British Land adds Hogan Lovells to panel as BLP picks up Crown Estate role from KWM

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British Land has added Hogan Lovells to its roster of legal advisers in an out-of-season appointment, following the establishment of its first formal legal panel at the end of 2015.

The news comes as the Crown Estate announced today that Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has won a sole adviser mandate for its new £7bn central London portfolio. The portfolio comprises all of the Crown’s real estate in St James’s and Regent Street. The Regent Street portfolio was previously handled by King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM) European arm, with Hogan Lovells advising on contentious issues.

British Land, a FTSE 100 property investment company, unveiled its first ever panel in December 2015, appointing Addleshaw Goddard, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Jones Day, KWM, Mayer Brown and Simmons & Simmons.

Hogan Lovells was subsequently contacted by British Land and invited to submit a proposal, with the firm appointed at the end of last year. It is unclear whether any other firms were invited to tender.

British Land, which counts the Leadenhall Building in the City among its properties, also works with other firms for advice on specialist areas, such as Shepherd and Wedderburn and Carey Olsen.

KWM’s struggling European arm had strong ties to British Land as the successor firm to SJ Berwin, a longstanding key adviser to the company. In recent years, the firm’s work for British Land included advising on the development and letting of the £20m Broadgate Circle on London’s Broadgate Estate.

Historically, the Crown Estate has also turned to KWM for a large amount of its real estate legal advice. KWM real estate partner Bryan Pickup was the key relationship partner for the property company. Pickup has now moved to DLA Piper alongside five other KWM real estate partners.

General counsel and company secretary for the Crown Estate, Rob Booth, said: “We are very excited to be working with the team at BLP to take customer focus and legal service delivery forward, across our central London portfolio.”

Head of real estate at BLP, Chris de Pury, said: “We are well aware how competitive it is to win such a prestigious mandate, so you can imagine how thrilled we are to be appointed. It is a privilege to be able to play a part acting for The Crown Estate on such a high profile and groundbreaking portfolio.”

The last Regent Street review took place in 2012 and saw Hogan Lovells appointed to handle contentious work alongside legacy SJ Berwin (now KWM). SJ Berwin had been the sole adviser for the Regent Street portfolio since 2006.

Meanwhile, the St James’s panel was last reviewed in 2011 as part of a wider review of the Crown’s urban portfolio, with legacy Lawrence Graham – now Gowling WLG – and Burges Salmon winning roles.

In 2011, Hogan Lovells was also appointed as the Crown Estate’s main litigation adviser on all non-routine matters – the first time the organisation had appointed a firm to advise specifically on large-scale litigation cases across all of its property portfolios.