McGuinness Finch loses founder to DJ Freeman

DJ Freeman has recruited one of the founding partners of niche London planning firm McGuinness Finch to join its property services department.

Keir McGuinness set up his own firm with Stephen Finch in 1988 after the pair left Oppenheimers a year before it merged with Denton Hall. McGuinness Finch is understood to have rejected merger proposals from Nabarro Nathanson and Scottish firm McGrigor Donald in the last few months.

Clients of the highly regarded 11-partner practice include National Power, Tesco and Ready Mixed Concrete. The firm was appointed to the property division panel of BG (formerly British Gas) earlier this year.

McGuinness joins DJ Freeman two months after announcing his retirement from McGuinness Finch, which has also suffered the departure of Finch who is going to work as a consultant advising developers.

DJ Freeman chief executive Jonathan Lewis says: “Keir has got good clients and contacts, and his approach to the law fits perfectly with ours.

“We believe in having both corporate lawyers and litigators in our property department so that we can offer clients an all-round service, but finding a corporate lawyer who works in property is very difficult. Keir has unique experience as a commercial lawyer having created a successful property-focused firm.”

McGuinness’s appointment brings the number of lawyers in D J Freeman’s property department to 57, 28 of whom are partners.

The practice has been involved in a number of significant deals in the last year, most notably acting for Lend Lease Retail Partnership to attract £505m from investors and acquire 25 per cent of the Bluewater shopping complex.

Other DJ Freeman clients include AXA Sun Life and Benchmark Group.

In September McGuinness Finch recruited head of planning Moira Fraser from DJ Freeman.