The Wilkes Partnership, has expanded its international reach by adding to its planning and corporate teams with Legal 500 named Leenamari Aantaa-Collier, as Partner and Head of Planning, and Baljit Chohan, as part of its corporate team.
These high-profile Legal 500 named appointments bring more than 50 years of collective legal experience to the firm with more than two decades spent at partner level.
Leenamari is a renowned specialist in public and private sector areas, including work for the NHS on issues arising from applications, obligations, appeals and plan making. Her expertise also spans to litigation, energy subsidy issues and advising the select committee in the House of Lords on the conflict between the planning and licensing regimes.
At Wilkes Leenamari will use this experience to lead the planning team in navigating planning legislation for clients as well as working to grow the firm’s excellent reputation in both the private and public sector.
Leenamari Aantaa-Collier, Partner & Head of Planning at The Wilkes Partnership, said: “I’ve joined Wilkes because I know that the legal talent here is very strong and the culture right for me. After being at Wilkes earlier in my career, I feel like I am coming home and I want to help continue the good work that has been done for clients already as well as help grow the firm.”
“We have hit the ground running using our planning expertise to help clients diversify, use their land in innovative ways and adapt to become more sustainable businesses. Good planning law can unlock so much potential for both public and private sector businesses, and that is exactly what we aim to do for clients.”
The addition of Baljit Chohan, former Gowlings WLG Partner brings experience across the corporate sector specialising in the technology, media, retail and leisure sectors, with a focus on fund raising, restructuring business development and M&A strategies as well as working with private equity funds.
Baljit Chohan, Corporate Team member at The Wilkes Partnership, said: “After years as a partner at several internationally established firms, this is an opportunity to move to a firm with ambition to grow and fulfil its potential. It already has a very good working culture and a fantastic client base and I have already found myself at home working with all in the corporate team and the wider firm. The expertise in the team keeps growing so that existing and potential clients will continue to receive the top-class service they have come to expect from Wilkes, but now with an additional international outlook.”
Due to their wealth of experience overseas, these high-profile legal appointments not only bolster the experience of The Wilkes Partnership in the UK, but also its offering abroad. Current Finnish consulate for Birmingham Leenamari brings strong links to business in Finland and Baljit brings connections across India (from a previous role as Head of India), USA, France and Germany.
Nigel Wood, Senior Partner at The Wilkes Partnership, says: “Leenamari’s appointment is a crucial step in our development. During decades of legal experience, she has developed an international reputation for great work in planning across both the public and private sector – this will be priceless to the development of our planning team. Her business knowledge and connections in Finland will also prove valuable as our firm has been growing into new jurisdictions in recent years. We’re very happy to welcome Leenamari to the team and I’m looking forward to working with her.”
Gareth O’Hara, Managing Partner & Head of Corporate at The Wilkes Partnership, says: “In the world of corporate law Baljit is a highly regarded figure, so we are really pleased to have his expertise. Baljit has a history of spearheading international law firms to success within corporate law and with his expertise we’re looking to take our own team to the next level and onto the international stage.”