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Types of law firm

updated on 09 March 2020

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There are many different kinds of law firm. Where you train will influence your career path, as the key practice areas, size and clients of each firm vary. Think about which type of firm might best match your career goals and working style. You can then start to find out what it is like to work at different types of firm by reading through some of the profiles in LawCareers.Net's Meet the Lawyer section.  

International firms

These are mainly located in the City of London. For the UK-founded ‘Anglo’ firms, London is the hub of their international operations, which can range from a couple of strategically located offices to a sprawling global network.

UK-focused City firms

Exclusively UK-based firms typically offer a broad commercial training, emphasising one or two specialist areas; some will also have a private client practice, reflecting longstanding relationships with wealthy individuals and trusts.

National/regional firms

Beyond London, the most active cities are Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, Liverpool, Cardiff, Newcastle and Nottingham.

General practice, legal aid and advice centres

Law on the high streets has changed since the Legal Services Act 2007, with thousands of tiny partnerships and sole practitioners now competing with large franchises (eg, Quality Solicitors) and alternative business structures.

Boutique firms

Boutiques are small firms, often made up of just a few people, which specialise in a niche area of law.

Use the advanced training contract search to look at different types of firm in different locations.