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The legal centre of Yorkshire continues to be the highly competitive Leeds market, with Sheffield the next largest. Hull, York, Bradford and Harrogate all feature firms that cater to a broad range of commercial and SME clients.

Leeds and Sheffield look set to benefit from the Northern Powerhouse proposal aimed at bring economic growth to the entire Northern region, while Hull has seen increased activity arising from the drive to develop the Humber into an ‘Energy Estuary’, as well as the city’s successful bid for City of Culture 2017. Firms across the region have seen a substantial uptake in property development and construction work. Lender work for banks is growing alongside a continued rise in corporate transactions. However, insolvency practices have seen a downturn in mandates, with few corporate insolvencies occurring and teams now focusing on corporate restructurings or individual insolvencies.

The market continues to be dominated by a so-called Big Six – Addleshaw Goddard LLP, DLA Piper UK LLP, Eversheds LLP, Pinsent Masons LLP, Squire Patton Boggs and Walker Morris LLP – with many reinforcing their commitment to the region, while also drawing on their national and international offices. Walker Morris LLP is the exception; the firm operates from a single site in Leeds and continues to attract high-profile regional work and a strong national and international client base.

Other key firms in the region include DWF, which is still feeling the effects of the 2013 merger with Cobbetts and has seen numerous team changes in 2015; Irwin Mitchell, which has continued to focus on bringing the business legal services team in line with the firm’s strong reputation in personal injury; and Sheffield-based Nabarro LLP, whose real estate strength has been evident this year following the regional uptake in property work, with the firm dominating in both contentious and non-contentious matters.

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