Leeds to make its case as legal centre of excellence

Leading figures from business, politics and the law are to headline a major event in Leeds to promote the city’s legal sector to investors.

The Leeds Conference, which takes place on June 14, will publish new research which positions Leeds as the “UK centre of excellence” for legal services outside London.

Speakers include Helen Fletcher, senior legal advisor at tech firm Uber, Hilary Benn, most recently chair of the Brexit select committee, Catherine McGuinness, policy chairman at the City of London Corporation, and David Espley, UK technology director at LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions.

The Ministry of Justice is expected to announce a minister of state will also be addressing the conference.

Others in the line-up at Leeds Civic Hall include Bill Esterson, most recently the shadow international trade secretary, Frank Hester, the chief executive of TPP, one of Yorkshire’s most valuable technology businesses, and Brian Kuhn, the co-founder of AI pioneer IBM Watson Legal.

The Leeds Law Society is organising the conference with support from Leeds City Council.

Bill Barton, incoming president of the Leeds Law Society, said: “We want ambitious businesses and graduates wherever they are in the UK or the world to understand that Leeds is the pre-eminent centre for legal services in the UK outside London.

“Leeds is home to some of the best legal minds in the UK who are acting for clients across the world. Their clients know that by instructing law firms in Leeds they are going to get a world-class service at a competitive price.

“We will be using the conference to publish new research that confirms our position beyond doubt.”

The Legal 500 is supporting the event and will publish the findings of the research to its global audience of four million legal professionals.

As well as highlighting the size and scale of the legal industry in Leeds, the conference will also showcase the strong diversity in the sector and its pioneering programme for legal apprenticeships.
Other speakers include Rob Painter, marketing director at Sky Betting and Gaming, Katie Schmuecker, head of policy at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, and a panel of rising stars representing the next generation of legal talent.

Cllr Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “I’m delighted to welcome visitors from the legal sector to Leeds. Leeds is a world-class centre for law, with firms in the city providing legal services to clients on a national and international scale.

“By offering innovative legal apprenticeships, Leeds law firms are leading the way in opening up the profession to people of all backgrounds.

“We need law firms in Leeds to support this conference to send a strong message that Leeds has the best legal sector in the UK.”

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