Berwins Digital winning business after opening office to serve Leeds digital sector

A HARROGATE law firm is winning business of “size and substance” after opening an office in Leeds to support the city’s growing technology sector.

Paul Berwin of Berwins law firm

Berwins is now advising one of the biggest digital marketing agencies outside of London and has been appointed UK external counsel by a large Colorado-based software company.

The firm opened Berwins Digital in The Calls in Leeds in September 2013 to focus on a longstanding specialism, said partner Paul Berwin.

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Berwins has been active in the sector since the 1990s but has stepped up its efforts over the last four years as the sector has expanded, he added.

“By making ourselves visible to the market, we felt there was good business to be done,” said Mr Berwin. “It’s a proper office, not a virtual one.

“We wanted to connect to the software companies and digital marketing agencies that were in Leeds and those that radiated from Leeds because Leeds is a hub in a way that Harrogate isn’t.

“By doing that we have been able to get to know a lot of those businesses and get to find out about what is happening in that sector.”

Mr Berwin said the sector realises that it hasn’t shouted enough about its strengths in the collection and use of data.

He pointed to the presence of the Department of Health, gambling firms Skybet and William Hill, infrastructure company Aql and Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s Open Data Institute as examples of this strength.

Mr Berwin said one of the issues facing the sector is the availability of capital as assets are less tangible than manufacturing or retail. However, there are entrepreneurs who have made money in technology who will invest, he added.

“There are some very enterprising businesses and there is a lot of talent and the universities are gearing up in more interesting ways than they have done,” said Mr Berwin.

Berwins Digital mainly advises on intellectual property rights in commercial transactions.

The firm has grown from 35 to 50 people over the last two-and-a-half years and should generate revenues of £2.5m this year, added Mr Berwin.

He is a prominent member of the Leeds Jewish community and is president of the United Hebrew Congregation at Shadwell Lane Synagogue.

His brother Simon is managing director of suit-maker Berwin & Berwin.