in Careers Advice, Changing Jobs, Relocation

Relocation – Top 10 Tips

Relocation – top 10 tips

Relocation is a stressful and difficult thing to do (apparently a lot of Americans are going to be doing this shortly – I wouldn’t like to be working for the Canadian immigration authorities right now!). Having been involved on numerous occasions with lawyers who have had to do it – with families or on their own – here are our top 10 tips.

1. If you can – find work first.

There are two contrary arguments here. Firstly it is much easier to find work if you live in an area. This is definitely correct. Employers can see the geographical connection and know you are locally based. However it is similarly correct that if you move without having a job you will find it much harder to find work as the stress factor comes into play. It puts pressure on you to bring an income in, and this makes it harder to do well in job interviews and take rational decisions. There is nothing to stop you finding a job, stay locally during the week and then move the family/your house when you can.

2. Thinking about the job, not the location.

Is this is a mistake? Lawyers looking for work will quite often take vacancies due to the location rather than the actual role in question. We think this can be the wrong approach, but understand why decisions are made, particularly when you have family obligations to restrict you to a specific area. Try to sum up the merits of both – is a job going to keep you occupied and the conditions acceptable, but similarly is the commute to work OK?

3. Think about the location.

Whilst some areas of the UK are undoubtedly beautiful, they do not necessarily lend themselves well to an easy life with work. For example, if you choose to move to North Wales and plan to work in Chester or Liverpool, you need to be prepared for lots of commuting and time spent in the car. In the winter some areas of the country really do have snow by the metre and it really does close roads and bring down power lines! Yes real snow, unlike the flakes that make it onto news bulletins when London gets an inch or two.

4. Consider the Impact on your children

Relocation can have a real psychological impact on children, particularly at certain ages. I think it impacts most on those who have existing established social circles and routines in place, particularly early to mid teens. Don’t kid yourself – children really do feel it.

5. Become a Private Investigator

Before you move house, go and look into the area. Spend a week there and find out the pros and cons. Particularly relevant if buying a house. Can be worth renting somewhere first and spending a lot of time trying to get involved in the community. Ask lots of questions, do lots of research. If moving to the countryside have a look at the Local Development Plan…

6. Look for Work

Do not assume that because you cannot see any vacancies in the area you are planning to move to they do not exist. I can think of some areas of the UK where firms (and agencies) have given up advertising and wait for solicitors to register with them. Do research on the internet and see if you can spot recruitment agencies who have vacancies in the area. So for example look up ‘wills & probate Solicitor jobs in Devon’.

7. Be Prepared to Compromise on Location

Whilst you may fancy living in a beautiful seaside village in a cottage overlooking the beach, you may have to settle for a detached house on a new estate a few miles away. Price, availability, access to facilities, work in the locality are all factors that come into play. If you live nearer something it does mean you can visit it easily anyway… Besides you can get bored of a view.

8. Enjoy the Process

Don’t let it become stressful for anyone. Get the whole family involved if you can. Children like to feel involved in decisions and not get informed at a later stage. House viewings are a particular example.

9. Avoid Burning Bridges

Try to keep favour with your current employer. Sometimes the best laid plans do not always turn out as you expect them to. You never know when you might need to return…

10. Think about Locuming if you can’t get work

Locum work is always a possibility if you cannot find a job. However you do need to be working in a field of law where it is a possibility…Be prepared to travel to work. Further you can go, the more opportunities.

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at