THE LEGAL 500 > EVENTS > The Leeds Conference
THE FASTEST-GROWING MAJOR
LEGAL CENTRE IN THE UK
The Legal 500 was delighted to support The Leeds Conference, which took place at the Civic Hall on Wednesday 14th June 2017. It marked the launch of new research showing Leeds to be the fastest growing major legal centre in the UK, surpassing The City of London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol. Bill Barton, President of the Leeds Law Society urged the near 200 attendees to “be bolder and shout about how good the city of Leeds is for legal services. Get the message out to other countries and clients”.
Figures published show Leeds has Britain’s fastest growing legal sector, as the city in the north of England attempts to establish itself as the country’s second-biggest law hub, behind London. The data, based on Office for National Statistics figures, show the number of legal jobs in Leeds grew 20 per cent between 2010 and 2015. In London, the sector grew 5 per cent, while Manchester lost 7 per cent of its employees over the same period. The sector has also grown quicker in Leeds than it has in Birmingham and Bristol.
At the event, Tom Bridges, Chief Officer Economy and Regeneration for Leeds City Council, told the audience that Leeds was responsible for 5% of UK plc, and had a £65bn annual economy, which makes it larger than 9 current EU countries. Law firms in Leeds have been doing their bit as every major firm has signed up to the pioneering legal apprenticeships, and the firms contributed 82,000 pro bono hours last year.
Speaker after speaker encouraged the delegates to promote the ability of Leeds as a major legal hub, including Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation and Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, who shared insights of not only how the region attracted the Tour de France, but also how it has raised the bar for future events in Yorkshire, and for the Tour itself. Hilary Benn MP, who represents Leeds Central spoke about the impact of Brexit from his experience of recently chairing the Brexit select committee, and gave some opinions of the recent election and forthcoming Brexit negotiations.
The event also touched on the importance of inclusive growth, and how to harness legal talent in the area, and how the view of millennials needed to be heard, and harnessed. TPP and Sky Betting and Gaming gave insights into why their organisations had located in the area. Helen Fletcher, UK General Counsel for Uber, spoke about innovation in the in-house team at her organisation, and the challenges and opportunities that it has given the in-house team. To drive home the local connection, Leeds Rhinos' Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Ashton Golding talked about what the city and communities, especially the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, meant to them, the value of teamwork, and the importance of inclusion to realising their goals.
The Leeds Law Society plan to hold more events aimed at attracting legal work to Leeds, and we will let you know in advance more details