Updated: Sep 25, 2020
Words by Joe Johnston
There are several different law firms across the world. Where you choose to train will influence your career path. According to figures from the Solicitors Regulation Authority, there are 10,726 practicing firms in England and Wales. To narrow down your search for the firm of your dreams, you should start to decide what type of firm best suits you.
Some points to consider when deciding what type of firm suits you best are:
· The size of the firm you want to work in
· The area you will want to be in
· The type of law each type of firm typically specialises in
International firms operate in many countries all over the world. Although based in the U.K. you will have the opportunity to work with a diverse workforce with colleagues across Europe, Asia, America Africa and more. If you are interested in working within a firm with a global network of clients which has impact worldwide, this firm will suit you. They generally deal with large deals across multiple jurisdictions which require the expertise of specialists and professionals. Due to its international presence, these firms often offer seats abroad and international secondments which gives you the opportunity to travel and build global links. The areas of Law that international firms cover but are not limited to is commonly; corporate law, capital markets, real estate and litigation and disputes.
National firms are based in the U.K. with offices based in cities across the U.K. This option may be ideal for lawyers who do not want to work in London. National firms operate in cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham. Working at a national firm makes it possible to work in various cities across the country while remaining with the same employer. Clients range from UK public and private companies to local and public authorities, and possibly also international businesses who have interests in the UK. The work a lawyer wanting to work in a National firm will undertake will vary between commercial and general practice.
Niche specialise in one or two areas of law only. These types of firms generally deal with areas of law that are of demand and not vastly covered by the larger firms, such as; media law, pensions energy, shipping, and sports law. If you are sure about specialising in a specific field, especially if you already have experience within that industry, a niche firm will be suitable for you. To work in a Niche firm, you should be able to showcase why you want to work within that field.
If the joys of being squashed on the London Underground during the early morning commute to work does not appeal to you, then Regional firms may be for you. With many offices across the region. Regional firms vary in size. Some are large and work on a national level while others are small to medium-sized, based in small cities with offices across one region of the UK. These firms are still commercial firms and are different from, high-street as their revenue is not majorly from legal aid. Their clients range from local organisations to household names as well as companies and local clientele.
High street firms
If you are a lawyer who is looking to grow quickly and work in a field law that affects individuals and the community, then a high-street firm may be the best fit for you. High street firms are normally located in the towns and found within the local areas. High street firms are usually smaller than other type of firms. They typically deal with local businesses and individual issues and matters. The work they generally cover are; conveyancing work, immigration, crime, wills and probate drafting contracts for landlords, dealing with local shop issues and personal injury work. Due to its small size, seat options and opportunities are likely to be limited, however the system is more flexible.