The economics of legal services no longer support any but the most rarefied of work being conducted in London. This is not driven by solicitors remuneration alone but rather a combination the enormous rental prices in the city and absurd domestic property prices.
Staff at all levels need to be remunerated at a level which allows them to live a commutable business from the office; for some support staff this is becoming increasingly challenging.
Estimates of "desk costs" per fee earner vary wildly by firm and office location but the range seems to be £4,000 to £6,000 per month. With infrastructure costs in the major regional cities less than half those found in London the benefits to the bottom line of even a modest amount of "north shoring" are clear.
Jepson Holt are a specialist legal search firm based in the north serving Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and London. www.jepsonholt.com
Reed Smith is set to establish a low cost legal service centre outside of London in Leeds, it has emerged. The centre, to be named RS Global Solutions, will see Reed Smith open its second UK office to offer additional support to its London hub. Such centres typically have greater impact on non-legal support staff, with the strategy driven by the continuing desire by Global 100 firms to seek greater efficiency. A host of other major players have undertaken similar projects recently , with Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Baker McKenzie, Norton Rose Fulbright and Ashurst all shifting back-office roles out of London to lower cost hubs in the UK and abroad.