Norton Rose's property department has won two new clients following the appointment of former Ashurst Morris Crisp senior assistant Raj Mangat as partner.
Mangat joined last week. He introduced major landowner British Waterways and the London Borough of Hounslow to the firm. British Waterways' London advisers include Ashursts and Denton Wilde Sapte, but Mangat said he expects Norton Rose to be added to the panel in due course. Mangat is involved in two of British Waterways' key London estates at Canary Wharf and Paddington. Ashursts will retain work on British Waterways' public-private partnership scheme, which it won earlier this year (The Lawyer, 26 February), but it is understood that the client was keen to maintain its relationship with Mangat. Mangat also brings two development projects for the London Borough of Hounslow, while Ashursts has retained its role as property litigation adviser to the council. Mangat said: "The reason [for the move] is that Ashursts made up three partners in property this year, so there's very little room at the top. There was a real opportunity to join a classy outfit at Norton Rose. It has an excellent rounded client base. The people are friendly and professional. They want to be market leaders in commercial property, and I hope they'll do that in the near future." Mangat's appointment gives Norton Rose eight partners in property, although Jonathan Ody is retiring shortly. Led by Robin Mitchell, the department has had a difficult year following the resignation of high-billing partner Jonathan Solomon, who joined Clifford Chance in October. But the department has now formalised a policy of assigning at least two partners to each real estate client to bolster its service and guard against client losses when partners leave. Benchmark was among the clients Norton Rose faced losing as a result of Solomon's departure, but it is understood that the company has since taken a number of new instructions to the firm. Mitchell said Mangat would be the first in a series of lateral hires for the group. He said: "The department is focused and highly profitable, and yet we've achieved this without losing the friendliness for which we're renowned. We'll continue to expand real estate in the UK and abroad by a mix of internal promotions and lateral hires."