A common theme for City lawyers is to make the move out of London. Whether relocators are searching for the perfect job, a change in lifestyle or a move back home, one of the most popular destinations has consistently been Bristol.
Research from property advisory firm CBRE has shown Bristol to be the largest legal centre outside of London; with several outstanding International and National law firms offering a wide selection of high calibre work, it is no surprise that it is the destination of choice.
Bristol represents a great career option for ambitious solicitors looking for a change. As a legal hub, it is able to provide lawyers with fantastic quality of work and excellent career prospects. Amongst the top-tier, Osborne Clarke and Burges Salmon have historic roots in the region. Alongside these are an array of fantastic firms including DAC Beachcroft, Bond Dickinson, TLT, Bevan Brittan and Clarke Willmott.
John Williams made the move from Slaughter and May to DAC Beachcroft. He explains that their “sweet spot for successful Partner recruitment and practice building for those joining has been the relocating Partner whose clients/contacts are a healthy mix of London Market and International.” Because of this, “City firms are playing catch up relative to those London firms who already have strong regional bases. Regional offices servicing London Market and International work are popping up all over. The difference at DAC is that Partners building practices will lead on the relationships and develop the business rather than act as a processing centre. That is good for upward mobility and equity prospects”.
Unsurprisingly, because of the work available, top City firms Simmons & Simmons, RPC and CMS Cameron McKenna have continued to grow their practices, furthering an already strong presence in which they can offer top salaries outside the rigours of London life.
Aside from the work, with fine countryside and fantastic beaches close by, why would you remain in the City? Bristol is a lively and cosmopolitan city that offers 25% cheaper housing than London. With close proximity to the coast and a vibrant city life, Bristol is regularly voted as one of the UK’s best places to live. It is clear that one of the major attractions to Bristol is that its Law firms offer a completely different lifestyle option.
Alastair Mitton, now a Partner in the Commercial IT and Tech team at Bond Dickinson made the move from City firm Travers Smith as a Senior Associate. Alastair explains that “Bristol offers the great combination of a fantastic place to live while at the same time allowing you to retain a really high quality of work”. He finds, “the client base and projects there to be excellent and, as well as enjoying life in the South West, has had the opportunity to develop his technology practice, progressing through to becoming a partner in 2015”. Alastair has had no regrets about his choice, and would “thoroughly recommend it to anyone considering life outside of London”.
In essence, it is easy to understand why lawyers are making the move to the South-West. In terms of evening entertainment, Bristol’s restaurants offer cuisine to suit every taste and budget and the city hosts a wide range of bars and music venues. As well as the bustling city centre, popular areas include the Waterfront and Clifton which have their own thriving social scene.
We have seen a clear increase in lawyers looking to make the move to Bristol, and the city has the jobs and capacity to happily accommodate them.
If you are interested in making a move to the South-West or would like to discuss the option further, please do get in touch.