Barlow Lyde & Gilbert leases Manchester office

Michael Hunt

Law firm Barlow Lyde & Gilbert has opened a 7,800 sq ft office in the 14-storey Chancery Place building on Brown Street, Manchester city centre.

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert has agreed a lease deal for an undisclosed sum. The new office is the firm's second UK premises outside of London and the first in the North of England.

BLG, known for its insurance and dispute resolution work, will use the Manchester office to focus on casualty work, including employers' liability, public liability and motor liability.

Robert Muttock and Mark Hemsted, who both joined BLG from DLA Piper in Manchester, are leading the practice. Muttock and Hemstead have experience of defending claims on behalf of insurers and the public sector, and they are supported by a team of ten associates and secretaries.

The law firm is establishing a professional liability practice out of Manchester and hopes to announce several significant new hires shortly.

Speaking about BLG's presence in Manchester, Robert Muttock said: "This is a very exciting opportunity. Manchester is a vibrant city and BLG is a leader in insurance litigation across the board. Insurers want greater choice and flexibility, and the office in Manchester increases BLG's national coverage, allowing us to better serve our clients."

In setting up its Manchester office, BLG has been working with Midas, the inward investment agency for Manchester, to help establish its presence in the city.

Sarah Darch, business development manager for the financial and professional services sector at Midas, said: "The arrival of BLG into Manchester bears testament to the increasing strength of the sector in the city region. As the leading UK legal centre outside of London, we're seeing more and more specialist firms like BLG look to Manchester as a viable base from which to serve their existing customers and tap into new client markets. We're delighted that BLG is here and will continue to support them as they grow."

The 102,273 sq ft Chancery Place, designed by HKR Architects, underwent a £21m redevelopment last year with Old Trafford-based construction group John Sisk & Son involved on the project.

In January this year, letting agents on the offices, Jones Lang LaSalle, moved its Manchester team into a new 7,800 sq ft office on the tenth floor of the building by Irish developer Blue Cube.

Warrington-based Claremont Group Interiors completed the fit-out of its new office in February.

Jones Lang LaSalle advised on the acquisition of the Chancery Place site in 2007 and its project and development services team project managed the building's construction and fit-out.

Savills are joint letting agents. Chancery Place offers floorplates from 2,226 sq ft.

James Evans, from the Manchester office of agents Savills, comments: "Undoubtedly market conditions remain challenging though there are still some good Grade A requirements active and we are in discussions with two other parties.

"Though many organisations remain very cautious about their long term business plans equally those well established confident organisations recognise that the economy will turn and that Chancery Place represents the best Grade A office building in the traditional core.

"Ultimately if you are confident in your business and have an operational need for space there is no better time to move in terms of being able to secure a quality working environment on very attractive financial terms."

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert also has offices in London, Oxford, Hong Kong, São Paulo, Singapore and Shanghai.

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