The legal sector in Leeds has grown faster than any other UK city over the past decade, with the economic output of Leeds’s law firms expected to top £300m this year.
A new study into the value and scope of Leeds’s legal base shows that the city has outstripped the City of London, Manchester and Birmingham in terms of the growth of new firms, with legal bosses in the city now hoping to position Leeds as one of the principal legal capitals in Europe.
The research is published on the day of the Leeds Conference, an event organised jointly by the Leeds Law Society and Leeds City Council, who have joined forces to profile and promote the city’s legal sector to international business and talent.
Among the additional findings of the report are that:
-Leeds lawyers offer the same range of services as their peers in the City of London, but without the eye-watering fees.
-Strong competition exists within nearly every specialism, providing top end market conditions for buyers of legal services.
-Law firms in Leeds are delivering world-class legal advice and services for clients in Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.
-The city region is home to the largest financial and professional services community in England outside the capital, making it easier for firms to grow and win work.
-It is ideally placed for middle and back office operations with a large and growing community of talent, innovative and collaborative tech businesses and residing legal tech specialists.
Bill Barton, president of the Leeds Law Society, said: “This research project demonstrates that Leeds has one of the strongest and most diverse legal sectors in the world.
“The city has a bright and exciting future and is busy nurturing the next generation of legal and technology talent.”
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Leeds is a world-class centre for law, with firms in the city providing legal services to clients on a national and international scale.”
Andrew Parmley, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said: “The benefits of the Leeds cluster are already felt regionally and across the UK - and now Leeds is becoming a major player on the world stage as well.
“As an ambassador for all UK-based financial and professional services, I am proud to proud to promote Leeds as a dynamic and innovative city which is integral to the growth of the UK’s legal sector.”
Speakers at the Leeds Conference today include Helen Fletcher, senior legal advisor at tech firm Uber, Hilary Benn MP, most recently chair of the Brexit select committee, Catherine McGuinness, policy chairman at the City of London Corporation, and Brian Kuhn, co-founder and leader of IBM Watson Legal.
The Legal 500 publisher is supporting the event and will share the findings of the research with its global audience of four million legal professionals.
The research was carried out by PR firm Branksome Partners, with support from the University of Leeds School of Law and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.