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East Midlands

United Kingdom > East Midlands > Overview > Regional review

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The East Midlands is a diverse region. Business is often centred on Nottingham, Leicester and Derby, where the area’s corporate work is typically practised. Its smaller towns, such as Lincoln and Northampton, maintain traditional agricultural practices, but still compete for the regional, and sometimes, national work. Firms in the region continue to expand beyond these traditional boundaries, and many of the larger names are part of national networks, which share clients and resources on multi-jurisdictional deals.

In 2013, the regional market saw increased signs of activity after several painful and sluggish years. Although pre-crisis levels of work are not in sight, the increase in corporate and property transactions provided room for optimism among many practitioners. Family and personal injury departments continue to feel the pinch of cuts to legal aid, which came into force in April 2013. Increased consolidation in the claimant market is expected, especially among firms which depend on lower-value, high-volume cases.

Browne Jacobson LLP ‘stacks up very well against the competition', and it is widely regarded as one of the leading firms in the region. The firm is strong across the board and is particularly noted for its dedicated public sector offering and for its strength on the corporate side.

Freeths has seen steady and impressive growth over the past few years. It continues to expand beyond its origins in the East Midlands, and now numbers 11 offices across the UK. Its traditional expertise in property and construction law is now complemented by its family and contentious trusts teams.

Eversheds LLP is the only national and international firm operating in the East Midlands. It provides ‘a comprehensive, timely and appropriate' service. Its Nottingham office is particularly strong in major corporate law and IP/IT matters.

Gateley is ‘competitive in its circle of firms' and has ‘all the technical expertise in house'. It operates across both Nottingham and Leicester, and has particular strength in corporate law and IP.

Geldards LLP ‘turns things round on very tight timescales' and its excellent overall service is appreciated by clients.

Shakespeares continues apace in its plan to be a heavyweight firm with a £50m turnover. It has completed seven mergers since 2010 and recently merged with Marrons and the Coventry-based Newsome Vaughan.

Shoosmiths LLP is a national player with regional offices in Northampton and Nottingham. The former office handles major corporate, property and employment work, while the latter is known for professional negligence and debt recovery. Clients are ‘extremely satisfied' with the level of service.

Derby-based Flint Bishop LLP is well known for its contentious work, and has one of the top licensing practices in the region.

Howes Percival LLP fields respected teams across the gamut of practice areas, and is home to strong IP, family and property departments.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited ‘offers a City service' and ‘a strong regional presence' through bases in Nottingham, Derby and Leicester. Clients also praise the firm’s partner-led service.

Spearing Waite LLP is ‘significantly cheaper than London alternatives for a similar quality of responsiveness and diligence'. It continues its ascent in the corporate and litigation spheres, and maintains a strong property presence.

Wilkin Chapman LLP has a wide-ranging practice, and is highly ranked for debt recovery, family and agriculture.

Other firms of note include Actons, which recently added partners in employment and dispute resolution; Chattertons, which has strength in insolvency and litigation; the ‘solid and effective'Fraser Brown, which has been in Nottingham since 1770; specialist private client and corporate firm Hewitsons; Lincoln-based Langleys Solicitors LLP, which is a stalwart in the region with a highly regarded commercial and agricultural practice; Rothera Dowson, which maintains its dominance of the transport sector; Smith Partnership, which maintains a stellar family practice; and Leicester-based Weightmans LLP, which has expertise in health and safety, employment and personal injury work.

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