Affordable housing provider Lovell has installed its first law firm panel, slashing the number of legal advisers on property acquisition and development work from more than 35 to just three.
Ashurst, led by partner Gary Watson, Eversheds, with partner Stephen Sorrell, and Birmingham’s Gateley Wareing, led by Callum Nuttall, have won places on the panel advising Lovell on all of its property acquisition and development work.
Eversheds scoops the role of sole adviser on plot sales across the UK, while the appointment marks a new client win for Gateley Wareing.
The trio was appointed from a shortlist of six firms. Nabarro Nathanson, Pinsent Masons and Freethcartwright are understood to have missed out on places, although Pinsent Masons continues to advise Lovell’s parent company Morgan Sindall on construction work.
It is the first time Lovell has instituted a formal, centralised law firm panel and it follows an intensive review, which was overseen by Tamworth-based commercial director John Leary.
Previously, Lovell instructed a raft of law firms throughout its disparate regional offices, which include a headquarters in Tamworth as well as outposts in Basingstoke, Leeds, London, Manchester, Merseyside, Nottingham and Stockton-on-Tees.
The move towards a centralised panel coincides with Lovell’s push into brownfield urban regeneration and housing development and its ensuing need for large-scale national legal expertise.
The housing provider’s external legal spend is understood to exceed £1m annually.