An article in the Acad. Mgt. J., April 2012 at 399, concerns a problem well recognized among human resources professionals: “the transition from expatriation to repatriation routinely culminates with repatriates quitting organizations.” If you post a lawyer to an overseas location, when they return they often leave the company. The article cites a large-scale study of 120 multinational organizations. Repatriated employees voluntarily quit within the first year of returning to their home country at a rate three times that of the turnover rate of all employees.
Not that expat assignments are all that common in law departments, but when there is an international posting, it would be a loss to have the lawyer return and shortly thereafter resign. The article concludes that the during the time overseas, the employees change so much that they no longer fit well when they return. General counsel should try to preserve their investment in lawyer who are probably high potentials since they were sent overseas for training and exposure.