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Old 09.06.2010, 14:27
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SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

Hi,

I would like to know how best to get into the Swiss system and to get a job here. My boyfriend is Swiss and we want to see if there is a possibility of me getting a job and moving here. I am a qualified lawyer (7 years in practice) and recently obtained a Masters Degree in Commercial law in South Africa. Trouble is I've had a look at the Swiss lawyers sites and have absolutely no idea where to begin (esp. given the differences in legal systems). I have applied for jobs with international organisations and aside from the fact that I am only fluent in English, competition is stiff and I've had no luck from that end. I've come to a point where I am willing to consider a slight career change provided I can use some of my skills.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I can go about getting a job and getting a permit to work here?

Please help!
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Old 09.06.2010, 14:31
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

This thread might be of interest to you.

American Lawyer Living in Zurich and Looking for Advice
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  #3  
Old 09.06.2010, 14:32
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

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Hi,

I would like to know how best to get into the Swiss system and to get a job here. My boyfriend is Swiss and we want to see if there is a possibility of me getting a job and moving here. I am a qualified lawyer (7 years in practice) and recently obtained a Masters Degree in Commercial law in South Africa. Trouble is I've had a look at the Swiss lawyers sites and have absolutely no idea where to begin (esp. given the differences in legal systems). I have applied for jobs with international organisations and aside from the fact that I am only fluent in English, competition is stiff and I've had no luck from that end. I've come to a point where I am willing to consider a slight career change provided I can use some of my skills.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I can go about getting a job and getting a permit to work here?

Please help!

Sadly , you are in of those trades that for all the training and books you have read, means not a lot in a country whose laws are completely different to the country you just came from. Dentists and Nurses will have to re-train, and I would hesitate a guess that you would too.

However, for Businesses in Switzerland looking for legal advice for operating in SA , you are uniquely positioned - once you learn German / French etc, and as a strength , you should position yourself within this niche market. You may want to start up as an independant / self employed Consultant but make no mistake, language will be a barrier, learning German should be right up there on your to do list.

As for the Visa process , and how to look for work, there are wads of information on that when you are ready to use the search function.
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Old 11.06.2010, 08:55
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

Thanks so much for your advice! I'll start working on it now
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Old 19.06.2017, 15:37
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

Interested to know whether you were able to find something? I am in a similar position.
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Old 19.06.2017, 15:46
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

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Interested to know whether you were able to find something? I am in a similar position.
Well, many companies I've worked for had a shyster lawyer on staff. They also had about a handful of bottom feeders who were also shyster laywers in their own country but were mainly employed as legal aids to the main shytser lawer who was allowed to practice law in Switzerland. What I suggest is, that you look into multinational companies which require your services, or possible companies with a strong focus on SA. Hope this helps.
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Old 19.06.2017, 19:31
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

I am actually English qualified (even though I am a SAFFER) but just wondering for a non-German speaker how it goes. I seem to get a few rejections - even though from an anglo-saxon background it is strong. Just want to know that there is hope!
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Old 19.06.2017, 19:36
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

See above.

Unless a company particularly needs a UK lawyer in Switzerland.

And it is difficult when you do not have a Swiss or European passport
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Old 19.06.2017, 21:19
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

I am a spouse of a EU national and am currently living in another EU state with that spouse (five year family permit) and will be moving with them for their job.
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Old 19.06.2017, 21:36
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

It is very hard to find a job just because your spouse is Swiss. Unfortunately I know many wifes who followed their husband and could not find anything here. My advise is accept any job offer you get, even if it seems to be very "low".
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Old 19.06.2017, 22:07
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

That's why I am checking what the odds are as we will not move if I cannot secure a job. My OH is not Swiss and therefore we are not bound to Switzerland so we will consider all options.
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Old 19.06.2017, 22:10
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

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That's why I am checking what the odds are as we will not move if I cannot secure a job. My OH is not Swiss and therefore we are not bound to Switzerland so we will consider all options.
Well, I'm certain that there is some need for a shyster lawyer anywhere you may choose to roam..thing is, are you qualified to work there is the other question.
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Old 20.06.2017, 07:22
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

One problem is that having only English limits your options, not only in Switzerland, but in any other country that doesn't have English as it's main language. There would also be a certain amount of retraining needed, but the language issue will be your main problem no matter which country you move to.

You would also need to be recognised to practice here and you should contact the judicial office of the canton you plan to live in.

https://www.sbfi.admin.ch/sbfi/en/ho...lificatio.html

Your other problem is that at the moment you're applying as a non-EU national which puts you at the bottom of the hiring list beind Swiss/EU nationals.

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...zulassung.html

The only way to avoid the non-EU hiring criteria would be for you to have a family reunification permit, but that option isn't available until you actually move here and register.

You can try these links and see if you can find something.

https://www.englishforum.ch/employme...itzerland.html
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Old 20.06.2017, 07:45
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

I am a lawyer from a common law country and moved to Switzerland and managed to find a job.

My inputs:

1. If you have been doing something very country specific - e.g. medical negligence law, litigation etc. you can pretty much accept that there will be nothing available here.

2. If you have been doing more transportable work like contract drafting etc., you can look for companies which has business interests in countries where your legal project management skills will be useful. E.g. say for a UK qualified lawyer who has been doing corporate advisory for a long time, they can find a job with a country which invests in commonwealth countries which all follow common law system. You will not exactly be drafting documents, but you are here and can assisst the management in running a tight ship and not get duped by the questionable legal project management practices in many of these countries.

3. If you have been doing stuff like cross border transactions, that gives you the greatest flexibility in finding something. Monies move across the border and there is always need of people who can move that in a compliant way.

For a SA trained lawyer, you might be interested in checking out the Switzerland Global Enterprise - SA chapter and try to connect to people. Most jobs in our field come via word of mouth and because of rather unique and niche requirements.

Be flexible with what you are ready to do. Don't say that because I am lawyer, I will only legal work. A foot through the door is always better than nothing in my opinion.
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Old 20.06.2017, 10:25
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

Hi,

Most of the answers here seem to assume you need to work in a law firm. I've met several lawyers working in corporates who are neither Swiss nor EU and don't speak German. Typically they are US or UK qualified (like you). There are many multinational firms in Basel, Geneva and Zurich who have non-Swiss lawyers...typically you see them in M&A Legal, IP and other areas which are necessarily cross-border. The banks (CS, UBS, the numerous private banks) will also have need for international lawyers of various types. There must be legal recruitment firms around who can help you. That said, if you don't have any experience relevant to the specifc roles you may need to start at a lower level of seniority.


Hope this helps.


Rgds,


D.
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Old 20.06.2017, 10:33
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

Thanks Dizzy D, I have worked in a law firm long enough and I am only looking into in house roles at banks and PE funds. I am a banking & finance lawyer with some funds and corporate law experience so hopefully this would open up a few opportunities. I am currently living in another non-English speaking EU country and managed to find a job pretty quickly so perhaps it is the rejection that I am not used to!
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Old 20.06.2017, 10:50
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Re: SA qualified lawyer looking for info on finding job in Switz

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I am actually English qualified (even though I am a SAFFER) but just wondering for a non-German speaker how it goes. I seem to get a few rejections - even though from an anglo-saxon background it is strong. Just want to know that there is hope!
Your job is based on your language skills. No matter if we talk contracts or negotiations, everything a lawyer does is based on language. So your only chance without a local language is to find a corporate job in a multinational and even there am I sure they prefer candidates with local language skills. I know several English lawyers with less than stellar German working in Zurich, so it isn't impossible - but of course does this limit your job hunt to a tiny fraction of openings if any. I believe most of the guys I know where moved by their companies to CH and did not find a job on their own in the local market.
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