Telecoms giant BT announced today (1 December) it is poised to commit £2.7m in investment to create a new legal support hub in Belfast which will house 30 commercial lawyer positions over the next four years.
The standalone centre will be the first of its kind for BT in Northern Ireland, with its lawyers being used to provide legal support to colleagues across the wider BT Group. Seven of the 30 commercial lawyer positions are already in place.
Commenting on the move, Leeanne Whaley, transformation director for legal and company secretary at BT, said: ‘As one of Northern Ireland’s largest investors and employers, BT is delighted to be establishing its first legal hub in Belfast, which will continue to offer high-quality legal expertise to colleagues across BT Group. Northern Ireland offers highly educated and experienced legal talent so it was an ideal choice to set up our new hub here and we at BT are excited to recruit this talent into our legal team.’
Invest NI – the regional economic development agency for Northern Ireland – provided BT with advice on setting up the outpost. Invest NI believes the hub will contribute up to £1.4m in additional annual salaries to the region’s economy. BT Group currently directly employs 2,650 people in Northern Ireland, with a further 579 offered as contractors.
George McKinney, director of technology and services at Invest NI, added: ‘Northern Ireland is increasingly being recognised as a leading location for innovation in the legal sector. Our teams in Northern Ireland and Great Britain worked closely with BT to secure this investment by offering expert insight into our growing legal services sector and the talent we have to offer, along with financial support for the new jobs.’
In July of last year, BT’s legal function – which was named Most Transformative In-House Team of the Year at the 2020 Legal Business Awards – was attracting attention after the company chose DWF to secure its lucrative legal services mandate, which saw 40 lawyers from BT’s in-house legal team transfer to DWF. The deal means DWF will provide BT’s insurance and real estate legal services, largely through its managed services arm.
For more on BT’s legal function, read: ‘The BT interview – ideas from the bath ‘