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Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary And Partner Moves - June 2022

(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 recruitment market in Hong Kong has slowed. A lot of equity capital markets and M&A lawyers have reported that their focus has shifted to ongoing projects as there are very limited new deals coming in. A handful of law firms have taken this opportunity to expand their M&A teams strategically and would like to hire associates at the mid- to senior level. Finance practices have remained steady, and the restructuring sector has been busy, with firms seeking to hire due to the uptick in workflow. We foresee that corporate and disputes practices may take a few months to become active again. 

Mainland CHINA

With the recent lockdown in Beijing and Shanghai, many firms have put recruitment on hold hoping to observe the changes that arise from the lockdown before making any new hires. We have a handful of opportunities available for lawyers at the mid- to senior level in the M&A and litigation spaces. We predict that the markets will start to pick up again over the next couple of months as the COVID-19 situation settles in mainland China.


The Singapore associate market continues to remain buoyant with opportunities for quality associates across a variety of sectors. Despite global caution, our clients in the projects, private equity and disputes sectors remain busy and are still hiring. Travel for business and leisure is back on the horizon. We have seen several global heads of firms visit Singapore in the past month, a genuine sign of a commitment to the market and an interest in the region’s success.

SINGAPORE - (Interim)

The tech industry has been facing its biggest downturn in two decades and the sector has seen its highest number of job cuts in the past couple of years, with companies such as Netflix and Shopee having layoffs. Snap Inc. and Microsoft forecast cuts and Meta has also slowed its hiring. Often when companies are faced with a hiring freeze and work demand remains high, they turn to interim hiring as a solution. Please reach out to have a confidential discussion if you want to explore legal consulting as a career.


In light of diminishing COVID-19 cases in South Korea, the government has been reducing restrictions, aiming to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.  Law firm operations in Seoul are following this trend, but there are some signs of economic weakness in line with the global economy.  Many of the opportunities for foreign-qualified corporate associates are with the leading Korean firms. Nevertheless, highly credentialed bilingual foreign-qualified associates looking to find roles at leading international firms can still find exciting opportunities.


Japan has slowly been easing its restrictions, although an entry date for tourists who are not on package tours has not yet been announced. Headwinds from the global economy have resulted in a decrease in outbound work and accordingly have somewhat suppressed the demand for foreign lawyers in Tokyo, but firms are nonetheless always open to bilingual mid-level associates from strong firm backgrounds.  The demand for junior and mid-level bengoshi remains extremely strong, both across the typical corporate practice areas and in areas such as real estate, antitrust and litigation.


Corporate/M&A and private equity continue to be the main practice areas in demand with almost every major law firm continuing to have active needs in this space. Banking and finance, financial services, regulatory, infrastructure, real estate, employment and litigation are also areas of continued demand across the market, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.  

Partner Moves






Gary Chow


Howse Williams

Clyde & Co

Hong Kong

William Wong


Howse Williams

Clifford Chance

Hong Kong

Christy Leung


Eric Chow & Co

Winston & Strawn

Hong Kong

Anthony Woo

Marine and Insurance


Clyde & Co

Hong Kong

Xing Liyong

Funds and Investment Management

Clifford Chance

Kirkland & Ellis

Hong Kong

Yuan Yan



Clifford Chance (Counsel)


Luke Woodward


King & Wood Mallesons

Gilbert & Tobin


Karen Fairbairn

Financial Services

Piper Alderman

FCW Lawyers


Samantha Betzien

Employment and Safety




Simon Rear


Gilbert + Tobin

Squire Patton Boggs



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