Asia: Finding the Right Recruiter

Posted on November 22, 2012 at 12:11 AM

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.

I started this company in 2001 and there was very little information or precedent to assist an attorney in making such an important decision as to which firm to join. There's clearly more information out there now as Asia has become the focus of the world's attention. In terms of choosing a law firm, it can still be a difficult decision based on the ever-changing exchange of information and market movement. There's an abundance of opportunities from firms that offer very different short and long term strategies, commitment, resources and long term prospectives.  So what’s my point?  You really need to work with someone who knows the market well when you make this decision.  Firms don't prefer to see a lot of movement so you have to use a lot of discretion and conduct your own due diligence. That's where Cypress really can help.  As with any new up and coming trend, people flock, as many recruiters have to Asia. Unfortunately, Asia and each country therein, are very different markets with their own particularities and nuances.  It's pretty simple; the same rules don't apply from other regions, while relationships and expertise are paramount when choosing a law firm in Asia.
Things are still changing day to day and making the right decision to find a knowledgeable recruiter can be a very difficult one. It has never been more important to choose a recruiter who has strong, long-standing relationship in both the US and Asia, regional expertise in these complex and ever-changing legal markets, and an outstanding reputation for excellent candidates. Relocating to Asia is a move that requires just as much consideration as choosing which recruiter will facilitate the process, and a group that is experienced in approaching jobs will turn out higher-quality offers. With the US economic downturn, there are several U.S.-based recruiting firms that claim to be "Asia-focused" and more and more Asia-based recruiters are starting to recruit U.S. attorneys. It's important to note that, as recruiters flood the Asia markets, more and more of our jobs are becoming exclusive to Cypress as law firms are starting to rely on a shortlist of trusted recruiters more and more.
Be careful, nowhere in the world are relationships more important than in Asia and using a recruiter who has long-standing, trusted relationship is of the utmost importance. These relationships don't happen overnight so working with a recruiting firm like Cypress who has been in the market for over a decade, longer than any other US based firm, you will benefit from our unparalleled relationships, proven track record, and a reputation for simply the best candidates in the market.
Recruiting procedures and HR personnel are changing along with these legal and financial markets and vary greatly from country to country and even firm to firm . Given the lack of HR teams on the ground and, given the relatively small size of these foreign offices, hiring is more personality driven. The issues that concern hiring partners can be quite different than those in the US. It's important that your recruiter has a good understanding of not only you and your professional and personal goals but also the firm.  It's quite surprising how much of a difference it makes to a firm in these small markets in who presents them. Making an informed decision and having good judgment are qualities any law firm looks for and it amazing how much it reflects on your candidacy as to who presents you to a firm.  Cypress has been in the market for so long that we're personally and professionally vested in not only the markets but our reputation. Firms know that we examine our candidates carefully and only present the best candidates who fit their particular needs. Simply, we have a proven track record and US and UK law firms know and trust us.
As more recruiters enter the market, the more exclusive searches we receive to ensure that they are being conducted in a professional, honest and efficient manner. I like to think that we serve as a guide to both candidates and law firms entering the market. Again, unlike other large U.S. based recruiting firms with one or two recruiters assigned to the Asian region, the entire Cypress team focuses exclusively on the Asian legal markets and consists of research associates, marketing and H.R. specialists, which include ex-practicing attorneys from top-tier law firms. Cypress has the staff and resources to accommodate associates and partners looking for a wide variety of opportunities and firms. If you are interested in finding out how the market looks for you, please let us know by emailing us at or calling 212.979.5900.

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