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The London path

The London path

The well-trodden route to London is still an attractive proposition for Australian lawyers despite the global downturn, writes Sandra D'SouzaWhile it is now much harder to secure a role in the…

The well-trodden route to London is still an attractive proposition for Australian lawyers despite the global downturn, writes Sandra D'Souza

While it is now much harder to secure a role in the UK than before, there are still pockets of recruitment activity and opportunities for securing work in London.

Visas: With a plentiful supply of good UK lawyers, law firms in London are reluctant to sponsor Australians. The process is also taking a lot longer than before. In-house organisations will rarely sponsor individuals, even in a busy market. A UK ancestry visa or an EU passport will assist your application, otherwise you should investigate Tier One or Youth Mobility visas.

Experience: As the market is now "job short" and "candidate heavy", law firms and corporations can afford to be particular about their requirements. Generally, they will seek experience in an internationally recognised firm in a transferable area of law. Your level of experience is also important; you will generally need at least three to four years' PAE. If you are junior you should consider waiting before moving. If you are in a less well known firm, consider moving locally to a firm with a higher profile.

Expectations: Your expectations need to be realistic in this market. You should consider all options such as private practice and in-house, both contract and permanent roles. You should also consider roles in cities other than London. Timing is another factor; it is unrealistic to think the process will take only a few days or weeks (as it did in busy times) and you need to factor this into your approach.

The recruitment market: It will assist if you select a recruitment agency to represent you which has a strong presence in London. You will get accurate advice about what the market is really doing, chances of success and all your options.

- Sandra D'Souza is the manager of international practice and in-house at Taylor Root

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