Moving Offshore from the Commonwealth; a Lawyer’s Guide

Hydrogen's Chloe Lam-Moores gives us her insight on what lawyers should expect when moving offshore from the commonwealth

​This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Over recent years we have seen an ever-increasing demand for associates coming from the Commonwealth. Ambitious growth plans among Offshore practices in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Channel Islands has meant that talent pools have widened, targeting associates coming from New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Australia. From juniors launching their careers to senior associates taking the next step in theirs, a move Offshore has long been viewed as popular location which strikes the right balance between lifestyle, remuneration and quality of work.

For many associates, gaining experience outside of their home jurisdiction is key to professional and personal development but what options are there available? Put simply, most Commonwealth qualified associates can practice in most Common Law jurisdictions, without the need to cross-qualify or undertake any additional qualifications. Some may opt to gain additional certifications such as the QLTS however they often aren’t requirement.

The Personal

When considering an international move it goes without saying that it is important to firstly identify which jurisdictions you feel you would be suited to on a personal level. Living on an idyllic Caribbean Island of course speaks for itself, and motives may include low tax regimes and a much-improved lifestyle. However, during the interview process, you will be expected to demonstrate your commitment to the region. For example, whether you any personal ties to the area, or have visited previously. Doing your own research and talking to an agent who is familiar with each location is absolutely imperative.

The Professional

On a professional level, there are several variables that will influence your success at securing a role. Firstly, you need to ascertain whether your experience and background is desirable in your target jurisdiction and this will largely be down to your level of experience, practice area and current demand for someone with your skill set. Some jurisdictions may have a greater demand for mid-level associates over junior associates, due to a smaller pool of mid-level associates in the local market and, from a sponsorship stance, many practices will opt to sponsor more senior hires if resources are stretched. Additionally certain practices areas are less jurisdictional specific and are more easily transferable between countries.

In certain jurisdictions, it is common practice to deduct 1 – 2 years post qualification experience to equate to having completed a two year training contract. However this is not often the case Offshore, which will be dependent on performance during the interview and how your experience would fit in to their current team.Therefore, if considering a move, with the Channel Islands and Caribbean often being the exception, it may be worth gaining 3 – 4 years PQE before making the move. The Channel Islands remains very attractive for newly qualified associates who have taken a two year training route.


Most key Offshore practices will endeavor to ensure that all relocation costs are covered. Relocation packages will often include a lump sum cash or cash against receipts to cover general shipping costs, as well as flights and accommodation.

Our specialist International teams at Hydrogen remain busy across our Global network and are looking to speak to talented associates coming from the Commonwealth Jurisdictions. For a confidential discussion, please get in touch at chloelam-moores@hydrogengroup.com or on 02070020143.

Posted over 5 years ago
About the author:
Chloe Lam-Moores

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