Legal Innovation

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

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.

Technical expertise presents a significant opportunity for digital and innovation across both legal and corporate services. 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.

Technology skills and a cost effective, low risk environment are emerging as key factors for law firms when looking at locations. With 44,000 people in the north-east working within the creative and digital sector, makes Newcastle the perfect location for legal innovation.

Five reasons why legal firms are moving to the north

  1. Newcastle has one of the fastest growing tech communities outside of London. Newcastle has one of the most vibrant digital clusters in the UK, seeing accelerated growth over the past decade, and significant digital infrastructure investment.
  2. More than 100 legal firms call the Newcastle home. Companies include Womble Bond Dickinson, Clifford Chance, WardHadaway and Norton Rose Fulbright.  There are over 250 legal firms with a head office in North East England. (Source: Nigel Wright, Research, July 2016)
  3. Newcastle now has its own Business and Property Court. This means that North East-based companies will no longer have to travel to have litigation cases heard.
  4. A strong talent pool. 21 law-related university courses are offered by Newcastle University and Northumbria University. Newcastle is also home to more than 3,000 solicitors, which positions us 8th in England and Wales for talent.
  5. Home to a £30m National Innovation Centre for Data. A nationally significant facility based on Newcastle Helix, delivered by Newcastle University that allows businesses to engage with world-leading data analysts and academics. Ours is the only city in the UK with a specialist PhD training centre for cloud computing for big data.

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