Jane Edwarde, partner

Jane studied Law at the University of Glasgow. She joined from the law firm DLA in Glasgow and is now a partner in our Real Estate group.

Joined the firm

"I joined Slaughter and May as a junior Scots qualified lawyer in 2001. I was really keen to work in London and experience bigger and more complex transactions. For me, the move south was a win-win: either I would build up my CV for a few years working on high-profile deals before moving back to a great job in Scotland or I would really enjoy it and stay for the long term. My approach to applications to London firms was unscientific to say the least – simply deciding to work my way down the Legal 500 until somebody would have me! I chose the firm on instinct, having clicked immediately with the partners who interviewed me."

The transition

"Having done my law degree in Scotland, I needed to convert to English law. I completed the Qualified Lawyers’ Transfer Test in the summer of 2001, although I only had to sit a couple of exams, including (thankfully) land law! At the office, I was immediately working on huge deals and I really enjoyed it. I worried that the firm, and London more generally, might be an anonymous and unwelcoming place. It does take time to get to know London and all that it has to offer, but that was part of the fun. As for the firm, I found that it is what you make of it. I enjoyed playing hockey for the firm’s team and going to the various social events too. But what impressed me most was the sheer quality of the work."

Arsenal till I die!

"I was part of the team advising Arsenal Football Club on the delivery of the Emirates Stadium, including the sale of some of the affordable housing. I saw how hard the Arsenal directors worked to deliver the stadium, and I’ve been an Arsenal fan ever since. I still get a thrill on match days knowing that I worked on the new stadium. For me, that is the best thing about working in real estate. It is inherently tangible – you often walk past buildings you have bought, sold, financed or leased, and the value, use and design always interests me. It is also a really sociable industry, which appeals to me."

Joining the partnership

"I was invited to join the partnership in May 2006 after an intensive period of back-to-back deals. I was turning 31 as I was voted into the partnership – I felt incredibly lucky to be there."

The 2012 Olympics

"I worked on the development of the Olympic Village for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was a different kind of challenge to work on a project that simply had to finish on time, in order to host the Games. Regeneration and legacy benefits after the Games were a significant part of London’s bid, and it was interesting to see how this played out in practice."

Current clients

"My major clients are Derwent London, a listed real estate investment trust who have an incredibly successful business model and product, and Legal & General’s annuity fund, who are very active in the investment and development market. I know the clients really well, and feel very lucky to be working with them. Deals for Derwent London include their current proposed development above the Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road and their £146m acquisition of a retail and office development known as Central Cross in Central London. For L&G, we have recently completed their c£550m acquisition of the Hyperion portfolio, comprising 55 assets mainly let to RBS or members of the RBS group. Negotiating and coordinating big deals like these genuinely gives me a buzz, and it is great to feel part of the clients’ teams."

Recruitment

"I am heavily involved in trainee recruitment for the firm, which I enjoy. I am jointly responsible for recruitment from the Scottish universities, and I do a lot of interviewing. If I was to give one tip to potential candidates, I would say don’t assume that you won’t fit in here. We genuinely don’t ‘cookie cut’ here, and it takes all sorts of backgrounds and personalities to make a firm interesting."