“Have your legal cake and eat it…a place where work-life balance need not be a myth”
A 2014 survey by Lawyer2B1 produced the less than startling results that work-life balance remains a major issue for lawyers. Among mainstream commercial law firms, whether UK or US, national or Global, no more than 30% of respondents believed that their firm actively encouraged lawyers to maintain a reasonable work-life balance. Not exactly ‘breaking news’ is it?
In our experience most lawyers take it on the chin, after all it comes with the territory doesn’t it? Challenging high-value work equals large commercial law firm equals many a missed night’s sleep…holiday…birthday party. Short of ‘dropping out’ and halving your salary with it, you’re stuck with it, right?
Wrong. There is third way and in comes in the shape of two small islands nestled only a few miles off the coast of Brittany. The Channel Islands, or more specifically, Jersey and Guernsey, offer as close to the perfect balance as we have seen in over fifteen years of legal recruitment worldwide.
As major international financial centres they support a vibrant legal sector that houses seven of the world’s leading offshore law firms, each offering global coverage to a client base that reaches from London to Hong Kong and everywhere in between. Your colleagues will include like-minded escapees from the City; highly-trained professionals who are as driven and ambitious as they ever were, but who have chosen to develop their career in an altogether different environment.
None of this is intended to create the impression that it is an easy ride. Offshore law firms hire ex-City lawyers on City level salaries for a reason. The work is complex and the clients are demanding. Nobody will promise that you will never work late or never miss another engagement but what they can promise is a culture that treats this as the necessary exception, not the rule. No ‘jackets on chairs’ machismo of working late to prove your commitment, and with far more personal control over your workload, no more Partners landing you with the late night whilst they disappear out of the door.
Too good to be true? Not really, although there is one note of caution. You need to be comfortable outside of City life. The islands are fabulous for outdoor types who enjoy sports (on land or sea), walking, sitting on the beach or a pleasant night out in a lively town with plenty for tourists and residents alike, but if you thrive on the pace and excitement of city life, you may find it a bit on the quiet side.
For everyone else, it might just be the solution you have been looking for. At the very least, if you’ve read this far, it has to be worth considering. Contact Jason Horobin at [email protected] for more details and a copy of our comprehensive Guide to Living and Working in the Channel Islands.