Legal Innovation

Newcastle is one of the most vibrant digital clusters in the UK, and has the highest growth in England (+30%, 2011-2015) with our software and technology market forecast to grow to £2.5bn by 2020.

Within law, our region is home to over 250 legal firms – with almost 100 of these in Newcastle, including larger firms Womble Bond Dickinson, Clifford Chance, WardHadaway and Norton Rose Fulbright. Contributing to the skills in the region, the likes of Sage (FTSE100), Virgin Money and Atom Bank having significant in-house counsel.

The city’s technical expertise presents a significant opportunity for digital innovation across legal and corporate services. Being a cost-effective location, Newcastle offers legal firms a low-risk environment to meet an increasing pressure to adopt up-to-the-minute technology.

The city is home to the £30m National Innovation Centre for Data on Newcastle Helix, a nationally significant facility delivered by Newcastle University, allowing businesses to engage with world-leading data analysts and academics to exploit corporate data. Ours is the only city in the UK with a specialist PhD training centre for cloud computing for big data.

At Northumbria University, academic researchers are focusing on disciplines including Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence, and Computational Intelligence and Visual Computing (CIVC).

Fusing technology with traditional legal practice, talent at all levels supports growth.

Three leading universities, each with highly ranked law schools and with specific computing science capabilities, provide opportunity for graduate talent and employer partnerships.

In 2017, legal giant Norton Rose Fulbright established a legal process hub in Newcastle to deliver legal process efficiencies, trial the use of new innovative legal technology, and collect and analyse data for research for the benefit of clients and the firm. The team will grow to 100 and recruits from the local ecosystem and universities.

Newcastle-headquartered Muckle LLP is among the first in the UK to adopt leading AI technology and predictive coding – also known as technology assisted review (TAR) – to speed up dispute resolution.

Key facts

  • There are over 250 legal firms with a head office in North East England, with almost 100 of these in Newcastle upon Tyne (Source: Nigel Wright, Research, July 2016)
  • Around 3,000 solicitors are based in the North East (Source: Nigel Wright, Research, December 2017)

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