With Jonathan Walmsley, principal, Marsden Legal Search & Recruitment.
With the international job market finally picking up - you now have more options and opportunities. However, it's important to choose your overseas role carefully by applying three considerations:
1. What's motivating your move?
Is this a career move, or one that is motivated by personal goals? If it's the former, think very carefully about location as the quality of legal work (and more importantly other firms' perception of it) can vary significantly. The most prestigious "career" locations are still London, New York and Hong Kong.
Where will you maximise the financial return for your efforts? When comparing salaries between regions, factor in tax rates and the cost of living. The cost of living in zero tax jurisdictions like Dubai has fallen in recent years as the GFC took hold. Taxes are very low in Hong Kong and salaries are high. The very strong Australian dollar has, on the face of it, made it seem less attractive to work overseas - when in fact a salary of say, GBP 80 000 will go just as far in London as it did 3 years ago.
3. Returning home.
In many ways, this is the most important consideration. Ninety per cent of Australian lawyers will return to Australia in the longer term. You should always have one eye on the market back home. Generally speaking, the more senior you are the fewer job opportunities there are for you (anywhere).
Stay too long overseas and your career options back home may be reduced or you may have to take a step backwards (in salary or status).
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