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.


March 13th, 2016

Posted In: About Us, Asia Jobs, Asia Market Watch, China, Dollars and Yuan, Expat Life, Expat Lifestyle Guide, Hong Kong, Partner Watch, Practicing in Japan, Recent Posts, Recruiter, Recruitment

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Expat Life

 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.


March 8th, 2016

Posted In: Asia Jobs, China, Expat Life, Expat Lifestyle Guide, Hong Kong, Practicing in Japan, Practicing in the Middle East, Recent Posts, Recruiter, Recruitment

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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.


March 7th, 2016

Posted In: Asia Jobs, Asia Market Watch, China, Dollars and Yuan, Expat Life, Hong Kong, Japan, Recent Posts, Recruiter, Recruitment, South Korea


November 2014 

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. 

October 2014 

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. 


December 23rd, 2014

Posted In: Asia Market Watch, Hong Kong, Office Openings/ Partner Moves & Promotions, Partner Watch, Recent Posts, Recruiter, Recruitment

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.


December 18th, 2012

Posted In: Asia Market Watch, China, Hong Kong, Office Openings/ Partner Moves & Promotions, Partner Watch, Practicing in Japan, Practicing in the Middle East, Recruiter, Recruitment

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.


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

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As mentioned in the Wall Street Journal today, China has taken new steps to loosen restrictions on the range in which the yuan trades against the US dollar.  The Chinese Central Bank still maintains a relatively tight grip on the yuan by setting a daily “parity” rate for trading the yuan against the US dollar.  China until today had allowed the yuan in daily trading to increase or decrease from the party rate by no more than .5%.  The changes which went into effect today allow the yuan to fluctuate up to 1% from the parity rate.

Analyst are already staking their bets on how today’s developments fit into the “Washington vs Beijing” debate over whether the yuan is undervalued.  That said, stepping aside from this debate for just a moment, one wonders whether this development represents something different – China’s willingness loosen yuan trading restrictions when convinced that doing so will not hurt their domestic economy, and Washington’s willingness to push hard, while realizing that an orderly appreciation of the yuan is to some extent both realistic and, probably, in everyone’s interest.  For what it’s worth, we suspect that reforming the yuan in some sort of orderly, consensus-oriented manner is right, for now the best way to continue to proceed.

April 16th, 2012

Posted In: Asia Market Watch, China, Dollars and Yuan, Expat Life, Recent Posts, Recruiter, Recruitment, Regulatory Changes

In the past few years, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has emerged as a global IPO leader, dominating the market for several years consecutively. The scaled back pricing of a few large IPOs and investor nervousness have done little to seriously alter the financial world’s shift to the Asian market. Likewise, the reclamation by the United States of the number one position in the IPO market has not dampened foreign companies’ appetite for listing in Asia. This interest is hardly one-sided, as Chinese companies are also increasingly attempting to list on American exchanges.

As for Hong Kong IPOs, Canadian based Sunshine Oilsands came to market with the biggest IPO in Hong Kong since the $1.9 billion New China Life Insurance Co Ltd (1336.HK) dual listing in the city and Shanghai in December 2011. It was also one of the biggest offerings in the world so far in 2012, as new listings from Europe, the United States, and Asia lag the mega offerings seen in 2011.  Though it has recently endured a loss, many believe that it will rise again as Sunshine teams up with various energy companies and, most importantly, the Bank of China. (more…)

March 18th, 2012

Posted In: Asia Jobs, Asia Market Watch, China, Hong Kong, Partner Watch, Recent Posts, Recruiter, Recruitment

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Ironic that U.S. Free Trade Agreements—emphasis on “agree”—invariably rile bilateral dispute.  Will a foreign presence dominate domestic markets?  Will steep tariffs and strict regulations frustrate fruitful commerce?   These predictable rumblings peaked after October’s ratification of the South Korea-United States FTA (KORUS FTA), yet as July approaches, and with it the reality of U.S. firms establishing offices in Seoul, it’s imperative that we tune out alarmism and assess the potential impact of Korea’s liberalization on a more nuanced register.

To calibrate that register, let’s first consider China and India’s respective relationships with globalization over the past twenty years. Following 1992’s “Provisional Regulation of Establishment of Offices in China by Foreign Law Firms”, China has creakingly, creakingly inched open the door of its legal services market, rendering itself increasingly inviting to American lawyers.  In 1995, conversely, India’s Mumbai High Court ceded a monopoly on legal practice to local attorneys.  This almost immediately after the U.S. firms Chadbourne & Parke and White & Case, and the British firm Ashurst, had received license to found plants in the country.  What factors determined these radically different trajectories?  More pressingly, how will they influence the texture of South Korea’s legal terrain?  For more information on the firms planning to enter the market please visit our previous blog post New Firms in South Korea. (more…)

March 16th, 2012

Posted In: Deal Watch, Expat Life, Office Openings/ Partner Moves & Promotions, Recent Posts, Recruiter, Recruitment

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Freshfields has advised Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. with their move to privatize Ltd, China’s biggest corporate e-commerce site. On February 21st, 2012 Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. bought out all of the shares of Ltd. that were not owned already. The entire share capital of is now $8.71 billion after this transaction.

On February 29th 2012, attorneys of Apple Inc. argued for iPad trademark rights in China. After a lower court ruled in favor of the Chinese tech company Proview Technology (Shenzhen), who claim to own the trademark in China, the Higher People’s Court of Guangzhou will hear an appeal by Apple Inc. The verdict of the higher court is usually final under Chinese law and sets a precedent for other cases in China’s lower courts. If the higher court doesn’t rule in favor of Apple Inc. there is still a chance for a final appeal in the Supreme People’s Court with application for a retrial but the chances of getting the final appeal are very low.

Part of the Blackstone Group’s continuous efforts to build upon its business in Asia, Ed Huang from Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia (MSPEA) was hired as their Managing Director for China to build up their private equity team in Asia. Blackstone Group is making China and Southeast Asia their investment focus in 2012 considering the expected consumer growth in these regions this year. (more…)

March 2nd, 2012

Posted In: Asia Market Watch, China, Deal Watch, Hong Kong, Recruiter, Recruitment

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