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
The global economy faces a number of short and long-term challenges in Europe and elsewhere. That said, legal activity remains buoyant in Asia and there are many outstanding opportunities for partners considering a move as firms open new offices, replace departing partners or implement strategic hiring initiatives.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Asian related M&A activity for the first six months of 2012 was nearly the same as last year. There were record levels of M&A activity in South East Asia and among other things, natural resources deals compensated to some extent for softer activity elsewhere in Asia.
William Wesley December 18th, 2012
The Abu Dhabi-based law firm Agha & Shamshi has decided to conduct its practice in compliance with Shari’ah. Shari’ah is the Islamic legal code, based on the Qu’ran and the Sunnah of Muhammad. It regulates all aspects of life, such as marriage, religious rituals, social issues, and business transactions. On its website, Agha & Shamsi describes the decision to practice according to Shari’ah as a way to “develop the cause of ‘genuine’ Islamic finance.” The firm engages in work similar to that of any other law firm, but makes sure that its projects are “seamlessly harmonized with and weaved into Shari’ah principles.”
This means, among other things, that Agha & Shamshi has had to turn away clients. For example, Shari’ah forbids the charging of interest on money lent. This practice is considered usury under Shari’ah law, or “unjustified” increase between the value of goods given and the countervalue of goods received. Thus, Agha & Shamshi has declined offers concerning dispute resolution matters entailing debt with interest. Furthermore, Shari’ah states that “profit is the reward of diligent performance” and that monetary gain from chance, speculation, and conjecture is forbidden. Agha & Shamshi therefore refuses work from any clients involved in casinos, interest-lending, or similar businesses.
Regardless, the firm has had lots of business. In Asia Legal Business, Agha states that there are several opportunities available for his firm. Though Shari’ah forbids many activities, much is permitted within the legal system, such as “projects, construction and EPC contracts, energy projects, and project finance done through Islamic financing.” In fact, the move may bolster firm activity: Middle Eastern businesses can go to Agha & Shamsi to ensure that they are conducting themselves in accordance with Shari’ah. The firm’s website boasts several deals of this nature, where Agha & Shamsi lawyers have advised on projects that are wholly Shari’ah financed, or advised on the structuring of Shari’ah compliant funds.
The decision to completely comply with Shari’ah may be part of a larger trend. As Asia Legal Business reports, Norton Rose has begun to concentrate on Islamic finance, citing it as an important component in its Gulf strategy. Norton Rose partner Campbell Steedman says, “the spread of Islamic finance and principles is set to continue,” and that understanding it “will be an essential part of…the development of the market.”
Lorraine David August 20th, 2009
Posted In: Practicing in the Middle East