In our survey of lawyers who have come to work in the UK from abroad, we left a free text box to let them give their thoughts on life as a foreign lawyer in Britain.
Here’s a selection of what the Irish respondents had to say…
“I have seriously considered leaving the UK in the wake of the Brexit vote – most likely to Brussels. For the moment, I have decided to stay in the UK and see how things pan out.”
“The cultural change, even from Ireland to England, was a lot bigger than I expected. It is a different culture and it takes a while to get used to get. Regarding Brexit, I’ll stay as long as it looks good, but I have no intention of going down on a sinking ship…”
“The vote has brought out the worst of the British – the arrogant, self-righteous bleating of what should be ‘done with’ foreigners. The only reason I live here is for the international nature of London. If that is eroded to any great extent, I will leave.”
“I moved to London in 2011 when the market was quite suppressed. While it was difficult to get a foot on the ladder initially, I haven’t experienced any particular issues with being an Irish lawyer in London during my time here.
“Some have suggested that being an Irish lawyer means I am more likely not to stay with a firm long term and move home but I disagree. I cross qualified during my first year here and consider myself no more likely to leave a firm to return home than someone who is British and not from London.”
“I think a large part of the reason I don’t feel less welcome in the wake of the Brexit vote is down to the fact that I live and work in London. I spend a lot of my time around non-UK nationals, both professionally and personally, so I don’t have a sense of my being more isolated.
“That said, my perception of the UK as a country is of one that is less welcoming. Ultimately, when the time comes to move out of the City and find somewhere to settle down, I’m far less likely to want to do that here in the UK than I would before the Brexit vote.”
“Up to now the UK has been a very welcoming jurisdiction for lawyers from other countries and I think this has had benefits both in attracting lawyers to the UK but also in helping to ensure that English law is such a dominant force in the world as more foreign lawyers are familiar with it and able to work with it. I hope that neither of these things change following Brexit.”
“Having worked here for 20 years I am terribly sad about the Brexit vote which I think is likely to cause particularly younger lawyers to abandon London because they no longer feel welcome or valued here even though their contributions are unique. Were it not for the fact that I have settled with a family here I might even do the same. Until last year I never felt ‘other’ – particularly as a native English speaker but I do feel the atmosphere is different now – not in the legal community but more generally.”
Tomorrow: the view from the Kiwis.