Promoting Yorkshire as a ‘fantastic place to do business’ is vitally important

Mark Owen

By Mark Owen, partner at Womble Bond Dickinson in Leeds. 

The coming years are going to be vitally important for the Yorkshire region, particularly with the arrival of Channel 4 and HS2 into Leeds. Channel 4’s decision to relocate emphasises the strength of the city and region and the role of Leeds at the centre of the North and the heart of the UK. This decision is hugely significant and reinforces the city’s presence on the national stage.

Womble Bond Dickinson is ready to play a key role in ensuring that the region’s businesses make the best of all of the opportunities that will come with the investment into the area.

The work of our Yorkshire lawyers has been recognised externally over the past year.  Many of our team have received commendations in Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. We collected two awards at this year’s Yorkshire Legal Awards, with Paula Dillon winning Lawyer of the Year and our intellectual property team, led by Patrick Cantrill, winning Intellectual Property Team of the Year.  Simon Pilling and our corporate team were recommended as ‘one of the best firms for private equity work’ by Legal 500 and were also shortlisted for three awards at the Yorkshire Dealmaker Awards.

We have recognised the talent within our firm, with James Cook and Mark Casey being promoted to Legal Director, and Catherine Willis and Patrick Jackson being promoted to Managing Associates. We have also welcomed a number of new senior recruits over the past 12 months, including: Claire Wilkinson who joined us as a real estate Partner; Robin Richardson as an intellectual property trade mark lawyer; James Lawson who joined as a real estate Legal Director and Jack Irwin as a corporate lawyer.

Our combination with US law firm Womble Carlyle in early November 2017 transformed us into a top 20 UK law firm, and gave us transatlantic reach. We are committed to using our new footprint to promote Yorkshire as a fantastic place to do business.  We recently supported a trade delegation from Rhode Island visiting Leeds, Hull and Manchester to encourage exports. Earlier this month we also supported the Department for International Trade and their trade mission to Boston. A number of our Boston based colleagues hosted businesses from across the Northern Powerhouse to encourage trade between the two regions.

We work closely with Government bodies and business networks in the region to ensure that we can work strategically with our clients.  We have strong ties to the Leeds Chamber of Commerce and work collaboratively with them to support the fantastic work they do to champion the region. A key way we support is by sitting on the Chamber’s Transport Group, providing guidance and support to improve the region’s transport infrastructure to enable economic growth.  We are a member of the Government’s Northern Powerhouse partnership programme, and have been involved in various projects in relation to this, including advising Commercial Estate Estates Group on the infrastructure and rail halt works for its £400m Kirkstall Forge development in Leeds.

The next decade promises to be an exciting phase and we can’t wait to play our part and to continue to support businesses in Leeds and the wider Yorkshire region.