Beyond London, the most active cities are Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, Liverpool, Cardiff, Newcastle and Nottingham. National firms have offices in several cities (and perhaps also Scotland), whereas a ‘regional’ firm might limit itself to say, the north or the southwest - perhaps with an additional office in London. A regional firm could have just one office or several. Clients are mostly UK public and private companies, local and public authorities, and possibly also international businesses with UK interests. As a rule of thumb, smaller firms are also likely to prioritise private client work.
Expect to spend your training contract in a single region, potentially visiting different offices. Salaries vary by location, with Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol faring relatively well (low £20,000s to low £30,000s) compared to, say, Wales or Kent (from £16,650 to mid £20,000s). Regional trainees typically work more manageable hours than their City counterparts; however, there is a strong emphasis on gaining practical experience and client exposure. Available seat options will depend on the firm’s business model, so do your research.
If a national firm is where you want to pursue your legal career, use LCN's Training contract search function to identify which firms to apply to.