Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is sending Manchester support assistants to the firm’s London office in a bid to improve integration.

The magic circle firm sent several Manchester legal support assistants (LSAs) to work in the City corporate department in June, with plans to review whether more LSAs can take part in the rolling programme in the autumn.

LSAs in Manchester are also being sent to some of Freshfields’ international offices when the need arises. A number recently relocated to Dubai to carry out work on a major transaction in the region.

Freshfields’ head of the Manchester legal services centre (LSC) Olivia Balson said: “What we’ve been trying to do is integrate the LSC into the fee-earner way of working.

“At the same time, we’re trying to engage and motivate our people, and these two things combined in the idea to send a group of LSAs to the London corporate group. It helped to engage our LSAs and let fee-earners see how we work.”

Balson added that the move was a good experience for LSAs and a “fantastic opportunity”.

On the other side, fee-earners in London have been able to see first-hand the work carried out by LSAs in the Manchester office, which opened in 2015.

LSAs carry out similar duties to paralegals, working on matters such as non-disclosure agreements and due diligence matters.

Freshfields’ Manchester office also offers a paralegal apprenticeship scheme, which was launched in partnership with The University of Law in August 2016.

It announced in May that the scheme would be continuing with a further two more placements for candidates this autumn.

There are no plans to offer training contracts in Manchester – an idea that was said to have been mulled by the firm at the start of last year.