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Old 29.09.2011, 07:02
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Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

Hi, I just joined English Forum Switzerland today and I am quite excited about finding this forum!

I am a recent graduate from law school (JD) and I want to move to Switzerland from the States but I don't know my chances of finding a legal job in Switzerland. I have been looking since August and I haven't found anything yet. Any advice from anyone?

Thank you!
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Old 29.09.2011, 10:55
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

Welcome to the forum.

The search function will likely be your friend. This thread may help as well. American Lawyer Living in Zurich and Looking for Advice
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Old 29.09.2011, 11:55
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

Thank you!
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Old 29.09.2011, 12:06
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

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Hi, I just joined English Forum Switzerland today and I am quite excited about finding this forum!

I am a recent graduate from law school (JD) and I want to move to Switzerland from the States but I don't know my chances of finding a legal job in Switzerland. I have been looking since August and I haven't found anything yet. Any advice from anyone?

Thank you!
I'm pretty sure you can't practise Swiss law without a Swiss law degree, but what you would be able to do is work as a US lawyer for, say, an international bank in Switzerland.
I know several US/UK qualified lawyers who work for banks in Switzerland but, unfortunately, I don't know of any legal vacancies.
Good luck with your job search.
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Old 29.09.2011, 12:21
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

Do you have EU / Swiss nationality? If not, your chances are extremely slim.

In addition, I'd imagine the majority of vacancies require fluency in local language and would prefer Swiss-qualified lawyers.

It would be very costly for you to come over and look for a job in Switzerland, and the chances of return are very low.

Sorry to rain on your parade, maybe others can speak from experience..
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Old 29.09.2011, 12:27
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

I was hoping to not just look for direct legal jobs. I was also looking at NGO's and non-profits because my undergraduate degree was in political science and women's studies and my law degree was in international law with a focus on human rights. I hope to do my LLM at ADH after about a year of working in Switzerland if possible.

Would you happen to know of any websites where you can look up jobs in NGO's or non-profits? Or does anyone know of any openings?

Thanks to everyone for their responses!
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Old 29.09.2011, 13:20
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

You may want to check with Amnesty International based in Bern.
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Old 29.09.2011, 14:17
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

Hi--



I wish you luck in your search and will offer my two cents--since I am in a somewhat similar position...

The area of Switzerland is going to make a big difference. If you are looking for public law/NGO work, it seems like Geneva is the area to be. I am in the Zurich area--and like you have my J.D. (+ a few years work experience). Most of the opportunities I am finding are with multinational corporations (banks/insurance/food products-distribution/big pharma) and are compliance/regulatory based. Pure legal counsel positions often (not always) require Swiss bar admission or degree from Swiss or German school (makes sense--as they want someone who is ready to facilitate transactions within the local legal scheme).

Unlike law firms in the U.S., Swiss companies seem to be more interested in the totality of your work experiences. If you have pre-law school work experience, you may be able to leverage this. If you looking to get your start in the professional world, you may struggle a bit. As discussed by previous person--getting a visa is not a simple process. For a company to sponsor you, it needs to show that you are uniquely qualified to do a job, and this is much harder to do at an entry level.


Lastly, patience and flexibility will be your friends. I hope it works out for you.
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Old 29.09.2011, 15:54
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

http://jobsuche.weblaw.monster.ch/jo...b&fn=7&lid=160

- in french and german but a good site to have an overview of the sort of jobs which the market offers, here

HTH!
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Old 29.09.2011, 16:50
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

I'm in a very similar position except that I already live in Switzerland and have done for a number of years. I'm an Australian qualified lawyer with an LLM and a PhD in international law as well as over 10 years experience in the humanitarian sector. To be frank, times are tough and there's not a lot of paid work out there.

You can apply for vacancies at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and look at the websites of different Geneva-based human rights NGOs. Amnesty Switzerland and most of the Swiss NGOs will require you to speak German but you could probably get away with English only in Geneva (although obviously having French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese or another widely-spoken language will open doors).

The best way to start out may be to do an internship in an NGO or at the UN. Unfortunately, they tend to be unpaid and life in Geneva is far from cheap.
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Old 30.09.2011, 11:16
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

I do have a quite a few applications out for the UN but I know its difficult to get a job there without knowing someone so I am not holding my breathe sadly.

I am just trying to inquire more into NGO's and perhaps being able to find a job there. I must have over a couple dozen applications out by now and I am finally receiving even acknowledgement that my CV's are received but still no luck in even getting to an interview. Just a frustrating process.

Thank you for all your help i have been looking on www.unjobmonster.com and totallylegal as well as jobs.ch.
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Old 30.09.2011, 11:17
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

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I'm in a very similar position except that I already live in Switzerland and have done for a number of years. I'm an Australian qualified lawyer with an LLM and a PhD in international law as well as over 10 years experience in the humanitarian sector. To be frank, times are tough and there's not a lot of paid work out there.

You can apply for vacancies at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and look at the websites of different Geneva-based human rights NGOs. Amnesty Switzerland and most of the Swiss NGOs will require you to speak German but you could probably get away with English only in Geneva (although obviously having French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese or another widely-spoken language will open doors).

The best way to start out may be to do an internship in an NGO or at the UN. Unfortunately, they tend to be unpaid and life in Geneva is far from cheap.
What did you find most difficult in starting out in the humanitarian sector? I am specifically interested in the Darfur region and women's rights but right now I am open to pretty much anything.
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Old 30.09.2011, 11:17
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

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http://jobsuche.weblaw.monster.ch/jo...b&fn=7&lid=160

- in french and german but a good site to have an overview of the sort of jobs which the market offers, here

HTH!
Thank you!
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  #14  
Old 30.09.2011, 11:21
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

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Hi--



I wish you luck in your search and will offer my two cents--since I am in a somewhat similar position...

The area of Switzerland is going to make a big difference. If you are looking for public law/NGO work, it seems like Geneva is the area to be. I am in the Zurich area--and like you have my J.D. (+ a few years work experience). Most of the opportunities I am finding are with multinational corporations (banks/insurance/food products-distribution/big pharma) and are compliance/regulatory based. Pure legal counsel positions often (not always) require Swiss bar admission or degree from Swiss or German school (makes sense--as they want someone who is ready to facilitate transactions within the local legal scheme).

Unlike law firms in the U.S., Swiss companies seem to be more interested in the totality of your work experiences. If you have pre-law school work experience, you may be able to leverage this. If you looking to get your start in the professional world, you may struggle a bit. As discussed by previous person--getting a visa is not a simple process. For a company to sponsor you, it needs to show that you are uniquely qualified to do a job, and this is much harder to do at an entry level.


Lastly, patience and flexibility will be your friends. I hope it works out for you.
Thank you for your advice. I am trying to leverage the fact that while I did a legal internship that internship mostly focused on marketing skills. I have tried to use those skills on some job applications. I don't know what other skills I could use - I mean besides having a JD, knowing English, Hindi, and Punjabi. I think that is my biggest obstacle - getting someone to hire me and get a visa for me - because I am not 5+ years into my professional experience. I have just been doing internships and part-time work while in school since 2007.
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Old 30.09.2011, 11:39
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Re: Law Graduate Wanting to Move to Switzerland

You could try the International Committee of the Red Cross - they have a programme for interns in their legal division. It's not well paid work but is enough to survive on (just) and it would give you an inside track if you wanted to apply for ICRC field work afterwards. You will need to learn French though and they might require you to already have a Masters degree - check out their recruitment page: http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/do...ies-070610.htm

Personally, I think in your situation you'd be better off racking up some more voluntary or paid experience in the US (http://www.idealist.org has a huge number of opportunities advertised) and then doing an LLM in human rights. If you're not enrolled as a student here and in possession of a student permit (they're called B permits and allow you to work for 20 hours a week while you're studying), you're going to find it extremely difficult to get a job. Most NGOs won't sponsor a non-Swiss, non-EU employee unless they're looking for particular skills or experience that they can't readily find here. If you're still set on coming to Switzerland you could also start learning French, even if you don't end up here it won't be wasted.
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