Need an International Legal Job? Think Beyond Borders–Literally and Figuratively

Here are some tips for international lawyers who want a new job:

1. Jobs Abroad:  If your resume is stellar, look abroad for law firm opportunities, reports the ABA Journal. If you transfer to a foreign office, however, think this through; as the economic crisis deepens globally, you may find yourself jobless AND across the globe from home. See my recent article So You Want to Work Abroad? for The Complete Lawyer.

2. In-house: If you have done excellent work for a particular client, now may be the right time to move in-house with that client. However, doing so isn’t easy during a tight market. Good in-house jobs are coveted right now, and hiring freezes may be in place. Be prepared to use your best contacts and to demonstrate how hiring you will actually save the client money. If you have been at a well paying firm, know that moving in-house may require a pay cut.

3.  Government Jobs: Working for the new Administration appeals to many lawyers; the WSJ’s career website tells you how to make Obama your boss. There are also good international law positions with the government that don’t require a political appointment, such as many with the CIA and the State Department. Think about other government agencies that touch on international topics, like the US Commerce Department and its International Trade Administration.

4. Part-time or Contract Jobs: Sometimes you have to take a “placeholder position” in order to make money.  Regardless, you will learn from the experience, and it may benefit you down the line. See Zigzag to Get Your International Dream Job, Even if it Means Grueling Work.

5. Non-legal Jobs: This requires thinking outside the box. Although lawyers are taught to solve legal problems with creative solutions, they are not taught to think about their careers creatively. Brainstorm with legal recruiters, executive headhunters, lawyer coaches, family members and friends about what else you might do. Career testing, which can be purchased through most major university career offices, can also be helpful. Read the WSJ’s online career site’s discussion of how to reposition youself for a new industry.

You might also enjoy my January 2007 presentation on Career Change for Lawyers in a Global Economy.


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