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Manchester’s vibrant legal market continues to thrive under the buzz of the “Northern Powerhouse”, with a number of high-profile law firms opting to use the city as a northshoring base: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, which has recently taken new office space in Spinningfields; Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP; and Latham & Watkins have all established offices to act as legal services hubs. Recruitment remains highly competitive, with accountancy firms in the city continuing to poach top talent, including corporate partners Paul Devitt and Richard Thomas, who departed Addleshaw Goddard LLP for EY. Benefiting from the increase in activity in the local property market, Nabarro LLP continues to build on its growth in Manchester with the arrival of Chris Hallam from Pinsent Masons LLP, while TLT welcomed Ian Roberts, Andrew Needham and Pauline Cowie from Millbank Edge LLP in September 2015, and Susan Honeyands from Knights Professional Services Limited, considerably boosting its corporate and commercial offering in the city. Elsewhere, Matthew Bennett, David Bentham and Edward Canty left Brabners LLP to form specialist sports and media firm Centrefield LLP, although the new firm will maintain a close working relationship with the former. Now under the leadership of Vaqas Farooq, Shoosmiths LLP is set to take two floors in the XYZ building in Spinningfields and continues to make its mark in the region, recently recruiting real estate partners Barbara Rollin from Gordons LLP and Daniel Hargreaves from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Law firms in Liverpool continue to act on a range of high-profile corporate, projects, property and public sector matters, and are benefiting from inward investment, particularly in the property sector. Hillyer McKeown continues to expand, adding a new office in the city centre to its offices in Chester, Wirral and North Wales offices.

Elsewhere in the region, Chester is a hub for high-net-worth clientele, while firms in Bolton and Preston act for a range of SMEs, public-sector entities and owner-managed businesses.

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