Company Culture | City Firms

At a City firm, you’ll be part of a large and diverse workforce—most firms with headquarters in the City employ up to hundreds of people in one office. This means that you’ll be at the forefront of what is going on, but it will be fast-paced—and you can expect longer working hours. Work might be stressful, but you’ll be working with some of the biggest national and international clients, making for a rewarding and exciting experience of law.

This means that City firms are competitive. You’ll have to pull out all the stops to show that you’re a candidate with the potential to go far. City offices may be the UK headquarters of that particular firm, and will employ a large workforce. This means that they put a lot of effort into recruitment, taking on many trainees and NQ lawyers each year. You can expect a large number of colleagues who are a similar age to you, and at a similar stage in their career—you certainly won’t be the only new person within the firm!

City law firm employees are also notoriously well-paid, even at trainee level. It’s no secret that living in London can be expensive, but many law firms more than compensate for this, paying well above the average wages paid by other sectors.

If you’ve always wanted to work on an international level, it’s likely that you’ll have the opportunity to do so at a City firm; the firm will likely have offices worldwide, giving you the opportunity to liaise with a variety of people, and maybe even travel with work.

Type of Work | City Firms

Given their close proximity to London’s financial centre, and the extensive resources at their disposal, it’s not surprising that a lot of City law firms work with the financial services and banking giants. Clients of City firms include, but are by no means limited to, the FTSE 100; London serves as a gateway to the rest of the world, so you’ll most likely find yourself working on international projects with jurustictions and clients who are based abroad, too.

Many City firms are full-service law firms—they offer a variety of services in all areas of law, recognising that their London-based clients have a variety of needs. Others will have special departments, or whole offices, devoted to a specific area of law, such as Media or Medical law.

Given that many City firms serve big-business clients in London and beyond, you can expect your workload to be very business-focused: think mergers & acquisitions, corporate law, litigation and commercial law. However, many firms also have departments outside of this group: criminal law, human rights law and family law are all possible areas of practice, as are more specialist fields such as media and sports law.

Where will I be working? | City Firms

You’re likely to be based between Temple and Chancery Lane Underground stations. Some law firms are closer to the City of London, but all are generally within Central London. From the Law Society headquarters to a lot of the Inns of Court, this area of London is very law-centric—but you’ve also got the offices and headquarters of some of the biggest companies in business and finance right on your doorstep.

It perhaps goes without saying that working for a City firm means you’ll have the opportunity to live and work in London. There’s nothing quite like living in the capital—you’ll find yourself among the most diverse population in the country, and with the Law Society headquarters on your doorstep, chances to socialise and connect with fellow lawyers will never be far away.

Living in London also gives you a lot of options. It’s incredibly well-connected in terms of transport, so while you’ll be working at a firm in central London, you could opt to live in one of London’s many boroughs. Each offers a different experience—living south of the river, for example, is going to feel completely different to living in East London.

A City firm is going to offer a fast-paced and exciting workload, and in your downtime, London will be very similar. Take advantage of London’s parks and museums at the weekends, catch some theatre, or take part in one of the many, many festivals and annual events that dominate the city. With an ever-expanding network of bars and clubs, coupled with 24-hour transport, you also can’t beat London at night.

Is this the right type of firm for me?

A City law firm is for you if…

- You thrive under pressure.

- You can hold your own as part of a large team.

- The idea of relocating to London is thrilling.

You may want to reconsider if…

- You’re looking for a more relaxed route into law.

- You dislike London and want to stay close to home.

- You want to know the name of everyone at your firm.

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