National law firm DWF has announced the strategic appointment of two City partners to significantly bolster its growing Real Estate team in London. Chris Seel and Nicola Giddens both join from Stephenson Harwood, where they held the role of partner and senior associate respectively.
Chris Seel has over 19 years’ experience in acting for owners, developers and occupiers on commercial real estate matters, with significant experience in projects work having previously led on a number of PFI/PPP projects. In addition to his core real estate practice, his considerable expertise in working with clients across the energy, education and transport sectors further ensures he is a key fit for the team and supports DWF’s approach to market.
As an expert in real estate finance Nicola Giddens has over 12 years’ experience in acting for banks, borrowers and lenders on all aspects of real estate transactions. Nicola works with clients across the retail, hospitality, institutional funds and healthcare sectors. She has extensive experience in advising leading UK financial services institutions on a broad range of real estate and finance transactions, including financing a number of sizeable UK commercial, residential and mixed-use properties both on an investment and development basis.
Over the past 12 months DWF has seen major growth in both its national and London real estate teams and announced in July 2014 that revenues from the 220-strong team for the 2013/14 financial year increased by 14% year on year to £29million and account for 15% of the firm’s turnover.
Toby Askin, partner and Head of Real Estate in London at DWF, commented: “We have invested heavily in our London real estate team and the appointments of Chris and Nicola significantly strengthen the breadth and depth of our offering. As the team continues to work on major deals - a recent example being advising Custodian REIT plc, a £130 million closed-ended investment company, on its flotation on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange and its acquisition of a seed portfolio of properties - these investments ensure we’re well placed to further support clients on deals of this size and scale across the UK and internationally.”
Chris Seel added: “DWF is continuing to establish a strong real estate presence in London, with a number of quality partners joining over the past few months and I have been particularly impressed by the enthusiasm, focus and commitment of the team to build an offering which strongly supports client needs. There are clear synergies between my practice and DWF’s chosen industry sectors and I’m looking forward to developing further our offering to clients.”
A key aspect of the team’s growth has been the firm’s significant investment in its London real estate offering throughout 2013/14, which saw DWF recruit partners Toby Askin and Lorraine Reader from Wragge & Co, Simon Elphick and Iain Thomas from Lawrence Graham, and Stephen Sumpton from Stephenson Harwood.