Bristol’s legal sector: the jewel of the South West

by Heat Recruitment

By Dan Hazzard

Known for its culture and thriving business scene, Bristol has been named the best place to live in the UK for another year. As well as thriving in the arts and in popularity, Bristol is flourishing in another sector – Legal. Bristol has the largest legal sector outside of London and together with the rest of the South West, contributes a massive £1.6bn to the UK’s economy.

With some of the country’s largest, multi-million-pound legal firms now well established in Bristol, it’s not difficult to see why firms have been, and continue to, prosper in the area. Osborne Clark, Burges Salmon, and TLT are some of the most profitable legal organisations in the UK – each of these began in Bristol, and continue to hold their head offices in there.

TLT Solicitors alone is a growing firm and has gone on to open successful offices in six other cities around the UK, turning over £62.5m in the 2014-2015 year. Legal firms in Bristol now take up a massive 874,321 square foot of floorspace, equating to 165.5 miles. In fact, the majority of Bristol’s offices have a legal specialism.

Indeed, the UK’s legal sector is now valued at £26bn per year, with 8% growth seen last year – a significant portion of that value now sits within Bristol. Today, law firms are increasingly less reliant on London-based organisations for their requirements. With Brexit fast approaching, the renegotiation of contracts – both domestic and international – will be front of mind for continued effective operation. The demand for legal specialists in the UK will only grow, with strong growth now forecast for Bristol.

Even though London still remains the leading city for legal firms, there are a multitude of reasons why Bristol is desirable – particularly for top talent. The city is 22% cheaper to live than London, with a typical house price of £261,900, compared to that seen in London which could set you back £488,700. Bristol’s city centre is also known as a ‘walkable’ city, unlike London where your cash will be spent on taxi fares, Oyster cards and buses to get you around the city.

If you are having to travel to London for business, then good news – Bristol’s location means an easy commute to the capital, taking just 2 hours 20 minutes by car, and an hour and a half on the train. Where London is the UK’s number one city for congestion, Bristol comes way lower in at number 10.

When it comes to academia, Bristol is home to one of the very best law schools in the UK “in terms of research capacity and performance” (University of Bristol). The university is also ranked 44 in the world’s top universities. With Bristol’s huge legal specialism, graduates in the city are sitting pretty.

Plenty of large and small firms are based in Bristol and continue to successfully build their brand and outreach – ourselves included. Heat Recruitment has over 12 years’ experience in working in the legal sector. Our Legal team are experts at filling vacancies from junior to senior level hires within small, independent and local firms, as well as The legal 500. Can we help you find your next role? get in touch with us today.

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