Consistently ranked among the leading countries in the world for ‘standard of living’, New Zealand also boasts a modern dynamic economy that has weathered the economic storm better than most of its European cousins. At Gladwin Law international legal recruitment we are working with our friends at a leading legal recruitment consultancy based in Auckland, to bring the best opportunities in the market to returning Kiwis and European lawyers considering emigration.
Returning Kiwis are in demand across all sectors and levels. International experience gained will be sought after by the top firms and whilst you will inevitably need to re-establish yourself in the market first, your career prospects back home will only benefit from good quality experience gained overseas.
For ex-pats it is the mid-level where demand is highest as this tends to be the level at which NZ lawyers head overseas. You are likely to need at least a couple of years’ experience but don’t wait too long, since opportunities beyond five or six years’ qualified are likely to see you competing with returnees. Experience in a well-known London firm, or equivalent, is likely to be essential.
Corporate and M&A, Banking and Finance, Funds/Financial Services, Energy and Projects are all in demand. Perhaps more surprisingly, demand for top quality Commercial Property and Construction lawyers is also good.
It’s tougher for litigators since local regulations limit the level of involvement a non-NZ qualified lawyer can have in court work. So in contentious work, as in more market specific areas such as tax and employment, returning Kiwis are in demand, ex-pats less so.
Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Auckland and Wellington are both centres for key commercial work and will have all of the usual advantages (and some of the disadvantages) of a major commercial hub, albeit that their relatively small size will feel very manageable to someone used to a daily commute into London.
The location which needs most elaboration is probably Christchurch, for most of us last seen when hitting the news following last year’s earthquake. This is still a city in rebuilding mode and nobody is pretending it is anything else. However, a rebuild on this scale means major investment and it has created a very strong demand for lawyers across various sectors. With most of suburban Christchurch untouched, and with stunning mountains (including ski-fields) and lakes on its doorstep, in the long-run this could be a beneficial career move for someone seeking a fast-track.
If you are a Kiwi lawyer moving home, get in touch and we will can give you a full appraisal of the market, the potential opportunities and help you with organising the logistics.
For ex-pats, our contacts will advise on whether the move is feasible, visa considerations, re-qualification and help with targeting your application to the right people. Once the process gets started, we can also assist with the logistics for interviews, and hopefully relocation!
Jason Horobin is an experienced international legal recruitment consultant and has helped numerous lawyers to secure placements overseas. To find out more about a career in New Zealand, or to discuss the market in general, contact him in confidence on +44 (0)20 7096 1681 or by email at email@example.com