In light of the economic issues faced by Europe and North America, for some lawyers it is perhaps worth contemplating staying at home until the global markets recover.
However, the period of recovery is uncertain and there are still markets and areas of demand that will look to Australian lawyers to fill recruitment gaps.
Weak economic conditions generally see particular areas of law thrive, such as the demand for dispute resolution lawyers (both commercial and banking litigation and arbitration), and if you have gained strong experience from a top-tier or global firm within this area there may be a number of excellent international opportunities available to you.
Projects/project finance and energy are also areas within the London, Singapore and UAE markets that are in demand.
In this market, to be successful with an international move, Australian lawyers need to be at least four years PQE, with experience in top-tier or international/global firms, and, if Hong Kong is on your radar, then Mandarin is fast becoming the preferable language.
If you are a lawyer with the right to work in a particular country instead of the need to rely on sponsorship from a firm, and you are prepared to be on the ground for interviews, then this could hold you in good stead provided you have gained experience in an area of demand and have a strong firm background.
For lawyers who have gained their experience in mid-tier or smaller firms and are seeking to move to international markets, it might be a better option to wait until demand for international lawyers increases or to make a move domestically into a top-tier or global firm that will assist you to move internationally at a later point in time.
The corporate world is still turning, despite the European and North American economic struggles, and there are firms throughout London, Singapore, Hong Kong and the UAE who will consider Australian-qualified lawyers for recruitment and, in doing so, are confident they have the work to attract and retain top talent.
While areas such as corporate and banking and finance may not be as buoyant as they once were, the cyclical nature of work that arises out of economic slowdowns paves the way for lawyers with a different skill-set to be in demand, and those lawyers should definitely capitalise on this market.