Devon is consistently voted as one of the best places to live in England and it is often said that people living in Devon enjoy a better quality of life than anywhere else in the UK. If you are a lawyer dreaming of Devon, now is the time to make that move with lots of jobs available in this buoyant legal market and amazing places to live.
Those of you that follow me on LinkedIn will be familiar with my love for Devon having been born here and now raising my own family in this beautiful county. On Monday night I finished work at 5:30 and was sat on one of my local beaches at 6pm - ready to fail terribly at standing up on my paddle board!
Where else in the UK can you be within 20 minutes of either a beach or the moors? With spectacular coastlines, world class beaches and historic towns and villages, Devon has a lot to offer so it’s no wonder that here at Chadwick Nott, we are regularly speaking to lawyers at all stages of their career looking to relocate.
Devon boasts two cities (Exeter and Plymouth), forty-five towns, and a huge number of villages and smaller communities, all of which have their own unique stories to tell. We all know that Devon is an incredibly popular holiday destination, but below I have outlined some of the reasons why you should explore options to relocate to Devon on a more permanent basis. Two weeks a year isn’t long enough to properly enjoy the region!
- Career – Want the Devon lifestyle but don’t want to compromise on the quality of work? Not a problem. Home to an increasing number of the top 100 law firms, the Southwest is a great place to progress your career. From large international firms to regional and high street practices, Devon has so many exciting prospects for solicitors of all levels and disciplines. Exeter, Torquay and Plymouth are certainly seen as epicentres of opportunities with firms such as Foot Anstey, Michelmores, Trowers & Hamlins, Womble Bond Dickinson, Ashfords, Stephens Scown, Dunn & Baker, Tozers and Wollens recruiting.
- Salaries & working practises - We are seeing regional salaries increasing dramatically nationally including in Devon. In Bristol we have seen NQ salaries leap up to circa £70K and other regional centres are following suit. There is much more regular acceptance of hybrid and flexible working set-ups to attract talent. The work/life balance offered in Devon is so frequently highlighted - this is for good reason as once you have finished your working day, there is so much on your doorstep.
- Schools – If you have a family, it is worth noting that there are numerous well-regarded private and state primary and secondary schools throughout the region that are very accessible. In addition, there are of course some exceptional colleges and universities including University of Exeter, a Russell group university, with notable alumni including many top City lawyers as well as Zara Tindall, Sajid Javid and JK Rowling!
- House Prices – I recently caught up with Clare Simmons, Director at Miller Town & Country who provided some helpful statistics in relation to average property prices for the last month (data Rightmove). The Southwest had an average price of £390,00 vs £484,000 in the Southeast and £689,000 in London.Clare said, “Devon is a sought-after area by buyers from other parts of the country due to the quality of life and what you can get for your money”. Many candidates I speak to who are considering relocating say that outdoor living space and being more rural is a huge attraction and this is something that is easily achievable in Devon.
- Infrastructure - Although located in one of the most southern areas of the country, Devon is still easily reached. With most major train routes passing through Exeter, you can expect to travel to London Paddington, Manchester Piccadilly, Aberdeen and Penzance with relative ease. Exeter also has an airport, with flights regularly departing to many sunny destinations such as Spain, Greece and Turkey. Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin are also on offer, but the sunshine isn’t guaranteed! Not forgetting, that you are also close to Bristol airport which is south of Bristol and one the fastest growing airports in the UK with circa 30,000 passengers passing through daily.
- Entertainment – For the foodies amongst you, Devon offers so many independent pubs, bars and cafes to dine at, often sourcing many ingredients locally. There’s restaurants with Michelin stars, namely the Masons Arms near Exmoor, Thomas Carr 1873 in the seaside resort of Ilfracombe, and Michael Caines' Lympstone Manor.
No article can be written about Devon without mentioning the Devon County Show which is an agricultural show held annually near Exeter and is often referred to as the biggest calendar event in the county. It is certainly worth a visit with farming, food and entertainment at the heart of the show.
There are some wonderful theatres and venues across the county attracting fantastic touring west end shows, musicians and comedians. For those who are partial to a spot of retail therapy, you will not be disappointed with the diversity of shops and outlets that Devon has to offer. In addition to the usual high street offerings, the region also has a well-earned reputation for its haven of independent outlets, farmer’s markets and antique shops.
In addition, Devon is home to some unusual customs, with undoubtedly, the most peculiar being held on Bonfire Night each year. Ottery St Mary Tar Barrels sees local residents running through the town carrying flaming barrels of tar on their backs through large crowds and is a very popular event for spectators. Not for the faint hearted!
- The great outdoors - At the heart of the county are the moors. Devon has two moorlands both of which are National Parks attracting thousands of visitors each year and are known for their unspoilt countryside and stunning views.At approximately 400 square miles, Dartmoor is southern England’s largest and wildest open space. Be sure to look out for many wild ponies who roam around. Whilst smaller, but equally as beautiful, Exmoor is to the north of the county and extends into West Somerset.
- Sports – Premiership football and rugby your thing? It is only right that we open with Exeter City Football Club who, secured promotion to League 1 for the first time in 10 years this year. What a fantastic achievement.Sticking with Exeter, we cannot avoid mentioning the premier rugby team, Exeter Chiefs.In addition, with wild swimming and paddleboarding becoming increasingly more popular, there are some wonderful lakes and coves to enjoy. Devon can offer some fantastic first-class golf courses such as Bovey Castle and Woodbury. For the runners out there, Devon is home to a number of great parkrun courses and Devon’s own five-time Olympian Jo Pavey can often be spotted on a Saturday morning participating at different courses. Looking for an activity for the whole family to join in with? How about trying out one of the numerous cycle routes on offer, such as the Granite Way. This is a truly spectacular and mostly traffic free cycle route through rural Devon with fantastic views of Dartmoor and the surrounding countryside. Sailing and surfing are also incredibly popular around the spectacular coastline.
- Beaches – Saving the best for last. Devon’s beaches are truly breath taking and despite how long I’ve lived in Devon, I never take them for granted and am always discovering new spots which I’ve not visited. Only last week, I visited Burgh Island which is located directly opposite . The island is accessible at low tide by a strip of sand which at high tide is completely covered, leaving a ride on the unique sea tractor as the only means of access. Other beaches which are worthy of special mention (and visit) are Woolacombe, Bantham, Blackpool Sands, Croyde and Saunton Sands. Be sure to check the tide times in advance if you fancy being adventurous and taking the surf or body board.
There is no doubt that a career in legal can be very rewarding but stressful as well. If you are looking to remove some of the stress from your life, working in Devon could provide the answer. To give you a very brief overview of some of the roles I’m working on for law firms in Devon, please see below:
- Top 40 law firm - Associate/Senior Associate Commercial/IP
- Top 100 law firm – Trusts and Estates Associate
- Award winning multi office firm – Private Client Associate
- Top tier firm – Public Sector Professional Support Lawyer
- International law firm – Real Estate Associate
If you are thinking about moving to the Southwest and would like to arrange a confidential chat to find out more about current opportunities and how regional work could suit you, please contact Hannah Somers at Chadwick Nott.
Telephone: 0117 9171929
Mobile: 07435 943 574