With even Freshfields unveiling plans to put hundreds of staff in Manchester, we teamed up with Scottish Development International to assess the rush to nearshore. Is it driven by costs or a deeper rethinking of the legal industry?
To say Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s launch of a support and legal services centre in Manchester was one of the biggest stories of 2015 would be an understatement. While back-office outsourcing and legal process outsourcing had legal process outsourcing had been the subject of much debate within the profession for years and the modern era of northshoring by global law firms was pioneered by Allen & Overy (A&O) and Herbert Smith in 2011, news that the 270-year-old Freshfields is to house up to 300 support and legal staff in Manchester by next year sent reverberations around the City. A&O had done that already in Belfast – and delivered significant cost savings to boot – but this was Freshfields, the most conservative of London’s Big Four.