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Law outside London: Bristol

Law outside London: Bristol

Bethany Barrett


Bristol - the UK’s most environmentally friendly city, the world’s leading producer of hot air balloons and the place I call home during term-time. For a relatively small city, it hosts a number of large firms, mainly clustered around the business district near to Temple Meads train station. It is also a favourite of partners in London firms to live in, as the commute into the City is only just over an hour and a half by train and the regional airport also comes in handy for travelling further airfield. Indeed, if you are looking for a place with similar vibes to London, then Bristol is a good choice, as many refer to it as a smaller version of our capital.

It’s no surprise to me that Bristol is a popular place to live - just up the road from the bustling city centre is the harbourside, a lovely area to walk around and see the sights of the SS Great Britain and the famous coloured houses. If you walk a bit further, you will get to the Downs, the perfect open green space to meet friends for picnics and barbeques. If you fancy a slightly busier day out (on the many days off we all know trainees have…), then a trip to the more edgy area of Stokes Croft is ideal. I could go on forever listing my favourite of Bristol’s charms, but I think the best way I can sum the city up is to repeat something that I was told way back in my induction to University here - Bristol is a city that feels big when you arrive, but when you know it, feels like a village. This is a city that cares, about its people and about more global issues - the fact that the city hosted some of the largest protest sites for both Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter is testament to that. If you want to be part of such a connected and empathetic city, then Bristol is for you.

Now that I’ve sold you on the many reasons why Bristol is a great place to live, let’s get down to business. The largest firms to apply to in the city are the native ones - Burges Salmon, Osborne Clarke, Womble Bond Dickinson and Bevan Brittan. There are also the native Bristolian firms of TLT and VWV, which are slightly smaller but still have offices in Bristol and across the UK. Other, larger firms are also starting to recognise the city’s potential - Simmons & Simmons, CMS, DWF and Irwin Mitchell all take on a small number of trainees in their Bristol offices. Finally, if a smaller, more south-western based firm is what you’re looking for, then I would recommend applying to firms such as Michelmores, Ashfords or Foot Anstey, which all have Exeter headquarters but also boast offices in Bristol.

So, Bristol is a lovely place to live and offers a reasonable level of choice regarding the type of firm you could apply to - what’s the downside? Well, maybe another of the reasons why it is referred to as a smaller London is the cost of living- renting here is far more expensive than in some of the other cities I have looked at in this series. But then again, it is still far cheaper than living in London itself, so still remains a great alternative. I would recommend!

'Law outside London' series so far:

Law outside London: a series

Law outside London: Birmingham

Law outside London: Cardiff

Law outside London: Leeds

Law outside London: Manchester