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Most law students still fixed on moving to London

By John Hyde >>

(27 January 2023)

The majority of law graduates are still looking to work in London and are prepared to relocate to follow their dream job, a survey has found.

The poll of 500 UK-based second and third year law students found that 80% felt it was important that the firms they apply for are located in London.

On average, students intending on going into law would be happy to relocate 55 miles for a training contract.

The figures suggest the lure of London is still strong for new entrants to the profession, despite firms increasingly sending high-calibre work to regional hubs and the cost of a move to the capital. There appears to have also been little effect from the pandemic on the popularity of hybrid working and dispersion of the workforce.

The survey, commissioned by south east firm Birketts, found a large number of respondents with specific ideas of what they wanted and the type of firms they intended to apply for.

More than half of the students intended to apply to just three or four firms for training contracts, with 80% of those surveyed saying that the firms they choose will all be of the same type. There was an even split between those preferring to undertake their training at a high street, full-service or specialist firm.

The type of law practised was the biggest drivers for undergraduates choosing which firm to apply for, closely followed by the profitability of the firm, where the firm sits in industry rankings and the reputation of the firm as an employer.

The work-life balance offered by prospective firms came seventh in the list of priorities, with just 16.8% saying this would be a key driver for their choice of firm.

Job security was the most common reason for students wanting to go into law, with the enjoyment of negotiating, financial rewards and interesting nature of the work also factors.

Amy Meyer, graduate recruitment manager at Birketts, said: ‘It is surprising to learn that the majority of undergraduates will only apply to three or four firms, as I had expected this to be higher. However, what is clear from this and the other insights, is that those intending to go into law know what they want from firms as employers and practitioners. As recruiters, we need to fulfil these needs if we are going to continue to attract talent into the profession.’

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)