Freshfields appoints new real estate chief

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has appointed John Fordham as the new departmental managing partner for real estate in London, taking over with immediate effect from Mark Wheelhouse, who was at the helm for four-and-a-half years.

The former head said that Fordham was a natural choice for the position: “He’s a similar vintage to me, we talked to him for a while [about taking over].”

Commenting on his own decision to step down, Wheelhouse said: “What I really wanted to do was spend more time on client work and client relations. The head of department role takes up quite a lot of time.”

Fordham told The Lawyer that under his stewardship the property team would be responding to the “unusual time” in the domestic market by striking out globally.

“We have a number of clients that deal with European and international investments. There’s quite a lot activity in the Middle East and Asia, which we can make use of via our international network.”

Fordham specialises in general commercial property work, including sales and purchases, landlord and tenant issues, and has a particular emphasis on property and project finance.