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The future looks bright for international lawyers wanting to work in the UK

James Berry Private Practice, Career Advice

Over the last 12 months we have seen a return of positivity, increased demand for hiring a quantity of transactional lawyers and an appetite for bright international candidates. The Magic Circle firms have undertaken international campaigns to secure the best talent in the finance practices and in the last three months we have seen a noticeable uptick in the corporate M&A market.

With a buoyant market there are many more opportunities for ambitious lawyers who are looking to relocate and further their legal career in London. Firms are also open to sponsoring candidates with the required transactional skillsets. Currently we have seen that areas for demand are within: Banking leveraged and acquisition, DCM, Structured Finance, Project Finance and Corporate M&A.

For candidates looking to relocate firms are thorough in their interview process and know exactly what they are looking for. Crucially international lawyers need to be:

  • Articulate
  • Technically strong, be confident about discussing their experience in a detailed and educated manner
  • Fluent in English and be able to converse clearly in a business appropriate style
  • Be knowledgeable about their visa / sponsorship situation and what is entailed
  • Understand the market and demonstrate that they have thought about the London firms and ‘why’ a firm is of interest.

For a CV we especially recommend that international candidates write an overview paragraph of 5-6 sentences outlining experience and any exceptional career / academic achievements. It is important to be clear and concise and ensure that the CV stands out. It is important to note:

  • Not all law firms are in the know on international academics or international firm ranking (if from a smaller more specialist firm)
  • It is important that international candidates makes sure that they stand out – you only have one chance with applications to a firm.

The Magic Circle and Silver Circle firms will generally offer a relocation allowance to cover flights and shipping of possessions but this is not a given with every law firm.

It is a great time to be moving to London and this is the busiest market for international lawyers we have seen since for over three years. If you are interested in discussing an international move to one of the top tier firms in London please do get in touch and I would be delighted to have a confidential conversation.