Sheffield and Leeds firm Keeble Hawson has launched a new property capability targeting the licensed trade. The move follows the hire of a partner from niche practice John Gaunt & Partners.`John Steer joins Keeble Hawson's four-partner property department as a salaried partner based in Sheffield.`Steer was a partner at Sheffield-based John Gaunt for two years and was the licensing firm's sole property partner. Before joining John Gaunt, he worked as a commercial lawyer for the UK Government, advising on tourist infrastructure development in the West Indies. He also brings 25 years of experience as head of property at Wake Smith.`Steer said he is taking his practice with him in a move that will consolidate an existing relationship between the two firms.`"The idea is that there's a whole range of John Gaunt clients that we couldn't exploit because of the firm's size. The intention is that the two practices will exploit the larger clients for the benefit of both firms," said Steer. "There was a limited amount of commercial property work we could do [at John Gaunt]. Being able to offer a wider range of services is more attractive."`Keeble Hawson's head of property Gareth Owen said: "This is a new direction for us. We're hoping to be able to present John's expertise to the licensed premises world. It's an exciting venture.`"We have an excellent ongoing relationship with John Gaunt. We've always known the firm and dealt with them because of their licensing work. Hopefully, there'll be a good deal of cross-fertilisation between the two firms."`Keeble Hawson's property practice covers a full range of property work, including development, retail and institutional.`Katharine Redford, a founding partner of John Gaunt, said: "Property is a complementary service, so an association with Keeble Hawson is very helpful for us."`Licensing clients of John Gaunt include Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries, Enterprise Inns and Whitbread.