Steel city seeks to entice London firms to north-shore

Topics: City,Legal Education

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Sheffield council leaders have drawn up a campaign to encourage London law firms to relocate services to the ‘steel city’.

Creative Sheffield, the economic development arm of Sheffield City Council, has announced the creation of its North Shoring Campaign to promote the benefits of a move north.

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The campaign will see city leaders speak directly to law firms about moving skills and talent bases and will argue the appeal of Sheffield has never been so strong.

Northshoring has been talked about in the legal profession for some time, with the costs of running offices in the south-east forcing firms to look at cheaper alternatives. The biggest example to date has been Freshfields, which last year signed a long-term lease to take up 80,000 sq ft of office space in Salford on the back of a launch of its new legal and services base in central Manchester.

Cllr Leigh Bramall, deputy leader of Sheffield City Council and cabinet member for business, skills and development, said the campaign aims to entice more legal services firms to Sheffield, creating jobs and importantly career opportunities, and to attract and retain the talent in the city. 

‘Sheffield has two world-class universities and 21,000 graduates enrol here each year,’ he said.

‘We undoubtedly have an amazing lifestyle offer for people who love big city life and the great outdoors, and this is something we are seeing as key in the decision-making process of firms looking to relocate outside of London.’

International firm DLA Piper, which has its roots in Sheffield and a city centre office, is backing the campaign.

Partner Richard May added: ‘There is a wealth of entrepreneurial flair which highlights the diversity of Sheffield’s offering and the spirit that sets us apart.’

The likes of Latham & Watkins, Nabarro, Baker & McKenzie, Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills have all moved some services to different parts of the UK in an attempt to bring costs down.

Consultancy firm Jepson Holt has said the trend does not involve just back-room support functions, but partner-led offices with the aim of reducing the burden on London offices.

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