While Qantas may not be flying at the same frequency as it did this time last year, the words to its iconic song “I still call Australia home” remain true. And as the global pandemic continues, many of us are reflecting on what is really important in life, or even facing uncertainty in our professional lives. For lawyers who are considering a return to Australia, or have recently done so, now is a good time to consider their career options and the range of possibilities on offer.
Australians are known for travelling and working internationally, and lawyers are no exception. Many have returned home from permanent roles in the UK, the Middle East or Asia and are considering how to capitalise on their international experience and re-establish themselves professionally. Turning to legal consulting as a way of finding the right role and organisation is a great way to start, without having to make a major change, working for an organisation that will value their international experience. Our team can provide lawyers moving to, from, or between international assignments with practical and professional support.
For expats, returning home can be a complex undertaking – even when it is a positive decision. Many have returned with their families, or for family reasons, and it can be tricky to align the professional and personal elements of the move, particularly when a couple are both working.
Professionally, moving from an international or expat market to a domestic market is a significant change. Lawyers who have been away from their home market for three, five or even 15 years may have a domestic professional network that requires strengthening and equally require some time to get up to speed with the local regulatory environment and market behaviour. Additionally, for lawyers returning from major expat centres such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai, where many expats get support with their domestic lives, returning to a conventional modern lifestyle brings with it some practical challenges.
Flexibility that comes with legal consulting
Legal consulting can give returning expats the flexibility to manage the relocation in a way that enables them to deal with the practical and emotional upheaval without either taking a career break or committing to full-time employment soon after they touch down. A consulting platform, such as Peerpoint, can offer a ‘soft landing’ for an international relocation back home and can connect lawyers with a tribe of internationally minded people and the power of a global brand.
Legal consulting does not have to be a ‘safe’ option either. There is the opportunity to springboard into new markets by leveraging international experience and knowledge.
Leveraging knowledge and skills
The regulatory landscape generally evolves from west to east, i.e. most market regulations originate in the US, the UK or Europe. Therefore, legal consultants can leverage the knowledge and skills that they have gained from years as an expat – most returning expat legal consultants have between 12 and 15 years’ post qualification experience – to command a premium in the Australian market, where companies are certainly looking for this type of guidance and expertise.
A career in legal consultancy is not just a temporary soft landing for a permanent move: it is a platform for lawyers to switch temporarily between markets and locations, expanding their international experience from one platform without having to commit to a permanent change.
For example, a Sydney-based Peerpoint consultant who has family in the UK and the right to work there, is currently working on a placement in London, which is giving him valuable experience to bring back to Australia if and when he chooses to return. Another consultant based in Hong Kong who needed to return to Sydney temporarily accepted a six-month consultancy assignment in Sydney to allow for this.
It is worth noting that aside from remote working arrangements, in order to work across different jurisdictions, lawyers would need to have the right to live and work in those locations.
Market relocation support
Our team has a strong handle on the regulatory environment and can make sure consultants take the necessary steps to get started in different jurisdictions in terms of permits and registration. We also provide our consultants with up-to-date practical information about market norms, day rates and whether packages are inclusive of healthcare, pensions and other benefits.
Once on the ground, our consultants benefit from networking and training opportunities and will be fully supported to settle into their new environment so they can hit the ground running.
Get in touch
If you have recently returned to Australia and would like to explore the opportunities legal consulting can offer, get in touch with Nikki Pantges or Vicky Feros.