Moving to Chadwick Nott in January this year, I was given the opportunity to use my 6 years of recruitment experience to support an established North team focusing on the Manchester legal market. However, my goal was to develop the Yorkshire market with Chadwick Nott, as I have done previously.
There are so many reasons why Yorkshire is always at the top of my list of favourite places and why any lawyer should consider Yorkshire as an excellent location to advance their career, enjoy a great quality of life and be proud to call it home.
So much history alongside modern development
Yorkshire has so much history and is an incredibly picturesque place to live. The landscape is filled with beautiful castles and churches, together with other impressive historical architecture. It is renowned for the stunning scenery that includes Yorkshire’s three peaks, city skylines and beautiful national parks.
Within Yorkshire, Leeds is one of the biggest and most cosmopolitan cities in the whole of the UK - it is not only oozing with shopping centres, culture and nightlife, but it is also home to some esteemed educational institutions including those very well-known for law.
Sheffield has seen extensive redevelopment over the last few years. The economy has experienced steady growth averaging around 5% annually and it is renowned as a manufacturing hub. Like much of Yorkshire, the city has a long sporting heritage. It is home to the world's oldest football club, Sheffield F.C. as well as the World Snooker Championship and the Sheffield Steelers, the UK's first professional ice hockey team.
Food wise, Yorkshire is home to, in my opinion one of the most necessary items to a Sunday lunch, the legendary Yorkshire pudding, as well as traditional and unique cakes such as Parkin and cheese including Wensleydale. Yorkshire has some of the UK’s finest restaurants and pubs - in fact, no other county in England (outside of London) has as many Michelin-starred restaurants as Yorkshire.
Lastly you simply cannot discuss Yorkshire without mentioning one of its best exports, which gets me out of bed in a morning – Yorkshire Tea!
Summary of the Yorkshire legal market currently
Leeds is Yorkshire's largest city and has for many years operated as the region’s central legal hub. It includes law firms of all sizes although its legal market is dominated by the so-called 'Big Six':-Addleshaw Goddard, DLA Piper, Eversheds, Pinsent Masons, Squire Patton Boggs and Walker Morris. With healthcare, digital, manufacturing and financial sectors all booming in Leeds, law firm clients are both large and emerging players in these areas as well as businesses from many other sectors.
Sheffield is Yorkshire’s second largest legal hub with national and international firms, who started with their first offices in Sheffield, still having a presence in the region. Law firms such as DLA Piper, CMS and Freeths handle the full range of corporate mandates, together with highly rated multi-service law firms such as Keebles, Lupton Fawcett, Irwin Mitchell, Taylor and Emmet and Wake Smith. As a manufacturing centre, there are predictably expert teams covering corporate and commercial work, commercial litigation, corporate tax and employment law.
Hull and Harrogate are smaller but also very reputable legal centres housing top calibre law firms rated for both corporate and dispute resolution work, but particularly for their licensing, agriculture and rural affairs work. Gosschalks is ranked in Chambers UK's for licensing; Rollits has a well-respected agriculture and rural affairs practice, as well as real estate, banking, employment work. Andrew Jackson is well-regarded for private client, real estate, banking, employment and family work, and has one of the best shipping teams in the north.
Expansion plans for many
While some counties are experiencing a ‘Brexit’ slow down or some feelings of uncertainty, Yorkshire has quite an air of confidence. It really is the place to be at the moment with business booming and law firms are expanding to keep up with demand. At many of my regular client meetings with Managing Partners, Partners and HR teams there have been stories of growth and expansion.
Walker Morris in Leeds recently made the move to Wellington Street – this was an extensive refurbishment project resulting in a premium working environment. It has been indicated to be the biggest relocation of any professional services firm in Leeds for 15 years and highlights the firm’s ambition to establish its place as England and Wales’ biggest single-site practice outside London.
There are exciting times ahead for York as national firm Knights are due to open new premises there in January 2020. East Yorkshire based SJP Law with specialisms in commercial and compensation law also opened a new office in York earlier this year.
There has been mergers such as awarding winning Legal 500 firm Ridley & Hall, who I work closely with, acquiring Bashforth Young and even new offices - Ison Harrison have opened in Barnsley bringing their total number of offices in the region to fourteen.
As well as expansion, there is always recognition of hard work with a lot of promotions being announced in Yorkshire in 2019 for many law firms. For example, Addleshaw Goddard alone has recently promoted fourteen lawyers in Leeds, a significant percentage of the 46 promotions made across Addleshaw Goddard globally.
If you are starting your legal career in Yorkshire, with the retention of trainees at an all-time high in 2019, solicitors can be confident in the support and training they will receive. I have been told by a number of firms that they have had a 100% retention rate for trainees this year.
There is a real sense of community and encouragement for junior lawyers in Yorkshire. Chadwick Nott has been delighted to sponsor regular events with the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) in Leeds and Sheffield. Over many years Chadwick Nott has built strong contacts with JLDs nationally and been made to feel so welcome by the committees.
I have personally always felt success is recognised in Yorkshire and the annual Yorkshire Legal awards, which is celebrating 20 years this year, clearly cements this. Ridley & Hall, Ramsdens and Eversheds Sutherland were among the law firms recognised as the region’s best. Individuals such as Annie Beaumont of Blacks Solicitors were recognised as this year’s Trainee Solicitor of the Year. There were also awards for Partner of the Year and Managing Partner of the Year which went to Richard Obank of DLA Piper and Tim Halstead of Shulmans, respectively.
You can be part of this ongoing success in Yorkshire – there’s excellent opportunities for lawyers to make the move to Yorkshire or take the next step in progressing their legal career in the county. I am currently working on a variety of new opportunities in both commercial and private client including:-
- Corporate or Real Estate Senior Associate or Partner – national Firm - York
- Private Client Solicitor - top 45 UK law firm - Leeds
- Family Solicitor - York
- Residential Conveyancing Solicitor – Leeds
With my 10+ years’ experience working as a lawyer and a recruiter, I have gained an incredible wealth of knowledge of the legal marketplace and can assist you to find the role that is right for you. I recruit into high street, boutique, mid-tier, Legal 500 and Top 50 law firms in all disciplines from experienced partners to more junior lawyers.
Please do get in touch to have a confidential chat about the opportunities that may be available to progress your career and give you the lifestyle that you are looking for.
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