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The Crown Estate has appointed BLP its sole legal adviser, shifting the legal mandate for its £7bn central London real estate portfolio away from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM).
KWM partner Bryan Pickup has traditionally held the Crown Estate relationship in the capital. Pickup moved to DLA Piper with a group of real estate partners just before Christmas, including head of the practice William Naunton.
Now the Crown Estate has appointed BLP its primary supplier, with head of real estate Chris de Pury managing the relationship.
It is understood a number of other firms, including DLA, will continue to advise the business, which holds a London property portfolio comprising 8 million sq ft of commercial property in the West End and is currently delivering a £1.5bn investment and redevelopment programme in the area.
Crown Estate general counsel and company secretary Rob Booth said he was “excited to be working with the team at BLP to take customer focus and legal service delivery forward”.
Booth took over as the company’s top lawyer at the start of 2016 from Vivienne King amid a restructure of its business that also saw it create a new executive committee. Booth joined in 2012 from Herbert Smith Freehills.
De Pury added: “We are well aware how competitive it is to win such a prestigious mandate, so you can imagine how thrilled we are to be appointed. It is a privilege to be able to play a part acting for The Crown Estate on such a high profile and ground breaking portfolio.”
KWM’s real estate team split in two in December as an administration of the firm’s Europe LLP became inevitable. The property group moved to DLA Piper, with the real estate finance and property structuring group heading to Greenberg Traurig. Bircham Dyson Bell has since bought KWM’s Cambridge real estate team, which was mostly staffed by former Eversheds lawyers.
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