Finers Stephens recruits leading property lawyer

A leading in-house property lawyer has been recruited to boost Finers Stephens Innocent’s international practice.

Ivor Schrago is joining the West End firm as a partner from Asian property company Vigers Asset Management, part of international property advisers GVA Grimley, where he was managing director. He has worked for the company in Hong Kong since 1996.

Schrago will bring a list of multinational property clients with him when he joins the firm in May.

He has acted for Friends Provident and has continued to advise some clients on an ad-hoc basis from Hong Kong.

David Battiscombe, head of property at Finers Stephens, says: “Ivor is a very experienced property lawyer who has acted for substantial institutional clients. His clients will include well known developers and a number of Hong Kong companies.”

Managing partner Richard Gerstein says: “I have been talking to Ivor for almost a year about him joining us. When I became aware he was on the market I fought for him – we had to fight off a lot of competition. In the 1980s and 1990s he was known as a major producer of fees.”

Gerstein says the appointment is a boost to the firm’s new international strategy.

“We have been quite careful over the last two or three years to limit our property practice to UK clients because we wanted to consolidate our reputation. But there is a huge, untapped market out there.”

The property department at Finers Stephens already lists Morgan Grenfell Property Asset Management, Greycoat and Marylebone Warwick Balfour Group as its clients. The group has 36 fee earners, 13 of whom are partners.

Schrago was formerly a partner at West End firm Forsyte Saunders Kerman which split last summer when 11 property partners went to Lawrence Graham and six insurance litigation partners went to Edward Lewis.