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  • Writer's pictureAlex Gotch

Alex Gotch of Beacon Legal discusses why Aussie lawyers continue to relocate to London and the US.


At the start of September this year, the “Big 6” Australian law firms had 76 job vacancies advertised in Sydney alone. That’s an all-time high and a symptom of a significant problem and talent shortage currently facing the Australian legal market.


Alex Gotch, a Director at Beacon Legal, commented in a recent Report “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.”


Here’s why our top lawyers are continuing to move overseas, leaving the Australian legal industry short staffed:

  1. Differences in salary: it is no secret that the Magic Circle and US Law Firms in both London and the USA pay eye-watering salaries, which can be 2-4 times the amount it is possible to earn as a similar level lawyer in Australia. As an example, Beacon Legal recently assisted a 1.5 PQE Australian Associate secure a role in New York at USD250,000, which tripled her salary. For more senior lawyers, the salaries can be up to USD400,000, which is the equivalent of nearly AUD600,000.

  2. More recognition that Australians make great lawyers: Australian lawyers have always been held in high regard in London, but that has not always been the case with the US market. Since more Aussies have relocated to the US, and done a great job, this has created a more well-trodden pathway and US Partners are now more open-minded to hiring Australian lawyers.

  3. Demand: in the last 18 months we have seen a boom in M&A activity. As we move out of the pandemic, PE houses and corporates have seized the opportunity to acquire cheap assets and capitalise on the positive consumer market sentiment. After a year or so of low deal volume, there was significant liquidity available and deal makers were chomping at the bit to get back to work. This has been great for law firms and in turn, has sent the demand for transactional lawyers through the roof…..and the Australian lawyers capitalised on this in their droves.

Interested to make the move yourself? Here’s the Top 3 Tips from Alex Gotch on how to make the move a reality:

  1. If you can, get Top Tier experience: particularly for moving to the US and the Magic Circle and US firms in London, it is very helpful for a lawyer to have strong Academics and experience working at a Tier 1 firm in Australia. Even one year of this type of experience can make the difference between securing an interview or not making it through the initial screening process.

  2. Prepare well for interviews: Interviews for top firms in London the US are, as our candidates tell us, far more challenging than domestic interviews. We help all of our candidates prepare, as we have many years of experience guiding candidates through an interview process: What level of detail do you need to be prepared to discuss? How do you ace a psychometric test or case study? Can you articulate your answers succinctly? Preparing makes all the difference in a competitive interview market.

  3. Get it right first time: You often get one shot at an application to the top firms. Make sure you get it right. Draft a well-crafted CV, apply at the right time based on when you want to relocate, use a recruiter who knows the market, has the connections and track record and can project manage the process alongside you.

How can Beacon Legal help you?

Beacon Legal is the leading agency for helping Australian lawyers relocate to London and the USA. Just ask Alex Gotch, Director at Beacon Legal “Our international clients tell us we place more Australian lawyers than any other agency. Ask us about our track record, Capability Statement and how we can help you secure the big move.”

If you would like a copy of the Beacon Legal USA or London Salary and Market Reports, get in touch with Alex Gotch for a free copy at Alex.Gotch@beacon-legal.com.au.

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