Two firms open in Birmingham with eye on insurance market

Two more law firms are opening offices in Birmingham as the city continues to develop as a leading market place for insurers and other niche areas.

South Wales firm Palser Grossman opened an office last week in Birmingham in a continued effort to hold onto its insurance clients.

And 36-partner Browne Jacobson, the Nottingham and London-based firm, has announced its plans to open an office in the city next month.

The senior partner at Palser Grossman, Howard Palser, says: “We will be able to offer Birmingham our connection with four of our major insurers, including Zurich and Eagle Star, and we intend to extend our network.”

“The new office is a greenfield office with space to expand. It is expected to serve the insurers, some of who are based in Birmingham.”

Susan Dearden, leading the insurance team at Wragge & Co, says: “We would not feel threatened by the move, but see it as healthy competition.”

“The Birmingham insurance market is not large and more firms in the city will add muscle to the market,” she claims.

Carole Ayre, a partner at Browne Jacobson – whose Birmingham office will become operational in May – confirms that the firm will be developing its existing client base in health law, general insurance and local authority work.

Paul Taylor, senior partner at Berrymans Lace Mawer, says: “Birmingham has long been seen as a city of opportunity in insurance. But it is a tighter market than is generally thought of.”

Taylor says he is not surprised by the move by Palser Grossman: “They are a west of country practice, and the move is presumably a client-led expansion.”

Taylor suggests, though, that the city has more than enough lawyers. “Birmingham is dominated by two or three superfirms, the city is very well lawyered, and the market will become a very competitive one,” he says.