There is a lot for the profession to celebrate in the North, which is made up of the North West, Yorkshire and the North East. The legal market in these regions is vibrant and diverse.
With over 27,000 members, 65 top 200 firms, three of the five largest Local Law Societies across the country and a network of special interest groups to support and expand the profession, the North is thriving.
Recognised as a major contributor to the North’s economy, the financial and professional services market in the North has over 68,000 people employed in the legal sector alone.
Over the past five years there has been a significant increase in London and regional firms expanding their presence in the North, with firms opening in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle. The outstanding talent pool, affordability of grade A office space and strong communication links make the North’s cities very attractive.
In 2017 Hull was named City of Culture, and this year cities across the North are being celebrated through a series of key national events and festivals, including:
The Northern Powerhouse
The concept of the Northern Powerhouse was first discussed in 2014 and focuses around the cities of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle.
Building a Northern Powerhouse is about boosting the local economy by investing in its skills, innovation, transport and culture, as well as devolving significant powers to ensure decisions in the North are made by the North.
Put bluntly, the aim is to close the very real North-South divide in terms of economic output and to ensure that decades of chronic under-investment in the North is addressed.
Key Progress Areas
Under Theresa May, the Government has demonstrated its support for the Northern Powerhouse, with Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen, being appointed Minister. To cement his commitment, the former solicitor also addressed an audience of 70 solicitors about how the financial and professional services sector is crucial to the growth of the economy in the North at an event at the Conservative Party Conference in October 2017.
TfN (Transport for the North) was established in 2014 to improve road and rail links between cities, critical to the success of the Northern Powerhouse.
More than 500 businesses across the North enquired about funding from the new £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund in the four weeks after it was launched by the British Business Bank - it is aimed at SMEs offering microfinance (£25,000 to £100,000), business loans (£100,000 to £750,000) and equity finance (up to £2 million).
Some Interesting Statistics
- The economy of the northern cities would rank as the 10th largest in the EU.
- The North has 12 major ports and seven international airports.
- Over one quarter of the UK’s manufacturing comes from the North.
- Planned transport/infrastructure spend in the UK is 54 per cent in London, 20 per cent in the North.
- Leeds to Manchester is the same distance as the length of the Central Line on the London Underground, but journey times from Manchester to Leeds or Liverpool (both under 50 miles) average 1.5 hours.
To further illustrate the vibrancy and diversity of our three regions in the North, the team has put together profiles of a top 200 firm - Gateley Plc - and a Local Law Society in Yorkshire, and has shone the spotlight on a North East council member. We hope you will find them interesting and useful.