Overseas associateships

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Overseas associateships

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:04 am

Has anyone contemplated doing their associateship overseas, particularly in an Asian office of a big firm? I was wondering about the work-life balance, work assigned, and practice groups that are big there. Also, I know countless studies have been done about purchasing power in big cities in the US (i.e. 160K in New York is 160K in New York but 66K in Dallas is the equivalent of 160K in New York) but there haven't been any studies done for cities like Hong Kong or Singapore. Does anyone know if it is more or less expensive than New York, DC, Chicago, Boston, or LA?


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Re: Overseas associateships

Postby MinEMorris » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:38 am

Aside from the fact that opportunities to start your biglaw career overseas are few and far between, I think the main reason people don't pursue them is that they typically impart less transferrable experience than a local office. If you do litigation overseas, you will probably miss out on developing basic skills that any litigation practice you later transfer to will expect you to have (e.g. depositions, arguing motions, etc.). If you do transactional work, my understanding is that most of the time transactional work overseas is really quite different in nature from transactional work back home-- the applicable law, the structure of the transactions, and even what sort of parties you represent can be quite disparate. Because of that, a US firm/whatever later considering you as a lateral candidate might value your experience considerably less than candidates coming from US practices.

It seems like overseas offices also have a reputation for basically being puppets of bigger domestic offices. That is, that they only exist to interact with the clients locally and to make their presence known, and that the people actually doing all of the leg and brainwork for the office's deals are still back in the US. I once heard someone describe international offices as being where "careers go to die." I don't know how true this really is, but it may be a stigma to be aware of.

Have to cap this with a major disclaimer, almost all of this is hearsay and I have no first hand knowledge or experience about any overseas offices. I'm sure a lot of what I said will vary greatly depending on the firm/office/practice area. Hopefully someone who has done actual research and/or has experience can comment.

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