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Penningtons Manches Cooper hires four-strong team to lead growth of housing corporate and governance practice in Birmingham

Posted: 01/07/2020


Top 50 law firm Penningtons Manches Cooper has hired four specialist lawyers to spearhead the growth of its housing corporate and governance practice nationally, based in the firm’s Birmingham office.

Gemma Bell, Rose Klemperer, Ellen Damlica and Sharon Thandi all join from Birmingham-based firm Anthony Collins.

Together they bring a new and important strength to Penningtons Manches Cooper’s successful social housing practice, which advises more than 70 housing associations and was shortlisted in the best legal services category at the most recent National Housing Awards. Their arrival is also a significant milestone for the firm’s Birmingham office, led by partner Joel Kordan, which opened last year as its first location outside of London and the South East. 

Partner Gemma Bell, who leads the team, works nationally with a range of clients including housing associations, local authorities, charities and social enterprises. She specialises in advising housing associations on major corporate projects including mergers, group consolidations and joint ventures. Gemma is considered a ‘go to’ person for governance advice in the social housing sector and was a contributing author to the latest version of the most widely used constitutional document in the sector, the National Housing Federation’s Model Rules. She has significant experience in advising on regulatory and charity law issues and is described by influential legal directory Chambers and Partners as having a “great reputation in the sector”.

Senior Associate Rose Klemperer primarily works with housing associations and community led housing providers on matters from incorporation and registration as a social housing provider, through to partnership working and collaboration. Her expertise also includes new group structures, strategic governance advice, board and executive training and governance reviews. Rose is the co-founder and the co-chair of the membership organisation Women in Social Housing Midlands.

Associates Ellen Damlica and Sharon Thandi advise clients across the housing and third sectors on their corporate and company secretarial needs, including providing training and support to boards and executive teams on their regulatory compliance. Each has a range of experience across housing association group restructures and mergers and acquisitions, including due diligence projects, corporate structure conversions and amalgamations. In addition, Sharon sits on Birmingham Law Society’s Equality and Diversity Committee.

Partner Linda Storey, head of Penningtons Manches Cooper’s social housing team, commented:

“Gemma and her team are extremely well regarded in the sector and we are thrilled to have them on board to help deliver our growth strategy in the Midlands and beyond. Having already gained a foothold in the region by winning some great clients, most recently Midland Heart, we were keen to build on that but knew we needed a talented team on the ground to do so properly.  

“Their specific skills and experience, which span the complex corporate and governance matters relating to our sector, are in high demand. Coupled with an in-depth understanding of the wider issues and trends, and a dedicated and client-centric approach that reflects our own, they’re a great fit all round and I very much look forward to working closely with them.”

Gemma Bell said:

“We are delighted to become part of the well respected team at Penningtons Manches Cooper. We’ve worked really hard over the years to build a specialist practice that our clients really value and trust and having direct access to the skills and experience of the wider group here means we can offer them even more. Social housing is a vibrant sector that doesn’t stand still and which has a strong reputation for innovation; coming together expands our capability to grow with our clients, ensure their needs are anticipated and the best solutions are delivered.”


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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP