Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary And Partner Moves - August 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 Hong Kong market has seen an increase in openings since last month. The restructuring sector remains active, and firms have an appetite to hire into this practice. There are also some openings within the debt capital markets and funds teams across US and UK firms. Lawyers with at least 2–3 years of post-qualification experience are preferred. Partners are open to relocating candidates to Hong Kong and the firm will cover their relocation (including quarantine) costs.

Mainland CHINA

The recruitment market remains steady in Beijing and Shanghai. Openings are largely falling under the litigation and FCPA practices. International law firms are cautiously reviewing the utilization rate of individuals, and this has led to increasing challenges in obtaining headcount approval for new hires. Most firms are sharing that recruitment may pick up again towards the last quarter of the year.


Like the Grand Exodus (and subsequent Grand Return) that happens in Paris every July and August, Singapore has just seen its own mini version over these summer months. With most global travel restrictions having eased, many of Singapore’s professionals have taken a long overdue and extended break. However, the city is beginning to crank back to life and the demand for associates remains robust. Growth is steady with continued demand in M&A, private equity, finance, projects and disputes at all our law firm clients. Associates working within top global firms, in any jurisdiction, are encouraged to come and chat with us.

SINGAPORE - (Interim)

As legal recruiters, we often get asked by candidates whether the possible recession could affect the hiring trends in the next 6 months. We quote our President, John Cashman, in an article on, “No one is clear what the global economy is going to do next or how it will impact the legal profession. What we do know is that the demand for lawyers continues”. We are particularly busy with several clients looking to grow their team. We have contract opportunities across different industries, ranging from tech and fintech to retail, energy and banking.


Although the number of COVID-19 cases in South Korea continues to be a concern, the government has not reintroduced restrictions and life in Seoul remains back to pre-pandemic normalcy. Not surprisingly, law firm operations in Seoul are experiencing some signs of economic weakness in line with the global economy. The government referenced its concerns of a looming economic crisis in pardoning Samsung heir and vice chairman Lee Jae-Yong. While many of the opportunities for foreign-qualified corporate associates right now are with the leading Korean firms, highly credentialed bilingual lawyers can still find exciting opportunities with the Seoul offices of international firms. There are also roles in other markets, such as Tokyo and Singapore, for Korean-speaking lawyers.


Although Japan still shows no sign of opening its borders beyond business travel (and limited organized tour groups), the government has further relaxed entry requirements, announcing that pre-arrival PCR tests will no longer be required for fully vaccinated travelers from September 7. While new COVID-19 case numbers remain disturbingly high, the exchange rate has stabilized slightly, and law firms are operating mostly business as usual. Several firms have opened new roles for both bengoshi and foreign-qualified (particularly US) associates, mostly in transactional practice areas. There is a fair amount of movement in the market overall, including several international lawyers relocating from overseas.


The continual shortage of experienced Big Law lawyers across the Australian market, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, has pushed domestic salaries to historic highs. The shortage of skills is more prevalent in the banking and finance and corporate investment funds sectors, with almost every large law firm having a need to hire in either or both practice groups. Private M&A, private equity and financial services and regulatory lawyers with over three years of post-qualification experience are also in demand across the market.

Partner Moves






Terence Wong

Commercial Arbitration

Loeb & Loeb

Winston & Strawn

Hong Kong

Mark Bedford

Dispute Resolution


Zhong Lun Law Firm

Hong Kong

Edward Liu

Shipping Dispute Resolution

Haiwen & Partners

Hill Dickinson

Hong Kong

Janie Wong


Howse Williams

Addleshaw Goddard

Hong Kong

Kimarie Cheang

Dispute Resolution

Watson Farley & Williams

Incisive Law

(Director and Head of the China group)


Yuet Ming Tham

Compliance and Investigations and Life Sciences

Sidley Austin

McDermott Will & Emery

(Managing Partner and Asia-Pacific Head)


Tao Koon Chiam

Merger and Acquisition


Allen & Gledhill


Vasu B. Muthyala

US Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Clifford Chance

Kobre & Kim, Hong Kong


Jeremy Hanrahan


Lander & Rogers



Jonathan Sumskas

Insurance and Construction Litigation

Moray & Agnew

Colin Biggers & Paisley (Special Counsel)


Chris Wiseman

Planning and Environment

Mills Oakley

Clayton Utz


Kate Muller


Norton Rose Fulbright

DLA Piper


David Moore

Merger and Acquisition

Johnson Winter & Slattery



Mellissa Lai

Merger and Acquisition

Johnson Winter & Slattery



Catherine Power


Wotton + Kearney .

Sparke Helmore


Tom Wilson



Asian Development Bank



There is currently no related content for this person
No More Results