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Changes to aspects of the way legal service providers operate in the UK could have benefits for Manchester’s office space market.
A report from the Financial Times describes Manchester as a leading innovator in legal service provision and a city well placed to take advantage of deregulation measures set to introduced in the first week of 2012.
The regulatory changes being introduced will mean that a range of services that currently need to be carried out by a qualified lawyer will be open to other kinds of service providers. The Manchester-based Co-operative Group is among those making no secret of its plan to take advantage of the changes and hoping to dramatically boost the scale of its legal services division.
In fact, according to the FT, Co-operative Legal Services is preparing to add between 2,000 and 3,000 extra staff to its existing workforce in Manchester specifically to cope with the extra work it is anticipating will result from the UK-wide rule changes.
New offices will need to be leased by CLS as it aims to take a increasingly sizeable chunk of a legal services industry worth billions of pounds on an annual basis.
The shake-up of the legal sector has been likened by some to the massive deregulation drive than transformed the British financial services industry back in the 1980s.
The Co-operative Group is already among the largest employers in central Manchester, with thousands of its staff operating from a complex of eight office buildings in the northern side of the city. Its most notable presence in Manchester is the CIS Tower, which stands 118 metres high but is set to be swapped for a new £100 million headquarters in 2012 in a 20 acre scheme named NOMA.