Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary And Partner Moves - January 2020


(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 is picking up. We have openings across multiple practice areas – corporate, FCPA, finance and funds. Candidates with strong Chinese and English language skills are highly sought after in the market. Firms are more selective, but there are still demands for lawyers with good technical and drafting skills.


It has been a steady month for recruitment in China. For firms that are recruiting, most of the firms are recruiting due to growth followed by partner movement. M&A and FCPA space continued to be the busiest areas.


The Singapore market continues to be steady. Project finance, M&A and banking teams are the most active on recruitment. We have noted that more candidates are considering a relocation to Singapore than this time last year.


Seoul has a steady year overall, looking back in 2019. There were a few lateral moves in the market both locally and within the regional Korean practices. Corporate and finance remain the dominant areas with some firms looking to expand their reach.


Japanese outbound investment remains a priority, and there has been a continuous demand for M&A lawyers. Experienced Japanese-qualified lawyers with strong academic backgrounds and solid training from top firms and bilingual, foreign-qualified lawyers with 2-3 years’ PQE are highly sought after in the market.


Despite our predictions of a slow January, this month has been anything but slow on the legal recruitment front!

Top-tier and global law firms have been quick to hit-the-ground running in 2020 to lock in key needs across their offices. The two practice areas highest in demand during the first three weeks of January have undoubtedly been corporate/M&A and litigation. The demand for Litigators is mostly for those with experience in the financial and banking sectors either with specialised regulatory investigations experience and//or defence of class actions.

Aside from the above, there remains steady demand for antitrust/competition lawyers as well as banking & finance, infrastructure and construction (both front end and contentious), and technology/TMT.

Although firms continue to be open to sponsoring foreign (mostly commonwealth) qualified lawyers with top-tier experience, demand has slowed with the focus being put on those with Australian experience.

Partner Moves

Partner Practice To From Location
Brian Gilchrist Litigation Gibson Dunn Clifford Chance Hong Kong
Elaine Chen Litigation Gibson Dunn Clifford Chance Hong Kong
Chaobo Fan Capital Markets Paul Hastings  Latham & Watkins (Associate) Hong Kong
Wesley Pang Litigation and Disputes Eversheds Sutherland  Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (Managing Counsel) Hong Kong
Jonathan Chu Intellectual Property Lau, Horton & Wise Stephenson Harwood Hong Kong
Joel Shen Corporate DWF Stephenson Harwood (Counsel) Singapore
Weiyi Tan Disputes Eversheds Harry Elias Baker McKenzie Singapore
Jonathan Kok Intellectual Property Withers KhattarWong  RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Singapore
Parthiv Rishi Mergers & Acquisitions Sidley Austin  Linklaters Singapore


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