Thomas Eggar moves into rival’s Southampton office

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South east firm Thomas Eggar has taken over rival Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons’ £3m Southampton office space, the firm’s second new location in six months.

Twenty fee-earners will be relocated to the 13,500sq ft building at 21 Brunswick Place in Southampton city centre from September, creating Thomas Eggar’s sixth office. The others are located in London, Gatwick, Newbury, Chichester and Worthing.

The firm’s move into Southampton follows its merger with Penningtons‘ 10-partner Newbury office late last year following internal wranglings at Penningtons over the future strategy of the firm (The Lawyer, 23 November 2007).

Thomas Eggar managing partner Tony Edwards said: “Southampton’s the biggest commercial centre in the south outside of London and was always on our radar because of the potential business opportunities.

Shoosmiths and Bond Pearce are the market leaders in Southampton, but there’s clear space at the next level down for the quality of lawyers we have to offer.”

Blake Lapthorn declined to comment on the move, but is believed to be relocating its Southampton team to the Chandlers Ford area, roughly 10 miles north of the city centre.

Edwards said Southampton is particularly strong in healthcare, telecomm- unications, IT, financial services, ;insurance, transport, leisure and the service industries.

He said Thomas Eggar’s new base there will focus on corporate, commercial and private client work, adding that the firm’s ability to offer high-net-worth business leaders advice on both company legal issues and their own private client law needs would be a particular selling point.