You’ve probably all read the posts: “Why Should I Choose to Article in London”, or variations thereof. I want you to look beyond your ten-month articling term and consider the reasons to stay in London to build a career after articles. I’ve lived in London for nineteen years and worked here for seven before going to law school at Western. While I may not be an expert on the city, I believe that my time here gives me a perspective that I can pass on to future generations of students. Here are some of my reasons why you should consider staying in London:
Real estate – Have you been following the real estate market in Toronto or Vancouver lately? Do you have $200,000 to put towards a down payment? No? Well you might not have money for a down payment on a house in London right now either… But, when you are ready to jump into the market, detached homes can be purchased here for around $200,000 – one-fifth of the average price in Toronto.
Tenth largest city in Canada – Did you know London was this big? Approximately 366,000 people call London home. There are opportunities to build a successful practice in a diverse number of practice areas in London. Numerous industries are thriving in the city; for example, London is strategically placed to thrive in the agricultural sector, considering its location in the midst of some of the most fertile farmland in the world. Also, London is home to some major tech businesses – Kitchener-Waterloo doesn’t have a monopoly on this sort of talent.
Commute times – It takes me 8 minutes to drive to work…8 minutes – I can bike the same distance in 15 – and that’s coming all the way from Victoria Hospital. If you choose to live downtown like so many other young Londoners, you can get to work and back home again even faster. You might not be so lucky if you decide to live somewhere that requires you to commute via Riverside Drive every day, but, that’s an issue for another day.
Downtown London – London’s downtown has been on a roll lately with city planners, developers and movers and shakers making it their focus. This is a result of the most recent city plan which encourages the city to build inwards, rather than continue to sprawl outwards. Construction on numerous new apartment and condo high-rises will bring large numbers of new residents to the city core. The recently approved and upcoming Dundas Flex Street is another exciting addition – a pedestrian friendly public venue for car-free events. When you combine these developments with the already popular Budweiser Gardens and busy restaurant scene, the downtown will continue to be an exciting place to work for years to come.
Become invested in London sport – If you come to London to article for ten months, you might get to enjoy a Knights or a Lightning game or two. But, if you decide to settle down in London, you can become invested in these high caliber teams. The London Knights are fresh off of a Canadian Hockey League Memorial Cup win and are always well-positioned to make a championship run. The London Lightning, a relatively new entrant to the London sports scene, is carving out its own place in London basketball fans’ hearts. Don’t forget the London Majors, a baseball team that has put on stunning efforts night after night this season, in a world class ballpark, just steps away from Harrison Pensa. What’s better than watching a game after work with some of your new co-workers?
Great place to raise a family – Now, now, I know we might be getting ahead of ourselves here, but, London is a family-friendly city. Many of you might begin to think about starting a family after you land that coveted associate position. You might wonder, how can I manage a demanding career with a family? Working in London provides a nice middle ground between the grueling hours you might work in Toronto, and a small town practice. While you will need to maintain professional hours, work hard and get your work done, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to leave the office to coach a child’s team or watch their recital. When you also consider the great hospitals, schools and family friendly activities in the city, you might reach the same conclusion that I have: London is a great city to call home.
Matthew Bota finished his articles at Harrison Pensa and is now a Partner with the Wills, Estates, Trusts and Charities Law group.