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Eversheds' property practice has won a prestigious new appointment to replace Linklaters & Alliance as adviser to Lend Lease on its flagship project, Bluewater Shopping and Leisure Centre.
The appointment follows a competitive tender process held over the summer and coordinated by in-house solicitor Jackie Jordan, a compliance officer for the financial services side of the Lend Lease business. Jordan sent out a tender brief and invited written submissions before inviting six firms to make presentations. Eversheds beat off retail experts at Wragge & Co, Fladgate Fielder, Maxwell Batley, Lawrence Graham and Forsters. Files are now being handed over to Eversheds from Linklaters. Jordan said: "We have certainly not severed our ties with Linklaters. Both they and we felt that perhaps they were a bit too big for the day-to-day work. "Linklaters are still involved. They have been retained on the Lend Lease panel of lawyers for major corporate work. "Eversheds are taking over the asset management work [for Bluewater]." Jordan added that Link-laters would also continue to do some property work for Lend Lease on new developments. Eversheds' work will involve day-to-day issues such as lease renewals, tenant issues and new leases.
"We have a very strong team technically. We place great emphasis on communication skills and service delivery" Tim Webb, Eversheds
Jordan said she was also considering approaching other shopping centres in the Lend Lease portfolio in the same way. "It depends how it goes with Eversheds," she said. "It's just a more rational way of organising our legal business. Bluewater has been up and running for two years. The issues are therefore different to those generated by a new centre. We've done this with Bluewater first to see if it works." Jordan said that she had been dealing with many of the day-to-day issues at Bluewater herself, but was keen to outsource the work, allowing her to focus on internal work relating to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, which comes into force later this year. For Eversheds' property group, the appointment is the latest in a string of prestigious wins, including an appointment to become the legal adviser to housebuilder and commercial property developer Redrow (The Lawyer, 6 August). Eversheds' Birmingham property head Tim Webb led the firm's successful pitch for the Lend Lease work. "We have a very strong team technically. We place great emphasis on communication skills and service delivery," he said. The team has designed a specialised extranet for Lend Lease to tackle data management. Webb said that the property group's national offering and its focus along sector lines were also key to the firm's success. Redrow announced its new structure in June, which focuses on commercial developers, housebuilders, property investors, property finance and end-users.