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‘A testament to our strategic direction’: Naunton and Jones ditch real estate boutique dream to join King & Wood Mallesons

Senior Eversheds partners William Naunton and Clive Jones, who handed in their resignations at the start of this year with plans of launching a City boutique for high-end real estate work, will join King & Wood Mallesons in the New Year.

Naunton, Eversheds’ former international head of real estate, and Clive Jones, the firm’s former London head of tax, began a 12-month notice period in January with plans to setup a real estate boutique but will now spearhead the growth agenda at KWM’s structured real estate team.

The duo are joined by former Eversheds partner Cornelius Medvei, who stepped down from the firm in April 2014 after 26 years of service. Medvei held a number of management positions during his time at Eversheds, including a three-year stint as London senior partner that ended in 2009 and eight years as head of real estate.

The team will be key to KWM’s aim of expanding its structured, high-end real estate work. While Naunton and Medvei will be situated in real estate and Jones in tax, the work they do will be cross-departmental and international. Jones, who joined Eversheds six years ago from Clifford Chance, spent much of his time at Eversheds advising on structured real estate transactions and investment structures.

Head of property litigation Jason Juden and property partner Ed Page were recently elected co-heads of UK real estate at KWM after former co-head William Boss was appointed as King & Wood Mallesons’ next managing partner for EMEA and co-head Simon Ricketts stepped down from the role.

Boss said that the trio’s decision ‘to join us instead of pursuing their standalone offering is hugely exciting and a testament to our strategic direction both in the real estate group and more generally as a firm’.

Medvei commented: ‘Increasingly, the market’s focus is on international real estate opportunities, with a clear trend towards Asian, Australasian and Middle Eastern investors seeking opportunities in Europe and across the globe. The strength of King & Wood Mallesons in those markets, the breadth of their footprint and their corporate strength perfectly complements and enhances our offer.’

He added: ‘The opportunity to move more swiftly and strongly into that market than we could have done on our own, coupled with the alignment we feel exists between King & Wood Mallesons’ aspirations and culture and our own, made the opportunity an irresistible one for us.’