I want to go abroad – what are my options? | BCGSearch.com

I want to go abroad – what are my options?


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As a recruiter at a company that does international placements, I get frequent inquiries from U.S.-based attorneys who are intrigued by the prospect of going abroad.
I want to go abroad – what are my options?

As a recruiter at a company that does international placements, I get frequent inquiries from U.S.-based attorneys who are intrigued by the prospect of going abroad.  This is understandable, because going abroad and being an international attorney sounds romantic, exotic, prestigious, etc.   Unfortunately, on too many occasions the dream does not reflect the reality of the attorney’s actual prospects at landing a position in another country, and I have to let them down with the bad news (I certainly do not want to discourage anybody from trying, but I have always found that the best approach to my job as a recruiter is to be as candid as possible).

While there are no rules in the job search process that hold true 100% of the time, the reality is that you will likely have little success in an international job search without being able to check off at least one or more of the following:

- You have corporate experience, particularly in the areas of debt/equity, capital markets, securities, project finance, and M&A.  This is because experience in these areas translates well internationally, whereas litigation experience is almost universally particular to the jurisdiction, and does not translate well, if at all (the one exception is extensive experience in international arbitration, often in the reinsurance sector, but this is extremely rare for the typical attorney to have).  On occasion, patent prosecution experience may also translate internationally if you are fluent in the language of a country where your client is attempting to prosecute their patents.

-You are licensed in the country/jurisdiction you are trying to relocate to.  If you are a law student thinking about a potential international career, you should immediately start looking into the requirements of becoming licensed in a foreign jurisdiction.  If you are an experienced attorney and practice in the areas mentioned above, being locally licensed is not always necessary, but it will exponentially increase your potential opportunities.  If you are not sure where you would like to practice, becoming U.K.-licensed is a safe bet, as that will often allow you to practice in other foreign jurisdictions.

-You are fluent in a foreign language.  It is also helpful if you have experience or familiarity with interpersonal and business customs of the foreign jurisdiction.  Merely being fluent is not sufficient, but combined with one of the two prior factors, it will definitely increase your chances.

-You have top credentials, both in your legal education and your current work history.  The international legal market is highly attractive and, as a consequence, fiercely competitive.  Just as in a domestic job search, the better your credentials and current work history (top schools, top firms), the better your chances.

That’s it.  Those are the basics.  Without at least one of the first two factors, your chances of landing an international legal position are, frankly, not so hot.  But if you got through the list and it applies to you, that perfect international job may be waiting just around the corner…

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog, HarrisonBarnes.com, and BCGSearch.com, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.

Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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