Freshfields is to create a new legal support and technology development hub in Berlin, in a move that could lead to the creation of 100 new roles.
The planned hub will be based in Freshfields’ existing Berlin office and, according to the firm, will not result in any job losses.
About 60 of the new roles will be legal support positions, with the remainder expected to be fintech or legal tech jobs. The hub is expected to serve the whole of continental Europe.
Freshfields currently has six partners and some 130 staff in Berlin.
The planned new support hub in Berlin comes after the magic circle firm opened a back-office and legal support centre in Manchester in 2015, which now houses about 700 staff.
This number is set to expand as Freshfields prepares to hire in its first qualified lawyers in Manchester, as well as launching a new local apprenticeship route to qualification as a solicitor.
It plans to hire 10-15 associates into the office – which will represent its first local hires of qualified lawyers – as well as offer apprenticeships to some of the existing legal support assistants currently based in the office. It currently has about 60 legal support assistants in Manchester.
Freshfields previously considered launching a low-cost base in Canada but later scrapped this plan, with Legal Week also previously reporting that it was considering opening such a base in Asia-Pacific.
In 2015, the firm made 30 Duesseldorf IT support staff redundant after announcing plans to merge the office with Cologne.
Meanwhile, at the start of last year Freshfields offered voluntary redundancy to all of its London secretarial staff, amid a push by the firm to overhaul its business to increase efficiency.