Executive Summary of Key Findings provided by Leeds Metropolitan by bnmbgtrtr52


									Background market information on the Leeds Legal market place.

Executive Summary of Key Findings provided by Leeds Metropolitan

   1. This report examines the role of the Legal Profession as a major driver in Leeds’
      economic renaissance over the past 25 years. It provides a flavour of the changing
      nature of the Leeds’ economy and the substantial growth of the Financial and Business
      Services (FBS) sector, within which the Legal sector has been prominent. Leeds is
      referred to as the ‘London of the North’ due to its thriving FBS base and the rapid
      spread of commercial property developments. The report considers areas of expertise
      and strength within the legal profession in Leeds and the prospects for the future,
      drawing on both secondary socio-economic information and questionnaire information
      from a selection of legal firms.

   2. Leeds is a large, vibrant, city, the second largest metropolitan district in England with a
      population of 721,374 and includes 2.76 million people in its wider city-region which
      includes the cities of Leeds, York, Bradford and Wakefield. Leeds had the fastest
      growing economy of the eight ‘core’ UK cities during the period 1984-2004 adding
      113,000 jobs during that period. Forecasts suggest that this growth will continue in the
      decade 2006-2016 at a rate higher than the national average.

   3. As well as favourable employment growth, other economic indicators and factors
      underline the success of the city economy. Unemployment rates have fallen sharply
      during the past decade from 10% to 3%, a figure that is below the average for the other
      core cities. Gross value added (GVA) growth rates have been particularly high in
      Leeds relative to other parts of the region and other UK cities. Property investment
      has amounted to £8.8 billion in the past decade. Leeds enjoys a strong ethos of
      partnership working and a ‘can-do’ attitude. It has been foremost among UK cities in its
      creation of the ‘corporate city’ concept whereby public and private-sector institutional
      stakeholders have combined to implement a common purpose development agenda
      for the city. The city also benefits from the quality of life factor with its heritage and
      proximity to national parks and areas of natural beauty.

   4. In its economic structure Leeds is one of the most diverse UK cities. The balance of its
      economy has shifted from one based on manufacturing and low-value-added work to
      one characterised by a greater dependence on service functions and, moreover,
      higher-value-added activity. The decline in manufacturing numbers is expected to
      continue but at a lower rate (9%) in the next decade broadly in line with national trends.
      Nevertheless, Leeds remains the largest centre for printing and construction outside of
      5. The service sector which now accounts for almost 360,000 jobs or 82% of the city total
         and £10bn of output. As a whole this sector is predicted to grow in employment terms
         by 10% over the next decade compared with a 14% growth in the period 1995-
         2005.The key sub-sector has been Financial and Business Services whose growth
         over the past thirty years has transformed the economic base of the city. During the
         past decade alone employment in FBS grew by almost 40% compared with 28% for
         the UK and the sub-sector’s output contribution in 2005 was £3.4bn. Consistent with
         the development of service functions has been the occupational growth in related
         managerial, professional and clerical/secretarial functions.
      6. In a hierarchy of financial and business centres Leeds has evolved from a narrowly
         defined financial intermediation base in the 1970s through deepening of financial
         services in the 1980s to become a strongly pan-regional financial centre in the 1990s.
         Leeds’ cluster of financial and business operations have provided a critical mass
         beyond its role as a regional centre. Indeed, during the past decade, it has deepened
         its financial and business operations such that in many areas, especially legal services,
         it provides a national role, evidenced by London clients travelling to Leeds for

      7. Accordingly Leeds compares very favourably with Manchester and Birmingham as the
         most important financial and legal centre outside of London. Indeed, in his recent 2006
         Budget speech, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the financial and legal
         strength of centres like Leeds helped to underpin the UK’s world class position in
         financial services:
      8. “Britain’s financial services sector, led by the international financial markets of London
         and other important financial clusters such as Edinburgh and Leeds, provides finance
         for global businesses and supports development in growing markets like India, China
         and the Middle East. Together with many business services that support it, including
         accountancy and law, it is truly a world-class industry and, as testified by its growth
         over the last ten years is succeeding in rising to the challenge of globalisation….”1

      9. Various factors underlie Leeds’ success as a Legal and Financial centre, many of
         which mirror those of London: the cluster effect through a concentration of firms;
         substantial investment in office developments; a growing nexus of professional and
         support services, notably in IT and marketing-related activity; and, crucially the close
         relationship between the public and private sectors in wishing to develop the city,
         epitomised by the Leeds Financial Services Initiative (LFSI).

      10. The success of the Legal Profession in Leeds, and the corporate sector in particular, is
          in large part due to its proactive and creative response to the transformation
          undergone by the legal profession during the last 15-20 years. These last 15 years has
          seen rapid growth in UK legal services: the output of the profession doubled in terms of
          Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 1992-2002 to 1.4% of UK GDP; and since the
          1970s the total numbers of solicitors on the Roll and those holding practising
          certificates have grown at average annual rates of over 4% per annum

      11. The profession’s growth has been boosted by rationalisation of the labour market and
          the horizontal integration of firms. The last two decades have also seen the

1                                             nd
    Budget speech to House of Commons, 22          March, 2006.

    modernisation of legal education and an increase both in the numbers and diversity of
    law students; and vibrancy of the profession has been enhanced by its increasingly
    diverse and representative composition.

12. The success of Leeds as a centre for key FBS has been underpinned by the
    development of its corporate legal sector, so that it is now a national centre for legal
    services outside of London, with a reputation for high-quality, value for money work,
    which goes beyond its regional role and also its size

13. Much of the growth in legal services in Leeds is contributed by ten major law firms,
    some with roots in the local market dating back to the early industrial period:
    Addleshaw Goddard; Cobbetts; DLA; Eversheds; Gordons; Hammonds; Irwin Mitchell;
    Lupton Fawcett; Pinsent Masons; Walker Morris. The expansion of these firms has
    been stimulated by the intensification of globalisation, so that they have grown beyond
    the local market to offer services on a national and international basis. In some cases
    this has led to the establishment of transnational practices. This expansion has led to
    an increase in practice sites, fee earners, and hence the capacity to offer services
    across a broad range of practice areas.

14. The extensive range of specialisms offered by the Leeds’ corporate firms include
    banking and finance, corporate finance, corporate restructuring and insolvency, global
    project financing, trade and investment, commercial litigation, competition,
    construction, PFI and projects, tax, derivatives, IT, employment, pensions, intellectual
    property, sport and entertainment, and some private client work including private
    equity real estate and defamation.

15. Correspondingly, the range, size and prestige of these firms’ clients have continued to
    expand, and high, and ongoing increases in, turnover, are reported. The legal
    expertise and skills of these firms’ fee-earners enable them to play a central role in
    constructing the framework and culture of the new economy.

16. Despite the modernisation of the profession, personal relationships remain of
    fundamental importance in corporate law; hence the Leeds profession’s ‘can-do’
    approach including tenacity, a willingness to try and fail is very important. These firms
    provide ‘added value’ service ‘offering ‘city-style’ legal advice but at ‘regional rates’,
    thereby ‘providing a true value-for-money service to national and international clients’.
    Despite the global expansion of several of the large firms, they remain embedded in
    the Leeds city-region; the business conducted from their Leeds’ offices is wide-ranging
    in scope, though very often international in focus

17. The SME sector of the Leeds legal profession has also contributed to the success of
    the Leeds economy. By catering for the SME sector of the Leeds business community
    these firms are fulfilling a vital socio-economic function which supports the more
    spectacular growth of the Leeds’ FBS sector.

18. This sector of the legal services market contains firms which continue to exemplify the
    High Street General Practice, enshrining the traditional service values of the
    profession, whilst giving high quality specialist work, and they operate in specialist
    practice areas such as mental health work which is therefore largely legally aided.
    Evidently the social justice dimension of such work is of pivotal importance.

19. The city also plays a vital role in legal education. It is host to two universities: Leeds
    Metropolitan University (Leeds Met) and Leeds University:

20. The School of Law at Leeds University has grown by almost 50% in both financial
    turnover and staffing since 2000, and has about 800 undergraduate students; about
    60% of these go into the legal profession.

21. Leeds Law School at Leeds Met has over 1000 students at undergraduate and
    postgraduate levels, 98% of whom are in employment or undertaking further study
    within 6 months of graduating, the Law School’s clients also include the CPS and HM
    Revenue and Customs. The School’s particular commitment to widening participation
    is highly significant.


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