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‘Cautious optimism’ at region’s law firms

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There is a mood of cautious optimism among law firms in East Anglia helped by signs of a recovery in the region’s commercial and property sectors, according to the 2011 edition of the Legal 500 guide to the sector. The agricultural sector has remained buoyant and activity at technology companies around Cambridge also shows signs of picking up.

The survey says balancing private client work with commercial work is still a priority for the region’s larger law firms. In every practice area, the region’s law firms are taking full advantage of the value they offer compared to London firms.

According to the guide, the biggest expansion story in the region is Birketts LLP, which has taken over Chelmsford firm Wollastons, giving it four offices and it continues to grow in Cambridge.

For the first time, Birkett Long has been ranked as a ‘regional heavyweight’ law firm in the Legal 500 and has also been recognised as the law firm with the strongest profile in Essex. It has been listed as a 'first tier' firm across six disciplines in Essex and as the highest ranking firm in the county in seven other areas.

Norwich-based Howes Percival has been named as ‘regional heavyweight' for the first time in the Legal 500. It gives the firm 'top tier' rankings in commercial litigation and insolvency and corporate recovery work.

The guide also names ‘regional heavyweights’ as:  Eversheds LLP (Cambridge, Ipswich); Mills & Reeve LLP (Cambridge, Norwich); Birketts LLP (Cambridge, Ipswich, Norwich, Chelmsford) Hewitsons LLP (Cambridge); Howes Percival LLP (Norwich); Birkett Long (Essex) Taylor Vinters (Cambridge).

Essex-based law firm Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP continued its year on year improvement in the guide. It received notable mentions for education and commercial property. The firm’s family team has a first tier rating, its commercial, commercial litigation and employment teams have second tier rankings and its private client tea has maintained a third tier ranking.

The guide highlights the merger between Ashton Graham and Kester Cunningham John, scheduled for completion in October 2011, which is set to create a new firm, Ashton KCJ, with many synergies and a presence across seven offices in the region. Meanwhile, Ipswich firm Prettys has opened a new office in Cambourne, near Cambridge. Elsewhere HC Solicitors has opened a new office in Huntingdon and Gotelee & Goldsmith Solicitors has rebranded as Gotelee Solicitors.

Last Updated ( Friday, 21 October 2011 07:36 )