Jane is the Head of our Real Estate group. She studied Law at the University of Glasgow before joining Slaughter and May as an associate from the law firm DLA in Glasgow in 2001. Jane became a partner in 2006.
I have enjoyed the wide variety of work on offer at Slaughter and May since joining the firm in 2001 as a junior lawyer. There is a thrill in seeing your deals in the news or on the front page, and for me, as a real estate lawyer, development work interests me most. It is really rewarding to work with a client from when the project is conceived to the end product, helping them achieve planning permission, buy the site, build out the property and sell or lease it to occupiers in order to realise a product, hopefully.
Development and sport
Every development is tangible and interesting – you experience the end product and none is better or more exciting than a football stadium! As a group, we’ve worked on Arsenal’s new stadium, Spurs’ redevelopment and we are currently working on Everton’s. It sounds geeky, I know, but it really interests me to understand how the angle of the seats creates atmosphere, or how the design takes into account the anticipated sunlight for TV viewing. We also helped with the Olympic Village for the 2012 Olympic Games and we have a team working on the 2020 Commonwealth Games currently. I love all sport, so this type of work excites me most.
The economics of real estate
I also admire the economics of the real estate sector. It can be maligned as an industry, but it is resilient; as the retail high street suffers, logistics assets for distribution centres succeed. There is still a housing shortage…there are lots of cranes on the London landscape, and iconic and beautiful development schemes are going up. It’s a resilient and hedged industry and lots of fun too!
My biggest client is Derwent London, a listed real estate investment trust who have an incredibly successful business model and product. Deals for Derwent London include their current proposed development above the Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road - they are building a theatre, retail and office space above. We also recently moved the English National Ballet to their new premises at London City Island. It was a delight to watch an early performance in their new space and feel a key part of the delivery team. Negotiating and coordinating deals like these genuinely gives me a buzz, and it is great to feel part of the clients’ teams.
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.