15 Sep 2020

WBD has appointed partner Fiona O'Kane as its new head of the Bristol office.

Fiona joined the firm in 2001 and is an experienced real estate lawyer, with an expertise in rail, and acts for large corporates and their property requirements. Fiona has lived and practiced in Bristol since 1996 and for six years, between 2013 to 2019, she was the national head of WBD's real estate group and served on Management Board. In that capacity, she dealt with operational matters and helped direct the firm's strategy including its international alliance and subsequent collaboration with US firm Womble Carlyle in 2017. She takes over the role of office head from banking partner Julian Kinsey who held the position for four years.

Fiona commented:

"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 then 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."

Ranking in the UK's top 20 law firms, WBD advises clients across 11 key sectors from eight cities in the UK and 19 offices in the US. The firm's clients in Bristol include Bristol City Council, OVO Energy, Bristol Airport and international company Spandex, headquartered in Aztec West. WBD's Bristol corporate finance team was also nominated for three awards following a period of significant growth in deal activity, including four major M&A transactions in the South West. Recently, the team advised on the sale of Bristol-based Create Flavours to the European Nactarome Group and also acted on the sale of Devon-based Forthglade to private equity group IK Investment Partners.

WBD is heavily involved in a comprehensive responsible business programme in Bristol, 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.