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Manchester-based Field Cunningham & Co is losing a commercial property partner to Eversheds, giving Eversheds a stranglehold on client Crosby Homes.
John Hepplestone, who has been with Field Cunningham for two years after leaving Addleshaw Booth & Co, where he practised for more than 14 years, is joining Eversheds' Manchester office as a fixed equity partner, which is the role he holds at his present firm.
Field Cunningham services a number of high-profile property clients, including Amec Group and Barratt Developments. It is likely, however, that Crosby Homes, which is a subsidiary of the Berkeley Group, will follow Hepplestone, as he has worked with the company since his time at Addleshaws.
Crosby Homes is already a client of Eversheds, but the move will make it a major client. Hepplestone says: "It's a very dynamic company and it's very dynamic to work for. [Crosby Homes] is extremely demanding; it's not everyone's cup of tea to put up with these types of demands, but it's something that I've enjoyed very much."
On keeping the Crosby Homes work when he moves to Eversheds, Hepplestone says: "I'd hope that would be the case."
Eversheds head of property for Manchester and Leeds Stephen Sorrell says: "John is going to join Eversheds as a partner on a date to be agreed and will be based at the Manchester office. He is a leading residential development lawyer in the region, specialising in residential-led mixed development sites in the city centre and brownfield sites.
"He has a special relationship with Crosby Homes, part of the Berkeley Group. Crosby is also an existing client of Eversheds, and this is a unique opportunity to build on the relationship with Berkeley and Crosby under John's leadership."
Sorrell says he is hoping that the consolidation of Eversheds' position with Crosby will open up opportunities for work within other parts of Berkeley, which is split into six divisions. These are Beaufort, Berkeley Homes, Crosby Homes and St David, St George and Thirlstone Homes.
One of Hepplestone's most recent deals for Crosby Homes involved the sale of Manchester nightclub The Haçienda, which is being turned into luxury apartments and was sold by the Pemberstone Group, advised on DLA's Manchester managing partner Roy Beckett.
Hepplestone's recruitment will significantly bolster Eversheds' property department.
While the Manchester department boasts highly-regarded partners, including Manchester senior partner John Moody and Sorrell, Eversheds is known to have approached other lawyers in the region to discuss joining the firm.
Eversheds recently recruited former Hammond Suddards Edge retail property partner Simon Boss for its Birmingham office and Philip Medford, previously head of property at Stoke-on-Trent firm Kent Jones & Done.