We're staying in Norwich, says law firm

Law firm Eversheds has quashed speculation in a new legal guide it is considering closing its Norwich office.Eversheds is one of the region's two legal heavyweights alongside rival Mills & Reeve and employs 275 people in its Norwich office.

Law firm Eversheds has quashed speculation, in a new legal guide, that it is considering closing its Norwich office.

Eversheds is one of the region's two legal heavyweights, alongside rival Mills & Reeve, and employs 275

people in Norwich.

Last year, the firm moved its Cambridge operations into bigger premises there, and the new edition of legal directory the Legal 500, published today, suggests that Eversheds may want to concentrate its efforts in that city.

James Lewis, editor of the East Anglia chapter of the Legal 500, said there had been speculation for three years that Eversheds may shut its Norwich operation.

"From our point of view, it looks a bit of an anomaly that a firm of European and national ambitions retains three offices in East Anglia," he said.

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"The competition has always been keeping a wishful eye on them that they might pull out of Norwich."

But Ian Shann, Eversheds' regional managing partner, said there was no substance to the speculation.

"Norwich is by far the biggest contributor to our operations in the East of England in terms of turnover and profits," he said. "Some 275 of the 475 staff in the region work in Norwich and we are fully committed to the city.

"There have been rumours of this sort for the past three years, ever since we reorganised our operations in the East of England.

"Cambridge and Norwich may not be very far apart, but they have very different markets."

The new edition of the Legal 500 describes Eversheds and Mills & Reeve as the region's two heavyweight law firms.

It says the firms dominate Norwich and Cambridge and boast many of the best lawyers in the region. Mills & Reeve managing partner Mark Jeffries, and Terry Gould, of Eversheds' Norwich office, are singled out for praise.

Howes Percival and Steeles are also praised by the guide as the two firms who vie for position behind the big two.

Of Steeles the guide says: "Steeles continues to grow its profits, client portfolio and workforce at an impressive rate."

And Howes Percival is said to remain strong in areas such as licensing and insolvency, with the firm now dealing well with succession issues that had prompted rivals to question its longevity.

Two smaller Norwich based firms, Leathes Prior and Greenland Houchen, are described as strong practices with outstanding partners.

For more information about the Legal 500 log on to www.legalease.co.uk