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Legal conference highlights Leeds as the UK centre of excellence outside capital


Leeds will once again host a major business event to highlight the city’s growing stature as the UK centre of excellence for legal services outside the City of London.

The Leeds Law Society and Leeds City Council have joined forces to help promote the strength of the Leeds legal community to business leaders and politicians around the world.

Leeds has seen the fastest growth of any major legal centre in the UK this decade, surpassing the City of London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol, according to a research project commissioned by the council last year.

The Leeds Conference takes place at Leeds Civic Hall on June 13 and features a stellar cast of national and international speakers.

Confirmed speakers to date include the head of the Government Legal Department, senior figures from magic circle law firm Linklaters and FTSE 100 giant Aviva, the enterprise editor of the Financial Times, the first female president of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce, government representatives from Hungary, Luxembourg and Flanders and a prominent New York-based international entrepreneur who grew up in Leeds.

Other speakers include new overseas investors in Leeds from China and Australia, directors from the Legal 500 and the business editor of the Yorkshire Post.

More high-profile business and civic speakers will be added in the coming weeks.

Bill Barton, president of the Leeds Law Society, said: “The inaugural Leeds Conference last year was a great success and generated national headlines about the growing importance of Leeds as the UK centre of excellence for legal services outside the City of London.

“By working together, law firms and wider business community are projecting a strong and dynamic image of Leeds to talent and investors.”

Judith Blake, the leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Leeds is leading the way with legal service providers from the city providing expert advice and innovative technology to clients across the world.

“We want to build on this positive momentum to make sure that Leeds fulfils its growth potential in a way that everyone can benefit from.

“It is important that law firms and the wider business community in Leeds support the conference as this will send a strong message to the rest of the country and the world that we have the best legal sector in the UK.”

David Burgess, publishing director of the Legal 500, said: “The Legal 500 is delighted to support the Leeds initiative to demonstrate that the city is a centre of legal excellence outside London.

“Many of our users in the UK and globally are looking for innovative legal solutions, cost-effective advice, and valuable business partners, and many of the law firms and lawyers in Leeds have this depth of quality.

“We are excited to be part of the Leeds conference where we will talk about some of the initial findings for our upcoming research, how firms can use our rankings to help win business, and also share some insights into what clients are looking for from their law firms.”

The Leeds legal research project, carried out by Branksome Partners Ltd and the University of Leeds School of Law, revealed 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 near-perfect market conditions for buyers of legal services
  • The sector will generate an estimated economic output of £300m in 2017
  • Law firms in Leeds are trusted to deliver world-class legal advice and services for clients in Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East
  • The Leeds 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
  • Law firms in Leeds are making a positive difference to society. Every major Leeds law firm is part of the Leeds legal apprenticeship scheme. Lawyers in the city donate more than 80,000 hours of pro bono time per year.

For more details about the Leeds Conference, please visit