Regional focus: The reverse commute
30 September 2013 | By Richard Simmons
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Love London but don’t want to work in the City? There are plenty of good firms within easy reach of the capital, meaning you can get a strong regional training without giving up the bright lights
Distance from Central London: 51 miles
Commute: M1 or 40 minutes by train from Euston
Prominent firms: Dentons, Freeth Cartwright, Shoosmiths
Northampton used to be the main legal hub for this part of the world but new town Milton Keynes has stolen its crown. Businesses headquartered here include Argos, Domino’s Pizza and Mercedes-Benz.
“I live in London and commute to Shoosmiths’ Milton Keynes office. The Milton Keynes employment team acts for a range of UK blue chip and household name clients. It’s relatively easy to get there – I travel three stops by Tube on the Victoria Line from Finsbury Park to Euston. Virgin runs a regular fast train from Euston to Milton Keynes. The total journey time is about an hour door-to-door, and I pass the time keeping up with employment law or the news.”
Bhavika Badola, solicitor, Shoosmiths
Distance from Central London: 41 miles
Commute: M4 or 25 minutes by train from Paddington
Prominent firms: Boyes Turner, Olswang, Osborne Clarke, Manches, Morgan Cole, Pitmans
The Thames Valley’s key business centre is home to a sizeable legal market. The large number of IT and life sciences companies in the region draws many firms with expertise in technology, such as Olswang and Osborne Clarke.
“I commute from London Bridge to Reading, taking the Jubilee line to Baker Street then the Bakerloo line to Paddington. It’s then a 25-minute train journey to Reading. Our office is a few minutes on foot from Reading train station. All running smoothly, the journey takes me about an hour and 15 minutes. I always get a seat from Paddington, but my annual season ticket is more than £4,000 per year so it’s a costly commute. With great transport links and its proximity to London, Reading has attracted many leading technology and telecoms companies, which are the type of clients that Osborne Clarke services.”
Kate Meadows, associate, Osborne Clarke
Distance from Central London: 32 miles
Commute: A3 or 30 minutes by train from Waterloo
Prominent local firms: Charles Russell, Clyde & Co, Stevens & Bolton
The county town of Surrey is home to both wealthy private clients and a number of big businesses – Colgate, Ericsson and Allianz Insurance all have their UK headquarters here.
“I commute from SE1 London to Guildford. Ten minutes on foot to Waterloo, then a half-full 30- minute train journey. It’s a surprisingly therapeutic way to start the day. I drink a coffee and think about what I have to do at work. Guildford is a strong business centre with big names such as Sony setting up in the impressive property developments. The town is not too far from London to stop clients from making the trip, and there’s are lots of high net-worth individuals in Surrey. It’s ideal for a firm with expertise in financial services and private wealth.”
Simon McIlroy, trainee, Charles Russell
Distance from Central London: 21 miles
Commute: A40 or 25 minutes by train from Marylebone
Prominent firms: BP Collins
Gerrards Cross is one of the most expensive places to live in the country, with celebrity residents including Paul Daniels and Gary Lineker. It’s no wonder that law firm BP Collins has set up shop there, catering to the needs of the well-to-do.
“I take the London Underground every morning from East Acton station to West Ruislip. Looking across to the hordes of commuters squeezing into a train on the eastbound platform always makes me smile, as I jump on the train and find a seat without fail. Twenty minutes later I’m in West Ruislip, where I hop on the 8.45 Chiltern mainline train for a 10-minute journey to Gerrards Cross, getting me to work for a 9am start. There is a good train service back into London with trains running about every 20 minutes and more often at peak times. Gerrards Cross is the perfect location to service clients in London and its surrounds – the journey into London Marylebone takes about 25 minutes. There is also a huge high net-worth market on our doorstep for the firm’s private client focus.”
Sian Thomas, associate, BP Collins
Distance from Central London: 39 miles
Commute: A21 or one hour by train from Charing Cross
Prominent local firms: Cripps Harries Hall, Thomson Snell & Passmore
Like Guildford, the refined Royal Tunbridge Wells has a mix of wealthy private clients and businesses that law firms cater to.
“I don’t see my journey from London to Tunbridge Wells as a reverse commute at all – the quality of work that I get involved in is similar to any good London firm. The only difference being that I always get a seat on the train.”
William Bishop, trainee, Cripps Harries Hall