If you live in the south of England and you want to make progress in your law career, how likely are you to think of looking for legal jobs in Leeds?
The answer is not very likely if you are similar to me who knows everywhere in the south like the back of my hand, including London, and only associates the Midlands and the North, apart from Liverpool and the Beatles, with dark, Satanic mills, terrace houses as per Coronation Street and relentless rain. Oh, I forgot about the beauties of the Lake District but there is still lots of rain.
Of course, none of us can do anything about the rain in Leeds, or Manchester or Birmingham for that matter, but I was amazed to find how highly Yorkshire's chief city rates not just in the UK but internationally for its vibrant business, financial and legal community.
Although its original wealth was based on the sheep which roamed the surrounding Pennines, there's nothing woolly about the powerhouse which has resulted in a huge range of employment opportunities, from manufacturing to biotech, creative to service industries that now exist in the city and surrounding area.
As well as being the largest centre for business and finance services outside the capital, according to UK Legal 500, it is the most important legal centre in the country apart from London.
Leeds is the home of the regional headquarters of the Bank of England as well as being the base for more than 30 national and international banks, including the Yorkshire Bank; and HSBC set up its telephone bank First Direct in the Hunslet area south of the city centre, one of 18 major call centre businesses.
A convenient geographical situation with motorway connections north, south, east and west, railway connections across the UK and Leeds-Bradford airport mean quick public and private transport wherever you want to go.
One of the attractions of moving to Leeds and improving your promotion prospects, whether you are a barrister, solicitor, paralegal or legal executive, is the huge range of positions available across all fields of law work.
Not only is the major combined courts complex a focus for criminal and civil work across the region but, with so many accountancy, banking, insurance and industrial businesses needing the services of legal professionals, there is ample opportunity to specialise and diversify into fields such as commercial and corporate or public administration.
With two universities and a multi-cultural population, Leeds is a place buzzing with vitality.