News Addleshaw Goddard Clarion DLA Piper Eversheds HLW Keeble Hawson Lupton Fawcett Lee & Priestley Pinsent Masons Squire Patton Boggs Walker Morris UK Law firms Financial news Leeds Big Six lawyer numbers slump as city’s legal market reinvents itself By Joanne Harris 21 July 2014 00:04 17 December 2015 12:17 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer Anonymous 21 July 2014 at 10:52 “second-largest UK legal market outside London” Curious. Why is this? Reply Link PR Guru 21 July 2014 at 11:35 Agree with Anonymous 10.52AM – there’s no way Leeds is the second largest legal market in the UK after London. The West Midlands has a population of 5.2 million people, Greater Manchester has a population of over 2.5 million people, while Leeds is around 750,000, it simply could not generate more legal work than other major centres. Sounds like more local PR spin from Leeds. Reply Link Joanne Harris 21 July 2014 at 15:19 The data, drawn from TheCityUK, relates to Leeds as a city (versus say, Manchester or Birmingham) rather than West Yorkshire or Yorkshire as a region (versus Greater Manchester or the West Midlands). It is probably true that as a region West Yorkshire is a smaller legal market than its competitors, but the data says that as a single city Leeds is the second-largest behind London. Reply Link Mark Sheddon 21 July 2014 at 15:31 “Second-largest UK legal market outside London” means third-largest overall. So – London, Birmingham, Leeds. “Outside” does not mean the same as “after”. Reply Link Anonymous 21 July 2014 at 15:57 It is widely known that Leeds has the biggest legal market outside of London. Or, at least, had the biggest legal market. The Chief Exec of The Law Society stated recently that he thought Manchester had over taken Leeds in the last year or so. Reply Link White Rose 21 July 2014 at 16:33 London of the North Reply Link Anonymous 22 July 2014 at 12:52 CommentJoanne, thank you for your response. Noted that the stat relates to Leeds as a city (as opposed to Manchester or Birmingham – though I am still surprised by this). But then I guess it turns on how you define a ‘legal market’. You could argue that legal markets are not delineated by city but rather by region i.e. Yorkshire, North West, Midlands. And what of Scotland?! Reply Link Rob Barklamb 22 July 2014 at 15:04 When I first started to recruit lawyers in Leeds in 2001, you had a very firmly identifiable Big 6 and then a mid tier comprised mainly of Leeds headquartered firms. The figures here show that Solicitor numbers in the Big 6 have remained largely static since 2009 – the big change has actually been in the mid tier with a number of firms coming in from Manchester, Newcastle and now Nottingham. You are right to name check Bond Dickinson et al, but the big change has been DWF who have recruited many people from the Big 6. In short, the Big 6 has barely changed; the mid tier has changed beyond recognition. The main feature also points out – quite correctly – that Manchester has jumped so far ahead of Leeds in recent years. Manchester built Spinningfields, Leeds erected a number of soulless, isolated identikit office blocks across the southern swathe of the city; Manchester (or rather Salford) got Media City, Leeds got a new BBC office with a curry house underneath. Perhaps Yorkshire’s greatest strength – its pride, its sense of identity – also comes with an element of insularity (Leeds firms look to be big in Yorkshire, Manchester and Geordie firms look to come into Leeds) and its perhaps telling that very few of the non Big 6 Leeds firms have looked beyond the Three Ridings for headcount and office growth. Reply Link Simon Tingle 22 July 2014 at 16:43 Very curious that DWF aren’t mentioned, surely with their recent growth they are one of the big players in the region (and nationally for that matter, as a top 20 law firm). Especially curious as this article focusses on headcount which must have increased significantly over the last 12/18 months at DWF Leeds… Didn’t they win Yorkshire Law firm of the Year recently too? Reply Link Paul Menham 22 July 2014 at 22:19 Most UK firms have reduced their (non-lawyer) staffing levels in the last five years. Fee earner to secretary ratios have dropped considerably. Looking at numbers of lawyers – two out of the Big 6 have increased lawyer numbers (and two named have dropped). When you add in firms like DWF (grown from 50 to 350 staff including over 200 lawyers since 2009), Ward Hadaway, Stewarts, Clarion who have all grown considerably in that period, and add in firms like Gordons, Irwin Mitchell and Lupton Fawcett who have continued to grow since 2009 – it is likely that there are as many (if not more) lawyers in Leeds as in 2009. There is certainly no doom and gloom in the UK’s largest legal market outside of London! Reply Link Anonymous 23 July 2014 at 15:19 Rob Barklamb – nobody namechecked Bond Dickinson (rather surprisingly) Which of course is a shame, as I would have thought the “Clifford Chance of North” would have gatecrashed the Big Six in Leeds now. Reply Link njr1330 23 July 2014 at 22:09 When (if) HS2 is completed, will Birmingham be a ‘legal market outside London’ or merely a place where London lawyers sleep! Reply Link Steve 24 July 2014 at 15:19 As some other posters have said above, I think the title of this article is quite misleading. It sounds like the Big6 laywer numbers have stayed fairly constant. Support staff is a different matter but that’s not what the title says. The Leeds legal market hasn’t necessarily got smaller, especially given the growth of some of the firms below the Big6, but it has lost ground to Manchester. Interesting that it still is the 2nd city for lawyers and professional services. It should take that as big a positive given the advantages Manchester enjoys such as higher media profile on the back of MediaCity, the airport and the football clubs. Reply Link Zoe Hebblethwaite 5 September 2014 at 09:45 Headcount is just one measure. The innovation of lawyers in Leeds, increasing specialisms in emerging markets such as fintech, health informatics and open/big data protection, delivering more for less through improved and more efficient ways of working along with increasing internationalisation of work are key. The City UK 2014 indicates Leeds City Region is widely recognised as the UKs second financial centre, generating over £13bn every year, and exceptional growth of 55% is forecast by 2022. As a city region, Leeds has received the most retail investment in Europe for 13/14 – £1bn, in developments such as £380m http://trinityleeds.com/, the £60m world-class http://www.firstdirectarena.com/and work has started on DC4, aql’s £43m datacentre the largest outside of the capital. Leeds City Region just secured the government’s largest Growth Deal and things are moving for the whole of the North – Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Bradford, with the improved connectivitiy and economic boost of HS2/3. Not to mention the royals Kate and Wills chose to see the Grand Depart of Tour De France here. Yorkshire is a proud county where difficult things get done well. We engineer two-thirds of the worlds turbo chargers and are leading the way in advanced digital manufacture and precision medical engineering. Just take a look at the miles of stunning scenery and energy and vibrancy of our people on the Tour Dr France coverage, the humour and warmth is plan to see, that’s why so many capable and talented people choose to make a life here. Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.