Posted in Latest News on 7 Jun 2021
It is difficult to talk about 2020 without an overstatement, so we will simply say that it was a unique and tough year in many ways. The impact of the pandemic and the lockdowns has been profound and widespread. Given the circumstances, overall hiring in 2020 held up remarkably well. Codex Edge recorded over 7,000 individual moves of England & Wales lawyers during the year.
Studies show that the number of lawyers moving to London from the major regional centres compared to moving away from London is 2.1%. There was also an increase in Manchester by 1.4%, but decreases in Leeds (6.3%), and Birmingham (11.4%) according to the latest report from Codex Edge. Only Manchester among the leading regional cities had a net gain of lawyers in 2020.
During 2020, more lawyers joined London-based companies than leaving them, contrary to some forecasts and speculation in the legal media. There was some speculation that lawyers would now choose to relocate to regional centres in order to better their quality of life. Rather, there were more migration from provincial cities to London than vice versa. Whatever the internal economic circumstances that may influence lawyers' choice of location, London will continue to be the epicentre of the legal sector in the UK.
Regional cities cannot match London salaries however, the cheaper cost of living in other regions and shorter travel times for many counterbalances this to some extent. Contrary to popular belief, the shift to more flexible working hours may make many ‘London' jobs more appealing, as there will be less temptation to commute every day.
The top 5 specialisms for new hires in London in 2020 were:
Manchester was the most favoured regional city for relocating in 2020. Likely factors in the popularity of Manchester are that it is a very robust and diverse legal centre, with a booming economy. The regeneration of Spinningfields' legal and financial district, as well as Castlefield, has given the area a significant boost. Manchester lawyers enjoy the combined perks of a relatively low cost of living and an above-average salary. Manchester also has one of the lowest gender pay gaps in the country compared to other cities, so it’s doing well in working towards pay equality.
The top 5 specialisms for new hires in Manchester in 2020 were:
Birmingham is constantly competing with Manchester for the title of the UK's unofficial "second city," although it cannot match Manchester legally. With a GDP of £122 billion, the West Midlands region has a greater economy than Hungary. There is a diverse range of clients within Birmingham, from insurance and financial services to a vast real estate market. In addition with the large business clients, there is a thriving SME sector within the Midlands.
The top 5 specialisms for new hires in Birmingham in 2020 were:
Leeds has an increasing number of undergraduates, with many legal training providers joining the area in recent years, together with a diverse range of firms, making it a key legal hub. Leeds is home to a number of prominent regional businesses, some of which operate primarily in Leeds or Yorkshire. This is reflected in Leeds having the second highest number of lawyers moves in 2020 amongst regional cities, however still behind Manchester but far ahead of Birmingham.
The top 5 specialisms for new hires in Leeds in 2020 were:
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