Working in Birmingham
Birmingham has been called “the city of a thousand trades”, and where business and industry thrive, legal services soon follow. You can expect a diverse range of clients within Birmingham; insurance and financial services, engineering and manufacturing companies, and a vast real estate market sustained by the student population. Alongside the big business clients, there will be a lot of individual needs to take care of, in everything from small business needs to criminal, family and personal injury law. While Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s dream of the Bank of England relocating to Birmingham might still have a long way to go, the prospect of such a move shows just how bright the future looks for Birmingham.
Just as many Londoners have jumped ship in favour of Birmingham in recent years, many a law firm has also recognised the appeal of the city as as a business hub. Many have established full-service outfits in the heart of the city, giving you a taste of a London law firm with a Midlands twist. Alongside these firms, there are also a number of smaller, boutique firms with specific interests and focuses, and firms originating in Birmingham that have consolidated themselves and evolved to be big regional players. Birmingham has now grown to have one of the most thriving legal scenes in the country.
Wherever your interests lie, the breadth of Birmingham as a legal hub can accommodate you. With so many full-service offices, you could be working in corporate, M&A, or commercial, or specialising in family law, personal injury law or medical negligence. Being at the heart of a major UK city will inevitably put you in good stead to work in employment law, construction law or real estate.
You only have to glance at the skyline to realise that Birmingham has undergone significant regeneration in recent years—while previously dubbed uninspiring, a surge of new-builds and high-rise constructions indicate that investment in the city has paid off. It is now an attractive destination for its own recent graduates, as well as young professionals from further afield—the population of under 30s in Birmingham is around 45%, so as a newly qualified lawyer, you’ll be surrounded by similar people.
Finally - and in spite of the constant lighthearted criticism of the aforementioned skyline - Birmingham really does have some truly beautiful buildings. Postmodern offerings like the Library of Birmingham and the Bullring sit alongside Victorian and Edwardian gems, proving that whatever a city looks like from the outside, you need to actually get involved to experience it properly.
Birmingham is a foodie’s dream. You’ll find more Michelin stars here than any other city outside of London. Check out Simpsons for minimalist decor and contemporary dishes, enjoy pub vibes at The Cross, or indulge in some unusual (yet sensational) combinations at Carters of Moseley. If fine dining scares you slightly, there are a number of welcoming pubs dotted around the city. While you’ll surely find your own local, it’s worth checking out the Lord Clifden, the Anchor Inn, or the Junction.
Birmingham has never been lacking in a music scene, with a number of smaller music venues scattered across the city, and annual festivals celebrating everything from folk music to modern dance.
- Indulge in your inner hobbit with a trek through Moseley Bog—a beautiful park in its own right, this picturesque location was JRR Tolkien's inspiration for writing Lord of the Rings.
- Have a cocktail or three in the Jewellery Quarter, which boasts a plethora of delightful tipples within its many high-end bars.
- Visit the nearby Black Country to inhale some of that good ole country air… and maybe even pretend you’re in Peaky Blinders.
- Spend a Saturday at the Bullring—with hundreds of high-street shops spread across three floors, you’ll never be far from a bargain… or a blowout.
- Enjoy a Sunday stroll around Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, home to the largest collection of pre-Raphaelite artwork in the world.
- For something a little more contemporary, head over to mac Birmingham to check out some of the new and emerging talent.
- Make a canal boat your home; Birmingham has the largest volume of canal by cubic metre than any city in the world.
Birmingham is ideally located if you frequently need to venture to other parts of the UK - you can reach London or Manchester within 90 minutes, and Birmingham New Street is served by most of the main train lines. The city also has its own international airport to take you further afield if needs be.
Most aspects of the city are no more than a 20-minute drive away from each other—a phenomenon for such a large city. You can catch the train to and from work, with the network operated by West Midlands Railway. The Midland Metro, a one-line tram system connecting Birmingham to Wolverhampton, is due to be extended, connecting the city further. Yet buses remain overwhelmingly popular as Birmingham’s mode of transport, with National Express West Midlands being the main operator.
Birmingham Trainee Solicitors' Society
The BTSS is an organisation focused on uniting junior lawyers in Birmingham. We are made up of over 360 Trainee Solicitors, Paralegals, Legal Assistants, NQs (up to 3 years) and Post-Graduate Law Students from across Birmingham and the West Midlands. Unlike other networking groups, the BTSS has been around for over 110 years. Our networking socials have proven to build long lasting relationships within the legal community and our links with non-lawyering groups such as BCASS mean we can help our members create important contacts and links for the future.
The life of a trainee solicitor: Birmingham edition
We spoke to Fiona Timms, Trainee Solicitor at Pinsent Masons, to find out more about what life is like as a trainee in Birmingham.