Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary and Partner Moves - May 2018

APAC 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       

HONG KONG

Hong Kong remains a busy lateral market for associates looking to change platforms. Most of the activity we are seeing is at the 2–6 PQE level, although there are some opportunities for less experienced or more senior associates, too.

Capital markets is an area where we have seen significant activity and expect to boom this year. The change in the Hong Kong listing is having the biggest impact on biotech companies. Partners are already telling us about the increase of capital markets work they are seeing. Corporate remains busy, even on the M&A/mixed practice side, and a few firms have expressed interest for strong senior associate talent who might want a stronger platform and growth potential. Finance, as ever, remains an interest area for firms.

 

CHINA

Law firms’ Beijing and Shanghai offices are generally busy and have strong pipelines. With the uptick on IPO transactions, most of the corporate practices are hiring for lawyers. They are keen on Mandarin-speaking lawyers with previous IPO experience. Private equity is another area where most of the firms are recruiting. Law firms are interested in lawyers who have gained overseas experience in more complex deals and are open to join their China offices. IP litigation and finance are areas where firms struggle to hire from the market. Law firms are willing to offer a more competitive salary to attract talent to join them.

 

SINGAPORE

The Singapore market remains steady. Hiring needs mostly arise in finance, capital markets and dispute resolution sectors. The opportunities are mainly replacement roles. A few movements have risen at the senior level, which we foresee will increase hiring on the associate level.

 

SOUTH KOREA

The Seoul market had a strong start to 2018 with M&A and project finance work contributing to a substantial pipeline of work for the international firms. Feedback from the market also nodded that the talks between the North and South could provide potential projects work in the long term. In terms of lateral movement, we have seen mostly inbound hires relocating from the US rather than between firms on the ground. There has been a focus on hiring for corporate practices particularly. For the remainder of the year, we expect to see steady but slow growth in terms of recruitment opportunities, although a number of firms are still open to hiring on an opportunistic basis. Take a look at our latest video update on the Seoul market: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6399610896720625664

 

AUSTRALIA

The Sydney private practice legal market remains very active with continued strong demand for litigators across several of the top-tier firms that are representing the different banks involved in the royal bank 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

Partners

Practice

To

From

Location

Ronald Sum

Litigation and Arbitration

Locke Lord

Troutman Sanders

Hong Kong

Nigel Stamp

TMT

K&L Gates

Eversheds Sutherland

Hong Kong

Andrew Chung

Disputes

Linklaters

Goldman Sachs (Managing Director)

Hong Kong

Wynne Mok

Investigations and Litigation

Slaughter and May

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (Director of Enforcement)

Hong Kong

Pádraig Walsh

Corporate

Tanner De Witt

Bird & Bird

Hong Kong

Dickson Ng

Corporate

Eversheds Sutherland

Taylor Wessing

Hong Kong

Bosco Yiu

Private Equity

Goodwin Procter

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Associate)

Hong Kong

Ram Narayan

Corporate

Kirkland & Ellis

Sullivan & Cromwell (Associate)

Hong Kong

Patrick Zheng

Dispute Resolution

Llinks Law Offices

Clyde & Co (Managing Partner)

Beijing

Louis Meng

Corporate

Blank Rome

Haynes and Boone

Shanghai

Alfred Ng

Project Finance

Ashurst

Shearman & Sterling (Counsel)

Singapore

Justin Yip

Dispute Resolution

Withers KhattarWong

Morgan Lewis Stamford

Singapore

Samuel Kolehmainen

Asset Finance

Herbert Smith Freehills

Watson Farley & Williams

Singapore

Siva Subramaniam

Asset Finance

Herbert Smith Freehills

Watson Farley & Williams

Singapore

Parikhit Sarma

Corporate

Virtus Law (Stephenson Harwood's alliance firm)

Morgan Lewis Stamford

Singapore

James Atkin

Energy

Orrick

Vinson & Elkins (Managing Partner)

Tokyo

Shri Maski

Banking and Finance

Mayer Brown

Ashurst

Tokyo

Gordon Palmquist

Corporate

Mayer Brown

Shearman & Sterling

Tokyo

Hamish Macpherson

Commercial Litigation

White & Case

Herbert Smith Freehills

Sydney

Vi-Ky Lam

Corporate

DWF

Sparke Helmore

Sydney

Adam Fuller

Banking and Finance

DWF

Sparke Helmore

Sydney

Ben Burney

Banking and Finance

DWF

Sparke Helmore

Sydney

Kirsten Farmer

Restructuring and Insolvency

DWF

HWL Ebsworth

Sydney

Mark Hickey

Corporate

DWF

Sparke Helmore (Chairman)

Newcastle

David Reid

Corporate

DWF

Sparke Helmore

Newcastle

Jivesh Chandrayan

Corporate

HSA Advocates

Kochhar & Co

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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Nathan PeartNathan Peart is a Consultant in our Associate Practice Group based in Hong Kong. He works closely with associates to help them make a lateral move into law firms in the Asia-Pacific region as well as internationally.

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