Charlotte Newton
Charlotte Newton
Associate Director

Articles From the Team

Why should you consider the North West for your first qualified legal role?

If you’re due to qualify as a solicitor this year, have you considered the North West for your first qualified role? If you haven’t, you really should- the Manchester, Liverpool and Chester markets are thriving.

Manchester is a great place to qualify as a solicitor; there are lots of Legal 500 rated teams and lawyers. The quality of work in Manchester is often as good but without the same demands that come from working in the Capital. Manchester is a fantastic place to live with a lively social scene and lots of continued investment in the City and surrounding areas.

The North West also offers a diverse legal market with a wide variety of firms. As the UK’s third largest County in terms of population, law firms and accountancy practices continue to be drawn to Manchester as their Northern base. It’s home to the big 4 accountancy practices KPMG, Deloitte, EY, PWC and leading international firms like DLA, Trowers & Hamlins, AG and Eversheds. You’ve also got national firms like Weightmans, Knights, Shoosmiths, Gateley and TLT. Strong regional firms also provide NQ solicitors with a worthy alternative including Pannone Corporate, Brabners and JMW.

The city centre and outskirts also provide a home to some excellent regional and high street practices.

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to connect with other junior lawyers through the MTSG and MYSG; both associations host numerous social, education and charity events to get involved in.

What about Liverpool and Chester?

Since Liverpool was named European Capital of Culture in 2008, the City has seen its economy and legal market continue to grow at a rapid pace. In 2020, the Liverpool legal landscape rivaled that of neighbouring Manchester.

The landscape and the famous skyline have been transformed, while the city centre has been modernised radically – as has the legal marketplace.

In addition, Liverpool’s legal market is incredibly diverse with a range of firms from the high street all the wayup to top-tier international practice – making it an exciting time to be a lawyer there.

The city houses the traditional Top 5 firms, many of which were founded in Liverpool:

  • DLA: a global law firm with longstanding Liverpool office;
  • Hill Dickinson: a leading commercial law firm founded in Liverpool in 1810 based in the heart of the commercial district;
  • Weightmans: a top 45 national law firm which houses 700 people in Liverpool;
  • DWF: an International law firm founded in Liverpool and was the first law fir to float on the London Stock Exchange’s main market in March; and,
  • Brabners: a large regional firm with offices in Manchester and Preston, Liverpool, it remains a stronghold.

In the last few years, there have been some exciting new entrants to the market: innovative law firm Freeths, top-rated tech practice Taylor Wessing, global giant CMS, strong regional firm Napthens and Top 100 law firm JMW, which has led to increasing demand in commercial disciplines.

The addition of new firms has led Liverpool to become an excellent place for junior lawyers to start their career. There is a thriving social scene for junior lawyers with The Merseyside Junior Lawyers Division being one of the biggest junior lawyer associations in the country.

The increasing financial investment in the city, bigger legal market and increased workflow means Liverpool is a worthy option for lawyers at any stage in their career. Despite the rumours, there is no longer a disparity in pay to neighbouring Manchester!

If you’re a lawyer looking to do excellent work in a vibrant city, Liverpool is certainly worth considering.

What options are available to you in Cheshire if you don’t want to commute to Liverpool or Manchester?

The Cheshire market is home to some Legal 500 recommended law firms including DTM, Knights, Joliffe & Co, Cullimore Dutton and SAS Daniels. If you’re looking for something smaller, there is also an abundance of long standing high street practices.

Unfortunately, the NQ market did suffer due to the pandemic in 2020. We saw qualification dates pushed back, NQ roles/ processes delayed and a few firms weren’t able to retain as many NQs as usual. However, this year we don’t expect it to have as much of an impact. We’ve got a lot of March NQ roles across the Country with international, national, regional and high street firms in all disciplines! Firms are really busy so we expect there to be lots of roles for Septembers NQs from April onwards.

To conclude, the North West is a fantastic alternative to the Capital for an NQ solicitor. It offers high quality work and a bustling social scene for junior solicitors.

If you'd like to find out more about what the North West market can offer and what NQ opportunities are currently available, please get in touch with me for a confidential chat.

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