New Bristol office partner for Womble Bond Dickinson as it looks to build on presence in the city

September 15, 2020

Transatlantic law firm Womble Bond Dickinson has appointed real estate partner Fiona O’Kane as the new head of its Bristol office, replacing banking partner Julian Kinsey, who held the post for four years.

Fiona, pictured, joined the firm – then Bond Pearce – in 2001, three years after it opened its Bristol base. 

She is an experienced real estate lawyer with an expertise in rail and acting for large corporates and their property requirements.

Fiona has lived and practiced in Bristol since 1996, having previously been a partner in Eversheds’ office in the city. Prior to that she worked for Wragge in Birmingham.

For six years, between 2013 to 2019, she was the national head of the real estate group at what was then Bond Dickinson and served on its  management board.

In that capacity, she dealt with operational matters and helped direct strategy, including its international alliance and subsequent merger in 2017 with US firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice to form Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD).

The firm provides a full range of legal expertise from across its eight UK bases – of which Bristol is the second largest – and 19 offices in the US.

Fiona said: “I’m delighted to take on this important role within the firm and look forward to working with my colleagues to continue building the strong regional profile we have in the market.

“The South West is central to the WBD story. We have a fantastic client base in the region and recently celebrated our 22nd anniversary in Bristol, opening our first office here in 1998 with a team of five. 

“Fast forward to 2020, we’re now one of the largest law firms in the city, where we employ more than 230 people.

“In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, WBD is committed to playing its part in the economic recovery of the South West by using our international and national reach and expertise to benefit the region.

“Through the work we do for our clients, particularly on transport, infrastructure, energy, real estate and public sector projects, as well as on a range of high-profile corporate and commercial transactions, we’re committed to supporting Bristol’s vision as a dynamic, innovative and nimble city and the place of choice to live, work and do business.”

WBD’s Bristol office clients include the city council, OVO Energy, Bristol Airport and Spandex, one of the world´s leading trade suppliers to the sign making and display industries in Aztec West.

Its corporate finance team has enjoyed a period of significant growth in deal activity, including four major M&A transactions in the South West. Recently, the team it advised on the sale of Bristol-based Create Flavours to the European Nactarome Group and also acted in the sale of Devon-based pet food firm Forthglade to private equity group IK Investment Partners.

The office is also has a comprehensive responsible business programme, supporting a number of charities, community projects and initiatives, including Bristol East Foodbank, Oasis Brightstowe Academy, Bristol Sport Community Foundation, Quartet Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Response Fund, St Peter’s Hospice – for which the firm raised £80,000 in 2017-2019 – and Somerset & Avon Rape & Sexual Abuse Service, the firm’s chosen office charity.



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