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Linklaters & Alliance has scooped leading construction partner Ann Minogue from CMS Cameron McKenna.
The hire is a coup for Linklaters' real estate department. Minogue has worked on a range of major construction projects, including Broadgate, Canary Wharf and Stockley Park, and is currently advising on the Royal Opera House, Chiswick Park and the Tate Modern. Clients include Prudential, British Gas and US property giant Tishman Speyer Properties. It is not yet known which clients will follow her to Linklaters.
Marshall Levine will continue to lead Linklaters' construction team, leaving Minogue to focus on transaction work with partners Simon Burch and Stella Mitchell.
Minogue has focused on UK construction work at Camerons rather than international projects and PFIs, which are the current growth areas for magic circle firms. But Burch says the hire does not reflect a change in strategy at Linklaters.
He says: "We see it as being an extremely good fit. It will help us to sell the message that we are the best around and it will provide Ann with new challenges working for big clients on big transactions."
Minogue approached Linklaters, but it is understood that she has previously declined offers to join the firm. As yet, no assistants are expected to move with her.
Burch says: "Obviously there's a leverage issue, but we've been in the recruitment market [for assistants] for the past 18 months or so. This won't close doors for others in the departments. It's likely to increase opportunities."
The move reflects the growing importance that magic circle firms are attaching to real estate. Clifford Chance construction partner David Metzger says: "It vindicates our long-held view that construction teams within magic circle firms have a major role to play in the future of construction law."
The move deals a severe blow to Camerons, which last year lost property partners Robert Porter and Arthur Dyson to Clifford Chance and Louise Anderson to White & Case.
But Minogue's departure could also end a difficult period for construction at Camerons. The group is split between a real estate team and a separate environment, planning and construction team, and is understood to have undergone tensions since Cameron Markby Hewitt merged with McKenna & Co in 1996, and has suffered a high turnover of assistants. Minogue became a partner at McKenna & Co in 1985.
Camerons managing partner Dick Tyler says: "Ann has obviously been an important member of the practice. She is well respected and highly regarded, but the strengths we have are a reflection of our collective strength as well as our individual strengths."