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Old 24.06.2020, 15:51
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Job prospects for foreign qualified lawyers

Hello. Let me just start off by saying that I am aware that this question has been asked before. I have read those threads 5 times over by now. I was hoping that someone could chime in with some information that may be relevant to my specific situation. I am trying to get all the information that I need before making some important life decisions.

I am a lawyer qualified in the UK and have been working in financial services regulation for the past 10 years (exclusively on the government / regulator side) - think MiFID, PSD, AIFMD, GDPR. Prior to that I was doing commercial transactional work in private practice in an unrelated field for 3-4 years. I am in my late 30s.

I am happily employed in the UK and enjoy my job. Alas, my partner who is a Swiss national is not. so I am exploring the possibility of moving to Switzerland in the next few years. I don't speak German at the moment (or French), but can look to become fluent over the next few years if that would aid the job hunt. I can also perhaps look to get different types of regulatory experience if it would make it easier to move - let's say getting experience with competition law or funds regulation.

Does anyone have any views what my prospects would be to find suitable employment? I don't particularly want to move into private practice. In house would be fine, though not in a compliance function. I would prefer legal and could live with regulatory affairs. The best case scenario would be a role at one of the regulatory bodies (BIS, FINMA, etc) if possible.

As I said, I am happy to delay moving for a few years in order to tailor my experience and learn German. I won't need a work permit given marriage to a Swiss national. What are my chances? And do have any suggestions how I could improve them?

Thank you very much in advance. I would welcome any info that you can provide. Your experience or the experience of others, etc. Thanks again!
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Old 24.06.2020, 18:01
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Re: Job prospects for foreign qualified lawyers

No idea, but welcome to the Forum.
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Old 25.06.2020, 07:08
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Re: Job prospects for foreign qualified lawyers

Welcome to the forum!

Just an idea - if your partner is a Swiss national, wouldn't be more convenient to assign him/her some tasks re. researching your chances to get a job in the same field should you move here? After all, you'd be taking this decision to suit him/her.
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Old 25.06.2020, 08:17
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Re: Job prospects for foreign qualified lawyers

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I won't need a work permit given marriage to a Swiss national.
You will need a permit... everyone who is not Swiss themselves needs a permit. Difference is, you can get a permit based on him supporting you rather than based on your job.

Suggest you start sending applications to all the big international companies in Switzerland and see what comes up.

Last edited by Island Monkey; 25.06.2020 at 08:33.
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Old 25.06.2020, 09:26
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Re: Job prospects for foreign qualified lawyers

Welcome to the forum.
You could probably work in compliance, but my friend who was a Really Good English Lawyer ended up going back as she couldn't do what she wanted to do here. She would have had to get another load of qualifications.
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Old 25.06.2020, 20:33
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Re: Job prospects for foreign qualified lawyers

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Welcome to the forum!

Just an idea - if your partner is a Swiss national, wouldn't be more convenient to assign him/her some tasks re. researching your chances to get a job in the same field should you move here? After all, you'd be taking this decision to suit him/her.
Hah. Unfortunately she wouldn't be able to make much sense of what sort of jobs match up with my experience. She would send me a bunch of random jobs with lawyer put in them, but they will be tax law jobs. You almost need someone who has gone through the experience to tell their story.

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You will need a permit... everyone who is not Swiss themselves needs a permit. Difference is, you can get a permit based on him supporting you rather than based on your job.

Suggest you start sending applications to all the big international companies in Switzerland and see what comes up.
Thanks. Noted.

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Welcome to the forum.
You could probably work in compliance, but my friend who was a Really Good English Lawyer ended up going back as she couldn't do what she wanted to do here. She would have had to get another load of qualifications.
Well that is depressing. Having to work in compliance would be the end of me (and or the relationship).
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Old 25.06.2020, 20:40
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Re: Job prospects for foreign qualified lawyers

I am also not sure to what extent the difficulty people have been having has been a work permit issue, a language issue, the wrong or not enough experience issue or something else.

I mean I am hoping I can with dedication address the language issue in a few years (if I stop having any fun). But not sure if they value my experience - how similar are the financial regulatory laws; to what extent has Switzerland adopted EU law in various sectors and how helpful is knowledge of EU law in the regard; how much do they value someone who has experience in a bigger financial services sector than Switzerland and do they value it enough to overlook lack of local experience... I know some of these questions are too specific and situation dependent for anyone to really know the answers to, but here is hoping.

Best case scenario: someone from FINMA sends me a private message right now saying that I am the exact person they are looking for.
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Old 25.06.2020, 20:47
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Re: Job prospects for foreign qualified lawyers

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I am also not sure to what extent the difficulty people have been having has been a work permit issue, a language issue, the wrong or not enough experience issue or something else.

I mean I am hoping I can with dedication address the language issue in a few years (if I stop having any fun). But not sure if they value my experience - how similar are the financial regulatory laws; to what extent has Switzerland adopted EU law in various sectors and how helpful is knowledge of EU law in the regard; how much do they value someone who has experience in a bigger financial services sector than Switzerland and do they value it enough to overlook lack of local experience... I know some of these questions are too specific and situation dependent for anyone to really know the answers to, but here is hoping.

Best case scenario: someone from FINMA sends me a private message right now saying that I am the exact person they are looking for.
Go for the international companies as they may take on lawyers that do not speak the language. FINMA will not send you a message as they can hire loads of lawyers that speak the local language as well as some other languages. BIS you may have better chances.

Sounds harsh? A lot of people want to come to Switzerland and have similar experience.
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