Landwell lures Linklaters partner to enhance real estate capability

Landwell & Partners, the legal arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has poached a partner from Linklaters & Alliance to head the Paris real estate practice’s legal side.

Duncan Stapylton-Smith, who is a French and UK-qualified lawyer, specialises in real estate investments, construction and planning law and commercial leases. He will join two partners and 12 associates and will add legal expertise to the practice’s tax capability. He will also develop a pan-European real estate practice.

“Our aim is to help cross-border investors and to provide assistance in corporate deals where lawyers are required in different jurisdictions,” says Stapylton-Smith. “We’ll do the real estate and someone in PwC will do the tax. The tax and legal work being handled by lawyers who fully understand the sector in the same group is much more efficient.”

Stapylton-Smith says that he joined Landwell because it has a clear real estate strategy and has been involved in more real estate investment than any other Paris firm.

There has been a knock-on effect on other foreign investment and real estate is a growing area, but there is still only a handful of firms in France with a real estate practice.

The other main players are Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Gide Loyrette Nouel and Lefèvre Pelletier & Associés.