Cambridge law firm Mills & Reeve dominates the East Anglia rankings of the UK Legal 500 guide published today, with its technology and corporate teams leading the way – but the region’s league table of ‘heavyweight’ practices has been given another shake-up.Ashton KCJ has become the second fast riser in successive years to bust apart a long-established elite – Howes Percival broke through the magic circle in 2011 – and join the region’s heavyweight law firms rated by The Legal 500 guide’s 25th anniversary edition.
Seven firms are now picked out by the profession’s ‘bible’ as the biggest hitters – with Eversheds and Mills & Reeve rated joint number ones and Ashton KCJ, Birketts, Hewitsons, Howes Percival, Taylor Vinters the other heavyweights.
The Legal 500 guide flags up what it calls “the biggest consolidation in the region between well-known firms Kester Cunningham John and Ashton Graham, which has resulted in Ashton KCJ joining the list of regional heavyweights this year. The consolidation achieves a considerable spread of resources across the region and brings together many complementary practices.”
Mills & Reeve, now headed up by Ian Mather in Cambridge, continues to be the region’s star performer. The firm has notched a new record of 36 number one slots – either on its own or shared – across the disciplines ranked, which is three more than the record of 33 top spots it set last year.
In the Cambridge and Norwich jurisdictions where Mills & Reeve is active locally, the firm missed out on the number one slot in only six league tables – and it was second and third in two of those!
Mills & Reeve also has 14 of the 80 leading individuals for East Anglia picked out for special praise as ‘rainmakers’ by the Legal 500 guide. That’s twice as many as its nearest competitor, Taylor Vinters, which has seven lawyers in the pantheon. Ashton KCJ is next with six while Birketts, Buckles and Eversheds have five apiece.
In Europe’s leading BiomedTech sector, Mills & Reeve and Taylor Wessing are rated joint number ones for biotechnology advice by The Legal 500 guide. Eversheds and Taylor Vinters share number two tier in a quality quartet.
Eversheds, Mills & Reeve and Taylor Wessing share top spot for IT and telecoms advice.Hewitsons and Taylor Vinters are ranked equal second with Birketts and Greenwoods in a three-firm third tier.
The Legal 500 rates four firms as its top Intellectual Property advisers – Eversheds, Mills & Reeve, Taylor Vinters and Taylor Wessing. Birketts and Hewitsons make a five-firm second tier and Greenwoods slots into a third tier ranking.
Corporate & commercial work – which drives growth fundraising and M & As among other key company activities – is a massive earner for the region]s law firms and Legal 500 top tier rankings are coveted.
The Legal 500 ranks Mills & Reeve as stand-alone number one for Corporate & Commercial work in Cambridge. It brackets five firms in the second tier – Birketts, Eversheds, Hewitsons, Taylor Vinters and Taylor Wessing.
Birketts is out on its own in first place for Corporate & Commercial work in Ipswich with Ashton KCJ leading a crop of firms in the second tier.
Mills & Reeve is clear at the top in Norwich, again with Ashton KCJ leading the pursuing pack, which also includes Birketts and Howes Percival. Greenwoods is joint top and Buckles joint second in a four-firm shake-out in Peterborough. Ashton KCJ earns a number one spot for Corporate & Commercial work elsewhere in East Anglia.
The East of England has more to offer corporate clients than just top solicitors. As The Legal 500 guide points out, it also has first rate barristers and Trade Mark & Patent Attorneys.
Once again Cambridge-based barristers chambers, Fenners, shares a number one spot in the hotly contested South East Circuit rankings.
And Mathys & Squire, headed up in Cambridge by University alumnus Ilya Kazi, earns all round excellent ratings in the guide’s review of TM & Patent Attorneys for London and the regions.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Ian Mather