BLP picks up BLG environment head

Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP) planning and environment team is set to receive a boost as the firm scoops a Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) department head.

Aidan Thomson, who was head of BLG’s environment practice and a partner at the firm since 2003, will join BLP as a partner in the planning and environment team on 1 November – the same day as the merger between BLG and Clyde & Co goes live.

He will work under BLP’s joint department heads Timothy Pugh and Tim Hellier, and will use his experience to support the firm’s real estate on transactions, as well working on stand-alone regulatory and contentious issues. Thomson also worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer during his 20 years covering environmental-law.

Thomson’s hire comes shortly after BLP nabbed Ashurst’s non-contentious construction head (3 October 2011).

“For an environmental lawyer real estate is key,” said Thomson of his move. “A lot of environmental law problems are rooted in real estate ownership and the holy grail for a lawyer like me is to be at a firm that has depth in real estate, and BLP is right up there.”

Asked whether his departure was linked to the imminent merger between BLG and Clyde & Co, Thomson said: “Clydes had a limited range of areas that it was interested in and environment wasn’t one of them, but that quickly became irrelevant to me when the opportunity to work at BLP came up. Clydes and BLP are a similar size and have similar reputations but entirely different profiles. If you have 10 environmental lawyers in a room and asked which of the two firms was best to grow a practice, they would all say BLP.”

BLG declined to comment.