An Overview of the Family Law Market in Yorkshire

Posted on 22/2/2021 by Lucy Wickham

Despite the pandemic, a number of Yorkshire firms are looking to recruit in family, so it’s quite an exciting time if you’re a family paralegal or family solicitor looking to move.  

Leeds is undoubtedly the region’s main legal hub and one of the busiest legal sectors outside of London, with 28 of the UK’s top law firms have offices there. However, outside of Leeds, there are plenty of excellent firms, both large and small, elsewhere including in Sheffield, Harrogate, Huddersfield and Bradford. 

Here’s a roundup of the main players in the market to help you better understand the kinds of firms you might like to work at as a family lawyer in Yorkshire. 

If you want to work at a large full-service firm... 

number of leading full-service firms have offices in Leeds city centre, including Mills & Reeve, Weightmans, Ward Hadaway and Shoosmiths. Each of these firms have Legal 500 family teams, handle good-quality work and provide their lawyers with great salaries and benefits packages. 

These firms are often preferred by junior or mid-level family lawyers living in or close to the city centre. Not only is their central location convenient, but working at a larger firm early in your career can help to open doors later down the line. 

If you want to handle London-quality work... 

In the last 20 years, a number of traditionally London-based firms have decided to open offices in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, to capitalise on the opportunities on offer outside of the capital. 

One such firm is Stewarts Law, a Tier 1 litigation specialist practice that set up the firm's Yorkshire hub in Leeds in 2003. The lawyers at Stewarts typically handle high-value family disputes of the same quality and complexity as the work handled at the firm’s London head office (and enjoy salaries comparable with their southern colleagues)They were recently named Large Firm of the Year at the Yorkshire Legal Awards. 

If you’d prefer a family boutique... 

Instead of a multi-service firm, you might like to work at a specialist practice that deals exclusively with family work. At a boutique firm, you’re likely to be exposed to a wider range of family matters and have the chance to gain more hands-on experience. What’s more, you’ll be working alongside lawyers who are specialists and have more opportunities to refine your technical skills.  

Jones Myers is a highly regarded family boutique consistently recommended by the Legal 500 and Chambers. They specialise in divorce matters, financial remedy cases and child abduction cases and regularly deal with high-net-worth and cross-jurisdiction matters. They were named Family Law Firm of the Year North at the Family Law Awards and have offices in Leeds, York and Harrogate. 

If you want a good work-life balance... 

A number of firms have realised there's more to life than work and embraced the concept of flexibility and agile working. 

Sheffield-headquartered Irwin Michell now allow their lawyers to choose how often they’d like to work from home and how frequently they’d like to work in the office. They have a strong national team and offer a competitive salary and extensive benefits package.  

Simpson Millar are another national firm that offers a great deal of flexibility. Their Legal 500 family team (who focus primarily on privately funded family matters) are based in Leeds but are able to work from home 100% of the time.  

If you’d like to work at a smaller firm with a good reputation... 

You don’t have to join a large national firm to handle good-quality work. Several smaller firms also offer lawyers the chance to deal with interesting and challenging cases 

One example is Consilia Legal. Their down-to-earth, close-knit team are specialists in family and employment law and are recognised by both Chambers and the Legal 500 and have offices. While Consilia’s head office is in Leeds, they also have an office in Harrogate and have clients across North and West Yorkshire. 

Bell & Buxton in Sheffield is another firm with a smaller but very well-respected family team. They handle all aspects of family law including finances, child issues and proceedings, and domestic abuse matters and offer all of their lawyers flexible and home workingThe team features in the latest edition of the Legal 500 and in 2017, they won The Family Law Award at The Yorkshire Legal Awards. 

If you want to do care work... 

Ison Harrison are a well-established regional firm, with offices across West YorkshireIn addition to having a sizeable family department, they’re one of the few multi-service firms in the area with a dedicated childcare team.  

There’s also Ridley & Hall, an award-winning firm with a Legal 500 family department and a dedicated care team with a national reputation. They have offices in Leeds, Pontefract and Huddersfield and in  

Lastly, there's Makin Dixon, a specialist family law practice and one of the ten biggest legal aid firms in the UK. They handle the full spectrum of family law work, including children matters and care proceedings and have multiple offices including in Leeds, Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield. 

Are you a family lawyer in Yorkshire looking to take your step? 

At Realm, I specialise in the recruitment of family solicitors in Yorkshire. To have a confidential conversation about your career and to learn a little more about the opportunities available, give me a call on 03300 245 606 or email lucy.wickham@realmrecruit. 

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