Birmingham Law Society has teamed up with the West Midlands Business Council in an attempt to entice a government project that could create up to 6,000 jobs in Birmingham.
The Ministry of Justice wants to set up a regional hub as part of the devolution plans recommended by BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons, and Birmingham is on the shortlist.
The Law Society said Birmingham’s status as a major legal services centre meant it could make a very strong case to be the location for the MoJ site.
Birmingham Law Society became a part of the Business Council to present a united voice for the bid – becoming the 25th representative organisation to join WMBC, which acts as a conduit to lobby with government, raising concerns and highlighting important issues.
Bernard Shepherd, Birmingham Law Society president and a consultant with HBJ Gateley Wareing, said the decision to join WMBC was with a view to raising its profile and “developing a strong voice for the likes of the Ministry of Justice cause”.
The society – founded in 1818 and taking in 300 practices across Birmingham and the Midlands – would mobilise its 4,000 members in backing the bid. Mr Shepherd said: “We have joined WMBC because we can retain our independence while coming together with other organisations to rally behind initiatives which can offer wider benefits to Birmingham and the West Midlands – and the Ministry of Justice is one. If indeed there is any justice in the world it should come to Birmingham. We must all pull together to ensure this happens.”
WMBC executive director James Watkins said Birmingham’s bid to land the Ministry of Justice revolved around it being the largest professional services community outside London. It would involve a 250,000 sq ft office block set to open in 2013.
Some staff would switch from London but it is believed that most of the 6,000 jobs would be filled locally.
Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby says “we have a very powerful case to suggest that this city is the ideal location”.