The Legal 500: Local law firms are ‘attractive alternative to London practices’

Thames Valley law firms are seen as an attractive alternative to London-based practices, given the region’s proximity to the City, says The Legal 500.

Reading is a technological hub which continues to benefit from the recent Crossrail project, and there has been a noticeable increase in commercial property developments taking place across the town.

Gateley Plc entered the legal market by recruiting office head Christopher Avery along with Andrew Peddie, Nicola Kirk and Owen Reynolds from Pitmans LLP, and Olswang LLP rebranded to CMS in a global merger which saw the firms join forces with Nabarro LLP.

Other notable firms in Reading include Shoosmiths LLP, Field Seymour Parkes LLP, Boyes Turner and Blandy & Blandy LLP, which recently opened a Henley-on-Thames office by acquiring Collins Dryland & Thorowgood LLP.

Blake Morgan LLP and Penningtons Manches LLP straddle Oxford and Reading, and are among the region’s top players. Lewis Silkin LLP is singled out for employment work in Oxford, and in wider Oxfordshire, technology specialist White & Black Limited stands out along with commercial property expert BrookStreet des Roches.

In Hampshire, the two key bases are Southampton and Basingstoke. Bond Dickinson LLP is known for commercial and litigation work, and all-rounders Blake Morgan LLP and private client experts Paris Smith LLP also have well-established client bases in the area.

Moore Blatch LLP and Shoosmiths LLP are making significant headway in the region. Often with links to the South West as well as London, traditional shipping and maritime legal work for the area has given way to City-level corporate and commercial, litigation and property matters.