Packer’s move is a heavy blow to Dechert, not least because his focus on property finance is very much in line with Dechert’s strategy for its own real estate practice, branded Finance and Real Estate (FRE).
He also adds to a string of losses from the London office since Titmuss Sainer Dechert merged with US firm Dechert Price & Rhoads three years ago. They include former head of property Chris Edwards to Charles Russell and real estate partners Ed Bannister and Pat Jones to Field Fisher Waterhouse and SJ Berwin respectively.
London FRE head Ciaran Carvalho accepted that Packer’s decision was disappointing and said the practice was actively seeking new recruits. “We’re obviously sorry to see Mark go… We want to have ambitious and aspirational people here and by their nature those people will sometimes move on,” he added.
Packer will play a key role in Eversheds’ bid to create an effective real estate finance team by bringing together partners from real estate and banking.
Firm-wide the real estate finance group is headed by Newcastle-based banking partner Nicholas On, while Packer will lead the initiative from a real estate perspective in London.
“In London we haven’t historically had a standalone team, so we are increasing our capability tremendously,” said real estate head Cornelius Medvei. Banking clients are of course high on the team’s target list. The firm already acts for banks including HBoS, RBS and HSBC but will be aiming to secure larger structured finance deals for those and other clients.