Global law firm Clyde & Co has said it will open an office in Bristol in an attempt to capitalise on its reputation as a ‘hub for financial and legal disputes’.

Two insurance disputes lawyers, Ian Peacock, from Womble Bond Dickinson and John Eastlake from Kennedys will join the office, which opens next year.

Simon Konsta, senior partner at Clyde & Co, said: ‘We are focused on serving our clients when and where they need us, and this focus has driven our global and regional insurance growth strategy over the past decade. Bristol is a key centre for professional and financial disputes work and having John and Ian on board gives us a great foundation, as well as a platform for further growth.’

Peacock added: ‘I am looking forward to building a practice for Clyde & Co in Bristol, a city that has become a real hotbed for professional services in recent years. Clients increasingly want top quality legal advice on the ground in cities like Bristol in addition to London.’

Last year research company CBRE found that Bristol was the UK’s leading legal centre outside London. The research found that law firms took up 874,321 sq ft of floorspace in the city, ahead of Birmingham (781,893 sq ft) and Manchester (774,922 sq ft).

‘I think the decision by Clyde to open an office here is testament to that’, said Becky Moyce, immediate past president of Bristol Law Society.

‘We already have a strong base of home grown firms but to have an international player recognising Bristol as a key market gives us power in numbers’.

She noted that the city has a strong science and technology and insurance hubs which may have been attractive to Clyde.

Clyde & Co now has more than 40 offices worldwide. Including the Bristol office it now has six offices outside of London with bases in Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Guildford and Leeds.

Meanwhile, the firm has kept quiet about speculation that it is in pole position to take on staff from stricken US firm Sedgwick.

Sedgwick, headquartered in San Francisco with an office in the City of London, announced this week that it would be closing its doors in the new year.

Last month, the Gazette reported that Sedgwick and Clyde had been in merger talks which had reportedly stalled.

A Clyde spokesperson said at the time ‘As with all major businesses we continuously study our markets for opportunities and, at any given time, we may be in discussion with a number of individuals, teams or firms. As a matter of policy we never comment on such discussions until it is appropriate to do so.’

The firm declined to comment this morning when asked if it was in talks to take on Sedgwick staff.