If you asked a group of people from outside the West Midlands to list their top 10 favourite Birminghams - of which there are more than 30 around the world - you certainly wouldn't expect everyone to include the version inside the M42
In the Middle Ages the city was known as 'Brummagem' and I don't suppose the fact that the Oxford English Dictionary gives today's meaning of Brummagem as cheap and showy or counterfeit is mentioned in the tourist board's guide to the city.
But things are changing and have been for some time. Valued at 20 shillings in the Domesday Book of 1086, Birmingham is now the UK's largest financial centre outside London and, as a consequence, the city's law firms are enjoying deals of impressive complexity and value. This is not to mention the fact that the expertise and reputations of many of the major firms are such that corporations fed up with paying over inflated London prices are turning to the region.
And forget any preconceptions of a cultureless concrete jungle. Birmingham has enjoyed a leisure, retail and architectural revival, perhaps capped by the regeneration of The Mailbox, the formal Royal Mail sorting office and now the UK's largest mixed-use building, which houses offices, apartments, restaurants and shops, including Emporio Armani and Harvey Nicks.
Still not convinced? Well, did you know that: •The professional financial services sector provides 28 per cent of the West Midlands' gross domestic product (manufacturing comes in at 22 per cent). •Birmingham's National Sea Life Centre boasts the world's only 360û transparent tunnel. •A Birmingham law firm advised on the largest ever sale of off-licences in the UK. •One-third of the jewellery manufactured in the UK is made in Birmingham. •The world's only road junction constructed solely out of pasta is located on the Birmingham section of the M6. •Lawn tennis was invented in Edgbaston. •The UK's third-largest legal property team is based in Birmingham. •Birmingham boasts the largest set of barristers' chambers in the country. •Birmingham has more canals than Venice. •Of the six law firms placed in The Sunday Times '100 Best Companies to Work For', three are based in Birmingham.
So, when all's said and done, our Birmingham is guaranteed to do a great deal more for your legal career than the one in the Arctic Ocean.
Lyndon Jennings is a recruitment consultant at Graham Gill