With Ralph Laughton, managing director, Dolman.
The legal employment market for foreign lawyers in certain international locations, Asia in particular, has steadily improved over the past year.
Although we aren't witnessing the return of the legal recruitment stampede of a few years ago, numerous international opportunities exist for lawyers who have a combination of relevant experience, a unique background, good timing and a little bit of patience.
Generally, Singapore, Hong Kong and China are the primary jurisdictions providing the largest collective portion of opportunities overseas. For those lawyers interested in the Middle East, new roles have become available once again although the rebound is still best described as patchy.
No one would be surprised to learn that lawyers who have projects, project finance or an energy & resources background will enjoy the immediate attention of numerous international firms abroad. But mid level corporate finance and capital markets lawyers will find that they too are sought after. In addition, lawyers with niche specialisations such as asset finance or derivatives will also discover that their applications will be well received.
If you're thinking about taking advantage of today's resurgent international job market you should position yourself so that you stand out from the crowd of other applicants. Do a self assessment and pinpoint what makes you unique with respect to your legal and non-legal background. Things to consider might be:
- Specialised practice area;
- Clients you've represented that are also clients of the firms that you are considering;
- Foreign language ability;
- Prior non-legal work experience in an industry that a prospective legal employer caters to;
These considerations may seem obvious but occasionally people have accepted positions overseas simply as a means to work internationally only to discover later that the role, firm or both were not a good fit for their career objectives. Take your time to find a position and location that stimulates your passion and also advances your career.