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FREETH Cartwright is to open an office in Birmingham, the only major Midlands market in which the firm does not already have a presence.
The new office will be open by the end of the year, according to chairman Colin Flanagan, and will offer a full service with a particular focus on real estate.
It will be the firm’s fourth office in the Midlands, after those in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham, but Birmingham is widely seen as being the most competitive legal market in the region.
Flanagan said: “It’s a tough market, but it’s a big one, and in order to be successful we don’t need to take over the world. It’s not our objective to be the biggest firm in Birmingham in five years.”
Flanagan said the firm had not confirmed how it would staff the new base, but that a merger “could be an option.”
Birmingham has seen an explosion of mid-market competition in recent years, with Bristol-based Bevan Brittan, Beachcroft and Clarke Willmott, Nottingham-based Browne Jacobson, Leicesterbased Harvey Ingram, Norwich-based Mills & Reeve and Northampton-based Shoosmiths having all announced, or demonstrated, their intentions for major growth there.
New challengers include Harvey Ingram, which launched a Birmingham office in April last year, Putsmans and Shakespeares, which merged in April to create a £20m new player, as first revealed by The Lawyer(16 October 2006), and Cheltenham-based BPE Solicitors, which moved into new Birmingham offices last November ahead of an expansion strategy.