Fladgates bails out of Thames Valley

West End firm Fladgate Fielder is pulling out of the Thames Valley region by closing its Basingstoke office.

The office, which opened in 1985, carried out property and corporate work the litigation department moved back to London three years ago and the firm claims it was having difficulty appointing suitably qualified assistants.

The firm said it hoped that this autumn all the office's four partners and its one assistant would be moving to a new Fladgate Fielder office in London, which will also house all staff from the firm's three London offices.

Chairman Paul Leese said: “The firm sees substantial business advantages in bringing all our expertise and resources under one roof.”

Roger Loosely, partner in charge of the Basingstoke office said: “I am confident clients of the Basingstoke office will recognise that our acknowledged expertise is more important than our physical location.”

Fladgate Fielder spokeswoman Rebecca Gains said local clients were already serviced by London partners and that when the Basingstoke litigation department moved to London all the clients moved with them.

However, Franco Bosi, managing partner of Pennington's Basingstoke office, said he was surprised by the move. “It will create opportunities for us. I'm sure they will retain many clients but some local companies won't want to go all the way to London.”

The firm's departure from Thames Valley follows the dissolution of Dallas Brett in Oxford last year. However, earlier this year, Osborne Clarke opened an office in Reading and other firms such as Manches & Co have boosted their presence there.