King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is to launch an office in Cambridge which will initially house a real estate team, as part of a cost-efficiency drive for clients.
KWM signed a five year lease at the start of this year to open an office in the historic city, which has emerged as a UK tech hub over the past decade. The space will initially fit 25 lawyers, though there is an option to expand if the firm decides to introduce other practice areas.
The office, which is set to open in March, will be headed by real estate partner Simon Burson. It will become KWM’s first UK office outside of London, and will service national and international clients rather than the Cambridge market.
Burson is one of 12 Eversheds lawyers to move to KWM in the past year in a raid kick-started by the arrival of former real estate head William Naunton. Naunton joined alongside Clive Jones, Eversheds’ former London head of tax, and its former senior partner Cornelius Medvei. Burson previously worked out of Eversheds’ Cambridge office.
Naunton told Legal Business: ‘The idea is to offer our clients different types of service in different locations. The Cambridge office gives us the flexibility to offer our clients high quality legal services at a cost efficient price from a dedicated team of sector specialist lawyers. It’s also about us investing in additional ways for us to service the needs of our clients and to provide them with options.’
KWM is currently running an election process to find a new managing partner for the Europe and Middle East region, the legacy SJ Berwin practice, after William Boss resigned just nine months into the role. An efficiency drive took place last year, which Boss implemented, to manage out underperforming partners and sub-let office space across Europe.
A strategy review of the firm’s capital contributions structure is also currently taking place as the firm seeks greater stability after years of low capitalisation.