Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary And Partner Moves - August 2020

(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

Recruitment activity remained steady in August with current demand in the FCPA, capital markets, and restructuring and Insolvency sectors. Most firms seek candidates with at least three years of post-qualification experience and strong Chinese language skills. Interview processes are moving slower than usual.

Most law firms are continuing their work from home arrangements. But with declining infection numbers, this could change again soon.*

One observation taken from the window where lawyers were still able to work from their offices—between mid-May and early July—is that recruitment activities recover speedily when lawyers are physically back at their offices. We predict a replication of this when COVID-19 measures are relaxed again.

*accurate as at 26th August 2020

CHINA

Teams are busy and active in China. IPO activity is high, and lawyers are resuming (domestic) travel. Recruitment is focused on the FCPA, IPO and M&A sectors. Most of these opportunities require at least two years’ PQE, and experience at an international law firm is preferred.

We are receiving a material increase in enquiries about opportunities at domestic PRC law firms due to the perceived uncertainty between the US and China relationship. Lawyers at foreign law firms are increasingly open to considering options at PRC law firms as they are presently deemed better positioned and less susceptible to changes that might impact foreign firms in China in the foreseeable future due to geopolitical realities.

SINGAPORE

As Singapore slowly and cautiously eases back into gear, there is a noticeable increase in traffic on Singapore’s roads this month. School children are back in the classroom, the malls and supermarkets are getting busier, and the offices around Raffles Place, Marina Bay and Shenton Way are beginning to see greater activity again. This sense of optimism amongst the general population is trickling down to law firms who have remained active throughout this crisis but have not been able to hire due to headcount freezes and an inability to plan.

The partners and HR departments have more optimism this month than they have had for some time, and we are beginning to see (small, but positive) changes in general business activity. Our clients with developed energy/infrastructure (development and finance) practices are beginning to more actively engage us again. Also, there is a thawing of the market for junior corporate professionals.

Geographically, India has been very active while other Southeast Asian markets (traditionally serviced from Singapore) are beginning to see increases in deal activity—Vietnam and Thailand have both seen a busy August.

Overall, while the local markets remain indisputably challenged, the confidence of our law firm clients grows commensurately with increasing business activity levels.

SINGAPORE - Interim Legal

As we enter the second half of the year, we are seeing a lot of positive activity in the interim market in Singapore as clients take longer to hire permanent staff due to COVID-19. These companies remain busy and urgently require legal support, so we have gained several MNC as clients who have hired interim lawyers on a project basis. We are currently working with clients across industries such as technology, fintech, insurance, financial services and FMCG and are supporting their legal and compliance divisions with projects ranging from three to six months.

SOUTH KOREA

Recruitment is starting to pick up again in Seoul despite COVID-19. We are assisting international firms now on both corporate and litigation associate roles, which is a welcome sign in this legal market.

JAPAN

While most lawyers are at least partially back in the office (on an optional basis) in Tokyo, there are concerns about a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. Given the continuing uncertainty, many recruiting efforts remain on hold, but we are seeing some key hiring processes moving forward again. The in-house sector is more active than private practice, so it is a good time for lawyers looking to move in-house.

AUSTRALIA

As we move through the third quarter of the calendar year, the health crisis in Australia continues to take the market on a rollercoaster ride, with the serious spike in COVID-19 cases in Victoria weighing down the national recovery that had begun in June. At the time of this writing, however, Victoria was seeing daily improvements in its number of COVID-19 cases. Whether this downward trajectory will remain on course is yet to be seen.

In late July and early August, a handful of top-tier global law firms lifted their recruitment freezes and went to market for business-critical recruitment at the associate and senior associate levels. Most roles were Sydney-based. By contrast, many other large firms have yet to resume lateral recruitment due to market uncertainty.

The good news is that, although a small percentage of the major law firms in Australia are currently recruiting, market confidence is growing. We expect many of the remaining major firms to soon lift their freezes and begin hiring again. Several firms report being surprisingly busy across contentious and transactional practices, with some firms reporting certain practice groups surpassing billings compared to this time last year.

Partner Moves

Partners

Practice

To

From

Location

Cliff Chow

Disputes

Ashurst

Allen & Overy

(Counsel)

Hong Kong

Simon Wong

Corporate and Commercial

Oldham, Li & Nie

Bird & Bird

(Counsel)

Hong Kong

Chen Zhu

White-collar and Investigations

Morrison & Foerster

Davis Polk & Wardwell
(Counsel)

Hong Kong

Erik Wallace

Trusts and Estates

Loeb & Loeb

Stephenson Harwood

Hong Kong

Laurence Ho

Trusts and Estates

Loeb & Loeb

Stephenson Harwood

Hong Kong

Matthew Worth

Restructuring

DLA Piper

Linklaters

(Counsel)

Hong Kong

William Ho

Private Equity

K&L Gates

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe

Hong Kong

Scott Peterman

Private Equity

K&L Gates

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe

Hong Kong

Sook Young Yeu

Private Equity

K&L Gates

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe

Hong Kong

Bonita Chan

Dispute Resolution and Litigation

Ince

Miao & Co.

Hong Kong

Connell O'Neill

Technology

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Allen & Overy

Hong Kong

You Yang

Disputes

Han Kun Law Offices

King & Wood Mallesons

Beijing

Nan Tiejian

Capital Markets

Jingtian & Gocheng

King & Wood Mallesons

Beijing

Haiyan Tang

Litigation

Paul Hastings

CBC Group

(Chief Legal and Compliance Officer)

Shanghai

Kevin Yuan

Financial Markets

Baker McKenzie FenXun

AllBright Law Offices

Shanghai

Tang Xue

Private Equity

Jingtian & Gocheng

Fangda Partners

Shanghai

Junfeng Jiang

Mergers and Acquisitions

CM Law Firm

Tencent

Shanghai

Lionel Meehan

Restructuring

DLA Piper

Edwin Legal

Melbourne

Natalie Cambrell

Financial Services

KHQ Lawyers

HWL Ebsworth

Melbourne

Chris Taylor

Mergers and acquisitions

Mills Oakley

Baker McKenzie

(Senior Associate)

Melbourne

Daniel Kirk

Mergers and Acquisitions

Mills Oakley

Dentons

Perth

Scott Gibson

Mergers and Acquisitions

DLA Piper

Thomson Geer

Perth

Marc Wilshaw

Mergers and Acquisitions

DLA Piper

Thomson Geer

Perth

Michael Bowen

Mergers and Acquisitions

DLA Piper

Thomson Geer

Perth

Nicholas Grambas

Project Finance and Infrastructure

Johnson Winter & Slattery

Sidley Austin

Singapore and New York

Dax Lim

Venture Capital

Simmons & Simmons

Osborne Clarke

Singapore

Chentil Kumarasingam

Litigation and Arbitration

Withers

Oon & Bazul

Singapore

Paul Tan

Litigation

Cavenagh Law

Rajah & Tann

Singapore


More Articles 

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