Lebo, tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm a South African admitted attorney currently practicing in Jersey. I previously worked as an Associate for one of the large South African corporate law firms, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, where I advised both private and public clients on various aspects of commercial law, with a specific focus on M&A transactions. Apart from work, I devote myself to various empowerment and development programs with the specific focus on women and youth empowerment.
How did you come to move to the Channel Islands?
From early on in my career I had aspirations to work abroad and towards the end of last year, I came into contact with Hydrogen who advised me of opportunities here in the Channel Islands for South African qualified lawyers.
What is it like to live in Jersey?
Jersey is a very friendly island. One of my highlights is that it's a really safe country. Everything is pretty much a walk away, with French architecture, it's a beautiful beach town. It’s refreshing and a nice switch-up to be able to see the ocean on your walk to work. It's weird to think that it's an island, it just feels like another town.
What have you found most challenging about your move?
Moving away from your family, your friends and your partner can be really lonely, coming to a place on your own and having to adapt to a new environment, new people. One benefit is the fact that a lot of people aren't from Jersey, so everybody understands that it's going to take time to fit in and people are so willing to spend time with you, they are really warm and keen to help you navigate coming to a new place. For keeping in touch with family and friends I’ve found that video calling makes a huge difference and being able to see them daily, you don't feel that much of a distance. On the flipside, you have the opportunity to reinvent yourself, to start afresh, do everything you've always wanted to, and you don't have to deal with other people's opinions or restrictions. I do miss the cuisine from home, the flavours and the spices! I had a friend who recently moved over from South Africa and the one thing I said was make sure you pack your favourite spices because they don't have them here! But I find myself more settled now, having been here for a few months.
What have you enjoyed most so far?
Starting afresh, going to a place where I could just be new, trying out new things from a lifestyle point of view. I live a largely vegan lifestyle now, which is by choice; I meditate; I’m more outdoors. One thing I love about Jersey, especially coming from South Africa, is the racial tensions that apply in most parts of the world, that's not the case here. In Jersey, as a young black woman, I find that I'm treated equally and that's definitely been a highlight. Another highlight are the travel opportunities. My first weekend in Jersey, I flew up to Scotland and back to go to a Beyoncé and Jay-Z concert. Having the opportunity to do things like that is pretty surreal!
From a work point of view, I think a highlight has been exposure to other foreign legal systems, because in Jersey you tend to work with clients from different parts of the world and you need to understand what's happening in their jurisdiction to understand how that fits in with the advice you’re giving, that general global exposure when it comes to work.
If you’d like to hear the full interview with Lebo, and find other stories from people who have moved offshore, you can watch our latest webinar: Making the move Offshore >>
More about Lebogang Maimane
Having qualified as an Attorney in South Africa in 2017, Lebogang spent two years in the corporate team of one of Africa’s leading corporate law firms, where she gained extensive commercial experience spanning across industries such as renewable energy and power, courier and warehousing, financial services, information and technology, to name a few.