03 April 2020

Forsters acquires Orrick's 10-lawyer London property team

Photo of the Forsters team

The Forsters team

Three-partner team transfers to UK real estate law specialist after 15 years at US firm

UK property specialist Forsters has acquired Orrick’s 10-lawyer London property team.

Led by Anne O’Neill and including partners Andrew Denye and Sara Branch, the team will join London-based Forsters on 15 April.

The trio have worked together for 20 years having collectively joined Orrick as part of a mass defection from Coudert Brothers in 2005. Their clients include Coal Pension Fund, intu and Notting Hill Genesis.

The move comes against the background a series of departures – and lateral hires – across Orrick’s international network of offices as it focuses its business on three sectors: technology and innovation, energy and Infrastructure and finance.

O'Neill said: “We have very much enjoyed being part of Orrick’s success in London since 2005 but we are delighted to be moving to Forsters, a firm whose reputation and commitment to real estate we have admired for many years.”

She and her team join Forsters' 100-strong commercial real estate group at a challenging time given the disruption caused by Covid-19.

Commercial real estate group head Andrew Crabbie said: “Looking beyond the market disruption we are all experiencing as a result of COVID-19, we are absolutely clear about our commitment to real estate, which has been at the heart of the Forsters business since we launched in 1998. 

“The Orrick team’s experience in central London developments for clients such as Notting Hill Genesis adds to our existing strength advising clients on large mixed use schemes and there is great synergy in the team’s work for Coal Pensions, a fund managed by LaSalle Investment Management, with whom Forsters has worked for many years.”

Simon Willis, Orrick’s London head, added: “We are very grateful to the real estate team for everything they have contributed to our firm – and we will certainly miss them in our London office. They are at the top of the game in their field and the Forsters platform will be a great fit for their practice and their clients.”  

Earlier this month Orrick hired a four-partner energy team in London from Watson Farley & Williams and in January it recruited cyber and data partners Keily Blair and James Lloyd from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC).

However, the network has also witnessed partner departures in Germany, France and Italy while it is also winding down its Hong Kong office after after conceding defeat on its strategy of growing a technology and innovation practice in the city.

In a statement, the firm said: “We continue to align our firm around our global focus on serving the tech & innovation, energy and infrastructure and finance sectors. Our investments this year in London in a market-leading Cyber & Privacy litigation and enforcement team from PwC, a fintech expert, and the four-partner energy & infrastructure team from Watson Farley all advance this strategy.”

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