Mills & Reeve is set to open a new office in Oxford, signalling a major investment into the Oxford market.
This is Mills & Reeve’s seventh UK office after Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, London, Manchester and Norwich.
The office opening is in response to client demand and the large volume of work that Mills & Reeve has advised on from the education, life sciences, real estate investment, private wealth and technology sectors based in Oxford, the wider Thames Valley region and Oxford to Cambridge arc. The new office will be focused on those sectors initially with the medium-term plan of developing a full-service corporate and commercial offering to match the firm’s other offices.
The firm has recently worked on the Oxford North project, one of the most significant developments to be approved in Oxford in recent years. The firm has also supported Kadans Science Partner’s recent acquisition of The Science Quadrant in Abingdon. Both projects were mentioned in Mills & Reeve’s win in the Oxfordshire Property Festival Awards 2021 for Best Law Firm.
Mills & Reeve recently advised on the “transformative” donation of £155 million to Linacre College which is set to revolutionise the facilities there; the firm also continues to act for Knapp UK, automation software developers in Oxfordshire.
The new office, part of a Grade II listed property known as the Jam Factory due to its beginnings producing Frank Cooper’s marmalade, is an Oxford landmark. An important part of the city’s history, the building had been a mixed-use commercial building for many years before Oxfordshire County Council embarked on a £6 million refurbishment in 2015.
Claire Clarke, Mills & Reeve’s managing partner said: “The Oxford region has great synergies for us in terms of a number of our core sectors including education, life sciences, real estate investment, private wealth and technology, and the area continues to be a key focus for business, government and private investments. We are keen to continue growing Mills & Reeve’s presence here following the successful work we have done in the region over recent years.
“We are very excited about the potential this new office brings to the firm and to attract talented lawyers, business services professionals and legal support staff in the region.”
The new venture will be led by a number of established Mills & Reeve partners and lawyers including banking partner Sarah Seed and employment partner Nick Abbott who have a particular focus on the education sector, private equity and venture capital expert Peter McLintock, litigation specialist Angus Turner, IP partner Mark Pearce and family expert Tim Whitney. 40% of the Mills & Reeve partner group have clients and contacts in Oxford and the wider region and will also play an active part in the development of the office.
Angus said: “Our central focus will be on delivering outstanding service to our clients in sectors where we have deep rooted expertise and where the region has world leading capabilities. The matching of these two elements provides a really exciting opportunity.”
Plans to further develop Oxford make this an attractive region to be based in including the East West Rail scheme to re-establish a rail link between Cambridge and Oxford. Continued investment in the life sciences ‘golden triangle’ will also provide significant opportunities.