Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary and Partner Moves - July 2015



(As excerpted from our monthly Associate Newsletter - Asia Pacific)

                China                 Hong Kong                 Singapore                 Australia                 London

CHINA

Some partners in China report experiencing a flurry of activity, which is welcome news, although clearly some firms are more active than others. There is a lot of lateral associate movement at the elite firms at the mid- to senior-level in all practice areas, which we believe is the result of mid- to senior-associates at these same firms leaving to go in-house or to join a domestic law firm.

Where we see particularly strong demand for associates right now is at the junior, mid-level and senior-level in Corporate, U.S. Capital Markets, Investigations, Banking & Finance and Anti-trust practices.

For associates considering a lateral move, we still strongly advise those associates to remain with their current firms for at least two to three years. When considering a jump to a new firm, think about where you want to be in the future — in one to three years' time and also five years from now. If you determine that you want to grow your career in private practice (versus going in-house), you need to consider whether your prospects for partnership will be improved if you make a lateral move. If, however, you believe a move in-house is in your future, a lateral move earlier in your career to a law firm that offers more general corporate, M&A and FDI work is probably the way to go in the current market, as specialization often will limit your opportunities to go in-house, certainly at most multinationals in China. For junior- to mid-level associates considering making a move, think about whether this lateral move will sharpen your technical skills or give you more room and autonomy in the near future to perform more business development (BD) and marketing activities or provide you with greater responsibility of leading deals.

We typically see mid-tier U.S. and British firms having more room at the senior level to give BD and marketing responsibility to senior associates. Magic Circle and Wall Street firms may have the top deals, but their structure tends to be more rigid than the mid-tier firms in the way of offering BD exposure.

In any case, it is critical to your future success as a lawyer to have a solid foundation in technical skills. So when you ask yourself what makes a partner successful, generally speaking, partners who are both strong technical lawyers and who excel in client development tend to define success.

The summer is a great time to identify the direction you want your career to move in before it's too late and your firm makes the decision for you — and before you have to make a rushed decision about what to do. You do not want to find yourself in a situation where you are reactive to the circumstances of your career. And, do not forget to align legal career goals with your personal and life goals.

For many of you reading this, this is a decisive time in your career. The China market is active and there are a lot of openings for the right candidate. Be selective and plan ahead!


HONG KONG

Strong recruitment activity continues in the Hong Kong market. Most active are the HK Corporate practices at the junior level, HK Litigation practices and Contentious Regulatory practices. As usual, Chinese language skills are essential for most roles. Additional activity is currently seen in niche practices such as non-contentious insolvency and IP.

U.S. Capital Markets practices in Hong Kong report steady deal flow and pipelines, which is creating opportunities for mid-level associates, especially those with DCM experience. Firms also report being open to relocating associates from the U.S.

The speed of hiring has reduced slightly, as it has in other APAC markets, which is attributed to the normal summer slowdown as decision-makers are traveling. Still, the overall market remains positive and hiring appetites remain healthy among most firms in Hong Kong.


SINGAPORE

Recruiting activity in Singapore is less active today than earlier in the year, which is likely attributable to the traditional summer recruiting lull at firms. Nevertheless, opportunities in the market do exist.

An interesting development in Singapore is that U.K. firms are hiring Singaporean nationals looking to repatriate from overseas, especially Australia. There also is high demand for foreign-qualified associates within the Singapore market.

Despite the appetite for foreign and foreign-qualified associates in the market, international law firms with deeper roots in the Singapore market remain interested in Singapore-qualified associates, so by no means are opportunities closed off to local candidates. Of some note, international law firms with openings for senior-level Singapore-qualified lawyers are experiencing some difficulty in their recruiting efforts as most Singapore-qualified lawyers at the senior level are typically better positioned and in higher demand for partnership opportunities at the domestic law firms.


AUSTRALIA

Deal flows remain steady, and market sentiment is confident at present. This is creating opportunities across the board, but particularly within Corporate and Banking & Financial Services departments.

Other transactional areas experiencing demand include IP and IT practice groups.

There is still significant demand for Australian- and New Zealand-qualified associates to look at opportunities in London, especially in the fields of Corporate, Banking & Finance, Intellectual Property and Litigation. These opportunities exist within Magic Circle, Silver Circle and U.S. firms. Of particular note, London firms are very happy to organize sponsorship and pay generous relocation allowances for strong associates.

For stellar candidates, there is a steady flow of Antipodean candidates seeking and finding opportunity in the U.S., particularly in New York.


LONDON

London is approaching summer, which means things traditionally go quiet. While interviews are taking a little longer to arrange here, we are still seeing a high number of roles in this buoyant market. Banking and Finance seem to be the most in-demand practice areas, and some firms are even open to retooling associates, so if you have thought about a change of practice area in the past, now is the time to go for it. Candidates from Australia and New Zealand are making excellent progress with firms in London, and we still have a number of opportunities in Corporate, Litigation and Real Estate.

* * * * * * *

RECENT PARTNER MOVES IN ASIA PACIFIC

Partners

Practice

To

From

Location

Carolyn Sng

Corporate

K&L Gates

Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson

Hong Kong

Joseph Lee

Capital Markets

Simmons & Simmons

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft

Hong Kong

Shuang Zhao

Capital Markets

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Shearman & Sterling

Hong Kong

Nils Eliasson

International Arbitration

Shearman & Sterling

Mannheimer Swartling

Hong Kong

Ning Zhang

Corporate

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

O’Melveny & Myers

Beijing

Charles Ching

Corporate

Weil, Gotshal & Manges

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hong Kong

Shanghai

Julia Zhu

Capital Markets

Zhong Lun

AllBright

Shanghai

Paul-Emmanuel Benachi

Corporate

Ince & Co

Gide Loyrette Nouel

Shanghai/Paris

Anthony Chey

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing

Tan Kok Quan Partnership

Singapore

Vernon Voon

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing

Tan Kok Quan Partnership

Singapore

Carol Anne Tan

Real Estate

Cavenagh Law

WongPartnership

Singapore

Paul Greening

Energy

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Vinson & Elkins

Singapore

Prashanth Venkatesh

Finance

Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow

Legacy Amarchand Mangaldas, Bengaluru

Singapore

Johneth Chongseo Park

Corporate

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

Seoul

Joel Greer

Disputes

Baker & McKenzie

White & Case

Tokyo

Damien Foulis

Property

HWL Ebsworth

Finlaysons

Adelaide

Rechelle Brost

Property and Construction

Mills Oakley

Norton Rose Fulbright

Brisbane

Luke Westmore

Property and Construction

Mills Oakley

Gilbert + Tobin

Melbourne

Jol Rogers

Corporate

Gadens

K&L Gates

Melbourne

Brihony Boan

Property

Gadens

K&L Gates

Melbourne

Peter Megens

Infrastructure Disputes Partner

Pinsent Masons

King & Spalding

Melbourne

Meredith Gibbs

Environment

HWL Ebsworth

Ashurst

Melbourne

Patrick Thuang

Property and Construction

Mills Oakley

Borrello Legal

Perth

Michael Bowen

Corporate

DLA Piper

Hardy Bowen

Perth

Scott Gibson

Corporate

DLA Piper

Hardy Bowen

Perth

Marc Wilshaw

Corporate

DLA Piper

Hardy Bowen

Perth

Jamie Palmer

Acquisitions

Allen & Overy

DibbsBarker

Sydney

Mark Crean

Corporate

Jones Day

Herbert Smith Freehills

Sydney

Richard Gordon

Project Finance

Clifford Chance

Allens

Sydney

These listed partner moves are obtained from both public sources and Major, Lindsey & Africa. This list is not intended to represent Major, Lindsey & Africa as the consultancy involved in the moves, although some moves may have been brokered by MLA.


* * * * * * *

Andrew NgAndrew Ng is a Consultant in the Private Practice Group of Allegis-BN, China affiliate of Major, Lindsey & Africa. He is based in Beijing. Andrew focuses on placing private practice lawyers whether based in greater China or overseas into international law firms operating in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

FIND A CONSULTANT

Connect with one of our experienced recruiters to explore new horizons.

GET STARTED

CONTACT US TODAY

Want to know more about how we can help address your legal talent needs or help you fulfill your career goals? Fill out the form below to get started.

If you need immediate assistance, please call 1.877.482.1010 to be connected to the Major, Lindsey & Africa location nearest you.