10 reasons to move your legal career to New Zealand


Thinking of moving to New Zealand. We speak to our national legal team on why New Zealand is a great place for legal professionals. 

1. Huge demand for legal professionals

Over the last year or so, the demand for legal professionals has rapidly been increasing in New Zealand. This has been caused by large transactional activity in New Zealand as well as a decrease in travel due to Covid-19. This has resulted in the increase of legal roles in the market but a shortage of candidates to meet this demand. This demand can be seen across majority of legal disciplines from private practice, to in-house legal and public sector positions. 

2. Quick track to partnership

With a smaller market and less competition in comparison to other markets – your track to partnership can be quicker in New Zealand. Those with experience at top firms overseas often find they can make partner within roughly 2 – 3 years. In smaller cities or rural towns, partnership can be a possibility even earlier. 

3. London, New York, and Sydney experience highly sought after 

Those currently working in top firms across these cities or similar - find their experience is viewed favourably when returning to New Zealand. Lawyers working in these cities usually have exposure to transactions that aren’t common in New Zealand. Often lawyers with such experience warrant higher salaries and more senior role titles. 

4. Salaries have increased in New Zealand due to high demand

The increased demand for legal professionals has led to high competition between firms. Organisations are open to offering higher salaries to secure the right candidate. The top law firms have increased their base salaries by around 10% whilst also offering additional perks such as sign-on bonuses, added flexibility, relocation costs, work from home one-off payments and more.

5. Favourable team culture

New Zealand employers are renowned for promoting a healthy and team-focussed environment for all employees. Organisations are driven by values and though what this encompasses may vary from place to place, there is always a large emphasis on workplace culture and collaboration. Employers support and take care of team members and ensure employees are proud to be part of the organisation. 

6. Room to grow specialist areas

There are areas of law that most New Zealand law firms do not have specialist teams in place for yet. Most commonly in areas such as privacy, technology, energy, and infrastructure. These are areas that New Zealand firms are open to growing which allows individuals that possess the knowledge of specialist areas to lead and grow these areas within the firm. 

7. Work from home flexibility

Covid-19 saw many organisations adjust to working from home. As a result of this New Zealand employers have adjusted and understood the value of providing flexible working arrangements for their employees. 

8. Better work/life balance

The flexability afforded to lawyers as a result of the pandemic means that lawyers have access to things like well being allowances, hybrid working options and more. This is especially common for small to medium-sized regional firms where billable hours are often adapted to allow for this. 

9. Lawyers within New Zealand's public sector departments are now receiving higher salaries than in the public sector overseas

In general, public sector roles in New Zealand have more attractive salaries in comparison to public sector positions overseas and this includes public sector legal salaries. The increase in demand has also contributed to this with more lawyers securing salaries at the top of salary bands.

10. Range of demand

The legal market in New Zealand has been very buoyant entering 2022. With new jobs created for the Covid-19 response, a range of projects are underway in the public sector, and transactional activity across the country has increased. No matter what area of law you are in you are likely to find something that fits your expertise in New Zealand. 

Start the search for your next legal role today.