In the past few years, business services in law have gone international, with Totum increasingly working on either placements overseas or helping international candidates to relocate to London. As part of this more global view, we were delighted last year to agree a formal alliance with Australian recruitment firm Seldon Rosser, which specialises in BD and marketing recruitment in law. Between us, we can provide clients with a combined candidate reach spanning the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia.
A recent example of how we work together came when Seldon Rosser recommended an excellent candidate Joy Wang, who was interested in relocating from Melbourne to London. She had two year’s BD experience in a legal background and had great potential to progress. We were delighted to meet with Joy and subsequently placed her as a BD Specialist in the London office of McDermott Will & Emery.
We were able to support Joy throughout the process, including managing the more complex logistics of long-distance recruitment. After Seldon Rosser passed on Joy’s details to us, we conducted a call with her to gather information and started to send her CV across to opportunities. Joy had several Skype interviews from Australia, followed by face-to-face interviews when she came to London for a two-week holiday. The firm was then flexible around start dates allowing Joy time to complete her notice and relocate – and we followed up with Joy after the move to ensure she was settling in okay.
Here, Joy takes five minutes to share her experience of the move and her new role.
How did you find the transition from Australia to London, in terms of the logistics/cost of living, etc?
You certainly need to be actively mindful about the amount of salary you need to put aside for accommodation in London, as it is noticeably more expensive than Queensland or Melbourne (and perhaps slightly more than Sydney). Undeniably, transport is a large weekly expense (especially, as I moved from Melbourne, where all trams in zone 1 were free). I have used Sparerooms and would recommend it. It is also worth noting that there may be additional costs if you're looking to book through an agency.
The visa application process can take between three to six weeks (but at times, two-week approvals can be granted too, during low-season, i.e. November).
Because London is so sprawling, you can spend a lot of time commuting, so I would recommend finding accommodation that is along your underground or overground line.
In your experience so far, how do Australian and UK BD roles compare?
Much the same, at least for me. I worked in a global 40-office-footprint law firm in Melbourne and now I work for a global 20-office-footprint firm in London. I am much happier in my current role, I consciously chose to transition to a smaller global firm, in the hope that would allow me to dive deeper into projects, have greater responsibility and work more closely with partners and senior management - which has been the case. In reality, I think one's transition is shaped by the demographic make-up and size of the organisation and the structure of your team.
What advice would you give to others considering considering making a similar move?
Research is definitely key. London is so large and dense that it’s helpful to speak to friends who already live here and/or recruiters.
If you’re thinking of moving, ask yourself, ‘Why wait? What's the worst that can happen?’ Personally speaking, it's been exhilarating placing myself in an unfamiliar place that's rich in culture and dense with life – your resilience may be tested but isn’t that a good thing? I’ve undeniably had a whole lot of fun along the way, and you cross paths with people who you'd otherwise never have had the chance to meet. That kind of experience can only add to your personal and professional growth, right?
Seize the day…
Huge thanks to Joy for contributing her thoughts to this piece. We are always delighted to support candidates interested in relocating internationally, whether that’s to move to London or, indeed, to move from the UK to an overseas firm.
If you would like to discuss your options, contact [email protected]. You can also contact our alliance partner Seldon Rosser at [email protected].