Rhode Island law firms visit Yorkshire to boost new trade

A legal trade visit from the US state of Rhode Island will arrive in Leeds this week with the aim of consolidating growing ties between law firms in Yorkshire and the New England region of the US.

Building on last week’s US Northern Powerhouse trade visit from the city of Boston, which also included representatives from several American law firms, the latest delegation includes intellectual property and trademark specialists Donald Fruge and Alan Feeney of Rhode Island-based Feeney Law.

Among the series of events confirmed for this week’s visit are meetings with prominent Yorkshire lawyers including IP specialist Esther Kirwan of Leeds law firm Clarion and Berwins as well as a number of potential clients.

Mr Fruge said: “With increasing numbers of Yorkshire businesses trading with the US and vice versa, there is a great deal of synergy in the work that law firms in Rhode Island and in Yorkshire are now doing.

“Working relationships and networks are strengthening and new trade opportunities are emerging and this has forged a sense of community among lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic.

He added: “It has been good to get the chance to meet so many Yorkshire lawyers and other business people face to face, and also to establish long-term relationships with some of the law firms based here who have international clients.”

The Rhode Island legal trade mission arrives in Leeds after visiting law firms and other businesses in Ireland. The delegates are due to return to the US at the end of the week.

Last week, the British Consul General in Boston said better transport infrastructure would make the North of England more attractive to US businesses as American firms are used to ease of travel.

Harriet Cross, who visted Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle with a trade delegation from New England, said speeding up the railway link between Manchester and Leeds would provide an added incentive to US businesses to set up trade links in Yorkshire.

“US clients are used to the ease of travel. They want to get to and from the airport quickly if they are coming here on a visit,” she said.

“One thing that is really helpful is the increasing number of flights from Manchester, from Edinburgh, to Boston direct. People are understanding they don’t just have to fly into London anymore.”

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