Led by partner Paul Burnley, the firm’s office will open at Bruntwood’s West One, on Wellington Street, with three partners.
Mr Burnley, who is head of corporate defence at the firm, said: “Opening a Leeds office is a natural progression for a firm like Freeth Cartwright.
“Leeds is not only vibrant, in a great a location and attracting more and more public and private sector organisations, it is the second city outside of London in terms of the legal sector.
“We provide quality legal answers to local and regional clients, but also to multi-nationals. Some of those clients have already told us how great it would be to be associated with a firm that has a Leeds office.”
The office opens on January 6, with Mr Burnley being joined initially by partners James Hartley, who specialises in dispute resolution, and Rachael Yates, whose focus is on construction.
It will be Freeth Cartwright’s eleventh location, with teams already in Birmingham, Derby, Leicester, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield and Stoke-on-Trent.
Chief executive Peter Smith said: “We are putting together a determined, results-driven team of respected legal experts who will bring something new to the Leeds market.
“All the signs are there that we will be expanding our presence in the city very quickly.”
Mr Burnley, who joined the firm’s Sheffield office two months ago from DLA Piper in Leeds, added: “Our move is already being talked about in the legal sector. There are high-profile people from high-profile law firms wanting to be part of something new and refreshing.
“Some people say the Leeds market is already over-saturated with lawyers but we will go our own way – the Freeths way – as it has served us well and I am personally and professionally confident that we will make an impact.”
Mr Burnley was at DLA Piper for nine years. Prior to that he spent more than 12 years at Eversheds in Leeds.
Freeth Cartwright has a total of 121 partners, five directors and more than 600 members of staff.
Mr Burnley said the firm is keen to grow its Leeds office.
“We just offered recently a post to a commercial partner,” he added.
“We, even now, are embarking on a minimum of seven second interviews because the response from the partners and associates in the Leeds firms has been overwhelming.
“We have been inundated with people wanting to join us.” Mr Burnley said the Leeds office is likely to outgrow its new premises at West One within a matter of months, but he stressed that any move to larger offices would be within Leeds city centre.
Freeth Cartwright offers services to businesses and individuals.
“We offer, just name it, banking, tax, commercial, commercial litigation, my own specialism, which is corporate criminal defence...Our strategy is to go after more and more bigger clients.”
Freeth Cartwright’s fee income for the year to March 31, 2013, amounted to £40.585m.