English lawyers take the high road

A poor work-life balance and the high cost of living is leading English lawyers to head north of the border to practise, according to Scottish law firms and recruiters.

Alison Burgin, head of legal recruitment at Badenoch & Clark, said Scotland has seen an influx of City lawyers upping sticks to northern legal centres such as Edinburgh.

“Gone is the perception that you have to be dual-qualified to be a lawyer in Scotland, which has led to many looking for a better of quality of life north of the border,” explained Burgin. “The cheaper cost of living, more flexibility with hours and lower house prices are all factors leading English lawyers to look at their options.”

Robin Garrett, a property partner at Maclay Murray & Spens, said his firm has noticed the trend and explained that clients find it an appealing proposition to be able to see English-qualified lawyers in Scotland instead of having to traipse to London.

On why Scottish firms are looking to attract English-qualifieds, Garrett added: “Many of our clients now work both north and south of the border and so want to have Scottish and English capabilities in both countries, which is why having English lawyers in Scotland is very attractive to us.

“Also, many of our clients now work globally, which means we need to provide the widest possible services. Recruiting English lawyers adds to that.”