Macfarlanes has hired Shearman & Sterling partner Ian Nisse to head its commercial real estate practice.
Nisse was co-chair of Shearman’s international real estate group and has been a partner there since 2004 when he left Ashurst (where he was managing partner between 1997 and 2000) to establish the US firm’s UK real estate practice.
Nisse, who is expected to join Macfarlanes by the end of the month, advises institutions, developers, investors and corporations, and has particular expertise in structuring and financing real estate joint ventures, partnerships, funds and development projects.
Nisse will replace Simon Hilson as commercial real estate head at Macfarlanes. He will be expected to develop the firm’s strategy of targeting high value, complex deals that play off the firm’s tax, funds, finance and corporate practices.
Hilson will remain at the firm as a practising partner, supporting Nisse.
The hire will quash speculation that Macfarlanes is moving away from real estate, following the firm’s decision to merge the former standalone practice into its corporate, litigation, and private client groups and the defection of two partners, to Clyde & Co and Fladgate earlier this year. (4 March http://www.thelawyer.com/macfarlanes-suffers-double-partner-loss-with-defections-to-clydes-and-fladgate/1007150.article).
“It’s a very important strategic hire for us,” said Macfarlanes’ senior partner Charles Martin. “Real estate is a very important market for us: you only have to look out a window in central London and tot up the value of the real estate you can see to realise how valuable it is. The practice has been down for a long time but we think volume will come back.”