Blake Lapthorn office faces the chop after South Coast review

Blake Lapthorn office faces the chop after South Coast review” />Blake Lapthorn Linnell’s Fareham office could be closed as the firm moves to streamline its South Coast practice.

A task force headed by managing partner Walter Cha is examining the viability of the firm’s five locations in Fareham, London, Oxford, Portsmouth and Southampton, with a view to consolidating offices.

It is understood that the Fareham office, with 15 partners and 31 lawyers, may be amalgamated into the firm’s neighbouring Southampton office, with all staff to be relocated.

Cha insisted the move, if undertaken, would not involve any redundancies.

Earlier this year, the firm spun off its Fareham-based children and education practice, which now operates as the Children’s Legal Practice.

The consolidation follows last year’s merger of Southampton-based Blake Lapthorn with Oxford’s Linnells.

A review of the merged firm’s practice groups has already been completed, resulting in the introduction of a series of sector-based teams.

It is understood that the firm owns the freehold on all three of its South Coast offices. Cha told The Lawyer the proposal was not part of a bid to drive down overheads.

Blake Lapthorn’s costs per lawyer for the last financial year stood at £113,000, higher than fellow South East firm Thomas Eggar at £101,000, but still less than other local firms, including Cripps Harries Hall and ASB Law.

Cha said: “We’re examining the exciting opportunities that result from being in fewer sites and capitalising on the synergies that come from working in larger teams. The question for us is, can we work more effectively in larger teams?”