The expats

For young Canadian lawyers, London offers opportunities to work on international deals, exciting weekend travel destinations, and a world-class city for culture and entertainment. Here are five expats who are living it up in the UK: What they love about living and working in London

By Precedent

On Thursday March 6th, 2008


Andrew Ahonen

Andrew Ahonen
“The city is amazing in terms of the history and culture, the quality of museums, galleries, and plays … I love the scope of the city, how many different frequencies there are. Whether it’s going out to see a band, exploring the city, or finding a great restaurant, there’s just so much variety, you never ever feel that you’re going to exhaust the city, whereas Toronto is much smaller and after a while you feel that you’ve done everything. You don’t get that constant exposure to new possibilities that you do here.”

Jackie LeggettJackie Leggett
Allen & Overy
“I really like the international travel opportunities. London is a major hub for travel to basically anywhere. People don’t raise their eyebrows when you say you went to Paris for the weekend. Already since moving here a year ago I’ve been to Brussels, Paris, Dublin, and Italy, and I plan to go to Turkey later this year. And we get a lot of vacation days. Plus there are incredibly cheap flights — you can get a flight to Europe for £20 [about $40 Cdn].”

Carlos de VeraCarlos de Vera
Clifford Chance
“For a young lawyer there is nothing like getting work experience in London, in terms of the level of responsibility and the deals that go on. And one gets the sense in London — and I didn’t get this in Toronto — that there is enough work to go around. There are plenty of great, exciting deals, so everyone gets good experience. In Toronto, unless you are with one of the big firms, there’s a scarcity of big deals that pass through the city. Canada is just not a major hub for international business, so young lawyers don’t get exciting deals like you do here.”

Will PatersonWill Paterson
Clifford Chance
“I like the combination of old and new in the character of the city. There is so much history, so much great old architecture, as well as spectacular new buildings. In particular, I love the old Temple area. It’s a beautiful quiet oasis in the middle of London with lots of fountains, big old buildings and halls. And the history of law as we know it in the West originated from London, and that area in particular, so it’s fun to walk around and see with your own eyes where it all began.”

Jacky LukJacky Luk
“People here are extremely down to earth and very relaxed. And people start law much younger here [because you don’t have to do a first degree] so it’s a lot more egalitarian. There are a lot of very young partners and they are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get down to do the dirty work with you even when you’re very junior. You don’t get this sense of division between partners and associates. That was a very pleasant surprise. There definitely is not this stiff upper lip attitude that people expect.”

Writing and photography by Zoe Cormier