For my next instalment of the ‘Law outside London’ series I have left the borders of England and ventured into Wales.
Cardiff is not only the capital city of Wales and home of the Welsh Assembly (the Senedd), but also the UK’s 11th largest city and has a sound legal offering for any future trainee. If you want to train specifically in Wales, but have a desire to work somewhere bigger than a high street firm, Cardiff might be your best option, with the benefits of the Cardiff Bay redevelopment in the 1990s still being enjoyed today.
As the capital city of Wales, Cardiff is its main cultural hub, with the Millennium Centre housing the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Welsh National Opera. And of course, you can’t really talk about Wales without mentioning rugby.
The largest firm in the city is Eversheds Sutherland – working there gives you direct access not just to the Welsh work offered, but also the multi-million-pound global work the firm completes every day. Other important firms in Cardiff include national firms Blake Morgan, Geldards and Hugh James (also Wales’ largest regional firm). These all boast several offices across the UK, meaning that the contracts you will work on will be complex and valuable.
The impact of Wales’ growing devolution will also hugely benefit these firms, as Welsh law continues to differ from its English counterpart. Welsh-speaking skills, although far from necessary to work in Cardiff, will make you stand out to the firms and give you a head start if Welsh law is an area in which you believe you might later want to specialise in.
If you’re more interested in public sector work, then Cardiff offers plenty of it, with its government often choosing Welsh-based firms to advise them. Blake Morgan, for example, announced that it had been chosen to advise on the £120 million Cardiff Parkway development at the end of 2019.
The pace of life in Cardiff for trainees is less hectic than in London or other larger cities. But this is not to say that you won’t be put under pressure, as the projects worked on can still be high profile. Having a better work-life balance means that you can enjoy the fresh Welsh air more, and being only a short train journey away from the renowned Brecon Beacons National Park certainly helps with this!
While there is less choice of big firms in Cardiff, it is the legal hub of Wales and with more and more power being given to the nation it is a hub set to strengthen.
The 'Law outside London' series so far: