Norton Rose Fulbright reveals Newcastle support hub expansion plan

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By Thomas Connelly on

But there won’t be TCs in the Toon anytime soon

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) has revealed plans to further strengthen its foothold up North with the expansion of its Newcastle legal support hub.

The outfit, which has been operating a support centre in the city for over 12 months as part of a pilot project, has put pen to paper on a new ten-year deal which will see it move into new digs in Newcastle’s trendy Quayside area next month.

The legal hub currently employs 28, consisting of lawyers, paralegals and support staff. However, NRF predicts that its northern ranks will swell to around 100 over the next two to three years. According to the firm, its new 7,000sqft outpost will continue to deliver “legal process efficiencies”, trial “legal technology” and collect and analyse data for research.

But Toon lawyer hopefuls take note. The firm, which dishes out around 50 London-based training contracts annually, has told Legal Cheek that there are “currently no plans” to extend this offering to hub.

Commenting on its expansion, NRF’s managing partner, Martin Scott, said:

We’re pleased by the support we’ve received locally with the setup of the legal process hub. There are a number of reasons as to why Newcastle is ideally placed for Norton Rose Fulbright, including access to a strong pool of local talent that is able to support our efforts globally, and the city’s strong and growing reputation for innovation and technology. Expanding the team outside London also allows us to trial emerging technology and working practices, including agile working, in a structured way.

NRF isn’t the first law firm to shift support services out of London.

In 2011, corporate duo Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills — early adopters of what has since been dubbed ‘northshoring‘ — launched Belfast offices to handle less complex legal work.

Meanwhile in 2015, the London office of US outfit Latham & Watkins and Anglo-German giant Freshfields both opened centres in Manchester. Other firms to launch similar divisions include Baker & McKenzie (Belfast) and Berwin Leighton Paisner (Manchester).

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