19 January 2021

By trainee David Sherafati  

Before I started my training contract at Burges Salmon, I had spent my entire lifetime in London, from school through to university and all my jobs after graduation. I had also completed my LPC in London and so, in comparison to many of the other trainees, was moving to a City and workplace where I only knew a small handful of people and as excited as I was to make the move, there were inevitable nerves about how well I would be able to transition to my new life in Bristol. Now that over a year has passed, my experience can be split into three topics: the people, culture and City.

The People

The first thing that struck me most was how nice and welcoming everyone in Bristol is, especially in comparison to London! Both from within the firm and those I have had the chance to meet outside, the one thing I have found in common is how they make you feel like you’ve known them for years and are comfortable enough to be yourself around. This can be very difficult when moving anywhere new (work or City) as you are consistently worried about early impressions and everything you say or do, which for me feels too akin to a networking event and I always dreaded those. 

Burges Salmon also has several social teams and events, which allow you to get to know and feel part of a wider group outside your trainee cohort. I joined the football team early on during my first seat and I found it really helped me settle into the firm and City much easier as I was getting to know people in my most comfortable environments, football pitch and the pub!

The Culture

The culture and people go hand in hand. The City is a centre for arts and sports, offering all forms of attractions for those interested in music, theatre, museum, galleries, architecture and all forms of sports. I used this opportunity to attend and experience events that I wouldn’t have done had I been in London, such as my first theatre experience at the Hippodrome and watching my first Rugby game when I attended Bristol Bears v Bath Rugby match. Word of warning, wear several layers when attending a Friday evening rugby game in October! Bristol’s music culture was also a big pull for me, and it didn’t disappoint, whether it be the live jazz music at the Old Duke in King Street or attending music events throughout the year.

The City

One of my biggest worries when moving to Bristol was missing the big City culture of London and the surplus of social activities that the City offers. However, the first thing I noticed during my initial weekend in Bristol was just how vibrant and multicultural the City is. It is full of independent restaurants, pubs and bars which give Bristol a unique identify which you never felt in London. I fell in love with King Street and all its pubs and bars as soon as I visited it during the August Bank holiday weekend, and to top it all off, I didn’t have to take a 1 hour train into the City and back like in London. Whether you decide to live close to the city centre, as I have, or in Clifton or other surrounding areas, you never feel far from any activity, although I still manage to be late to everything so some things never change. 

Together with the people and culture of the City, Bristol’s energy resonates within you and the early weeks and months of experiencing the City with fellow trainees and friends makes this transition much easier than I feared. Although you will have some days you miss friends and family back home (the Bristol rain doesn’t help your mood!), I slowly felt like Bristol was becoming my home away from home during my second seat and I’m looking forward to continuing that experience!

Key contact

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Penny Bowring Resourcing Specialist

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