Working in Manchester
Working in Manchester as a lawyer will certainly give you a buzz—it’s a large metropolitan hub in the North-West of England, which means it has a thriving population of young workers. You’ll enjoy the combined perks of a relatively low living cost—paying northern prices for everything from rent to leisure activities—and an above-average salary. Manchester also has one of the lower gender pay gaps in the country compared to other cities, so it’s doing well in the quest towards pay equality!
As a newly-qualified lawyer you’ll find a variety of opportunities depending on what type of career you want. For starters, you’ll find a number of full-service law firms with branches in Manchester—it could be that you end up working for a name you’ve heard of before, or even somewhere you’ve done a vacation scheme. A lot of the national firms have their headquarters in London, so working for such a firm in Manchester would give you the chance to work for a big firm in a smaller office.
You could also work for a regional firm with multiple branches across the North West. Some of these firms specialise in areas such as conveyancing, personal injury and employment law—others are corporate and commercial law firms. If you’re hankering after a slightly more relaxed office culture, it could be that a regional firm in Manchester is for you.
Manchester is an excellent place for young, newly qualified lawyers, and as a result you’ll enjoy an active social life with like-minded professionals. Upon arrival, it’s a good idea to get in touch with the Manchester Trainee Solicitors Group (MTSG)—especially if you’re worried about moving to a new city full of strangers. The MTSG is a network of young trainees and newly-qualified lawyers—you can expect socials and sporting fixtures as well as education and charity events in this highly active group of young lawyers.
On top of that, there’s also the Manchester Law Society—a specific organisation of lawyers from all backgrounds who are working in Manchester which has been around since 1838. It has awards ceremonies, regular events, and education initiatives—and it’s a chance to be part of a community of over 3,000 lawyers. You can also investigate what the Law Society has in place for lawyers in the North West.
A visit to Manchester could be an overwhelming experience if you’ve never been before—especially if you’re trying to get your head around the city centre and the suburbs of Greater Manchester. But an extended stay will reveal that while Manchester is big, it’s also friendly, and not without the famous northern charm.
There’ll be plenty of chances to get your cultural fix on your days off—head to the beautiful Whitworth Art Gallery on Oxford Road, delve into Manchester's industrial roots in the Science and Industry Museum. Or, check out the Imperial War Museum North—not only does it offer a thorough education of the World Wars, but it’s also an architectural marvel, with a viewing platform that offers panoramic views of the city.
One of the most exciting aspects of Manchester is its multiculturalism—it’s a very international city, with up to 200 languages spoken at any one time. The Jewish community is the largest outside of London, the Chinatown is the third largest in Europe, and there are also huge Middle-Eastern and South Asian communities within the city. It is a city which feels like home to everyone.
It’s hard to live in Manchester without at some point being exposed to the wealth of music culture. You can catch huge stadium headliners in the Manchester Arena—as one of the largest arenas in the North-West, the atmosphere is always incredible.
The Apollo and the Academy guarantee more intimate gig experiences, and there is a barrage of smaller venues to check out—The Deaf Institute and The Ruby Lounge to name but two. If you wander through the pubs and bars of Manchester in early evening, the chances are you’ll stumble across some live music at some point. With giants such as The Smiths, Joy Division and Oasis to look up to, the local talent scene is not to be missed by the discerning music lover.
If you ever get tired of the music, you’ll be glad to know that Manchester has the fastest growing food and drink scene in the country. The Corn Exchange, Spinningfields and The Printworks are all worth investigating if you’re a foodie or cocktail connoisseur.
- Head to the Northern Quarter for a spot of vintage clothes shopping, followed by a pit stop to refuel at the The Koffee Pot.
- Take a day trip from Manchester Piccadilly to the Peak District to escape the city and get some fresh country air into your lungs.
- Enjoy a cocktail or two below the arches at Deansgate Locks—and maybe finish your evening at the The Comedy Store with some food and (hopefully) hilarity.
- Experience the palatial grandeur and sprawling shops of the The Trafford Centre—the shopping centre’s Great Hall has what is believed to be the largest chandelier in the world.
- Before you head home for Christmas, take a wander through the Manchester Christmas Markets to stock up on gifts, delicious food and hot chocolate. Every year the streets of the city centre are lined with traditional chalets and filled with delicious smells.
Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria, and Manchester Oxford Road stations serve a myriad of destinations all over the country, and London is just a two-hour train journey away. If you need to get further afield, Manchester Airport is the largest in the North, with flights to destinations worldwide. Living in the city centre means you’ll never be more than a 30-minute drive away from the airport.
Within Manchester itself you’ve got the Metrolink tram network that serves ideal living destinations such as Salford. You’ll soon discover the beauty of the Magic Bus (which costs just £1.50) and the Metro Shuttle Bus (which is free). Alongside these services, regular buses keep the city connected. Yet it’s also possible to walk and cycle if you’d rather keep costs low.
The life of a trainee solicitor: Manchester edition
With strong ties to corporate and private equity scenes, and positioned as a thriving northern city, Manchester is one of the most exciting legal hubs in the UK. We spoke to Mohsin Patel, trainee solicitor at Squire Patton Boggs, about his experience working at the firm’s Manchester office.
Training as a solicitor in Manchester: TLT
We spoke to Michael El Gawly, a third seat trainee in the Manchester office of TLT, to find out why he decided to apply to train at TLT and what the application process was like.