Social housing partner joins Shakespeare Martineau to support increased demand


Leading full service law firm Shakespeare Martineau has welcomed new partner Joanna Lee-Mills to head-up its social housing development team.

Joanna, who qualified in 2001, joins the firm following a career break, prior to which she worked at Anthony Collins Solicitors in Birmingham as departmental manager for the built environment team. Joanna’s expertise encompasses complex housing acquisitions and disposals, and she has a breadth of experience in larger scale projects, including stock rationalisation transactions, stock swaps and transfers.

Having led property teams in delivering projects within strict budgets and timescales, Joanna also has a keen interest in value-added services, having often been the primary interface on multi-disciplinary projects involving cross-departmental working.

Joanna said:

“I am delighted to be joining Shakespeare Martineau and extremely excited to be part of its vision, particularly at a time when the legal sector is having to adapt strategically and intuitively to the ever-changing landscapes perpetuated by the pandemic and its resulting challenges.

“At Shakespeare Martineau, there is incredible strength and breadth of expertise spanning across all office hubs and associated intermediaries, with a real focus on finding new ways to work collaboratively with clients in order to meet actual and aspirational objectives.”

Joanna will be primarily based at the firm’s Birmingham hub but will be working with clients nationally. As part of her role, Joanna will be drawing from her experience acting for private developers, corporate occupiers, and the public and third sectors to provide advice and support to registered provider clients on the broad spectrum of real estate issues that are often a necessary part of the landscape relating to the acquisition, sale and development of housing stock.

She said:

“I am passionate about lasting relationships and delivering excellence while remaining true to our clients’ and the firm’s values. Every client deserves a truly enhanced experience where they can expect service standards to be tailored to their individual needs and ways of operating.

“I am confident that our ambitions to become a true market leader in social housing will be realised through the continued valuable contributions from our many outstanding individuals and partner organisations. We will always strive to be responsive, flexible and transformative in our approach and I am very much looking forward to overseeing the growth and expansion of the social housing development team at Shakespeare Martineau.”

Joanna’s appointment is the latest in a string of new partner hires as part of the firm’s growth strategy, broadening its footprint both north and south.

Louise Drew, partner and head of building communities at Shakespeare Martineau, said:

“Over the past 18 months, we have shown a resilience that our clients have respected and thanked us for – leading to a significant increase in instructions because of the quality of the service we have provided against the equivalent from our competitors during the pandemic.

“This has required a need to increase capacity within the team and we have highlighted a need for an excellent development lead to take us to the next level in terms of reputation as a market leader in social housing.

“We have also been really successful over the past 18 months in terms of winning tenders in the sector, including retaining appointments for Walsall Housing Group and Platform Housing Group, as well as securing new appointments for Regenda Homes and Onward, all of which have ambitious development programmes consisting of large-scale acquisitions, as have many of our other clients.

“It is important to us that we ensure our clients’ needs are met and as our reputation grows, so too will the work, and Joanna’s role will be key to delivering our strategic plan for further expansion. We are delighted to have Joanna with us, especially after she has taken time out of her career for her family, which shows the agility and keen investment we make in our people.”

Shakespeare Martineau is proactively seeking talented people to join the firm on its growth journey, including mergers, team recruitment and lateral hires nationally.