Belfast A Key Destination For Law Firms

Belfast, February 8th 2016 – A recent market defining report by CBRE, ‘Law in the Regions’ has indicated that Belfast is well placed in the UK as a key destination for international law firms.

CBRE’s Law in the Regions report provides a comprehensive overview of the Legal sector in the UK regions, providing both real estate strategy insight gained from a series of in-depth interviews with some of the country’s top law firms as well as results of a sector benchmarking exercise, revealing key indicators such as top 30 law firm locations, top cities by number of fee earners, average area and rent per fee earner.

Belfast ranks 13th out of the top 30 UK regional locations identified in terms of volume of legal floor space per city and third in terms of space per fee earner (highlighting the importance of international law firms to the city). Belfast is also a leader in terms of low occupancy costs in comparison to other UK regional cities.

The report also investigates a recent wave of real estate activity from law firms across the UK. The Belfast market has been one of the regional hot spots in recent years and gained a reputation as a significant legal sector destination having attracted top internationally-renowned firms such as Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills in 2011 and Baker & McKenzie in 2015.

David Wright, Director, CBRE Belfast commented:

“The strong provision of both legal and professional services talent has proved a winning combination for Belfast. Legal firms are impressed by the reputation and standard of the two universities: Ulster University and Queen’s University, Belfast which are delivering between 500 and 600 law graduates to the market each year. As well as the legal talent on offer, firms were also won over by the ample supply of high calibre professional services talent from which to choose.

“Belfast is a city brimming with talent. 2016 is the Year of Investment for Belfast and there is no doubt that the quality of educated graduates is a key driver for attracting FDI. The strong general standard and reputation of education in the City was highly valued by the firms and highlighted in all the conversations we had. The talent provision combined with attractive occupancy costs has definitely put Belfast on the map with law firms.”

Emma Jackson, Associate Director, CBRE Research, added:

“Key to our findings is that one size does not fit all when it comes to real estate strategy. Different business models and location starting points will require different real estate strategies, and as a result we are seeing very different uses of regional cities between firms. Indeed we have found significant variation in the average area per fee earner. Within our analysis we have identified three core business models in the regions, the most recent emerging over the last four to five years in the form of ‘global legal service centres.’ Many of these occupiers have chosen a UK regional centre after considering a number of worldwide locations from a cost, quality and risk perspective.”


About CBRE Group, Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2015 revenue). The Company has more than 70,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 400 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at


In Ireland, with offices in Dublin and Belfast, CBRE is the country’s largest commercial real estate services company, now employing over 165 employees and offering a full range of property services including property sales and acquisitions, leasing and management, investment, corporate services, debt advisory, project management, consultancy, business rates and compulsory purchase, valuations and research. Please visit our website at or