The legal cluster in Northern Ireland includes:
Sharing a regulatory framework and company law regime with England and Wales, Northern Ireland is a proven location of choice for international legal services. It has attracted investors including Citi, Herbert Smith Freehills, Allen & Overy, Axiom Law and Baker & McKenzie, which have discovered that the region offers them an unparalleled combination of cost-effectiveness and legal technical excellence.
These global giants have established, scaled and expanded successful and substantial legal and business services teams in Northern Ireland, collectively employing some 1,200 people in a wide range of legal roles.
These internationally renowned firms operate globally-integrated offices in the region. Their Northern Ireland operations are central to a range of responsive, innovative, alternative solutions for exacting international clients seeking quality-assured, cost-effective legal services.
Northern Ireland has a still largely untapped pool of highly educated people who have a professional attitude and strong work ethic.
A talent pool includes an annual surplus of some 500 law graduates and an experienced cadre of professionals who are keen to return and re-locate to the region. Around 80 per cent of paralegals are law graduates.
Such is the demand for quality legal opportunities in the region, investors have reported that they have attracted ten times as many qualified applicants as they require when advertising positions.
Operating costs are around half those of major centres such as London or New York.
Citi’s Legal & Compliance divisions in Northern Ireland employs over 300 professionals providing document negotiation, legal control, trading support services, and compliance monitoring and reporting for global transaction services and markets trading businesses across EMEA.
Herbert Smith Freehills established its Belfast operation in 2011, initially focussing on large scale document-intensive aspects of litigation, arbitration and regulatory investigations. It has now grown into a worldwide Alternative Legal Services and e-Discovery capability of nearly 300 members. The scope of the business has also grown and it now also handles corporate due diligence and other commercial legal support including real estate asset management and due diligence for large property transactions.
Allen & Overy (A&O) employs over 400 staff in its legal and shared services centre in Belfast in delivering a range of business support functions and transactional and regulatory investigative services across multiple A&O offices.
Axiom Law’s 100+ person Belfast centre of excellence employs attorneys, paralegals and a range of professional staff in client-dedicated teams to deliver technology-enabled services to its multi-national client base.
Baker & McKenzie was established in 2014. With over 100 staff already on board, Belfast is Baker & McKenzie’s second global services centre dedicated to middle and back office support services for practise groups including business and legal services. The Belfast centre facilitates round the clock services across time-zones and reduces the firm’s dependency on its existing centre in Manila.