What a difference a decade makes for Ward Hadaway in Leeds.
Ten years ago in the teeth of the world financial crisis, Ward Hadaway’s seven-strong team took the bold step of taking on some office space in Wellington Street in the city centre.
Having established a large and thriving law firm in Newcastle 20 years earlier, the team had one goal – to grow its roots by providing the best possible service for clients across the north.
Today with more than 75 people working out of its Leeds office as part of a UK Top 100 law firm, there’s no sign of slowing down and Ward Hadaway has firmly established itself in the region.
John Murray, Executive Partner for the Leeds office, said: “We’re very proud that our firm has developed at such a rate, and that we count regional, national and international businesses of all sizes among our client base, as well as working across the public sector.”
Ward Hadaway is now based in Wellington Place, the new urban business quarter of Leeds that is also home to the expanded UK base of Sky Bet and fashion brand Burberry amongst others, which has moved into nearby Queen Street.
HM Revenue and Customs and NHS Digital will also move in soon. And news that Channel 4 has chosen Leeds to be its new national HQ demonstrates the immense pulling power of the city today.
John added: “As Leeds continues to grow and expand, two things remain at the heart of our approach – our clients and our people. And we continually invest in both.”
Ward Hadaway’s own Yorkshire Fastest 50 Awards backed by The Yorkshire Post are now in their 8th year and are an example of how the firm helps fast-growing companies celebrate success in business by recognising outstanding achievements across its Northern heartland.
During that time businesses have heard from speakers including Larry Gould, CEO and founder of Leeds-based translation company thebigword and former CBI director general John Cridland. This year’s high-profile speaker was Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, resulting in a record attendance listening to his insights into Brexit.
The awards reflect the firm’s commitment to businesses of all types, from the smaller owner-managed companies to larger well-established ones across a variety of different industries.
The technology sector is one Ward Hadaway is delighted to support through its sponsorship of the annual Leeds Digital Festival which it has done for the past three years and being a dear Friend of Digital Union in the North East.
In the firm’s first year, it was part of a ‘Women in Tech’ event with WISE, the second year focused on Edu-Tech and last year, the Leeds office co-founded and sponsored the very first Leeds Digital Festival Awards. The firm is now planning on doing this again in 2019 with the second year of the Leeds Digital Festival Awards.
Gareth Yates and the firm’s Commercial team have demonstrated their responsiveness to the region by providing forward-thinking guidance to businesses and educational establishments on GDPR. Gareth was also involved in the first ever Global Digital Week this year and took part in a panel discussion at the University of Leeds on how technology impacts upon data protection laws.
Another area on which the team have focussed is the region’s food and drink sector. For three consecutive years, it has created and run the Industry Leaders’ Forum which brings together leading figures in the industry to share sector insights together. The food and drink scene in Leeds has developed dramatically over the past decade and Ward Hadaway has been proud to support and encourage innovation along the way. It even hosted a Street Food event with local suppliers to celebrate our 10th anniversary recently.
It’s been a fantastic year in Yorkshire for the firm’s property team led by Kevin Weston, who alongside Jonathan Dickson have been with the business since it opened in Leeds in 2008. Over the years, Ward Hadaway’s property team has grown from two to a 17-strong unit, with plans to expand further. Some of its first property sector clients include Allied London and the Canal & River Trust in Leeds which are still with the firm today.
Another person celebrating a decade with the firm is Head of Employment, Harmajinder Hayre. Harmajinder oversees the firm’s 30-strong employment team across all three offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester.
Within his team, immigration specialist Flora Mewies has advised on the Tech Nation Visa Scheme. Flora was recently shortlisted for a Rising Star Award in the 2018 Yorkshire Legal Awards. And with Brexit on the horizon, she continues to lead the business’s immigration work across all three of our offices.
In addition to its growth, the Leeds office is incredibly proud of its work in the community. Through relationships with charities, local projects, sports clubs and through its own initiatives, Ward Hadaway is determined to play a role in creating better places to live, work and do business.
Recent examples of fundraising initiatives include the Great Legal Bake and Yorkshire Legal Walk for the Legal Support Trust, a World Cup themed Food Tournament for Older Wiser Seniors and its people took part in a Three Points North 30th anniversary relay event running 135 miles between Ward Hadaway’s offices in Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle for COCO and the Greggs Foundation too.
John added: “We don’t know what the next 10 years will bring, but what we can promise is the same level of commitment and service excellence with a smile that has come to define Ward Hadaway and its reputation.
“Thank you to everyone who has been a part of our success story, we truly appreciate your support and we very much look forward to another successful 10 years.”