UK to UAE – What relocating looks like for lawyers, post-pandemic

October 12, 2021

UK to UAE – What relocating looks like for lawyers, post-pandemic

Now that we have regained most of our freedom in the UK (or perhaps you’re just eager to leave the country after how we handled the pandemic!), thoughts may once again be turning to relocation.

A well-trodden path for expat lawyers, the UAE continues to attract those looking for something a little different, whether that’s working on larger deals and cases in a foreign jurisdiction, fast-tracking your career or simply the allure of a tax-free salary.

Main benefits include:

Smaller teams which often equals more responsibility from the outset, particularly useful if you are a junior lawyer looking to get stuck in on some meaty transactions.

Career progression – the UAE is home to a host of global law firms who can help springboard your career from national to international.

Tax-free salary – UAE continues to be a tax-free jurisdiction which makes it an appealing prospect for those looking to boost their earnings or savings.

What’s involved?

Typically you will have between 1 and 3 virtual interviews with the hiring partners and other key members of the team, over the course of a few weeks. Depending on the firm and role you’ve applied to, you may also be required to complete a skills or drafting assessment, again, online.

Firms are generally keen to find out why you’d like to come and work in the Middle East and develop your career there and many of the first-stage interviews will focus on this.


What skills & qualifications are firms looking for?

Practice areas such as Corporate M&A, banking & finance, project development and arbitration are the key areas that firms will recruit into. Others such as real estate and employment law are still transferable, just less-so as they tend to have region specific laws and regulations and as a result, firms will often target those with UAE experience first.


Do I need to have practiced with a magic circle firm?

In short, no – we see lawyers from top national and boutique firms make the move across frequently.

Whilst having a London firm background may increase your chances with some firms in UAE, it’s certainly not an essential requirement. As long as you are flexible and realistic with which firms you are looking to target, there’s plenty of options for those coming from elsewhere in the UK!


Sounds great, how do I get started?

I’m always happy to connect with lawyers looking to relocate in the short-medium term, whether that’s to answer any questions you have on the relocation process or to discuss live roles.

Get in touch with me at or +44 7833 251 618


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