Not all excellent lawyers work in London, says DLA’s Day

Sarah Day of DLA Piper in Leeds
Sarah Day of DLA Piper in Leeds
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NOT all excellent lawyers work in London and not all excellent law is done in the capital.

“There are excellent lawyers who positively choose to live and work in Yorkshire and there is excellent legal work which is done in Yorkshire,” according to Sarah Day, office managing partner at DLA Piper.

Sarah Day of DLA Piper

Sarah Day of DLA Piper

“The same is true across other industries as well. It is a good choice for graduates to join businesses in Yorkshire.

“It is a good business decision for businesses to base themselves here and recruit.”

Ms Day made the comments in an interview to mark the law firm’s continued support for The Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards, the annual celebration of the brightest and the best businesses in the region.

DLA Piper is one of the founding sponsors and backs the category for companies with a turnover of more than £50m.

This year, judges will be looking not only for well-run, sustainable businesses but also evidence of corporate responsibility.

This covers giving something back to the community, being a fair employer and providing equal opportunities to a broad range of potential recruits.

As the world’s largest commercial law firm, DLA Piper has its pick of graduates but is looking at where its talent comes from.

For example, while it has a strong relationship with Yorkshire universities, the firm wants to make sure it is opening the eyes of people who have attended universities outside of the region to the possibilities of a job in law outside of London.

Ms Day said: “We find that a lot of graduates from Oxbridge but also other universities their default is ‘If I want the best jobs I have to work in London’. That is not true. We are consciously trying to expand our own pool.”

London’s top law firms might attract the best graduates, but there is a limit to the extent that the City can carry on sucking in all the talent.

Ms Day said: “Every organism is limited by the size of its skeleton and every organisation has got to risk being limited by the size of its infrastructure.

“No matter how your tall your tower is in Canary Wharf there comes a point where people just can’t get into work in time in order to do a day’s work and then get home again if they are getting further and further out.

“We have to then say ‘maybe I need half of tower to be based in the North of England so I can still get the talent in there’.

“That’s one of the advantages we have. We have seven UK offices, which means we are pulling from seven talent pools within the UK.

“That gives us much more potential in terms of attracting the best talent.

“We are not limited by having an infrastructure which means we can only get people physically into one place or another.”

To make Yorkshire more competitive in the war for talent, the region’s businesses need to be more collaborative; politicians need to have a louder, more consistent voice and everyone needs to promote Yorkshire’s best businesses, said Ms Day.

“The Excellence in Business Awards is a way of showcasing and demonstrating that,” she added.

“There is a real excitement about Yorkshire. What the Tour de France has enabled us to do is… celebrate what we are good at and join together to make the most of that. The Tour is a great business opportunity.

“It is bringing the world to Yorkshire and allows us to showcase what Yorkshire does but also gets Yorkshire businesses to think of the world and get those foreign direct investment and export figures up.

“There is a sense that the economy is getting better.”

Deadline extended for top awards

The deadline has been extended for The Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards until Monday July 14.

DLA Piper, Goldman Sachs, PwC and Yorkshire Bank are the main sponsors. Bradford University School of Management, Drax, Elevation Recruitment, QBE Insurance and thebigword are associate sponsors.

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