Knowledge Lawyer - Real Estate (12 Months FTC)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
London, United Kingdom
4d ago

Freshfields overview

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a global law firm with a long-standing track record of successfully supporting the world's leading national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments on ground-breaking and business-critical mandates.

Our people make our firm - we are a people business and want to create a welcoming and supportive environment where all can flourish.

We see diversity as a strength which creates fresh perspectives and generates new ideas. We enjoy our work and are determined to do an outstanding job.

We deliver best when working in teams.

We think and work globally - we don’t just say we are one firm; we act like one firm right across the world. We work wherever our clients need us.

This is how we define ourselves, not by reference to where we have offices. Cross-border work isn’t just what we do, it is what we excel at.

We understand what it really takes to work across different legal systems and commercial environments and to bridge language and cultural gaps.

We aim to add value in everything we do - we are passionate about helping our clients succeed. We use our experience and creativity to help clients make judgements and achieve their goals.

In everything we do, we seek to make a real difference to the communities in which we operate.

Location overview

Our London office is at the heart of our global network, in one of the most exciting world cities.

London is arguably the world’s greatest financial centre : all of the world’s leading financial institutions have a significant presence here.

It’s home to the headquarters of more than 100 of Europe’s largest companies.

Our London team has a reputation that’s second to none.

They’re the team the world’s leading businesses turn to for help with their most challenging problems. They work with colleagues around the world on complex, cross-border deals and disputes.

Whether you join as a lawyer, a recent graduate or in a business services role, London is a great place to work.

You will have the opportunity to work on challenging, engaging work that will give you the opportunity to make your mark and progress your career.

We believe there is no better place to work.


Freshfields’ Global Transactions practice brings together lawyers specialising in corporate, finance and real estate in a transactional practice group, working collaboratively to provide the best transactional advice to clients.

Freshfields is seeking a Knowledge Lawyer (maternity cover) to cover its London real estate practice, which advises on all aspects of real estate work : acquisitions, disposals, development, financing, landlord and tenant, asset and development management and structuring.

The group’s client base spans property companies, sovereign wealth funds, private equity, pension funds, investment and other banks and end users.

The work tends to be focused on high end, complex, structured transactions, often with a multi-jurisdictional aspect. In addition, the group works alongside other practice areas in Global Transactions and with sector groups to provide real estate support on corporate acquisitions, outsourcings, energy and infrastructure projects and financings.

Role summary

The role supports the delivery of Knowledge services for the real estate practice area.

The Knowledge Lawyer will drive the creation and dissemination of appropriate knowhow products reflecting key legal and market developments, and deliver, develop and enhance the knowledge function in line with the firm's goals.

They will develop their own skills as well as guiding, coaching and motivating others.In addition to supporting the partners and other fee earners working in the real estate practice, the Knowledge Lawyer’s role will also be external-facing, identifying opportunities for client-facing knowledge products and producing client briefings.

The Knowledge Lawyer will be one of a team of Knowledge Lawyers in Global Transactions, each specialised in a different product area across corporate, finance and real estate.

The team is led by (and the Knowledge Lawyer will report to) the Global Head of Knowledge for Global Transactions.

Key responsibilities and deliverables


  • Collaborates in the design and participates in the delivery of the technical training programmes in the real estate practice, including : scoping, planning and at times delivering weekly training sessions for the London real estate team;
  • assisting with trainee induction once every three months; and organising attendance at relevant external training.

  • Delivers new joiner resources training and on-going assistance to fee-earners on the use of Knowledge resources. Encourages general self-sufficiency and competency by fee-earners in their use of the Knowledge resources.
  • As required, assists with training for the Global Transactions practice group as a whole and for other practice groups on relevant real estate issues.
  • Internal advisory and enquiries

  • Regularly assists the real estate team with specific legal enquiries where technical assistance is required. Acts as a sounding board / second opinion on complex issues.
  • Advises on current market practice and provides a commercial view.

  • Assists with drafting queries.
  • Directs fee-earners to precedents and assists with queries on the availability of knowhow materials.
  • Assists with enquiries from fee-earners in other parts of the Global Transactions practice group and other practice groups who require real estate input, and with enquiries from the Knowledge team across other practice groups and jurisdictions.
  • Knowledge management

  • Develops and updates complex Knowledge content and products for fee-earner usage, including standard forms, templates and practice notes.
  • Reviews consultation proposals and assists with the preparation of responses.
  • Identifies and refines knowhow content for inclusion into the firm’s Knowledge systems, including new submissions where relevant.
  • Leads technical knowhow sessions for the real estate practice to discuss and disseminate cutting edge technical knowhow in the group.
  • Proactively seeks knowhow contributions from fee earners, engaging fee-earners at all levels and encouraging competence in the use of knowhow systems and resources.
  • Current awareness

  • Analyses legal and regulatory developments with significance for the real estate practice area and ensures that fee-earners are kept informed of any relevant changes.
  • Prepares a monthly newsletter including a transaction dilemma, summarising any key legal updates and any news from other departments which the real estate fee-earners should be aware of.
  • Captures developments from external and internal sources and delivers practical knowhow effectively to fee-earners.
  • Communication, networking and sharing best practice

    Works effectively across, as well as within, Global Transactions and the other practice group Knowledge teams, to coordinate work, minimise duplication, manage risk, share practical tips and ensure that work product is optimised.

    Liaises frequently with our real estate Knowledge Lawyer based in Germany to discuss issues relevant across our European offices, and actions any necessary follow-up.

    Participates in Global Transactions-wide or firm-wide Knowledge activities such as Knowledge team meetings and development programmes.

    Maintains regular contact with real estate fee-earners to ensure deal learning and market positions are captured and disseminated.

    Organises and holds post-transaction reviews with the real estate team after closing of significant transactions to capture of deal information and insights.

    Business alignment

  • Understands the business agenda of the firm, Global Transactions and the real estate practice. Ensures work output is appropriately aligned with business strategy and gives a sufficient return on investment.
  • Assists as required with business development opportunities, including providing necessary technical support and information to fee-earners;
  • writing or assisting with preparation for speeches or presentations for client events; preparing client briefings and / or inputting into client-facing publications as required, in each case demonstrating the team’s leading edge technical capability and market awareness.

  • Collaborates with other Knowledge colleagues on joint workstreams and client-facing initiatives with wider focus across Global Transactions and / or across the firm.
  • Participates in key industry working groups (eg the London Property Support Lawyers’ Group (LPSLG)), raising the Knowledge Lawyer’s own external profile and that of the practice, and feeding back any relevant knowhow.
  • Management

  • Captures all chargeable time and non-chargeable time.
  • Regular Knowledge prioritisation planning with the real estate partners
  • Works closely with the real estate team’s researcher who assists with Knowledge and business development matters.
  • Liaises as necessary with our legal services centre, the Freshfields Hub, in Manchester.
  • The individual

    Experience and qualifications

  • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background.
  • A high level of successful relevant experience as a real estate law practitioner (either as a fee-earner or a knowledge lawyer / professional support lawyer, or a combination).
  • Professional and business skills

  • Intellectual abilities.
  • In-depth knowledge of substantive law relevant for the practice area and ability to organise and communicate this knowledge in interesting and engaging ways that are relevant to the practice and clients.
  • A self-starter with the aspiration and commitment to continuously acquire, build on and share knowledge.
  • Sound judgment, and the ability to establish a high level of credibility with colleagues and external stakeholders. The ability to act as a sounding board for fee earners, capable of identifying the key elements of complex problems, directing fee earners to appropriate legal or market source materials, and considering the practical nature of advice when proposing a solution, including the risks.
  • Able to support fee earners in their decision making process on challenging issues, participating confidently in the analysis as a trusted adviser.

  • Ability to keep close to market practice for real estate transactions.
  • Excellent oral communication skills, including strong presentation skills.
  • Strong written communication skills in legal drafting and when writing in other styles, and the ability to judge content, style and tone for written work as appropriate to the audience.
  • High level of professionalism and organisational skills.
  • Commitment to the firm and the practice. Willing to do what it takes to deliver services for the practice.
  • Team player who builds effective relationships at all levels, recognised and respected by partners and other fee earners and by other Knowledge team members in Global Transactions and across the firm.
  • Able to demonstrate a collaborative approach when working with others.

  • Ability to engage partners and fee-earners on Knowledge issues, acting as a positive role model and Knowledge champion.
  • Able to lead by example, motivate a team, command respect and authority.
  • Inclusion

    Freshfields is an equal opportunities employer and all applications received by the firm will be considered by the firm on the basis of their merit alone and we welcome applications from all suitably qualified individuals regardless of background.

    All offers of employment will be conditional on the candidate having / securing the right to work in the UK and providing the firm with evidence of that right (as required by the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006) prior to employment commencing.

    Please note that, in line with the requirements of the UK Border Agency, non-EEA candidates may not be appointed to a post if a suitably qualified, experienced and skilled EEA candidate can fill the position.

    Freshfields is a Ban the Box employer. We ask applicants to disclose criminal convictions only when a conditional job offer is made.

    A conviction does not automatically lead to withdrawal of the offer : we make decisions on a case by case basis and take a number of factors into account (eg the role you are applying for and the circumstances of the offence).

    You would have the opportunity to discuss the matter with us before we make a decision.

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