Deloitte Legal secures Shoosmiths team to build new UK real estate business

Quartet of partners arrive in Manchester amid concerted effort by Big Four to grow legal offering

The firm's Manchester office saw the most promotions this year, with five Shutterstock

Deloitte Legal has hired a four-partner team from UK law firm Shoosmiths to establish a new real estate legal business in the UK. 

Vaqas Farooq, Wayne Nash, Lisa On-Iam and Dan Hargreaves have joined Deloitte in Manchester as partners, with Farooq to serve as head of real estate legal. Deloitte said the quartet would add specialist legal services to its existing offerings for the real estate sector.

“Expanding our real estate services to include legal capability is an exciting next step,” said Siobhan Godley, lead partner for real estate at Deloitte. “Our extensive real estate service offerings such as valuation, planning and development services, ESG consultancy, finance and M&A often require legal advice and problem solving. Combined with our real estate tax and financial advisory capability, the value of our cross-disciplinary delivery model is market leading.”

Farooq spent more than 15 years as a partner at Shoosmiths and advises developers, occupiers, local authorities and investors on real estate schemes across the UK. Known as specialist in development matters, he has acted in many of the country’s largest urban regeneration projects and represents a number of regional and national developers. 

Nash has joined Deloitte after almost ten years at Shoosmiths, where he led the firm’s Manchester office, and specialises in real estate risk management and disputes, while On-Iam has a particular focus on investment and real estate finance and has made the move after more than a decade at Shoosmiths. 

Rounding out the new arrivals in Hargreaves, who has acted on a number of large-scale development projects including town centre regeneration schemes and regularly advises on the property aspects of partnerships between the public and private sector set up to deliver such schemes. He joined Shoosmiths in 2016 from Pinsent Masons. 

The hires come amid a concerted push by the Big Four to grow their UK legal arms, with PwC and KPMG both announcing plans in 2022 to double the size of their teams in the next few years and EY aiming to triple it. 

PwC’s growth push saw it add five lawyers to its legal real estate offering in London last December from firms including Osborne Clarke and Dentons. 

Deloitte Legal doubled the size of its own UK team back at the tail end of 2020 when it acquired 29-partner London tech and IP firm Kemp Little, a move that saw it reach 170 lawyers. 

Michael Castle, managing partner for Deloitte Legal, pointed to the arrival of the Shoosmiths team as testament to the firm’s continued commitment to expand its legal offering. 

“In the last 12 months Deloitte Legal has been joined by partners with a variety of specialisms and I am pleased to be adding real estate to our roster of legal expertise,” he added.  “All of these hires are in line with our strategic aim of using Deloitte’s multidisciplinary capabilities to provide business solutions in response to our clients’ legal challenges.”

Partners to join the team in the past year include Claire Bell, who was hired in Manchester as head of pensions law from DLA Piper, and employment law specialist Julia Gorham, who moved over in London from Seyfarth Shaw. Other partners with specialisms including cybersecurity and financial services regulation have joined from EY and in-house roles at HSBC and Visa.

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