Australia Office of Big Law?

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Australia Office of Big Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:28 pm

Searched TLS and while there is an overabundance of information with respect to London, Hong Kong (and asia generally), I didn't come across much threads for Australia. Do you know of anyone who has made a lateral move from NY to Syndey? Can anyone with first hand or anecdotal information please chime in about the work (assume capital markets), hours, life style, big players in the market, COLA, ability to move and relocate back stateside or to Europe after and any other pertinent information?

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Re: Australia Office of Big Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:43 pm

I don’t know a ton, but it’s almost entirely, if not entirely, cap markets. Hours seemed not great and would assume it’s realtively easy to go back stateside since you’re doing US cap markets work for Australian companies.

They are relatively small offices - S&C, Sidley and MoFo IIRX

AussieJoe

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Re: Australia Office of Big Law?

Postby AussieJoe » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:32 pm

I am a litigator but you might check out the profiles of leading barrister's in Sydney. Some Sydney barristers worked in US firms and then returned to Australia (which I acknowledge is not quite your situation) but they could give some input on the transition/differences.

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Re: Australia Office of Big Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:28 pm

It's expensive and taxes are high. If you can't wrangle a US-rate job, the pay will be significantly less than the US, both in pure number and the fact the AUD is worth 30% less than the USD.

QOL and hours vary wildly. I had a great lifestyle and made good money without too much outrageous pain. My girlfriend basically worked NY hours for about the same money.

You need to like drinking (like, several times a week like drinking).

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Re: Australia Office of Big Law?

Postby QContinuum » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I don’t know a ton, but it’s almost entirely, if not entirely, cap markets. Hours seemed not great and would assume it’s realtively easy to go back stateside since you’re doing US cap markets work for Australian companies.

Is this pure speculation/"logic" or is this based on personal knowledge? I admittedly can't speak to Australia in particular but generally my understanding is that it isn't necessarily easy to lateral back from a foreign Cap Markets practice (say in Hong Kong) to the U.S. - and that if one succeeds in doing so, there is often a class year hit involved. Maybe Australia is different.

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Re: Australia Office of Big Law?

Postby AussieJoe » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:It's expensive and taxes are high. If you can't wrangle a US-rate job, the pay will be significantly less than the US, both in pure number and the fact the AUD is worth 30% less than the USD.

QOL and hours vary wildly. I had a great lifestyle and made good money without too much outrageous pain. My girlfriend basically worked NY hours for about the same money.

You need to like drinking (like, several times a week like drinking).


I agree:
1) Taxes are high. Top marginal tax bracket, which you'll be in, is a hair under 50%. If you're renting, which I assume you would be, there's not much scope for any real deductions.
2) Cost of living in Sydney is very high.
3) Drinking culture is strong.

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Re: Australia Office of Big Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:52 am

Noooo, i was considering a move to Sydney biglaw, but the above posts really turn me off, big time.

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Re: Australia Office of Big Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:09 pm

I worked at a US firm in their Australia office a few years ago. Don't want to provide any more identifying details as it's a very tiny world.

You do mostly cap markets work for Australian, NZ and to a lesser extent other APAC companies (IG work for major issuers is the bread and butter, along with some high yield and other miscellaneous things). Offices are tiny, so hours are really variant - I had a 400 (!) hour month, but never billed over 2200 for a year. Because the offices are small, and because your clients aren't American and therefore know nothing about US securities law and practice, you end up getting a lot of client contact at a junior level, holding your clients' hands. Clients are probably less demanding on average than New York clients, but the shitty timezone mitigates a lot of that. I spent a lot of time on the phone at weird hours even when I wasn't busy.

Capital markets is capital markets, so you will end up learning similar things to what your colleagues in New York are learning, however you will definitely be less skilled than a peer who spends the same amount of time in a cap markets group in New York. There are only a few big issuers in Australia, and only a few US firms doing Australian work, and everything is quite incestuous - you'll end up being an expert in a bunch of weird things that don't matter, but you won't have kept up with market practice more generally. It's definitely possible to leverage the experience into a good landing back in the USA, but friends of mine in Australia have generally struggled a bit when they went back to the US. It would be easier to transfer to another jurisdiction than go back to New York and your work would be more comparable - London, HK and Singapore would all be good possibilities.

Comp-wise, I think you end up worse. I don't think firms are paying COLAs anymore, and the weaker Australian dollar at present does not compensate for high taxes and otherwise high cost of living. But you'll still way outearn your peers at the local Australian law firms (of course they'll all have family money), and US$200k/year is more than enough to live decently in Sydney or Melbourne.

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Re: Australia Office of Big Law?

Postby Lancair » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:Noooo, i was considering a move to Sydney biglaw, but the above posts really turn me off, big time.


It depends what you are looking for. For all the downsides discussed in the thread, Sydney is a beautiful city and great place to live, particularly if you have the cash to enjoy it - which if you are on 200k plus US you will.

It really depends what you are looking for. If you are either gunning to be a partner of a US firm, or want to maximise your dollars in the pocket for student loans/FIRE/etc. it probably doesn't make sense. If you want to go on an overseas adventure for a few years and aren't too worried about a bit of a career hit, why not?



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