North west

North westLike elsewhere in the country, a buoyant first half helped North West firms ride out the economic slowdown during the past six months.

The biggest five firms grew on average by 6 per cent over the period. However, profitability took more of a hit. DWF, Halliwells and Hill Dickinson either slumped or barely grew at all.

The past few months have seen considerable investment in the City. Cobbetts has continued its investment in its niche finance practice, while Weightmans shelled out on new premises, but recently took a hit with the loss of six insurance partners to DWF, which opened in London in June and has ambitions for a 24-lawyer office.

This increasing shift of resources to the City is symptomatic of how these firms are seeking to reshape their respective brands as national rather than regional, with an eye to capturing some of the best work. But as this North West Special Report cautions, neglect of their heartlands could be at their peril.