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Australian Returners – The Unicorns’ Unicorn

Australian Returners – The Unicorns’ Unicorn

Most Australian qualified lawyers have dreams of one day, a few years after being admitted, heading overseas to the bright lights of London, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai or Jersey (ok fair, Jersey’s not big on bright lights).  Every week we speak to Australia’s best and brightest about what they need to get there, which practice areas are most in demand, what they’re going to be paid and how does 1800 hours a year compare to 7 hours a day.

But what happens once you’ve made it, you got there, you did the work, you earned the money, you made a place for yourself, and you built a life, yet you’ve reached the very common conclusion that it might be time to come home?

Australia is magnetic and, rather than being somewhere you escape from never to look back, most people who leave know it’s only for a few years and, as their lives develop, mature and become more complex, inevitably there comes a day when it’s time to come home.  And this is when you become the rarest of all beasts “The Australian Returner”

Irrespective of economic ups and downs, lawyers returning home to Australia from overseas are always the hottest ticket in town and it’s not rocket science to understand why.  In terms of profile – to get a role overseas in the first place, the chances are you went to a decent Uni, got good grades, picked up a job at a tier-one firm and the majority of you spent a few years working in a busy transactional role with some well-respected Partners.

Your skill set and profile is always in demand, but now you have that extra sprinkle of star dust – you’ve worked internationally and likely picked up experience on bigger deals, in a bigger firm in a bigger market.  You’ve gained experience you simply can’t get at home and now you’re swinging back into town with a wider perspective on the world, your work and, justifiably, a little bit of hard-earned swagger.

For you, the Unicorn, there are many considerations around making a move home, the most important of these being, who do you want to be? Typically, you’re a bit more senior now – you went overseas with a few years’ experience, and you’ve likely made the step up to Senior Associate whilst you’ve been there.  Whoever you join, you’re likely to be a senior or semi-senior member of a team, so what does that mean for you – do you want to stay in your law firm lane or take a step off into something in-house?  Do you want to make Partner and, if so, what does the existing pack of cards look like and where would you shuffle in?  Do you want to make a splash at a smaller or boutique firm or do you carry on where you left off with a big firm and a big team?

In a market so bereft of quality local candidates looking to make a move, a conquering hero returning from foreign lands will always see plenty of doors open to them.  The question is which door is right for you, both now and into the future?

If you’d like to discuss what a return to Australia might look like for you, where the opportunities and challenges lie and what’s changed since you’ve been away, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me to arrange a chat at matt@montgomeryadvisory.com.au


Matt Harris

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