Named the uncrowned capital of the North, Manchester is considered the UK’s second city after London. With the second-fastest growing economy in the UK, a diverse population, energetic nightlife and thriving multicultural food scene, Manchester has almost everything that London has to offer, but without the crippling living costs. House prices are lower than the national average, with your money going almost 20% further in the North, and transport links are excellent. If you can look past the city’s quite frequent rain, moving to Manchester could be a fantastic option for lawyers at any stages of their career, from established Partners looking to break into Equity to NQs looking to find that perfect role upon qualification.
Ambitious lawyers will find Manchester an exciting place to live and work. Always the forefront of innovation, Manchester was the world’s first industrial city and now it is also home to some of biggest media brands such as the BBC and ITV, and has one of the fastest growing startup scenes in the UK.
When you are looking at lifestyle factors, Manchester hosts many annual events to suit a variety of interests including the Manchester International Festival, the Manchester Food & Drink Festival and the Great Manchester Run. The city has two Premier League winning football teams, numerous art galleries, 75 breweries, the “Curry Mile”, Chinatown, a chic café culture including independent food ventures and of course an incredible music scene complimented by amazing venues. When you need a break from the hustle and bustle of this buzzing city, there is a wealth of green space, waterways and rich biodiversity not very far away to connect with and enjoy.
Back to crucial transport and costs to consider - an annual ticket for zones 1-3 for the Metrolink costs £930 in comparison to £1,648 for a London Travelcard. The Manchester International Airport has excellent links across the world and London is only a 2 hour train journey.
Most importantly for lawyers, it should be noted that the legal sector in Manchester is expanding faster than any other regional city and at over double the speed of central London. There is a highly skilled pool of lawyers and undergraduates from the several local universities making the city a perfect choice for law firms wanting to grow and expand into regional markets. We are also seeing many lawyers looking to relocate or return to the city, as it can offer really excellent quality of work as well as the quality of life.
Manchester is home to a variety of top tier firms including Addleshaw Goddard, DLA Piper, Eversheds, DWF, Gateley, Hill Dickinson, CMS, Shoosmiths, Weightmans, Brabners and DAC Beachcroft and also boasts some exceptional regional firms including JMW, Pannone Corporate and Kuits. EY Riverview have just entered the Manchester market based in Salford Quays, and many firms have huge expansion plans for the region such as Knights, who recently moved into the impressive new office in St Peters Square.
Most law firms in Manchester are not reporting any adverse effect of Brexit and the legal job market is buoyant and competitive. This is likely to be due to ongoing heavy investment in regeneration projects, transport, real estate and tech. There has been an increase in the market rate salaries, and most firms are offering flexibility. Many focus on wellbeing and mental health.
Junior solicitors and trainees
Junior lawyers considering a move to Manchester can not only expect excellent quality work and training, but also to be invited to become part of the legal community. The Manchester Trainee Solicitor Group (MTSG) and Manchester Young Professionals (MYPG) hold regular events, such as the MYPG Summer Social at the Oast House on 11th July which Chadwick Nott were delighted to sponsor.
As for salaries, these are very competitive with other regional cities. NQ salaries will range from £36,000 - £44,500 at the larger commercial firms and circa £28,000 - £38,000 at the smaller and mid-tier practices.
If you’d like to view a selection of our current Manchester based jobs please click here.
If we can assist you and you might appreciate a no obligations discussion, please get in touch with one of your dedicated consultants,