Region’s top legal eagles revealed
The increasing internationalisation of East Anglian law firms, barristers’ chambers and patent and TM attorneys is highlighted by the new Legal 500 Guide – the profession’s ‘bible’ – published online from today.
The make-up of the major legal practices in the region reflects the global nature of the current landscape as overseas businesses increasingly scale-up existing operations in the area or buy into it through acquisition.
The Legal 500 Guide highlights the top legal firms, the premier lawyers and the highly rated next generation practitioners in its most comprehensive review of the region to date.
Mills & Reeve – a genuinely international law firm and most independent observers’ choice as the leading practice locally – has most number ones in terms of sector rankings and leading individuals for East Anglia.
Birketts, which is growing fast across the region and has an additional office to Mills & Reeve in East Anglia via its Ipswich offering, is breathing down its rival’s neck in terms of number one placings for different areas of the law, and the number of leading individuals rated by The Legal 500 guide.
For individual areas of the law, Mills and Reeve claims 30 top spots – either stand-alone or with others – in East Anglia, just shading Birketts on 29.
Only one other firm – Taylor Vinters with 10 top spots – reaches double figures while Eversheds Sutherland (International) has nine, Ashtons Legal and Howes Percival eight each, Greenwoods and Hewitsons seven apiece and Buckles four.
Leading individuals across various disciplines covered by the guide this year include tips for the top, under the banner of next generation lawyers. Mills & Reeve and Birketts together claim more than half of the 203 leading individuals with 104 between them – Mills & Reeve with 56 and Birketts 48.
Ashtons Legal has the next highest number of leading individuals with 20, then come Hewitsons with 18, Taylor Vinters on 16, Howes Percival and Eversheds Sutherland with 13 apiece, Buckles on eight and Greenwoods seven.
East Anglia also boasts the joint No.1 barristers’ chambers in the South East – Fenners – which is also the top Cambridge set in its own right.
And a record number of patent and trademark attorney firms are now operating in the innovation capital of Cambridge. Marks & Clerk, JA Kemp and Mathys & Squire are among the top rated firms in the 2017 guide.
Regarding the law firm ratings, The Legal 500 reports: “East Anglia’s regional economy is highly diverse, having a strong agricultural industry and a thriving community of SMEs and owner-managed businesses alongside the burgeoning technology cluster around Cambridge University. It is also home to a large number of high-net-worth individuals.
“In the wake of the EU referendum, commercial activity paused briefly, then came back strongly. Law firms have, therefore, been busy with company sales and commercial property work, as well as advising clients on the potential impact of Brexit, which could have a particularly strong impact on the agricultural sector, thanks to its reliance on European subsidies.
“The trend among the region’s firms towards expansion on a regional, national or international basis continues. Eversheds Sutherland (International), which has two offices in the region, combined with a US firm in 2017, further strengthening its international offering.
“Taylor Vinters has a flow of work through its Singapore office and now has a clear focus on a client base of innovative and entrepreneurial companies and individuals across a wide range of industry sectors.
“Mills & Reeve continues to target the best of regional work alongside a growing portfolio of national and international matters. Ashtons Legal and Birketts have a strong regional offering across their office networks and both have key practice areas that handle work from across the UK and, in a growing number of cases, overseas.
“Buckles Solicitors in Peterborough now has an international connection through its close alliance with CastaldiPartners, which has offices in Milan and Paris.
“In other developments, Howes Percival’s young office in Cambridge is quickly expanding to become a stronger force in the market.
“Greenwoods Solicitors continues to expand its team in both Peterborough and Cambridge. Hewitsons is a stalwart of the Cambridge market and in several practice areas remains a leading light in the region.
“Bircham Dyson Bell bought the office that previously belonged to King & Wood Mallesons, marking its entry into the Cambridge market.”
• The October 12 issue of Business Weekly – in shops and on executives’ desks in the next couple of days – features a 32-page supplement on the guide’s findings and under-the-hood profiles of leading firms. The Law Lords supplement is also being published in digital format on our website, Epaper section.
In the meantime, for a full review of all The Legal 500’s sectoral rankings, leading individuals and in-depth analysis on different aspects of the law for East Anglia and the rest of the UK, visit legal500.com