An oasis of excellence, where every Monday is happy – or not?

Manchester’s Lowry complex. Photo: Shutterstock


This series of articles takes a look at certain places around England, outside London, where you might choose to get a legal job. This time, we’re heading to Manchester.

Why would I want to live there?

You might think you know all there is to know about Manchester, having watched an episode or two of Coronation Street. It’s all terraced houses, whippets and women wearing curlers, where blue collar workers say unintelligible things about goin’ down t’pit.

In reality, the Rover’s Return would by now have been turned into a gastropub. The flat caps are now only worn by hipsters, the mills have been turned into warehouse apartments and the hotpot comes with a jus reduction.

In other words, Manchester is pretty flash.

If you’re into the outdoors, Manchester is at the centre of a perfect triangle, with the Peak District, Snowdonia and the Lakes all on the doorstep (ish). It’s also on the edge of the Pennines, so you’re never far from open space to clear your head after a tricky week at work.

For culture, this is the city of music. It gave us Oasis, The Smiths, Joy Division, New Order, the Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays, Elbow and Gomez. If scruffy northerners playing guitars and telling people to f**k off aren’t your thing, Bridgewater Hall is a pretty spectacular classical concert venue.

For lawyers, the work is some of the best outside London, with a low cost of living to compensate for the reduced salaries. It apparently has the fastest growing economy in Britain outside London, with over 2,000 foreign enterprises, so there’s definitely a buzz about the place.

In fact, apart from the weather, Manchester is a pretty perfect city in which to live.

So break it down for me…

The city centre used to be the very epitome of it being grim up north, with the decline of manufacturing leaving the place in a right state. However, things changed after the IRA bomb in 1996. It was a tragedy, but the silver lining was that it acted as a catalyst for substantial redevelopment.

The areas around The Triangle and The Printworks are now full of bars and cafes and, if it ever stops raining long enough, big screens are put up to show sporting events. There are still a lot of loud northerners spending their hard earned cash on getting wasted, but now they do it in nicer surroundings.

Further out, Didsbury and Sale are popular places for young professionals. It’s like Clapham, but with trams to replace the tube and rent at a third of the price. Rusholme is student-central, but worth a visit for the infamous Curry Mile.

Oldham and Rochdale are to the north of the city. It’s a landscape of bleak moorland studded with disused mill chimneys. This is where Gordon Brown called that lady a bigot and maps of the city show ‘here be dragons’.

What kind of work might I do?

Manchester was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, but these days things are a bit more high tech, with environmental and biotechnology, engineering and aviation all being key sectors, driven by innovation at the several universities in the city. Fieldfisher is a law firm to look at if technology is your thing.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff happening in the public sector in this part of the world, with ten local councils leading the combined authority approach. It was also where the co-operative movement started, and the Co-operative Group still have their headquarters in the city. Trowers & Hamlins is a firm worth a look if this sort of thing floats your boat.

Otherwise, Manchester is a particular hub for creativity. As well as the BBC, large parts of which were moved up to Media City at Salford Quays, Arts Council England and ITV are based in the city.


It ain’t pretty. There’s not much green space in the city and the shopping centre is dominated by the Arndale Centre, a concrete monstrosity. But in contrast to London, it’s not hard to get out and into those beautiful national parks.

It does rain a LOT and several weeks can go by without it ever seeming to get properly light.

Biggest law firms in the city

Fieldfisher, Trowers & Hamlins, Eversheds, Pannone, DLA Piper, Slater Heelis, Irwin Mitchell

Learn the lingo

Ya daft apeth, it’s well mint becomes You silly sausage, it’s actually jolly good.

Niche fact

Manchester began life as a Roman fort settlement called Mamicium, which derives from a Celtic word meaning ‘breast-shaped hill’. And London comes from the Norse meaning arse-shaped valley. We think.

Do say…

Pint of Boddies, lass.

Don’t say…

I support United.


Tempted? Have a look at our current vacancies in Manchester here. LM

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