Catherine Henry
Catherine Henry
Director: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Are you a City lawyer considering a move to the regions?

In May, The Guardian featured an article: ‘How the north of England got its groove back.’ It drew on a study by the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, who spent 12 months travelling across the North interviewing young people about their hopes and fears. The one topic/discussion point that most interviewees agreed on is that living in London is not an option: it’s too expensive (not just in terms of housing, but in terms of maintaining a decent lifestyle). So, there’s a cultural shift and this is certainly true when it comes to your legal career.

NQ trends

Historically, many newly qualified solicitors were drawn to the bright lights of the City, but in recent years almost 80% of trainees in the regions (registered with BCL Legal) want to qualify (and remain) locally; the word ‘career’ is no longer synonymous with London. There’s plenty of interesting, varied and high profile legal work in Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle and Manchester. Further, looking beyond London will in many instances equate to a better work-life balance. We're seeing more solicitors exploring a move out of London and back up north (at a few years’ PQE).  

The prominent North

There’s a large presence of regional and international firms in the prominent Northern legal hubs such as Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle. The work is high-quality work and these firms provide excellent opportunities for young lawyers. The message from the regional teams at these firms is that they operate as a ‘national team’. The days of shipping the ‘less important’ work up North are long gone. In addition, flexibility: there are international firms in the regions offering four day weeks across commercial disciplines. A few years ago, this was unheard of.  

Advantages of living outside London

Living and working outside of the capital has numerous advantages. You can still expect some late nights, but leaving the office at 5.30pm is not unusual. It’s quicker and easier to get to social venues or home; hobbies and after work drinks are rarely missed.  With rents in London more than double the UK average, the compromise in salary means it's way more achievable to buy a first home and get a foot on the property ladder.

If you’re a trainee solicitor approaching qualification and want to talk to us, or if you’re a City lawyer considering moving back home to the regions,  feel free to contact me to discuss opportunities the opportunities available to you.

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