Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary And Partner Moves - November 2019


(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


With the recent developments in Hong Kong, we have seen a slowdown in recruitment within the last month. Some firms have decided to put interview processes on hold given the uncertainties and instabilities. Despite the approach, some firms continue to meet candidates within M&A, FCPA, funds and finance experience. Partners have prepared us that the process will take longer than usual, but there are still appetites for strong candidates.


Beijing and Shanghai markets have been steady for the month. Most recruitment needs are arising in UK firms within the M&A space. Some senior movements also have been noted among US firms; these recruitment needs are originating from previous departures. Most of the hiring needs are within M&A, finance, TMT and compliance spaces.


The Singapore market has been active over the past month. Some US and UK law firms are recruiting for junior and mid-level lawyers in the capital markets, finance and M&A spaces. Most of these hires are local without relocation involved. We foresee the market remaining active for the rest of the year.


Korean law firms are interested in growing their foreign attorney practice and are offering competitive compensation packages to do so. Senior lawyers with more than five years’ experience are in need. Fluent Korean language skills are required for these positions.


Japanese M&A activity remains at an all-time high, with 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 continue to be in demand.


Recruitment across the private practice markets are at full speed in the final push before the Christmas break when law firms will close until early January.

In late October and the first half of November, we have seen global and national law firms continue to show strong demand for commercial litigators to handle financial and banking sector regulatory disputes as well as class action defence matters. There has been an uptick in demand for corporate/M&A lawyers by the larger firms in the market while demand has remained steady for lawyers with 2-9 years’ PQE across banking & finance, infrastructure & construction (both front end and contentious), and technology/TMT.

Firms continue to sponsor UK, New Zealand and South African–qualified lawyers with top-tier experience who wish to relocate to Australia. Demand exists more so for transactional lawyers, especially across finance and corporate. Australian-qualified lawyers who are looking to return home from abroad will also find a healthy array of options to choose from.

Partner Moves

Partners Practice To From Location
Bonnie Chan Capital Markets Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited Davis Polk & Wardwell Hong Kong
Wing Cheung Corporate Finance Holman Fenwick Willan Locke Lord Hong Kong
Jonathan Leitch Restructuring Hogan Lovells  DLA Piper Hong Kong
Nick Davies Corporate Walkers  Appleby Hong Kong
Stephanie Chan Litigation Reed Smith  Ashurst (Counsel) Hong Kong
Jiang Wen Investment and Trade Wei Heng Law Firm Guantao Law Firm Beijing
Cathy Liu Disputes Kewei Law Firm King & Wood Mallesons Shanghai
Nicholas Lum Disputes Clyde & Co Ince & Co Shanghai
Cephas Yee Corporate Aquinas Law Alliance BlackOak Singapore
Joshua Tan Corporate Aquinas Law Alliance BlackOak Singapore
Zachary Scully Corporate Restructuring Insolvency RHTLaw Taylor Wessing JK Lawyers & Co. Singapore
Patrick Yeo Insurance Kennedys Withers KhattarWong Singapore
Lim Hui Ying Insurance Kennedys Withers KhattarWong Singapore
Chua Tju Liang Oil and Gas Drew and Napier (Equity Director) Chris Chua & Associates Singapore
Zachary Scully Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Australian boutique JK Lawyers & Co Singapore
Chau Ee Lee Construction Addleshaw Goddard King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing) Singapore
Isamu “Sam” Inohara Corporate Norton Rose Fulbright Morrison & Foerster Tokyo
James Wood Corporate Hogan Lovells  Gilbert & Tobin (Senior Lawyer) Sydney


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