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London. The word that everyone associates with success, opportunity and bright lights. While it’s undoubtedly known for its prestige, power and buzz, Manchester is fast becoming the London of the North, being described as Britain’s new cultural capital. And I can assure you, you won’t fall short of the bright lights, especially with the HS2 plans on the horizon, you’ll practically be able to see the bright lights within the hour from the Big Smoke itself.

Manchester is renowned for being the birthplace of the industrial revolution and it seems that the city is yet again reinventing itself. According to the authors of the Legal 500 report, Manchester continues to be the main hub of commercial activity” in the North West as well as an “attractive place to do business” for lawyers.

 

So why is Manchester becoming the most sought city in the Northern Powerhouse?

London’s global reputation undisputedly makes it an attractive place for career-minded individuals to live and work. However, over the last 10 years, there have been a number of international law firms ‘North Shoring’ out of London and to the Northern Powerhouse. Latham & Watkins, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) and Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer are to name a few who have set sail and anchored themselves firmly in Manchester. It isn’t just law firms that are making the most of what Manchester has to offer, though. Let us not forget, ‘North Shoring’ seemingly began as a trend when the BBC opened their regional headquarters in Manchester in 2011, with Barclays Bank and other companies following suit. With in-house roles for Lawyers and prestigious international and national Top Tier firms in abundance, Lawyers considering Manchester will have no shortage of opportunities. Fast forward to now, Manchester continues to innovate and pioneer in a wide range of business sectors shaping the future of the business world.

It is clear to see that London towers Manchester in living costs as well as size. The cost of living is undisputedly a factor that Manchester can boast, and in fact shout, from their considerably cheaper, rooftops. According to Zoopla, with the average house price in Manchester in July 2020 at £180k, compared to London being £605k, I think it’s safe to say you get more bang for your buck. In a recent study it is said that Mancunian money goes 20% further than the Big Smoke’s, taking into account daily living. This is also representative of NQ salaries. On average, according to Glassdoor, NQ’s in the North West start upwards from £35k compared to £65k in London. But when you put the cost of living side by side, Solicitors in Manchester generally take home more.

Manchester is more convenient to get around, explore and enjoy. Generally speaking, commute times for people working in Manchester are shorter. With tram lines, trains and good links to public transport, if you are located further outside the city, you’re still not much of a stone’s throw away, with the likes of Liverpool only being an hour from Manchester. There are also many places to live in central Manchester, meaning that commuting by walking or cycling is entirely possible and very common amongst Lawyers.

Manchester’s culture speaks for itself. It’s a lovely city brimming with character from all avenues from its architectural, theatrical and musical influences to shopping at the Trafford Centre to watching football at Old Trafford. You're also never too far from the countryside if it's tranquillity you're after. There really is something for everyone. With a diverse population, iconic sports teams, a rich music history, an energetic nightlife and a thriving multicultural food scene, Manchester has almost everything that London has to offer but without the wallet swallowing price tags.

Taking these factors into account, I see an increasing number of Solicitors and Lawyers at all different stages of their career packing up sticks and relocating to Manchester as a destination of choice for high quality legal work and offering a rich quality of life outside of the office.

Written by Legal Recruitment Consultant - Lucy Burt - 0121 296 6643 (lucy@jmc-legal.com)