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I’m an Australian Lawyer. Why should I move to the States?

​Many Australian lawyers make the move overseas to gain invaluable international experience, working large, complex deals before returning home or making the move permanently. For several years the hotspots for Australian lawyers moving overseas have been London, Dubai, & Singapore. However, in recent years there has been a growing need for overseas talent in the US. Unfortunately for the Australian legal market, within the past year, a lot of the international lawyers moving to the States have been from Australia.

While multicultural, the financial hub of New York is a key attraction thanks to the big name, historical firms, and the international work on offer, there are other locations to consider where the big law firms have offices that have their own benefits. California, for example, is synonymous with offering a slightly more relaxed environment with a similar climate to that of Australia, where much of the work is tech and data focused. Texas also has fantastic weather and a growing tech scene while also being home to major players in energy and infrastructure.

Now it wouldn’t be a post regarding the US legal market without noting the salaries. With a move to the US from Australia, you could be looking at an uplift of triple your current package. In addition, US firms pay large annual bonuses, potentially up to six-figure sign-on bonuses, as well as discretionary special bonuses throughout the year. We’re also seeing more US firms offering work from home prospects 2-3 days a week allowing you to have better control over how you work best.

Finally, Australians are some of the few international lawyers that are currently able to shift their careers to the States due to the ease of obtaining an E-3 visa. Meanwhile, other visas such as the H1-B are possible but unreliable and time-constrained. Given our experience in the market and having helped many Australian lawyers already make the move to the States, we are well-positioned to advise on visa processes and the potential timeline involved once the application has been made.

With the vast majority of the legal market looking to increase their headcount throughout 2022 now is as good a time as any to take your career to the US. Whether it be financial motivations, a chance to work on the biggest legal matters in the world, or just a taste for an adventure, the US can offer it all.

If a move to the States may be on the horizon for you, or you want to have a chat to explore what the US has to offer, do reach out to our US team at:  
Adam Smith – adamsmith@hydrogengroup.com / +1 (619) 344 8173 or +44 (0) 20 7002 0048 
Aaron Burton – aaronburton@hydrogengroup.com / +1 (310) 692 7304 or +44 (0)74 2563 3181
Posted 7 months ago
About the author:
Aaron Burton & Adam Smith

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