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Legal Recruitment in Oxford

Welcome to the Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment guide to Oxford.

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Oxford City Centre aerial view
Oxford City Centre – steeped in history and students.

University of Oxford – Cambridge’s Nemesis

Oxford, the deadly rival of Cambridge and most famous for its world famous university, is home to the cleverest people on earth. Indeed the skies above Oxford are lit up at night from the glow of intelligent minds thinking about very very clever things. It is also the home of the much loved band Radiohead, who didn’t get to Oxford University.  They went to Exeter University because they weren’t quite clever enough to go to Oxford, but still travelled home at the weekend to rehearse. The city enjoys a very diverse economic base and boasts manufacturing, IT, architecture and publishing amongst its key financial and industrial assets. It was established in the 8th century and was awarded a city status around 1542. Oxford University has educated (or at least tried to educate) 27 Nobel laureates and 27 Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom plus many foreign heads of state including some pretty dodgy ones. The University also owns large amounts of property in the city and is the main focus of life and architecture. Also very well known for Inspector Morse which, despite rumours to the contrary, was written and filmed in Oxford.

Sites to See and Things to Do

It is one of the most cultural and historically rich cities in the UK and has dozens of world famous landmarks, galleries and museums that people from all around the globe visit every year. These include, the Ashmolean Museum which was the world’s first university museum, and the oldest in the UK.  The Ashmolean is home to an impressive range of art, including iconic works by Turner, Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

The University Museum of Natural History contains an equally fascinating collection of artefacts and includes some very rare geological, entomological and zoological specimens, and is well worth a visit.  If you’re interested in musical history, the University’s Faculty of Music will be for you. As you stroll around the magnificent building, you’ll be captivated by the range of musical instruments on display, which are mostly culled from the Western Classical Period.

Shopping – even students have to do this sometimes

Unsurprisingly, Oxford offers an outstanding range of shopping options, including: the High Street, Cowley Road and St Clements, Little Clarendon Street and Jericho.  The High Street, located in the centre of the city hosts many of Oxford’s finest restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, boutiques, galleries and stalls. The cobbled streets and distinctive architecture invites shoppers to wander around leisurely whilst they enjoy the unique ambience of the district. Similarly, Cowley Road and St Clement’s offers a delightfully idiosyncratic experience and is widely considered to be one of the quirkiest areas of the city, bustling with fashionable boutiques and the majority of Oxford’s celebrated music venues.  Jericho is generally considered to be the most trendy and bohemian part of the city and also boasts a variety of outdoor cafes that are very popular during the summer months.

Living in Oxford – where should I go?

Summertown Oxford
Summertown – an area of Oxford not known for high quality architecture.

Oxford has lots to offer for anyone wishing to live in the city.  If you’re seeking an upmarket and sedate district, then Iffley Village could well be the place for you- which is far enough away from the lively student areas to avoid the noise they sometimes make into the early hours. However, if you don’t mind a bit of commotion from time to time, the lively area of Headington offers a delightful combination of cultural vitality and rural tranquillity.  The more affordable areas include the multi-cultural East Oxford and Cowley Road is a bustling urban area suited to young people and students.

Sport in Oxford – not a lot unless you like rowing

Oxford also boasts a huge range of sports, including cherished football, rugby union, rugby league, hockey, ice hockey, cricket and rowing teams. Oxford United boasts constantly loyal supporters despite its ups and downs in the football league over the years, whilst Oxford County Cricket Club continues to be a formidable presence in the minor counties league. However, the sport the city is arguably best known for is of course, rowing and the Oxford University Boat Club is legendary around the world for its competition with rivals, Cambridge. The rowing club itself is located near Donnington Bridge and has facilities for rowers with all levels of experience.

House Prices in Oxford – are they on drugs?

House prices are just utterly ridiculous, although I guess if you are a multi-millionaire investor looking for a safe bet for your cash this is the place to be.

Oxford 3 bedroomed terraced house
This 3 bedroomed terraced house sold for £850,000 in 2016.

An example of pricing in Oxford is as follows. In 1997 this 3 bedroomed terraced house sold for £200k. I bet people were looking at that price and scratching their heads. However in May 2016 the same house sold for £850,000. £850,000 for a 3 bedroomed terraced house? Crazy. Who can afford that in Oxford? Are the toilets made of gold?

Legal Recruitment and Solicitors Firms in Oxford

Legal recruitment in Oxford is interesting. There are 480 solicitors firms and organisations employing solicitors within 25 miles of Oxford city centre. A number of commercial practices have been operating in the city for hundreds of years, presumably with some particularly well-known academic clients funding their offices! High street law is prevalent, as you would expect, and we often get asked about agricultural lawyers together with wills & probate solicitors for all the high net worth clientele able to afford 3 bedroomed terraced houses for £850k (see above). We have never recommended Oxford as a location to establish a legal career. In our experience most people go to London for the early years of their practice before either relocating or returning to Oxford. House prices are crazy, the work opportunities are limited at this level and firms tend not to offer very many posts in any given year. Salary levels have always been pretty poor, particularly bearing in mind the wealth in the city. In a similar fashion to other cities and towns around London and the South there is a large imbalance between the cost of living and the benefits received from working.

Oxford enjoys links to the motor trade (Minis are made by BMW in Cowley) and publishing – the Oxford University Press are here. Apart from this industry is fairly limited. Cambridge is the Silicon Valley of the UK but Oxford has attempted and failed to muscle in on high tech companies establishing themselves here. I add this simply to make the point that the city is not exactly known for a lot of high quality commercial work. To find out how Ten Percent Legal Recruitment can help you find a legal job in Oxford (or Cambridge) please email a CV to cv@ten-percent.co.uk.