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Lauren Chester global, locations, Australia...

With temperatures dropping in the UK at this time of year, it’s easy to understand the draw of the warmer climes of Australia. While we’re experiencing a teeth-chattering -2, Australia are basking in the summer sunshine, with even the colder months rarely dropping below a mild 10°C in Perth and Sydney- it’s safe to say the de-icer and heavy winter coats will rarely get an outing!

For so many people however, the dream of a move down under seems like the furthest thing from reality. Orchestrating a move around the globe seems far too complicated and out of reach for many, but it’s really not as scary as it seems.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions/questions I face from lawyers considering a relocation:

I’m not qualified in Australia, so I can’t get a job
Probably the most common misconception is that in order to secure a role in Australia, one must already be qualified to practice law in Aus. This is not the case! 100% of the lawyers I have assisted with making the move down under have only been admitted to practice in their home jurisdiction prior to securing a role and making a move.

You will however be required to start working towards an Australian admission upon commencing employment in Australia. This is a relatively simple process which you can work towards alongside full-time work at your own pace.

Will I require a VISA before applying for roles?
No- as a general rule of thumb international and larger Australian law firms will offer full sponsorship. Once you have gone through the interview process, secured and accepted an offer from a firm, they will put you in touch with their own migration agents who will guide you through the visa application.

If however you secure a role with a smaller or boutique practice who don’t regularly hire lawyers from overseas, you may be required to take care of your own visa.

If I move to Australia, will I be compromising on quality of work in favour of lifestyle?
Another common misconception is that moving to Australia will mean compromising on the quality of work you will be exposed to and should you one day look to relocate elsewhere or return to your home jurisdiction, your experience won’t be readily transferable.

There are a number of leading international law firms who have set-up shop in Aus, as well as a number of domestic Australian law firms who often compete or even trump the international law firms for the quality of work and international clients/transactions. It’s safe to say that there is an abundance of high-quality work on offer across Australia on both a domestic and international scale. Working in Australia can open doors, with some lawyers relocating to Australia and going on to complete stints in Asia and the Middle East.

Australian lawyers aren’t paid very well
This is always an interesting topic of conversation for overseas lawyers- and even Australian lawyers who have spent time overseas. Compared to other markets, Australia is definitely not the highest paying location for lawyers- especially compared to London, New York or even Tokyo. But the one thing to bear in mind is that directly comparing or converting salaries from jurisdiction to jurisdiction is unrealistic- with exchange rates and other variables taken into account, there really is no way to realistically compare.

Those in the legal profession are still well paid and will be able to live comfortably on their earnings. While you may not be earning the mega-bucks you would expect working for a top US firm in New York, you will be benefiting from a better work/life balance, more of an outdoor lifestyle and a standard 20 days leave as opposed to the US standard 10.

Time to make the change?
Thinking about relocating to Australia in 2019 or want to find out more about the process? Contact our Managing Consultant, Lauren Chester, to find out more on +44 161 870 6776 /