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Law outside London: smaller legal hubs

Law outside London: smaller legal hubs

Bethany Barrett


Throughout this series, I have covered six large or growing regional legal hubs that act as great alternatives if you do not think London is for you. But this is not to say that these are the only alternatives! In my final post of the series, I want to focus on various other cities which would also be great places to work in. Like with the rest of this series, I will focus on cities within the English/Welsh jurisdiction, thanks to the different qualification requirements to practice in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Let’s start this journey in the North of England. I’ve already discussed Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds - with an honourable mention to Sheffield - but there’s one more northern city that caught my eye during my research. Liverpool’s legal market is surprisingly small given the size of the city itself, but firms such as Hill Dickinson (a Scouse native), DLA PiperDWF and BLM all offer training contracts here. Not the largest choice, but at the end of the day you only need one training contract!

Nottingham also hosts a couple of large firms offering training contracts - if this is the place you want to call home, consider applying to Browne Jacobson and Freeths, the largest native firms in the city, or the larger national/international firms of Eversheds Sutherland, Gateley and Shoosmiths.

The quaint charms of Cambridge are a draw to many, intellectuals and us mere mortals alike. Whilst its legal market is small, national firm Mills & Reeve has its roots here, and is still the go-to firm in the area. Furthermore, Eversheds Sutherland and Irwin Mitchell also offer a few training contracts here each year.

Only 50 miles north-west of London is Milton Keynes, where national firm Shoosmiths and international firm Dentons both have offices. Whilst Dentons have recently announced the closure of its Watford and Aberdeen offices due to the impact of covid-19, it has stated that there are no current plans to close its Milton Keynes office.

Finally, Southampton: Shoosmiths has an office recruiting trainees here, as does Womble Bond Dickinson and Blake Morgan. BLM and Irwin Mitchell also have offices in this city, meaning that there is the opportunity to move between a few large firms during your career in Southampton.

And with that, I think I have covered all of the most notable cities in England and Wales with sizable legal markets. If you’ve read this series as someone like me, who does not believe that London is for them, I hope that this series has given you the courage and assurance that working in the regions is completely fine - your legal career can still be everything you want it to be. If you’ve read this series as a dedicated aspiring London trainee, I hope that this has opened up your eyes to legal opportunities outside of the capital. The timing of this series with the onset of the covid-19 pandemic is apt, as the shift to a working from home culture has highlighted how the location of an office has less importance than was first thought. As the UK economy moves towards a recovery period, many law firms will be examining their structure and culture - and this can only be a positive thing for legal hubs outside the City. Go the regions!

'Law outside London' series:

Law outside London: a series

Law outside London: Birmingham

Law outside London: Bristol

Law outside London: Cardiff

Law outside London: Leeds

Law outside London: Manchester

Law outside London: Newcastle