Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary and Partner Moves - May 2016



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

Hong Kong                 China                 Singapore                 Sydney                 Korea                 London

HONG KONG

Legal recruitment has remained steady this month. There are a few IPO positions available for mid-level lawyers, however, most of the vacancies are replacement positions. Aviation finance and general banking are active areas. A few firms are keen to speak with junior to mid-level lawyers; however, there are not many lawyers available in these sectors and partners are open to consider lawyers without Mandarin language skills given the challenges they are facing.


CHINA

Currently, international law firms are acting cautiously in terms of hiring due to the current economic environment in China. We see opportunities in the market that have been ongoing for a while, especially at the senior end. M&A and PE/VC experience from tier 1 domestic law firms is in demand, so candidates with this skill set are the most likely to find opportunities.


SINGAPORE

Busy areas include arbitration, funds and corporate. Most of the arbitration teams are very busy in Singapore and keen to expand their teams based on their project needs.


SYDNEY

The legal market in Sydney is relatively steady across the board, however, candidates with a corporate, banking & finance or a construction/property background will be most likely at the moment to make traction with the top firms within the market. With review season and the end of financial year rapidly approaching, firms are taking a cautious approach to speculative candidates – only looking at those candidates from well-regarded firms with top-quality experience and strong academics. Now, however, is a great time to start watching the market if you are looking to make a lateral move in the coming months.


KOREA

Having recently visited Seoul, we are seeing an optimistic view of the market in Korea. Growth is steady, although there are still a number of questions surrounding the liberalisation of the legal market and whether international firms will be able to add local Korean practices to their offices. However, a number of clients are busy in the corporate and disputes space, and associates with Korean language skills are in demand. There is excellent opportunity in Seoul to develop a Korean practice with market-leading partners and receive high-quality work and exposure to global clients that have a strong Korean interest.


LONDON

Brexit continues to cast a shadow of uncertainty over the London market, legal included. Nevertheless, particular areas are still active. The top firms in dispute resolution, corporate, financial regulation and private equity are continually searching for strong associates. They must have excellent academics, strong training and experience, and a willingness to act for the big-ticket clients. In return, associates can expect high-quality work, responsibility and top of the market compensation packages. These firms continue to look at foreign-qualified associates and often offer sponsorship for visas. In particular, restructuring and funds practices searching for associates are looking abroad to hire because the pool of candidates in London is small.


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RECENT PARTNER MOVES IN ASIA PACIFIC

Partners

Practice

To

From

Location

Dominic Wai

Litigation

ONC Lawyers

Baker & McKenzie

Hong Kong

Jay Chiu

Litigation

K&L Gates

Goodwin Procter

Hong Kong

Jonathan Lee

Corporate

Nixon Peabody CWL

King & Wood Mallesons

Hong Kong

Marcus Dearle

Private wealth

Berwin Leighton Paisner

Withers

Hong Kong

Rachael Shek

Disputes

Eversheds

Herbert Smith Freehills

Hong Kong

Lucy Lu

Corporate

Dechert

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Beijing

Paul Wee Ei Don

Finance

Norton Rose Fulbright

Clifford Chance

Beijing

Paul Wee

Project finance

Norton Rose Fulbright

Clifford Chance

Beijing

Henry Wang

Corporate

K&L Gates

Mayer Brown JSM

Beijing 

Chunquan Liu

IP

Duan & Duan 

Polaw & Shanghai Co

Shanghai 

Alexander Shepherd

TMT

Bird & Bird

Simmons & Simmons

Singapore

Kent Phillips

Litigation

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee

Berwin Leighton Paisner

Singapore

Manoj Bhargava

Capital markets

Sidley Austin

Jones Day

Singapore

David Gartside

Project Finance

Sidley Austin

White & Case

Singapore

Roderick Martin

Dispute Resolution

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing

Martin & Partners

Singapore

David Albagli

IP

White & Case

Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner

Tokyo

David Stammers

Private Equity

Clayton Utz

Ashurst

Sydney

Mark Leemen

Securities

Allen & Overy

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Sydney

Samantha Kelly

Insurance

Norton Rose Fulbright

DLA Piper

Sydney

Nicholas Turner

Employment

DLA Piper, Sydney

Sidley Austin, London

Sydney & London

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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Nathan PeartNathan Peart is a Consultant in the Associate Practice Group in the Hong Kong office of Major, Lindsey & Africa. He works closely with associates to help them make a lateral move into law firms in the APAC region as well as internationally.

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