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Back to basics: BLP hires DLA Piper real estate partner Karen Friebe

More recently the subject of headlines announcing partner departures, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) today announced the appointment of Karen Friebe, a real estate partner from DLA Piper as sources indicate the traditionally real estate driven firm is taking a back to basics approach to consolidation.

Friebe (pictured), who specialises in the hotel and leisure sector and will join BLP as a partner in its global real estate practice based in London, was the global co-chair of DLA Piper’s hospitality and leisure group and led its EMEA hospitality and leisure team for a number of years.

She joins a leading real estate team focused on mergers and acquisitions, management agreements, development projects and franchising and boasting clients such as Balfour Beatty, Barclays, Marriott Hotels and the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Chris de Pury, real estate departmental managing partner, said: ‘Karen has a wealth of experience across the real estate sector as a whole and her specific knowledge of the global hotel market will prove invaluable as we look to add further to our leading hotel and leisure offering. Karen will also be a great role model for our associates.’

The arrival will be a boost to BLP, coming in the wake of a string of high profile partner departures, including global head of private equity Raymond McKeeve and fellow partner Michael Weir to Jones Day in August and September respectively, contentious tax head Liesl Fichardt to Clifford Chance and commercial and technology head Adam Rose to Mishcon de Reya.

The moves follow a poor 2012/13 financial performance from the top 20 firm, which revealed in September that its profits are down by 39% to £401,000, following a revenue drop of 5% to £233m.

However, managing partner Neville Eisenberg recently told Legal Business that this year has already seen improvement, with one ex-partner also recently suggesting that the firm is focussing much of its energies on its real estate roots, which has remained a core area for the firm despite its recent rapid expansion.