Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary and Partner Moves - April 2018

Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary(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        China        Singapore        South Korea        Australia       


Since the Easter break, we have seen a flurry of recruitment activity in the Hong Kong market. Corporate M&A is making a big comeback at the mid-senior level, and firms are prepared to pay well for associates with strong skill sets. There is also more commitment to offering a clear track to partnership at some of these practices. US capital markets and funds are other areas where we are seeing a lot of activity. The consistent theme throughout these practices though is experience—firms are largely looking for at least 2–3 years’ experience from associates before considering them for these practices, but at that level, there is then considerable flexibility to attract the top talent.



The China market remains steady. UK firms are actively recruiting. Most of the roles fall under corporate M&A and IPO sector. IP is also a hot area, which a few firms are recruiting for at the mid-level. A few US firms are recruiting on a replacement basis; they are looking at associates with 3–6 years of experience.



There have been some lateral partner movements in the Singapore market. However, that has not translated to more associate hiring yet. Most of the positions available are replacement positions, covering the energy, corporate M&A, banking and finance, and dispute resolution sectors. We foresee the recruitment market to remain slow for the next couple of months.



Seoul has seen some lateral movement recently at the senior level with lawyers moving either in-house or to Korean firms. There is still a heavy focus on corporate work, although we have seen a small flicker of interest in disputes lawyers with a couple of law firms hiring at the junior-mid–level. Overall, the deal-flow in Seoul still remains strong with the key players still dominating the market.



The Sydney private practice legal market is extremely active. The Royal Banking Commission has created a very strong demand for litigators across several of the top-tier firms that are representing the different banks involved in the commission. There has also been a significant uptick in demand for real estate lawyer across all levels with demand for banking and finance and corporate (M&A and ECM) lawyers remaining high as well across top-tier and mid-tier firms.

The Melbourne private practice legal market continues to mirror Sydney, however, on a slightly smaller scale. Demand for real estate lawyers in Melbourne remains strong, and demand for corporate and finance lawyers has been steady since mid-2017. Firms seeking litigation lawyers with 3 years PQE+ has risen sharply.

In the Perth legal market, we are seeing stronger demand for energy and resource and corporate/M&A lawyers. We have seen an uptick in demand for project finance as well as energy sector-focused litigation.


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Recent Partner Moves in Asia Pacific






Charlie Liu

IP, Trademark

AWA Asia

Wilkinson & Grist (Senior Associate)

Hong Kong

John Fadely

Investment Funds

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Weil, Gotshal & Manges

Hong Kong

Albert Cho

Investment Funds

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Weil, Gotshal & Manges

Hong Kong

Henry Cheng


DLA Piper

Kirkland & Ellis

Hong Kong

Bob Charlton


Addleshaw Goddard

Berwin Leighton Paisner (Region Head)

Hong Kong

Hallam Chow

Project Finance

Mayer Brown JSM

White & Case


Allen Shyu

Capital Markets

Stephenson Harwood

Troutman Sanders


Adrian Tan


TSMP Law Corporation

Morgan Lewis Stamford (Director)


Daniel Perera


Reed Smith

Norton Rose Fulbright (Counsel)


Luo Ling Ling

Dispute Resolution

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing

Aequitas Law


Danna Er

Construction Disputes

Eldan Law

Clyde & Co


Lars Markert


Nishimura & Asahi (Foreign law counsel)

Gleiss Lutz, Stuttgart (Associate Partner)


Dooyong Kang


K&L Gates

Jones Day


Shri Maski


Mayer Brown



Gordon Palmquist


Mayer Brown

Shearman & Sterling


Peter Coney

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Clifford Chance

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu


Bharat Vasani


Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

Tata Group (Legal Advisor)


Rajdeep Choudhury

Projects and Disputes

HSA Advocates

Link Legal India Law Services

New Delhi

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 Major, Lindsey & Africa.

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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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