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Since the recession the UK economy has struggled to return to it’s former strength, and the legal market has been no different. The last few years have meant lawyers across the country have had to settle with limited options when searching for a new legal role – simply remaining in legal employment has been the aim for many. However, in the last 6 months as legal recruiters we have seen a real shift. No longer do lawyers have to settle for second best, they now have choices. Gone are the days when lawyers feel compelled to move to London to find their fortune – the regions have become thriving legal communities and can offer a real and viable alternative to the City.
Although I am slightly biased, not only living in Manchester but having worked as both a lawyer and recruitment consultant in Manchester for many years, the evidence is clear that Manchester has not only survived the financial crisis, but is now a rapidly growing and thriving legal community. Value for money is more important than ever, and with a lower cost base than London, firms are increasingly moving their work to Manchester.
Manchester has always had a diverse range of law firms, from top tier firms like Pinsent Masons, DLA Piper, Eversheds and Addleshaw Goddard, to national mid tier heavyweights including DWF who are continuing to grow at speed, DAC Beachcroft, Weightmans, Shoosmiths and Clyde & Co who are all continuing to put pressure and a provide healthy competition to the top tier. Regional firms also continue to prosper, with the likes of JMW, Brabners and newly formed Pannone Corporate offering excellent quality work and a fantastic alternative to the national firms, often having smaller teams and a greater ability for lawyers to make their mark and progress.
In recent months, TLT and now Berwin Leighton Paisner and Nabarro have been the newest additions to the Manchester market. TLT were able to not only attract key partners from DLA, Pinsent Masons and Hill Dickinson, but a 24 strong team from Irwin Mitchell. Berwin Leighton Paisner open their doors in Manchester in July, responding to the strength of the local real estate market. Sheffield firm Nabarro has now been the latest firm to announce their move into Manchester, taking 3 real estate partners from Addleshaw Goddard. Graham Stedman, Nabarro’s Senior Partner, said “Manchester is a dynamic market which we’ve been considering as a complementary hub to our Sheffield office for some time”.
So with the quality of work being as good as the City, but the cost and quality of life arguably much better, if you are thinking of your next legal move then Manchester should be a real contender. With a thriving legal community, cosmopolitan music scene, home to two Premiership Football Clubs, and of course the beautiful Lake District only a short drive away, it really can offer everything the capital can and more.