Devonshires’ Social Housing Team Ranks Highly in 2019 Chambers and Partners Legal Guide


The 2019 Chambers and Partners Legal Guide has been published, and we are delighted to have maintained our Band 1 positions in Social Housing and Social Housing: Finance.

This year a record number of our lawyers were recognised as experts in their chosen fields.

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

Departments

Social Housing (Band 1)

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. Offers further experience in finance matters.

Strengths

Clients say: “They are committed to the sector, creative, and always one step ahead.”

Other sources note: “They deliver high-quality, pragmatic legal advice, often within tight timescales.”

Work highlight

Advised on the merger between Paragon Community Housing and Asra Housing Association.

Social Housing: Finance (Band 1)

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. Also equipped to advise registered providers on the finance aspects of their mergers.

Strengths

Clients say: “They have exceptional knowledge of the sector and are very user-friendly.”

Other sources note: “The team demonstrates specialist knowledge, completing matters to deadlines and dealing with unexpected issues in a calm, managed way.”

Work highlight

Advised Aldwyck Housing on a £40 million private placement to be used to refinance existing debt and build new homes.

Ranked Lawyers

Social Housing

Nick Billingham (Band 1)
Nick Billingham is described as a “superstar” by sources, who highlight his extensive experience of housing management litigation. He frequently acts for registered providers and local authorities in leasehold and commercial property disputes, and also advises clients on regulatory compliance.

Andrew Cowan (Band 1)
Andrew Cowan is described as a “sector leader” by clients who highlight his expertise in banking and governance. He regularly advises registered providers on all aspects of social housing finance and transactional matters. Sources highlight his “outstanding networks” and “expertise and practical approach.”

Gareth Hall (Band 4)
The “seriously excellent” Gareth Hall focuses his practice on the corporate aspects of social housing, notably advising registered providers on governance issues, joint ventures and framework agreements, among other such matters.

Neil Toner (Band 4)
Neil Toner is highly regarded for advising on a range of matters including property acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures and development matters. Sources say: “He’s a really good lawyer who is really thorough and detail-oriented – clients really like that about him.”

Keith Jenkins (Senior Statesmen)
Keith Jenkins continues to advise local authorities and housing associations on funding issues in his capacity as a consultant to the firm. He is also recognised for his knowledge of employment law and matters relating to pensions.


Social Housing: Finance

Julian Barker (Band 1)
“Very strong” lawyer Julian Barker is “very bright, sensible, commercial and very good to deal with,” say sources. He continues to advise registered providers on finance matters such as bond issues, private placements and syndicated loans. Clients appreciate that he is “helpful, proactive and makes difficult concepts simple.”

Sharon Kirkham (Band 1)
Sharon Kirkham continues to focus her practice on advising registered providers on securitisation matters. One impressed client says that she handled their matter “very effectively, delivered on deadlines and supported the project very well.”

Andrew Cowan (Band 2)
Andrew Cowan leads the firm’s social housing team. He continues to advise registered providers on bilateral loan agreements and related security. One client says: “He is an extremely effective partner with a deep understanding of our business, the environment in which we work and the counterparties we are engaged with. It follows that his commercial outlook is brought to bear with great effect.”

Chris Drabble (Band 2)
Chris Drabble focuses his practice on security-related transactions, including syndicated loans, private placements and group restructurings. He represents both funders and borrowers. Clients say: “He is a pleasure to work with, his technical knowledge is impressive, and his knowledge of funders’ requirements is invaluable.”

Gary Grigor (Band 3)
Gary Grigor continues to advise on a broad spectrum of financial arrangements, with a particular focus on private bond issuances. Clients highlight his “excellent customer service” and describe him as “technically very knowledgeable.”

Construction: Purchaser – London (Firms)

Mark London (Band 5)
Mark London of Devonshires LLP is an experienced practitioner who is noted for his representation of developers, contractors and local governments in construction disputes. He heads the firm’s construction and engineering offering.

Robert Turner (Band 5)
Robert Turner of Devonshires LLP is noted for his handling of the drafting, negotiation and structuring of construction and infrastructure projects. He offers recognised experience of PPP contracts pertaining to the transport, defence, health and education sectors, among others.


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