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TLT accelerates Scotland growth with acquisition of commercial real estate firm

TLT accelerates its growth strategy in Scotland with the acquisition of Glasgow-based commercial real estate firm Leslie Wolfson & Co.

The Leslie Wolfson team's specialist real estate expertise adds further weight to TLT's existing capability in Scotland. It will also bolster the firm's 200+ strong real estate offer, given Leslie Wolfson's experience advising clients in Scotland and England & Wales. In particular, the move expands the firm's services for corporate occupiers, developers, banks, investors and public bodies, as well as its work advising on the property issues facing retailers and leisure operators.   

The deal adds three partners to TLT in Scotland including:  

  • Senior Partner Howard Beach who advises on a wide range of commercial real estate work including investment purchases, sales, leasing and banking & security work for public and private property companies, leisure operators retailers and banks. Howard is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in commercial leasing.
  • Partner Andrew McCowan who acts for a range of UK-based and overseas property clients and has considerable experience of working in most aspects of commercial real estate practice, including investment purchases and sales, commercial leasing transactions (acting for both landlords and tenants), secured lending and property development.
  • Partner Donna Strong who is experienced in all aspects of commercial real estate with particular emphasis on investment work, commercial leasing and portfolio management. Donna regularly acts for institutional investors, pension funds, retailers, leisure operators, developers and funders as well as owner-occupiers.

John Paul Sheridan, TLT's Head of Scotland, commented: 

"We are committed to growing the team in Scotland and building a market-leading service for clients in the sectors where we specialise, and this acquisition is a clear example of our drive to deliver that. 

"Leslie Wolfson is a great fit with what we are trying to achieve in Scotland and across the UK. Their expertise will further enhance the support we can offer clients."  

Howard Beach, Partner at TLT and previously senior partner at Leslie Wolfson, commented:  

“The move enables us to more effectively support our existing clients by drawing on the expertise of a full-service UK firm with on-the-ground expertise in all three UK legal jurisdictions. With an emphasis on partner-led service, commerciality and sector experience, TLT was a natural fit for us.

"We are delighted to join TLT at such an exciting time in the firm’s growth and look forward to working with John Paul and the wider TLT team to develop the firm’s  client offering.” 

Maria Connolly, Head of Real Estate at TLT, added:

“This move is another boost to our strong UK real estate offer and a key part of our strategy to continue to build leading expertise in this sector.

“The UK real estate market remains resilient in spite of some of the wider economic challenges and we are continuing to build our expertise across the UK to support our clients with opportunities in the market.”

This is the latest addition to TLT’s Scotland practice since disputes partner John Paul Sheridan took over the leadership of the firm in Scotland in February 2018. Other 2018 hires include clean energy real estate partner Nick Shenken from Pinsent Masons and banking & finance partner Douglas Gourlay from Weightmans.   

The firm has also been building its real estate offer across the UK with six partner hires in the last few years including Judith Allen and Kevin Murphy in the firm's Belfast office, Jason Juden and Matthew Cox in the firm's London office, John Hyde in the firm's Manchester office and Richard Turnbull in the firm's Glasgow office.  

TLT launched in Scotland following the 2012 merger with Anderson Fyfe, providing it with the capability to deliver legal advice from all three UK legal jurisdictions – England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. It is one of only a handful of UK law firms that can deliver this support for clients.  

The firm recently announced a 10% increase in UK fee income to hit £82m for the financial year 2017/18 – the first full financial year since the launch of its new strategy to 2020. 

Founded in 1955, Leslie Wolfson is a Glasgow-based firm specialising in the commercial real estate sector. The firm was founded by the late Leslie Wolfson, a well-known human rights activist, philanthropist and prominent member of the Jewish community in Scotland. He is perhaps best known for his work navigating the Soviet legal system and the KGB during the 1970s to help relocate hundreds of people to the West. His family established the Alma and Leslie Wolfson Charitable Trust, which has donated substantial sums to causes such as Scottish Ballet and Glasgow School of Art.

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