A year after launching a nearshoring office in Manchester, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has taken its plans to hive off low-level legal work to legal services centres has accelerated with plans in place to open a hub in Vancouver, Canada.
Located on the west coast of Canada, Vancouver is well-placed to provide business services functions to the firm’s US offices in New York and Washington DC. With around 30% of the city’s inhabitants of Chinese heritage, giving Vancouver one of the highest concentrations of Chinese residents in North America, the location also offers Freshfields access to a talent base able to provide legal services in Mandarin to its China offices.
The office, like Manchester, is set to cover a wide range of business services roles. The firm is looking to hire at least 20 legal services employees to launch the office.
Michael Lacovara, Freshfields’ executive partner, said in a statement: ‘The demand from our clients and people means that we are now planning to establish a global centre in North America.’
The firm’s legal services hub in Manchester has grown at rapid speed, with IT, human resources and document review support teams all being established in Manchester as a means of creating better efficiency. The firm’s drive to create legal services centres comes as part of a wider nearshoring drive by Big Law, with Magic Circle rival Allen & Overy opening in Belfast in 2011 and elite US firm Latham & Watkins launching a Manchester outpost at the start of last year.
Freshfields’ will move into its permanent Manchester base, One New Bailey in Salford, later this year from its current location in Arndale House.
For more on Freshfields’ recent strategic developments, see The last champions – meet the leaders intent on sealing Freshfields’ place in the global elite