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Davitt Jones Bould Celebrates 25 Years!

We spoke with founding partner Tim Sylvester Jones to reflect on the firm, its growth and his personal highlights over the past 25 years:


What do you think made Davitt Jones Bould succeed?

The closure of the Government Property Lawyers created a vacuum; there was work that needed to be done for the Government, including its Central and Local bodies, and there was nobody dedicated to advising them.  Madeleine Davitt and I were in fact involved in the Trade Union handling the dissolution, and when it did close, we were both faced with the question of ‘’What Next?’’. We appreciated the existence of this vacuum, and together with Peter Allinson who brought the commercial knowledge and experience of running companies, that was the seed from which Davitt Jones Bould came into being. We decided to go all in and run with it. The objective initially was to continue providing a Lands Advisory service to Central Government estates and we had top-quality lawyers from GPL and Lands Advisory join us as well.  I worked mostly on helping to secure the clients and the work and being a close advisor to clients as well. We quickly realised that the quality of the lawyers was what would keep the firm growing apace, and sure enough within a short period of time we were doing exactly that.


How did the firm build from there?

It was a hard graft, by and large servicing Central Government almost exclusively meant we were losing as much as we were gaining through re-tenders.  Madeleine, Stuart Bould, Peter and I went out tendering for new work, appeared on panels and submitted pitches.  Nonetheless, we expanded very quickly, outgrew our initial office space, and continued to recruit more staff.  We knew the key was recruiting top-quality lawyers, so we very early on offered the remote working model.  Back then that was not standard practice, but Peter was well ahead of his time in offering remote working to great success. We were geared up and the infrastructure was put in place to make it happen.  In our mind, remote working was the key to attracting top-class lawyers to join the firm: we were offering something different and that widened our recruitment market massively. These foundations, together with our work on big projects like the London 2012 Olympics, carried us through the 2008 recession and we came out the other end of it and grew.


What are some of your career highlights?

One of the bigger projects I brought over to Davitt Jones Bould was for the Countryside Council for Wales: the Gwent Wetlands project (recently featured this year on the Countryfile TV documentary).  We also dealt with the sale of Millbank House to Chelsea College of Art shortly after the firm was founded.  Then of course we built an excellent relationship with The Royal Parks working with them on many projects.  This included the 2012 London Olympics and 2012 London Festival.  By the end of my career, I was effectively the leading lawyer to The Royal Parks dealing with almost every aspect of their work.  It included events contracts (such as the London Marathon), licencing works withing the Parks and concessionaire agreements that made provision for services such as catering, toilets, and sports facilities within the Parks. We were also involved with the leasing work for the Regents Park London Zoo, the Open Air Theatre and involved with London Heathrow’s Terminal 5, which involved the divergence of the Royal river there, the Longford River.  As separate matters I dealt with the registration of Whitehall including 10 Downing Street.  And of course, the Ministry of Defence was one of our largest clients.  Our work with them included the Clawback and Overage clauses which stood the test of the High Court, which lead to us being recognised as the experts in Clawback and Crichel Down.  So, yes, many career highlights.


What advice do you wish someone had given you 25 years ago?

I would echo the advice I received as an article clerk: make yourself indispensable.  When we founded the firm, we were indispensable to Central Government departments as they could no longer instruct the Government Property Lawyers. Therein lay the strength of our firm.


‘’If you ask me how I would describe my involvement in the success of Davitt Jones Bould, I would just say I feel very lucky.’’

Tim Sylvester-Jones, Co-Founder.



Davitt Jones Bould is a national law firm that specialises entirely in real estate. The firm has offices in London, Manchester, and Birmingham ensuring truly national coverage.

The firm is renowned for its high quality legal work and service.

We only recruit experienced lawyers with excellent calibre. As a result, our legal team of around 70 lawyers have an average post-qualification experience that exceeds 25 years. Most have joined us from other City firms, in-house departments and/or senior roles. Our lawyers have advised some of the UK’s most significant land owners including Barclays Bank, HSBC, Credit Suisse, Rolls Royce, The Royal Parks, The Cabinet Office and The Crown Estate. This focus on quality only has led to a 50% male and female Partner rate. 

All of our clients are provided with a dedicated client care professional at no extra charge, which ensures that they receive the highest standard of service at all times.  

Davitt Jones Bould is regularly selected to advise on high profile projects such as the hosting of the London 2012 Olympic Games by The Royal Parks and the first Sukuk Bond to be entered into by a Western Government on behalf of HM Treasury. Based in London at The Shard and also Manchester, Birmingham and Taunton, we have a national presence.

The firm enjoys top tier rankings in all of the main directories, as well as receiving many awards.



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