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So you want to go overseas?

If you are thinking of an international move in the next 12-18 months, here are 6 things you should be thinking about now.

1- Your level is important. By and large lawyers need a bare minimum of 2 years’ experience in Australia to secure a role overseas, and so whilst it is theoretically possible to get a role at 2 PQE it is quite unlikely, a much better level to make the move is 3 or 4 PQE due to the difference in qualification systems across jurisdictions.

2- The firm that you work at matters. If you are working at a firm that isn’t internationally recognised securing a role before you leave Australia might be difficult. Position yourself to get a role overseas from Australia by working at the biggest and most well- respected brand in the space that you operate. This may mean moving overseas is a two-step process which includes a move to a top tier, global or recognised national firm in Australia for a couple of years before spreading your wings overseas.

3- Your practice area plays a big role. Generally speaking transactional lawyers will find making an international move easier. This doesn’t mean that advisory or litigation lawyers won’t get roles, but it may mean that the process will take a little longer or it may mean leaving Australia without a role to go to and trying your luck on the ground. You should also be aware that different practice areas naturally suit different locations. Ie – litigation lawyers do well off shore, energy lawyers tend to do well in Singapore etc.

4- Market conditions will play a massive part in your process. Ie- if you are considering London in a post Brexit world there is still a lot of uncertainty and it is difficult to predict what the market will be like in 6 – 12 months. The best way to insulate against market forces is to be working in the best firm you can be in Australia and build on your experience.

5- Be open minded as to location. Whilst lots of lawyers want to work in London or New York consider options in other jurisdictions like Singapore, Hong Kong, Ireland or consider a move off shore. Spend the next 12-18 month researching or visiting various cities to make sure it is a location you want to live in.

6- Be aware that the process will take time, unlike finding a role in Australia where depending on your skill set you can theoretically get a new role in under a month, any international move should be looked at 6 months in advance.

To discuss your own situation and get some bespoke advice please feel free to contact me for a confidential discussion on +61 413 823 687 or drop me an email

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