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My Next Move: What issues do I need to consider when working for a US firm in London?

My Next Move: What issues do I need to consider when working for a US firm in London?

This week's My Next Move question focuses on what candidates need to consider when approached for a role with a US firm in London. Our expert, Samantha Cowling is a director at Marsden Legal…

This week's My Next Move question focuses on what candidates need to consider when approached for a role with a US firm in London. Our expert, Samantha Cowling is a director at Marsden Legal Search and Recruitment, and shares her insider tips on the life of a lawyer overseas:

Work culture: US firms have an entrepreneurial workplace culture, so involvement in business development will be expected. The smaller size of American teams also means greater levels of responsibility. Be prepared to tackle whatever work lands on your desk, regardless of your experience.

Salaries: Most of the White Shoe New York firms, including Skadden Arps, Cleary Gottlieb and Weil Gotshal, pay NY rates - the highest salary range available in London. The majority of the other US firms pay mid-Atlantic rates, which are still higher than the top-tier UK firms.

Billable hours: Most US firms usually require between 1600 and 2000 billable hours per year, compared with 1500 to 1700 in top-tier UK firms. If you want to join a top-tier firm, it's worth finding out about the reality of your workload.

Qualifications: Generally, it's the larger, multidisciplinary practices (White & Case, Skadden Arps, Dewey Le Boeuf, Shearman & Sterling and Latham & Watkins) that recruit Australian lawyers. Most of the law practised in US law firms in London is English law. While you don't need to be US- or UK-qualified, you do need excellent academics, top-tier experience and a well regarded firm on your CV.

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