Well hello there,
I am a 33 year old male from Canada and am currently interviewing with some of the large Bermuda corporate law firms. I have found lots of great information on general Bermuda lifestyle from forums such as this one, as well as lawyer-specific information mostly from recruiter websites. So lets presume I have a decent foundation of knowledge of culture, work permits, minimum entry requirements, housing, spousal status, priority of jobs for locals, etc. etc.
Now, while I have a million questions for any lawyers out there, I'll start with the most important concern of my wife and I. I have 3 years of PQE and hopefully will land an offer. My wife is also a corporate lawyer here in Canada at a national firm practicing in a similar area of law as I (so also presume there are potentially similar opportunities for her in Bermuda as well). My wife, however, has not yet hit her 3 PQE mark - she is a year behind me. Assuming I land an offer, and taking into account the extended interview process, 2-3 month work permit process, and a short moving transition period, let's say my job starts in Bermuda 8 months before my wife's 3 PQE anniversary. We know that a lawyer requires 3 PQE to work as a lawyer in Bermuda. So, we have a few options in terms of her moving out to the island (either with or without an offer in place), as follows:
1. I move out alone for the 8 month period until she nears her 3 PQE mark, and she begins applying for positions (while in Canada) at that point, and comes out once she has landed an offer while living in Canada.
2. Same as #1 above, except after she hits the 3 PQE mark, and whether or not she gets an offer, she moves to the island after her 3 PQE anniversary. If she doesn't land an offer while living in Canada, she applies for a legal job while living in Bermuda.
3. She moves out with me despite not reaching her 3 PQE mark.
I want to be clear that #3 is not our favourite option. We do not have children (yet) and my wife is ambitious and loves being busy. We don't think she'd be very happy in the long run being unemployed. Sure, if and when we have kids down the road, she would want to take mat leave and (hopefully) enjoy looking after the kid(s) for awhile and not working. But if we move to Bermuda, we intend to give it a solid go. That is, we aren't going for just a year or two, but would like to be there for a minimum of 3 to 5 years, and maybe more if all goes well. So, clearly option #3 is our last choice. Looking at options 1 and 2, however, we aren't sure what is more realistic. I have reached out to some fellow Canadian lawyers living in other offshore jurisdictions who faced similar issues - though, their partners were not lawyers. Their spouses were able to find non-lawyer business type positions while living on their respective islands, but not without a lot of delay and effort. So we wouldn't expect it to be "easy". Would the same be true for obtaining an offer for a lawyer position? Would she better off staying in Canada until she lands a job? How how hard is it to do so while on the island?
Before I ramble on (probably lost 99% of readers by now), I would really appreciate any thoughts on the matter. My instinct is that, once I grow my network of "lawyer friends" in Bermuda, I would be regularly in touch with other lawyers and firms on the island, and could hopefully spread the word about my wife's interest in working in law. If that is true (which I'm not sure it is), do law firms look favourably at candidates already living in Bermuda - I mean, I can't see why they wouldn't, since she has already made the jump and is committed herself, and by way of me being employed in Bermuda. Also note that we don't want to work at the same firm (that would be terrible).
That's it for now - if I get any bites, I will be sure to follow up with some more questions!
Thanks in advance.