Simmons continues partner raid on BLP

Simmons & Simmons has hired a real estate partner from Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) – its seventh partner hire from BLP in less than a year.

Real estate partner John Kelsey, who is also joint head of BLP’s hotels group and part of the restructuring and insolvency team, is set to join Simmons’ London real estate team as a partner.

Kelsey’s move follows that of corporate insurance partner Pollyanna Deane, who moved from BLP to Simmons in December 2011 (2 December 2011), and the five-partner finance team that joined Simmons from BLP in May 2011 (26 May 2011).

Kelsey specialises in real estate investments and development, finance and restructuring and insolvency. His clients include banks, investors and corporates. At BLP Kelsey advised Ernst & Young on the sale of the last property in the White Tower portfolio (13 June 2011), as well as Royal Bank of Scotland on the sale of the Cumberland hotel to a US joint venture in 2010 (19 July 2010).

Simmons’ head of real estate Nick Jones, said: “Our real estate team is growing and we’ve made a strategic decision to reinforce this both in London and internationally. We’re very pleased to have a partner of John’s calibre joining the team.”

BLP could not be reached in time to comment.