Bevan Ashford fills the gap as Morgan Cole loses WDA place

Morgan Cole has been dropped from its coveted place on the Welsh Development Agency’s (WDA) property panel and replaced by Bristol’s Bevan Ashford.

The WDA’s existing advisers, Eversheds and Edwards Geldard, were both reappointed across the board.

The result was confirmed when the WDA released the results of its comprehensive panel review. Conducted last year, the review affected the WDA’s six legal panels, covering: commercial property and environment; general commercial; international, European and administrative; litigation; corporate finance; and employment.

Firms invited to tender for a place on the panels were subject to a three-stage selection process, including a questionnaire, formal tender and interview. The appointments are for a three-year term.

The WDA is the chief economic development agency in Wales, with a total annual budget of £278m. Property comprises the bulk of the outsourced legal work.

For Bevan Ashford, the appointment represents its second major Welsh client win in recent months, following its work for the Welsh Health Estates. Head of construction Tony Norris, who led the team for the Bristol firm, said the firm’s experience in advising development agencies, as well as its funding, regeneration and development expertise, helped it win the coveted WDA role.

Morgan Cole’s Welsh operation had been considered immune from the problems that the embattled firm has faced in the Thames Valley and London offices, but it has suffered a spate of partner departures in the last six months. Those leaving the Cardiff office include Alun Cole, Julian Boswell, Jeff Jenkins and Duncan MacIntosh.

Morgan Cole did not return calls for comment.