National firm Eversheds is shutting its Middlesbrough operation, leaving it with just one office in the North East.
The firm has decided it will not renew its Teesside office lease at the end of the year. Instead, it intends to relocate the three partners and 29 staff to the Newcastle office.
The decision comes only months after rival Dickinson Dees expanded its coverage to include the Tees Valley.
Eversheds national managing partner David Ansbro says: "We feel we can serve the clients better from Newcastle and Leeds. Clearly closing the office down will take the rent away but costs were not the only driver."
Middlesbrough staff were told of the decision on Thursday (14 September).
Ansbro says: "We will be gradually moving people [to Newcastle] over the next few months. Talks have started with everyone on an individual basis but clearly not everyone will find it convenient and we will try and help them."
Partner in charge in Middlesbrough Colin Crossman will step down from his managerial post to continue full fee-earning.