Ward Hadaway has shelved plans for a ­Manchester office launch, preferring to ride out the recession before making a firm commitment.

The North East firm planned to launch the office this year, but a source close to the firm said it now hoped to move forward with the plan in 2010.

“Launching any office is a challenge, particularly at the beginning,” said the source. “We want to focus on what we’re doing in Leeds before moving on to Manchester. We’re taking a measured approach.”

Last year the Newcastle-headquartered firm launched in Leeds after hiring five partners and two associates from local rivals (The Lawyer, 9 June 2008).

The hires included Guy Morgan from Bevan Brittan, Paul Washbourne from Beachcroft, Kevin Weston from Cobbetts, Alex Clements from Berrymans Lace Mawer and Steve Thomas from Brooke North.

The Leeds office is headed by partner Andrew Hoyle, who joined the firm in April 2007 after being ousted from arch-rival Watson ­Burton.