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CITY firm Titmuss Sainer Dechert expects a steady flow of property work to come from the addition of seven real estate lawyers to US firm Dechert Price & Rhoads.
Titmuss Sainer Dechert has a fully integrated international practice with the US firm and it is expected that this will result in a merger within the next three years.
Dechert Price & Rhoads scooped the seven new lawyers from Hartford, Connecticut, firm Pepe & Hazard and is opening a new office in the same town.
The previous head of Pepe & Hazard's property practice, Richard D Jones, will head the new office, which will concentrate on insurance companies and other institutional real estate lenders.
Jones, a nationally prominent real estate finance lawyer, is joined by partners Marc B Friedman and Timothy J Boyce, four associates and two support staff.
The chief executive at Titmuss Sainer Dechert, Sir Peter Duffell, said the new US lawyers would give Dechert Price & Rhoads a greater emphasis on property, which would enhance the two firms' relationship.
Real estate previously represented 5 per cent of the US firm's business but this is expected to grow to 10 per cent with the opening of the new office. About 40 per cent of Titmuss Sainer Dechert's work is in property.
"It can only help the international base of our work. It will increase the amount of cross referral work across the water," Duffell said. "We've been very encouraged by this."
The head of Titmuss Sainer Dechert's property department, Steven Fogel, was consulted on the lawyers joining the US firm and met with Jones in London prior to him being recruited.
"Richard Jones and his team are highly regarded property lawyers in the US. They will add to our collective resources," Fogel said.
"We aim to lead the field among lawyers providing property services to cross-Atlantic inward investors."
The director of development at Pepe & Hazard, Fritz Morsches, said it was "difficult to say" whether the defecting lawyers would take business with them.
He said the firm still had 15 lawyers, including 10 partners, focusing on real estate and property law.
"Only a small portion of the real estate group has joined Dechert," he said. "It isn't a significant portion."