DLA Piper replaces UK group real estate chief

DLA Piper has named Ian Brierley UK real estate head just two years after Simon Cookson was brought into the role from Ashurst.

Brierley took over as head of the real estate practice at DLA in October, with Cookson transferring to a purely fee earning role.

Cookson joined DLA as London and group real estate head in December 2011 (9 September 2011) having headed the London real estate team at Ashurst until 2007.

The change of management comes amid speculation that morale is at an all-time low in DLA Piper’s real estate team, which has already seen a number of high-profile departures this year.

One source close to the firm alluded to a “popular uprising” in the London real estate team, contributing to both the change of management and the departure of several partners.

Last month it was confirmed that global co-chair of the firm’s hospitality and leisure group to its real estate practice Karen Friebe would be leaving to join Berwin Leighton Paisner in the new year (13 November 2013), while real estate partner Gary Paddison is also expected to exit the partnership shortly.

In Manchester, Irwin Mitchell raided the firm for a four-artner real estate team that included: Anita Weightman, Roy Beckett, Patrick Duffy and Tony Weightman (16 January 2013).