Having confirmed in early spring the launch of a new cost-efficient legal services centre in Birmingham, Hogan Lovells has hired a ten-strong associate team across multiple practice areas and from national firms, including Pinsent Masons, Clarke Willmott and Shoosmiths, to spearhead the venture as well as acquiring new office space within Birmingham’s central business district.
The nearshoring venture, dubbed the Legal Service Centre and led by London partner Alan Greenough, who will relocate to Birmingham to manage the office, will now house teams comprising three associates within the practice areas of corporate, disputes and real estate, and a tenth specialist in real estate finance. Hires include the real estate lawyers, Shoosmiths’ senior associate Mark Saunders, Clarke Willmott associate Balraj Kaur and Pinsent Masons associate Abigail Gisbourne, who are all set to join in early November. The trio will initially start working out of the London office before relocating in order to integrate with the real estate team. All associates are expected to join by January at the latest.
Developed following a strategic review of how it provides business support, the transatlantic firm has also acquired 7,620 sq ft on the tenth floor of the Colmore Plaza, located centrally in Birmingham’s business district and currently occupied by companies including Grant Thornton, Allianz and Investec. With fittings taking place, the new space is expected to be fully operational for the team in the New Year.
Services offered will include due diligence and document reviews for litigation, corporate, finance and real estate projects, aspects of real estate work, such as leasing and licensing of premises, the preparation of formal documentation for the completion of transactions, some intragroup reorganisations and minor contract amendments.
Susan Bright, managing partner of Hogan’s London office, said: ‘Hogan Lovells has been a leader in providing creative, flexible and cost-effective solutions for clients over the years, and our Legal Services Centre is an element of that approach and demonstrates our commitment to focusing on our clients’ needs.’
Other firms to establish low-cost offerings of late include Baker & McKenzie, which in August became the first US-headquartered firm to open a legal services office in the UK, with an outpost in Belfast, while Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills have also opened similar operations in recent years.