Belfast Telegraph

The global companies that set up home in Northern Ireland

By Clare Weir

Allen & Overy is part of the growing business services sector, which accounts for 12,000 employees in 40 companies in Northern Ireland.

The sector covers a range of activities from contact and shared services centres to legal services, which has experienced significant development in recent years.

As well as Allen & Overy, Herbert Smith Freehills and Axiom Law have set up here in recent years. Employees are engaged in document negotiation, discovery, dispute resolution, legal control, disclosure and reporting, and services clients and markets globally.

Citi established a legal and compliance division at its Belfast centre in 2007. Operating costs in Northern Ireland are lower than the rest of the British Isles.

Research cites costs are 55% less than in London, 22% less than Dublin and 10% less than Glasgow. Salaries are also lower.

Northern Ireland has a surplus of around 600 graduates each year in law and legal studies and 80% of paralegals have a law degree.

In 2011, then-Herbert Smith opened a global dispute resolution centre in Northern Ireland,the first time a top UK law firms had chosen to set up such an operation here.

The Belfast centre currently employs around 50 people working for clients in markets outside Northern Ireland, with staff working on areas such as litigation, arbitration and regulatory investigations.

Axiom has set up an office in Belfast which will employ 100 lawyers and paralegals by the end of 2014.

The New York-based firm delivers legal services to businesses around the world employing over 800 professionals across its 10 global offices and four delivery centres including Belfast.

Belfast Telegraph