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Why Lawyers Head Oversees to Find Attorney Work

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 15, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

There was a not so distant time when few U.S. attorneys went abroad. Overseas firms were so desperate for talent that American associates could choose from multiple offers.

But things have changed. More attorneys -- and law students -- are leaving the country. And they're not just going to London, either.

Why? What is driving American lawyers abroad?

There's no question that many experienced associates are fleeing the U.S. in order to flee the stagnant economy. Some foreign markets are still going strong, and there's significant regulatory, corporate and finance work to be done. Firms that serve global corporations need lawyers who can navigate the U.S. legal system.

Other attorneys see foreign practice as a chance to get in on the ground-level. A number of firms have opened new offices in Asia and the Middle East during the last decade. Demographics and petrodollars promise increased revenue, explains the New York Times.

These offices often have more opportunities for young lawyers to do substantive work, which could ultimately help them land a better job back in the U.S.

Foreign law offices also provide unique opportunities for law students. It's a chance to develop cultural knowledge and language skills, which are becoming more important in our globalized economy. Students who already possess language skills, yet lack the grades, are also able to situate themselves in higher-earning positions.

Ultimately, law students and lawyers go abroad to help their careers. They may still be practicing American law, but they're developing skills that will help them succeed anywhere.

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