Is Moving Overseas All It’s Cracked Up To Be For UK Lawyers?

Is Moving Overseas All It’s Cracked Up To Be For UK Lawyers?

With so few legal jobs and high levels of law school graduates, it’s no surprise that jobs in countries and continents such as Australia, New Zealand and Asia are becoming increasingly attractive as career prospects.

The real question here is, does moving abroad for career prospects in the legal profession live up to the hype that surrounds it? One aspect to consider whilst ascertaining whether a move will be worth it will be down to the variances in salary; typically one of the main justifications for a change in job placement is an increase in pay.

Although the salary for lawyers overseas mostly matches the average here in the UK, there are usually tax advantages to moving. For example Dubai and the Bahamas have no personal tax. So, with allied or sometimes increased salary and lower tax rates, a lawyer overseas can expect to notably heighten their take-home salary.

A difference in lifestyle and the standard of living also plays a big part in why UK lawyers consider moving abroad. London can be inevitably be dreary and with countries like Australia that have such a beautiful climate and outdoor lifestyle, a job in the likes of Sydney, is a very attractive concept.

Australia also has an advanced legal market; Herbert Smith, Norton Rose and DLA have all entered into mergers with leading Australian firms. However, the cost of living is very, very high – especially for those with children, making it not ideal for lawyers with families.

To make things a little easier the expert team at LR Legal Recruitment have put together some pros and cons for the most popular countries/continents to work within as a lawyer.


  1. Better climate and quality of life

  2. Strong economic stance

  3. Sophisticated legal market.


  1. Salaries in New Zealand are 25% less than the UK

ASIA (Hong Kong and Singapore):

  1. Salaries are typically higher in Hong Kong

  2. Tax is capped at 16% which is substantially lower than the UK

  3. High demand for lawyers in the following fields – corporate, construction, dispute resolution and shipping.


  1. The requirement to speak the native language fluently


  1. High demand for corporal/commercial, dispute resolution and commercial property lawyers

  2. International law firms give a base salary similar to that of London

  3. The cost of living is 20% less than the UK


  1. Uncomfortably hot summers which can be difficult to work in

Going overseas as a UK lawyer has its benefits and its drawbacks, but it’s important to understand all of the options before you start rushing off to the airport. Moving abroad to work is a big change and can cause a lot of stress and disruption, but can equally be a rewarding life move.

If you would like to find out more about opportunities within the legal profession within London and the South of England, then please contact our friendly team on 0208 464 2503.

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