White & Case has become the latest US firm to launch a London-based real estate practice, hiring a partner from CMS Cameron McKenna to establish the new team.
Louise Anderson is expected to join White & Case before Christmas. It is not yet known whether any assistants or clients will come to White & Case with Anderson.
The firm's London office executive partner John Bellhouse says: "We hope to provide her with the opportunity to build a real estate practice in London which can meet the needs of our international finance and corporate law clients. She will have the full support of our extensive network of real estate lawyers around the world."
Anderson, who qualified at Stones Porter in 1987, is particularly experienced in development and investment work.
At Camerons she has advised on issues arising out of major corporate and financial transactions and acts for occupiers acquiring freehold and leasehold premises.
She says: "White & Case is in the middle of a very important phase in its evolution. To be given the opportunity to play a part in the expansion of the firm's UK law capability is extremely attractive."
Anderson joins a full-service domestic and international real estate practice at White & Case, representing developers, owners, private and institutional investors, lenders and underwriters. She will be the third property partner to leave Camerons this year in favour of a more international practice. Robert Porter and Arthur Dyson were both lured to Clifford Chance in August.
The White & Case hire is part of a growing trend among US firms in the City to recognise the importance of offering a UK real estate capability. US firms are keen to recapture fees for real estate work by setting up corporate support teams, while some are also committed to developing stand-alone real estate practices in the UK.
Last year, Nabarro Nathanson lost a number of property lawyers to US firms eager to establish a property presence in the City. Andrew Bond left to join Altheimer & Gray and Donna Stringer to Weil Gotshal & Manges. In January, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher appointed Nabarros partner Alan Samson to launch a stand-alone European real estate practice. McDermott Will & Emery has also been planning to set up a real estate capability in London as part of its drive towards providing a full service in the UK. The firm is in discussions with a property finance lawyer.