We caught up with Alyce – a Trainee Solicitor, Nicola – Legal Director and Zeshan – a Senior Associate to hear about their experiences in Clyde & Co’s Manchester office.
How would you describe the culture in the Manchester office in a few words?
Alyce: A close-knit community
Nicola: Friendly, inclusive and supportive
Zeshan: Very multicultural and diverse
What makes the culture at Clyde & Co in Manchester unique?
Nicola: The Manchester office has the feel of a small office, even though there’s over 500 people (only just behind the size of the London office). Not much has changed culture-wise over the years I’ve worked here, despite it having grown significantly. Everyone is so welcoming, there’s lots of social events going on, and different teams are often mixing together. It’s genuinely a really friendly place to work – there’s loads of social events going on, different teams mix together and there’s good rapport between everyone. Manchester is such a vibrant city and that seeps into the office, it’s like one big community, and that’s a really stand-out factor for me.
Alyce: As a trainee cohort there’s only 10 of us, which is a lot smaller than in London, and this makes the training process a lot more intimate and we get to know each other much more. The culture is very supportive and there’s a real comradery between us, it doesn’t feel like a rivalry between the trainees. We also have a dedicated early careers member based in Manchester which gives us all an opportunity to form a much closer relationship, so I don’t feel like just another number as part of a bigger group of trainees.
Zeshan: When people from other offices come to Manchester, they say it has a very friendly atmosphere, which I think describes it well. The office is very open plan and it’s easy for teams to cross-pollinate, rather than people being hidden away behind glass doors. Like Nicola, I’ve found the culture hasn’t changed in the years I’ve been here. It’s sociable, friendly and not competitive at all – there’s lots of initiatives to get involved with too like Pryde & Co and ACED which really adds to the community feel.
Why did you decide to join Clyde & Co’s Manchester office rather than their other regional locations?
Alyce: It was the firm that drew me in most of all – I wanted to be part of Clyde & Co. Although I grew up in the South, I went to university in Liverpool and have a lot of friends up here, so I thought Manchester would be a great option for me. As soon as I joined on my vacation scheme, I thought it was such a friendly environment, why would I go anywhere else? I think some people have the view that if it’s not in London, it’s not worth being there, but I firmly believe that’s not the case. I think it’s a big mistake for students not to consider regional offices like Manchester and Newcastle for example, because they each have their own unique strengths. I was also quite interested in working in Healthcare Law, which is a big part of what we do in the Manchester office, so this was a draw for me too.
Nicola: What attracted me to the Manchester office is there’s lots of opportunities to get involved in the business at different levels. The team here put you on training programmes to identify where your skillset lies and the areas you’d like to develop – they deal with you as an individual, rather than simply looking at your level of experience and fitting you in a box. We have a continuous development process so your managers can discover where you’d like your career to go and are fully supportive of that. This is unique in comparison to other firms – many have a strict system where after ‘x’ number of years you’ll end up in ‘x’ role, but at Clyde & Co in Manchester, you have real input intothe development of your career..
Zeshan: I’ve grown up in Manchester, and as one of the first in my family to go to university I decided to study in Manchester too – so for security, I didn’t really look into other regional locations. A lot of the reason I chose Manchester was necessity, I can’t romanticise it, but it has worked out so well for me here. I’ve grown and developed so much at Clyde & Co, I’m like a different person to how I was when I started, so I’m really grateful for my experience here.
Which sectors does the Manchester office specialise in?
Nicola: The Manchester office has a large casualty presence. This is broken down into occupational disease which is the area I specialise in, catastrophic injury and large loss,EL/PL and motor claims. We also have departments who specialise in aviation, real estate, marine, employment, professional and financial disputes, property and liability, regulatory and construction..
What would you miss most about working in Manchester if you were to move locations?
Nicola: Firstly, it would be the people. We’ve got a really close-knit team although we’ve grown a lot in size. It’s very friendly, in our team we make sure everyone gets a birthday card, it’s things like that I’d really miss. I’d also miss the bars and restaurants in Manchester because they’re amazing – in fact I’m missing them a lot being in lockdown at the moment! The office is located right in the city centre, in the hub of where everything’s going on, so I’d miss the general atmosphere and vibe too.
Alyce: I’d definitely miss the friendly aspect of living in Manchester. For example, when you walk down the street people will smile and taxi drivers will strike up conversations with you – being from down South, this seemed bizarre at first but now when I go back home, I start to miss it. Also, at the moment I live roughly a 10-minute walk from the office, so being able to enjoy my salary, not spending too much on rent and having such a short commute is definitely something I’d miss.
Zeshan: I’d miss the lifestyle in Manchester of being on the doorstep of this hive of fun – whether its shopping, going out and seeing friends, going to the gym, all of these things are within a short walk for a lot of people. Equally, you can get to Cheshire and the other side of Manchester, into the countryside, within about half an hour from the city centre, which is a huge bonus.
What are some typical social activities your team enjoy doing in Manchester?
Alyce: As our trainee intake is so small, we do tend so socialise with each other as well as joining the wider team socials. As trainees, every Friday we tended to go to the pub around the corner for a drink and a catch up – as we’re in lockdown at the moment, this has been replaced with virtual quizzes and the like. With the wider team, at Christmas for example, the Partner took us round the Christmas market for lunch and some mulled wine, which was a lovely activity. There’s also the Manchester Trainee Solicitors Group, which brings together trainees across all different firms in the area and they put on regular events such as a Christmas ball and Casino Night, as well as qualification/careers talks too – this is a great opportunity to mix with other people and learn about different firms.
Nicola: I like socialising a lot and there are lots of opportunities to get involved. Generally, as a firm we have lots of social events, for example there’s a summer BBQ every year, a big Christmas party, quizzes, bingo, and so on – we try to ensure different teams mingle and you get to know people throughout the office. . We also have lunches to catch up and chat about things outside of work. There’s lots of other opportunities like sports teams and competitions, as well as events hosted by our charity and social committee, One Community, and diversity groups like Pryde & Co. There’s really something for everyone!
Zeshan: One recent social event was Go Karting which we did in the city centre. It was a really fun experience because it brought out people’s competitive sides, all together in the overalls with the hum of the engines in the background. There were all sorts of banter, people crashing into each other and so on – just one example of the fun we get up to at Clyde & Co Manchester.
Would you like to join Clyde & Co's Manchester office? Apply to their Vacation Scheme here.