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Types of law firm

updated on 24 February 2023

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How do you know which type of law firm is the right fit for you?

Where you train will influence your career path, as the key practice areas, size and clients of each firm vary. You should think about which type of firm might best match your career goals and working style. You can then find out what it’s like to work at different types of firm by reading through 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 street has changed since the Legal Services Act 2007, with thousands of tiny partnerships and sole practitioners now competing with large franchises (eg, QualitySolicitors) and alternative business structures (eg, PWC, KPMG and EY).

Boutique firms

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

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