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  • Writer's pictureAlex Gotch

LawyersWeekly - Your colleagues have all moved to London and the USA. Have you missed the boat?

Article first published by Beacon Legal in LawyersWeekly – February 2023


You’re scrolling through LinkedIn…you see your old university pal’s new post…she’s just started at a premier law firm in NYC…earning the big bucks…


The next day…the bloke who you swear you were much smarter than at school announces he’s “Excited to begin his career at a Magic Circle Firm in London”.


You‘re planning that 2023 is going to be your year. The year you land the big move to London or the US, but, all you’re hearing is “economic downturn”; “recession”; “every person in the UK is on strike”; “there are no roles available” You’re thinking “wtf has happened in the last six months?!”….


What’s next for international recruitment?


In September 2022, LawyersWeekly spoke with Alex Gotch, a Director at Beacon Legal, who commented that “The demand for Australian lawyers from law firms in New York, LA and London has never been as great as it is now. This window will not last forever, as we move towards the next economic and recruitment cycle, but there are still fantastic opportunities out there for those who want to capitalise on the current positive market conditions.” Article here.


We reached back out to Alex Gotch to discuss whether, six months on, his prediction has rung true and whether the window of opportunity did not last forever. What will international legal recruitment look like in 2023? Here is what Alex Gotch had to say:


“We all know that 2021 and 2022 provided the best legal recruitment market we have ever experienced for Australian lawyers wanting to move overseas. The demand from the top law firms seemed limitless in the transactional practice areas and more Australian lawyers than ever before seized the opportunity.


When I spoke with LawyersWeekly in September 2022, we were approaching the end of the boom cycle. Over the last six months, and in particular the last three months, we have seen significant contractions in the London and US markets, in both volume of incoming legal work and pipeline. This has resulted in fewer new roles coming to market and a preference for domestic candidates.


I was in working in London in November and December and met with most major law firms to understand their recruitment outlook for 2023. It is not doom and gloom by any means, but we are in a transitional period where firms are adopting a cautious approach to hiring, with the view of seeing how Q1 2023 plays out both economically and politically, and how this impacts volume of work.


That's why it’s more important now, than ever, to work with a specialist recruitment company like Beacon Legal. In spite of tighter market conditions, we’re still working on a number of international mandates for our clients who we know always welcome the opportunity to speak with Australian lawyers interested in relocating. There are always opportunities for lawyers with strong backgrounds and we work hard to turn those opportunities into reality and assist lawyers to secure the big move”.


Top Tips from Alex Gotch for lawyers looking to relocate in 2023


  1. Be patient. January is always a bit slow for recruitment. Usually, the market is back on track by around mid-February. That said, you are advised to be proactive and opportunistic when roles become available, so if you are considering the move, get in touch with Alex Gotch of Beacon Legal now and get on the radar.

  2. Be flexible. If there is a role which is in your wheelhouse, even if it is not 100% perfect, you are advised to adopt a flexible approach to successfully secure a role.

  3. Think long term. London and the US are not going anywhere. If you are below 3 PQE, you should be cautious if you are considering quitting your current role without having an international role secured beforehand. Read the tips Alex Gotch previously provided in this LawyersWeekly article here, to learn if there is anything you can do to improve your profile to help facilitate the international move.

  4. Consider other interesting markets – Beacon Legal are busy recruiting for roles in Asia, the Cayman Islands and Dubai. The world is a big place if you are a lawyer!

Summary

The international recruitment markets are in a transitional period. The next few months will be important, but we know that as markets and economies recover and settle, demand for international talent will pick up. So start getting prepared now, improve your profile and start building a relationship with the top recruiters. Once things start to take off again, it will all happen quite quickly. Reach out to Beacon Legal who can help advise you.

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