Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary And Partner Moves - May 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

With the current IPO boom, a high level of recruitment activity is occurring across many law firms in Hong Kong. These firms have a strong demand for US and HK-qualified capital markets lawyers with solid Chinese language skills and, preferably, previous capital markets experience.

This flourishing in the capital markets/corporate space is not limited to Hong Kong. The US and London markets also have been very active with many firms recruiting associates currently based in Hong Kong for their overseas roles. Lawyers interested in these overseas roles should get in touch with us for more information as we can introduce you to our colleagues in London or one of our 18 US offices who have strong relationships with the local recruiting teams at these firms.

Not to be overlooked, litigation positions in Hong Kong also are increasing in number with firms seeking candidates with 2–4 years of post-qualification experience. As ever, Chinese language skills are required.

Our general observations regarding the increase in legal deal flow and higher demand for associate-level talent in Hong Kong may be partially supported by recent reporting that the HKEX announced that its net profits increased by 70% from the first quarter of 2020. Moreover, technology and healthcare companies are dominating fundraising in the region. Also, we are noticing an increase in deal activity resulting from companies delisting (or potentially delisting) in the US due to new legislation and under the pressure resulting from persistent strained relations between the world’s two largest economies.

CHINA

During the month of May, recruitment activity remained steady in Beijing and Shanghai. Corporate M&A, capital markets, finance and FCPA practices were the most active. Law firms still have a strong desire to hire PRC citizens as COVID-19–related travel restrictions and visa application delays have made hiring foreign lawyers more complicated.

SINGAPORE

As of this writing, the Singapore Government has put into place tighter restrictions around eating in, socializing and working from the office. It feels like Singapore is heading into another circuit-breaker to combat the recent rise in community COVID-19 cases. The roads have gone quiet again and meetings are moving back to Zoom while the government gets the current outbreak under control.

Despite this current blip, our law firm clients remain busy and the growing global and regional business confidence is translating into increased demand for hiring in a variety of sectors.

The demand remains in transactional practice areas, with growth in M&A/PE. We have active needs in the PE space with our key US and Magic Circle clients. At the senior level, there also is strong demand in the energy and projects space, with some of our law firm clients wanting to enter the Singapore market or grow this practice offering.

Singapore remains a significant market for family office/private wealth, funds and the tech sector as well as the overlapping practice sectors that service each of these growing areas.

SINGAPORE - Interim Legal

Singapore has stepped up its COVID-19 restrictions as a result of a recent and sudden spike in new cases. Working from home policies have returned for most companies. Clients seem apprehensive about permanent hires with current uncertainties and increasingly value the option of interim hires. Presently, there is a strong advantage for candidates who can start immediately or who currently are serving their notice period. Demand for talent in the Technology and Fintech sectors remains high. We also see growth in the banking and finance and the hospitality sectors.

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, particularly with life sciences companies.

JAPAN

With COVID-19 cases rising again in Japan, many 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. Strong language skills and credentials are a must. The in-house sector also continues to be active with lots of great roles open for bilingual lawyers with 5+ years of experience.

AUSTRALIA

In the final days of May, the Australian Government released its fiscal budget for 2021–2022, which has a focus on bringing forward business and infrastructure investment activity. The budget, which was largely welcomed by the legal and wider Australian market, is designed to secure Australia’s recovery from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget should provide significant confidence to the Australian business sector, which in turn will spur demand for legal services and recruitment.

As we continue through the second quarter of the year, top-tier, global and mid-market law firms continue to report multiple job needs across a variety of practice groups. No practice group has higher demand for lawyers than corporate/M&A, with almost every major firm currently having needs in this space. Banking and finance, financial services and regulatory, infrastructure, construction and Litigation are also areas of continued demand across the market.

With the travel bubble now open with New Zealand – as of the time of this writing – Australian law firms are considering New Zealand lawyers looking to transfer their career to Australia.

Partner Moves

Partners

Practice

To

From

Location

Michael Makridakis

Insolvency and Disputes

Conyers

Delta Capital Partners Management

(Managing Director)

Hong Kong

William Hallatt

Financial Services Regulatory

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Herbert Smith Freehills

Hong Kong

Richard Wilmot

Commercial Litigation

Tanner De Witt

Stephenson Harwood

Hong Kong

Marco Pocci

Energy

MB Kemp, London

Stephenson Harwood

Hong Kong

Ethan Jin

Capital Markets

Cooley

Wilson Sonsini

Beijing

Phoebe Yan

White-collar and Regulatory

Paul Hastings

Hogan Lovells

Shanghai

Roberta Chang

Tax

K&L Gates

Hogan Lovells

Shanghai

Brinton Scott

Corporate

HFW

Winston & Strawn

(Managing Partner)

Shanghai

Maurice Burke

Investigations

DLA Piper

Hogan Lovells

Singapore

Lynette Koh

Corporate and Finance

Helmsman

Mizuho Bank

(Head of Legal)

Singapore

Kay Moon

Corporate and M&A

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow

Linklaters

Singapore

Melvin Lum

Dispute Resolution

Quahe Woo & Palmer

(Director)

WongPartnership

Singapore

Brenda Horrigan

International Arbitration

Independent Arbitrator

Herbert Smith Freehills, Sydney

Singapore

Timothy Cooke

International Arbitration

Reed Smith

Stephenson Harwood

Singapore

David Clinch

Energy

Shearman & Sterling

Herbert Smith Freehills

Singapore

Takahiro Nonaka

Litigation

Morrison & Foerster

DLA Piper

Tokyo

Donald Robertson

Competition and Regulation

Dentons

Herbert Smith Freehills

Sydney

Anthony Lloyd

Technology

DLA Piper

MinterEllison

Sydney

Stephanie Lambert

Real Estate

DLA Piper

HFW

Sydney

David Clee

Corporate

Clifford Chance

Gilbert + Tobin

Sydney

Elizabeth Hill

Corporate

Clifford Chance

Gilbert + Tobin

Sydney

George Haros

Employment

Gadens

DWF

Melbourne

Arthur Chong

Projects and Real Estate

Ashurst

DLA Piper

Melbourne

Patrick Sands

Intellectual Property

K&L Gates

Herbert Smith Freehills

Melbourne

Christopher Sweet

Medical Malpractice and Professional Indemnity Insurance

Finlaysons Lawyers

MinterEllison

Adelaide

Emily Harvey

Employment

Thynne + Macartney

Michael Fisher

Brisbane

William Oxby

Energy and Resources

Johnson Winter & Slattery

Oxby Legal

Brisbane

Jonathan Wyatt

Insurance

Kennedys

Clyde & Co

Perth

Donna Charlesworth

Construction

Squire Patton Boggs

Clayton Utz

Perth

Michael Lundberg

Disputes

Jones Day

Quinn Emanuel

Perth

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