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UK associates 'moving to US for money'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 15/05/13

Objects and concepts used in particular socio-economic contexts as a way to enter into trade agreements, purchase goods or services, and repay debts may not sound like the greatest motivating factor in the world, even if you managed to stay awake throughout the opening paragraph.

Money, on the other hand - what the above sentence refers to - is generally accepted as a prime reason for adult decisions, despite the fact that it isn't even made of real gold any more and largely exists as an abstract series of figures floating serenely in cyberspace.

Therefore, it's no surprise to find that fiat currency is a major reason for UK lawyers planning to move to US firms, with a report from the Lawyer revealing that some 40 per cent of respondents described cold hard cash as their biggest motivator.

This is almost twice as many who gave the same reply last year - possibly suggesting that canny lawyers are feathering their nests before the inevitable collapse of global government and slide into a new dark age of feudalism, or else just highlighting the continued trend towards US firms offering better salaries than their British counterparts.

Especially for newly-qualified lawyers, the average wage offered by organisations like Bingham McCutchen - £100,000 - far outweighs that of its UK rivals. And the hoary adage that top American firms expect their staff to put in the hard yards and work long hours isn't putting anyone off.

One US associate told the news provider he didn't understand why anyone would not go for a move to an American firm.

"The hours are no worse than the magic circle, the culture is generally more collegiate and the chances of partnership are just as good as anywhere else, these days," they declared.

While those still working for UK companies repeated the assertion that hours would be longer at an American business, 60 per cent of associates with American firms said they worked the same times as they had in their previous role, suggesting that this stereotype needs to be jettisoned.

As long as we continue to subscribe to contemporary monetary concepts and avoid turning to a barter economy, it seems moving to a US company will remain an appealing choice for many lawyers.