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
In 2015, the market witnessed its most robust year in over five years in terms of partner movement at Am Law 200 law firms in Asia (please see Representative Partner Moves in 2015) and this trend is set to continue in the Year of the Fire Monkey. The Hildebrandt Consulting Report and the Citi Private Bank have both released reports stating that the hiring of lateral partners will be a profound element to law firm financial viability and growth this coming year. This sentiment has been confirmed by our recent discussions with various Hiring Partners throughout Asia. Many of our law firm clients are keen to grow through accretive and synergistic group, partner and associate hires. Given the current economic climate, firms’ growing focus on bottom-line profitability and increased due diligence when conducting lateral partner hires, it’s becoming increasing important to work with a recruiter who is keenly aware of these changes.
While there was some doubt as to the profitability of bringing on lateral partners in recent years, firms took the plunge and have been successfully bringing in more lateral partners as the rapid expansion in both breadth and depth of demand for legal services fuels hiring despite a slowing of recent economic growth. With lateral partner and group hiring metrics changing, it’s also more important than ever to use a trusted recruiter with local expertise on high level searches and awareness of the current trends, past pitfalls, new internal firm protocols driving partner hiring and a comparative viewpoint of successful procedures in place. Learning from the past, hiring committees are vetting potential lateral partner hires with more discernment and a more focused eye on overall profitability for the firm as a whole versus gross revenue.
Dawn P. Robertson, Esq. March 10th, 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
Myanmar has become one of Southeast Asia's more alluring destinations for foreign investment and law firms are paying attention along with the world as Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the Noble Peace Prize in 1991, was recently sworn in as an MP in Myanmar's first democratically elected government in more than 50 years. With the country's parliament now having a majority of National League for Democracy MPs along with the announced new foreign banking licenses and stock exchange, it is almost certain that foreign investment and opportunities for foreign lawyers will dramatically increase in years to come. While some question "western" involvement in the new political regime and hope for sustainable environmental outcomes and humanitarian efforts in the country, one can't deny this will be an economic and legal market and political regime to watch!
In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Myanmar was one of the wealthiest countries in Southeast Asia and since it's first democratic multi-party elections in two decades in 2010 and a new Foreign Investment Law, there has been increasing levels of hope that it can regain its democratic status in the region and shine again. The recent appintment of PM Aung San Suu Kyi, well known for her of history peaceful resistance against the military that ruled the country since 1962, has resurrected a surge of hope for economic growth, open democracy and resolution to the countries internal political conflicts. Law firms, foreign attorneys and MNCs see opportunity and are moving in regardless of the still continued military presence and obstacles ahead.
Dawn P. Robertson, Esq. March 1st, 2016
International law firms are in a unique position to have a significant positive impact for individuals in need, local communities and our planet and its natural resources. A sterling example of that outreach, Linklaters LLP has donated thousands of hours to various events, non profit organizations, and endeavors to assist refugees worldwide.
Linklaters' annual donations to the British Red Cross and other humanitarian partners are allowing for quick relief and aid to displaced refugees in the mediterranean, and their pro bono work many other services have provided legal advice and aid to asylum seekers and migrant workers fleeing from human trafficking slave labor. They have also been hard at work with the European Council for Refugees in Exiles (ECRE) to review cases in various European nations in an attempt to protect the rights and interests of refugees seeking asylum in those nations.
Dawn P. Robertson, Esq. February 28th, 2016
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
REPRESENTATIVE PARTNER MOVES TO DATE – CHINA
Lynia Lau, Energy & Natural Resources Law, moved from Clyde & Co to Stephenson Harwood, Beijing.
Mr. Gao Jun, Litigation and Arbitration, moved from Duan & Duan, Shanghai to Zhonglun, Shanghai.
Martin Lister, Insurance Law, moved from Edwards Wildman Palmer, Hong Kong to Simmons & Simmons, Hong Kong.
Dawn P. Robertson, Esq. December 22nd, 2014
Representative Partner Moves to Date – Singapore
Seow Hui Goh Employment Group moved from Braddell Brothers to Bird & Bird
Mark Cooper M&A and private equity transactions moved from Linklaters to Hogan Lovells
Chin Chuan Chen, Finance, moved from Clifford Chance to Ashurst
Russel Low, Shipping and Offshore, moved to Singapore office of Norton Rose Fulbright
Gerald Yee, Marine Practice, moved from Colin Ng & Partners LLP to Clyde & Co.
Emerson Holmes, Dispute Resolution, moved from Nabarro LLP to Jones Day
Teresa Marzilli December 9th, 2014
As the global economy continues to feel the effects of the 2008 recession, it faces both short and long-term challenges. But new and exciting opportunities are being created as the world’s markets walk the road to recovery. Southeast Asia has become an area of growth, attracting many firms and attorneys wishing to expand their portfolios abroad. The legal market in Asia is continuing to grow at record speed, changing the landscape for expatriate lawyers with an increase and broadening of opportunities for associates, partners and firms, a rapid and substantial deal flow.
According to the American Lawyer, Am Law 100 law firms had mild gains in 2012. They reported that gross revenue for Am Law 100 law firms was up 3.4 percent, average revenue per lawyer was up 2.6 percent, and average profits per partner were up 4.2 percent. Notably, this growth was uneven and the more successful firms tended to have a strong international presence, and well as a diverse set of practice areas.
Asia is a strong area of international growth and this extends to the legal sector. The Asian legal market is on pace to double in size by 2017, according to Asia Law Portal. Their analysts project the Asian legal market to grow 6 to 7 percent over the next 8 years, creating a strong incentive for U.S. and U.K. to get on the ground floor for fear of being left out. (more…)
Jacob Hansen November 15th, 2013