Irwin Mitchell associate Louise Cartwright worked on several massive real estate deals last year. Perhaps most significantly, she acted on Wells Fargo’s acquisition of a £4bn commercial real estate loan book from Hypothekenbank Frankfurt – one of the largest European commercial real estate debt transactions ever.
Cartwright was lead associate on the deal and project-managed a team of over 25 in reviewing the security registered against a portfolio of more than 1,000 properties, with a completion deadline for the initial review of less than three weeks.
In one week last year Cartwright completed more than £100m- worth of deals and still found time to run the real estate team’s Twitter account. Definitely one to watch.
Chris de Pury
Berwin Leighton Paisner
Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) property head Chris de Pury has carved out a reputation as a leader in his field. His cross-disciplinary approach to real estate, which also sees him advising private equity funds and corporate acquisitions, makes him a thoroughly modern property lawyer, which was just one of the factors behind his recent appointment as head of BLP’s property team.
Since taking over from now-chairman Robert MacGregor, de Pury has restructured the real estate team into five small groups out of three big ones in a bid to foster better communication.
De Pury joined BLP from legacy Herbert Smith in January 2008 and has scored big deals ever since, recently acting for MGPA Europe Fund III on its purchase of Exchange Tower in London’s Canary Wharf for £135m.
2013 was a particularly busy year for Dentons senior associate Roy Pinnock – and his workload shows no sign of lessening.
The planning lawyer’s headline deal saw him work alongside partner Stephen Ashworth, advising the joint venture company redeveloping New Covent Garden market as part of the massive Nine Elms development in Battersea.
But Nine Elms is only one of a number of planning matters on Pinnock’s to-do list. He is acting for a range of clients on projects such as the Rushden Lakes shopping park in Northampton, Southampton City Council’s Royal Pier waterfront redevelopment and a regeneration scheme in Hounslow.
The instructions are seeing Pinnock develop his skills to take a planning project from start to finish, navigating any issues along the way.
In terms of trophy clients, Google would rank pretty highly anywhere. Marie Scott at Nabarro was responsible for snaring the mandate to advise the internet giant on its new multimillion-pound headquarters.
Most lawyers will attest to the fact that tender documents are not thrilling reads, but not so for Nabarro’s real estate team. Scott’s pitches for Google and Cineworld – which uses Nabarro exclusively for estate advice – managed to inject a humorous edge. While Scott’s legal nous and excellent client skills would have won them the job, the film-themed tender documents and awards ceremony presentation can’t have hurt the firm’s exclusive retainer as Google’s UK real estate counsel.
Meanwhile, Scott still finds the time to play a leading role in Women in Property events.
Affordable housing is at the top of the agenda for politics today and one lawyer who knows all about it is Trowers & Hamlins’ Tonia Secker. She is the housing and regeneration partner who has led the firm’s work for the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) for 10 years and worked with the body to wrap up its £2bn Affordable Homes Programme. The HCA was handed £4.5bn by the Government in March and is instrumental in providing the Help to Buy and Buy to Rent schemes.
On top of her practice Secker takes a key pastoral role. As training principal she heads the trainee solicitors’ committee and is also looking at apprenticeships and new initiatives at Trowers.
Wragge & Co
As a real estate partner specialising in regeneration projects and commercial property Wragge & Co partner Peter Thorne is working on some of the most exciting projects in the City today.
He is leading on the £2bn joint venture of long-standing client St Modwen Properties with Vinci Construction for the New Covent Garden Market regeneration in London’s Nine Elms.
On top of this Thorne took the lead advising the US Embassy on aspects of its new building in the area.
Thorne has also been known to dabble in charity work, having set up a pop-up charity shop in Spitalfields for the Spitalfields Crypt Trust and once abseiling down a 24-storey building in Birmingham in the name of corporate social responsibility. Brave man.
Mayer Brown European real estate head Martin Wright moved to the firm from Ashurst in 2013 and has since been leading the charge on a number of foreign investment deals.
He recently advised Chinese investor Ping An Insurance on its £260m acquisition of the Lloyd’s building in London – the first investment in the city by a Chinese life insurer. He also advised Indonesian property developer Sinar Mas Land on the purchase of New Brook Buildings in May.
Wright has also worked on a range of London’s large-scale urban regeneration projects, including redevelopments at Canary Wharf, Paddington Basin, Stratford and Silvertown London.
When not closing major property deals, Wright promotes UK agricultural education as a trustee of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. Let’s hope he doesn’t ditch the property market for the farmers’ market any time soon.