Regional heavyweight Cobbetts is poised to hike its client charge-out prices in a bid to harmonise rates across all its offices.
The firm, which has carried out no fewer than four mergers since December 2003, is consulting partners as to how much its hourly rates should be increased by. According to well-placed sources, the move may result in rates jumping by almost 30 per cent, resulting in partners' hourly rates rising to as much as £275.
Cobbetts managing partner Michael Shaw confirmed that the firm is reviewing charge-out rates, but he denied that the increase would be as high as 30 per cent, arguing that the new rates have yet to be set.
The legacy Manchester-based firm merged with Birmingham's Lee Crowder to create a top 50 firm based on turnover. Since then, Cobbetts has also taken on the Leeds office of niche housing practice Walker Charlesworth & Foster (The Lawyer, 13 September 2004).
It also merged with mining boutique Fox Brooks Marshall and planning practice Wilbraham & Co in November 2003 and July 2004 respectively.
The new rates are expected to come into effect on 1 May. Cobbetts has offices in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham.