Why would you move to the Channel Islands?
Published: 01 Oct 2018 By Luke Woodward
Exactly, as the title says, why would you want to make this move to Jersey or Guernsey? It’s certainly not something which is already at the forefront of most people’s minds when I speak to them, but it should be! In under 4 minutes find out why the Channel Islands are a viable place for relocation (not accounting for slow readers).
Strength of the off-shore legal market
Everybody wants to be working in a buoyant market and the off-shore firms have been doing very well over the last 3 years. We have seen significant growth in law firms across both Jersey and Guernsey, as well as expansion in the wider off-shore networks (including Bermuda, BVI & Cayman). The top 10 offshore firms (9 of whom we work with) have increased lawyer headcount by nearly 10% over the last year alone. Although there was superficially negative publicity from the Paradise Papers hack, the old adage ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ seems to have won the day and the firms are winning more and more work.
High quality work & clients
As well as a buoyant market, we know lawyers like to be working with high quality clients providing top end work. On the contentious side there are fascinating disputes in the Channel Islands, for example the £1billion+ Carlyle litigation in Guernsey. On the transactional side you have got large M&A deals, financings, IPOs and fundraisings which can run into hundreds of millions or billions, for example you could be advising Saudi Aramco on a $3billion bond issue.
No work-life balance compromise
You would be forgiven for thinking that with a buoyant market and high quality clients any semblance of a work/life balance would be flying out of the window. Not so in the Channel Islands. Although you will have plenty of work to do there are very reasonable expectations on your time with target hours typically around an annual 1400 hour mark among leading firms. Everybody has interests outside work and nobody wants to be working late or over the weekends!
Something many people find when they first move to London, or are accustomed to if they’ve been in London for a while, is that nobody talks to each other. Whether that is in a bar, out for a walk or just neighbourly chatter, it doesn’t happen. In contrast, every time I have been out to either Jersey or Guernsey I have personally been struck by how genuinely friendly everybody is. This has also been borne out in feedback from people who have moved over and found it amazing how welcoming the islands are.
I grew up in Devon and, although I have since moved away, I still appreciate a picturesque location. Both Jersey and Guernsey have this in spades. Whether it is looking out across St Brelade’s Bay in Jersey or enjoying Bluebell Wood in Guernsey, you will find an abundance of natural beauty in the Channel Islands.
Remuneration (and tax)
We have to come to it at some point: there is also the remuneration point. The top off-shore firms, who we work with in both Jersey and Guernsey, pay salaries which are comparable with London as well as generous bonuses. Combined with the 20% income tax rate this can mean there is a very compelling financial draw to working in the Channel Islands.
Finally, if those six points don’t win you over, I would flag up a comment which appeared in The Sun back in November 2017. “[Jersey is the] one dot of Britain where you will find warm weather, brilliant beaches and great food in the depths of autumn.” What more could you ask for?
If you would like to confidentially discuss the offshore market and how it could fit with your particular experience then I will be happy to arrange a conversation.
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