Leeds law undergoes a shake-up

Yorkshire has been the source of many good things over the centuries – Yorkshire puddings, Geoff Boycott, the Brontë sisters, Alan Bennett, and seven London 2012 gold medallists all spring to mind.

It’s also the source of some of the world’s largest law firms, not least DLA Piper, which started life as Dibb & Co in Leeds back in the 1880s. But that fact has rather got lost in the past few years, which have been difficult for the Leeds economy as other cities have more aggressively pushed their positions as financial services centres.

The past five years have seen a reduction in staff numbers at Leeds’ Big Six firms, and sluggish turnover growth for several of the city’s indigenous practices.

As this week’s cover feature reports, hopes are high that the UK’s second-largest legal market is set for recovery. Investment in infrastructure and an emphasis on promoting the city are fuelling renewed optimism.

But this is happening in a market that has fundamentally changed in the last decade. Internationalisation has reshaped the bigger Leeds firms forever and in a cost-conscious world, the question now is how the city can best keep its share of the market.

Even Boycs would find that a hard one to dead bat.

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