Goodbye Sydney, hello London

Courtney is an Australian qualified associate who moved to London last March; she has recently been placed into a central government role by Jo Dickson, a specialist in recruiting legal roles for the central government. Here is Courtney’s experience moving to London and some tips on making the big move!

What’s your background? How and why did you get into law?

My background is in civil litigation and insurance. After finishing high-school I went straight to university and was fortunate enough to enter the workplace immediately after graduating, and that is where I feel my journey really began, as most lawyers will tell you – studying law is one thing, practising law is quite another. I excelled in ‘Legal Studies’ in high-school, and was always really interested in the legal system.

Tell us about your initial move to London. When was that and why did you decide to make the move to the UK? 

I arrived in London on 11th March 2017. I always wanted to move to London to live for a couple of years to see the UK and Europe. As I watched Brexit unfolding on the news at home, I thought it might be the perfect time to do it. I think it’s an interesting time in the UK for lawyers.

What were the key things you learned in those early years?

Making mistakes isn’t a bad thing. When you make a mistake in the legal industry it tends to blow up in your face in a big way. Magistrates and Judges are merciless, the opposition will always take full advantage of any error, and no one wants to disappoint their client - so it can feel like the end of the world when you ‘screw up’. But the great thing about this is, you never forget it; as your career progresses you make sure that you never make the same mistake twice, and you end up becoming a better lawyer for it.

Tell us about your career, what are the highlights?

It’s always a great feeling when you come across something you’ve never dealt with before, or  have a really challenging case, and then to manage to navigate through it and obtain a good outcome for the client.

How did you go about making the move? Were there logistical difficulties?

Despite not really having a plan, making the move to London was easy enough for me. I didn’t have job, or a place to live, I just jumped on a plane bound for London and thought I’d figure it all out once I arrived.

The biggest logistical challenge is the whole ‘proof of address’ thing. When I first arrived, I needed to arrange a National Insurance (NI) Number and set up a bank account, before I could start working. I thought obtaining proof of address after only just arriving would be the hardest part, but I was wrong.  It was definitely difficult not having a bank account for three months.

How’s your current role working out? How does it differ from previous roles, especially in Australia? What sort of work are you doing?

It’s difficult to compare my experience in Australia with my experience here in London, because I’ve only ever been involved in disclosure projects or ‘document review’ roles here. This type of work is great money, and really flexible, so it’s perfect for Aussies who are here to travel.

I recently accepted a litigation role with the government, despite the remuneration being substantially lower than that of my current document review role. I’m really looking forward to getting involved in quality legal work and getting back to what I love – which is litigation.

Do you know many Aussie lawyers in London? Tell us a little more about meeting and what they do?

I’ve met many Aussie lawyers in London, all with different backgrounds and experiences. Most of them I’ve met in the workplace, on various disclosure projects. Some have become good friends that I see regularly, and even travel with occasionally. When I first started working here, I remember feeling really assured when I met another Aussie. However now I enjoy the opportunity to work alongside people from other nationalities.

Do you have any thoughts about working in another country has benefited you as a lawyer?

I’ve benefited from the whole experience as a person.

What do you miss about Australia?

I miss my friends and family, driving my car, and definitely the weather.

What’s your favourite thing about London?

My favourite thing about London is that there is so much to do here, and you can go out any night of the week and have a great time.

What’s your plan for the future?

I’m a ‘go with the flow’ kind of person, so I don’t like to plan too much when it comes to the future. But I’d love to live and work somewhere else in Europe for a while. It’d be great to experience a different legal system, and maybe learn another language


Recruitment , See all , Legal , Brexit
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