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
No matter what city an expat relocates to, it is becoming increasingly simple to find living accommodations which cater to a foreigner’s needs and there are people at each step of the process to make the relocation as easy and comfortable as possible.
Once moving to Tokyo, apartments are usually acquired through a real estate agent rather than directly with the landlord because of the uncertainty that landlords have renting their apartments to people who don’t speak Japanese and are not familiar with the legalities of the Japanese rental system. However once contact with a real estate agent has been established it is simple to find an apartment that caters to an expat’s needs since Tokyo offers accommodations specifically for foreigners. For example, expat apartments generally cost over $5,000USD but are equipped with all the major appliances (washer, dryer, dishwasher, phone, phone-line, and refrigerator) while typical Japanese apartments do not come with these appliances. And while Japanese apartments require the renter to pay “key money” or reiken, which is a non-refundable payment worth about two months of rent, and a renewal fee or koushinryou, which is worth one month’s rent, a foreigner renting an expat apartment can forgo these fees and just pay the four to six months security deposit. Most of the US and UK law firms with which we work will make this payment on your behalf and already have a select group of agents that will guide you.
Kavita Maini February 28th, 2016
Modern China offers great opportunities for foreign lawyers, in a climate of geographical and cultural diversity, speed of change, deregulation and unprecedented economic development. For more information on the expat lifestyle in China, please click here.
In his book, One World, Ready or not, William Graider gives the following useful definition “diverse and contradictory, China is like a black box where both optimists and pessimists can find proof to support their expectations.”
For the pessimists, there are certainly many challenges to confront though with a reliable, trusted legal recruiter with local expertise, these obstacles are easily surmounted and navigated!
Thomas Hayward February 15th, 2016
For lawyers working overseas in an Asian country, raising an expatriate family could be difficult. Though traveling might provide a wealth of job opportunities, sometimes it might be quite hard on the uprooted child who must readjust to a completely new social setting. Whether it is culture shock or homesickness, a child can be truly affected by the experience. However, on the flip side of that, being an expat child also provides a chance to earn unique experiences that promotes growth and maturity.
Zara Mohidin January 19th, 2016
As the global economy expands and more and more companies move overseas, many law firms have begun to open offices in Southeast Asia. In particular, Singapore has been an active area for international firms. Firms such as Latham & Watkins, O’Melveny & Myers, and Morrison & Foerster have all opened or expanded offices in Singapore in the last year. One of the reasons Singapore has been such a popular destination is that it is a great country for expatriates. Of all the common expatriate destinations in Asia, Singapore has been consistently voted as one of the friendliest to expatriates’ families. A number of features help make Singapore welcoming to guests from abroad:
Jacob Hansen August 29th, 2013
Foreign firms are starting to proactively approach foreign universities seeking attorneys for their China offices. US and UK firms have always been eager to bring over bilingual expats from the US, UK and AUS. Over the last few years, firms have been increasingly focusing on attorneys with exposure in the US, UK or AUS, preferably with a US J.D. or LL.M. as well as international law firm experience. Firms are realizing that strong legal technical skills and a foreigneducation are equally as important as language skills, top local academics and even a book of business. The bar has been set higher, but for those of you who fit this specific skill set, opportunities are plentiful and it’s very important that you make the right decision. It can be difficult in an ever-changing market like China and Japan to make this decision.
Dawn P. Robertson, Esq. November 21st, 2012
Posted In: About Us, Asia Jobs, Asia Market Watch, China, Expat Life, Expat Lifestyle Guide, Hong Kong, India, Middle East Market Watch, Office Openings/ Partner Moves & Promotions, Partner Watch, Practicing in Japan, Recent Posts, Recruiter, Recruitment, Uncategorized
With top firms having weathered the economic crisis, these firms are now continuing to offer competitive packages in Asia in order to attract and retain top legal talent. Firms remain committed to the Asian markets, investing resources into their foreign offices, hiring or promoting partners, and offering competitive remuneration packages to their strongest attorneys, especially bilingual ones. While ex-pat packages have for the most part remained stable at top firms, especially in more mature legal markets like Tokyo and Hong Kong, overall there has been more variance than ever.
Joshua Flagg November 8th, 2012