BLP to launch in Southampton with double partner hire from Womble Bond Dickinson

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) is launching its third UK office in Southampton, with the hire of two partners from Womble Bond Dickinson.

Womble Bond real estate partners Anna Robbins and Verity Waington will join BLP later this year, with the office launch planned for May.

The opening will mark BLP’s first UK launch since it established a low-cost legal services centre in Manchester in 2014.

The announcement comes after BLP confirmed that voting on its proposed transatlantic merger with Bryan Cave had begun, with the result expected to be revealed during the week beginning 26 February.

Robbins has been with Womble Bond for more than 14 years, joining legacy Bond Pearce from Herbert Smith Freehills in 2003 and making partner in 2007. She has a focus on the retail sector, specifically acting for real estate funds.

Waington, meanwhile, joined Bond Pearce from Nabarro in 2011, making partner in 2014. She acts for institutional funds, property companies, owner-occupiers and local and central government bodies on development and regeneration projects and landlord and tenant asset management.

A BLP spokesperson said: “The new Southampton hub will offer a complementary service to the London and Manchester offices, strengthening BLP’s real estate sector capability. In particular, Southampton will focus on real estate asset management, due diligence and mid-market capital transactional work.

“The new office will work in collaboration with teams in London and Manchester. Southampton will efficiently service real estate sector clients on matters resourced seamlessly between the three UK offices.”

Womble Bond is currently bedding in its own transatlantic merger, following the combination of Bond Dickinson and Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in November last year.

A Womble Bond spokesperson said: “We wish Anna and Verity well. Our UK real estate team is one of the largest in the country and operates on a national basis. We continue to see lots of opportunities for growth with a very healthy pipeline of activity coming from our clients both here and in the US. Our well established Southampton office of more than 150 people has a focus on real estate and retail work amongst other key sectors.”