LEADING legal figures from around the world will be urged to spread the word that Yorkshire is a powerful economic hub when they visit the region next month.
Leeds law firm Shulmans is hosting a delegation of international lawyers on behalf of Interlegal, the global association of law firms, with the aim of promoting Yorkshire as an attractive business alternative to London.
More than 30 law firms from countries such as Russia, the US, Germany and India, together with growing legal jurisdictions such as Cote’ D’Ivoire, Thailand and Mexico will be joining business figures to discuss how to build alliances and the benefits of working in the UK with regional hubs. The delegation will also consider the shape of international legal policy after Brexit.
The delegation, which is visiting from November 1 to 5, is also due to meet Tom Riordan, the chief executive of Leeds City Council, Roger Marsh, the chairman of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and Andrew Cooper, the chief executive of Leeds Business Improvement District. Leading members of Interlegal will attend these meetings, including the president, Joao Paulo Menezes Falcão, as well as other members of the executive committee.
Jeremy Shulman, Shulmans’ senior partner, said his firm had joined Interlegal 22 years ago.
He said: “Interlegal is designed as a trading body. If we have clients’ issues abroad we send our cases to our colleagues in Interlegal. They send work to us.”
The Interlegal group meets twice a year and covers 46 countries. Mr Shulman said he wanted the group to leave with a positive impression of Leeds and its surroundings.
He added: “A lot of them will come with preconceived ideas that nothing exists outside London.
“We want to leave them with a very strong message that Leeds commercially is a very strong city and Yorkshire is a strong county.
“These visits are very significant. You can go back to the downturn in 2008/2009 when there was not a lot going on in the UK, and a lot of businesses had to look abroad for commercial activity.
“Brexit..is not going to be a comfortable ride for everybody and therefore they are going to have to look to pastures new and this sort of arrangement will, I’m sure, assist them.”
Mr Shulman acknowledged that there were infrastructure problems around Leeds.
He added: “There have been improvements; the (First Direct) arena is a good example and the retail sector is obviously much better.
“Transport is a very significant one, both for people who live in the city and for people who are trying to come in for the first time. It isn’t only road and rail, it also stretches to the airport.
“There are lots of ideas that we all want to see happen. But I still think we can be proud of the city, it’s still a great place and there are lots of development.”
He said major developments like the Wellington Place scheme in Leeds can bring improvements in infrastructure “because people simply won’t come if they are dissatisfied with the facilities they have at their disposal.”