing Group

One Housing Group

Optivo Limited

Lync-Cymru

A2Dominion Housing Group

Debt recovery Tier 2

Devonshires Solicitors LLP's clients include a mix of City SMEs, financial institutions, large multinational businesses, social housing landlords and local authorities. The team, which is spread across London, Colchester and Leeds, handles all forms of secured and unsecured debt recovery. Robert Edge and Jim Varley co-lead the team. Matthew Hennessy-Gibbs left the firm after a seven-year stint to join Keystone Law in May 2018.

Practice head(s):

Robert Edge; Jim Varley

Other key lawyers:

Nikki Bowker; Ann Dixon; Matthew Garbutt; Pauline Lepissier

Key clients

Kone plc

Sodexo plc

Michael Page  International

RSM

Thomson Produce

ERI Recoveries

High Top Property

Social housing: local authorities and registered providers Tier 2

Devonshires Solicitors LLP's footprint in the social housing sector is highlighted by the fact that it acts for 200 registered providers, which includes all of the London G15 members, and it has been a major player in the market since the early 1970s. It is at the forefront of the most current issues impacting the industry, working closely with key regulators, such as the Regulator of Social Housing, Homes England, Financial Conduct Authority and Charity Commission. The firm's multisciplinary capabilities enable it to advise clients on all types of complex issues, including those connected with housing management, development, governance and finance. Its first-rate team includes Andrew CrawfordTriya MaichaDan Moan and Elad Yasdi, who acted for Peabody Trust on its £350m acquisition of the Neptune Wharf and Monier Road sites on Fish Island in Hackney Wick, with planning consent to deliver 580 homes. On the contentious side, Donna McCarthy acted for Aldwyck Housing Group Limited in a High Court appeal brought by a tenant over the client's alleged failure to comply with its public sector equality duty under s.149 of the Equality Act 2010. Jonathan Jarvis, Maicha and Jonathan Corris made equity partners. Nick Billingham is also noted. Gareth Hall has stepped down from the partnership, but retains a role as a consultant. Andrew Cowan is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Cowan – Head of Social Housing; Julian Barker – Head of Banking; Sharon Kirkham – Head of Securitisation; Mark London – Head of Construction; Ronnie Tong – Head of Employment; Nick Billingham – Head of Housing Management; Philip Barden – Head of Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Paul Buckland – Head of Real Estate and Projects; Neil Toner – Head of Real Estate

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Hyde Housing Association Limited

Notting Hill Genesis

London & Quadrant Housing Trust

Sage Housing Limited

Peabody Trust

Metropolitan Thames Valley

Clarion Housing Group

One Housing Group

Stonewater Limited

First Priority Housing Association

Clinical negligence: claimant Tier 4

Devonshires Solicitors LLP is adept at bringing claims on behalf of adults and children against hospitals, GPs, dentists and private healthcare providers. The team demonstrates experience handling claims involving birth and brain injuries, surgical errors, delay in diagnosis of medical conditions as well as fatal accident claims and inappropriate treatment claims. The practice is further recognised as a go-to firm for ophthalmology claims, fielding a specialist eye team led by Nick Grant.

Practice head(s):

Nick Grant

Other key lawyers:

Karen Cathcart; Nicola Bould

Testimonials

‘Devonshires’s clinical negligence team provide an approachable and personal service to clients.’

‘The team takes on serious clinical negligence claims and gets consistently good results.’

‘They are never afraid to make a tough decision but always treats clients with great humanity’

‘Nicola Bould’s strengths lie in her ability to identify the real issues in the case, analyse them and instruct excellent experts to advise and report on those issues. Her knowledge of anatomy is very impressive, which enables her to be on the same wavelength as experts.’

‘Karen Cathcart is a rising star. She has enormous energy, a great strategic brain and she fights hard until the very end.’

Fraud: civil Tier 4

Devonshires Solicitors LLP's disputes team works almost exclusively for companies outside the banking sector, giving it an edge on other firms looking to litigate against banks. The practice is jointly led by 'highly effective litigator' and firmwide senior partner Philip Barden and James Dunn; Barden focuses on complex commercial disputes in the UK's highest courts, while Dunn specialises in fraud, regulatory and inquiry work. Fellow partner Anna Buch is also praised for her 'phenomenal presence in this market'.

Practice head(s):

Philip Barden; James Dunn

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Hennessy-Gibbs; James Dunn; Anna Buch; Jim Varley

Testimonials

‘Philip Barden is economic, pragmatic and client focused.’            

‘Devonshires is a strong City firm with a wide client base’.            

‘Philip Barden is an aggressive and highly effective litigator’.

 ‘A go-to team for complex crime and fraud especially with an international element’.

‘Anna Buch works tremendously hard and has a phenomenal legal presence in this market’.

Key clients

Solicitors Regulation Authority

Law Society

Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management

Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP) Tier 4

Devonshires Solicitors LLP is instructed by private and public clients from a wide range of industry sectors, such as leisure, housing, transport, education, energy, and healthcare. Led by Paul Buckland and Robert Turner, the team knows project finance particularly well, and it works closely with the firm's capital market team. Buckland is noted for his experience in PFI/ PPP and EU procurement matters, while Turner is well versed in the commercial aspects of infrastructure projects. Caroline Mostowfi specialises in regeneration and development projects.

Practice head(s):

Paul Buckland; Robert Turner

Other key lawyers:

Kris Kelliher; Caroline Mostowfi

Construction: contentious Tier 5

Devonshires Solicitors LLP's contentious practice is known for its work with public and private developers of social housing and local authorities undertaking nationwide residential and mixed use developments. The team is led by the 'knowledgeable' and 'highly proactive' Mark London . He acts primarily for residential developers and increasingly for public sector bodies on health and fire safety issues. Matthew Cocklin produces 'outstanding' work and is known for his expertise in relation to the fire safety of rain-screen cladding systems on high rise buildings.

Practice head(s):

Mark London

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team work incredibly well to assemble appropriate experts and counsel to put together a great case.’

‘Mark London’s advice has been invaluable to our clients.’

‘Mark London and his team are highly knowledgeable.’

‘Mathew Cocklin and Adam Mathewson have worked incredibly effectively to tight deadlines producing work of an outstanding standard.’

‘Mark London has become our go-to lawyer on any contentious issues we face.’

‘Mark is highly proactive in advising us on any relevant issues within the industry and has a very high profile within the sector.’

Key clients

Notting Hill Genesis

Peabody Housing Trust

Flagship Housing Association

Clarion

Contruction: non-contentious Tier 5

Devonshires Solicitors LLP's non-contentious construction team works with funders, developers and local authorities. The team is led by Asif Patel, who acts for clients on design and build, joint venture, management contracting and construction management arrangements. He recently advised on a regeneration project in Canada Water consisting of mixed residential and commercial development.

Practice head(s):

Asif Patel

Other key lawyers:

Kris Kelliher

Testimonials

‘Devonshires are unique because they provide very clear and practical advice with no ambiguity in a responsive and timely manner.’

‘Kris Kelliher provides excellent advice on all aspects of procurement.’

‘Kris Kelliher and Asif Patel are excellent and always go the extra mile to ensure we have the highest quality of advice and documentation.’

Commercial litigation Tier 8

Devonshires Solicitors LLP's 'pragmatic, economic and client-focused practice' is  well known for its large client base of housing providers. The team's disputes experience includes insolvency, debt recovery, fraud, regulatory issues and private finance initiatives. Philip BardenJames Dunn and Jim Varley are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Philip Barden; James Dunn

Other key lawyers:

Jim Varley; Anna Buch

Testimonials

‘Excellent value for money without compromising on quality‘.

Philip Barden is pragmatic and understands clients’ business‘.

James Dunn is extremely diligent and on top of the detail’.

Key clients

Solicitors Regulation Authority

First Priority Housing Association

Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management

Insolve Plus

Kone

Thompson Reuters

Michael Page International

Ultra Insurance Company

This highly regarded City firm has strengths in housing, development, commercial litigation, projects work, corporate services, real estate, banking, clinical negligence and private client matters, as well as expanding practices in services to care providers and regulators.

The firm: Based in the City of London for over 150 years, Devonshires is a leading practice providing high-quality, accessible and value-for-money services to domestic and international clients, including developers, local authorities, housing associations and financial services firms. The practice focuses on building strong, long-lasting relationships in order to achieve outstanding results based on practical advice. The foundation of its success is its commitment to people, both its own and those working for its clients. The firm ensures its staff have access to high-quality training and fosters ‘one to one’ connections between its solicitors and clients.

Devonshires works to promote sustainability and social value across its business. It was awarded the Gold Clean City Award with Special Commendation by The City of London Clean City Awards Scheme, and helped raise more than £50,000 for its chosen charities in 2015/16.

Types of work undertaken: The firm acts on a broad range of matters including projects, property and real estate, securitisation, construction, housing management, commercial litigation, employment, banking, corporate work and governance. It has a notable specialism in advising companies that interface with the private sector, including construction, facilities management and public/private joint ventures. The practice is a leader in social housing, including working on many development projects nationwide and helping to draft legislation. The firm is active in financial advice for commercial property, corporate finance and private equity projects. Advice is given to local authorities and other public bodies on constitutional, commercial and operational matters. Cutting-edge services are supplied in regulatory matters, including solicitor interventions and run-offs for the Law Society/Solicitors Regulation Authority, and advice to the Homes and Communities Agency on social housing. A cross-departmental team advises on all aspects of care, including building care homes, safeguarding issues, reviewing CQC inspection reports, preparing challenges to warning notices and dealing with inquests. Private client expertise includes family law, conveyancing, employment, and professional and clinical negligence. Devonshires will maintain its successful policy of gradual, prudent growth by promotion from within and strategic lateral hires, in order to further strengthen the services it offers clients.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner Philip Barden
Projects, property and real estate Paul Buckland
Projects, property and real estate Neil Toner
Securitisation Sharon Kirkham
Construction Mark London
Private client Nick Grant
Housing management Nick Billingham
Commercial litigation Philip Barden
Employment Ronnie Tong
Banking, corporate and governance Andrew Cowan
Banking, corporate and governance Julian Barker
Banking, corporate and governance Gareth Hall
Photo Name Position Profile
 Philip Barden  photo Philip Barden Philip is currently retained in the following matters: acting for an employer…
 Julian Barker  photo Julian Barker Julian is a partner and head of the banking and capital markets…
 Nick Billingham  photo Nick Billingham Nick is a partner and head of the housing management department. Nick…
 Paul Buckland  photo Paul Buckland Paul has particular expertise in regeneration, procurement, a wide range of commercial…
 Matthew Cocklin  photo Matthew Cocklin Matthew specialises in construction dispute resolution and acts for all groups that…
 Jonathan Corris  photo Jonathan Corris Jonathan has worked with clients on a variety of development projects from…
 Andrew Cowan  photo Andrew Cowan Andrew is a partner and is our head of social housing. He…
 Andrew Crawford  photo Andrew Crawford Andrew advises charities and registered providers on commercial transactions and governance issues.…
 James Dunn  photo James Dunn James is a partner in the litigation and dispute resolution department and…
 Nick Grant  photo Nick Grant Nick is a partner in the litigation and dispute resolution department and…
 Gareth Hall  photo Gareth Hall Gareth is a partner in the governance, corporate and finance team. Gareth…
 Jonathan Jarvis  photo Jonathan Jarvis Jonathan is a partner in the Banking, Governance and Corporate team and…
 Kris Kelliher  photo Kris Kelliher Kris is a partner in the projects group and specialises in commercial…
 Sharon Kirkham  photo Sharon Kirkham Sharon is a partner and heads up the securitisation team of over…
 Kathryn Kligerman  photo Kathryn Kligerman Kathryn is a partner in the construction department and advises on all…
 Neil Lawlor  photo Neil Lawlor Neil is a partner in the housing management department. Neil qualified as…
 Mark London  photo Mark London Mark is a partner and head of the construction and property services…
 James Lyons  photo James Lyons James is praised by clients for his careful attention to detail, patience…
 Triya Maicha  photo Triya Maicha Triya is a partner in the Real Estate and Projects department specialising…
 Donna McCarthy  photo Donna McCarthy Donna heads up a team advising on all aspects of housing management…
 Dan Moan  photo Dan Moan Dan brings a pragmatic, commercially focused approach to his work with a…
 Caroline Mostowfi  photo Caroline Mostowfi Caroline is a partner in the real estate and projects group with…
 Saghar Roya  photo Saghar Roya Saghar acts on behalf of a vast number of Registered Providers in…
 Richard Sharpe  photo Richard Sharpe Richard is a partner who joined the securities team in October 2011.…
 Neil Toner  photo Neil Toner Neil is Head of Real Estate at Devonshires. Neil’s work over the…
 Ronnie Tong  photo Ronnie Tong Ronnie is the head of the Employment and Pensions department and specialises…
 Robert Turner  photo Robert Turner Robert has extensive experience in drafting, negotiating and advising in relation to major…
 Jim Varley  photo Jim Varley Jim is an insolvency partner with extensive knowledge of forensic recovery and…
 Elad Yasdi  photo Elad Yasdi Elad is a partner in the property department and advises on a…
Number of UK partners : 30
Number of other UK fee-earners : 115

The Lex 100 Verdict

'Property-focused' Devonshires counts a 'particular specialism in social housing' and a strength in litigation among its talents. Trainees love that there is a 'lot of crossover between departments as most work for the same clients repeatedly'. Staff at all levels are 'incredibly welcoming' and are 'mostly a very sociable and friendly bunch'. At the collaborative London firm, 'partner/trainee contact is an everyday occurrence' and superiors 'actually explain tasks and feedback', which is especially useful given that recruits are 'very involved in cases and transactions'. Hands-on work highlights, such as 'drafting a witness statement from scratch', 'attending on-site meetings with clients for new development projects' and 'winning a litigation matter where I had contributed significantly to the pleadings and conduct of the case' are such examples. Trainees are also grateful for the autonomy granted to them to 'manage our own files from the start'. Conversely, frustrating tasks such as 'having to prepare bundles when photocopiers were not working' were less stimulating. It was 'not much fun' to 'miss my department Christmas lunch because a solicitor needed me to attend court' either, although it was acknowledged that this ultimately turned out to be a 'great experience'. The 'kitchen facilities' and 'post duty' were cause for complaint, with some respondents also grumbling about the salary. Devonshires requires trainees to do a seat in both property and litigation, but thanks to excellent 'clients who bring in really big projects', there is plenty of diverse work on offer. To be part of a 'relatively small trainee intake' in a firm with a 'premier reputation in social housing' where there is a 'very relaxed feel, provided the work is done', consider Devonshires.