Manchester is widely recognised as the UK's second most important legal centre, after London. A number of the country's leading law firms have offices in the city and compete with established regional firms, so there are many employment opportunities for trainees and qualified staff.
Part of the reason Manchester is such an attractive location for legal firms is the quality of the courses at local universities and law schools. The city is also north-west England's commercial hub and there is plenty of scope to secure corporate work.
Addleshaw Goddard, DLA Piper, Eversheds and Pinsent Masons are the largest commercial law firms in Manchester, but they face strong competition for other types of work. Squire Sanders and Cobbetts both have excellent reputations in the property sector, while Irwin Mitchell and Pannone are the market leaders in personal injury and clinical negligence.
While the large firms are the major employers of solicitors, legal executives, paralegals and legal secretaries in Manchester, there is also a wide selection of smaller firms that need qualified staff and practice managers. Alternatively, solicitors, legal executives and trainees can find work with in-house legal teams and public sector organisations in the city.
Most of the jobs handled by legal recruitment agencies in Manchester are permanent, although they also supply temporary support and administration staff. Salaries are usually slightly above the national average, with paralegals paid £18,000 to £20,000 a year and newly-qualified solicitors earning between £30,000 and £40,000.