US firm Fragomen is set to open its second UK office in Sheffield in an attempt to move closer to clients while reducing its costs.
Fragomen is taking 12,000sq ft of space within Saville House, which is situated in the heart of Sheffield city centre. The firm plans to create 100 new roles in the city within the next 12 to 18 months and expects its headcount to reach 50 employees during 2016.
Immigration law has been the firm’s main focus in the UK since it launched with the hire of CMS Cameron McKenna’s London immigration team in 2011. The 15-lawyer team included practice head Caron Pope who now acts as Fragomen’s UK managing partner.
It is unknown how much the new office space will cost Fragomen but the move will allow the firm to take advantage of reduced rents when compared with South East and London office prices.
Pope said: “This new office enables the firm to meet the growing demand for our services and provides greater access to new markets in the UK. By selecting Sheffield, the firm benefits from close proximity to the UK Home Office, leading UK universities and businesses outside of London.”
Despite its focus on immigration Pope has said that the move into Sheffield will also allow the firm to diversify its services across the country.
Law firms have increasingly begun to take advantage of low cost centres outside of London in an attempt to reduce costs. In May Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer announced it is opening a low cost centre in Manchester, which will initially be staffed by back office workers such as those specialising in IT and payroll.
In a similar attempt to ‘northshore’ its services Addleshaw Goddard has had its Transactional Services Team (TST) based in Manchester for the last five years. Addleshaws has also launched its own contract lawyer offering in the city as Manchester continues to grow as a major hub for law firms.