BLP in public sector push with R&M hire

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has made its first post-merger lateral partner hire with an appointment to its property department.

Lesley-Anne Avis joins later this month from Rowe & Maw, where she is a fixed-share partner. She specialises in property development and local authority-related work and has worked on PFI transactions.

Avis has been at Rowe & Maw for just two years, having joined after 10 years at DJ Freeman. She took joint Lovells property clients Argent and Resolution Group’s Hammersmith Grove Properties with her to Rowe & Maw and will continue those relationships at BLP. She will also take the UK property work for US energy company Aquila Energy, which she acquired while at Rowe & Maw.

Avis’ departure is a blow to Rowe & Maw, where property head Jeremy Clay is working to grow the department by 50 per cent. In the last six months the firm has hired partners Melvile Rodrigues from McGuinness Finch and Charles Leach from Ashurst Morris Crisp.

Clay says: “We’re driving this business forward very hard and it’s difficult to retain everybody in the tent in doing so. You can’t expect people to be able to fit all the time. I wish her all the best.”

Avis says: “Sometimes in one’s career, things come up. It’s really an offer that I couldn’t refuse. It’s an exciting time to join BLP because of the recent merger.”

Avis will join the public sector law group within property at BLP.

Head of department Philip Bretherton says: “She fits in because she’s going into a team that will do local authority town centre work and PFI property support work, both of which she has done. I think personality-wise, she’ll be a great addition to the team. She’s a good practitioner and there aren’t that many around at her level. The market’s going soft, so it has to be the right person.”