Nick Finlayson-Brown

Position: Partner
Phone: +(44)(0)1223 222278
Fax: +(44)(0)1223 222388
Offices:Cambridge

What can I do for you?

Real estate law and heading our China team is what I do.

As a real estate lawyer with 20 years of experience in the sector, I help a diverse range of UK and overseas clients in connection with property investment, development and management. The breadth of my client base across the private, institutional, corporate, charitable and public sectors means that I can help you with any real estate project that you are contemplating – whether you are a pension fund, property investor, offshore investor, high net worth individual, developer, local authority or government quango.

My role as head of our China team means that I also work closely with the firm’s clients who need advice incorporating both UK and China law, bringing together the right project team from across our firm to provide the best mix of local and international advice. A recent example of this was working with our corporate lawyers to provide advice on the English-law governed acquisition by a Chinese enterprise of power stations in Vietnam and the Middle East. China is integral to the overseas aspect of my work as this is the area where clients have a growing need for legal support that draws on the full strength of our own expertise across our key sectors in the UK as well as our trusted network of counsel to whom we refer work and who refer work to us.

Supporting my clients’ objectives

The legal advice that I provide supports my clients in achieving their wider business objectives and secures the best possible outcome for them. For example, I recently helped a client defend a compulsory purchase of part of their headquarters in a prime London location. This seven-year project culminated in the client achieving a settlement substantially higher than they had expected and the completion of an ancillary land-swap, sale and leaseback of part. In addition, they received a grant of a series of easements that together have unlocked a wider area of their site for redevelopment.

I enjoy working with a wide range of clients with a variety of complex requirements. This includes acting for overseas property investors in connection with the acquisition, management and development of prime London and national property portfolios stretching from the West End to the City. I also act for one client on the acquisition of a multi-tenanted landmark Docklands property investment for £120 million. By contrast, another client instructed me in connection with the regeneration of a 24 acre brownfield site in the centre of Cambridge and the promotion of a similar sized site on the outskirts of Cambridge. At a national level, I acted on the acquisition of an airfield with commercial and agricultural estates, which will be promoted (in part) for residential development.

One of my favourite examples of a difficult project that went well was the pre-let to my client, the London Borough of Southwark, of an entire City development scheme for the benefit of their entire back-office function (previously housed in 60 separate locations) under one roof. This involved the negotiation of a suite of complex development documents, ancillary agreements and lease with an initial annual rent of £7.2 million. The transaction had to be concluded in two weeks from first instruction to completion. The project involved our construction, planning, tax and environmental teams. We exchanged within the deadline: the client is now in the building. The fact that we had these specialist teams of lawyers to call on within the firm made this possible.

What do others say?

I was cited by Legal Business as a Top 50 “rainmaker” and am well regarded in Chambers UK. A client said “If it were not for Nick and his team, we would have had to go to London and pay much much more for a comparable service."

Mark Boyes (ex-LendLease) said of using Nick and his team “it just seemed the right thing to do, and has worked out exceptionally well”. In a recent client survey, the team was praised for being responsive, proactive and providing “very good, commercial advice … an excellent service with a good understanding of our business – it makes my life much easier!”

What else should you know?

As head of our China team, I am keen to grow links with like-minded firms, clients and other professionals in China and happy to help with any queries you may have.