Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary January 2024


(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


Welcome to 2024! We are finally seeing a slight uptick in recruitment activity this year. Law firms are analysing their headcount for the financial year, and there are signs of new opportunities coming in specific practice groups. Practice areas that firms are interested in considering talent include litigation/dispute resolution, funds and financial services/regulatory. Opportunities are currently available at all levels (junior to senior).

Mainland CHINA

We have received mandates from firms to hire additional associates due to new corporate projects. Opportunities are available for junior to senior lawyers in FDI and FCPA space. Native Mandarin language skills are essential. Firms prefer candidates who are locally based and can start immediately.


So, we embark on another year and look forward to 2024 predictions.

Our global clients are reporting robust 2023 numbers, and we believe this will reflect in further, measured investment in Singapore and Southeast Asia, in a rebalancing of regional practices. We think Singapore will continue to see strategic investment at senior levels, and this will reflect in cautious and selective hiring in all areas at the associate level.

Demand for strong talent within the energy and infrastructure sector will remain, reflecting the significant growth in this space throughout the past two years. And while the funds and PE/M&A sector have been more muted, we think good associate talent with those skills will always find a home here.

Singapore continues to provide exciting, career enhancing opportunities for talented associates, so please contact us to find out more about Singapore and the opportunities that might be available.

SINGAPORE - (Interim)

It’s a new year and a new start for many clients and candidates. There has been an influx of contract roles in the banking and finance space and the fintech space. Please reach out to Cynthia Barnardiston, Prasanna Karunamoorthy & Annemiek Wassink for a confidential discussion if you are immediately available.


This year could be a critical turning point in the Korean legal market as joint ventures between Korean firms and foreign firms (such as Ashurst and Baker) that commenced in 2023 will start to achieve full integration. Other international firms will be waiting to see whether these joint ventures represent a successful business model that is worth emulating or if it is a better path to continue offering only outbound foreign law advice. This shift in the market could open up new roles for associates in a lateral hiring market that was fairly slow in 2023. Leading Korean firms remain a good option for associates looking to relocate to Seoul, and select opportunities remain at the international firms in Seoul for highly qualified bilingual US and UK qualified associates.


Japan always gets off to a slow start in January, given the long o-shogatsu holidays, so not much has changed from the end of 2023. A number of international firms are interested in expanding their associate ranks but remain hesitant about the outlook for the first half of the year in light of the ongoing wars and weak yen, and so are not yet ready to increase headcount. Outbound M&A, traditionally a primary focus of the international firms and foreign associate hiring, remains slow, while inbound M&A practices remain busy and in need of more bengoshi associates. The large Japanese firms continue to be busy and interested in opportunistic hires of primarily US, UK, and Australian corporate associates with excellent credentials.


Although January is a relatively quiet month for recruitment across the market, this year has started off busy with an array of law firms seeking to fill a mix of new and existing vacancies across a wide spectrum of practices including corporate/ M&A, banking & finance, financial services and regulatory, commercial litigation and Infrastructure. The vast majority of opportunities sit in Sydney and/or Melbourne and require a minimum of 3 years’ experience.

Partner Moves






Dorothy Sir


Stephenson Harwood

Zhong Lun

Hong Kong

Danny Kan


Stephenson Harwood

Ping An (In-House Counsel)

Hong Kong

Gary Lam

Corporate and Commercial

Oldham, Li & Nie

King & Wood Mallesons (Counsel)

Hong Kong

Benjamin Lohr

Private Capital

Herbert Smith Freehills

Clifford Chance (Counsel)

Hong Kong

Ryan Tou

Capital Markets

White & Case

Allen & Overy (Counsel)

Hong Kong

Nicholas Norrims


GLP Capital Partners (Managing Director)

Kirkland & Ellis

Hong Kong

David Zhang

Capital Markets


Kirkland & Ellis

Hong Kong

Ing Loong Yang


Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Independent Arbitrator and Mediator

Hong Kong

Calvin Chow



PC Woo & Co.

Hong Kong

Yang Han

Dispute Resolution

Han Kun Law Offices

King & Wood Mallesons


Tiffany Toh


Allen & Overy

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (Associate)


Gerald Yee

Maritime Disputes

Hill Dickinson

RPC Premier Law


Hew Kian Heong

International Arbitration

Rajah & Tann

Kewei Law Firm


Damien Bourke


Hamilton Locke

Holding Redlich


Amelia Prokuda

Environment and Planning

Hamilton Locke



Kath Booth


Hamilton Locke



Andrew Vincent


Hamilton Locke



Elena Stojcevski

Construction and Litigation

Hamilton Locke

Corrs Chambers Westgarth


Partner moves are obtained from both public sources and Major, Lindsey & Africa market intelligence. The list is not intended to represent Major, Lindsey & Africa as the consultancy involved in the moves, although some moves may have been brokered by Major, Lindsey & Africa.


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