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Lauren Chester global, locations, Lawyer...

One of the biggest trends amongst modern day lawyers is packing up shop and relocating to legal hotspots around the world. And why not? With many practice areas being highly transferrable across the globe, it makes absolute sense to step out of your comfort zone and try something new - especially given the number of doors in can open in the longer term.

With this becoming a more well-trodden path, and with certain locations in such high demand, it is important for lawyers looking to make this move to think about positioning themselves for international success. Firms in locations such as London and Dubai could receive hundreds, or even thousands of applications for each role they recruit for, and therefore it is important to think carefully about how you can make yourself stand out from the crowd.

A key factor determinant of your success in this endeavor is your legal ‘brand’- what firms have you worked for? What kind and size of transactions were you working on? Put simply, the firm you’re at matters. While there is no doubt smaller and specialist/boutique firms can offer some fantastic work and great working environments, in the international arena it can be very difficult for hiring partners to place value on the experience gained with a firm or supervising partner they have never heard of.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to work at the biggest and the best firm in order to relocate, however choosing a firm that is well-known, in addition to well-regarded, can make the difference. Typically, having experience with an internationally recognised firm will open far more doors - if the hiring partners recognise the firm’s legal brand, they will have a better understanding of your experience and as a result, it will be much easier for them to make a confident decision as to how suited you are to their practice.

If you work at a boutique firm, all is not lost! Although relocating overseas from your current firm may be a struggle, you can still make it happen, it just means you may have to adopt a two-step approach. Step one would be to make a move within your current location to a top tier, international or well-known national firm for one or two years. This will help make your CV stand out and also give you an opportunity to gain some fantastic experience in the meantime. Once you’ve got 1-2 years’ worth of experience on your CV, you will then be able to move onto step 2 and hopefully have far greater success in securing a new role overseas!

The other alternative is to make the international move straight away, but to a regional firm or boutique in the location in question, lateraling to an international firm in said location 1 or 2 years hence. It can be hard to accept a pay cut or what seems to be only a ‘horizontal’ move in the short-term, but for lawyers looking at long-term prospects and career growth, this approach can pay dividends.

Considering an international career move? Contact me on +44 161 870 6776 // or complete the form below.