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White-collar crime firm Burton Copeland opens its new Liverpool office today (19 March) as part of a bid to become a national firm.
The office will focus on all aspects of white-collar crime cases, and it is hoping to rival Liverpool firms such as Quinn Melville for fraud work.
Commercial fraud partner Lesley Burrows, who is based in the firm's Manchester office, explains why the firm has decided to open another operation rather than service Liverpool from the Manchester office. "Liverpool is 40 miles away from Manchester, and it's a city that's got a number of good criminal lawyers. We believe it's better to recruit local talent rather than seek to import work into Manchester," she says.
The firm decided to open in Liverpool after working in the city on several cases last year.
The office will launch with one partner, Colin Downie, who is moving from niche Liverpool practice Mark Jones & Partners.
He will be joined by Gary Lawrenson, who is joining as an assistant from Canter Levin & Berg.
Burrows explains that the Liverpool opening is the start of a plan to become nationwide. The firm is looking at opening another two to three offices, including rolling out to the North East and the Midlands, although exact locations cannot yet be given.
"We're looking to expand our market to attract the sort of criminal litigation work that would normally go to civil work firms," explains Burrows, adding that the firm is looking for the sort of arrangement that it already has with the Royal College of Nursing, where it represents members under investigation. "We're wanting to widen our business to become truly national, with a good practice in each of the major cities."
The firm plans to grow the Liverpool office to the same size as the 14-partner Manchester operation, which has a Salford office attached.
"Liverpool won't be a satellite office to Manchester," stresses Burrows. "It will grow organically with Manchester."
Burton Copeland is a major player on the Serious Fraud Legal Aid Panel, with six supervisors looking at the panel's work and a seventh about to be appointed.
The firm was founded in 1882 in Manchester and went on to open offices in London in 1991, followed by the Salford office six years later.