‘Signs are that city is ready to move onto the front foot’

Suzanne Liversidge, Kennedys
Suzanne Liversidge, Kennedys

National economic growth may have faltered over recent months but one of Sheffield’s leading businesswomen believes the city is well placed for recovery.

After its first year in Sheffield, international law firm Kennedys is reporting an upsurge in the city’s economic confidence and performance.

Lead partner Suzanne Liversidge, who becomes Sheffield Chamber’s first female president in September, said: “No-one needs reminding that it’s been, and still is, very tough for businesses and individuals.

“However, we are seeing real, positive signs that this city and this region is moving onto the front foot. And, I believe that with improved confidence and a ‘cup half full’ attitude, Sheffield businesses can support those organisations wherever possible to ensure the city can drive its own destiny.

“Our clients across a range of sectors are feeding back to us very positive messages about doing business in Sheffield – something which we endorse wholeheartedly – and are reporting increased activity and confidence.

“This is a unique city with a proud history of manufacturing, enterprise and of innovation with an equally proud future to come.”

Kennedys opened its Sheffield office in July 2010 and it is now the second largest in the firm’s global network.

The 73-strong office occupies two floors at Ventana House and in addition to a strong portfolio of UK-based clients, the Sheffield office has also generated major international client work in its first year with its construction and engineering team clinching a trio of multi-million pound claims.

The team, led by partners David Fearon and Andrew MacCuish, is acting on major disputes in the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe with a combined total value of €1 billion.

Growth has been particularly strong in the dispute resolution sector where extensive local market knowledge coupled with the global expertise and reach of the dynamic top 30 firm has been key to attracting five significant contract wins.

Another key area of growth has been around employment law reflecting the demand from local businesses for straightforward, expert advice on the raft of new employment legislation which has hit the statute book over the last 12 months.

Suzanne concluded: “There’s a real optimism about the future and certainly we would be looking to continue our strong first year performance to confirm our position as the South Yorkshire’s market leading dispute resolution practice as well as by growing and expanding our commercial practice.”