Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary And Partner Moves - May 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 legal recruitment market has picked up, and law firms continue to adopt flexible working hours. We are seeing a demand for lawyers with 1–7 years of post-qualification experience within restructuring, insolvency, finance and funds practice areas. Law firms remain happy to sponsor visa applications.


Beijing has enforced a soft lockdown to expand the COVID-19 mass testing. Shanghai, however, is looking to reopen beginning 1 June 2022. Recruitment has remained slow this month due to these lockdowns, but some firms are continuing to conduct interviews through video calls. We foresee the market will remain steady for the next couple of months with open positions at the junior level in the FCPA space and the senior level in M&A areas.


For the first time in two years, many law firms are travelling within Asia for business and hosting clients and senior leadership in Singapore. Tourists are beginning to make a comeback, and professionals have returned to offices on a 60% basis. Projects/project finance associates are still in demand, as are quality associates in finance, particularly restructuring and insolvency. However, macro-economic conditions have caused hiring partners to think more carefully before making long-term hiring decisions.

SINGAPORE - Interim Legal

We have seen a tremendous number of opportunities for lawyers interested in consulting or project-based legal opportunities. Demand continues for interim consultants and the market is very competitive. Remote work remains a strong preference for most consultants. Consultants are also actively seeking opportunities that not only offer competitive rates but also provide more flexibility and the potential for a permanent role. While some are career-long interim lawyers, many view these substantive consulting roles as career opportunities, whether they are seeking to gain experience within a specific industry or skill set, or to transition in-house.


In light of diminishing COVID-19 cases in South Korea, the government has been reducing restrictions. It is also offering aid to neighbouring North Korea to manage its evolving health crisis. Law firms in Seoul are operating mostly business as usual, but there are some signs that the recent surge of M&A activity may be cooling off, similar to other parts of the world. 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 finally appears set to reopen its borders to tourists in June, although it is not yet clear whether entry will be limited to tour groups with preapproved itineraries. In any case, the country is slowly transitioning to normalcy, and the slowdown in corporate activity that we are seeing in the US largely has not impacted the Tokyo market. Firms are operating business as usual, and demand for bengoshi associates remains strong across international and Japanese firms. There are also several opportunities for US and Commonwealth-qualified lawyers, particularly with strong Japanese language skills.


June tends to see a slight decrease in recruitment activity due to firms coming up to their performance and salary reviews, but job opportunities within the private practice area remain steady. Demand in the Sydney and Melbourne markets with distinguished law firms remains strong for banking and finance and infrastructure/major project lawyers, as well as corporate/M&A lawyers with over two years of post-qualification experience. Firms continue to hire Australian-qualified lawyers, where possible; however, firms are open to sponsoring UK, New Zealand and South African-qualified lawyers who wish to relocate to Australia.  

Partner Moves






Julie Gao

Capital Markets

ByteDance (CEO)


Hong Kong

Crystal Chen

Finance, Projects and Restructuring

DLA Piper


Hong Kong

Thomas So

Dispute Resolution

Grandall Law Firm

Mayer Brown

Hong Kong

Matthew Bland

Mergers & Acquisitions

Jardine Matheson (General Counsel)


Hong Kong

Simon Collins

Aviation Finance

Watson Farley & Williams

White & Case

Hong Kong

Nils Eliasson


King & Spalding

Shearman & Sterling, Hong Kong


Joanna Seetoh

Construction and Engineering Arbitration

Harry Elias Partnership

LVM Law Chambers


Joseph Kim

Energy and Infrastructure

Greenberg Traurig

Hogan Lovells


William Wu

Energy and Infrastructure

Greenberg Traurig

Hogan Lovells, Hong Kong



Da Woon Jeong

Energy and Infrastructure

Greenberg Traurig

Hogan Lovells, Tokyo



Yingyu Wang

TMT and IP

Simmons & Simmons

Taylor Vinters Via


Peng Lim


Liberty Mutual

(Head of Aviation Claims)

Kennedys Law


Margot King

Real Estate

Hamilton Locke

Piper Alderman


Brad Marland

Real Estate

Hall & Wilcox




There is currently no related content for this person
No More Results