Make the Move – Working as a Lawyer in New York

Kevin Sinnott, Managing Director
“Every dreamer knows that it’s entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground” – Judith Thurman
Having lived in New York, I can understand exactly why so many Australian lawyers are excited by the prospect of securing a role in the Big Apple. It is a city which has an unrivalled, unique vibrancy full of endless attractions.

Not only is New York an amazing city, the work experience you receive there is second to none. An Australian lawyer who has gained invaluable experience working on significant transactional or litigation matters in New York will be looked at very favourably by Australian law firms should they choose to return home one day. Options in any career are priceless and being a lawyer is no different – moving to New York opens up so many doors!

The E-3 visa has made the process in obtaining a role in New York for Australian lawyers more seamless in recent years. Most of the firms that we work with are fantastic in assisting with the visa process, and ensuring everything runs smoothly.

Start the process early!

If you have always dreamed of being a lawyer in New York and have at least 2 years PQE under your belt, I would strongly recommend that you get the process started sooner rather than later.


1. Have your transcripts ready! US partners will always ask for academics when assessing a candidate. You will also need all of your transcripts when applying to sit the New York Bar and completing your foreign evaluation form.

2. As above, Australian lawyers need to complete a foreign evaluation form in order to get their qualifications assessed. Even if you have yet to secure an interview, get this out of the way quickly as when you do eventually secure an interview, letting the partners know you have started the process shows how committed and interested you are in a move to New York.

3. Do your research: in an interview, it is so important to show US partners that you are committed to making a move to New York. Doing research on places to live and speaking to friends/relatives or even friends of friends will allow you to gather information which will show the partners that you have really put serious thought into a move to New York.


Australian lawyers working in New York also reap the financial rewards. For instance, a 2 year PQE lawyer can earn anywhere between USD180,000 – USD190,000, which is a pretty sizeable jump from what an equivalent PQE lawyer earns in Australia.

Cost of Living

According to recent statistics, the cost of living in New York is 9% more expensive than in Sydney.


Summers temperatures average 25-30 °C. Winters are cold and often snowy with temperatures averaging below freezing in January and February in much of the State.


From Sydney, New York is approximately 21 hours’ flight time.

5 Facts about New York

  • New York City has over 1,161 kilometres (722 miles) of subway track
  • More than 800 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. 4 in 10 households speak a language other than English
  • The Big Apple is a term coined by musicians meaning to play the big time
  • New York’s highest waterfall is Taughannock Falls at 65.5 metres (215 feet)
  • Joseph C. Gayetty of New York City invented toilet paper in 1857


Having placed several Australian lawyers in top US firms over the past 12 months, Sonder Consultants can talk you through exactly how you can best position yourself to secure a role in New York and assist you throughout your interview process.

If you have ever dreamed about being a lawyer in New York – make that dream a reality and get in touch today with Kevin: / (02) 8277 4511 for a confidential discussion.


Current Employment Opportunities in New York

Finance Associate

Associate – Corporate M&A

“The best way to predict the future is to create it”
– A Lincoln

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For more information on salary trends, market updates and the general process in securing a role.
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