A predominant interest in globalization often obscures the regional diversity and local flavours of professionalism that characterise our legal world. Our recent research into legal services in the North West partly rectifies this gap in our knowledge, revealing the experiences of solicitors in this region and highlighting a set of local responses to what are often more general issues affecting the profession as a whole. This is, perhaps, most aptly summed up as a story of new opportunities but also new challenges, as lawyers in the North West seem to benefit from stereotypical portraits of their work – to put it crudely, corporate legal services are cheaper in the ‘regions’ that in London – but also challenge taken for granted assumptions about the quality and innovativeness of services. Indeed, as The Lawyer recently reported, the North West has both one of most attractive marketplaces for corporate legal services in the UK – Manchester – but also one of the least attractive, Blackburn. In this brief report we want to explore some of the recent trends in corporate legal services in the North West and argue that they can actually be perceived as creating either opportunities or threats. We begin by highlighting the key logics and dimensions which support a regional division of labour in the legal profession in England and Wales. We then analyse some of the organizational responses pioneered by North-Western firms to transcend the limits of their geography and bridge the gap between local and global. We conclude by highlighting an area, work-life balance, were regional firms may have a competitive advantage. This is important in an era were work-life pressure are exacting a toll in terms of job satisfaction and staff attrition rate
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