Camerons and Dentons lose out in Crown Estate reshuffle

CMS Cameron McKenna and Denton Wilde Sapte have both lost out in a rejig of the most important Crown Estate panel.
The competitive reten-dering of work for the commercial urban estates of Crown Estate, the most significant asset in the portfolio, saw the two heavyweights lose important ground to smaller players.
Berwin Leighton Paisner, Burges Salmon and Dechert all gained places on the urban portfolio for the first time, while Radcliffes and SJ Berwin strengthened their relationships with one of the UK's most important estates.
Crown Estate has appointed the five firms for conveyancing and property litigation for the commercial urban estates for a three-year term. The appointments were part of the regular review of legal services, but also reflect internal changes at Crown Estate.
Panel firms now have an allocated area within the urban estate, which they did not have before. Dechert and SJ Berwin will handle the Regent Street estate, Berwin Leighton Paisner and Radcliffes will share the other Central London estates and Burges Salmon has won an exclusive appointment to deal with the urban estates outside London.
Camerons retains some other work for Crown Estate, but this review effectively takes away what was once a major development client for the firm. The loss follows the departure of high-profile partner Jon Vivian to SJ Berwin, where he is still under restrictive covenant. Vivian worked with Crown Estate closely at Camerons.
SJ Berwin's relationship partner and head of property Bryan Pickup said: “It's likely that Jon will be doing some work with Crown Estate further down the line.”
The Regent Street work was previously handled by Camerons, SJ Berwin and Radcliffes.
Commenting on the new approach, Pickup said: “I think it's a more logical way of packaging the work. They've divided it up so that we've got roughly two-thirds of Regent Street and Dechert has a third. We've got an allocated area which we didn't have before and we'll be closer to what's happening because it's not spread out between three firms. Rather than working on one or two blocks, we're now working on a significant chunk.”
He added: “I can go shopping any time now and call it a site visit.”
Burges Salmon, which will take work on the estate's £500m regional portfolio out of the City for the first time, was also thrilled with its appointment. It adds to the firm's 16-year relationship with Crown Estate's rural estate.
Simon Rose, head of property investment at Burges Salmon, led the team. “Commercial property investment has historically been a London-dominated market, particularly for institutional investors,” he commented. “We've got the most blue chip of blue chip funds to confirm that we've got what it takes.”
Dentons previously advised on the diversification portfolio, which has been amalgamated into the regional estate. But the firm lost its pitch for the combined regional portfolio and also lost a litigation contract that provided it with some London work.
Head of property Martin Quicke said: “We're obviously disappointed, but the relationship continues outside of that [panel] on one-off projects and other parts of the estate.”
Commenting on the appointments, Crown Estate's head of legal services David Harris said: “The tendering process was extremely competitive and we're confident that our appointments will deliver a high level of service to our estate teams.”