Working in Edinburgh

Staying in Edinburgh in the long term will be hugely beneficial to you: the city was ranked second for quality of life in a global survey carried out by Deutsche bank. And with many cultural and social highlights, you will be able to balance work with home life effectively.

For any lawyer who is looking to embark on a career in Scottish law, Edinburgh is a natural choice. You’ll find a range of firms large and small which practice Scottish law, some of which will be solely based in or around Edinburgh, giving you a local, first-hand experience of the law in Scotland.

There are full-service Scottish firms where you could be working in business, commercial real estate, the public sector, or with individuals and families. It’s worth noting that working for a prominent Scottish firm may link you up with branches elsewhere in Scotland, such as in Glasgow, so the prospect of relocating within the country may also arise.

You’ll also find branches of national firms, who have large and lively offices in the Scottish capital to deal with their clients in the area. This presents an unique opportunity to work in a large-scale office for a national firm, but outside of London.

There is a large financial services presence in Edinburgh, so if you’re interested in finance or banking law, this could be a perfect place to begin your career. If you want to turn your legal experience towards the forefront of technology, it may also interest you to know that Edinburgh has a thriving tech industry - from small start-ups to established companies.

Upon moving to Edinburgh, it’s a good idea to investigate the Law Society Scotland—it runs an array of events in and around Edinburgh, from socials to training opportunities. There’s also a dedicated Journal which will keep you up to date on everything going on in the Scottish law sector.

Edinburgh culture

One of the most notable things about Edinburgh is its devotion to a number of traditions and festivities. Throughout the year, you’ll bear witness to around four major festivals, which celebrate everything from comedy and theatre to literature and food. In the summer months you can expect to see firework displays from the castle on a nightly basis, and in winter the celebrations continue with Christmas markets, a spectacular New Year party, and Burns Night in late January.

One unmistakeable highlight is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival: over a period of about four weeks, the entire city is transformed by theatre performances and comedy sketches, with a network of bars and street food springing up to connect it all. The Fringe Festival served as the first port of call for the likes of Stephen Fry, Graham Norton, Miranda Hart and Noel Fielding. Not only is it an excellent time to spot some emerging talent, it’s also a time when the entire city comes together.

Food in Edinburgh is a cultural phenomenon in itself - as a resident in the city, your weekend will be dominated by brunch. Head over to Montpeliers in the classy Bruntsfield for the “full monty”—a super-brunch which includes minute steak and haggis. Or check into Checkpoint for a cheaper, edgier brunch experience - expect good food at reasonable prices, against the backdrop of a storage container-esque decor. If the parents are in town for a visit, you can do no better than Thomas J Walls —located in an old opticians, you (and your Mum) will thoroughly approve of their coffee.

You’ll always be surrounded by iconic architecture in Edinburgh. The New Town showcases some of the best Georgian architecture in the country, and with a castle that dates back to the Bronze Age overlooking the city, and a wealth of buildings believed to have inspired Harry Potter, the buildings couldn’t get much better.

There are a few diverse areas within the city that you can choose to live in, depending on what suits you. Stockbridge is a go-to place for families, Leith has a wealth of apartments and food and drink gems, making it popular with young residents. For a village feel, investigate Morningside and Bruntsfield.

Edinburgh nightlife

Edinburgh has a large student population, and while students do not dominate the city, they certainly help to stimulate its nightlife. You’ll find an array of high-end cocktail bars in which to whet your whistle: whether you head underground to the speakeasy-style Panda & Sons, or enjoy the minimalist vibes of the well-established Bramble, you’ll be in for a classy night.

If you prefer pubs to cocktail bars, Edinburgh will also serve you well. In a city that is ever-respectful of history and tradition you’ll find a number of old boozers with quintessential Scottish charm. Head to the Bow Bar  in the Old Town for an extraordinary range of real ales and whiskies, or kick back in style with a pint at the Cumberland Bar. 

Edinburgh’s nightlife also has a lot to offer in terms of live music, as you might expect from a city so focused on performing arts. From jazz cafes to cocktail bars with their own rotations of live music acts, there are a lot of smaller venues peppering the city, serving every conceivable genre. Sneaky Pete’s , Corn Exchange and The Voodoo Rooms are all worth keeping an eye on. If you fancy going to a huge gig, you won’t miss out either—the The Royal Highland Centre regularly showcases huge names in music.

Edinburgh Activities

- Spend your summer catching some of the best up-and-coming theatre and comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, in which bars, theatres and more obscure venues across the city are transformed into performance spaces for a few weeks.

- Satisfy your outdoors cravings by climbing Arthur’s Seat, a long-extinct volcano.

- Visit a different brunch destination every weekend - Akva and Hemma  are sister cafes with a Swedish feel, or head to Loudons for some superfood pancakes.

- Get your pre-work caffeine fix at Brew Lab, which has a huge range of artisan coffees, or do some remote work at The Elephant House - JK Rowling wrote a lot of her early novels in this cosy tea and coffee shop.

- Spend a summer evening sat in The Meadows watching the fireworks - with a display every evening, you’ll never feel too distant from the festivities of the Fringe.

- Head to Murrayfield Stadium to watch the Six Nations unfold.

Edinburgh Transport

Edinburgh Waverley station lies at the end of the East Coast mainline, so you can access the city from pretty much anywhere in England. Edinburgh Airport also connects the city to international destinations, and serves as a speedier alternative if you’re travelling from London or other destinations in the south of England.

Within the city itself, everything is within walking distance, so you won’t find yourself having to fork out unnecessarily for transport costs, or stuck on a lengthy commute. However, if you do fancy hopping on public transport, Edinburgh is served by a tram network and bus service - in the colder winter months, both may be a welcome alternative to a walk!

Edinburgh articles

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    A Vacation Scheme at a Scottish Office

    Chris Lewis-Laverty completed a vacation scheme at DWF’s Edinburgh office. Having started the scheme not entirely sure that he even wanted to pursue a career path as a solicitor, Chris details the application process as well as his experiences and tasks…

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    Cobbles, ceilidhs and commercial law: life as a DLA Piper trainee in Edinburgh

    You could be forgiven for thinking that to do a training contract, you have to move to London and work in a City office. In fact, firms have offices all over the country, with many regional hubs hosting legal scenes that thrive in their own right. We spoke to Eilis McDonald, a trainee at DLA Piper’s Edinburgh office, about life in the Scottish capital.

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    The life of a trainee solicitor: Edinburgh edition

    We spoke to David Harvey, trainee solicitor at Addleshaw Goddard, about life in the Scottish capital.

Jobs in Edinburgh

  • Training Contract 2021

    Posted by Shoosmiths

    • England: £27,000 (1st year), Scotland: £20,500 (1st year)
    • Nationwide
    • 31/05/2019
  • Trainee Solicitor

    Posted by Dentons

    • £24,000 -£42,000 depending on location
    • Nationwide
    • 31/07/2019
  • Scotland Training contract 2021

    Posted by Addleshaw Goddard

    • Starting salary £21,500
    • Edinburgh ,Glasgow
    • 19/07/2019
  • Training Contract 2021

    Posted by BLM Law

    • £31,000 (London) & £22,000 (Regional)
    • Nationwide
    • 30/06/2019