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Taylor Wessing follows northshore wave with 10-lawyer Liverpool launch

Taylor Wessing is joining the growing list of City firms expanding into low cost centres in the UK by launching an office in Liverpool.

The UK top 20 firm’s new base will open in September with an initial team of 11 lawyers and business support staff. Taylor Wessing will appoint a partner to lead the new office and aims to grow the team to 25 by the end of the year – consisting of 10 legal and 15 non-legal roles. They will all be new roles for the firm.

But the jobs of three permanent City business acceptance staff are under consultation as a result of the move. The firm said in a statement affected staff will be given ‘the opportunity and financial support to relocate if they wish to’, and that moving to Liverpool was an opportunity to invest more in the team.

The Liverpool team will initially be working in flexible premises until a permanent office space is found, with the next steps to be announced next year. The office will assist lawyers with opening new client matters, as well as carrying out due diligence and conflict review.

Managing partner Tim Eyles said he saw the new outpost as ‘a catalyst for long-term reinvention to continue to deliver a better service, being smart with our resources and continuing to invest in more people – we will need them’.

He told Legal Business: ‘We did a lot of research and we concluded there is a great pool of talent across the North West, great connectivity and a whole spirit of creativity and innovation around Liverpool as a tech hub, consistent with one of our focus areas.’

The firm chose Liverpool because of the local talent pool, universities and its reputation as one of the fastest growing technology hubs in the country.

The Liverpool launch comes off the back of a strong financial year at Taylor Wessing, which in 2017/18 posted 12% revenue growth to £144.6m for its UK business and 12% growth in its international network to £301.5m. UK profits per equity partner (PEP) grew 20% to hit £579,000.

A number of firms have launched low-cost centres in the UK recently, with Clifford Chance entering Newcastle through the acquisition of Carillion’s in-house legal arm, while Reed Smith opened an outpost in Leeds.

The low cost centres have inevitably impacted City business support staff, with Hogan Lovells announcing last month it will cut 54 of its circa 500 business support jobs in London in favour of new roles in Johannesburg, Louisville and Birmingham.

Ashurst also launched a redundancy review in May which could result in 80% of its 100-strong secretarial team in London being axed, while Pinsent Masons began a consultation on cutting 100 non-legal jobs last year. Ince & Co announced in June it was to cut 30 roles, primarily impacting its business service ranks.