The Spinningfields district of Manchester has become the heart of the Northwest legal industry, according to the industry publication The Legal 500.
The Legal 500 has published its annual research on the sector, examining the locations of the Northwest’s legal hubs, as well as the size of firms, new arrivals and emerging markets.
The report found that more firms have moved into Manchester city centre making Allied London’s new development a centre for lawyers. The new business district is now home to Halliwells, Shoosmiths and Pinsent Masons. Beachcroft will move in next year and DWF and Pannone are already nearby.
Smaller legal “hubs” have also emerged in Preston and Stockport while Liverpool’s lawyers have been busy advising core transport industry clients.
But the legal market has not been immune from the effects of the economic downturn with redundancies and flexible working becoming increasingly common at many firms. Nonetheless the Legal 500 found plenty to shout about.
Addleshaw Goddard is referred to as a “force in the Northwest”, with strength across virtually every practice area. The report singles out its corporate and commercial team which acted for the Co-operative Group on its £1.57 billion acquisition of Somerfield.
DLA Piper’s corporate and banking departments were also highlighted along with Eversheds’ commercial practice which acted for Macclesfield engineering group Bodycote on the £417 million disposal of its testing business to a US private equity fund.
Growing firms included DWF which the report said cemented its presence in Liverpool after moving to new premises. Its Manchester office saw the arrival of partners in insurance, banking, litigation, and commercial and intellectual property.
Meanwhile, Halliwells boosted its real estate department with Kevin Lee from DLA Piper, and Bernard McIlroy joined as head of tax from Cobbetts. Hammonds was also bolstered by the arrival of partners across finance, employment and property.
The Legal 500 said Pannone’s family and insurance teams “really stand out” and it described Cobbetts as “notable” in the market, particularly in real estate and energy. It said Hill Dickinson had strength across both Liverpool and Manchester and added that Beachcroft has seen an increase in private sector work.
Source: The Business Desk