SJ Berwin keeps top real estate clients from ex-chief

SJ Berwin’s former head of real estate Jon Vivian has not taken the firm’s biggest-billing property clients with him to Irwin Mitchell.

Jon Vivian
Jon Vivian

Vivian left SJ Berwin last year after nearly a decade at the firm, taking a team of lawyers with him. But ­neither the Crown Estate nor British Land – two of the team’s most lucrative clients - have joined him (, 27 ­September 2010).

Vivian was one of two relationship partners for the Crown Estate. It is understood that the Crown Estate told Vivian it would not be going off-panel.

SJ Berwin’s British Land relationship was managed primarily by corporate ­partner Michael Goldberg, but Vivian tried to persuade property associate Darren Rogers, who is now working on the account, to join him at Irwin Mitchell. Rogers stayed at SJ Berwin and was made partner outside the normal promotions round.

Vivian said he brought over developer Gazeley, but his aim was not just to act for SJ Berwin clients.

On the Crown Estate ­relationship he said: “There was no question [of me ­taking the client] when I moved. I was keen for SJ Berwin to retain it – it did a good job.”