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War on Talent - Is it regional or city v city?

Last week, we were invited by East Midlands Business News to co-sponsor a discussion with Freeths on some of the key findings of the recent Legal 500 report.

Many different topics emerged but one that engaged the room and later made the headlines, was the "war on talent" that the region's firms are currently engaged in. 

Julian Middleton.jpg

Julian Middleton, who heads up Freeths headquarters in Nottingham, commented that:

“The East Midlands legal sector is, for some reason, seen as inferior to that in London and other bigger cities around the UK. What we have to do is make sure our local sector is seen to be as attractive as possible to those who are looking to relocate, or those who have just qualified. We should celebrating what the region has to offer – the quality of life here is much better than in London, and we need to sell that."

It was a great point. The question is, who is "we"? The region’s legal presence needs to be championed by all of us who influence it, from solicitors to barristers, recruiters to the media. It is similar to the approach Birmingham took in the past when it was looking to become the second legal centre to London. To coin a phrase, we are all in this together if we want to stop the brain drain of our newly qualified solicitors out of the region and down to the bright lights of London.

Is the grass really greener? Many in the room mentioned that when hiring recently qualified solicitors who HAD spent their formative years in London, the nature of the work they had performed was not always as in depth as their local peers. It was almost a wasted couple of years, compared to the solicitors who had been given a role with greater responsibilities here in the East Midlands. 

It was even noted that some London trained lawyers had never even met a client!  In the long run, if they want access to quality work and clients our home grown talent may be better placed to develop their careers here.

So how do we push this message? Can we come together as a region or is it likely to end in a Nottingham v Derby v Leicester tug of war? Is the war for talent in the region in danger of being conquered by division? We would welcome your thoughts on this and indeed any other aspect of our exhaustive survey, which goes into a wide range of key issues when it comes to hiring. Please email jane@bygott-biggs.co.uk with your comments.

You can download a copy of the survey here.

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