Why Consider A Legal Career Abroad?

| Career Insights

Are you looking for a legal career abroad? An English law degree is your virtual passport to a vast expanse of overseas jobs. A law degree opens up opportunities to many rewarding legal careers abroad, including in many countries which adopt English law and are leading in global economic development - Hong Kong, the USA and nearly all of Europe, to name a few. 

 

Working overseas enriches you both professionally and personally. International experience is a valuable addition to your CV and can aid with your career progression. Such experience is a great selling point that few candidates will have on their application and is seen as an attractive quality for many law firms, particularly ones with offices overseas.
Exposure to new challenges and cultural differences in a foreign country also allows you to gain quality work experience and skills to handle complexities with ease in different markets. Multi-jurisdictional knowledge is incredibly valuable for firms that carry out cross-border international work for clients - garnering experience with global markets, their regulatory frameworks and political governance. A foreign posting also opens up new vistas of travelling and exploring a different world. Lawyers that can ultimately develop a global appreciation of different cultures, work with clients from any background and develop an international professional network are in high demand. In an increasingly connected global market, lawyers that can leverage these skills in practice cannot be undervalued. 
Overseas Legal Careers You May Consider
  • M&A and Private Equity: M&A transactions frequently involve several jurisdictions and countries, with many clients operating in regions such as Europe, the Middle East, Singapore, Hong Kong and the United States simultaneously. Firms offering legal advice on an M&A deal often advise corporates on investment, funding and regulatory compliance.
  • Project Finance and Contract Drafting: Structuring and drafting contract documents associated with conceptualization, approval, financing, operation and maintenance of projects often span multiple markets. Asian countries that have legal systems based on the English legal system offer a good option for UK lawyers to start a legal career as they can utilise their expertise in English law whilst working abroad.
  • Real Estate Finance: You may relocate to take advantage of booming real estate business in India, the Middle East and South-East Asia to offer legal support for contract making, borrowing, debt and equity investment.
  • International Arbitration: With Paris, Dubai, Geneva and Singapore emerging as key arbitration destinations outside London, you can join firms there looking to have English lawyers to assist them.
  • FCPA, Antitrust, and Compliance: There is a growing need for lawyers in this area in India, China and the Middle East.
Options for Relocating, Starting a Legal Career Abroad
UK legal professionals planning to start a career abroad have multiple relocating options. You may opt for secondments, join fresh legal roles or start practicing English law in Commonwealth countries. 
  • Secondments - Many firms provide secondment opportunities with clients or their international offices for their employees. These in-house overseas postings are temporary but they provide ample opportunity to learn and build a legal career abroad and add valuable experience to your CV.
  • Offshore jobs - A UK-graduated lawyer has the option to take up jobs in Commonwealth countries that follow a legal system bearing many broad similarities to English law. You can transfer a lot of your existing knowledge and have a good grip over native regulations and serve corporates operating there. Such a legal career abroad allows you to take advantage of lower tax regimes in those countries - Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Jersey etc. and have a smooth transition to England whenever you want. 
  •  Start Practising Abroad - India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, South Africa and the UAE are some of the countries where most of the work is regulated by laws based on British jurisprudence. This provides excellent options for UK-based lawyers to move overseas and start practising in those countries without having to completely relearn vastly different sets of laws.  
Advantages of Starting a Legal Career Abroad
  • With many countries following English law, you’ll only need minimal re-education to advise in new environments.
  •  Working in multiple jurisdictions enables you to train yourself to operate in different situations and successfully overcome varied challenges.
  • It facilitates learning about different legal systems, helping clients facing issues conditional to their geographical area and cultures.
  • An overseas posting as a lawyer gives you the benefit of lower tax rates prevalent in countries outside the United Kingdom.
  • The foreign experience puts you above the local competition and you can work for both on and offshore firms.
  •  It widens your knowledge about laws, clients, people, cultures and places making life more rewarding.
Challenges To Overcome
A legal career abroad presents several obstacles to overcome, namely in language, climate, travel, visa and work permits. You may be far from family and friends. However, with distances and borders are fast becoming meaningless with increased connectivity, you can stay digitally connected wherever you’re working from. Language is also becoming less of a major issue. English is among the official and most spoken languages of many countries around the world. Many large corporations worldwide also use English as the language of choice on contracts and documentation. Concerns over climate have also reduced with the increase in technological support. You do not have to frequently venture out of your office or home. In most cities, you have access to air-conditioned cabs, online shopping and luxurious market complexes. Asian cities, such as Dubai, Delhi, Mumbai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Doha and Hong Kong, which drive the world economy at present, boast a large population of expatriates living in their cosmopolitan culture.
The world is more connected and visa and work permits are easier to obtain than ever before. There are multiple agencies to help you obtain necessary work permits.
A legal career abroad offers a fantastic opportunity in personal, professional and financial terms. Let us know what your preferences are and view our high-paying overseas legal jobs available for UK-graduated lawyers in Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong, BVI, Jersey, Guernsey. You could be a few clicks away from a corporate lawyer job in sunny Singapore or a paralegal job in the heart of Dubai.
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