Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Employment  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01.07.2021, 05:19
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
DouglasC has no particular reputation at present
US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

Hello all,

Before I get into my post, I would like to preface it by saying I have not yet obtained my law degree in the United States. I am a recent college graduate with a Bachelor's of Arts and am in the process of applying to law schools. It has always been my dream to immigrate to Switzerland yet circumstances and financial situations have prevented me thus far. I am fluent in Italian, have exposure to French from my elementary school years, and am currently learning German as well as touching up on my French.

I am aware that I will not be licensed to practice law within Switzerland with my American JD, and I am also aware that I must retake my Bachelor's in Switzerland as an LLB and then take a 2 year Master's curriculum which does not seem practical to me. I want to work for an international corporation or bank in Switzerland as a US lawyer; either in corporate, banking, mergers & acquisitions, or arbitration law. My path seems to be to land a BigLaw job at a major firm then transition into an international company operating in Switzerland.

Is there any United States or other foreign qualified lawyers here who have successfully found employment in Switzerland, or does anyone know of lawyers who have made this journey? I would love to gain some insight into how to best go about this path, specifically which fields are most employable and which firms will give me the best chance of moving to my dream country. There are a few US law schools which offer study abroad and summer internship opportunities in Switzerland which I am weighing heavily into my decision on where to attend.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01.07.2021, 09:46
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Basel
Posts: 34
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 45 Times in 21 Posts
ThisIsFine has made some interesting contributions
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

Your limiting factor will be your US citizenship, assuming that is all you have.

Assuming you can figure out the visa issues, your best bet is to get your education here. Compared to the cost of law school in the US (and given you've graduated but are just now applying, this seems to be your back up plan...), education here is cheap. The cost of living isn't.

Anyway - I won't write a book, but the point is that you have many things working against you. Lack of German, lack of Visa, lack of qualifying education... do you have a plan for how to solve these issues?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01.07.2021, 10:20
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Nyon
Posts: 5,202
Groaned at 292 Times in 206 Posts
Thanked 7,110 Times in 3,347 Posts
bowlie has a reputation beyond reputebowlie has a reputation beyond reputebowlie has a reputation beyond reputebowlie has a reputation beyond reputebowlie has a reputation beyond reputebowlie has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

You need to find an employer that would be prepared to hire you, and then fight for your work permit. Unless you have something interesting to bring otherwise it is, frankly, impossible.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank bowlie for this useful post:
  #4  
Old 01.07.2021, 10:50
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 31,788
Groaned at 2,368 Times in 1,722 Posts
Thanked 38,757 Times in 18,260 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
Lack of German, lack of Visa, lack of qualifying education... do you have a plan for how to solve these issues?
"I am fluent in Italian"

Tom
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01.07.2021, 11:06
eyebeebe's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Pfäffikon SZ
Posts: 2,160
Groaned at 19 Times in 18 Posts
Thanked 2,877 Times in 1,216 Posts
eyebeebe has a reputation beyond reputeeyebeebe has a reputation beyond reputeeyebeebe has a reputation beyond reputeeyebeebe has a reputation beyond reputeeyebeebe has a reputation beyond reputeeyebeebe has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
"I am fluent in Italian"

Tom
Which is a fair point, but do you think there are many such jobs in CH

“ I want to work for an international corporation or bank in Switzerland as a US lawyer; either in corporate, banking, mergers & acquisitions, or arbitration law.”

where “I am fluent in Italian” is going to be a major plus?

IMHO those roles that do exist (and I can’t imagine there are many) are unlikely to be in Ticino (or Italian speaking Graubünden).
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank eyebeebe for this useful post:
  #6  
Old 01.07.2021, 11:17
newtoswitz's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Rapperswil
Posts: 3,754
Groaned at 75 Times in 70 Posts
Thanked 4,537 Times in 2,076 Posts
newtoswitz has a reputation beyond reputenewtoswitz has a reputation beyond reputenewtoswitz has a reputation beyond reputenewtoswitz has a reputation beyond reputenewtoswitz has a reputation beyond reputenewtoswitz has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

The question has to be how important the move to Switzerland is vs becoming a (US) lawyer.

While there probably aren't many roles here needing US law experience, there probably isn't so much competition for them either.

Maybe do the law degree, try and get a job as an in-house lawyer for a big Swiss multinational in their US branch, and you're one step in the right direction.

If the Switzerland thing is more important that the lawyer thing, there are probably many careers which would be more relevant. Although as a non-Swiss non-EU person it's still tough until you have strong experience and can justify some sort of unique reason for hiring.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank newtoswitz for this useful post:
  #7  
Old 01.07.2021, 11:25
Jim2007's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Kt. Bern
Posts: 4,503
Groaned at 217 Times in 171 Posts
Thanked 7,421 Times in 3,283 Posts
Jim2007 has a reputation beyond reputeJim2007 has a reputation beyond reputeJim2007 has a reputation beyond reputeJim2007 has a reputation beyond reputeJim2007 has a reputation beyond reputeJim2007 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

If you are interested in doing law, do law, but as a means to move to Switzerland it is a non starter. And not financially wise if the objective is Switzerland.

US firms are present in Europe to do business here and that means European law, the need for US legal expertise can be satisfied from their US office. European firms are for the most part, unlike to have a US law requirement sufficient to justify a full time position. So there is a very small market for your skill set, made smaller by your geographic desires. Not a good career choice if the objective is Switzerland rather than an interest in the law.

And then there is the fact that you don’t have a right to work here. Firms will struggle to justify your employment here, that is if they are even interested in making the effort.

If you are primarily interested in moving here you need a more marketable skill set with a very high level of expertise and experience or marry an EU/EEA/CH citizen and even then they’d need to be able to financially support a family reunification in many cases.
__________________
"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." - Nelson Mandela
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank Jim2007 for this useful post:
  #8  
Old 01.07.2021, 11:26
scrabblegrey's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Baden - East corner of my sofa
Posts: 200
Groaned at 21 Times in 13 Posts
Thanked 183 Times in 104 Posts
scrabblegrey is considered knowledgeablescrabblegrey is considered knowledgeablescrabblegrey is considered knowledgeable
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
I want to work for an international corporation or bank in Switzerland as a US lawyer
Luckily life will present you more ambitious goals in the future, however if your goal is to move to work in Switzerland, I would recommend you to follow one of these paths:
- learn German, even more important than whatever degree in Law you are pursuing from whatever university (the easy path);
- get hired from a big conglomerate in the US, then ask to be moved to their Swiss subsiidary (the moderately difficult path);
- do an internship or similar thing at the United Nations and other offices in Geneva, and from there build up your relationships network (the difficult path).

Final notes: international companies or bank do not hire you because you want to work for them. They hire you because they can squeeze out of you what they need, in exchange of a good (sometimes) pay-check. I would suggest you to look at already existing consultant/law offices in Switzerland specializing on US companies and contact them directly for an internship or similar, to earn some experience in the field.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01.07.2021, 11:29
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 31,788
Groaned at 2,368 Times in 1,722 Posts
Thanked 38,757 Times in 18,260 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
Which is a fair point, but do you think there are many such jobs in CH

“ I want to work for an international corporation or bank in Switzerland as a US lawyer; either in corporate, banking, mergers & acquisitions, or arbitration law.”

where “I am fluent in Italian” is going to be a major plus?

IMHO those roles that do exist (and I can’t imagine there are many) are unlikely to be in Ticino (or Italian speaking Graubünden).
I have an Italian friend who has such a job with a local firm, he mainly works in Italian and English (I don't think he speaks anything else).

Tom
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01.07.2021, 11:35
newtoswitz's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Rapperswil
Posts: 3,754
Groaned at 75 Times in 70 Posts
Thanked 4,537 Times in 2,076 Posts
newtoswitz has a reputation beyond reputenewtoswitz has a reputation beyond reputenewtoswitz has a reputation beyond reputenewtoswitz has a reputation beyond reputenewtoswitz has a reputation beyond reputenewtoswitz has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
European firms are for the most part, unlike to have a US law requirement sufficient to justify a full time position.
Every firm I've worked for in Switzerland, except one, has had this requirement because they do significant business in the US.

Of course most of them fulfilled that need out of their US office, but that's a different point. A mid-sized firm with a 50% FTE need for US law support may be interested in a Swiss-based US lawyer.

I agree it's a long shot, but not impossible.

Also there are a lot of jobs around audit and risk, for which a legal background is a decent start.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank newtoswitz for this useful post:
  #11  
Old 01.07.2021, 11:42
Island Monkey's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Wallis
Posts: 5,887
Groaned at 98 Times in 63 Posts
Thanked 6,541 Times in 2,977 Posts
Island Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

Change your plan. Do your law degree in Switzerland (Ticino) - then you have an advantage for 6 months on getting a work permit here in Switzerland.
Reply With Quote
The following 5 users would like to thank Island Monkey for this useful post:
  #12  
Old 01.07.2021, 12:32
Medea Fleecestealer's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 22,249
Groaned at 411 Times in 319 Posts
Thanked 17,283 Times in 9,702 Posts
Medea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

The other things you need to consider are the tax/banking problems you'll have as a US citizen here.

Most banks won't accept you due to the US's FATCA law. Only UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance will consider and that's just for a basic salary account - forget stuff like investments or a mortgage - and you'd need to sign a W-9 to allow the bank to pass your details on to the IRS.

Why? Because as a US citizen you're required by law to file US tax returns no matter where you live in the world and could owe the US tax on top of any local ones. Start your research on that here.

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/inte...g-requirements

You are also required to file FBAR forms each year detailing any foreign, i.e. outside of the US, bank accounts.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01.07.2021, 12:33
Axa's Avatar
Axa Axa is offline
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Suhr, Aargau
Posts: 3,297
Groaned at 40 Times in 40 Posts
Thanked 4,427 Times in 2,045 Posts
Axa has a reputation beyond reputeAxa has a reputation beyond reputeAxa has a reputation beyond reputeAxa has a reputation beyond reputeAxa has a reputation beyond reputeAxa has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

I'm no lawyer but work for a large and sclerotic multinational.

Even for us that already working on the company and see the need of new people, it's really hard to sell new hires to management. The way through this opposing forces is internships or young graduate programs. I'll be honest: it's a lowly paid job for 6 months. But, management is less reluctant to authorize a long term contract after the 6 months.

The advantage of the internship is that you can try CH for real while you're still studying. Also, it will be a great opportunity to see if the dream is effectively a dream.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Axa for this useful post:
  #14  
Old 01.07.2021, 13:59
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Zurich
Posts: 950
Groaned at 2 Times in 2 Posts
Thanked 1,176 Times in 599 Posts
irish_temptation has a reputation beyond reputeirish_temptation has a reputation beyond reputeirish_temptation has a reputation beyond reputeirish_temptation has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
Change your plan. Do your law degree in Switzerland (Ticino) - then you have an advantage for 6 months on getting a work permit here in Switzerland.
That sounds good but is not possible. A law degree can not be done in Italian in Switzerland.

The poor Ticinese students wanting to study law must either do it in German or French. That makes it of course much harder but is one reason why all the lawyers or people who have studied law in Ticino are good at Germand/French.

Look at the University of Lucerne. Its the closest to Ticino and they at least used to have a special German law course for Italian speaking students.

If the OP wants to study law in Italian he needs to go to Italy.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank irish_temptation for this useful post:
  #15  
Old 01.07.2021, 14:34
Sean Connery's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Zurich
Posts: 5,564
Groaned at 58 Times in 54 Posts
Thanked 7,554 Times in 3,388 Posts
Sean Connery has a reputation beyond reputeSean Connery has a reputation beyond reputeSean Connery has a reputation beyond reputeSean Connery has a reputation beyond reputeSean Connery has a reputation beyond reputeSean Connery has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

get into one of the big 4 in their TLS practice. That's likely the easiest route because then you have international mobility support from them.

move to their Swiss firm and serve Italian and international clients. NB: do not move to their Italian firms in or around Milan because the pay is considerably "different"

there is a lot of demand in Ticino for such services with banks and other businesses as clients.

there is also a demand for English-speaking lawyers for businesses in the other regions.

When you say you're fluent in Italian, are you American-fluent-in-Italian or really fluent?
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Sean Connery for this useful post:
  #16  
Old 01.07.2021, 14:39
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Zurich
Posts: 195
Groaned at 11 Times in 8 Posts
Thanked 465 Times in 140 Posts
GParker has a reputation beyond reputeGParker has a reputation beyond reputeGParker has a reputation beyond reputeGParker has a reputation beyond reputeGParker has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

We have US qualified guys working for us (shipping). There’s a couple of interns and 3 15 year + plus guys. They didn’t have any issues obtaining visas or permits. I guess the migration authorities have to accept that US lawyers are normally US citizens.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 01.07.2021, 21:52
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Port-Valais (was SFO)
Posts: 446
Groaned at 5 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 326 Times in 181 Posts
Caryl has a reputation beyond reputeCaryl has a reputation beyond reputeCaryl has a reputation beyond reputeCaryl has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Qualified Lawyer looking for employment in Switzerland

Back in the day I was assigned to. Switzerland by the USG and worked at USTR's representation to GATT, until I retired. And then discovered I was entitled to facilitated naturalisation which made me, my 4 children and my 9 grandchildren Swiss. But most of us speak French; indeed it's the first language of the one grandchild who lives with me. After I retired I went to Belgium and got a PhD in law (it was essentially free and gratis but took six years), but I can't say I made money from that. What has supported me is that my wife bought real estate in London in the 1970s, and I get a USG defined benefit pension.

What to draw from that? (1) Try for a position in the UN or an international organisation. I was just lucky with the USG: the chances of being assigned by any of the many USG agencies with representatives in Geneva are close to zero. (2) Go to the University of Lausanne and learn French and then study law there. I have used the Swiss Institute of International Law constantly over the past 25 years as a research source: it's one of the best law libraries in the world.

Your US qualification in not worth zero: you can be a "counselor of foreign law". But the visa -- unless you are sponsored by a huge firm or an internatinal organisation or the USG is tough. It was just my luck that my mother was Swiss, and had emigrated to New York in 1917. And that I spoke French. Indeed we follow OPOL: my grandson speaks only French to me, only English to his mother. Someday he'll have to learn German: his commune of origin is in Aargau. But he's only 8 years old. He goes to a French-speaking school.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Caryl for this useful post:
Reply

Tags
america, law, lawyer, move, united states




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Non-EU Qualified Lawyer lydiasl Employment 6 17.01.2019 17:10
Employment Lawyer RASZ Employment 4 19.12.2017 00:12
SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz Phoenixx Employment 16 20.06.2017 10:50
Employment lawyer? zinneken Complaints corner 25 17.12.2013 18:02
Highly Qualified and Experienced ESL/EFL/Japanese Instuctor Seeking Employment Gekkeikan Employment 6 26.08.2009 21:17


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 18:24.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0