Award winning lawyer helping Yorkshire change London-centric view of legal profession

February 2024

Lawyer Rachel Roche believes legal innovations being delivered in Yorkshire can help change perceptions about the London-centric view of the profession.

As a result of her own work, Rachel has been shortlisted in the Innovative Leaders category of The Women, Influence & Power in Law UK Awards which honour top female lawyers who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession in 2023. Rachel is the only lawyer from the North of England in the 11 strong short list dominated by large London based businesses.

Rachel, owner of York based Roche Legal and a former winner of the Law Society Sole Practitioner of the Year, has just graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme in a ceremony at the Saïd Business School, Oxford.

 She was the only lawyer in a group of 70 chosen after a stringent vetting process for the four month course under the guidance of Gary Lumby MBE, the former UK director of SME banking for Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank.

Gary Lumby was impressed with Rachel’s drive and said: “Rachel is doing great work nationally and internationally from Yorkshire and it is a real success story.”

Rachel, who has studied extensively in the United States alongside American lawyers, has been appointed co-chair of the New York State Bar Association London branch after creating a UK/USA probate offering which has attracted funding from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Significantly, she has co-authored a book for the Law Society “How to Start a Law Firm” with Darren J. Sylvester and said:“ There is no question about the quality of legal expertise on offer in the North,  it is just that people’s minds go to London and if you were a foreign lawyer you would start there.

“My perception is that it is still London-centric but there is a lot of innovation in legal technology in Leeds and I hope that what I am doing is going to help change that perception. That is why the time I spent in the States was so important in terms of making contacts. The work I have undertaken in America has changed my life and there were hundreds of lawyers from all over North America and me from Yorkshire and being co-chair of the New York State Bar Association has also been a point of difference.”

She credits the input from Gary Lumby on the Goldman Sachs course for inspiring her to continue evolving Roche Legal and added: “The programme has given me an incredible network involving diverse businesses and I was the only lawyer amongst the 70 people in our cohort. You apply and  they do warn you that they only accept around 20 per cent of the fastest growing businesses in the UK involved in the group.

“There are three residential courses, one in Manchester and two in Oxford, zoom calls, homework and ultimately you end up with a business five year growth plan tailored to you. You work with a growth advisor, I had Gary Lumby, and he was excellent. He is now taking a step back as we were his last cohort after 12 years of working on the programme.

“Now, it is about implementing that plan and I am very excited about the challenges ahead and I would recommend the course to anyone who is serious about business growth. I have been concentrating on being an educated business owner rather than just a lawyer who has her own practice.”

Gary Lumby added: “I live in the North East and spent a lot of my career running the Yorkshire Bank in Leeds and I am passionate about getting more people from the North involved and that is why it was so good to see Rachel, from York, on the programme.

“ I am a growth expert and Rachel was the only lawyer this time around. Rachel is a not only a very capable lawyer but also a business woman, highly intelligent and was a really big contributor to the group. “

Note to editors:

Rachel Roche is founder of Roche Legal

Rachel is available for interview and can be contacted on 01904 866139 or through Chris Jones Media on 07774 772820

Scroll to Top