Living & working in AustraliaWhy Australia?There are many reasons why lawyers relocate to Australia. to offer a broader focus with lesser specialisation,The most obvious reasons include the lifestyle, weather allowing candidates to broaden their experience.and the more enjoyable commute to the office. But thereare also good professional reasons to make the move. For more junior candidates, the level of training is excellent. You might therefore make the move for a few years, thenIn recent times, the buoyant Australian economy has created return to London with a greater number of employmenta wealth of opportunity for lawyers to gain international options than you previously had. The legal market in Australiaexperience while enjoying all that Australia has to offer. is widely recognised as sophisticated and well developed.While the economy has been slowing in a number of Candidates who make the move are seen as ambitious, highlyjurisdictions, Australia’s economy has remained very capable and outgoing. The calibre required of most lawyersstrong off the back of established economic ties with Asia. making the move to Australia is very high. It is far fromCandidates have been attracted to the security the Australian being an ‘easy option’. Employers in the UK and elsewhereeconomy offers as opposed to the more uncertain UK market. understand this and therefore a subsequent move to another jurisdiction or simply a return home will be open to you,Legal practice in Australia is also very similar to that in London depending on your experience, seniority and market factors.and, just as there is a steady stream of lawyers from Australiato the UK, there’s also a stream of lawyers that make the Aside from the strong career reasons, the lifestyle advantagesmove from the UK to Australia. The quality of the firms and are very hard to ignore, both for families, couples and singles.work is on par with London and, Australian firms tendtaylorroot.com
Living & working in Australia The legal market demand There continues to be strong demand for common law lawyers with two to eight years’ experience in the areas of: • Corporate/M&A/Private equity • Banking & finance • Project finance • Construction/Major projects • Energy & resources • Dispute resolution • IP/IT/Outsourcing As the market is relatively smaller than the UK and the supply of interested candidates is high, employers are extremely demanding when it comes to assessing applicants’ credentials. Strong academics are important as is the reputation of your current employer. If you presently work for a firm which is not well known in the Australian market, then the chances of making the move are reduced. You might wish therefore to make a move within the London or UK market first and then make the move later on. There generally tends to be a strong preference for candidates with top London or leading regional firm experience or the equivalent. taylorroot.com
Living & working in Australia Which city? The largest legal markets are in Sydney and Melbourne. In terms of the general population as well as the size of the respective legal communities, there is little difference between the two (Sydney with a population of 4.5 million and Melbourne with 4 million). Salaries tend to be slightly higher in Sydney, by around 5%- 15%, but the cost of living in Sydney is also higher than in other capital cities by approximately 10%. The other main locations are Brisbane and Perth, which have seen significant population and economic growth in recent times off the back of the resources boom. The growth of these cities has resulted in a number of firms being prepared to look abroad for legal talent, which has provided opportunities for UK lawyers to take their place in the sun. Energy, corporate, project finance and construction lawyers are in short supply in these cities. There is less demand in Adelaide, Darwin and Canberra. Each city has its own personality and strengths. While Sydney is a traditional favourite with Brits, the other cities each offer a truly unique and exciting experience.taylorroot.com
Living & working in AustraliaSydneySydney is Australia’s largest city with 4.5 million people and Summers in Sydney are warm and winters very mildthere’s no denying it’s a natural stunner! Its dazzling harbour (averaging 26 degrees in summer and 15 degrees in winter),and white sand city beaches make it a truly unique city that it is a city where people enjoy an active and outdoor lifestyleoffers an enviable lifestyle and some of the highest quality year round, a city where many people go surfing beforework in the country. they catch a ferry to work across what many call the most beautiful harbour in the world. It is no wonder that SydneySydney is one of the busiest commercial hubs in the Asia- consistently ranks as one of the top 10 places in the world toPacific region and it is the financial services centre of work and to live.Australia, with a cosmopolitan population, lush parks, hipbars and restaurants that stay open late, as well as beinghome to the world famous Bondi Beach, Opera House andHarbour Bridge. taylorroot.com
Living & working in Australia Melbourne What Melbourne lacks in natural beauty, it makes up for with seriously cool restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs. In addition, Melbourne has a buzzing art and sports scene, the result being the best culture and nightlife in Australia. Melbourne is very much the sum of all its parts, with ec- lectic precincts and, in certain parts, a very ‘European feel’. It is also one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, which heavily influences its serious food scene. As Australia’s second city (population 4 million), it has all the benefits of a large city. However, the stand-out factor about Melbourne is its liveability – it’s consistently rated as one of the most liveable cities in the world. Its mild weather (averaging 26 degrees in summer, 15 degrees in winter), excellent transport network and general standard of living all factor in.taylorroot.com
Living & working in Australia Brisbane Brisbane is the bustling heart of Queensland, home to more than 2 million people. It is a city that combines a famous laid back lifestyle with all the sights, sounds and energy of a major metropolis. Brisbane’s weather, riverfront setting and unrivalled employment growth make it one of the most attractive cities to live in from almost any angle. Brisbane is a diverse and thriving city with a perfect climate year round (29 degrees in summer, 21 degrees in winter) with Australia’s famous Gold Coast and hinterland less than 1 hours drive away. Brisbane has a sophisticated restaurant and cafe scene as well as excellent night life. taylorroot.com
Living & working in Australia Perth If you’re looking for Australia’s sunniest capital, with over 3000 hours of sunshine per year then Perth is the city for you. Situated in Australia’s largest state Western Australia. Perth offers a true beach lifestyle. Perth has had tremendous growth in recent years off the back of the mining and resources boom, it is the richest state in Australia and home to some of the wealthiest individuals in the country. As a result, Perth has developed as a sophisticated legal market, and is home to more US and UK law firms than Sydney. Perth’s pristine natural environment can be enjoyed year round with perfect weather (hot summers of 31 degrees and very pleasant winters of 19 degrees). Together with the beaches, the city is surrounded by excellent wineries and alfresco dining.taylorroot.com
Living & working in AustraliaHow to approach the marketThe number of firms or corporations prepared to hire from location to location. Typically, however, UK lawyersnon-Australians is limited and as a result, the process is will be required to sit exams in the areas of Australiancompetitive. It is crucial to ensure that you do not apply to Constitutional Law, Trust Accounts and Professional Conduct.firms at random. You are best advised to restrict access toyour CV and apply only for positions which exist or to firms Firms will allow you time off/study leave and provide all theor corporations which have indicated to us in advance that assistance required to pass the exams. In the meantime, youthey have active needs. Unsolicited applications without can practise as a foreign-qualified lawyer, provided you haveany direction or plan to your approach will most likely see a current practising certificate in another jurisdiction.your CV rejected and will exhaust your chances of makinga move. Sometimes it is much better to hold off making any Visas & relocationapplication and wait until the level of demand increases. Unless you have an Australian passport or a right to work, youTaylor Root has close ties with the major law firms, corporates will need a visa. Visas are applied for on your behalf by yourand banks in Australia and are in the best position to let you employer and usually last for four years. After this period,know where to apply and maximise your chances. We have you can apply for residency and thereafter citizenship. Therevideo conferencing facilities in our London office and can are also Spousal and Defacto visas (for unmarried partners)easily make all of the necessary arrangements for you to take which will allow your partner to live and work in Australia, onthe hassle out of the application process.From start to finish the proviso that your visa remains valid.you might expect it to take between four to six months fromthe date of application to sitting at your new desk. Our clients usually have no difficulties in obtaining visas but tend to require you to have at least one year’s PQE to beRequalification eligible. Most employers will assist with the cost of flights, short-term accommodation and shipping your belongings.The Law Societies of each State and Territory govern their Each employer is different of course and will have their ownown requirements for admission to practice. As a result, the policies in this regard, some more generous than others.precise rules concerning foreign lawyers’ admission will vary taylorroot.com
Living & working in AustraliaSalaries & benefitsYour salary in Australia will afford you an excellent quality of public holidays. It is unusual for employers to provide healthlife. With the buoyant economy and shortage of legal talent, insurance for their staff. It is normal for it to be a conditionsalaries have increased substantially in recent years and are of your visa that private health care be taken out prior tonow internationally competitive. Rates of pay may not be your arrival. Some firms offer a discounted private health‘New York’ rates, but the expectations on employees are not insurance scheme.the same as those in New York and neither are the livingexpenses. We are increasingly seeing top tier Australian firms Seniority or PQE in Australia is calculated differently to the UK.paying on par with London salaries. Most training contracts in Australia are for one year, meaning a UK qualified lawyer will have trained for an additional yearSalaries are quoted as a ‘package’. The package incorporates which is usually taken into consideration. Firms will usuallya base salary plus superannuation. ‘Super’ is calculated at 9% look at the ‘seats’ undertaken and assess their relevance toof the base salary and made by all employers and is paid, tax the candidate’s current practice group and establish seniorityfree, into a fund accessed later in the form of a pension. in this manner. It would be usual, for example, for a 1 year PQE UK lawyer to be considered a 2nd year in Australia.The usual annual leave allowance is 20 days, in addition totaylorroot.com
Living & working in AustraliaCost of livingThe cost of living in Australia has increased in recent years Below are some helpful price comparisons (AUD converted intodue to the prosperous economic times, however it is still GBP for ease of comparison - exchange rate of £1=AUD1.51),generally a cheaper place to live than London. The cost of as well as a brief overiew of what income taxes you cantransport and accommodation is generally lower and your expect to pay.high Australian Dollar income will have purchasing power. Item London Sydney Melbourne Brisbane Perth Rent (2 bed flat pcm) £1,500 £1,400 £1,200 £1,200 £1250 Daily Travel Card £8.40 £7.00 £5.00 £5.00 £4.50 Litre of petrol £1.35 £0.90 £0.90 £0.90 £0.90 Small bottle of beer £3.50 £3.50 £3.00 £3.50 £3.50 Pub Meal (2 courses) £15.00 £18.00 £15.00 £18.00 £18.00 Litre of Milk £1.00 £1.30 £1.30 £1.30 £1.30 Loaf of Bread £1.00 £1.50 £1.50 £1.50 £1.50 Daily Newspaper £0.60 £0.80 £0.80 £0.80 £0.80 Taxable income Income tax $0 - $6, 000 0 $6,001 - $37,000 15c for each $1 over $6,000 $37,001 - $80,000 $4,650 plus 30c for each $1 over $37,000 $80,001 – $180,000 $17,550 plus 37c for each $1 over $80,000 $180,001 and over $54,550 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000In addition to the above rates there is a Medicare levy of 1.5% which is a compulsory public healthcare contribution.taylorroot.com
Living & working in AustraliaLawyer experiencesIn order to give candidates a better insight into what life is like in Australia and what you can expect from a move there wehave asked some of our past candidates who have made the move to relay their experiencesPerthRelocation“The move over to Perth was surprisingly easy. Blakes diversity of the work is also much broader than you wouldarranged my visa and provided a relcoation allowance which tend to find in an English firm.I used to ship my belongings, arrange flights and pay for arelocation agent to assist in finding a place to rent. The whole The working environment and hours are similar to Englishprocess took about two months. firms, but the atmosphere is more relaxed. Most firms will expect you to re-qualify in Australia and it typically takes aOnce in Perth, there was quite a lot of form filling to do couple of years to do so.”in relation to things like tax and health care, but that’s allstraightforward too. Financially “In terms of pay, the salaries are probably on a par with whatFinding a place to live can be tricky as the rental market can you would find in London. However, the cost of living inbe competitive given the number of people moving here. It Perth is quite high - especially for things like rent and eatinghelps to do some research about the areas you might want out. The salaries essentially reflect the cost of living overto live in and contacts within the firm helped a lot in that here.regard.” The first few months can be quite expensive whilst you getWork set-up buying furniture etc, so I would definitely recommend“The quality of work in Perth is excellent. I’ve worked on bringing some funds with you.”a number of multi-billion dollar projects in sectors thatI wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be involved in in Associate from a London City firm now with Blake DawsonEngland and have been given a lot of responsibility. The taylorroot.com
Living & working in Australia Melbourne Regarding relocation “The move was a very easy one to make. All expenses (up to an agreed cap) are reimbursed by the employer so you can get proper removalists to pack up your place in England and ship your belongings out to Australia. There is a lot of form filling to do, for example, visa, Inland Revenue etc, but once you get your head around it it’s all quite straightforward. It only took about two months in total to obtain the visa. My firm paid for the process and an agent dealt with it. As far as finding a place to live is concerned, that was very easy, but I was lucky and knew which area I wanted to live in. It helps to do a bit of research before launching into house hunting. The domain.com.au website is invaluable to look at before you arrive.” In terms of the work “The quality of the work I have done here has been exceptional. I have played a much bigger part on the transactions I have worked on than I did in London and been given a lot more responsibility. I’ve also been involved in more diverse transactions due to the broad nature of the department I work in. Unlike London firms where each specific work group is strictly delineated, here the groups are more general allowing you to do one type of work one day and something different the next. Particularly at Allens, the commitment to quality and excellence is as strong as any firm in London, the precedent system is good and the know-how well organised and available. You get your own office, albeit a small one. And my commute to work is great - only 15 minutes by bus, or a 30 minute walk through the park compared to up to an hour on the tube in London.” Magic Circle solicitor now with Allens Arthur Robinsontaylorroot.com
Living & working in Australia Sydney “The work environment is a bit more relaxed and informal than in London and generally I think people work slightly shorter hours. Financially The first few months are pretty expensive as you have to pay a rental bond and set yourself up with furniture and household goods etc, so I would definitely recommend bringing over some funds to cover these expenses. I live in a lovely apartment with an unspoilt view of the harbour, definitely better than my view in south-east London. The Commute I swapped a journey on the bus and the tube for a ferry ride through the most beautiful harbour in the world - it feels wrong to describe it as a commute. If there are dolphins or whales in the harbour they even slow down so you can watch. It’s a great way to relax on the way home from work and you can always sit out on the deck of the ferry, phone home and have one of those “I’m looking at the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, what are you doing?” conversations!” Former Magic Circle firm in London now in Sydney taylorroot.com
ContactFor more information on living and working in Australia or if you are interested in relocation to the region please contact one of ourspecialist consultants in your local office.Formed in 1989,Taylor Root is one of the world’s leading specialist legal recruitment firms. We have offices in London, Sydney, Melbourne,Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. We recruit for the best law firms, companies and financial institutions across the globe.As a partnership, our offices work closely and our staff liaise with each other on a daily basis. Our global reach enables us to act quickly oncurrent information and inform our candidates about relevant employment opportunities as soon as they arise. Most of our consultants havepractised as lawyers in jurisdictions including the UK and Australia. We have recruited lawyers for the Australian market for many years andwe are extremely familiar with the characteristics and attributes our clients seek in lawyers they wish to recruit. As recruiters, and due toour own past professional experiences in the law, we are in a strong position to advise you about the realities of moving to and working inAustralia.In the last 12 months we have run successful campaigns in London for several leading Australian law firms. These include Allens ArthurRobinson, Freehills and Corrs Chambers Westgarth and involved their offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. In addition, Taylor Roothas successfully placed overseas lawyers and Australian returners in all of the top-tier, boutique and leading national firms. London Dubai Hong Kong 95 Queen Victoria Street Suite 614, Liberty House DIFC 1918 Hutchinson House London EC4V 4HN PO Box 506739 10 Harcourt Road , Central, Hong Kong T: +44 (0)20 7415 2828 T: +9714 448 7770 T: +852 2973 6333 Singapore Melbourne Sydney Level 21 Prudential Tower Level 2, Rialto North Tower Level 12, 25 Bligh Street 30 Cecil Street 525 Collins Street Sydney Singapore 049712 Melbourne, VIC 3000 NSW 2000 T: +65 6420 0500 T: +61 (0)3 8610 8400 T: +61 (0)2 9236 9000 Taylor Root is a member of The SR Group taylorroot.com
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