Living and moving abroad brings about many challenges besides just landing the right law firm job. We have started the Expat Lifestyle Series to help our expat candidates make a smooth transition to what can be a disruptive and stressful process. It’s important that your family feels at home in their new locale and schooling can play a critical role so we have decided to address these issues with a piece on the educational options for school-aged children.
The educational systems of Japan, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore offer a wide variety of choices for the children of expats. Many of our candidates with school-aged children request information on the various options available to them for schooling in their chosen city. We have provided a general guide below but please feel free to contact us directly for a more practical and in depth analysis as well as ways to cut the bureaucracy you may face in your new city. Choosing the right school is an important factor in considering whether to relocate your family and advance planning is highly recommended as many top international schools can fill up quickly.
Dawn P. Robertson, Esq. March 23rd, 2016
As the global economy becomes more interconnected, and working abroad becomes more desirable, many attorneys have looked to Hong Kong as an attractive location to work in China. In 2014, Hong Kong increased the number of work visas issued to foreign professionals to 31,676. Hong Kong is one of the world’s largest financial centers, and right on the doorstep of the rapidly expanding China. A recent survey this February, 2016 conducted by HSBC found that China has the largest share of high-earning expats with 29% of expatriates in China make more than $250,000 USD, and many expats believe that the country offered them a higher quality of life. Hong Kong ranks 10th in a list of top destinations by expatriates, Singapore is the top destination in Asia and six of the top ten locations are in Asia according to HSBC. “This reflects the good schooling, housing, transport connections and availability of goods and services that the territory offers,” says Lee Quane, regional director, Asia, of ECA International. This high standard of living has attracted top-tier law firms like New York-based Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Davis Polk & Wardwell. Hong Kong possesses a number of features that makes it popular for expatriates.
Dawn P. Robertson, Esq. March 20th, 2016
Although thousands of attorneys will work with a recruiter this year, most will spend less time evaluating recruiters than they do researching airfares on the Internet or on Facebook. A recruiter should play a much larger role in the job-search process than simply relaying information about opportunities, especially when it comes to Asia based assignments. Unlike the practice of law, the legal-recruiting profession is not regulated and does not require any type of license. Yet using a recruiter involves temporarily entrusting the course of your career to another person. As many recruiters turned their attention to the Asia legal markets after the domestic economic downturn, we thought it timely to suggest the following questions when interviewing a potential recruiter to determine their experience and expertise in the Asia legal markets. There are many excellent legal recruiters out there, but not all recruiters are created equal and, most importantly, only a handful of recruiters have yet to gain the experience and the knowledge that the Asia legal recruiting field demands.
Dawn P. Robertson, Esq. March 13th, 2016
If you want to know how an international assignment is really going, ask your spouse. It is well known that the success or failure of a stint abroad can depend largely on the contentment of trailing family members. Below you will find some personal insights gathered from our candidates throughout Asia regarding the practicalities of a move abroad and what helps dependents make the adjustment to a new life. While no single solution will work for everyone, the following suggestions have worked very well for our candidates overseas.
Learn as much as possible about daily life before you leave.
One of our candidates in Hong Kong highly recommends that, if possible, go on a fact-finding trip before you make the move. This may be best completed when you are visiting the location for interviews. You may be fortunate enough to find a home on these initial visits, but even if not, at least you will have an idea of what is available and what you may wish to pack or leave behind. If you have children, be sure to take lots of pictures to show them and pique their interest. This can often help with pre-trip nerves in that it will help you and your family know what to expect, what a new home may look like, where they might go to school, or what the shops and surrounding streets look like. Language lessons can also help, and don't sneer at any offer for cross-cultural training-it can really help.
Dawn P. Robertson, Esq. March 8th, 2016
We are pleased to share this compensation report to provide guidance to our partner and associate candidates. We have gathered information with the help of our law firms clients and candidates and from our in-depth knowledge of the market. Please note that this report isn't all inclusive as we represent mostly Am Law 100 international firms and top local firms in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Mainland China and Singapore.
Premier law firms are offering increasingly competitive packages in order to attract and retain top legal talent throughout the Asia market. Hiring conditions across Asia are showing steady and noticable signs of improvement with new openings in litigation, dispute resolution, project finance, fund formation, capital markets and M&A.
Interestingly, the Hong Kong market for the last twelve months has been experiencing the continued tussle for HK qualified and US, UK and AUS qualified associates and a few American firms continue to pay their Hong Kong and UK and AUS qualified associates at New York-scale salaries starting at $160,000 for first years. However, it is important to note that not all of their competitors in Hong Kong have followed suit and some are waiting to see how these salary changes develop.
The Hong Kong and Beijing offices of US NLJ 350 firms also saw large increases in their lawyer headcounts this year. Beijing firms experienced an 15% gain and Hong Kong firms experienced a 12% gain.
William Wesley March 7th, 2016
While Asia’s markets continue to cool, the economies are still growing at a faster pace than the vast majority of other regions and we witnessed more partner moves in 2015 than in the past five years.
Representative Partner Moves—October 2015
Jennifer van Dale, Employment, moved from Gall Solicitors to Eversheds, Hong Kong.
Jini Lee, Debt Capital Markets, moved from Linklaters to Ashurst, Hong Kong.
Michael Withington, Disputes, moved from Gall Solicitors to Howse Williams Bowers, Hong Kong.
Yilong Du, Equity Capital Markets and M&A, moved from Goldman Sachs (Executive Director and Counsel) to Latham & Watkins, Hong Kong.
Pattie Walsh, Employment, moved from DLA Piper, London to Bird & Bird, Hong Kong and London.
Samantha Thompson, Corporate Finance and M&A, moved from Linklaters, Hong Kong to PricewaterhouseCoopers, London and Hong Kong.
Thomas A. Jones January 10th, 2016
Representative Partner Moves—July 2015
Giovanni Marino, M&A, FDI, moves from DLA Piper to Winston & Strawn, Hong Kong.
Jolson Ellwood-Russell, Finance, moves from DLA Piper to Simmons & Simmons, Hong Kong.
Christoper Morley, Anita Chow and Eric Seto, Litigation, move from Haldanes to Morley Chow Seto, Hong Kong.
Jeffrey Chen, Finance, moves from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft to Dentons, Hong Kong.
Patricia Tan Openshaw, M&A, moves from Paul Hastings to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Hong Kong.
Nigel Pridmore, Finance, moves from Linklaters to Ashurst, Hong Kong. (more…)
Thomas A. Jones October 15th, 2015
Representative Partner Moves—April 2015
Hong Kong & Shanghai
David Ludwick, Capital Markets, moved from Linklaters to Freshfields Brockhaus Deringer, Hong Kong.
Stephanie Tang, M&A, moved from Kirkland & Ellis to Shearman & Sterling, Hong Kong.
Alan Freiman, Real Estate, Glenn Haley and Geoffrey Shaw, both Construction, Dispute Resolution, all moved from Haley & Co to Berwin Leighton Paisner, Hong Kong.
Tim Gardner, Private Equity, moved from Latham & Watkins to Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Hong Kong.
Scott Peterman, Private Equity, moved from Sidley Austin to Jones Day, Hong Kong.
Kyungseok Kim, Corporate, Private Equity, moved from Linklaters to White & Case, Hong Kong.
Anna Elshafei, Corporate, moved from Hogan Lovells to Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone, Shanghai.
Thomas A. Jones July 15th, 2015
Representative Partner Moves—January 2015
Vincent Sum, Structured Finance, moved from Bingham McCutcheon to Mayer Brown JSM, Hong Kong.
Ed Sheremeta, Real Estate, moved from DLA Piper to Ropes & Gray, Hong Kong.
Michael Liu, one of the most experienced Corporate Transactional attorneys in Hong Kong and his team of Jane Ng and Stephen Chan, along with several Counsel members move from Latham & Watkins to Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Hong Kong.
Sarah Catchpole, Aviation, moved from Norton White, Sydney to Kennedys, Hong Kong.
Thomas A. Jones April 4th, 2015
Mark Johnson, Litigation, moved from Herbert Smith, Hong Kong to Debevoise & Plimpton.
Martin Lister, Insurance Law, moved from Edwards Wildman Palmer, Hong Kong to Simmons & Simmons, Hong Kong.
Bronwen May, Derivatives law, moved from O’Melveny Myers to Hogan Lovells, Hong Kong.
Gary Li, Corporate Transactional law, moved from Ropes & Gray to Kirkland & Ellis, Hong Kong.
Ben Hammond, Financial Services Regulatory Practice, moved from Slaughter & May to Ashurst, Hong Kong.
Dawn P. Robertson, Esq. December 23rd, 2014