Make the Move – Working as a Lawyer in Sydney

Matthew Hart, Associate Director: Head of Australia 

Australia is an incredible place to live. It offers something for everyone, the hustle of the city, beautiful beaches, amazing scenery, long hot summer days, and incredible heritage sites like the Blue Mountains and the Great Barrior Reef.

Sydney is Australia’s financial and economic hub and has contributed significantly towards Australia’s economic growth over the last decade. The city is seen as a gateway to the ever-important Asian markets and serves as the Australian HQ for many leading national and international organisations. In fact, 60% of Australia’s top 100 companies are headquartered in Sydney.

Sydney is repeatedly ranked as one of the ‘best places to live’ in the world. In the 2019 Mercer Global Quality of Living Survey, Sydney was ranked in 11th place in terms of quality of life, with all major Australian cities ranking in the top 50 for personal safety. The 2019 Global Liveability Ranking by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which scores 140 of the world’s major cities in healthcare, education, stability, culture, environment, and infrastructure ranked Sydney in 3rd place.

Although COVID-19 has impacted everything from deal flow, on-boarding of new starters, and reduction of hours & pay for some lawyers, Top tier, mid-tier, international and boutique firms are still interested in talented international lawyers, or Australian-qualified returnees. At present, there is strong demand for lawyers across most practice areas, including:

  • Restructuring & Insolvency 
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Construction/Major Projects
  • Banking & Finance
  • Environment & Planning
  • Real Estate
  • Corporate M&A


If you’re looking for a city that can offer you first-class career opportunities, plus a healthy, happy lifestyle, look no further. You’d be hard pressed to find a city with a better lifestyle than Sydney. It is a city full of accessible, uncrowded, and breath-taking beaches, parks, forests & waterways. It has some of the best restaurants, bars and pubs in the world. Sydneysiders are renowned for their work-life balance, which is largely due to the fact that many firms offer employees flexible working options, fitness classes, wellbeing seminars & other healthy-living incentives.

Cost of Living

According to Expatistan, Sydney is the 16th most expensive city in the world, which means it’s more affordable than some other major legal markets, including New York (4th), San Francisco (6th), London (7th) and Hong Kong (14th).


The weather is undoubtedly one of Sydney’s greatest attractions. It enjoys a sunny and humid temperate climate, with mild winters and long, warm summers, making it the perfect destination for swimming, surfing and other outdoor activities. Average temperatures during summer range from 18 – 26°C, while average winter temperatures are between 8 – 17°C. December experiences the longest hours of daylight savings, with sunrise at around 5.30am and sunset at 8pm. June has the least hours of daylight, with sunrise at 7am and sunset at 5pm.


Sydney is the state capital of NSW and located on Australia’s east coast. You can fly direct to many major cities, including Hong Kong (9.5 hours), Los Angeles (14 hours), Singapore (8 hours), Dubai (14 hours), Dallas (15 hours) and Tokyo (9.5 hours).

5 Fun Facts about Sydney


  • The population of Sydney is just over 5 million people
  • The Sydney Harbour Bridge, nicknamed the ‘Coat Hanger’ by locals, is the world’s largest steel arch bridge. It took 1,400 men eight years to build
  • Sydney is the capital of New South Wales, but not Australia’s capital. Canberra, in the ACT is the nation’s capital
  • The Sydney fish market is the third largest market of its kind in the world
  • 2000 Aboriginal rock engraving sites can be found in the Sydney area from the Daruk tribe – whose territory used to extend from Botany Bay to Pittwater.


To Receive a copy of our latest Australia Legal Market & Salary Guide: Covid Edition or to discover what job opportunities are available in Sydney, get in touch with Matthew Hart on for a confidential discussion on your next career move.   

“When life puts you in tough situations don’t say, “why me?”, say “try me!””

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