Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary November 2022


(As excerpted from our monthly Associate Newsletter - Asia Pacific)

Associate Newsletter – Asia Pacific is a monthly resource that reports current legal market news, trends, partner moves and active opportunities in the Asia Pacific legal markets.

Legal Market Summary


The recruitment market remains steady in Hong Kong. Finance and funds teams across US and UK firms remain interested in speaking to strong candidates. Most of these opportunities are due to previous departures. Mid-level lawyers with at least 2–3 years of post-qualification experience are preferred. The firms are open to relocating the right talent to Hong Kong.

Mainland CHINA

In Beijing and Shanghai, the recruitment markets remain slow. Most firms are focusing on their utilization rate for lawyers and some teams are having difficulties in getting headcount approved. Practice areas that are currently hiring include investigations, litigation and finance.


Raffles Place, Marina Bay Financial Centre and other business areas in Singapore are thronging with activity. While it seems difficult to get people back into the office in other countries, the office worker in Singapore is back! Activity in the Singapore market continues to be robust, although associate hiring is not as busy as it was in 2021, and the firms are being more cautious. However, there is still demand for great candidates in our growth areas, namely funds, private equity, finance (especially restructuring), projects, project finance and disputes. Our clients are open to candidates in other jurisdictions if they have the requisite skills. As ever, quality of academic and professional background remains important. If you are an associate in London, Australia or another commercial center and are keen to work in an exciting part of the world that continues to grow, we want to hear from you.

SINGAPORE - (Interim)

Our latest Interim Legal Talent Snapshot gives us insight into the current market. In-house legal departments continue to engage interim attorneys and legal professionals to address bandwidth frustrations, control rising legal expenditure and access legal expertise for specialized business matters. However, concerns of a looming recession and inflation are giving employers pause and budgets are tightening as workload allocation and hiring needs come into focus. Because of this new level of uncertainty, employers are exploring more interim engagements over making hires, including an increased demand in part-time counsel. In-house legal departments are utilizing temp-to-perm positions and would like to "try before they buy” before committing their budgets to new employees.


Our thoughts and condolences are with the people of South Korea after the recent tragic event over Halloween weekend. We are looking forward to reconnecting with many of you in person when our consultants travel to Seoul in January. Please feel free to reach out to us if you wish to meet up. The major Korean firms are continuing to grow their foreign law capabilities more quickly than Seoul offices of international law firms, creating opportunities for foreign-qualified associates. There are also select opportunities for top corporate candidates with the offices of the international firms.


The influx of tourists and business travelers into Tokyo has been palpable since Japan reopened its borders a month ago. The exchange rate has also shown signs of stabilizing as of mid-November, providing a glimmer of hope that outbound M&A work could pick up again in early 2023. Although there continues to be more demand for bengoshi than international associates, a handful of firms are seeking international lawyers across a few different practice areas. Some hiring processes have been slower than usual, but Japan has not experienced widespread hiring freezes, and there is a sense of cautious optimism as we head toward the end of 2022 and into the new year.


The last few weeks have seen a slight contraction in the number of open positions across the BigLaw firms in Sydney and Melbourne, with most vacancies seeking mid-level and senior-level lawyers. Senior associates in private M&A, private equity, banking, finance, financial services and infrastructure remain in high demand. Despite the shift, firms continue to stay interested in pursuing top-tier Australian, UK and New Zealand-qualified lawyers who may be interested in relocating back to Australia.

Partner Moves






Kevin Warburton



Tanner De Witt

Hong Kong

Wilfred Ng

Technology and Communication

Bird & Bird

Tencent (Senior Legal Counsel)

Hong Kong

Jay Lee

Debt Capital Markets

K&L Gates

Simmons & Simmons

Hong Kong

Paul Tan


Gibson Dunn

Cavenagh Law


Ton van den Bosch


Clyde & Co

Addleshaw Goddard

(Office Managing Partner)


Hui Ling Teo


Reed Smith



Hye Kyung Helen Sohn


Yoon & Yang

Lee & Ko


Celia Wright

D&O and Professional Indemnity

Gilchrist Connell

Moray & Agnew


Mark Doble

Restructuring and Insolvency

Piper Alderman

Eakin McCaffery Cox


Katrina Crooks

Intellectual property

Spruson & Ferguson

Shelston IP


Belinda Harvey


White & Case

Norton Rose Fulbright


Michael Mroczek


Nozomi Sogo Attorneys at Law

Okuno & Partners



Office openings

Charles Russell Speechlys will open in Singapore.
Baker Botts opens in Singapore.

Partner moves are obtained from both public sources and Major, Lindsey & Africa market intelligence. The list is not intended to represent Major, Lindsey & Africa as the consultancy involved in the moves, although some moves may have been brokered by Major, Lindsey & Africa.


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