Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary And Partner Moves - May 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


In Hong Kong, the lateral market remains active for associates looking to change platforms. We have seen a lot of activity in corporate, capital markets, banking and funds on both the US and Hong Kong sides. Opportunities are abundant for mid to senior levels, from two PQE through to counsel level.


The Beijing and Shanghai markets remain steady. Law firms are generally recruiting across the transactional and FCPA practices. PRC nationals with commonwealth or US qualifications and a couple of years of overseas experience are in need. This is due to the strict visa application process, which makes PRC national become a preferred candidate.


The Singapore market remains steady with few firms looking for US-qualified lawyers in the market. They tend to be keen on mid-level lawyer who has at least three years’ experience with a US practice. Capital markets, M&A and banking are the desire areas for the hiring. On the other hand, Singapore-qualified lawyers remain to be in demand for international law firms. Associates with strong training from one of the top domestic law firms are desired.


Seoul has quieted down slightly and not a lot of firms are hiring right now. We expect things to pick up later on in the year, focused around corporate and projects experience.


A trend towards outbound investment and acquisitions continues in accordance with the Japanese companies’ drive to expand their capabilities overseas. Demand for cross-border mandates keeps domestic and international firms busy. Due to the increased workload, various firms have a strong appetite for M&A transactional lawyers. Both domestic and international firms are generally recruiting across the transactional practice.


Last week, the Liberal-National Coalition party was declared the winner of this year's Australian Federal Election, with Scott Morrison retaining his position as Australia's Prime Minister. The result has generally been viewed positively by firms and the wider Australian legal market.

Although come May and June, we tend to see a slight decrease in recruitment activity due to many firms coming up to their performance and pay reviews, job openings across the private practice market have remained steady. Demand across the Sydney and Melbourne markets across top tier and international law firms remain strong for banking and finance, infrastructure/major project and corporate/M&A lawyers at all levels starting from two years PQE.

Firms are continuing to look to hire Australian-qualified lawyers when they can; however, firms are open to sponsoring UK, New Zealand and South African–qualified lawyers with high level experience who wish to relocate to Australia. Demand is stemming from finance, corporate, infrastructure and technology practice groups.

Partner Moves

Partners Practice To From Location
Gary Yin Disputes Jingtian & Gongcheng Reynolds Porter Chamberlain Hong Kong
Ye Yurong Capital Markets JunHe  Han Kun Law Offices Hong Kong
Rhys McWhirter Technology Eversheds Tiang & Partners Hong Kong 
Nan Li Capital Markets Tian Yuan Law Firm Paul Hastings Hong Kong
Rachel Yu Disputes King & Wood Mallesons Herbert Smith Freehills Hong Kong
Ronald Sum Disputes Addleshaw Goddard  Locke Lord Hong Kong
Stephen Chan Litigation Reed Smith Richards Butler Oldham Li & Nie Hong Kong
Yin Xu Investment Funds and Corporate Harneys Walkers Hong Kong
Charles Clayton-Payne Banking and Finance Harneys Hogan Lovells (Singapore) Hong Kong
Joel Seow Investment Funds Morgan Lewis Stamford Sidley Austin Singapore
Steven Lim International Arbitration 39 Essex Chambers CMS Singapore
Tessa Davis Project Finance Morrison & Foerster  Linklaters Singapore
Siraj Omar SC Litigation and Arbitration Drew & Napier RPC Singapore
Dominic Gregory Banking and Finance Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner  Ashurst (Tokyo) Singapore
Erlene Tan M&A and Debt Restructuring Withers KhattarWong RPC Premier Law (Director) Singapore
Shannon Finch M&A Jones Day  King & Wood Mallesons Sydney
Ivan Smallwood Corporate Latham & Watkins Morrison & Foerster Tokyo
Noah Carr Corporate Latham & Watkins Morrison & Foerster Tokyo
Stuart Beraha Corporate Latham & Watkins Morrison & Foerster Tokyo
Tsuguhito Omagari Corporate K&L Gates Sonderhoff & Einsel Tokyo
David Case IP and Technology - Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe Tokyo
Youngjin Sohn Corporate Kim & Chang Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Seoul
Abhishek Sharma Real Estate Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas Khaitan & Co. Mumbai
Vinod Joseph Corporate Argus Partners  Global Infrastructure Partners (General Counsel) Mumbai
Tanya Wadhawan Corporate Anand and Anand Athena Legal New Delhi


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