After the success of 2017, I am very positive about what lies ahead for Womble Bond Dickinson in the North East. Our combination with US law firm Womble Carlyle in November transformed us into a Top 20 UK law firm, consolidating our national reputation and regional heritage under one powerful transatlantic brand.
We have created a transatlantic law firm rooted in strong regional centres where the best lawyers can be found and where we can support our clients on a regional, national and international stage.
We are delighted to have been involved in a number of projects with the North East England Chamber of Commerce and Department for International Trade, supporting the regional business community.
We are also proud to have played our part in the Exporting is Great campaign and, most recently, supporting the North East Local Enterprise Partnership around its export hub. These projects are examples where we have come together with like-minded professionals to share our expertise in this area with the wider regional business community.
We have already seen a number of regional successes, where local organisations are now working in partnership with US businesses, and as we move into the new year, we look forward to supporting more organisations on this journey.
2018 promises to be an important year with significant change on the horizon. Brexit has continued to cause uncertainty in the marketplace and throughout this year we expect to draw closer to understanding the direct impact of this on the UK. The Autumn Budget has also led to great change, with a number of projects now being taken forward in the region: the North of Tyne Devolution deal, funding of a new fleet for the Tyne and Wear Metro and the transformation of the former SSI steelworks site in Redcar will all change the face of our region. We will be following progress closely.
A number of large-scale and high-profile events are also coming to the region this year, which will have a positive impact on the regional economy through visitor numbers and associated tourism spend with local businesses. As a firm, we are delighted to be supporting the Great Exhibition of the North, which will showcase the very best of the region, and we’re thrilled to be playing such a significant part.
As we continue to leverage international reach with local knowledge, our Newcastle team will support our clients and partners to navigate through the coming year of change, and to play our part in the region’s growth and continued success.
On behalf of Womble Bond Dickinson’s Newcastle office, I wish you a prosperous 2018 and I look forward to working with you.