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The East Midlands legal market can be separated into four distinctive sub-regions: Nottingham and Derby, Leicester, Northamptonshire, and Lincolnshire. Although many firms are drawing resources from Milton Keynes, Birmingham and London to meet expectations of clients, the rankings focus on work led out of the East Midlands. Nottingham continues to receive a diverse flow of work, with law firms increasingly striving to provide a full-service support to the clients, contrasted with the gradual specialisation of departments in smaller hubs such as Leicester or Northampton. Local authority expert Browne Jacobson LLP and global firm Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP dominate the Nottingham scene alongside Freeths LLP and Gateley Plc, which also have offices in Leicester. Shakespeare Martineau LLP, Geldards LLP and Shoosmiths LLP are other national players with a strong regional presence. Nelsons Solicitors Limited and criminal law market leader Cartwright King are also well positioned, with offices in Nottingham, Derby and Leicester. Wilkin Chapman LLP, which counts land owners and members of the armed forces among its clients, maintains a solid position in Lincolnshire, whereas Howes Percival LLP services Northampton and the surrounding area. Flint Bishop LLP in Derby, Spearing Waite LLP in Leicester, and Actons in Nottingham continue to expand their client network regionally and nationwide.

As the post-Brexit referendum dust settled, the appetite for specialist corporate advice began to increase and since then law firms have been handling a steady flow of commercial work, frequently with a cross-border element. Small and medium-sized businesses continue to be a major target for regional firms active in the transactional space. As lenders have become more willing to provide funding, private equity transactions have too been on the rise, often involving investors based abroad.

The end of economic recession brought a revival of debt recovery work and insolvency litigation, and the market for general commercial and real estate litigation remains steady, the latter largely arising from delayed construction projects as well as nuisance abatement claims. Commercial property activity on the non-contentious side continues, particularly in the retail, office and residential sectors. Student accommodation and mixed-use developments are key examples of real estate activity in the region.

Private client work for high-net-worth individuals is another area of growth, both in family-related matters and tax and estate planning. Personal injury and clinical negligence practitioners, despite a plethora of reforms and legislative changes, remain active on the claimant side. Furthermore, there is a growing demand for expertise in Court of Protection matters.


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