Real Estate Team of the Year
International law firm Gowling WLG took the top spot in two categories at the Legal Business Awards ceremony in London on 23 March.
The firm won Real Estate Team of the Year, jointly with Hogan Lovells, for their work on the £4bn Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration scheme. This project is one of the largest and most complex mixed-use regeneration schemes in Europe.
Gowling WLG advises Barnet Council on the development project, which spans both sides of the A406 and includes the redevelopment of Brent Cross shopping centre, construction of 7,000 homes and up to 4 million square feet of new office space. The project will deliver over 25,000 jobs, a new high street, three rebuilt schools, parks, a 'living bridge' and community facilities. There will also be a new Thameslink station, linking the development to Kings Cross.
Partner Richard Beckingsale, who led a cross-firm team on the deal, said: "Brent Cross Cricklewood is a fantastic project and Gowling WLG is thrilled to be working on it alongside the Council and all of its partners. The regeneration will have long-term social and economic benefits to this part of London. We are delighted to have been recognised by Legal Business for our work on the scheme, and we look forward to supporting the Council in delivery of the scheme."
Gowling WLG has the UK's most comprehensive range of specialist real estate services advising developers, owners, investors, occupiers and the public sector on all asset classes, with more than 275 commercially-minded, innovative and pragmatic real estate lawyers. It has advised overseas clients on investments and relocations to the UK as well as having real estate teams in Canada, the Middle East and France.
Corporate Responsibility Programme of the Year
The second award of the night went to Gowling WLG's diversity, inclusion and corporate responsibility team for its work helping to develop Suited for Success, a Birmingham scheme to provide homeless and long-term unemployed people with interview-appropriate workwear to assist them back into work. The project was a collaborative effort developed in association with several other businesses, including Lloyds Bank, Anthony Collins solicitors and Deutsche Bank AG.
The scheme has been so successful that it is now a registered charity in its own right, with premises and an active return to work coaching programme that sources 'gently worn' professional attire for its clients.
Lorna Gavin, head of Diversity, Inclusion and Corporate Responsibility, said: "Suited for Success started life as a brainstorming session with several other businesses to identify an unfilled need in the region and deliver a solution to it. It has gone from strength to strength, to such an extent that it's now a registered charity. All the firms involved are really pleased to have made such a positive impact in our local community, and of course to be recognised for that contribution is even more rewarding. This is really recognition of a collaborative effort across the city to make a tangible difference to people's lives."