Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary and Partner Moves - June 2015



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

                China                 Hong Kong                 Singapore                 Seoul                 London                 Jakarta

CHINA

The big news in the China market is the Shanghai office opening announcement by Quinn Emanuel with the hiring of Sam Williamson, the former head of Kirkland & Ellis' FCPA investigation practice in China. The FCPA practice remains white hot with intense demand for bilingual Mandarin- and English-speaking, U.S.-qualified lawyers. Most firms will retool associates from other practice areas to satisfy their appetite to build out their white collar practices.

In broader legal market news, two international law firms will be opening offices in Beijing in the coming months to focus on outbound M&A. Beijing is expected to be a more promising outbound market in the short to medium term for firms that represent SOEs. But most firms, particularly in Shanghai, see better long-term prospects in representing privately held Chinese companies (e.g., Alibaba, Fosun and Wanda) in their outbound investments efforts.

Relatively newer U.S. firms that we see as being successful in China usually have a unique selling point, such as FCPA investigations, regulatory work or anti-trust practices.

Finally, we continue to see a lot of movement in China of mid- to senior-level associates at foreign firms moving into in-house counsel roles. This could be a signal of the changing market and structure of corporate legal departments in China, which are increasingly hiring more sophisticated legal talent. This dynamic, in turn, has created numerous opportunities for other mid- to senior-level associates in the market who are looking to "upgrade" to a more prestigious firm or a firm with better long-term career prospects. In terms of other opportunities in China, the market is hot right now for mid- to senior-level corporate associates.


HONG KONG

In Hong Kong, the market remains active and recruitment activity remains high. A number of international law firms see a strong forecast for the balance 2015 and, in turn, are expanding their teams, given current pipelines.

We are seeing growth in the Corporate, Projects and Litigation practices. More telling of the robust nature of the market is that more firms presently have openings for roles that do not require Chinese language skills. While the China market is still very important, firms are increasingly diversifying their market focus.


SINGAPORE

There seems to be a gap in Singapore with needs for mid- to senior-level associates who have at least two years of experience. Firms continue to hire Singaporean/Asian returnees from overseas, and the Projects area has been active, especially for associates with Indonesian language skills.


SEOUL

Associate hiring for the "Korea Practice" is active with opportunities in Corporate and Project Finance in Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Clients also are calling for litigation associates.


LONDON

We continue to see a lot of overseas associates arriving in London, particularly from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, although Hong Kong-qualified lawyers are making good traction here, too. The main practice areas being recruited into are Banking/Finance and Corporate, although areas such as Tax and Competition are also buoyant. There is a breadth of opportunity for international associates, including roles at Magic Circle and U.S. firms, particularly at the 2–5 PQE level.

The local London market continues to be remarkably busy, particularly with U.S. firms hiring and expanding their teams. We continue to see a number of U.S. firms growing in London and taking on both partner and associate lateral hires.


JAKARTA

With the extension of business from Singapore, a few international law firms are growing their offices in Jakarta across a number of practices, particularly those possessing Indonesian language skills in order to support their clients’ needs. 

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RECENT PARTNER MOVES IN ASIA PACIFIC

Partners

Practice

To

From

Location

Joe Sevack

Corporate

Dorsey & Whitney

Troutman Sanders

Hong Kong

Gary Lock

Corporate and Securities

King & Wood Mallesons

Herbert Smith Freehills

Hong Kong

Pradyumna Mysoor

Global M&A and India

White & Case

Linklaters (Managing Associate)

Hong Kong

David Neuville

Capital Markets

Simmons & Simmons

Cadwalader

Hong Kong

Dan Ouyang

Corporate

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Paul Hastings

Beijing/Hong Kong

Zhang Libin

Corporate

Broad & Bright

Siemens

Beijing

Arthur Ma

Dispute Resolution

DaHui Lawyers

Herbert Smith Freehills

Beijing

Samuel Williamson

Government Enforcement and Investigations

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

Kirkland & Ellis

Shanghai

June Yeum

International Arbitration

Clyde & Co

Lee & Ko

Singapore/ New York

Ouyang Dan

Capital Markets

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Paul Hastings

Beijing and Hong Kong

David Bateson

Arbitration

39 Essex Chambers

King & Wood Mallesons

Singapore

Charlie Wilson

Indonesia

Sidley Austin

White & Case

Singapore

Justin Tan

Corporate

Clyde & Co

Rodyk & Davidson

Singapore

June Yeum

International Arbitration

Clyde & Co

Lee & Ko, Seoul

Singapore and New York

Kon Nakousis

Construction

Clyde & Co

Minter Ellison (Senior Associate)

Sydney

David Cowling

Restructuring

King & Wood Mallesons

Clayton Utz

Sydney

Hon.Andrew Thomson

Transactional Support / Commercial Law

Lander & Rogers

Federal Government Minister

Tokyo

Jon Gray

Capital markets

Davis Polk & Wardwell, Tokyo

Linklaters, Hong Kong

Tokyo

Eric Roose 

Tax

Withers

Morrison & Foerster

Tokyo

Chizuko Tomita

Tax

Withers

Morrison & Foerster

Tokyo

Takeo Mizutani

Tax

Withers

Morrison & Foerster

Tokyo


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.


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Maggie KwokMaggie Kwok is a Consultant in the Hong Kong office of Major, Lindsey & Africa. As a member of the Associate Practice Group, Maggie specializes in placing mid to senior level lawyers across Hong Kong and Greater China.

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