BLP real estate partner trio defect to DLA Piper

A trio of partners have quit Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) to join DLA Piper, in the latest in a stream of departures from the firm.

Real estate finance head Laurence Rogers, corporate tax partner Neville Wright and real estate partner Richard Hopkinson-Woolley have all jumped ship for DLA Piper’s real estate team.

The exits follow the news that infrastructure and projects head Adam Dann is to replace outgoing finance chief Matthew Kellett in March. Kellett prompted a team-wide review with his resignation in October 2013 (30 October 2013) and will work with Dann until he takes over.

The path to DLA Piper from BLP is increasingly well-trodden. BLP real estate partner Patrick Somers joined DLA Piper in September last year (16 September 2013), following Rob Salter’s move in May 2013.

Described as “aggressive” and “ambitious” by sources, Rogers has advised lenders and borrowers on all aspects of property finance including investment, development and structured finance on UK and pan-European deals for the syndicated and securitisation markets.

Hopkinson-Woolley is a commercial real estate partner, having advised on retail parks, leisure schemes and offices since joining the firm. He has also headed up one of BLP’s real estate teams.

Wright is a tax lawyer with a property specialism. In 2013 he worked with BLP real estate chief Chris de Pury on the purchase and development of Ampersand, an 80,000 sq ft site on the corner of London’s Oxford Street and Wardour Street, advising the seller Resolution (13 May 2013).

BLP has suffered numerous real estate depatures over the past year. Most recently restructuring head Ben Larkin quit, becoming the third partner to leave for Jones Day (10 February 2014). He had been mooted as a potential successor to Kellett.

Before that the firm saw the departure of private equity star Raymond McKeeve, also for Jones Day (20 August 2013), which prompted BLP management to defend its corporate offering (20 August 2013). Jones Day also picked up corporate finance partner Michael Weir (8 October 2013).

Other recent departures from BLP’s finance department include partner Richard Todd, moving to Mayer Brown (7 October 2013), partner Lisa Marks, who joined Stephenson Harwood (9 July 2013) and partner Rob Salter, who left for DLA Piper. Late last year project finance head Philippa Chadwick was hired by Squire Sanders (19 December 2012). Acquisition finance partner Andrew Bamber has also quit BLP (22 July 2013).