Louisa Phillips
Louisa Phillips
Director

Articles From the Team

Legal jobs Manchester and Liverpool: changing NW landscape

The last 12 months has seen a significant change when it comes to the landscape of legal jobs in Manchester and Liverpool, but to what extent have new entrants to the market changed the breadth of options available, and can the North West ever compete with London?

What's happening

Manchester’s always had a diverse range of law firms: from top-tier firms such as Pinsent Masons, DLA Piper, Eversheds and Addleshaw Goddard; to national mid-tier heavyweights, including CMS who continue to grow (both in Manchester and Liverpool with its new office opening earlier this year), Squires, DWF, Shoosmiths, Gateley and TLT who all continue to put pressure, and provide healthy competition, to the top tier. Regional firms continue to prosper as well, with the likes of JMW, Brabners and Pannone Corporate offering excellent quality work and a fantastic alternative to the national firms. Generally, they have smaller teams and offer a greater ability for lawyers to make their mark and progress.

Gone are the days when lawyers felt compelled to move to London to find their fortune – the regions are thriving legal communities and offer a real and viable alternative to the City.

What does it mean?

However, in the last 12 months, we’ve seen an even greater increase in the number and breadth of options available. Lawyers no longer have to settle for second best just by being in the North West; they now have an excellent range of choices. Gone are the days when lawyers felt compelled to move to London to find their fortune – the regions are thriving legal communities and offer a real and viable alternative to the City.

Although I’m slightly biased (not only because I live in Manchester but because I’ve worked as both a lawyer and legal recruitment consultant in Manchester for many years), the evidence is clear: the North West is 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 moving their work North at an increasing rate. We’ve seen legal giants Latham & Watkins and Freshfields increase their headcount and market profile in Manchester. In Liverpool, Taylor Wessing has opened its doors – offering exceptional quality work outside London and the opportunity to work for global clients from the North West. Deloitte has also launched its legal team in Manchester this year; joining KPMG and EY in offering an alternative to the traditional law firm model. For transactional lawyers looking for a broader mix of work than just traditional M&A transactions, the opportunity is unique.

So, with the quality of work being as good as the City, but the costs lower and quality of life much better, if you’re thinking of your next legal move, the North West should be a real contender.  With a thriving legal community, cosmopolitan music scene and home to four Premiership Football Clubs across Manchester and Liverpool, it offers everything the capital can plus more.

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