5 great reasons to spend six months of your training contract abroad

Ever thought about completing part of your training contract overseas? A top US law firm explains why it could prove to be a great move for your career

Securing a training contract is one of the most exciting things that you can obtain at the start of your legal career; a contract provides you with the training you need to become a qualified solicitor, whilst opening the door to a million different opportunities within a reputable law firm. One aspect of training contracts within international law firms, is the opportunity to spend six months of your contract working abroad. This decision can be extremely difficult to make, which is why we have outlined just a few reasons why you might choose to spend six months of your training contract abroad. 

1. You can develop your language skills

Whether you are fluent in a second language or you are looking to enhance your linguistic skills, spending six months in a country where the local people speak a different language to you will undoubtedly help you to get where you want to be. Whilst you are not expected to be fluent in any language before you arrive, it is likely that before you leave your overseas placement, you will know at least enough to get by and to assist clients within that country. 

2. You have the chance to broaden your legal knowledge

No two countries have the same laws, no matter how similar their history, culture or citizens. If you’re working for an international law firm, an extensive breadth of legal knowledge will be an asset if/when it’s time to move on to another firm. As well as this, expanding your knowledge of international law will be a huge help to you when it comes to working in your current international firm, and the partners are extremely likely to take note of your advanced knowledge. By spending six months abroad, you will have the opportunity to explore a country with a whole different collection of rules and regulations, and you never know when that might come in handy when you’re back in the UK, working on international cases.

3. You will develop your legal skills

Each law firm will develop both you as a person and you as a lawyer, developing certain skills to suit their company values and the way they work; whilst this is certainly not a bad thing, it might make you feel like your legal skills are somewhat more narrowed as a result. However, if you have the opportunity to spend six months abroad during your training, you will be able to broaden your legal skills and adapt to the ways in which an overseas office operates. As well as this, you will also have the opportunity to work with different people who will challenge you in different ways. Be they partners or other associates, interacting with these individuals will ultimately enhance your legal skills and the way you practise the law.  

4. You will develop your understanding of different cultures

In China, it is polite and respectful to introduce the oldest person first, whilst in the UK, the individual with the most authority tends to be introduced before all others. Whilst you can turn to Google to learn about cultural differences, it is far more interesting and valuable to learn about these differences first hand. By choosing to spend six months abroad, you can find out a variety of different things about other cultures and how other offices within the legal profession operate. This knowledge and understanding can be added to what is undoubtedly an already long list desirable qualities that you can sell to law firms, strengthening any applications to future law firms. 

5. You get paid to travel

Doesn’t this just sound like an absolute dream come true? Not only do you get to travel and see the world, you get paid to do so. This is not something that happens often, so when it’s offered, you should seize the opportunity with both hands. Not only will you get to experience how an overseas office operates, you’ll also have the opportunity to explore the local area, getting to know your temporary home and forming connections with a variety of different people. This experience is one that definitely shouldn’t be missed. 

Author Bio: Martin Orchard is the Operations manager at the Parslows' Jersey office. Parslows is a Jersey law firm that hires exceptional Jersey based lawyers 

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