/ November 24, 2008

Market Trends: Lawyers Looking for Work Overseas

Even as they close offices in the United States, large firms continue to open new offices in far away lands.  For example, last February, Latham & Watkins opened offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha.  Dewey closed US offices in Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, and Texas – but opened offices in Doha and Abu Dhabi.

As real estate, securities, and capital market work in the United States dwindles, experienced attorney are beginning to look for opportunities abroad.  But lawyers are not just being pushed by the downturn in the US, they are also being pulled by increased marketing of Middle Eastern cities and the promise of adventure.  David Ech, a Kirkland & Ellis partner in Hong Kong, says that the US economy is providing firms with an opportunity to bring the best talent into the international market.

Even law students are taking advantage of international opportunity – especially as firms shrink their incoming summer classes.  One Chicago student flew to Dubai at his own expense and set up meetings with Dubai firms.  Further, law schools are providing increasing information about how students can distinguish themselves with international experience.
According to the NY Times, Dubai is nearing its “critical mass” of attorneys, and firms are beginning to look at other Middle Eastern cities to get ahead.  Firms are beginning to place attorneys in Doha, Qatar as well as Riyadh, the Saudi capitol.  
Source: NY Times

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