Freeth Cartwright trials Brum office with one eye on London

Nottingham-based law firm Freeth Cartwright is opening an office in Birmingham today (3 December), with plans to expand into London if the venture is successful.

The firm currently has a joint venture in London with Fenwick Elliott for construction work and uses its partners’ offices when it is in town. Chief executive Peter Smith said opening in the capital is a long-term aim, depending on how Birmingham pans out.

Freeth Cartwright has seen both fee income and chargeable hours increase by 7 per cent for this half-year compared with the same period last year, with commercial property and construction accounting for 45 per cent of fee income for 2006-07.

Property partner Richard Beverley will head the Birmingham office, bringing with him two colleagues from Nottingham, senior associate Kirsten Walters and Anna Falla, as well as two support staff. There will also be one lateral hire in former Pinsent Masons and Joyce Legal partner Raymond Joyce.

Birmingham will start as a property practice and discussions are currently underway with commercial and corporate lawyers in local firms to take this number up to 20, plus 10 support staff, by March 2009, according to Smith.

Freeth Cartwright acts for Birmingham-based clients Bellway West Midlands, Anglo Irish Bank and Countrywide Homes and currently has offices in Derby, Leicester, Nottingham and Manchester.