Norton Rose Fulbright is to open a legal process hub in Newcastle in a move that will create around 100 jobs in the area.
The new hub is expected to increase the firm’s UK headcount exponentially over the next two to three years. There are currently 28 employees including lawyers, non-lawyers, paralegals, legal technologists and process designers in the firm’s legal process hub.
The employee headcount will increase in November following the transition to the new premises.
The hub delivers legal process efficiencies, trials technology and collects and analyses data for research the firm using for itself and for its clients.
Norton Rose Fulbright Europe Middle East and Asia managing partner Martin Scott said: “There are a number of reasons as to why Newcastle is ideally placed for Norton Rose Fulbright, including access to a strong pool of local talent that is able to support our efforts globally, and the city’s strong and growing reputation for innovation and technology.
“Expanding the team outside London also allows us to trial emerging technology and working practices, including agile working, in a structured way.”
He continued: “We continue to invest in people, processes and technology to provide a creative working environment, which differentiates and improves the services we can provide to our clients. The Legal Process Hub approaches legal work in a new way and is developed as a centre of excellence with a range of capabilities, which can be flexed and deployed either to support our internal teams in delivering a component of a service to clients, or to deliver a client service in a new and dynamic way.
“Our investment in technology, as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning will be a growth enabler to drive process efficiencies both at the Hub, and as part of how we deliver legal services generally.”
Norton Rose Fulbright will move to the new premises after it agreed a 10 year lease with Northumberland Estates. It held several meetings with and received guidance from Invest Newcastle, a service delivered by Newcastle Gateshead Initiative on behalf of Newcastle City Council.
Newcastle City Council chief executive Pat Ritchie said: “Newcastle is a business friendly city with good transport connections and a talented workforce. It is also a growing centre for technology, creative and professional services. ]
“I very much welcome the decision by Norton Rose Fulbright to invest in the city, which will see the creation of new jobs. This commitment underlines Newcastle’s ability to retain and attract high quality employment and bolsters our efforts to create a strong and diverse economy.”
The Newcastle hub is the second of its kind set up by Norton Rose Fulbright, the first being solely focused on global dispute resolution work and established in the US in 2015.
Norton Rose Fulbright is not the only firmt to have experimented with low cost centres to increase efficiences.
Linklaters will open a low-cost legal centre in Lecce in September, adding to the two offices it currently operates in Milan and Rome.
The alternative resourcing centre would provide paralegal support for work being done in Milan, as Lecce is a lower cost place to do business and hire lawyers.
In March 2014, Hogan Lovells also opened a low-cost legal centre in Birmingham headed by its former global private equity head Alan Greenough.
The base is an extension of the London office and offers less complex aspects of work which has already been instructed through the City.