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A blog with tips and insights into the practice of law

Canberra? Tick

Canberra. Our Nation’s capital. The ‘bush capital’. The city that was created from scratch in the middle of a paddock following an international contest for its design. Aside from its SimCity façade and the invariable feeling that you’re driving in circles through its endless roundabouts, Canberra’s great. Many bawdy taboos are legal, mini golf and sailing in Lake Burley Griffin are well-loved pastimes, the art gallery hosts some world-class exhibitions, most offices are air-conditioned, the copious green parkland and bike lanes, its restaurants with multiple chef hats and its inconspicuously bustling nightlife all add to Canberra’s unusual charm.

Ok so realistically, you might still not be sold on it. Perhaps we should talk about the tangible benefits of living and working in Canberra that would apply to you – lawyers…

The work. Most law firms in Canberra tender for Government work. The majority of your clients will be Government departments, agencies and statutory authorities. The quality of the work is high exposing you to advice on particularly complex and sensitive matters. These may include: advising on multi-million dollar projects to deliver successful infrastructure for government; employment and industrial relations matters and bargaining frameworks; public law, the application of legislation and decision-making processes; Freedom of Information obligations and requests; ICT procurement projects; multi-faceted IP matters, and of course, an array of general commercial and contract work.  Tick.

The title. Titles are important for lawyers. Firms in Canberra will promote you to more senior positions sooner than in Sydney and Melbourne. For example, you can become a Senior Associate with only 4 years PQE. Your salary will go up accordingly. It is worth noting however that a lot of top tier firms have internal banding and tend to stick to these ranges when pricing candidates in the market. Firms in Canberra will not go into a bidding war on salary, but they may throw in a neat $5K relocation package.  Tick.

The balance. A key factor that lures people to the Berra is the promise of a work-life balance. You are pretty much guaranteed the following: a fairly normal working day, reasonable billable hours, family-friendly policies (including part-time and work-from-home arrangements), well-being programs, social events and sporting clubs (Canberrans love their sport), to name only some. All these initiatives will allow more time for yourself. If you’re a young family, it’s the perfect place to be. Canberra is home to some of the best schools in the nation. Its small city vibe means that safety is not a concern – kids play on the streets and ride their bikes around town. Before and after-school care options are plentiful.  Tick.

Feel like a bit of a bush change? Think Canberra.