MORE than 100 legal jobs are to be created in Belfast after an international company announced plans to set up in the city.
New York-based Axiom, which offers legal services to businesses around the globe, is coming to Northern Ireland with the support of more than £1.6m (€1.9m) of government money.
Invest NI has stumped up £1.1m, with the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) diverting nearly £500,000 to aid skills development.
Enterprise minister Arlene Foster welcomed the announcement.
"This significant investment by an innovative, global company is testament to the reputation of Northern Ireland's workforce," she said.
"The new centre will employ over 100 lawyers and paralegals and pay salaries significantly above the Northern Ireland private sector median, contributing almost £4 million a year to the local economy.
"This is the kind of high quality inward investment that Invest Northern Ireland seeks to attract in order to help develop a knowledge-based economy with long-term sustainability.
"It will further strengthen the cluster of international legal and financial services companies that are now operating in Northern Ireland."
DEL minister Stephen Farry added: "Axiom's decision to set up a centre in Belfast is not only a boost to employment but also to our skills base.
"The company is the leader in the rapidly growing commercial contracts outsourcing market and has developed proprietary tools, methodologies and skills, with which it will be equipping the Belfast team.
"The Assured Skills programme offers investors tailored support for building the skills base they need and plays an important part in attracting high quality investors to Northern Ireland."
Axiom co-founder and chief executive Mark Harris said the talent pool in Belfast had influenced their decision to set up in the city, creating 102 jobs.
"In terms of industry norms, we are building a very different type of operation in Belfast," he said.
"Our centre here is exclusively focused on client-facing teams undertaking complex work. As a result, we searched for a location which offered a high quality talent pool of experienced lawyers and ambitious law graduates.
"Having reviewed hundreds of candidates in Belfast, we have been impressed with the quality of their experience, and their energy and appetite for taking part in innovation in the legal sector."