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DLA real estate partner Richard Hopkinson-Woolley to exit for Simmons

Real estate partner Richard Hopkinson-Woolley is to leave DLA Piper for Simmons & Simmons after less than three years at the firm, Legal Business can reveal.

Known as ‘Hoppo’, Hopkinson-Woolley is a real estate lawyer who trained at Simmons, and has a broad practice across investment and development work. His key clients include Oxford Properties, Tishman Speyer and funds advised by Pramerica.

This arrival at Simmons comes after the firm made layoffs at its London office this summer following the vote for Brexit, with real estate as one practice affected most. Real estate practices have generally experienced a slowdown in transactions of late, since the Brexit vote on 23 June.

Simmons head of real estate in London John Kelsey said: ‘We’re delighted to welcome Richard to our team of real estate lawyers here in the UK. We’re committed to continuing to grow our real estate capabilities and Richard has particular strengths that will complement our existing team.’

In June, the firm hired from the in-house community for real estate specialist Deian Rhys, who had been a senior counsel at Goldman Sachs.

Hopkinson-Woolley had joined DLA Piper in 2014 around the same time as several Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) partners including corporate partner Patrick Somers, head of real estate Laurence Rogers and corporate tax partner Neville Wright.

Growth slowed last year after something of a revival for Simmons in 2014/15. For financial year 2015/16 the firm posted turnover up 2% in 2015/16 to hit a record £295.1m but partners suffered a sharp fall in profits as the firm’s cost base soared.