Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary And Partner Moves - July 2021

(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

HONG KONG

Legal recruitment remains active in Hong Kong with most law firms recruiting associates at junior to senior levels. The opportunities are mostly in the corporate, banking and finance, and funds practices. As always, lawyers possessing strong Chinese language skills and a couple of years of practice experience will gain traction in the Hong Kong associate market.

With demand remaining sufficiently strong, law firms are open to relocating overseas legal professionals with relevant experience to Hong Kong. Although there is a preference for on-the-ground candidates, US and UK firms are presently relocating lawyers from Singapore, Australia, London and the US. 

CHINA

In July, recruitment activity continued to remain steady in Beijing and Shanghai. Recruitment activities are mainly occurring in the corporate, finance and FCPA practices. Some international law firms will consider candidates who are only PRC-qualified. These interested firms value the experience gained from top-tier PRC practices and will hire a strong candidate with relevant experience.

SINGAPORE

As Singapore bounces in and out of F&B restrictions and work-from-home strategies to combat the changing landscape around COVID-19, the Singapore legal market continues to improve. With new firms coming to market and established firms showing strong activity and financial performance, there are solid opportunities for strong associate talent.

While we do not have the unprecedented hiring demand evident in other legal markets (our colleagues in the USA and London are very busy), increasing global economic confidence is trickling through to Singapore and hiring approvals are occurring in almost all practice areas.

Current demand stems from our clients with well-developed regional finance teams and energy/infrastructure (development and finance) practices as well as within M&A/private equity, TMT and disputes practices.

We currently have active hiring needs into PE/VC, debt capital markets, and construction/projects and project finance practices. As ever, strong academics and practical experience within top firms are critical.

If you would like a discrete discussion about what we’re seeing in Singapore, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

SINGAPORE - Interim Legal

We are seeing an increase in hiring activity globally – both in law firms and within in-house legal departments. This has resulted in heightened demand for interim roles. In particular, the banking market seems to be quite busy. We continue to see that law firm associates are increasingly keen on in-house roles and that candidates are more open to contract roles as an alternative career choice.

We had many candidates onboarded during the pandemic, and because of the speed by which the interim markets move, most companies have established, enhanced and maintained a very smooth onboarding process for their interim professionals.

Please contact us to learn more about current and future opportunities in the market, whether you are a seasoned interim pro, contemplating a career shift or seek to learn more about alternative work options. 

SOUTH KOREA

Law firms are operating mostly business as usual in Korea, although international business travel remains difficult. There are currently limited hiring opportunities at major international and Korean law firms for highly qualified bilingual corporate and litigation associates as well as open in-house positions.

JAPAN

With Tokyo under its fourth state of emergency, most lawyers are still working principally from home. Nonetheless, many firms are getting busier and there are quite a few associate-level recruiting efforts underway for capital markets and M&A associates. Firms are finding it difficult to fill new positions given the inability to get visas for lawyers currently working outside of Japan. Strong language skills and credentials are a must. The in-house sector also continues to be very active with lots of great roles open for bilingual lawyers with five-plus years of experience.

AUSTRALIA

The Australian legal market remains relatively busy despite Sydney heading into its fourth week of lockdown due to a rapid spread of the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus. The lockdown has sent workers back to working from home with strict restrictions in place that limit people’s ability to move around their communities. At the time of this writing, Melbourne had extended their current lockdown until further notice.

Encouragingly, we have yet to see a slowdown in legal recruitment due to the lockdowns. In the last few weeks, we have continued to observe the corporate/M&A space to be the most in demand practice with almost every major firm having needs at one level or another. Banking & finance, financial services + regulatory, infrastructure, construction and litigation are also areas of persistent demand across the market.

Partner Moves

Partners Practice

To

From

Location

Liu Wei

Capital Markets

Jingtian & Gongcheng

DLA Piper

Hong Kong

Victoria Lloyd

Capital Markets

Baker McKenzie

Ropes & Gray

Hong Kong

Corey Zhang

Capital Markets

King & Wood Mallesons

Clifford Chance

Hong Kong

Guiping Lu

Capital Markets

Mayer Brown

K&L Gates

Hong Kong

Philip Hyde

Capital Markets

Mayer Brown

K&L Gates

Hong Kong

Bonnie Yung

Capital Markets

Mayer Brown

LC Lawyers

Hong Kong

Jason Wang

Capital Markets

Mayer Brown

LC Lawyers

Hong Kong

Christopher Whiteley

Capital Markets and Derivatives

CMS

Ashurst

Hong Kong

Sonia Lim

Capital Markets

Simmons & Simmons

Linklaters

(Counsel)

Singapore

Christopher Balley

Arbitration

Stephenson Harwood

King & Spalding

Singapore

Karen Evans-Cullen

M&A

Gilbert + Tobin

PwC Legal

Sydney

Kate Perumal

Litigation

White & Case

Lendlease Construction Australia

(General Counsel)

Sydney

Jo Delaney

Dispute Resolution and Construction

Holman Fenwick Willan

Baker McKenzie

Sydney

Emma de Carle

Private Equity

Ashurst

PwC

Sydney

Sheranga Fernando

Real Estate

EY Law

King & Wood Mallesons

Melbourne

Nick Sutton

Environment and Planning

Norton Rose Fulbright

Planning & Property Partners

Melbourne

Mitsuhiro Imamura

Intellectual Property

K&L Gates

DLA Piper

Tokyo

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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