London firms still preferred choice for majority of law students

updated on 31 January 2023

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A poll taken of 500 second and third-year law students in the UK has found that 80% believe applying for London-based firms is fundamental.  

The survey, commissioned by Birketts LLP, found that on average students would be happy to relocate as far as 55 miles for a training contract and that, despite firms’ efforts to make their regional hubs more attractive, as well as the costs associated with relocating to the City, the lure of London remains.  

Amy Meyer, graduate recruitment manager at Birketts, said that it’s clear “that those intending to go into law know what they want from firms as employers and practitioners”, after 80% of survey respondents claimed the firms, they planned to apply to would all be the same type. In addition, Meyer found it “surprising to learn” that more than half of students plan to apply for training contracts at just three or four firms.  

Meanwhile, the survey also discovered that: 

  • there’s an even split in preference between training at a high-street, full-service, or specialist firm; 

  • the biggest driver for undergraduates when selecting which firms to apply to, was the type of law the firm practised; 

  • industry rankings, firm profitability and reputation as an employer were also top drivers in undergraduates’ decisions; 

  • a work/life balance was seventh in the list of graduates’ priorities when selecting a firm, with just 16.8% noting it as a key driver; and 

  • the most common reason for students wanting a career in law was job security, with financial incentives, enjoyment of negotiation and the interesting nature of legal industry work also cited as contributing factors. 

Meyer stated: “As recruiters, we need to fulfil these needs if we are going to continue to attract talent into the profession”.