Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary And Partner Moves - June 2019


(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


Recruitment remains active in Hong Kong. Corporate has been a very busy area this month with most of the firms looking for mid-level corporate lawyers who have strong IPO and/or M&A experience. Mandarin is always important for transactional roles, but there are a few Magic Circle firms open to looking at non-Mandarin speaking, strong candidates from the London and Australia markets. Other busy areas include dispute resolution and banking and finance. Most of these roles are replacement roles.


International law firms have been struggling to recruit for their Beijing offices. There are a few openings in the corporate, funds, and banking and finance spaces but only a small pool of talent to choose from. Firms are open to looking at strong candidates from Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, the US and UK and relocating them to the city. Again, Mandarin language skills are one of the mandatory criteria for these positions. In Shanghai, FCPA practices are busy. A few top US law firms are keen to look for junior and mid-level lawyers to join. Prior experience is required for those positions.


The Singapore market continues to garner interest from lawyers, regionally and globally, as an exciting and technically challenging legal hub. Firms are mainly recruiting finance, US capital markets and M&A sectors. The needs are available for junior to senior-level lawyers. Firms remains open to associates who are looking to return to Singapore after spending a few years in Australia, London or the US.


The Seoul market remains steady with M&A work contributing to a substantial pipeline of work for the international firms. There has been a focus on hiring for corporate practices particularly at the US law firms but the offices are remaining small for now with measured growth.

There is a recent development between the UK and South Korea with a free trade agreement being reached for post-Brexit. This means that UK firms will be able to keep their Seoul offices if the UK leaves the European Union and they no longer need to worry about their licenses.


Japanese companies continue to look to markets overseas for investment opportunities. The market is driven by a keen interest in international expansion to outside markets in the US, EU, South East Asia, China and India. There is a strong appetite for transactional lawyers across the board. Japanese lawyers and bilingual foreign-qualified lawyers with at least 1–2 PQE are highly sought after.


As we near the end of the Australian financial year, law firms across the country are busy closing deals before the June 30 deadline. This, however, has not stemmed recruitment activity as law firms continue to show strong demand for top talent at all levels across banking and finance, infrastructure and construction, corporate/M&A and technology. In the last month, we have also seen a rise in demand for strong commercial litigators with 2–10 years PQE.

Firms continue to be open to sponsoring UK, New Zealand and South African–qualified lawyers with top-tier experience who wish to relocate to Australia. Such opportunities, however, are generally limited to finance, corporate and construction lawyers.

Partner Moves

Partners Practice To From Location
Yin Xu Investment Funds and Corporate Harneys  Walkers Hong Kong
Charles Clayton-Payne Banking and Finance Harneys Hogan Lovells (Singapore) Hong Kong
Wendy Pan Life Sciences Goodwin Procter Sidley Austin (New York) Hong Kong
Ke Huang Capital Markets Morrison & Foerster O'Melveny & Myers Hong Kong
Katherine Ke Cross-Border Finance King & Wood Mallesons Clifford Chance Hong Kong
Guiping Lu Corporate/Capital Markets K&L Gates Haiwen & Partners Hong Kong
Rui Feng Corporate/M&A Haiwen & Partners Zenity Holdings Beijing
Lucy Lu Cross-Border M&A Morrison & Foerster Dechert Beijing
Ruomu Li M&A Morrison & Foerster Fenwick & West Shanghai
Dora Wang Global Regulatory Enforcement Reed Smith Morgan Lewis & Bockius Shanghai
Anderson Zhang Employment Zhong Lun Dentons Shanghai
Vincent Seah Project Finance DLA Piper  Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Counsel) Singapore
Xavier Amadei Capital Markets Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow Linklaters (Counsel) Singapore
Pallavi Gopinath Aney Capital Markets Allen & Overy Baker McKenzie Singapore
Gerard Ng Banking and Finance Eversheds Harry Elias RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Singapore
Abhishek Sharma Real Estate Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas  Khaitan & Co Mumbai


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