pic2WeWork has appointed Sarah Nelson Smith as its first ever European basic counsel, because it ramps up its authorized capabilities exterior the US.

Nelson Smith, who was The Lawyer’s in-house lawyer of the 12 months in 2014joins the collaborative workspace big from KFC, the place she acted as European chief authorized officer. 

When it began the hunt in April, WeWork said separate regional head was wanted as a part of its “aggressive development plans for the foreseeable future”.

Nelson Smith will likely be taking over WeWork’s first ever regional counsel function, assuming duty for issues arising in Europe, through which WeWork now has 11 completely different bases within the UK, France, Germany, the Republic of Eire, Holland and Spain. She will even lead authorized groups in Australia and Israel, which account for 2 and 5 workplaces respectively.

Earlier than shifting throughout to KFC, Nelson Smith spent three years as Yum! Eating places’ authorized director, having joined as authorized counsel in 2011. In 2015, Yum! Eating places, which owns plenty of big-name quick meals chains reminiscent of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, restructured its authorized perform, which noticed Nelson Smith’s remit widen. Below the brand new set-up, every firm was designated its personal devoted authorized staff, with Maria Watkins taking on as head of authorized at Pizza Hut from Lucy Powell.

As basic counsel, Nelson Smith has strong expertise in securing substantial panels. In the beginning of 2014, she was accountable for placing collectively the final panel for Yum! Manufacturers, whereas in the beginning of this 12 months, she oversaw KFC’s first European panel evaluation.

Earlier than shifting in-house, Nelson Smith began out at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer after which Baker Botts, the place she labored as an arbitration lawyer for the oil and gasoline business.

KFC is presently recruiting for Nelson Smith’s alternative. She is going to begin at WeWork in December, whose core authorized staff relies in New York and led by total basic counsel Peter Greenspan.

WeWork has been sprawling out over London since 2012, leasing property amounting to 2.6m sq ft. In April, it snapped up a 10 per cent share of Devonshire Sq. within the Metropolis. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher suggested WeWork, headed by actual property companion Alan Samson, whereas Herbert Smith Freehills suggested personal fairness agency Blackstone.

As a consequence of a surge in demand for versatile co-working, WeWork is now the now the biggest company workplace occupier in central London, in addition to Manhattan, the place it rents 5.3m sq ft. When it strikes into its new residence, WeWork will likely be shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow tenants Squire Patton Boggs at 7 Devonshire Sq., in addition to rival workplace firm Regus.

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