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Principal Associate

Company Gowling WLG Location Birmingham
Contract Permanent Position Salary Competitive
Sector(s) Legal

Job Description

We have more than 1,400 legal professionals working around the world. Our offices span across 19 cities in Canada, the UK, Continental Europe, Asia and the Middle East. There's strength in our global presence – we embrace our differing cultures and work together as one team. We also understand the importance of investing in relationships that build knowledge and trust, while we provide legal advice that's tailored to our clients' world.

'Our people and distinct culture are what makes us different. We know this through client and employee feedback and this drives everything we do''

 Chris Oglethorpe, HR Director.

There are great opportunities for all our people to flourish. Through training and personal development they can grow in their role. Our people are the cornerstone of our success, across legal, business support and early talent. We care about their happiness and believe in the power of teamwork. We want them to feel empowered and recognise that by supporting, respecting and embracing everyone's different contributions we achieve more.

Working flexibly, working fairly

Agile working offers people more freedom and flexibility in where, when, and how they work. As technology advances and our workforce becomes more diverse – and with clients often working to a 24/7 rhythm – having extra flexibility is key to helping us balance work and other commitments sensibly and productively.

By supporting people to choose where and when they get their work done, we help them to make a full and fair contribution to their team – while maintaining that all important work-life balance.

Where possible and depending on business needs, we will consider all flexible working options such as part-time working, job sharing, working from home and staggered hours. If in considering a role with Gowling WLG you favour flexibility in your working arrangements, please discuss this with the recruitment team in the early stages of the application process.

About the Team

Gowling WLG is a new international law firm created by Gowlings, a leading Canadian law firm, and Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co (WLG), a leading UK-based international law firm. We built Gowling WLG to provide clients with legal services at home and around the world, and to help you succeed no matter how challenging the circumstances.

Gowling WLG clients have access to in-depth expertise in key global sectors along with a top-tier suite of legal services. With more than 1,400 legal professionals across offices in 18 cities worldwide and specialised expertise in countries around the globe, we’re positioned to help clients rise to the challenges they face – both today and tomorrow.

About the Team

One of the biggest dedicated commercial development and investment teams in the UK advising many investors and developers, we regularly lead on high value, and strategically important deals and projects.  Our extensive experience means clients receive innovative and commercial solutions to often complex situations quickly and efficiently.

Key Services – our comprehensive real estate development service includes site assembly including obtaining vacant possession, managing the planning process to secure the necessary planning permission, structuring and negotiating tax-efficient development and financing arrangements.

With advice on investment and development projects including: joint venture projects, promotion agreements, sale and leaseback transactions, funding's and commercial lettings.  Whilst we have a separate dedicated asset management team, certain asset management work will be done within the team.

Client reach – our wide range of clients include investors and developers in real estate, property companies, institutional investors, local authorities, US private equity investors, funds, private banks, pension funds, shopping centre operators, and private clients.  We advise on industrial development, logistics parks, mixed-use schemes, offices, shopping centres, business and retail parks, and hotels and our wider real estate group advises on residential, private rented sector, healthcare, retirement and student accommodation.

Clients of the team include:

M & G Real Estate, Harbert Management Corporation, Savills Investment Management, Blackstone, KKR, Logicor, La Salle Investment Management, St Modwen Properties PLC, Roxhill, Monarch Alternative Capital, Brockton Capital and Schroder UK Real Estate Fund amongst others.


By way of example the team has recently advised:

  • Brockton Capital on the ongoing c.£245 million corporate sale of the Keirin portfolio, a portfolio of 9 retail parks;
  • A local pension scheme on the £51.5 million acquisition of Fort Halstead, Sevenoaks, an MoD facility with outline planning for change of use;
  • A major US investor on its £625 million hotel portfolio acquisition and subsequent disposal programme;
  • A US fund manager on the £215 million acquisition of a 46 site portfolio; and
  • On the acquisition of a portfolio of 6 industrial estates for a major UK institutional investor.
Main Duties and Responsibilities

Working as part of a busy team, supporting and working closely with a partner, a director, a senior associate and an associate in providing advice to developers and institutional property investors on UK-wide development projects and investments.


The team is dynamic with a commitment to providing excellent, timely and pragmatic advice to clients and to developing the contacts needed to build and secure their business.   The successful candidate will be exposed to a broad range of commercial real estate transactions and will be involved in a diverse and interesting blend of work. The ideal candidate should display an enthusiasm for business development.

Key skills and experience
  • We are looking for an associate who has gained good experience working within a recognised real estate team with experience of advising sophisticated clients on the acquisition and the disposal of substantial real estate investment assets, development projects, site assembly, pre-letting and active leasing and asset management;

  • Maintaining and developing relationships with and obtaining instructions from sophisticated and demanding clients;

  • Demonstrating a keen interest to learn about our clients' businesses and to assist in growing our own business;

  • Experience of leading transactions;

  • Working in teams, supporting the partner and delegating to and supervising more junior associates in the team;

  • Dealing with compliance issues, ensuring timely billing and assisting in the collection of bills as necessary.


You should be able to:

  • Manage your own caseload to tight deadlines, remain calm under pressure and prioritise your workload effectively;

  • Work in a team environment (which may involve working as part of a bigger project team) and support your colleagues;

  • Give clear, practical advice with sound commercial judgment and swift accurate implementation of instructions;

  • Negotiate effectively and deliver commercial solutions for our clients;

  • Communicate appropriately at all levels within the team and the wider business as well as with clients, agents and other parties;

  • Work closely and collaboratively with Gowling WLG team members, clients, and other professionals (e.g. agents, surveyors, consultants, accountants and others);

  • Delegate where appropriate and supervise and mentor more junior fee earner team members; and

  • Prepare for and help deliver presentations (seminars, beauty parades, marketing functions, training sessions) as part of our added value services to our clients and within the team.


You should have:

  • An effective, engaging and professional communication style with advanced interpersonal skills;

  • A proactive approach with the confidence to use your own initiative;

  • Effective time management and organisation skills;

  • Problem solving and analytical skills;

  • Enthusiasm;

  • Project management skills.

Equal Opportunities

Gowling WLG is committed both to promoting equality and diversity in the firm and to Equal Opportunities in employment.  The firm believes in equality of opportunity regardless of race or racial group (including colour, nationality, ethnicity, national origins), religion or belief, age, disability, sexual orientation, sex, gender re-assignment and gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy, maternity and paternity.  This also includes any incidents of perceptive or associative discrimination and harassment.

At Gowling WLG we seek to attract and retain talented people from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures, to create an exciting and rewarding place to work.  Our aim is to fulfil everyone's potential and together to achieve personal and business goals.


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