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Foster sings praises of NI legal sector during US trip

By Margaret Canning

Published 24/09/2016

Liam McCollum QC, Dorcas Crawford (Edwards & Co Solicitors), John Gordon (Napier & Sons Solicitors) and First Minister Arlene Foster during her visit to Washington DC
Liam McCollum QC, Dorcas Crawford (Edwards & Co Solicitors), John Gordon (Napier & Sons Solicitors) and First Minister Arlene Foster during her visit to Washington DC

First Minister Arlene Foster has been promoting Northern Ireland's legal sector during a trip to the US.

The DUP leader - a qualified solicitor - attended the International Bar Conference in Washington, which attracts more than 6,000 people from the global legal community.

She told delegates at the event this week that the sector in Northern Ireland had shown "remarkable growth" during the past five years.

Belfast has become a centre for legal services for London-based international practices like Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills, which have set up offices in the city, employing hundreds of people doing routine legal work for clients around the world.

The First Minister said the sector was now "at the forefront of our local economy, driven by an unparalleled combination of excellent legal talent and competitive cost base".

"I welcome that a growing number of firms are choosing Northern Ireland to base their operations, and I can assure you all of our world-class facilities and high calibre of legal graduates," she added.

"Each year our two top law schools, at Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University, generate some 700 law graduates. Northern Ireland now has an unrivalled potential and ability to grow and diversify our legal cluster even further."

Belfast solicitor Dorcas Crawford, of Edwards & Co, also attended the massive six-day conference.

She showcased her company's mediation services with the support of economic development agency Invest NI and foreign direct investment advisers OCO Global.

Mediation is a means for warring parties to reach agreement without costly litigation in court.

Dorcas Crawford told delegates: "Excellent relations have been forged with exciting prospects for collaborating with DC businesses to bring our expertise to conflict management at board level and throughout organisations."

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