Legal Business

Adviser review: Pinsent Masons added to Land Securities panel

Adviser review: Pinsent Masons added to Land Securities panel

National firm Pinsent Masons has won a place on FTSE 100 firm Land Securities’ legal panel, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has come off the roster following a review.

The UK’s largest listed commercial property company has re-appointed Berwin Leighton Paisner, CMS Cameron McKenna, DAC Beachcroft, Eversheds, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells and Nabarro.

While Pinsents is the only new firm on the panel, Freshfields is the only firm to come off the panel, having decided not to pitch for the business when the review came up.

While the property firm previously had a two-tier panel system, this is no longer in place.

The panel review took several months and will be in place from 1 May for five years. It was run by group general counsel Tim Ashby, who took on the role following the departure of then legal chief Adrian de Souza in October last year

Ashby said: ‘We are confident that Land Securities has a legal panel of property experts who can partner with us and support our business over the next phase of its strategy. Involving the business teams throughout the process was a critical element to getting this right.’

Pinsents real estate partner Mike Reid said: ‘We hope to bring our sector focus and reputation for innovation to bear on the relationship and provide specialist legal support across the business.’

Other recent panel reviews to conclude include Avis, which gave places to Eversheds, Reed Smith, Dentons and K&L Gates on its seven-firm panel, while Siemens, which reappointed Eversheds and Osborne Clarke, while adding Addleshaw Goddard to its list of preferred firms.

victoria.young@legalease.co.uk

 

Legal Business

Land Securities to launch panel review following de Souza departure

Land Securities to launch panel review following de Souza departure

FTSE 100 company Land Securities has kicked off a panel review of its external legal roster now that the current three-year term has come to an end.

The review is being led by group general counsel (GC) Tim Ashby, who was appointed to the role following the departure of then legal chief Adrian de Souza in October last year.

When Legal Business powerlist member de Souza took the position in 2010, he was immediately charged with slashing the property company’s roster of more than 100 firms. Land Securities now has nine law firms on its panel, split into a two-tier system with firms on either panel A or B.

Both panels deal with property work, construction, planning and real estate litigation work across the UK. Panel A is made up of Berwin Leighton Paisner, Eversheds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells and Nabarro.

Herbert Smith Freehills and the now defunct Dundas & Wilson secured spots on panel B during the last review in January 2013 (Dundas & Wilson has since been taken over by CMS Cameron McKenna). A firm is typically placed on panel B for a number of years until it has fully learnt the processes and procedures of the company. There is also an additional specialist panel that contains Allen & Overy for finance and Clifford Chance for corporate work.

It will constitute Ashby’s first panel review for the company. Ashby was previously group GC and company secretary at Mothercare for more than five years.

Other recent panel news includes JPMorgan signing the entire Magic Circle to its EMEA panel and the Royal Bank of Scotland appointing a raft of firms including Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Allen & Overy to its panel for the next three years.

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

 

 

Legal Business

In-house: Mothercare’s Ashby set to succeed de Souza as group GC of Land Securities

In-house: Mothercare’s Ashby set to succeed de Souza as group GC of Land Securities

FTSE 100 company Land Securities has appointed Mothercare’s group general counsel (GC) and company secretary Tim Ashby as its group GC, following the resignation of Adrian de Souza (pictured) in October.

Ashby, who has been group GC and company secretary at Mothercare for over five years, has worked in-house since 1993. After a five year stint at legacy Denton Wilde Sapte, he held the role of senior international counsel at multinational food and beverage company PepsiCo, and then spent 12 years as regional counsel for Europe and Africa at Yum! Restaurant International, owner of brands including Pizza Hut and KFC. It is not known exactly when he will take up the role at Land Securities.

Legal Business powerlist member de Souza, who is currently on gardening leave, will formerly leave Land Securities in October, following a 12 month notice period. By the time he leaves he will have served five years as the company’s first group general counsel following his appointment to the position in 2010.

After qualifying and working for a year at legacy firm Lovells, De Souza spent five years as a senior associate at Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance before making the move in-house to brewing company SABMiller where he spent seven years, first as senior counsel and then as head of legal at SABMiller Europe before joining Land Securities Group after Land Securities’ company secretary Peter Dudgeon announced he was stepping down after a decade in the role.

When De Souza took the position in 2010, he was immediately charged with slashing the property company’s roster of more than 100 firms. Land Securities now has nine law firms on its panel, split into a two-tier system with firms on either panel A or B.

Both panels deal with property work, construction, planning and real estate litigation work across the UK. Panel A is made up of Berwin Leighton Paisner, Eversheds, Freshfields Braukhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells and Nabarro.

Dundas & Wilson and Herbert Smith Freehills secured spots on panel B during the last review in January 2013. A firm is typically placed on panel B for a number of years until it has fully learned the processes and procedures of the company. There is also an additional specialist panel that contains Allen & Overy for finance and Clifford Chance for corporate work.

The appointments last three years, with the next review due in 2016.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Land Securities

  • Group general counsel and company secretary: Adrian de Souza.
  • Team headcount: eight lawyers.

Due to the nature of the industry, in-house real estate teams are traditionally smaller than most, tending to gift significant mandates to their chosen counsel. Group GC Adrian de Souza and his high functioning team at FTSE 100 company Land Securities outsource about 99% of their legal work, typically spending in the region of £15m-£20m externally.

‘The team here know their roles really well,’ comments de Souza. ‘They don’t do external lawyers’ work and they don’t do the business person’s work, but they
act as a seamless conjugate between the two. Every single sale for Land Securities has a bespoke legal agreement attached to it. Legal is right at the heart of our business and a relatively small legal team makes sure the work is done on a consistent and high-quality basis.’

One way in which the team ensures high-quality output is treating external lawyers as an extension of the in-house team, bringing them into the business and familiarising them with its specific model. Alongside this, the team also has an unusual market-shaping programme of identifying and supporting the rising stars in real estate practices across its law firms, safeguarding against a possible shortage of star lawyers in the years to come.

Like many in-house teams, the legal department at Land Securities does not think much of hourly rates, instead taking direct responsibly for driving the efficiency of its panel firms. Head of legal Alex Peeke, says: ‘Conventionally in real estate you are budgeting as a percentage of the transaction amount.’

The team’s highlights over the last year include the acquisition of a controlling stake in the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent – bought from Lend Lease Corporation for just under £700m, as well as the £1bn development of the iconic Walkie Talkie building, together with the Canary Wharf Group, which was 90% let at completion when it opened towards the end of 2014. But the team is arguably at its most effective around Victoria, where Land Securities is currently putting up around £2bn worth of buildings. It also has planning permission for a new residential tower worth over £1bn – the conversion of an office block, which is the tallest building in the area.

Legal Business

The Crown Estate’s Peeke to join Land Securities in legal head role

The Crown Estate’s Peeke to join Land Securities in legal head role

Land Securities, the UK’s largest listed property company, has hired The Crown Estate’s deputy head of legal Alex Peeke as head of legal, taking over the day-to-day conduct of the legal function and operations and reporting to group general counsel (GC) and company secretary Adrian de Souza.

Peeke (pictured) has been with The Crown Estate, which owns an £8bn-plus portfolio of commercial property, since 2009. He is responsible for the day-to-day management of legal risk and is the legal lead on joint ventures, which have become the most important feature of the implementation of The Crown Estate’s redevelopment strategy for its prestigious Central London estate.

Selected by Legal Business as one of 101 in-house ‘Rising Stars’ for 2014, Peeke served as an officer in the British Army for five years before becoming a solicitor at Slaughter and May, leaving after six years to join Macfarlanes. Nicholas Cheffings, chair of Hogan Lovells, said: ‘Alex is a tremendous lawyer. He is commercial and pragmatic, truly understands the real estate industry and the business he represents, and he is great to work with.’

Vivienne King, The Crown Estate’s director of business operations and GC, said: ‘Alex has been a superb leader of The Crown Estate legal team with an excellent portfolio behind him and although we will be very sorry to see him go, this is a tremendous opportunity for Alex to continue to build his career.’

Peeke replaces Clive Ashcroft, who is retiring after 32 years with Land Securities. One insider said: ‘He has made a really strong contribution to Land Securities and the industry as a whole, having seen an awful lot of change in his time.’

Land Securities is listed in the top 50 of the FTSE 100 (currently at 48) and has £12bn of commercial property in the UK, including offices in One New Change; New Street Square; the iconic Piccadilly Lights in London; the Walkie Talkie building, which is a joint venture with Canary Wharf; and 29 national retail parks.

The property giant completed its panel review towards the beginning of last year, which was overseen by de Souza, in which Hogan Lovells and Herbert Smith Freehills won a place alongside existing advisers Nabarro, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Dundas & Wilson, Eversheds and Berwin Leighton Paisner.

Peeke’s appointment comes after Nationwide Building Society last month appointed HSBC’s European legal chief Keith Ford to replace group general counsel Liz Kelly, who announced last autumn that she is leaving to pursue outside interests.

Ford, who is currently HSBC’s global GC for Europe, with experience in retail, wealth management and commercial legal work, will start the new role in July.

caroline.hill@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

The Crown Estate’s Peeke to join Land Securities in legal head role

Land Securities, the UK’s largest listed property company, has hired The Crown Estate’s deputy head of legal Alex Peeke as head of legal, taking over the day-to-day conduct of the legal function and operations and reporting to group general counsel (GC) and company secretary Adrian de Souza.

Peeke has been with The Crown Estate, which owns an £8bn-plus portfolio of commercial property, since 2009. He is responsible for the day-to-day management of legal risk and is the legal lead on joint ventures, which have become the most important feature of the implementation of The Crown Estate’s redevelopment strategy for its prestigious Central London estate.

Legal Business

Law firms forced to prove their worth

Law firms forced to prove their worth

Panel reviews are a cut-throat business these days, even for firms like SNR Denton and Slaughter and May. The duo was recently evicted from the Land Securities legal panel after a year-long review by group general counsel and company secretary Adrian de Souza. It seems not even the big hitters are immune to facing the chop.

Legal Business

Herbies and Hogan Lovells win places on Land Securities panel

Land Securities has appointed Herbert Smith Freehills and Hogan Lovells to its revamped legal panel following a year-long review that ended in January. The largest commercial property company in the UK now has nine external law firms on its roster.

Group general counsel and company secretary Adrian de Souza has organised his law firms into two main panels, with Berwin Leighton Paisner, Eversheds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells and Nabarro placed on panel A, while panel B comprises Dundas & Wilson and Herbert Smith Freehills. There is also an additional specialist panel that contains Allen & Overy for finance and Clifford Chance for corporate work.

Legal Business

Adrian de Souza – Land Securities

Adrian de Souza – Land Securities

Adrian de Souza

General counsel

Land Securities

 

As a relative newcomer to the property world, for general counsel Adrian de Souza the past few years have been all about finding his feet in the business he joined back in 2010. De Souza was tasked with cutting down the number of firms that Land Securities regularly works with. He has successfully reduced the number from 25 firms to eight, although the company used to have around 100 firms on its roster.