Boris-backed Pocket Living picks Speechly as sole adviser

Private housing developer Pocket Living has cut its legal panel from five to one, making Speechly Bircham its sole legal adviser. 

Pocket founder and chief executive Marc Vlessing, who would not comment on which other firms the company previously used, told The Lawyer that the decision to cut its legal advisers down to one was not financially motivated.

”We [previously] had a whole raft of lawyers which we used across London,” he said, emphasising that the company decided it needed a more seamless service. “[We have] highly integrated work running on a conveyer belt of activity.”

Speechly Bircham went up against a number of firms for the mandate, with Speechly’s real estate partner Robin Grove and construction specialist Duncan Salmon leading the pitch. The move will see senior solicitor Fiona Maslin work in-house for Pocket at least two days a week.  

The firm will provide land acquisition, planning, construction, development sales and finance advise to the business as it aims to build 600 houses a year for the next decade, with 4,000 homes on offer across eight London boroughs by 2023. 

Grove said in a statement: “I’ve been working with Pocket for nine years, and am really excited to be appointed as lead legal adviser to support its growing presence in the intermediate housing sector.”

London Greater Authority gave financial backing to the group last year, with the London mayor, Boris Johnson, granting the housebuilder a 10-year £23.7m loan as part of his bid to get more people on the housing ladder.