Leading independent law firm Brabners is currently ranked as the UK's 22nd best large company to work for, and the 4th best law firm to work for in the UK.
The company, which dates back to 1815, has 440 colleagues based across Liverpool, Manchester, Lancashire and a new base in Leeds, representing a full-service team for its national and international clients.
With its Leeds office at 1 City Square now open for business, we speak to Marcus Armstrong
- one of the first senior hires to join Brabners’ dedicated Yorkshire team – to tell us more about the firm and its plans in Yorkshire and beyond.
What makes you feel proud about working at Brabners?
I joined Brabners in May 2022, and even in this short space of time there’s been so much to be proud about working here. It’s an ambitious business, advises on incredibly high-profile cases, and has an unrivalled culture amongst its colleagues. But for me, it’s Brabners’ clear sense of purpose - to make the difference for its clients, people and communities – that really sets it apart and creates a unique proposition for the Yorkshire market.
This is nicely encapsulated by our B-Corp certification, which we achieved in September. That sees us join only a few thousand businesses globally (although a very small number of law firms), including the likes of Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s, which are certified for being a business that acts as a force for good.
What do you really enjoy about working at Brabners?
When joining Brabners, you immediately get a sense for its strong culture, which promotes ambition, empathy and integrity. It’s a business that respects that its people are its greatest asset. Everyone feels valued, able to fulfil their potential with continuous learning and development, and knows that their voice is respected wherever they are in the business.
What are Brabners looking to achieve by opening the Leeds office?
Leeds is the natural next step for us, complementing our existing locations in Liverpool, Manchester and Lancashire. A base in Yorkshire strengthens our presence in the North while giving us greater access to talent across the Pennines. All of our colleagues have worked in the Leeds and wider Yorkshire market for many years which is helping to cement our position as a trusted partner to a large part of the Yorkshire business community.
Why do you think the Leeds office is going to be a success for Brabners?
Leeds is one of the UK’s biggest professional services hubs outside of London, with many well-established firms based in the city. We aren’t naïve to the strong competition we’ll face in the city. But with a solid foundation of Yorkshire clients, a strong culture to attract and retain the best talent, and a brand-new office in an excellent location, we’re confident that we’ll make every success of it.
What is your favourite part of the new offices?
We’ve had the new office specially designed by workplace interiors specialist Incognito, and the general look and feel of the place is brilliant. Whether you want to get your head down, collaborate with colleagues, or host clients, there’s the right space in the office designed to help you do just that. What’s more, it’s only over the road from Leeds station.
What has Brabners put in place to make the move for colleagues to the Leeds office a successful one?
We have a well-embedded agile working policy, with many of our colleagues already calling Leeds and West Yorkshire home. For many, opening a Leeds office means an office that’s closer to home. We’ve also strategically located ourselves only a stones-throw away from Leeds station, connecting us easily to our bases in Manchester and Liverpool to support integration between offices.
What qualities do you look for in potential lawyers hoping to join Brabners?
We want people who reflect and admire our values. That’s someone who respects other voices, is driven and ambitious, and wants to deliver a positive change for their clients and the world around them.
Overall, what do you think makes Brabners stand out as a firm? What does Brabners do well?
As the UK’s largest law firm to be B-Corp certified, this sense of purpose really sets us apart.
In the last few months alone, the Brabners Foundation has invested £50,000 in kickstarter funding to restore environmentally significant peatland in the North Yorkshire Moors. And we’ve opened a new bursary in Manchester to support budding law professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s a business that wants to positively contribute to local communities, social mobility, the environment, and uses its dedicated Brabners Foundation to do just that.
On top of purpose, we’re a full-service law firm that operates nationally from our offices across the North. That’s an attractive proposition for clients and ambitious lawyers alike.
What is your “vision for the future” for Brabners?
There’s plenty to be excited about across the business. Opening in Leeds creates a great opportunity to cement our position as the UK’s leading independent law firm, while enhancing our position to play a role in the UK’s biggest cases and deals. We want to build on our success as a best place to work, continue to attract and retain the best talent in the sector, and to grow in the North and beyond.
So far what has been your career highlight? Was there a defining moment in your career?
It’s tough to pick a single one. But two of the biggest job highlights are getting the chance to work with some of the region’s top businesses, working with fantastic colleagues and helping to develop our bright junior talent.
How would your team describe you?
Hopefully as approachable and supportive, reflecting the relatively flat structure we enjoy at Brabners. But also as having a good sense of humour too. We all enjoy a good laugh, sometimes at my expense!
What’s the most challenging (or rewarding) element of your job?
Making our launch in Leeds a success continues to be a big focus of mine. It takes a lot of hard graft to open an office in a new city, and I’m sure that it won’t be without its challenges.
But it’s also hugely rewarding. We’ve welcomed some top people at partner level (with more to come), and there’s already a great buzz in the office. We’re all excited to see our presence in Leeds grow over the year ahead after a great start.