Devonshires Ranks Highly in 2018 Chambers and Partners Legal Guide

Chambers and Partners have released their 2018 rankings and we are delighted to have maintained our Band 1 positions in Social Housing and Social Housing: Finance.

We are also pleased to have a record number of our lawyers recognised by Chambers and Partners as experts in their chosen fields.

A full list of our rankings in this current edition can be viewed below:


Social Housing (Band 1)

Basic facts about the department
– 24 partners
– 41 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Esteemed practice with a leading presence and long-standing experience in social housing issues. Acts for more than 200 registered providers, as well as local authorities, developers and funders, on an array of matters, including housing management and governance. Provides wide-ranging expertise in the field, spanning fraud, procurement and regulatory issues. Notable for its long-standing relationship with the HCA.

Strengths One interviewee states: “They have good client relationships and provide very regular updates, not just on cases but on housing and wider corporate issues generally.” 

Market sources say the firm is “pre-eminent in the sphere.”

Work highlights Advised Circle Housing Group on its merger with Affinity Sutton to create Clarion Group, which is now the largest social housing provider in the country with approximately 120,000 homes.

Acted for Thames Valley Housing Association on the acquisition of a BHS store site. The site is to be developed into 136 affordable homes plus retail space.

Significant clients London and Quadrant Housing Trust, Hyde Housing Association, Your Housing Group, Radian Group, Paradigm Housing Group.

Social Housing: Finance (Band 1)

Basic facts about the department
– 9 partners
– 40 other qualified lawyers
– Office locations: London, Leeds

What the team is known for One of the leading firms for borrowers, regularly handling capital market issues and loan documentation. Frequently advises on registered provider to registered provider lending arrangements and acts for over 90 registered providers on property charging exercises. Able to handle a range of financing work from its new Leeds office, which opened in February 2017.

Strengths Commentators note: “It is a very strong team capable of providing legal advice in a strategic context.”

Work highlights Advised Circle and Affinity Sutton Housing Groups on banking and property charging matters relating to its merger to become Clarion Housing Group, managing over £3.5 billion worth of debt.

Advised A2Dominion on the establishment of its £1 billion note programme and issue of £250 million 3.50% unsecured sterling bonds.

Significant clients London & Quadrant Housing Trust, Metropolitan Housing Trust, Hyde Housing Association, Regenda Group, Notting Hill Housing Trust.

Ranked Lawyers

Social Housing

Nick Billingham (Band 1)
Nick Billingham is described as a “standout” of the housing management sphere. He concentrates on housing litigation, advising registered provider clients across a range of disputes, including leasehold matters. One market source says: “He is a leading light in this area and extremely knowledgeable.”

Andrew Cowan (Band 1)
Andrew Cowan garners praise for his long-standing banking and governance work in the sector. He has significant expertise regarding bilateral loan agreements. Clients praise him for being a “sector leading expert, commercially aware and very focused on delivering outcomes for the client.”

Gareth Hall (Band 4)
Gareth Hall continues advise clients on a variety of corporate matters, including group structuring, joint ventures and mergers. He also has a notable practice advising registered providers regarding framework agreements

Keith Jenkins (Senior Statesmen)
Keith Jenkins is renowned for his long-standing practice in the social housing arena. He continues to act as a consultant for the firm and as a “dispenser of wisdom” to an array of clients.

Social Housing: Finance

Julian Barker (Band 1)
Julian Barker continues to impress with his advice on a range of financing matters. He has experience of bond issuances and revolving credit facilities, among other matters.

Andrew Cowan (Band 2)
Andrew Cowan advises his clients on a range of matters, including mergers and acquisitions, and financing issues. He serves as head of social housing at the firm.

Chris Drabble (Band 2)
Chris Drabble joined Devonshires in 2017 as head of the firm’s new Leeds office. He has an impressive practice acting for funders on security-related transactions.

Gary Grigor (Band 3)
Commentators note that Gary Grigor as “very highly thought of in the sector.” He joined the firm in April 2017 from Addleshaw Goddard. He is noted for his specialist knowledge of private placements.

Sharon Kirkham (Band 1)
Sharon Kirkham is an expert in property charging work and advises a number of registered providers. Clients say that she is “extremely knowledgeable.”


Mark London (Band 5)
Mark London of Devonshires LLP represents a client base of developers, contractors and local authorities in a range of construction matters. He is particularly strong in disputes and is regularly instructed to assist with housing development matters. One client reports: “I always get very clear advice from Mark. He’s been excellent at negotiating commercial or contractual issues.”

Robert Turner (Band 5)
Non-contentious specialist Robert Turner of Devonshires LLP devotes his practice to advising purchaser clients on all forms of construction contracts. He has particular experience in PFI and PPP infrastructure projects. He stands out to market commentators for his ability to “bring industry knowledge to the fore” and for being “a man of detail.” He joined Devonshires from Dentons in May 2017.


Eileen Livingstone (Recognised Practitioner)


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