London Corporate Lawyers – Manchester is calling – are you brave enough to answer?

13 Dec, 2016

London Corporate Lawyers – Manchester is calling – are you brave enough to answer?

London Corporate Lawyers – Manchester is calling – are you brave enough to answer?

Muwe-need-youch has been written regarding the historic North/South Divide but over the course of the past couple of years the balance has most definitely started to shift.

I have lived in London (albeit am originally from Manchester) and I won’t lie, I really enjoyed my time there. I’m glad I did it, I experienced loads but when push came to shove I was always returning home to Manchester. In my case, it was to set up in business recruiting lawyers for law firms across the North West.

The reasons for Manchester were always fairly personal. Firstly, I owned a house here and the prospect of trying to buy in London and set up in business were, given the London real estate market, just wholly incompatible. Secondly, I worked as a lawyer in Manchester and have recruited here so my network was strong. The nature of the legal community is such that it is fairly tight and everybody knows everybody to some degree. It allows a much easier means to network and find new clients and candidates. London is vast (which is great) and it is hard to truly make an impact there.

Thirdly, the legal recruitment market is swamped down there. There are some great and some truly awful recruitment businesses. The good are often long established and well connected. In the current climate that is currency that is hard to trade against.

There were many other reasons, much to do with affordability but also balanced against where Manchester’s legal market sat in contrast to the rest of the Country.

On any measure, Manchester is leading the way in legal services outside of London, often competing at the same level. Manchester has also seen an influx of firms entering the market recognising the strength, not just of the market (property costs, yields and salary costs) but also the quality, of lawyers in the regions. The likes of Freshfields, BLP, TLT, Nabarro as newer entrants.

Transactional activity has also remained high and more often than not even those firms with a London base have sought to North Shore transactional work, plugging into legal skills here.

The strength of corporate teams is high and one need only look to the main players to see the transactional strength of the teams across M&A, Private Equity and Public work with the likes of Pinsents, Nabarro, DLA, Eversheds, Addleshaw Goddard, Gateley and Squire Sanders (to name a few). Beyond that there remain firms with strong levels of deal activity such as Turner Parkinson, Freeman Fisher, Shoosmiths, TLT and DWF.

Why you, why now?

Where Manchester has struggled has been the consequence of a skills gap that resulted from the economic crisis. Again, many regional markets and indeed London suffered similar problems though the size and scale of London has meant there remained a greater proliferation of corporate transactional lawyers at the 1-4 year PQE level. Without doubt that is the sweet spot for almost all corporate teams in Manchester and out into the regions.

So why look to London re-locators? The answer is fairly simple and reflects the quality of the work seen in Manchester. For most corporate teams they see the greatest synergy with corporate London practices which really speaks volumes as to how far things have come as regards deal quality.

So why now? Well, the answer lies above. A skills gap creates not just opportunity right now but opportunity for the future. With less competition at that level the scope to push upwards is as good as it has ever been.

I love London – Manchester could never compete!

Loving London is no bad thing and it has and always will be a place that many seek out and enjoy. I did. That said, Manchester has been evolving for years and doubtless some of that influence has come from London. Whether that be the food revolution, the music scene (don’t be fooled though, we were already taking names on that front), social groups and more. Just a few examples of recent articles written on the contrast are below for your consideration. Manchester isn’t all that different just a little damper.

So why not ask?

Maybe it isn’t for you. Maybe you don’t want to own a house of reasonable proportions – I’m joking (partly). But if you think it’s because you won’t get the same level of challenging work  – you are definitely wrong. So, if you are considering a move and a new challenge we are working on an array of corporate roles that could suit your needs. At best, it could be the start of a new chapter, at worst you have to speak to me.

If you do come up here, I’ll even buy you a pint – You’ll be surprised that you really can get some change back from £10 for two drinks.

If you are interested in speaking regarding your next steps whether from London, in London or beyond then please contact Paul Warburton for a confidential discussion at