Expat packages - What are they like?

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Anonymous User
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Expat packages - What are they like?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:38 pm

To anyone in biglaw, or with any experience/knowledge: what are biglaw expat packages like? Also, does the salary differ from what one would receive in the U.S.?

This question is predominantly directed with regard to U.S. firms with offices abroad (as I have heard that local law firms hire U.S. attorneys at considerably lower pay).

yale2011
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Re: Expat packages - What are they like?

Postby yale2011 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:51 pm

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Last edited by yale2011 on Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Expat packages - What are they like?

Postby 3L Student » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:54 pm

They pay New York market (160K USD). Normally for those entering as new associates they will give you an additional 40-70K USD on top of your base salary, depending where you are. But often times this is eaten up by higher tax rates in your country and pricier cost of living. For example, a small one bedroom flat in London can range from 2500-4000 easily. Flats in Hong Kong are even pricier. If you're lucky, the firms will offer tuition expenses for your kids private schooling (something like 20k per year, per child). But that is becoming rare.

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Re: Expat packages - What are they like?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:02 pm

They range from $0 to over $100k depending on your skills/seniority, the firm and the country you're shooting for. If you are a 'local hire' then you won't get an expat package at all. For example, say you have an unimpressive resume and move to London for some reason before landing a job - you'd be hard pressed to get a great package from a US satellite office in London. If you're a senior/mid level with skills a lucrative office, located in an unappealing and expensive country, desperately needs then you have some leverage and can get a great package. There's no one answer since they don't really follow a 'standard' like how NYC market base+bonus plays out stateside. If you give some more background info, like where you want to live and at what level firm or seniority you're thinking about going over with, I can get somewhat more specific but prefer to remain anonymous since the number of associates looking to work abroad is small.

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Re: Expat packages - What are they like?

Postby reformed calvinist » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:44 pm

short, red and turgid

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Re: Expat packages - What are they like?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:They range from $0 to over $100k depending on your skills/seniority, the firm and the country you're shooting for. If you are a 'local hire' then you won't get an expat package at all. For example, say you have an unimpressive resume and move to London for some reason before landing a job - you'd be hard pressed to get a great package from a US satellite office in London. If you're a senior/mid level with skills a lucrative office, located in an unappealing and expensive country, desperately needs then you have some leverage and can get a great package. There's no one answer since they don't really follow a 'standard' like how NYC market base+bonus plays out stateside. If you give some more background info, like where you want to live and at what level firm or seniority you're thinking about going over with, I can get somewhat more specific but prefer to remain anonymous since the number of associates looking to work abroad is small.



I am focused on London or Asia (but the link above provides a good insight into what the compensation is for locations in Asia, so any info on London would be great).

Is it easier to transfer from X firm (e.g. V20) in NYC to one of these locations (perhaps using a placement service) as opposed to transferring from that same X firm in a U.S. satellite office (like Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, etc.)? Assume the practice is capital markets or M&A.

Also, how likely would a placement at one of these locations be in the hypothetical above?

Thanks for your help.

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Re: Expat packages - What are they like?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am focused on London or Asia (but the link above provides a good insight into what the compensation is for locations in Asia, so any info on London would be great).

Is it easier to transfer from X firm (e.g. V20) in NYC to one of these locations (perhaps using a placement service) as opposed to transferring from that same X firm in a U.S. satellite office (like Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, etc.)? Assume the practice is capital markets or M&A.

Also, how likely would a placement at one of these locations be in the hypothetical above?

Thanks for your help.


1) Same anony as above, current biglaw associate. London will be far less, think $0 to $40k. It's an English speaking country that many Americans would be willing to spend a couple years rotating through so supply isn't an issue. If they need someone they will pay a little bit, but it won't be as much as the Asian offices, and if you request to get sent to London most firms won't give you anything. Obviously there are exceptions, basically the small lucrative offices of V10 firms where they need to bribe their homegrown associates to give up precious junior/mid-level years getting solid NYC deal experience.

2) Considering the majority of firms with foreign offices that offer decent expat packages are based in NY, and the highest level cap markets and M&A work is also done in NY, then obviously if you get a job at one of the big NY firms and get experience in NY on huge deals you'll have a much easier time getting a job abroad with a good expat package. Think about it, you're a managing partner of a London branch office of a V10 firm - do you take the internal candidate who is a known entity and well regarded in your home office, the V10 associate who has experience on huge, complex deals who wants to lateral in or someone who has mid-market M&A experience from San Francisco? The first two have a shot at a decent package, the third one has very little chance of getting hired at all unless an office has a desperate need for a warm body. I know people who are exceptions to this, but it's probably not a great idea to bank on being an exception. Fwiw the reverse is also true, it can be tough to lateral into a smaller market after getting very narrow work experience abroad at a smaller satellite office because your skill set just won't overlap with what they need.

Getting a job itself isn't that hard, getting a job at a top firm with a top of the market expat package is quite difficult.

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Re: Expat packages - What are they like?

Postby 3L Student » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:21 pm

I shopped around a lot last year for English and US firms in London. I ended up going with a Magic Circle firm.

Like I mentioned above, the US firms have more generous cost of living allowances (COLA), normally 50k or a little bit more. And they give better benefits (paying for children's private schooling sometimes). The English firms give just slightly less of a COLA, but more vacation (think 4-5 weeks guaranteed). And the English firms demand slightly fewer hours (supposedly...) than a NY firm.

Most of the V10 firms that I interviewed with in London said that they prefer to hire internally from new associates heading to their NY offices. So if you get a summer associateship with a V10's NY office, and you mention that you want to work in London, it should be easy to get over there. Normally these associates would do a two year rotation in London, then head back.

But, they sometimes hire proactive outside applicants who contact them directly expressing interest. They do not actively recruit for these applicants. They will hire these outside applicants applying directly to these offices if they show a genuine interest in working in London and staying there longterm. I was able to demonstrate this through solid connections, i.e., family, having lived there, etc, and I landed a few interviews in London.

Also, the poster above was dead on with his/her second point. You will be doing a very specialized practice of corporate law, especially Capital Markets.

If you want to speak more, you can PM me.




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