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Davitt Jones Bould appoints seven senior female property lawyers

Davitt Jones Bould (DJB), the UK’s largest firm specialising entirely in real estate law, has appointed seven senior female lawyers to further expand its commercial real estate proposition. The firm’s clients, who span the private and public sectors as well as other law firms, will now have access to five more Associate Directors and a new Consultant and Partner – all with over 10 years’ PQE in this practice area.

Alice Dearden joins from Hogan Lovells International where she advised clients in the retail, development and investment sectors. During her time at the firm, Alice also broadened her experience with a part-time secondment to a large property developer. Alice is an experienced commercial real estate specialist and has advised on a wide range of matters including retail, restaurant and office premises for large central London landlords.

Jennifer Hotston’s most recent experience comes from West Sussex County Council Legal Services in Chichester, where she spent five years as senior solicitor in the property department. Prior to joining the Council, she worked at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP in Surrey, where she gained 13 years of industry experience dealing with development sites, advising on freehold and leasehold acquisitions, and carrying out complex landlord and tenant portfolio work. Jennifer also went on secondment to a listed property group, where she advised on all aspects of asset management for the organisation’s various shopping centres.

Leanne Macdonald joins from housebuilder Keepmoat Homes, where she will continue working alongside her new role with DJB. Leanne has spent two years advising the Keepmoat board on various government housing, collaborative developer and other partnership delivery schemes, setting up and overseeing land governance processes as well as introducing and standardising legal and regulatory documents. Prior to working in-house, Leanne’s private practice experience as a commercial property specialist spans over 15 years with leading regional law firms.

Eva Hendry has been practicing as a commercial real estate solicitor for over 20 years. Most of her experience comes from law firms including Ashurst and BCLP, and she has also worked in-house at a nationwide education and care provider. Most recently Eva has worked as an independent legal consultant using her extensive experience in real estate finance, corporate acquisitions and disposals, and asset management to assist the real estate departments of various law firms.

Eleanor Smith joins as a Consultant, having practiced as a freelance consultant solicitor for eight years and before that as a private practitioner with K&L Gates since 2002. Her experience includes advising on high-value complex acquisitions and disposals, acting for landlords and tenants, lenders and borrowers, advising on private finance initiatives, and providing property advice on corporate sale and purchase transactions.

Maria Gill joined DJB as a Partner in May this year. Maria brings over 30 years of commercial real estate experience in the legal profession, having worked at a number of major firms including Eversheds, DLA Piper and Weightmans. She has advised on landlord and tenant matters, business and residential sales and purchases, property portfolios and property refinance for clients including Lloyds Banking Group, Handelsbanken, Punch Taverns and Giles Insurance Brokers.

Pascale Van Zyl has spent almost 20 years at FFW, Blake Morgan, Jones Day, Mayer Brown, and most recently at BCLP. She specialises in asset management and landlord and tenant work, particularly in the retail and leisure sectors. She has also worked extensively for industrial, corporate and residential REITs and has acted for the UK offices of several international banks.

Madeleine Davitt, Senior Partner of DJB, commented:

“We’re proud of our gender balanced team at Davitt Jones Bould; with a 50/50 ratio of men and women senior lawyers that’s rare in the industry. All seven women are exceedingly talented professionals and will be incredibly valuable assets to our law firm clients and to those companies that need a comprehensive spectrum of commercial property and real estate advice.”

About Davitt Jones Bould

Founded in 1999, Davitt Jones Bould is the largest UK firm specialising entirely in real estate law. It covers commercial property, construction, planning, real estate finance and litigation and other related areas. There are around 100 people on DJB’s team, including over 60 lawyers with an average post-qualification experience of 20 years. Most advisers come from City law firms, in-house departments and/or senior roles, forming a 50/50 ratio between male and female partners. The firm has offices in London, Manchester and Birmingham.



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