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17 September, 2015 - 07:20 By Tony Quested

Howes Percival vaults heavyweight rankings in Legal 500

Howes Percivall which expanded its property team  earlier this year (left to right): Jonathan Greenhalgh, Daniel Thomas, Will Stokes, Helen Stewart.

The Legal 500 Guide rankings for East Anglia point to a levelling out in the power base at the top of the chain.

The regional heavyweights division for East Anglia has been shaken up from last time and is now virtually unrecognisable from when Business Weekly began covering the guide.

The Legal 500 now ranks three firms in the top tier of the heavyweights – Birketts, Howes Percival and Mills & Reeve.

The shake-up means that Howes Percival, one of many firms to have set up in the Cambridge Cluster with strong growth strategies in recent times, muscles Eversheds out of the elite and into the second tier of the heavyweights.

Greenwoods is the other major beneficiary of the reshuffle as it is vaulted into the regional heavyweights pantheon. Greenwoods joins Eversheds, Ashton KCJ, Hewitsons and Taylor Vinters in the regional heavyweights second tier.

Mills & Reeve continues to lead the way with 33 number one slots, either on its own or with other firms, for the legal disciplines ranked in East Anglia by the guide, although that is six fewer than the record of 39 top spots it set last year. Across the UK, in terms of firms with the most tier one rankings, Mills & Reeve is 4th behind only Pinsent Masons, Eversheds and DLA Piper.

Its nearest rival for No.1 rankings, Birketts, also slipped in number from 26 to 23. The major beneficiaries have been Hewitsons – which has doubled its No.1 positions from five to 10 in the year – and Eversheds, which has done even better with 10 top spots compared to four last year.

Howes Percival and Ashton KCJ, each with eight top rankings, have also made progress year-on-year with the No.1 positions they have achieved. They join Taylor Vinters on that plateau.

Greenwoods, which has grown its Cambridge office in addition to its Peterborough power base, has done exceptionally well with seven No.1 rankings this time out.

Both Greenwoods and Buckles benefit from their Peterborough strongholds, which in many of the league tables are ranked independently from the other regional hotspots – just as Birketts’ strong Ipswich presence contributes to the volume of its number ones.

Mills & Reeve and Eversheds also have a national footprint so have therefore racked up many more triumphs up and down the geographical charts. Other ‘cross-border’ firms such as Hewitsons, Howes Percival and Birketts also earn a number of excellent rankings in the East Midlands and South East sections of The Legal 500.

The Legal 500 guide names 103 leading individuals for East Anglia and competition for these coveted places was tighter than ever before between Mills & Reeve and Birketts.

Mills & Reeve edged it with 22 leading individuals to Birketts’ 20. The rest of the field was some way behind.

Four firms – Ashton KCJ, Eversheds, Hewitsons and Howes Percival – each had nine leading individuals followed by Taylor Vinters with seven. Then came Buckles with five, Taylor Wessing and Greenwoods, each with four, Penningtons Manches with three and Barr Ellison and Tees Solicitors with one apiece.

Cambridge barristers Fenners Chambers is once again holding down a number one position in the Legal 500’s assessment of the regional bars up and down the UK. It is some achievement to be number one in the fiercely contested South East region and the only local chambers represented.

Fenners also boasts a number of accolades from the guide for the excellence of its individual barristers across a range of disciplines.

And in the world of patent and Trade Mark attorneys, Mathys & Squire, which is growing its operations in Cambridge and London, posts its best ever firm-wide ratings with the guide.

• For all the local and UK rankings go to 

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