Asia Pacific Legal Market Summary and Partner Moves - October 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        Japan        Australia       

HONG KONG

Firms are taking a more cautious approach to upscaling their teams too quickly and finding alternative ways to service high-volume deals. We have seen the Hong Kong market shift toward focusing on M&A hiring after a spike earlier in the year around IPO work. There has also been a small increase of disputes opportunities in the market, mostly at the international firms who have a strong pipeline of work. Likewise, finance remains a busy area generally, with some flexibility on language skills.

 

CHINA

Beijing and Shanghai remain to be active. Most of the firms are recruiting for M&A lawyers. Lawyers with commonwealth background are in demand, and firms are open to relocating candidates.

The joint venture between international law firms and PRC law firms is an interesting space. A lot of international law firms are looking for positive examples from the tie up. The joint venture has created a stronger platform for some firms and allows them to offer all-rounded services to clients. Watch out for this space!

 

SINGAPORE

The Singapore market remains steady. Hiring needs are mostly in finance, corporate M&A and dispute resolution sectors. A few movements are happening at the senior level, which we believe will increase the hiring on the associate level.

 

SOUTH KOREA

Seoul still remains a quiet a market at present, with peaks and troughs of deals coming through for firms. We expect hiring to pick up midway through next year at the international firms once recently hired associates have had the opportunity to progress further, creating need for more junior-level lawyers.

 

JAPAN

The Tokyo legal market is currently extremely active. The record breaking volume of Japan-led M&A transactions in 2018 has created a strong demand for M&A transactional lawyers across top-tier firms that are representing the Japanese companies involved in the transactions. In addition, Japanese-qualified lawyers with 3 years’ PQE+ are particularly sought after across firms and practice areas. There has also been a significant rise in demand for Japanese-qualified lawyers with real estate experience, while demand for UK, AU, NZ or NY-qualified project finance lawyers at all levels remains high as well.

 

AUSTRALIA

The Australian legal market will end the 2018 calendar year with the closing of several high profile M&A deals, capping off the best M&A year (by deal value) in Australia since 2011. Along with a healthy M&A market, law firms continue to experience a surge in activity spurred on from the banking royal commission that has given way to a rise in class action defense cases, corporate divestitures and major regulatory change across the financial services sector. With an overall healthy Australian economy and major infrastructure spending seeing no end in sight, the demand from major law firms for transactional, disputes and regulatory lawyers has never been so competitive.

International and national law firms in Sydney have continued to show interest in lawyers of all levels (from 2–8 PQE) with excellent training and credentials across litigation, corporate/M&A (including private equity and capital markets) and banking & finance practices. Demand for real estate and construction lawyers also remains steady with most large firms having interest in lawyers with minimum 2–3 years’ PQE. In the last couple of months, we have seen a rise in demand for employment lawyers as well as lawyers with fund establishment and management experience.

The Melbourne private practice legal market remains very active with international and national law firms maintaining their demand for top talent across banking & finance, corporate/ M&A and regulatory lawyers as well as mid-level real estate lawyers.

The Perth legal market seems to be making a little bit of a comeback with firms recently wanting to add additional headcount to their corporate, energy and finance practice groups.

 

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Recent Partner Moves in Asia Pacific

Partners

Practice

To

From

Location

Junko Pitt

Investment Funds

Withers

Harneys

Hong Kong

John Siu

Financial Services Disputes and Investigations

Eversheds

Securities and Futures Commission (Counsel)

Hong Kong

Adam Hugill

Corporate and Commercial

Hugill & Ip

Oldham, Li & Nie

Hong Kong

Alfred Ip

Trust

Hugill & Ip

Oldham, Li & Nie

Hong Kong

Daniel Lindsey

Debt Finance

Goodwin Procter

Kirkland & Ellis

Hong Kong

Andrew Johnstone

Dispute Resolution

Harneys

Herbert Smith Freehills

Hong Kong

David Cameron

Capital Markets

Dorsey & Whitney

Allen & Overy (Counsel)

Hong Kong

Peter Coles

Aerospace and Insurance

Clyde & Co

Holman Fenwick Willan

Hong Kong

Soo Khim Keoy

Litigation 

Withers

Baker McKenzie

Hong Kong

Gareth Hughes

Dispute Resolution

Debevoise & Plimpton

Ashurst

Hong Kong

Hao Su

Corporate

Morgan Lewis

Clifford Chance

Beijing

Jieni Gu

M&A

Haiwen & Partners

Ropes & Gray

Shanghai

Paula Liu

M&A

Han Kun Law Offices

Kirkland & Ellis

Shanghai

Kenneth Lebrun

M&A

Davis Polk & Wardwell

Shearman & Sterling

Tokyo

Motonori Araki

M&A

Morgan Lewis & Bockius (Managing Partner)

Morrison & Foerster

Tokyo

Mitsuyoshi Saito

Corporate

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

Morrison & Foerster

Tokyo

Koji Yamamoto

Investment Funds

Withers

Deloitte

Tokyo

Yoshiyuki Omori

Investment Funds

Withers

Deloitte

Tokyo

Gerald Fujii

Real Estate

Withers

White & Case

Tokyo

Naoki Ueyama

Real Estate

Withers

Naoki Ueyama

Tokyo

Steven Wheeler

Real Estate

Withers

Kaynex

Tokyo

Tsuyoshi Ikeda

Antitrust

Ikeda & Someya

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Tokyo

Tsugihito Omagari

Aircraft Finance and Securities

Sonderhoff & Einsel

K&L Gates

Tokyo

Yang Eu

Capital Markets

Singapore's RHTLaw Taylor Wessing

Overseas Education Ltd.

Singapore

Brian Scott

Corporate

Pinsent Masons

Herbert Smith Freehills

Singapore

Eunice Yao

Corporate

Dentons Rodyk Rebuilds

Fortis Law Corp.

Singapore

Farhana Sharmeen

Corporate

Latham & Watkins

Withers KhattarWong

Singapore

Amarjit Kaur

Litigation and International Arbitration

Withers KhattarWong

Morgan Lewis Stamford (Associate)

Singapore

James Beckley

Corporate

Gadens

Ernst & Young

Sydney

Chinmay Mirji

Litigation

HSA Advocates

Atman Law Partners

Bengaluru

Omar Ahmad

Dispute Resolution

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (Principal Associate)

New Delhi

Anuj Trivedi

Corporate

Link Legal

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (Principal Associate)

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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