Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary And Partner Moves - July 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


Law firm management teams are closely monitoring the billable hours of individuals and are encouraging partners to ensure high utilization rates within their respective teams. This has led to increasing challenges in obtaining headcount approval for new hires. This is the time of the year when trainees usually find out their retention offers. Unfortunately, not every firm is able to retain all their trainees this year. We are seeing a high volume of available trainees in the market, with only a handful of firms considering newly qualified associates. Firms have an appetite to hire into the restructuring sector and the funds space. Lawyers with at least 2–3 years of post-qualification experience are preferred.

Mainland CHINA

The recruitment market remains slow in Beijing and Shanghai. With both cities opening, firms are resuming hires that were previously put on hold. Such hires mainly fall under the intellectual property and litigation areas. International law firms are cautiously reviewing the utilization rates of individuals, with partners seeking alternative solutions to balance out departures rather than making new hires. Most firms are sharing that recruitment may pick up again towards the last quarter of the year.


Global interest in Singapore remains robust as several of our clients look to grow, but growth is steady rather than spectacular, with demand in M&A/private equity, finance and projects. Tourists and business travellers are back as Singapore gears up for a busy second half of the calendar year.

SINGAPORE - (Interim)

The finance space remains active with traditional financial services companies aiming to become similar to progressive tech companies whilst offering financial services. These clients are seeking lawyers to join them on an interim basis as they move into the tech space and break the mould of traditional financing.


Although COVID-19 cases in South Korea are rising again, the government has not yet 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. Many of the opportunities for foreign-qualified corporate associates right now are with the leading Korean firms. Nevertheless, highly credentialed bilingual foreign-qualified associates looking to find roles at leading international firms can still find exciting opportunities. There are also roles in other markets, such as Tokyo and Singapore, for Korean-speaking lawyers.


Business visitors have been trickling into Japan in increasing numbers, but the combination of significantly increasing COVID-19 cases, the assassination of former Prime Minister Abe and recent elections are unlikely to portend a further reopening of the country anytime soon. Law firms continue to be less affected by the global economic slowdown than their Western counterparts, in part because the Japanese Yen/United States Dollar exchange rate continues to make Japan an attractive target for inbound investment. While most firms are actively seeking bengoshi associates in several areas, there are fewer positions open to foreign lawyers—although there is always interest in well credentialed candidates with strong Japanese language skills.


With the start of the new Australian fiscal year, firms are showing an interest in M&A and private equity lawyers with more than three years of post-qualification experience. Along with project finance lawyers, particularly in the renewable energy space. Financial services and regulatory lawyers with over three years of post-qualification experience are also in significant demand in both the Sydney and Melbourne markets.

Partner Moves






Daniel Dusek

Private Equity

Goodwin Procter

Kirkland & Ellis

Hong Kong

Kelvan Cheung

Corporate Finance

Jingtian & Gongcheng


Hong Kong

Alan Yip

Real Estate

Howse Williams

Mayer Brown

Hong Kong

Daniel Lindsey

Private Equity

Sidley Austin

Goodwin Procter, Hong Kong


Ethan Tan


Mischon de Reya

Allen & Overy (Of Counsel)


Julien Bocobza

Energy and Project Development

White & Case

Norton Rose Fulbright, London


Simon Irvine

Project Finance

Johnson Winter & Slattery



Michael Stretton



Holding Redlich (Special Counsel)


Toby Eggleston


Herbert Smith Freehills



Ryan Leslie


Herbert Smith Freehills



Nick Heggart


Herbert Smith Freehills




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