Top 50 law firm Penningtons Manches Cooper has announced the appointment of Hugo Stephens as the head of its social housing corporate services team.
Based in the firm’s Birmingham office, Hugo will assume overall responsibility for the consolidated specialist team, which works with housing providers on delivering their strategic objectives through their corporate structures. The team’s lawyers advise on matters such as restructuring, acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and funding arrangements. Gemma Bell, who previously led the team is stepping down and will leave the firm.
Hugo brings with him a wealth of knowledge and insight built up over more than 30 years of experience in the sector. He has worked with a broad range of clients in senior roles at other firms including Bevan Brittan and Pinsent Masons.
Linda Storey, head of Penningtons Manches Cooper’s social housing team said: “I am delighted to have someone of Hugo’s calibre and experience step up to lead our consolidated social housing corporate services team. We are at an exciting point in our journey and Hugo’s leadership will ensure we successfully implement our ambitious strategy. He has a track record of building successful teams and bringing people together and we are very much looking forward to working with him.”
Hugo commented: “It is a privilege to be part of a team that delivers innovative and high quality legal services to so many housing providers and charitable organisations. I look forward to making a positive, meaningful impact to the firm’s clients while supporting the growth of the team.”
Clients of Penningtons Manches Cooper’s award winning social housing team – which comprises over 60 lawyers – include some of the largest providers in the country through to organisations with fewer than 1,000 homes. The team also works with local authorities, local housing companies, charities and private developers.
The firm established its Birmingham office as its first UK site outside of London and the South East in 2019, following the recruitment of real estate partner Joel Kordan. Despite the pandemic, the office has grown rapidly: in 2020 it expanded to include both the social housing practice and a life sciences practice, led by Dr Lisa Page, and in 2021 the firm began building a strong Midlands corporate M&A practice, with the recruitment of partners Adam McGiveron and Emma Bryant in May, followed by partner Richard Wrigley in October.