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    Hi everyone,

    I'm in my last semester of an LLB and Bachelor of Arts in New South Wales, Australia and am keen on moving to the UK to practice law.

    I have had paralegal experience in a boutique firm and am currently working at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP). I was considering taking a graduate role with the ODPP for 2-3 years and then heading over to the UK as I've heard it's quite difficult for grads to get jobs in the UK, particularly if I do not have any experience with UK law firms.

    Has anyone done something similar or has any advice as to what would be the most appropriate method of going over?

    I understand that I would have to undertake testing in the UK in order to qualify as a UK practitioner, which I am happy to do. Just wanting more information about how soon I should get over there and whether it is more beneficial for me to gain experience here in Australia or in the UK?

    Thank you!
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    (Original post by alyshab2)
    Hi everyone,

    I'm in my last semester of an LLB and Bachelor of Arts in New South Wales, Australia and am keen on moving to the UK to practice law.

    I have had paralegal experience in a boutique firm and am currently working at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP). I was considering taking a graduate role with the ODPP for 2-3 years and then heading over to the UK as I've heard it's quite difficult for grads to get jobs in the UK, particularly if I do not have any experience with UK law firms.

    Has anyone done something similar or has any advice as to what would be the most appropriate method of going over?

    I understand that I would have to undertake testing in the UK in order to qualify as a UK practitioner, which I am happy to do. Just wanting more information about how soon I should get over there and whether it is more beneficial for me to gain experience here in Australia or in the UK?

    Thank you!
    It used to be very common for London firms to actively recruit Australian students - often travelling to Australia to recruit them.

    The market has changed a fair amount however. The growth of mergers with Australian firms, and the fact the Australian legal market is far more complex than it was, and pays comparatively to (if not better than) UK firms, means less Australian candidates are interested in coming to the UK to work. It means many firms have ditched their Australian recruitment drives, instead taking qualified lawyers on secondment from their Australian offices or from "best friend" firms.

    It is still possible and there are still a number of Australian candidates who attempt it each year. It is difficult though...

    1) You are limited to firms who can provide you with a work permit. Most firms won't allow you to work on a youth mobility visa and will only hire you on a Tier 2 visa. There's only a number of firms who have the ability to get you these.

    2) You have to make a long term commitment to the UK. Many Aussie lawyers want to do it for a few years and then go home. If the firm is going to pay your GDL/LPC/QLTS fees, they want to be sure they are getting their money back.

    3) The legal market here is equally as competitive as somewhere like Sydney. It won't be easier to get work here.

    You are probably better off qualifying in Australia, getting comparable experience and then transferring as a qualified lawyer.

    If you do want to come here as a fresh graduate, you have one of two options:

    1) Qualify in an Australian state and then take the QLTS to convert your qualification to England and Wales. You'd need to double check your eligibility for the QLTS though. You can then do the equivalent of a training contract as a "legal assistant" and build up your experience that way. You won't be considered for qualified lawyer roles unless you have 2-3 years worth of experience.

    2) Don't qualify in Australia and come over and complete the GDL (10 months) and then the LPC (7-10 months). You'd then do a training contract like any other candidate.
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    I know a guy who qualified in Cape Town, did his two year training contract with a local big firm, went to Harvard for a LLM, applied to a big (ish) London firm for a training contract and was made an associate after a year.

    Things to remember:

    1) He had already completed some form of commercial law work with a Top five firm in South Africa.
    2) He had already completed the MCT part of the QLTS before he moved to London. (It's a computer based test and they have testing centers all over the world - I'm fairly certain they have one in Sydney).
    3) He was due to do the OSCE part of the QLTS near the end of his first year, so after his first year as a trainee in London he was admitted to the roll of solicitors.

    So it was pretty easy for this guy, but I'm sure he's just an outlier. What seems to be the usual route for foreign qualified lawyers is:

    1) Qualify in your home jurisdiction (whatever that means - in South Africa that means doing a two year training contract after your degree, not sure about Oz).
    2) Try to attempt the MCT part of the QLTS before you move.
    3) Get work as a paralegal, preferably before you land. This allows you time to finish the OSCE whilst gaining valuable insights into the UK legal market.
    4) Once on the roll then apply for NQ jobs or even TCs. I say TCs because if big law is what you want then you'll need a certain amount of big law indoctrination - plus the pay is pretty good. In fact, I know of at least one London firm (Norton Rose) who have actually said on their website that they'll require a foreign qualified lawyer to do at least 12/18 months as a trainee anyway.

    This seems to be the cheapest way to do it. Otherwise go over, do the GDL and the LPC and apply for TCs that way.
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    The above example sounds about right - they had three years comparable experience before getting a NQ role (compared to a English TC where you only need two).

    I suspect the LLM from Harvard also helped a lot in this instance.




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