Featured

In Memoriam

Katherine Fan 1985 – 2022

Hughes-Castell is deeply saddened by the passing of our wonderful Managing Director Katherine Fan, who died peacefully in her hometown of Sydney on May 30, 2022, surrounded by her loving family. Katherine was very loved and respected both within our company and the broader legal and law firm community. Everyone who knew Katherine experienced what a beautiful and vibrant person she was, always smiling, full of charm and sparkling energy.

Katherine first joined Hughes-Castell in 2010 and after moving to work at Morrison Foerster and Baker McKenzie, Katherine came ‘home’ in 2019 because Hughes-Castell has always been a family for our people. Katherine leaves behind an indelible mark in all our hearts. At every level of engagement, she was a force of nature. With clients and candidates, her charm, her professionalism, and her dedication made her a trusted adviser. With colleagues, she was a role model and a source of guidance and encouragement.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to Katherine’s family and close friends.  Everyone in Hughes-Castell has been shaken by the loss of our dear Kat and she will be deeply missed by all. May her memory be a blessing and an inspiration for all of us.

Rest in Peace Katherine Fan, 1985 – 2022kat-b&w

Featured

Time to move in-house?

Moving in-house from a senior private practice position is a huge decision. However, in 2022, we have already seen three significant hires made in Asia’s technology or fintech industry, Joshua Chu going to Coinllectibles, Julie Gao to ByteDance, and Charlton Tse to Tencent. So, is this a prescient time to take a General Counsel/Chief Legal Officer at a tech/fintech company?

In the past, law firms’ partners have been reluctant to move in-house. Most senior lawyers thought they would enjoy less prestige, admittedly for a work-life balance trade-off. The pandemic has posed challenges for various industries, including the legal sector, but tech and fintech companies seem to have successfully overcome these challenges across Asia. While many people were locked down and worked from home, demanding online/networking solutions and fintech services, there was an explosion of digital/online networking products and fintech services. As a result, these companies continue to expand on headcount and revenue that lure top-tier lawyers to address market changes in a way that navigates the complex and rapidly changing legal environment.

Companies may have traditionally viewed security, compliance, and legal as costs and obstacles that slow down their businesses. However, in fast-growing, heavily regulated tech and financial industries, data protection, cyber-crime, and the myriad regulations covering money movement have become more challenging so addressing these issues effectively is core to product and business viability in the long term. Also, multinational tech or fintech companies have grappled with numerous regulatory disputes worldwide on topics such as operating licenses, employees’ rights, and controversies over their strategic business directions. Thus, more startup, tech, and fintech companies started hiring top-tier lawyers to take General Counsel and C-suite roles to ensure that companies can cope with requirements and restrictions set out by regulators.

More and more tech and fintech companies are operating globally. Global operations need legal departments in each of the countries where they are conducting business. Their general counsels and chief legal officers need to oversee or work in conjunction with their foreign counterparts. Instead of working in a single jurisdiction, this is a very appealing opportunity for some senior lawyers with multinational qualifications and experience looking for international exposure.

So now seems an opportune time to move in-house. We expect to see more top-tier law firms’ partners and senior associates moving in-house to tech or fintech companies, but let us be clear that it is not for every partner: experience, attitude, and personality matter. Experience-wise, you must have excellent judgment, maturity, and a commercial mindset to develop strong relationships with businesspeople and gain their trust by not falling into the trap of being the “no” person. Rather you must be the pragmatic person who balances risks with business demands and tries to find a way to get the deal done. In achieving this, the knowledge of how the business works and industry-relevant subject matter experience are required, which is why lawyers often join existing clients. They will also be shifting from revenue generators to corporate monitors. Finally, a good team player will be best suited to working in-house as they can build relationships in-house and gain a reputation for being resourceful.

Featured

Legal Move Updates (Apr – Jun 2022)

Editor’s note: This is an ongoing list.

June

27 June – Jingtian & Gongcheng (Hong Kong, China)

PRC firm Jingtian & Gongcheng has hired corporate finance lawyer Kelvan Cheung as a partner in its Hong Kong office from Deacons, the SAR’s largest local firm.

Cheung has more than 15 years of experience in the area of corporate finance. He advises on IPOs, M&As, private equity transactions, and regulatory compliance matters. Cheung joined Deacons more than 12 years ago, and was appointed as a partner in 2015. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

22 June – DLA Piper (Melbourne, Australia)

DLA Piper has added a tax partner from Norton Rose Fulbright in Melbourne.

Adam Smith has a broad practice across all areas of taxation including on cross border M&A transactions, corporate restructuring, property transactions, stamp duty and GST, DLA said. (from http://www.law.com)

22 June – Goodwin Procter (Hong Kong, China)

As a part of its regional enlargement, Goodwin has individually employed Kirkland & Ellis associate Daniel Dusek for its Hong Kong workplace, two individuals on the agency added.

Dusek had been a associate at Kirkland since 2017, performing on a number of main offers throughout his time there, together with advising on the take-private deal of China’s largest on-line classifieds market, 58.com Inc., valued at $8.7 billion, and on the $2.6 billion take-private of Sina Corp., which owns one in all China’s largest social media platforms—Weibo. Last yr, Dusek suggested a consortium on the $5.7 billion personal fairness buyout of Chinese recruiting firm 51job Inc.

Prior to becoming a member of Kirkland, he was a associate at fellow U.S. led agency Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. He spent over 16 years at Skadden and had been based mostly in the agency’s Beijing, Hong Kong and New York places of work throughout his time there. (from http://www.law.com)

22 June – Atsumi & Sakai (Tokyo, Japan)

Japanese law firm Atsumi & Sakai has hired Harukuni Ito (L), Mitsuru Misawa and Kazuki Ishihara as partners in its Tokyo office. The new partners span emerging practice areas such as data protection, risk advisory, and environmental, social and governance (ESG).

Ito, who joins from U.S. law firm Jones Day, is an IP practitioner with a focus on the pharmaceutical and medical industries. He is also experienced in commercial disputes and data security.

Misawa was most recently in an in-house role at green energy supplier Enfinity Global. Having started his career at Nishimura & Asahi in 2005, Misawa worked at TMI Associates between 2013 and 2019, mainly in the firm’s Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore offices. He is a corporate lawyer with experience in project finance, cross-border M&A and commercial disputes, among other things.

Ishihara is an IT and startup practitioner, experienced mainly in fintech, startup support and data security, covering not only Japan but also mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. He worked for Yahoo! Japan as an in-house counsel between 2013 and 2015. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

22 June – Hill Dickinson (Singapore, Singapore)

UK-headquartered law firm Hill Dickinson has expanded its Singapore office with the hires of Matthew Dow as a partner and Binoy Dubey as counsel and master mariner. They join from Norwegian firm Wikborg Rein and Incisive Law, respectively.

Specialising in international commercial dispute resolution with a focus on shipping and offshore disputes, Dow advises on shipping casualties, underwater cable disputes, offshore casualties involving jackups, and charterparty and bill of lading disputes.

Dow, who started his career at Holman Fenwick Willan in London, joined Wikborg in 2019. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

22 June – Ince  (Hong Kong, China)

Ince has hired dispute resolution veteran Stephen Chan as a partner in its Hong Kong office from Reed Smith, where he was also a partner.

Chan’s hire comes a few weeks after Ince’s Hong Kong office lost litigation partner Bonita Chan to Anthony Siu & Co, PRC firm Jia Yuan Law Offices’ association firm in the city.

Stephen Chan’s practice includes multi-jurisdictional fraud and asset tracing involving freezing, gagging and other urgent interim injunctive measures, technology-related disputes, shareholder and company disputes, and contentious employment matters. Chan is also experienced in arbitration under HKIAC, SIAC, ICC, UNCITRAL and other institutional arbitral rules. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

21 June – Herbert Smith Freehills (Melbourne & Perth, Australia)

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has hired a trio of tax partners in Australia from former local tax advisory associate firm Greenwoods, which was acquired earlier this year by PwC.

Toby Eggleston and Ryan Leslie have joined HSF in Melbourne while Nick Heggart has moved across in Perth, shortly after around 65 employees from Greenwoods, including 15 partners, made the move to PwC earlier this month. (from http://www.globallegalpost.com)

16 June – Nishimura & Asahi (Tokyo, Japan)

Nishimura & Asahi, Japan’s largest law firm, has hired energy and natural resources specialist Alexander Woody as a partner in Tokyo from White & Case, where he spent 22 years.

Woody, who advises clients on project investments, development and financing in the energy and natural resources space, has more than 20 years of experience in Japan, with a focus on cross-border LNG investments, tolling and purchase agreements and transportation arrangements. He also advises clients on solar, battery and wind power investments, as well as early-stage hydrogen projects. ( from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

14 June – Johnson Winter & Slattery (Sydney, Australia)

Australian law firm Johnson Winter & Slattery has poached a project finance and banking partner from Ashurst, as the firm aims to win more project work.

Simon Irvine, who joins JSW’s Sydney office this week, has more than 25 years’ experience advising on the funding and development of major projects in Australia and internationally. (from http://www.law.com)

10 June – Clifford Chance (Hong Kong, China)

Clifford Chance has hired Kirkland & Ellis’ Hong Kong funds partner Liyong Xing, marking the third partner to leave Kirkland Hong Kong this year.

Xing advises global and Asian fund sponsors on the structuring, formation and governance of private investment funds across a variety of strategies, including venture capital, growth capital, buyout, real estate, infrastructure, secondaries and co-investment. (from  http://www.law.com)

9 June – Amber Group (Singapore, Singapore)

Benjamin Bai, former vice president and chief intellectual property and international litigation counsel at Ant Group, recently moved on to digital asset trading company Amber Group as chief legal counsel.

Bai, who will soon be relocating to Singapore from Shanghai, was previously a partner and head of the regional IP practices at Allen & Overy and Jones Day. (from http://www.law.com)

9 June – Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (Bengaluru, India)

Kiran Nidumuri as the head of its disputes practice in South India from IndusLaw. He will be based in Bengaluru.

Nidumuri, who spent seven years at IndusLaw, was named as one of ALB Asia’s Top 15 Litigators for 2022; he was earlier one of ALB’s Asia 40 Under 40 in 2017. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

9 June – Ashurst (Shanghai, China)

UK firm Ashurst has hired Yuan Yan, an expert in corporate transactions, as a partner in its Shanghai office from Clifford Chance, where he was a counsel.

Yuan advises private equity and corporate clients on cross-border M&A transactions, including minority/growth capital investments, joint ventures and control acquisitions in countries and regions including China, Southeast Asia, Europe, and North and South America. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

9 June – TOKO (Hong Kong, China)

The head of DLA Piper’s global technology and fintech sector initiative, Scott Thiel, has left the partnership to lead the firm’s affiliate business in digital assets.

Hong Kong-based Thiel has become the chief executive officer at TOKO, the firm’s affiliated digital asset business consultancy. (from http://www.law.com)

7 June – Allens (Brisbane, Australia)

Australian corporate law firm Allens has hired an employment and safety partner from MinterEllison, as more focus is being placed on effective management of risks associated with sexual harassment and workplace bullying.

Samantha Betzien, who joins Allens’ Brisbane office, has more than 20 years of experience advising on strategic and complex safety, employment and industrial relations matters, Allens said. (from http://www.law.com)

6 June – Argus Partners (Bengaluru, India)

Indian law firm Argus Partners has hired commercial dispute resolution expert Bhavya Mohan as a partner in Bengaluru from Arista Chambers.

Mohan has more than 10 years experience in commercial dispute resolution including international arbitration, and advises private clients, public sector enterprises and multinational corporations in a range of sectors such as manufacturing, retail, infrastructure, banking, technology, real estate, and private equity. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

2 June – Gilbert + Tobin (Perth, Australia)

Australian law firm Gilbert+Tobin has poached a corporate advisory partner from global firm Squire Patton Boggs to join its corporate advisory team in Perth.

Simon Rear is the latest partner hire in the Western Australia capital, where energy and resources lawyers are in strong demand, thanks to the booming mining sector. (from http://www.law.com)

2 June – Australian Institute of Company Directors (Sydney, Australia)

The former global chief executive officer of Herbert Smith Freehills, Mark Rigotti, is leaving the firm after 26 years to lead an Australian business group.

Rigotti, who most recently was senior adviser to the firm, will join the Australian Institute of Company Directors as chief executive designate at the end of July before taking over as CEO in September. (from http://www.law.com)

1 June – Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi, India)

Law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. (SAM) has appointed Shally Bhasin as an equity partner for litigation for its New Delhi hub.

Bhasin has over 26 years of experience and has done matters relating to financial services, bankruptcy, infrastructure litigation, environment litigation, white collar crime, telecom and tender related litigation, among others, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas said in a statement. (from http://www.vccircle.com)

1 June – King & Wood Mallesons (Sydney, Australia)

Global law firm King & Wood Mallesons has hired competition and regulatory partner and former regulator Luke Woodward from Australian corporate firm Gilbert + Tobin.

In 20 years at Gilbert + Tobin, Woodward worked across a mix of transactional, contentious and regulatory legal matters. Prior to joining Gilbert + Tobin, he held various positions at the country’s competition regulator, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission, including lead prosecution lawyer, executive general manager of the compliance division (responsible for enforcement) and senior assistance commissioner, where he was responsible for mergers and acquisitions, and general counsel. (from http://www.law.com)

1 June – Eric Chow & Co (Hong Kong, China)

Commerce & Finance Law Offices’ Hong Kong association firm Eric Chow & Co has hired litigator Christy Leung as a partner from Winston & Strawn.

Leung joined Winston in July 2019, and was named as a partner in 2021. She earlier worked at Debevoise & Plimpton, Herbert Smith Freehills, and Reed Smith Richards Butler.

With experience in handling contentious regulatory matters and complex commercial disputes with a focus on the financial services sector, Leung advises PRC banks, financial institutions, listed companies, licensed corporations and individuals in regulatory proceedings brought by the Securities and Futures Commission, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Hong Kong Monetary Authority and other regulatory and law enforcement agencies. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

1 June – Hauzen (Hong Kong, China)

DWF, UK’s largest listed law firm, has entered an affiliation agreement with Hong Kong-based Hauzen. The two firms also announced the addition of marine and insurance lawyer Anthony Woo as a partner from Clyde & Co.

Established in 2017, Hauzen has five partners, and provides services related to financial markets, securities regulation, cryptocurrency, white-collar litigation, investment funds, Marshall Islands law, listed0company governance, and corporate services. The firm is also in association with the PRC’s Anjie Law Firm, which merged with Broad & Bright in 2021.

Woo has expertise in multi-jurisdictional commercial dispute resolution, mainly representing insurers, shipowners, and traders. He joined Clyde & Co in 2016, prior to which he had been a Hill Dickinson partner since 2014. Woo earlier worked for Kennedys, Reed Smith Richards Butler, and DLA Piper. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

May 

26 May – SCL Nishimura & Asahi (Bangkok, Thailand)

SCL Nishimura & Asahi, the Thai office of Japan’s largest law firm, has hired veteran lawyer Punjaporn Kosolkitiwong in Bangkok as the head of its litigation department from Dej-Udom & Associates.

Punjaporn has almost 40 years of experience in litigation, and previously headed the litigation department of Dej-Udom. She handle arbitrations, civil and criminal cases, tax-related issues, intellectual property and international trade cases in both the Bangkok and provincial courts. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

24 May – Economic Law Practice (Mumbai, India)

India’s Economic Law Practice has rehired tax expert Ritesh Kanodia as partner in Mumbai. Kanodia was most recently at Dhruva Advisors.

Besides tax, Kanodia is also experienced with foreign trade policy including customs laws and regulations, and export control. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

24 May – Saraf and Partners (Delhi, India)

Indian firm Saraf and Partners has hired projects, energy and infrastructure expert Samridha Neupane as a partner in Delhi from L&L Partners, its tenth lateral hire in the past 10 months.

Neupane is focused on renewable energy and natural resources-related work, and has experience in strategic investments, private equity investments, and M&A, along with project and construction-related documentation and general corporate law advisory. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

20 May  – Coinllectibles (Singapore, Singapore)

Hong Kong law firm ONC Lawyers has lost its technology consultant, Joshua Chu, to Singapore-headquartered metaverse blockchain company Coinllectibles.

Chu is moving in-house to Coinllectibles, which is publicly traded on the over-the-counter markets in the U.S., as chief risk officer. (from http://www.law.com)

19 May – Howse Williams (Hong Kong, China)

Hong Kong law firm Howse Williams has expanded after hiring insurance expert Gary Chow and corporate specialist William Wong as partners from Clyde & Co and Clifford Chance, respectively.

Chow, who was a counsel at Clyde, joined that firm in 2013 from local outfit Leung & Lau. Specialising in personal injury and insurance-related litigation, Chow acts for liability insurers with experience in defending personal injury claims involving work accidents, traffic accidents, occupiers’ liability and medical malpractice.

Wong was previously a consultant at Clifford Chance, having joined that firm in 2014. He has experience in contentious regulatory work and financial services and commercial litigation, representing institutional and individual clients in investigations by regulatory authorities and law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong. Wong earlier held in-house roles at Credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

16 May – Kingson Reid (Melbourne, Australia)

Australian employment law firm Kingston Reid has hired a partner from the international firm Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW).

Melbourne-based Brendan Milne has expertise in industrial disputes and enterprise bargaining and has been involved in some of Australia’s most significant and complex industrial disputes over the past decade, including industries such as stevedoring, mining and construction, Kingston Reid said. (from http://www.law.com)

16 May – Ashurst (Brisbane & Perth, Australia)

Global law firm Ashurst has bolstered its transport and infrastructure group with the appointment of two projects partners from fellow BigLaw firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Andrew McCormack and Chris Campbell have both joined Ashurst, in a move that will expand the firm’s focus on the energy and resources and infrastructure sectors. The news follows the firm’s addition of 12 Australians to its global partnership ranks last month.

Mr McCormack will be in the Brisbane office and brings 17 years of experience. His practice covers transport, infrastructure, resources and property development, with both government and private sector clients. He was a partner at Corrs for nine years. (from http://www.lawyersweekly.com.au)

16 May – King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing, China)

Fangda Partners has lost veteran intellectual property (IP) litigation partner Gordon Gao to King & Wood Mallesons in Beijing.

Gao updated his LinkedIn profile with his new King & Wood Mallesons appointment and received several congratulatory comments from his network but he has since deactivated his LinkedIn page. (from http://www.law.com)

12 May – Herbert Smith Freehills (Tokyo, Japan)

Herbert Smith Freehills has appointed a Tokyo partner to the new role of North Asia corporate practice head.

In the new role, partner Andrew Blacoe will lead the firm’s corporate practice in Tokyo and Seoul, according to a firm statement. (from http://www.law.com)

11 May – Grandall (Hong Kong, China)

Beijing-based Grandall Law Firm has hired Mayer Brown veteran partner Thomas So as head of its dispute resolution practice in Hong Kong.

So joins Grandall from Mayer Brown, where he practiced for over 25 years. (from http://www.law.com)

10 May – Liberty Mutual (London, UK)

Peng Lim, the Singapore-based global head of the aviation practice at Kennedys Law, is set to leave the firm and join insurance company Liberty Mutual as head of aviation claims.

The newly created role, at Liberty Special Markets, is based in London, and Lim is expected to move in November.

As head of aviation claims, Lim is expected to help Liberty Mutual tap into opportunities from a growing aviation insurance industry. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

10 May – Watson Farley & Williams (Hong Kong, China)

Watson Farley & Williams has welcome back aviation finance expert Simon Collins as a partner in Hong Kong from White & Case, where he spent 17 years.

Collins, who had a six-year stint at WFW starting in 1998, advises clients on cross-border aviation and maritime finance transactions, including asset and project finance, structured lending and restructuring, leasing, and commercial shipping transactions. Notable work includes advising Colombian airline Avianca in a Japanese operating lease with call option (JOLCO) financing.  (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

9 May – Rajah & Tann Asia (Bangkok, Thailand)

We are pleased to announce that R&T Asia (Thailand) has officially launched its new Intellectual Property practice, and warmly welcomes new partner Nuttaphol Arammuang who will spearhead the team in guiding clients through the precise navigation of all aspects of IP.

Boasting an impressive 20 years of experience, Nuttaphol is well reputed amongst leading legal publications for his all-encompassing IP expertise.

The introduction of this new practice is in line with our network’s ongoing vision of enhancing our capabilities to serve local, regional, and international clients through the effective expansion of service offerings and seamless collaboration between our offices. (from https://www.linkedin.com/company/rajah-&-tann/)

9 May – Widyawan & Partners (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Linklaters’ formal association firm in Indonesia, Widyawan & Partners, today announced the hire of Teguh Arwiko, who has joined as a partner in the corporate practice, based in Jakarta.

Teguh joins Widyawan & Partners from Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung, (in association with Herbert Smith Freehills), where he was a partner.

Teguh is an Indonesia-qualified corporate lawyer specialising in advising corporates, and private equity and sovereign wealth funds on public and private M&A and JVs, with a particular focus on the financial services, TMT/digital economy and real estate sectors. His arrival will further strengthen the firm’s public M&A capabilities and financial services and tech sectors offering, demonstrating the firm’s commitment to deliver best in class support in these rapidly growing areas. (from http://www.linklaters.com)

5 May – Jardine Matheson (Tokyo, Japan)

Linklaters’ Tokyo corporate partner Matthew Bland has left the firm to join listed holdings company Jardine Matheson as group general counsel.

Bland, who has relocated to Hong Kong for his new role, succeeds former Linklaters partner and global head of corporate practice Jeremy Parr, who took on the in-house role in 2015 after three decades at Linklaters. Parr will soon be retiring. (from https://legal-mag.com/)

5 May – IndusLaw (Bengaluru, India)

Indian law firm IndusLaw has made its second disputes partner hire in two months after adding Maneesha Kongovi in Bengaluru from Argus Partners.

Kongovi’s hire comes at a time when IndusLaw has been expanding in South India. The firm recently acquired real estate-focused outfit ASLF, which has offices in the cities of Bengaluru and Chennai.

With experience in appearing before the Supreme Court of India, the Bombay High Court, the High Court of Karnataka, the Delhi, Gujarat and Calcutta High Courts, and also tribunals and district courts, Kongovi has worked on matters including commercial disputes, customs claims, real estate and construction disputes, infrastructure disputes, writ petitions, public interest litigations, winding-up proceedings, and trademark infringements.

Having worked at Bharucha & Partners and the legacy Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co earlier in her career, Kongovi established her own chambers in 2014. She joined Argus in 2019. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

4 May – HFW (Melbourne, Australia)

Global law firm Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) has made its 10th Australian partner hire in the past two years, bringing on commercial litigation and international arbitration partner Bronwyn Lincoln from Australian firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Melbourne-based Lincoln specializes in international commercial arbitration and high-value multijurisdictional disputes, with a focus on international trade, shareholder and joint venture and project and infrastructure disputes. (from http://www.law.com)

4 May – Mayer Brown (Singapore, Singapore)

Disputes lawyer Kay-Jannes Wegner has left Kim & Chang after over a decade. He has relocated from Seoul to Singapore, along with associate Edern Coënt, for Mayer Brown.

Kay-Jannes Wegner, a foreign legal consultant at South Korean Big Six firm, Kim & Chang, has left the firm, relocating to Singapore to join Mayer Brown as partner.

Wegner is a disputes lawyer who represents Asian and European clients on arbitration matters including construction and infrastructure, and energy and defense-related disputes. He also sits as an arbitrator in International Chamber of Commerce and Korean Commercial Arbitration Board cases. (from http://www.law.com)

3 May – DLA Piper (Hong Kong, China)

DLA Piper today announces the appointment of Crystal Chen as a partner in its Finance, Projects and Restructuring (FP&R) practice, based in Hong Kong.

Crystal joins the firm from Linklaters in Hong Kong, where she was a partner in its energy and infrastructure practice. Crystal is a leading banking and finance lawyer. She is experienced in the development and financing as well as acquisition and disposal of projects in the power, petrochemical and mining sectors. She has extensive experience in a wide range of other types of financing work, including leveraged finance buy-outs, acquisition finance and other structured event-driven financings.

Qualified in New York, Hong Kong and the PRC, Crystal is bilingual and primarily focuses her practice on China inbound and outbound transactions. Crystal has served a broad range of clients, including policy banks, commercial banks, multilateral development agencies, governments, export credit agencies, private equity funds, project sponsors and other project participants. (from http://www.dlapiper.com)

2 May – Pinsent Masons (Australia & Singapore)

Pinsent Masons has refreshed its leadership structure in Asia Pacific ahead of what it has deemed the next phase of its strategic growth in the region.

The appointments will see Melbourne-based partner James Morgan-Payler become the firm’s first formal head of APAC, while Singapore-based international business manager Johanna Murray will become the region’s first chief operations officer. (from http://www.law.com)

April

28 April – Harry Elias Partnership (Singapore, Singapore)

Harry Elias Partnership LLP today announced the appointment of Joanna S. as a partner in the Construction and Engineering practice.

With over 14 years of experience, Joanna is a specialist in in the construction and infrastructure sector. She is amongst the inaugural batch of legal practitioners recognized by the Singapore Academy of Law as an Accredited Specialist in Building and Construction Law and is also accredited as a Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators.

Joanna has extensive experience representing major contractors in large-scale infrastructure, engineering and construction disputes across a wide range of jurisdictions globally and sectors. Prior to joining Harry Elias Partnership, Joanna worked with other leading international firms, where she advised and represented clients in a variety of international disputes, including rail and metro projects, power plant, solar plant, mining, integrated resorts, and commercial and residential building projects across Asia-Pacific.

Joanna also frequently advises and represents clients in adjudication proceedings commenced pursuant to the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2004 (“SOPA”) in Singapore. Most recently, she successfully defended a Singapore listed company against a multi-million dollar claim made by a subcontractor pursuant to the latest amended SOPA. (from http://www.linkedin.com)

27 April – Greenberg Traurig (Singapore, Singapore)

The US led firm is the latest international outfit set to enter Singapore, though the hires will initially be based in its Tokyo office.

The additions will be led by Hogan Lovells partner Joseph Kim, who has joined as the firm’s Asia head of energy and infrastructure practice. He brings along with him Hogan Lovells counsel William Wu and associate Da Woon Jeong.

Kim had been a partner at Hogan Lovells for seven years, and a partner at Paul Hastings for seven years prior to his move.

The fourth hire is Jared Raleigh, who was an in-house counsel at Acciona Construction Australia in Melbourne. He will relocate to Singapore for the move, having previously worked at the Singapore offices of mining company Orica and at Jones Day and Hogan Lovells as an associate. (from https://prolifelawyer.com)

27 Apr – ByteDance (Hong Kong, China & Singapore)

TikTok-owner ByteDance has appointed Julie Gao, head of the China practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, as its new chief financial officer (CFO), according to an internal memo sent to staff on Monday and seen by Reuters.

Gao, one of Skadden’s top capital markets lawyers, will be based in Hong Kong and Singapore once she joins ByteDance, according to the memo sent by ByteDance chief executive Liang Rubo. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

27 Apr – McDermott Will & Emery (Singapore, Singapore)

U.S. law firm McDermott Will & Emery has continued to expand its newly established Singapore office after hiring four lawyers specialising in investigations and compliance from Sidley Austin, including partners Yuet Ming Tham (L) and Shu Min Ho. Tham will join as Singapore managing partner.

McDermott opened its Singapore office last year, following a year without a presence in the Asian region. Since then, it has expanded rapidly through a series of laterals. First, it hired Ignatius Hwang and Merrick White from Squire Patton Boggs and King & Spalding. Then came the additions of Alfred Chia (also from Squire Patton Boggs), Siddhartha Sivaramakrishnan (from Herbert Smith Freehills), and Clarinda Tjia-Dharmadi as Asia transactions chair (from Latham & Watkins).

Specialising in white-collar crime and life sciences, Tham was head of Asia-Pacific and Singapore managing partner at Sidley, additionally holding the role of global co-chair of the government investigations and compliance group. She joined the Hong Kong office of Sidley in 2012 from DLA Piper, having been head of the latter firm’s Asia regulatory compliance and investigation groups, and Asia life sciences practice since 2008.

With expertise in the FCPA and anti-bribery compliance, money-laundering regulations and sanctions, data privacy and employment, Tham represents clients on matters involving the SEC, the U.S. Department of Justice, FINRA, as well as Asian enforcement agencies.

Meanwhile, Ho began her career in 2011 at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, joining Sidley in 2019. She has experience leading cross-border investigations, with a focus on bribery, corruption, fraud, embezzlement and other corporate crime, especially in the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors.

Also moving with Tham and Ho from Sidley to McDermott are counsel Sam Johnson and Margaret Huang. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

26 April – Squire Patton Boggs (Perth, Australia) 

Squire Patton Boggs has hired a former human resources manager, industrial relations adviser, labor market economist and industrial inspector to join its employment practice in Perth.

Kim Hodge, who joins as a partner from national firm McCabe Curwood Lawyers, advises clients across sectors including mining and resources, engineering, utilities, retail, health care, education, not-for-profit, and local government. (from http://www.law.com)

26 April – Ashurst (Sydney, Australia)

Global law firm Ashurst announces the appointment of Miriam Kleiner as a partner in Legal Governance Advisory, the firm’s head office strategic advisory practice led by partner Rob Hanley.

The appointment of Miriam reflects Ashurst’s commitment to assisting clients with their ever-increasing governance needs. The Ashurst Legal Governance Advisory team works alongside Ashurst’s Risk Advisory and Board Advisory consultants to deliver a unique integrated legal and consulting offering. The team advises General Counsel, Company Secretaries and Non-Executive Directors of ASX listed and larger non-listed entities on current and emerging strategic risks as well as ‘business as usual’ governance and company secretarial matters.

Miriam is one of the few lawyers in Australia who is a true specialist in the governance advisory field. With over 15 years’ experience advising on corporate governance, company secretarial and related advisory matters, Miriam’s experience extends across the financial services, healthcare, energy and resources, consumer and retail, information technology, and leisure and entertainment sectors. (from http://www.ashurst.com)

21 April – King & Spalding (Hong Kong, China)

U.S. law firm King & Spalding has hired international arbitration lawyer Nils Eliasson as a partner in Singapore from the Hong Kong office of Shearman & Sterling, where he led that firm’s Asia international arbitration practice.

Eliasson, who joined Shearman in 2015 from the Swedish law firm Mannheimer Swartling, is the second high-profile disputes partner in Asia to exit the U.S. firm in the past few months. In February, Singapore partner Daryl Chew left Shearman to join UK arbitration firm Three Crowns.

Eliasson acts as counsel and arbitrator in commercial, construction, and investment treaty disputes in Asia, with particular experience in the energy, infrastructure, and telecommunications sectors. Following his departure, Shearman now has seven partners in Hong Kong, but none specialising in disputes. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

20 April – DSK Legal (Bengaluru, India)

Indian law firm DSK Legal has hired a team of lawyers from rival Dua & Associates in the southern city of Bengaluru. Led by partner Srinivas BR, it also includes partners Brijita Prakash, Karan Ajitsaria and Siddharth Suresh.

Srinivas is an expert in real estate transactions, including title due diligence and foreign direct investment in the real estate sector in India, while Prakash has experience in real estate, litigation and financing.

Ajitsaria is experienced in debt and equity financing with particular focus on structuring financing in the real estate sector, and Suresh focuses on private equity, foreign investment, joint ventures and acquisitions in the fintech, real estate, technology, construction and power sectors. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

19 April – Trilegal (Delhi, India)

Trilegal has hired disputes experts Anuj Berry (L) and Vishrov Mukerjee as partners in Delhi from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and J. Sagar Associates, respectively. They are set to join the firm in the next few months.

The duo will become Trilegal’s first partner laterals since it added four from AZB in Mumbai and Bengaluru in December last year.

Berry, who has been with SAM since 2006, works in the areas of general commercial litigation including shareholder disputes, company law-related disputes, litigation concerning the Competition Act 2002 and white-collar defense such as regulatory and internal investigations. In 2021, he was selected by clients as one of the ALB Asia Super 50 Disputes Lawyers.

Meanwhile, Mukerjee had two stints at JSA, first between 2007 and 2009, and then since 2012. He focuses on regulatory disputes, arbitration in the infrastructure sector and commercial litigation on complex cases such as issues pertaining to changes in law, powers of regulatory commissions, and compensatory mechanisms for the cancellation of coal blocks. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

12 April – Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai, India)

India’s Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas has welcomed back project finance specialist Manasvini Raj as a partner in Mumbai from International Finance Corporation, a unit of the World Bank, where she was a counsel.

Raj began her career in 2010 at the erstwhile Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co, and moved to CAM following the split in 2015, spending two years there. She later worked for White & Case in New York before joining the IFC in Mumbai in 2020.

With more than 11 years of experience in project finance, structured finance, project development and M&A in the infrastructure and energy sectors, Raj’s clients include lenders, multilateral institutions, export credit agencies, sponsors, investors, borrowers and contractors. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

10 April – Clyde & Co (Sydney, Australia)

Global law firm Clyde & Co has launched an Asia-Pacific cyber risk advisory practice to meet increasing client demand, hiring a senior cyber risk specialist to lead the practice.

Chris McLaughlin joins from Aon, where he was head of the Aon Cyber Solutions in Australia. His hire by Clyde & Co reflects the firm’s ongoing expansion of its global technology and cyber risk offering to meet the rapidly increasing demand for cyber, privacy and digital advice, Clyde & Co said in a statement. (from http://www.law.com)

7 April – Appleby (Hong Kong, China)

Offshore law firm Appleby has hired Richard Grasby as partner and head of its private client and trusts team in Hong Kong. Grasby was most recently a foreign legal consultant at Facey & Associates.

Grasby was at another offshore law firm, Maples and Calder, for close to nine years until May 2017, leaving as a partner. He then joined wealth management specialist firm Charles Russell Speechlys, also as a partner, and spent another year there. Grasby previously worked at the legacy SJ Berwin and offshore firm Ogier.

At Appleby, he will focus on trusts, asset holdings, succession, governance, regulatory and compliance, family offices and related matters. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

6 April – Rajah & Tann (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore firm Rajah & Tann has reshuffled its leadership team and refreshed its practice group heads as it seeks to groom the next generation of leaders and give younger partners a greater say in the firm’s direction.

Arbitration partners Kim Beng Ng and Kelvin Poon step up to become joint deputy managing partners, replacing Rebecca Chew, who has been in the post since 2016. (from https://www.globallegalpost.com/)

5 April – Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (Hong Kong, China)

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld hired international arbitration and cross-border disputes heavyweight Ing Loong Yang from Latham & Watkins in Hong Kong, bolstering its international disputes practice.

Yang, recognized as a leading cross-border disputes practitioner, has more than three decades of experience handling international arbitration cases and commercial litigation in Asia, particularly involving entities in Greater China. He handles complex, sensitive matters involving shareholder and joint venture disputes, technology and other licensing disputes, commercial criminal defense, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations, private equity, as well as compliance and regulatory matters, Akin Gump said. (from https://www.law.com/)

5 April – Ghows (Singapore, Singapore)

Ghows, a Singapore-based law firm specializing in technology and intellectual property, has hired IP specialists Teresa O’Connor (L) and Patsy Koh as directors from Infinitus Law.

O’Connor has more than 40 years of experience in IP. especially in copyright and trademark. Her notable clients include BMW, Nintendo, Sony, and Möet Hennessy. Meanwhile, Koh has more than 25 years of experience in IP law with a focus on patents and trademarks. She has advised clients such as Nippon Steel, BSH Hausgeräte GmbH, Kyowa Kirin, Sysmex and Mos Food. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

4 April – Baker McKenzie (Sydney, Australia)

Baker McKenzie has hired a lawyer from King & Wood Mallesons to join its partnership in the restructuring and insolvency team based in Sydney as it anticipates an increase in distressed debt and restructuring.

Gavin Rakoczy was previously a special counsel at KWM and has over 15 years of experience advising insolvency practitioners, companies, boards, banks and special situation funds in restructuring and insolvency. (from http://www.law.com)

4 April – Mayer Brown (Singapore, Singapore)

International law firm, Mayer Brown announced on Friday the appointment of energy lawyer Justin Tan, to its Corporate and Securities practice in Singapore a key Asian hub at the centre of the practice’s ambitious Asian growth plans.

Commencing his new role from 01 April, Tan most recently served at Clyde Co in the city-state, where he served as partner for the past seven years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

With a career focusing on the energy, infrastructure and commodities sectors, the announcement highlighted Tan’s cross-border work, representing multinational corporations, Japanese trading houses and Chinese SOEs in high profile energy and infrastructure deals. (from https://www.financeasia.com)

1 April – DWF (Australia)

Global law firm DWF has expanded its insurance practice in Australia with the hire of partner Matt Dudakov from local firm Lander & Rogers.

The hire comes a year after DWF pulled back from its ambitions in Australia and shuttered its law offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle. (from http://www.law.com)

1 April – HFW (Melbourne, Australia)

UK law firm HFW has hired a team of three disputes lawyers in Perth from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan led by the office’s founding partner, Paul Evans.

HFW said the hires continue a period of sustained investment in Australia, which is now its third-largest market globally after London and Hong Kong, revenue having increased by almost 80% over the past six years and now accounting for 10% of the firm’s turnover.

Quinn, meanwhile, has experienced the second team loss from its Perth arm within a year following the departure of four disputes lawyers to Jones Day last July. The office, which launched in 2017, currently houses two associates and one partner, according to the firm’s website.

Evans brings 35 years of experience handling complex commercial litigation to his new firm and focuses on disputes relating to corporate governance, transactions and takeovers, and competition and economic law.  (from https://www.globallegalpost.com/)

1 April – Linklaters (Tokyo, Japan)

Linklaters today announced that Tracy Whiriskey has joined as a partner in the firm’s corporate practice, based in Tokyo. Tracy has extensive experience in energy transition, the digital economy, infrastructure funds, insurance and other rapidly emerging business areas.

Tracy joins Linklaters from Ashurst where she headed up the corporate M&A practice in Tokyo and the insurance sector in Asia. Prior to joining Ashurst in July 2016, Tracy worked at Clifford Chance for over 10 years. (from https://www.linklaters.com/)

Featured

Celebrating IWD 2022 with the first Chairwoman in Vietnam of an international law firm

Dr. Nguyen Thi Lang, the first chairwoman in Vietnam of a global law firm, is also one of the first two J.D. graduates from HCMC University of Law and is therefore an ideal role model to discuss this year’s International Women’s Day theme, Breaking the Bias. In this interview with Sam Kenworthy, Dr. Lang Nguyen shared her career experience and tips for breaking the glass ceiling.

Dr Lang Nguyen: Dr Nguyen Thi Lang, Chairwoman of Duane Morris Vietnam

Sam: Sam Kenworthy, Director – Head of Private Practice, Hughes-Castell

 ———————-

Sam: What made you pursue a career in law?

Dr Lang Nguyen: First of all, law is actually one popular academic degree in higher-level education. It requires a tremendous amount of study and continuous learning to stay updated on new laws, policies, changes and trends in the legal environment.

Being a logical person with strong critical thinking and an active mind, I found law very interesting with many knowledge facets for various fields including business, constitutional, criminal, environmental, health care, intellectual property, etc. Law governs almost everything in our life.

I started pursuing the career in law at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law and obtained my bachelor law degree in 1999. Coincidentally, my mother-in-law was, and still is, one of the most famous lawyers in the country, with a good reputation and known for her charisma. She inspired me to follow the legal career path, and strongly encouraged me to enhance my studies by going forward with the Master’s and Doctorate degrees in law.

After following the legal path for over two decades, I continue to recognize that law is still really interesting to me. There is no case the same as other cases, the matters are always new, varied, challenging and the problems you have to handle are constantly changing. You have to adapt, develop your mind, embrace new knowledge, handle new experiences and hear other perspectives all the time. To sum up, those have been my inspirations, my motivations and the basis of the pursuit of my career in law.

Sam: What specific challenges have you experienced as a woman in law during your career?

Dr Lang Nguyen: A female lawyer has to face many challenges during her career path, not just in Vietnam but in every nation, all over the world.

First, I have to deal with the challenge of balancing between my great responsibilities with my job and my family life, especially my role as a child-bearer. As you may know, a legal career can be very stressful. I have to be both fast and accurate under high-pressure while the matters are diverse and involve a wide range of areas, from banking & finance, real estate, complex M&A transactions, large scale investment, power supply and infrastructure, etc.  to give just some examples. The clients are from many nationalities, with different cultures, characters, demands, etc. Accordingly, I have to be very hardworking and sharp.

But the moment I go back home, I again have to be a wife, a mother, to build a loving family life with my husband and take care of the kids. Luckily, my mother-in-law and my husband are very understanding and supportive to me in my work and the family duties.

On the other hand, I would need to mention about gender discrimination which occurs everywhere, not just in the legal field. You may see that nowadays it is no longer a small number of women who are lawyers and associates at law firms, but still very few are partners, especially in international/global law firms. Hence, I have always worked hard, not just hard enough, in trying to express my talents and prove that I am also strong, brave and not afraid of any challenges, and attempting to network with business partners and clients so that I now proudly stand at this position today, the first Vietnamese Chairwoman of a global law firm in Vietnam.

Sam: Would you share any outstanding accomplishment(s) that have shaped your career? Have there been any make-or-break moments?

Dr Lang Nguyen: There have been various milestones in my professional life which have shaped my career path. After graduating as one of the first two doctors in law from Ho Chi Minh City Law University, I also became one of the first two Vietnamese lawyers who was appointed as an international counsel of a magic circle law firm in Vietnam. I then became a partner of one of the first foreign law companies in Vietnam  at the age of 35. At that time there were only comparatively few female partners in the international law firms, especially in Vietnam. Subsequently, I have been nominated as a Chairwomen of the Duane Morris offices in Vietnam, which makes me very proud of myself, being one of the first Vietnamese lawyers who became the Chair of a global law firm in Vietnam.

Sam: What are the most important attributes which have led to your progression to a global law firm’s executive role?

Dr Lang Nguyen: From my perspective, what has contributed the most to my progression to an executive role in a global law firm is firstly my character. I am very adaptable, open-minded and not afraid of changing and improving my experiences and my knowledge every single day.

Secondly, I must mention my background at various large international law firms such as PwC Legal, Freshfields, Frasers, and Duane Morris. I have accumulated deep knowledge and experience from many years of hard work in legal practice, at very different firms.

This variety has brought me an in-depth understanding of the global legal working lifestyle, culture and people. Last but not least, a value which brought me to the position of a female partner and also a chairperson in a global law firm is my professional and interpersonal skills. I can manage to handle professional tasks, cultivate a strong relationship between clients and the firms, and display good management skills over my colleagues working in the firm.

Sam: Can you highlight any mentor who has inspired you and why? 

Dr Lang Nguyen: I must say that my first, longest-standing and the most important mentor of my legal life is my mother-in-law. She has almost 40 years of experience working as a leading lawyer specializing in real estate, commercial and corporate, researching and teaching at Hanoi Law University and Ho Chi Minh City University of Law, and she also holds a significant role in the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association. As I mentioned earlier, she was the one who inspired me to keep learning and chasing my dream of being a lawyer. From the early days of my career, she oriented and instructed me a lot so that I could choose an appropriate road to follow my legal career for more than 20 years.

Sam: You are one of the first two Doctors of Law from HCMC University of Law; have you always been academically driven?

Dr Lang Nguyen: To be honest, I love learning new things, and accumulating both academic and practical knowledge. That is why I had constantly been studying from my Bachelor’s law degree to my Master’s degree up to my doctorate. It was a long journey which took me almost 12 years with significant encouragement and support from my family. At present, my academically driven path varies a little bit from studying to delivering knowledge to law students and young lawyers. Actually, this is also another way of learning. At this point of my life, I want to transmit my knowledge, experience which I have achieved for years to the next generation by being a lecturer of the master and doctor degrees for legal professionals held by Tra Vinh University, Ho Chi Minh City University of Law, University of Law and Economics.

Sam: As a leader, you must have a lot on your plate. How do you balance your work and personal life? 

Dr Lang Nguyen: Being a chairwoman in a global law firm means you have to deal a lot with both professional and management responsibilities, which could cost a lot of time. I, of course, have many instances of working overnight or working through weekends. However, I always try to spend time with my family, especially my husband and my kids. Attempting to have dinner with family every day is a real challenge in this position, but that’s what I want to do.

I want my kids to know they still have me beside them during their childhood and their lives later on. I am also very pleased that despite many challenges in my work and personal life which have been observed by my children, my daughter has also been inspired by my work and she has made up her mind to follow the law career path leading her to currently study law at Monash University. In addition, I still keep in touch with my high school and university friends. So sometimes after work or after any long period of being involved in high-pressure deals/matters, I can still spend my time hanging out with them, talking and sharing with them many other aspects outside of my working life.

Sam: Is there a single piece of advice you’d give to any aspiring junior female lawyers?

Dr Lang Nguyen: I would encourage them not to fear taking on challenges in work and their personal life, and they should have the passion to learn new things and enrich their knowledge every single day. To keep learning from all other people you interact with, schools, lecturers, peers, co-workers, colleagues, clients and from all matters in which you are involved during their working life is very important and fulfilling.

The world keeps changing every day, as does legal practice. Therefore, in the early stages of their careers, junior lawyers must learn to be adaptive and be flexible, and to keep challenging their minds, seeking relevant methods of approaching different issues if so required by the job. Do not forget to make and maintain friendships and practice networking skills, making business development easier in the future. And most of all, think outside of the box, prepare to take on the global stage and never stop learning.

Thank you very much.

Featured

How to succeed in a video job interview

Video interviewing is becoming an essential part of the hiring process. During the coronavirus outbreak, companies are moving more and more interviews to video to reduce non-essential face-to-face meetings. Being able to communicate your value well to a prospective employer via video is, therefore, paramount. Here are four tips for managing your nerves and turning up for your video job interview confident and well prepared.

Preparation

The key to a successful video job interview is to prepare beforehand. Remember to keep testing your environment and equipment regularly to ensure everything is working properly. Practice by making a video of yourself answering the questions on camera as many times as you can to familiarise yourself with all the variables.

Your online interview might be conducted through an application such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype Business, Google Meet, WhatsApp, WeChat, Feishu/Lark, or other video conferencing programs. When you confirm the application, be sure to clean up the profile you will use or create a new professional account. Don’t use any account with a comedic or light-hearted screen name like “loveUxxx92xX” or a profile picture showing you in a similar vein. Plus, in case you are requested to take the interview with an application you are not familiar, do run trials on the software as many times as possible.

You must find a suitable place to conduct a video interview. Key is to be in a place free of distractions. So the best place to do your video interview is in your own home where you can control the surroundings. A coffee shop or a friend’s place may bring unintended distractions that are out of your control. When you are interviewing with a potential employer, try to ensure that no one else is in there, at least in the same room.

We recommend using a laptop or desktop computer with a webcam supported by a stable internet connection with a bandwidth speed of at least one megabits per second. Headphones with a built-in microphone would be perfect.

Pay attention to the lighting too. Finding a good brightness level is essential. You do not want to have light sources behind you since that will leave your face in shadow. Play with the lighting in the room beforehand to help put the perfect spotlight on you.

Dress and Appearance

Dress professionally! Wear the same interview attire you would like for an in-person interview. While the camera angle should only show you from the waist up, there is a possibility you will need to stand up at some point, so make sure everything below the waist looks professional.

Colours work differently on camera than in real life. First, choose clothing that does not blend into the background. Second, try not to wear colors that contrast too much. This means combining pure white and pure black is not ideal. The camera will over-adjust and end up making the white too bright. Third, wearing solid colours are better than patterns which may distort on camera.

If you wear glasses, remember to adjust the lighting in the room to reduce glare from the lenses.

You should also be aware of makeup. It can come across very differently on camera. You can take a few photos using your webcam to find the right balance.

During the Interview

Make eye contact, and remember that means looking at the camera at eye-level rather than at the faces on your computer screen.

A video interview can deaden your energy, so you have to proactively make sure that you smile and speak clearly, slowly but enthusiastically. Remember not to fidget or make a lot of movement, you may appear out of focus should the connection be slow or unstable. It may also be distracting for the interviewer.

Try to convey optimism with your body language throughout the interview. One way to achieve this is to maintain good posture, sitting with your back straight, feet on the ground, and arms resting on your laptop or the desk. When you are listening, nod and smile when appropriate to communicate.

Memorize important information! Unlike a phone interview where you can rely on notes, video interviews are just like in-person interviews where you cannot use notes or sticky memos. Although interviewers cannot see your notes, it will appear obvious when you look down/elsewhere to review your notes and can disrupt the flow of the conversation.

What If Something Goes Wrong?

You cannot predict an accident, but you can prepare for the worst. There is always a chance of an unavoidable problem. Here are three rules to have ready just in case:

  • Remember to ask for a phone number before the interview so that you can reach the other party if you experience technical difficulties such as audio and/or video cutting out or the connection dropping.
  • Remember to apologise for any interruption (sirens, construction noise, traffic, etc.) and ask for a few moments until the disturbance has subsided. If the interruption is severe, you could mute your microphone.
  • Remember to explain to the interviewer if there is an emergency. If someone enters the room unexpectedly or you need to leave the room immediately, you should briefly tell them what is going on and ask if you can call or email later to reschedule.

As with phone or in-person interviews, you should thank the interviewer for the opportunity and follow up with a post-interview thank-you email within 24 hours. It would be great if you can add something that you and the interviewer discussed that will make your thank-you email more personal.

Editor: Sam Kenworthy (Director – Head of Private Practice, Hughes-Castell)

Contributor: Fai Choi (Marketing Manager, Hughes-Castell)

Omicron wave slows Asian legal markets’ recovery

In January, firms and lawyers were full of hope, expecting a lively 2022 fueled by global liquidity, recovery from the pandemic, and growing opportunities in the tech and biotech industries. However, the Omicron surge in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, and Korea slowed the recovery. Compared to Q1 2021, we witnessed a significant decline in recruitment activities in China. Only the Australian legal market shone in Q1.

Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices constituted the top senior recruitment hires in Q1. Projects/Construction/Infrastructure practices climbed to 2nd, overtaking Litigation/Disputes/Arbitration/Investigation practices. We also saw a rise in Energy & Resources practices in Australia.

The most significant partner recruiters for Q1 2022 were Ashurst and Herbert Smith Freehills. Ashurst has actively recruited in Australia and Herbert Smith Freehills in Australia and Singapore.

Top Partner Recruiters in the Region

Appointments

  • There is 34% decrease in lateral hires in Q1 compared to 2021 despite Australia’s strong showing this year.
  • The significant hires are evenly spread over 3 months. Despite the Chinese New Year holidays and being a shorter month, February witnessed the most hires in Q1. 

Locations

  • Only Australia saw growth (27%) in the number of key appointments compared to 2021.
  • China and India saw a dramatic drop in 2022 due to the Omicron surge. Under the uncertainty of the pandemic, firms remained conservative in hiring.
  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices in Hong Kong remained active, therefore Hong Kong stayed the 2nd key location for lateral hires.

Practices

  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices constituted 20% of the key hires in Q1 of 2022. 
  • Unlike 2021 and 2020, there were only few hires in Litigation/Dispute Resolution/Arbitration/Investigations practices, but there was strong growth in Projects/Construction/Infrastructure practices.
  • Energy & Resources practice area has seen stable growth since 2021. All these hires were made in Australia.   

Types

  • Lateral hires dominated the hiring markets in Q1.
  • We witnessed a growing tendency for senior lawyers to rejoin former firms. 
  • By contrast, we saw a gradual fall in Promotions. 

Tech Unicorns continue to lure big names from Private Practice in Asia

The news that US IPO doyenne Julie Gao was leaving Skadden Arps to join TikTok owner ByteDance as Chief Financial Officer was initially greeted with shock and surprise by the market but, given a brief cooling off period, it seems like the move makes a lot of sense and is indeed part of an increasing pattern.

Gao’s stellar practice saw her dominate the US listings market for PRC companies in recent years but with that deal flow being stymied by increased regulatory scrutiny it does seem like an opportune time to explore a different path. She has already advised the company on major acquisitions of other online platforms so there’s obviously familiarity there, and rumours continue to swirl over a proposed listing in New York or Hong Kong (despite official  briefings that there are no firm plans) where Gao’s experience and expertise would presumably be leant on, albeit her role is CFO rather than GC.

Also, this is just the latest case of a big name partner leaving the ranks of private practice for an in-house role at a tech enterprise on the rise. In 2019 Jeanette Chan brought down the curtain on 33 years with Paul Weiss to join digital payments startup Airwallex as GC. More recently, former Skadden capital markets colleague of Julie Gao Chris Betts withdrew from the firm’s partnership to take the mantle of GC at Grab Holdings in Singapore. Going further back, Leiming Chen joined Ant Group after ten years at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in 2016, and, perhaps the standard bearer for this type of move, Tim Steinert was tempted away from Freshfields to join Alibaba Group way back in 2006. These are a few amongst many.

What is interesting to consider is the reasoning behind these moves. While the traditional, possibly outdated, mantra for moving in house was the pursuit of a more amenable work-life balance, none of the above roles could be viewed as slow-paced. Also these partners were at global elite firms, at the top of their pay grades, so despite any pleas of “it’s not about the money”, healthy packages and lucrative stock options are also a factor.

The centrality of these roles within the relative companies is something that is universally cited as being key however. Having spent their careers as outside counsel, the lure of being in the decision-making circle, in a unique position, in a booming and ever-evolving industry, is a compelling proposition for those who have, to a greater or lesser degree, reached the pinnacle of their careers in private practice. As tech start-ups continue to flourish and attract huge investment, we can expect to see a lot more of these types of moves in the coming years.

Building a network in a post-pandemic world

If you are a junior associate or in-house counsel, networking in the legal profession is vital in making connections, finding clients, creating collegial collaborations, and building referral relationships. However, networking for lawyers poses a few challenges in the wake of the pandemic. For more than a year, lawyers have not been able to attend industry events, business meetings, and even internal training/conferences. As we are approaching the post-pandemic world, lawyers will be back into the workplace again soon. Therefore, it is essential to consider new ways to build a network during the post-pandemic era.

Although we revert to business as usual, life has changed. Companies and law firms are adapting to the new normal with hybrid work schedules, remote working arrangements, and virtual meeting facilities. With all these changes, old methods of networking may be phased out, so we have collected a few essential considerations.

Events go virtual

Like it or not, companies and law firms have embraced the online world, and more organizations will continue to host virtual conferences, events, and meetups for cost and risk purposes even after the pandemic. You should regularly seek out events online for legal professionals that are relevant to your practice areas, more so now in jurisdictions beyond your own. You shouldn’t limit yourself to the lawyer-only audience, so be creative about where to find the events you need most, for example, networking skills, technology, or sector-specific industries.

Remember that attending an event is not only useful for making connections but is also helpful for publicizing your profile. Nowadays, most events provide digital attendee profiles for networking. Be sure to submit a compelling profile, including bio, photo, company, contact information, and links to any published articles. Also, please review the list of attendees so you can identify any networking targets and perhaps contact them beforehand. One of the great things about attending virtual events is the flexible schedule meaning you can attend and network asynchronously. The flexibility fits particularly well with legal professionals who need to work around busy schedules.

It is always not enough to simply attend an event but to engage and network for maximum impact, whether in-person or virtual. Today, many virtual events employ a wide range of innovative strategies and formats of participating during the process. Among the best channels to engage during the event are Q&A sessions where comments and insights on real-time charts can be shared via the event’s messaging tools, during discussions and breakout sessions.

Be sure to network after the virtual event ends. Here are a few tips:

  • Share your attendance on social media.
  • Search for other attendants’ sharing of the event on social media and reach out to them.
  • Follow up by email or instant message with any new connections you made at the virtual event, and remember to nurture the relationships.

Social media boosts your networking efforts

Lawyers, in general, are resistant to using social media for business purposes. But, in the legal industry, we see many companies use a lot of social media usage, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to promote their companies, products/services, news, and staff. Legal recruiters are used to finding talent and screening candidates on social media platforms. Lawyers can learn more about law firms or in-house legal teams on social media. It can also be a potential referral source.

To stand out, maintain your social media profiles, share information regularly, and perhaps develop your own thought leadership pieces on topics of interest related to your work or practices. But note the differences between social media platforms and remember to separate personal and professional profiles, and the content in each, as necessary.

Networking happens everywhere, all the time. Although the pandemic has added an extra layer of challenges to networking, be sure you are open to the changes and adapt.

Tips to prepare for a legal internship

An internship nowadays is vital to a lawyer’s career. Summer internships are an important opportunity to learn about areas of the law you might want to pursue. Also, perhaps even more importantly, having a good internship could increase your chances of landing a dream job after law school. There are a set of things you should prepare for an internship to maximise your experience.

Do keep in mind that your goal is not necessarily to find a perfect job this summer. Your goal should be at a minimum to add profressional legal experience to your resume and explore the industry. Whether it’s a summer associate position in a BigLaw firm, a law clerking position in a small or mid-size firm, an in-house internship, prosecutor’s office position, judicial intern, or legal research assistant, make sure to take the most you can out of the experience. A summer internship is an exciting opportunity to gain real experience, expose yourself to different practice areas, see how a real law office operates, and maybe set yourself up for a post-graduation job offer.

How to choose the “right” internship? If you wish to gain experience of a specific area, for example arbitration, you need to target organizations/firms offering such internships. As you are doing a background check for the organizations, try to reach out to your network; if you find anyone who interned/works at the organizations, talk to them for advice.

How can you land a legal internship in areas that may be of interest to you? In considering your options, think about your strengths and weaknesses and who you are as a person. Then, try your best to inquire about various firms’ practices, their clients, their rankings in the legal directories. Second, the legal world is a network. Lawyers and law professors know many people. Talk to them and let them know you are looking for an internship and your practice of interest. Third, once you have targeted law firms or organistions, take time to prepare your internship application materials, including a well-drafted cover letter, detailed resume, law school transcripts, and a letter of recommendation if possible. Fourth, be prepared for your interview as it is your opportunity to shine. Show up on time, wear appropriate business attire (even on virtual interview), and be prepared. Finally, follow up diligently with your application, and do not give up if an application is rejected. Stay with it, and you will find the right internship.

It is possible that your first internship will be in your dream field. Make sure you maximize your internship opportunity! Try to improve at least one legal skill, whether you improve your legal writing or learn how to effectively research issues. Getting put on various assignments can help you find out what you like and dislike. This will help you narrow your search for future legal positions. As an intern, it is vital to establish a good reputation in the office so that your employer will likely give you more work. One of the goals for the internship is to leave with a glowing letter of recommendation. Last but not least, leaving your internship with a writing sample will provide you with a substantial advantage for jobs in the future.

IWD 2022: Work together to break the bias

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias. Women are encouraged to take action to interrupt biases that may prevent us from realizing our gender-equal goals. In striving to achieve these goals, we must work together to fight against the bias, stereotypes, and discrimination towards female lawyers and women in all walks of life.

Resource groups/networks are essential to support female lawyers and are key to the success of diversity at law firms. The following are valuable sources of support, development, and networking for female lawyers in the region:

The Asian Australian Lawyers Association https://www.aala.org.au/
Association of Asian Women Lawyers http://www.aawl.org.uk/
Singapore Association of Women Lawyers https://sawlsgp.org/
Women in Law Hong Kong https://www.wilhk.com/about-us

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, we applaud the firms for their efforts in promoting Diversity and Gender Equality:

Allen & Overy https://www.allenovery.com/en-gb/global/about_us/all_in/striving_for_a_better_gender_balance
Ashurst https://www.ashurst.com/en/about-us/responsible-business/diversity-and-inclusion/gender/
Baker McKenzie https://www.bakermckenzie.com/en/aboutus/diversity
Charltons https://www.charltonslaw.com/the-firm/diversity-equal-opportunities/
Clifford Chance https://www.cliffordchance.com/about_us/inclusion-and-diversity/gender.html
Debevoise & Plimpton https://women.debevoise.com/
DLA Piper https://www.dlapiper.com/da/singapore/focus/diversity-and-inclusion/gender/
Duane Morris https://www.duanemorris.com/practices/womens_impact_network_for_success.html
Gibson Dunn https://www.gibsondunn.com/diversity/women-of-gibson-dunn/
Herbert Smith Freehills https://www.herbertsmithfreehills.com/diversity-and-inclusion
Hogan Lovells https://www.hoganlovells.com/en/diversity/regions/asia-pacific
K & L Gates https://www.klgates.com/diversity
Latham & Watkins https://www.lw.com/AboutUs/WomenEnrichingBusiness
MinterEllison https://www.minterellison.com/about-us/gender-equality
Morrison Foerster https://www.mofo.com/culture/diversity/#aboutmofodiversity
Norton Rose Fulbright https://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/en-hk/about/diversity-and-inclusion/gender-balance
Paul Hastings https://csr.paulhastings.com/inclusive-leadership/
Proskauer Rose https://www.proskauer.com/diversity/womens-initiatives
Reed Smith https://www.reedsmith.com/en/winrs
Shearman & Sterling https://www.shearman.com/about-us/womens-initiatives
White & Case https://www.whitecase.com/diversity/advancing-women
Withers https://www.withersworldwide.com/en-gb/gender-equality

Boutiques target International Arbitration in Singapore

There have been a number of eyecatching moves in the Singapore international arbitration market over the past year, with senior partners making moves few would have predicted. At the turn of 2022 it was announced that partner Simon Dunbar and counsel Kevin Lim would be leaving international arbitration titans King & Spalding for diminutive Singapore boutique Gateway Law Corporation. Around the same time, Norton Rose Fulbright’s practice head KC Lye joined dispute resolution boutique Breakpoint LLC. PDLegal added Ashurst ADTLaw senior associate Cathryn Neo as an arbitration and China disputes partner. Three Crowns, the global international arbitration firm, launched its fifth office after hiring Shearman & Sterling office head Daryl Chew. In another blow to Singapore Biglaw, Jones Day head of arbitration Matthew Skinner left Singapore altogether to join Shearman & Sterling in London, but the local moves bear more scrutiny.

Singapore has, as been endlessly documented, long touted itself as the leading regional international arbitration centre, and with good reason. It is now one of the two most preferred international arbitration centres alongside London, and is constantly evolving and innovating to stay ahead, including the introduction of an integrated arbitration centre in Maxwell Chambers. It has also been leading the way in technological advancement as the world adapts to the pandemic. Disputes doyenne Lucy Reed was recently appointed as president of the SIAC and is looking forward to enhancing what has already been a well-oiled machine for decades.

What is interesting is the recent shift to local boutiques. In a split legal market, the Ministry of Law, keen to advance the city state’s status in international arbitration, had always allowed and encouraged international firms to lead the way in this market, bringing their own expertise, experience and credibility. It was the only form of dispute resolution open to international firms to practice and despite the emergence of some talented individuals in local firms, the international contingent continued to dominate the international arbitration landscape. These moves may be coincidental in their timing, or they could be an indication that the market is recognizing that smaller boutiques offer a more adaptable and agile platform, are less prone to exposure to conflicts, and are potentially more lucrative. Three Crowns is just one example of an international arbitration specialist firm formed in recent years and more similar launches in Singapore are to be expected; whether local firms follow a similar path will be interesting to observe. Biglaw may finally be facing a challenge to its hegemony.

Lawyers’ career planning during the pandemic

We are living in unprecedented times in many ways and legal career decisions have become even more pivotal. No matter if you are an experienced law practitioner planning a career transition, a new graduate navigating opportunities for the first time, or a law student seeking an internship, we would provide the following tips:

Think thoroughly

Covid-19 has taken away many treasurable things, but it has also given us something in return, time. If anyone is contemplating changing jobs, they should think thoroughly about their career goals and objectives. What type of job would you ideally want to be doing? Are you looking for a change of direction?

Keep your options open

Don’t just look at the past and your skills and apply this to the future. Broaden your horizons and explore job opportunities that you may not have previously considered, perhaps options in areas of the legal profession that are growing during the pandemic.

Learn about the changing legal market

Due to the pandemic, the legal industry is changing rapidly globally. Spend time reading the news or talking to legal professionals/agencies to be stay informed about the market; what practice areas will boom? For example, areas like employment law, safe working environments, dispute resolution, insolvency/bankruptcy and others have grown in response to this crisis.

Connect as usual

The pandemic has bred uncertainty, so connecting with your professional network even remotely is vital during this challenging time. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your peers or agencies. You can share experiences or brainstorm on new opportunities. You may be able to find hidden jobs by having conversations with people in the industry which reveal job vacancies that are not widely advertised or opportunistic hiring practices.

Time to learn

Throughout the pandemic, we have come to depend more heavily on technology, which is where legal professionals with legaltech experience and skills will excel. Junior lawyers can get ahead by mastering relevant skills. So, what do you need to do to become a tech-savvy lawyer? Look for how-to videos online, register for online courses, and read legal tech blogs to stay on top of trends and developments.

Don’t be discouraged

The devastation due to the pandemic has had a ripple effect on the whole world and brought many initiatives to a halt. Instead of doing nothing, make sure you maximise your time and be focused on what you can do, such as updating your resume, honing cover letters, developing personal connections, and online profiles to communicate your status. Remember that chances are more likely to be taken by those who are well prepared.

Take care

We are in surviving from a global crisis, so be good to yourself physically and mentally. Take time to rest, eat well, and exercise to make sure you are fit for the post-pandemic workplace. Be positive always and learn how to be more adaptable to different difficult situations in the future.

Career Paths for China-based Lawyers with Doreen Jaeger-Soong (Part 1)

Doreen Jaeger-Soong, Managing Director at Hughes-Castell, one of Asia’s leading executive search firms, has been an authority on the legal market in China for over 30 years. In this interview with Art Dicker from China Business Law Podcast, she discusses the different possible paths for lawyers and the choices they must make as they progress through their careers in China and shares those decades’ worth of wisdom using real-life hypotheticals on what she would recommend for different lawyers at different stages in their careers.

 

Doreen: Doreen Jaeger-Soong (Hughes-Castell, Managing Director)

Art: Art Dicker (R&P China Lawyers, Director)

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Art: Doreen is Principal and Managing Director of Hughes-Castell, a premier legal recruiting firm in Asia-Pacific that I myself have used before when I was Asia Pacific General Counsel at Cadence Design Systems, so I can personally vouch for you guys. You really know what you are doing, very thorough and very professional. So, it is a pleasure to have you on.

 

Doreen: Thank you very much. I am looking forward to sharing all my collected wisdom.

Art: Let us dive into it. So, today’s discussion focuses on career paths for lawyers in China. And I want to start with a more open-ended question, thinking about young lawyers as they are developing skills coming out of law school. So, Doreen, what are some of the big trends you see that might affect their development and what skills they start to develop early on in their careers?

 

Doreen: I do think that young lawyers coming out of law school should look at joining a firm with cross-border or international exposure, whether that is a Chinese law firm or a Chinese law firm attached to an international firm.  If they are lucky to join an international firm as a legal consultant, they will be able to gain experience in cross-border transactions. Apart from general corporate transactional skills, data privacy, antitrust and sanctions are important. These are areas where, if you go into the U.S. or even into Europe, you have to have a very good understanding of the geopolitical environment. Chinese enterprises are investing very heavily right now in South America and Africa and being exposed to that type of international work is essential, I think, for young lawyers who aspire to have a career that will be more than just a domestic one.

Art: I guess, presumably, that helps them then interact better with the clients they are working for and gets more contacts to that memo that they have to write, or that piece of advice, or those negotiations in which they are involved. So, building on that, for young associates who are thinking a step or two ahead and taking steps to start to build their own books of business with the idea of becoming partners someday, how early do people need to start thinking about that, and what are the things they need to think about when they are getting ready to do that?

Doreen: I think that, as long as they have joined a good Chinese law firm or any good international firm, they should focus the first 3 or 4 years on developing good drafting and communication skills. Learn how to communicate their ideas clearly, logically, and concisely. That is really important and always the first step.

Once they get beyond that and become a mid-level associate, they should start developing more. Obviously, everyone uses social media platforms here, whether it is in Weibo, WeChat, or whatever. But beyond that, being able to be more proactive in terms of developing your knowledge base by attending conferences and networking events is also important because you want to stay informed. You want to be able to hear what other people have to say, not live in a bubble. So I think that is very important as well in a social context because a good client relationship, I know for sure, is not that you think of the person as your client, but as someone, you personally are engaged with and care about, so they sense that too. And then that brings a degree of mutual benefit to each other because they will be more loyal to you, and you will want to deliver your best work for them. It builds a nice long-term relationship. So when they start off, in their first 4 or 5 years there may be interaction with the bankers or the analysts at their level. And that is great! They should socialize with them as much as possible.

I always tell my consultants in China to go out and have coffee with their candidates. I enjoy talking to my candidates; through conservations over time, they become no longer just a name at the end of an email or a voice at the end of the phone, but the person you have face-to-face or eye-to-eye contact with, so the relationship you build when you are already in your late 20s or early 30s will benefit you later in your career. This is important.

Art: That makes total sense, and people sometimes forget that your peers at those investment banks or private equity funds or so forth, you may think that they are junior and not involved in the decision-making now, but they are rising simultaneously with you through the ranks as well. And so when you are ready to become partner, they will probably be in a similar position.

A related question for young lawyers. Do you see some common mistakes they make at different stages, maybe in junior to mid-level and then mid-level to senior-level? You must have seen so many examples now, and you have seen things where they have come back and said, “Doreen, I really wish if I could have done that over again, I could have made a different choice.” Do you have any anonymous stories that you can share about that kind of situation?

Doreen: It surprises me how many young lawyers make career decisions and job choices without doing much due diligence on where they are going. And I think that is one of the fundamental mistakes a lot of people make because a lot of times when you are interviewing for a job, the person who interviews you is not going to show you the whole picture. So you should be, as I said, doing due diligence, doing research. What is the chatter? Is that person, that partner, tough to work with? Will they yell at you or not? Or are they a good mentor? So I think doing due diligence is the first thing I would advise you should do because I see far too many who change jobs within a year or less than two years after things don’t work out. And when you have a series of those kinds of short-term moves, anyone involved in hiring will say, why do they change jobs so often?

Art: I am sure a big part of it is they have not done their due diligence. There also seems to be an expectation for rapid promotion; maybe both in-house and law firms are more traditional in their lockstep kind of models. I always see this sort of impatience every two years: “I need a promotion, a significant raise every year.” I wonder if you ever think that it is sometimes a little short-sighted, where you are jumping from company to company instead of sticking it out at one company longer and building relationships with those people who are going to be your champions for your long-term development?

Doreen: Having talked to many corporations in the past 30 years, the view is that the average time it takes for you to settle into a company is 12 months. After 12 months, that is when you start actually to add value to the company. So if you leave shortly after that, then people will feel: “Well, I spent a year training that person for no reward,” and that doesn’t leave a good taste in anyone’s mouth. And I think that young people, young lawyers who are joining companies or firms should be thinking that they have been given this opportunity and they need to prove to the employer that it was worth it to give them this chance and deliver. It is also beneficial for them because when they do decide to make a move in 2 or 3 years’ time, there will be a good reference from the employer. I think that is important. When you are at a mid-level, when you are more like 5, 7 years PQE and you move as a senior legal counsel or something similar in a company, for example, you have to ask who you are reporting to, how long has that person been there? And if that person has been there for a long time, you should understand that is a good sign.

Art: Some people like a role that they are familiar with and comfortable with and run a bit on autopilot, and they have it very much down. They know the business inside and out. And some people are always looking for a new challenge. And some people, I think, don’t see, don’t think enough about their next step in their career. And just cruise on by and wake up and realize that there is some timeline or trend working against them that they didn’t think about. So I am wondering, and it is a very general and open-ended question, do you think people can stay too long in a role?

Doreen: I think that partly depends on the company. I have been with my company now for 33 years. It was 33 years last August, and my company has grown from being one with three consultants to eventually, at one point, over 20 in four locations. So when you join a corporation/company/law firm (I would say the corporation is maybe more relevant in this case), it has to be able to offer you development opportunities and let you grow as a person. That means you may spend 5 or 6 years as maybe a Head of Legal for China. And then perhaps, eventually, the company wants to make you a General Counsel for China, which includes the legal and compliance functions. Then, maybe they can offer you a chance to become the Asia Pacific General Counsel. You could even then, from there, be sent to the U.S or wherever the global headquarters are. I have seen that too, where my candidates have reached a position in China,  then they get sent to the U.S. or Europe, the head office, to spend a few years to further develop and get to know the head office better, and then be sent back into senior positions again. So when you find a company that can offer you those kinds of development opportunities, that is a company where you really can commit long-term.

I call all my placements my children, so I think about my children who are nowadays 20 plus years from their placement. One of them just celebrated 23 years at his company. I placed him there, and he is now the Global  General Counsel, and another one who just celebrated 27 years, she was the first lawyer they hired in Asia, and now the legal department in Asia is 25 people. So again, I think joining a company that can grow with you is essential. When I first started at Hughes-Castell, I was told that you have the responsibility of lawyers’ careers in your hands, you should never  encourage them to move without helping think through why they want that, because moving for lawyers is a big thing, and in those days, they could only afford maybe 2 or 3 moves in their career, otherwise, they look suspect. But, of course, that mentality is totally out the window now. People do change regularly, every 4 or 5 years, even senior lawyers. So I think that in a way, you are right; longevity can be viewed as a disadvantage.  If you have been sitting in the same role with more or less the same headcount of people under you for many years, you can be very comfortable, but it will be tough for you to find something else because other employers will say, your job hasn’t changed. Your team hasn’t grown. You are competent there, but maybe you won’t adjust to a new industry or a new environment. So that is a double-edged sword.

…….To Be Continued ……

Slowdown in recovery is real, but optimism is ahead

The ripple effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy and legal industry dominated 2021. We were happy to see legal hiring markets across the Asia Pacific rebound strongly in early 2021. However, the emergence of the Delta and Omicron variants saw a slowdown as we neared the end of the year.

That being said, Asia Pacific hiring markets remained relatively stable and only recorded a slight decrease (1%) compared to 2020. Australia, Hong Kong, and India grew, and Singapore remained at the same recruitment level. China is the only location that saw a significant drop.

Summer holidays, July to August, are traditionally a quiet time without significant moves. But, due to the lockdowns and travel restrictions, people stayed in their hometowns and worked as usual, and the number of hires in Q3 was the same as in Q2.

The most significant partner recruiters among international firms were Ashurst, Dentons, K&L Gates and White & Case, with Ashurst most actively hiring in Australia and Singapore.

Corporate practice is generally the busiest practice in the region and 2021 was no exception; Corporate hires constituted 30% of the key hires over the year. Also, Compliance/Regulatory/Risk and Projects/Construction/Infrastructure/Energy practices received significant growth in 2021.

Top Partner Recruiters in the Region

stat-1

  • The top 5 hiring firms were Ashurst (UK), Dentons (UK), IndusLaw (India), K&L Gates (US), and White & Case (US); they shared 13% of total key appointments in the region.
  • Breaking the mould was IndusLaw, the most active regional firm in our survey.
  • Most hires were in Corporate, Projects, Compliance, Restructuring, and Real Estate.

Appointments

stat-4

  • There was a 1% decrease in lateral hires in 2021 compared to 2020.
  • We witnessed a strong rebound in Q1 (up 64% compared to 2020) while Q2 remained equal to 2020.
  • However, the Covid-19 recurrence in the fall of 2021 accompanied a hiring decline in the region.
  • We observed a significant drop in Q4 (34% decrease compared to Q3 & Q2 and 50% down on Q1).

Locations 

stat-7

  • Australia, Hong Kong, and India saw growth in the number of key appointments compared to 2020 and Singapore more or less remained steady.
  • Despite a strong start in Q1 and Q2, China saw a substantial annual drop (52%) to 2020, especially in Q4.

Practices

  • In 2021, the top 5 hiring practices were Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets (1st), DR/Litigation/Arbitration/Crime (2nd), Projects/Construction/Infrastructure/Energy (3rd), IP/TMT (4th), and Compliance/Regulatory/Risk (5th).
  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices constituted 30% of the key hires in the 2021.
  • Compliance/Regulatory/Risk (5x) and Projects/Construction/Infrastructure/Energy (3x) received significant growth in 2021.
  • 31% of Projects/Construction/Infrastructure/Energy hires were made in Australia, 24% in Singapore and 18% in India.

Types

stat-13

  • Lateral hires dominated (83%) the partner appointments in 2021 and received a 5% increase compared to 2020.
  • We witnessed a growing tendency in lawyers rejoining former firms, going In-house and being part of team hire positions in 2021 compared to 2020.
  • By contrast, we saw a significant drop in internal promotions.

Legal Move Updates (Jan – Mar 2022)

Editor’s note: This is an ongoing list.

March 2021

30 March – Midosuji LPC (Tokyo, Japan)

Osaka-headquartered Midosuji LPC has hired intellectual property expert Kozo Yabe as a partner in Tokyo from Yuasa & Hara, where he worked for more than three decades.

Besides intellectual property, Yabe focuses on risk management including scandal response, digital technology, and international M&A. He is also an adjunct professor at the College of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

30 March – Kudun and Partners (Bangkok, Thailand)

Thai law firm Kudun and Partners has hired Thanyaluck (Bee) Thongrompo as a partner in the firm’s corporate and M&A practice from accounting firm PKF Tax and Consulting Services.

Thanyaluck specialises in permits, licences, regulatory and compliance work. With more than 18 years of experience – including stints at consulting firms Bolliger & Company and KPMG, and law firms DFDL and Bryan Cave – she also advises on company formation, M&A and due diligence, tax exemptions, personal data protection, IP, and banking services. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

30 March – Clyde & Co (Singapore, Singapore)

Clyde & Co has hired regulatory and investigations lawyer Weiyi Tan as a partner in Singapore from Harry Elias Partnership.

Tan, who started her career at Drew & Napier, spent more than a decade at Baker McKenzie, leaving that firm in 2018 as a partner. She joined Harry Elias in early 2020.

With experience in investigations into corruption, money laundering, employee misconduct, fraud, and other white-collar offences, Tan assists clients with the response to enforcement and regulatory authorities in the context of government investigations.

In addition to compliance, Tan also has expertise in litigation and arbitration, and has been appointed to the panels of the Singapore Mediation Centre and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/

28 March – King & Wood Mallesons (Melbourne, Australia)

King & Wood Mallesons has hired intellectual property partner Kate Hay from Australian corporate firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Melbourne-based Hay has over 20 years of experience in multi-jurisdictional patent, copyright and trademark litigation, and consumer protection litigation, and was head of IP at Corrs. (from http://www.law.com)

24 March – L&L Partners (Mumbai, India)

India’s L&L Partners has added Ashutosh Narang as a partner in its corporate practice in Mumbai from financial services platform Capital India Finance, where he was general counsel and head of the legal and compliance team.

Narang joined Capital India Finance in 2018 from law firm Link Legal, where he was a partner. He previously worked at AZB & Partners and Wadia Ghandy.

Over a 17-year career, Narang has focused on fintech, digital lending & payments, derivative contracts, structured finance, debt capital market, venture capital and private equity, merger & acquisitions, general corporate transactions, and related advisory. His clients have included funds, corporates, banks, and other financial entities. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/

24 March – King & Wood Mallesons (Perth, Australia)

Asia’s top-tier International Law Firm King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is investing in its vision for connecting Western Australia to Asia, announcing the appointment of four leading practitioners to the Partnership – Lorenzo Pacitti, Peter Vaughan, Antonella Pacitti and Roger Davies.

Lorenzo and Peter are recognised as top practitioners in the energy and resources sector, with decades of experience and were former Global co-heads of Mining and Oil & Gas, respectively. Their appointments late last year further strengthened the already market-leading KWM resources sector team, and their deep experience across the Asia-Pacific Region adds an additional dimension of capability and connectivity across KWM’s top-tier footprint in the region.

This depth will be perfectly complemented with the addition of corporate dealmakers Antonella Pacitti, and the tremendously experienced Roger Davies. Both Roger and Antonella are recognised leaders in corporate Mergers & Acquisitions and Equity Capital Markets transactions, built on an enviable deal track record of working together to deliver for clients. (from https://www.kwm.com/

23 March – Khaitan & Co (Singapore, Singapore)

Khaitan & Co, India’s second-largest firm, has added a third partner to its Singapore office, which opened in August last year. Dispute resolution lawyer Kartikey Mahajan joins from the Mumbai office of Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (SAM), where he was a counsel.

Mahajan becomes Khaitan’s first dispute resolution partner in Singapore. The other partners in the office are Anuj Shah, who specializes in M&A and private client work, and Karun Cariappa, a former head of the India practice at Morgan Lewis Stamford.

In an interview with ALB in July last year, Haigreve Khaitan, senior partner at Khaitan, talked about how dispute resolution would be one of the Singapore office’s areas of focus. “International arbitration has become a preferred mode of dispute resolution, with Singapore-seated arbitrations getting an ever-growing lion’s share of that market,” he said. “Today, a majority of SIAC cases involve an Indian party, and many of the disputed contracts are governed by Indian laws. There’s room for us to add even more value to our clients on such matters through our Singapore office, in collaboration with local and global firms.”

Prior to joining SAM in January last year, Mahajan worked with King & Spalding and Kirkland & Ellis in London, and Clifford Chance in Singapore. He has more than 10 years of experience in arbitrations governed by the rules of ICSID, ICC, LCIA, SIAC, HKIAC, AAA and GAFTA. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

22 March – Ashurst (Perth, Australia)

Global law firm Ashurst has appointed three partners for its projects and corporate teams in Perth, all of whom are joining from BigLaw rival Norton Rose Fulbright.

Paul Lingard, Miriam D’Souza and Jessica Davies are set to join Ashurst’s office in Perth as part of the global firm’s plans to further develop its focus on the energy and resources sectors.

Mr Lingard was, most recently, the co-head of NRF’s energy group in Asia-Pacific and co-head of energy, infrastructure and resources in Australia. He has been a partner at NRF since 2018, prior to which he was a partner at Clifford Chance and King & Wood Mallesons.

Ms D’Souza has been a partner at NRF for three and a half years, prior to which she spent nearly 16 years at Herbert Smith Freehills. She currently serves as a director of the Australian Gender Equality Council.

Ms Davies has been a partner at NRF for three years and three months, before which she worked at Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, King & Wood Mallesons and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in New York. (from https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/

21 March – Ashurst (Melbourne, Australia)

Law firm Ashurst has launched a superannuation offering, combining legal, regulatory and risk expertise, with the firm hiring to lead the offering.

Ashurst appointed superannuation lawyer Scott Charaneka as partner. He joins from Thomson Geer where he was head of superannuation and wealth management from 2014. (from https://www.financialstandard.com.au)

21 March – Clifford Chance (Perth, Australia)

Clifford Chance has hired a major projects and contentious construction partner to join its Perth, Australia, practice as clients’ transition to renewable energy, creating a need for risk mitigation strategies.

Spencer Flay, who joins from Corrs Chambers Westgarth, has 20 years of experience and advises developers, principals, project sponsors and contractors on dispute management and resolution arising from projects in the natural resources, oil and gas, and infrastructure development sectors. (from https://www.law.com

17 March – Anthony Siu & Co (Hong Kong, China)

Hong Kong firm Anthony Siu & Co, PRC firm Jia Yuan Law Offices’ association firm in the city, has hired Bonita Chan, an expert in commercial litigation and arbitration, as a partner from Ince.

With more than 25 years of experience, Chan focuses on cross-border dispute resolution, international arbitration, shareholder and company disputes, banking and securities-related litigation, white-collar crime, and contentious regulatory matters.

Chan joined Ince in August 2020 from Han Kun Law Offices’ Hong Kong association firm. Prior to that, she was an of counsel at K&L Gates from 2016 to 2017. She had also worked as at Hong Kong local firm Hastings & Co. for more than eight years starting from 2007. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

15 March – Kirkland & Ellis (Hong Kong, China)

Kirkland & Ellis has hired another partner for its Hong Kong office. Peng Yu joins the firm from Ropes & Gray, where he was a partner and had practiced for over a decade.

Yu advises private equity firms and corporate clients on buyouts, take privates, growth capital investments, divestitures, joint ventures and private investment in public equity (PIPE) deals. (from http://www.law.com)

10 March – Saraf and Partners (Delhi, India)

India’s Saraf and Partners has expanded its projects, regulatory and litigation team in Delhi with the addition of Alok Shankar as a partner from HSA Advocates.

Founded last July following a split from L&L Partners, Saraf has been growing steadily. Last month, it expanded its competition law and data privacy practice with the hire of Akshayy S Nanda from Trilegal.

A former lawyer at Luthra & Luthra Law Offices – later to become L&L, Shankar is an expert in regulatory and general disputes in the power and energy sector, mining, aviation, and disputes relating to contractual agreements/ constitutional rights. He joined HSA in May last year, after spending three years at Advaita Legal. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/

10 March – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Hong Kong, China)

Capital markets specialist Howie Farn has joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as a partner in Hong Kong from Kirkland & Ellis.

Farn’s practice focuses on capital markets transactions, including pre-IPO and post-IPO financings and investments, as well as various general corporate and regulatory matters related to U.S. securities law. He was a counsel at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett prior to joining Kirkland. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/

10 March – IndusLaw (Mumbai, India)

India’s IndusLaw has hired dispute resolution expert Soura Subha Ghosh as a partner in Mumbai from Hariani & Co.

Ghosh has more than 15 years of experience in commercial civil litigation, dispute resolution, arbitration, mediation, and conciliation. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/

9 March – Ropes & Gray (Hong Kong, China)

Ropes & Gray, a market-leading law firm in Asia, serving clients across the region, announced today that asset management partner Vincent Ip has been named the managing partner of the firm’s Hong Kong office, effective April 1.

Vince succeeds Dan Anderson as part of the firm’s periodic leadership rotation. Dan has been the firm’s Hong Kong managing partner for five years, and will continue to play a senior role and lead the firm’s restructuring and special situations practice in Asia. (from https://www.ropesgray.com/)

3 March – Kirkland & Ellis (Hong Kong, China)

Brian Ho, a former executive director of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), will join Kirkland & Ellis in August as a partner in its transactional practice.

At the SFC, Ho oversaw takeovers and mergers regulations and listing policy matters. He was also a member of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited’s Listing Nominating Committee, before retiring in August last year.

With the addition of Ho, Kirkland will have 32 partners in Hong Kong. Since last year, the office has seen the exits of M&A partner Xiaoxi Lin to Linklaters, financial restructuring specialist Daniel Margulies to Dechert, corporate partner Michael D. Rackham to Latham & Watkins in Singapore, and capital markets expert Li-Chien Wong to HKEx. It also welcomed back Mengyu Lu from Sidley Austin. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

3 March – Reed Smith (Singapore, Singapore)

Reed Smith has hired Bryan Tan as a partner in Singapore from Pinsent Masons MPillay, where he was head of its technology, media, and telecommunications practice.

Joining Tan in the move to Reed Smith are Pinsent Masons associates Nathanael Lim and Bernice Tian.

With over 20 years legal experience, Tan focuses on TMT transactions, as well as on venture capital investments, cryptocurrency projects, cyber security, data protection and digital trade facilitation matters.

Prior to joining Pinsent Masons in 2013, Tan spent nine years at Singapore boutique Keystone Law Corporation, a firm that he founded. He has also worked at Rajah & Tann, Baker McKenzie, and Allen & Gledhill. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

3 March – Johnson Winter & Slattery (Brisbane, Australia)

Australian firm Johnson Winter & Slattery has poached the partner-in-charge of Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s Brisbane office, a lawyer who specializes in technology, media and telecommunications, as the firm continues to tap into Australia’s booming tech sector.

Helen Clarke, who will join the firm’s Brisbane office on Monday, was also a member of Corrs’ diversity and inclusion council. (from http://www.law.com)

3 March – White & Case (Tokyo, Japan)

U.S. firm White & Case has hired Kristian Bradshaw as a local partner in its project development and finance practice in Tokyo. He recently held an in-house role at Japanese oil company INPEX Corporation.

Bradshaw, who has worked in London, Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, focuses on energy transition matters including renewable energy power projects, hydrogen projects and clean tech-related technologies investments.

Prior to joining INPEX Corporation, Bradshaw worked with law firms Allen & Overy, Ashurst, and Herbert Smith Freehills. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

3 March – Gadens (Sydney, Australia)

Australian law firm Gadens has hired five lawyers, including a partner from K&L Gates and two special counsel from Norton Rose Fulbright, as it expands its partnership in Sydney and Melbourne.

Savannah Hardingham joins from K&L Gates, where she was an intellectual property partner.

She has experience in the protection, management, exploitation and enforcement of IP rights, including trademarks, copyright and designs and is also experienced in matters relating to the misuse of confidential information, passing off and misleading and deceptive conduct, Gadens said. (from https://bombuzz.xyz/

3 March – Carey Olsen (Singapore, Singapore)

Offshore firm Carey Olsen has hired Tom Katsaros as a consultant in Singapore from rival Maples Group, where he was the head of the firm’s funds and investment management team in the city-state.

Katsaros, who worked with Maples for nearly 14 years across two stints, advises on corporate and commercial law, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and financing transactions.

After initially spending four years at Maples’ Cayman and Channel Islands offices, Katsaros rejoined the firm when it opened its Singapore office in 2012, following a spell at Adelaide’s Kain Corporate and Commercial Lawyers.

Katsaros’ clients include large financial institutions and investment funds sponsors, as well as boutique and start-up investment managers. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

1 March – Baker McKenzie (Hong Kong, China)

Baker McKenzie continues the rapid growth of its Hong Kong transactional practice with the hire of senior capital markets specialist Thomas Tarala as partner. Thomas brings a wealth of transactional experience to the Firm and will be advising clients on public offerings, private placements of debt and equity securities, secondary offerings, and securitization. This latest hire builds on the recent appointment of Capital Markets partner Victoria Lloyd in July 2021 and virtual asset specialist Joy Lam in January 2022.

Thomas has broad experience in both equity capital markets (ECM) and debt capital markets (DCM) transactions, M&A (including leveraged acquisitions and disposals of private and public companies), funds formation, loans, corporate restructurings, as well as litigation and regulatory issues. As a senior practitioner with over 25 years of experience, he has worked with investment banks, intermediaries and major corporations in Hong Kong SAR, Mainland China, Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States, and he is well-versed in SEC-registered offerings and offerings pursuant to Regulation S and Rule 144A. (from https://www.bakermckenzie.com/

February 2021

28 February – Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney, Australia)

Herbert Smith Freehills has poached two financial services partners from top-tier local firm MinterEllison as it seeks opportunities to work with pension funds.

Maged Girgis and Andrew Bradley will join the firm’s Sydney office. (from http://www.law.com)

28 March – Morgan Lewis (Singapore, Singapore)

Morgan Lewis has launched its Singapore tax practice offering with the hire of a new tax partner, Kai Lee Lau, who joins the firm from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

In addition to his title as partner at Morgan Lewis, Lau will also become a director at the firm’s merged Singapore brand, Morgan Lewis Stamford. (from http://www.law.com)

28 February – Shearman & Sterling (Hong Kong, China)

Global law firm Shearman & Sterling today announces the appointment of Wanda Woo as a Capital Markets partner in Hong Kong. Her return to Shearman & Sterling adds to its capital markets offering in the Asian market, further strengthening the firm’s global platform.

Wanda brings extensive experience advising on capital markets transactions in Hong Kong including initial public offerings, share placings, rights offerings and bond offerings, as well as regulatory and compliance matters. Her clients include leading investment banks and companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Wanda has also advised clients on mergers and acquisitions transactions under Hong Kong law. Prior to joining Shearman & Sterling, Wanda was a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. (from https://www.shearman.com/news-and-events/)

24 February – PDLegal (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore boutique PDLegal has hired disputes expert Cathryn Neo as a partner in the firm’s international arbitration and China practices from Ashurst ADTLaw, where she was a senior associate.

Neo focuses on international arbitration, insolvency and restructuring, and mediation in the financial, energy and construction sectors. She also assists clients in managing cross-border litigation before Australian, Brunei and Indonesian courts. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/

24 February – AZB & Partners (Mumbai, India)

India’s AZB & Partners has welcomed back Nandish Vyas as a senior partner in Mumbai from Veritas Legal.

Vyas has focused on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, general corporate and private equity matters for more than 15 years.

He began his legal career with AZB in 2006, and was with the firm for close to a decade. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

24 February – Trilegal (Mumbai, India)

When Nishant Parikh and Sridhar Gorthi were elected co-managing partners of Indian law firm Trilegal, they had grand plans for the firm’s strategic direction. What they didn’t count on, though, was that by April 2020, when their new roles took effect, they would be neck-deep in crisis management.

Trilegal became the second Indian firm to democratically elect new co-managing partners. The industry in India is made up of predominantly family-led firms, but Parikh, Trilegal’s former head of corporate, and Gorthi, a co-founding partner, were chosen by the firm’s partners to lead its operations when the two founding managing partners stepped down from the top leadership role at the end of March 2020. At that time, 55-partner Trilegal already had an elected management committee that comprised Gorthi, Parikh and the firm’s other co-founding partners, Rahul Matthan, Karan Singh and Akshay Jaitly. (from http://www.law.com)

24 February – Herbert Smith Freehills (Singapore, Singapore)

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has added capital markets specialist Xavier Amadei as a partner in Singapore from Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow.

Amadei is HSF’s second partner hire in a matter of weeks: Project finance specialist Rupert Baker recently re-joined the firm as a partner in Singapore from the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group.

An expert in equity, debt and equity-linked offerings, Amadei joined Baker McKenzie in 2019. Prior to that, he spent nearly 15 years at Linklaters in the U.S., Hong Kong, and Singapore. He was previously at White & Case. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/

17 February – Dentons (Tokyo, Japan)

Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, announces that Aragon St-Charles has been appointed as the Firm’s first Global Head of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG).

Aragon will work with Dentons’ global leadership team and Global Board to design and implement the Firmwide ESG strategy, bringing together critically important efforts across the Firm, while coordinating with Stephen Shergold, Chair of the Firm’s Global ESG Steering Committee, responsible for developing market-leading ESG products and services for Dentons’ clients. (from https://www.dentons.com)

17 February – Three Crowns (Singapore, Singapore)

Global arbitration law firm Three Crowns has launched an office in Singapore with the hire of Shearman & Sterling’s Singapore office head Daryl Chew.

Singapore will be Three Crowns’ first Asian outfit. Launched in 2014, the firm also has offices in London, Paris, Washington D.C. and Bahrain, and counts 64 lawyers including 15 partners globally.

Chew joins Three Crowns as office managing partner along with Shearman & Sterling associate, Shaun Pereira. He will also be joined by Three Crowns Paris partner Simon Elliot and London counsel Penny Martin, both of whom will transfer from their respective locations. (from https://www.law.com)

17 February – HKEx (Hong Kong, China)

The Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Market (HKEx) has hired Kirkland & Ellis partner Li-Chien Wong as managing director and co-head of IPO vetting.

Wong is expected to join HKEx in March. She will report to HKEx’s Head of Listing, Bonnie Chan, and work closely with the other co-head, Stephanie Lau to oversee all issuer listing applications.

Wong has had a 25-year career in practice, focusing on corporate and capital markets. Prior to joining Kirkland, she was with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Sidley Austin. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

16 February – Jones Day (Brisbane, Australia)

International law firm Jones Day has hired partner Dan Howard from Australian firm Clayton Utz to join its energy practice in Brisbane. (from https://www.law.com)

14 February – McDermott Will & Emery  (Singapore, Singapore)

International law firm McDermott Will & Emery announced today the appointment of Clarinda Tjia-Dharmadi as the Asia Chair of the Transactions Practice to lead the Pan-Asian build out of its energy and infrastructure practice. Based in Singapore, Clarinda adds a wealth of experience in projects and finance to a strong pre-existing corporate and finance team covering the entire region.

She joins from Latham & Watkins where she was a former Global Co-Chair of the firm’s Power Industry Group and launched its Women Enhancing Business initiative across Asia.

Clarinda specialises in international project development and finance and has over two decades of experience in advising, developers, sponsors, commercial lenders, multilateral agencies, export credit agencies and governments on a wide range of projects, including many of Asia’s landmark power, oil & gas, petrochemicals, infrastructure and mining projects. (from https://www.mwe.com)

13 February – Hall & Wilcox (Sydney, Australia)

Australian firm taps into infrastructure boom with international partner poaching. Hall & Wilcox has hired real estate Jennifer Degotardi and a team of three other lawyers from K&L Gates. (from http://www.law.com)

13 February – MinterEllison (Sydney, Australia)

MinterEllison appoints Simon Harvey as partner in infrastructure, construction and property practice, Simon has over 20 years’ experience as an infrastructure development and construction lawyer, with extensive experience advising on global energy (including renewable energy), water and other infrastructure projects.

Simon joins MinterEllison from Reed Smith, Dubai, where he led the transactional infrastructure practice. His international experience also extends to working in the Russian Federation, as well as advising on projects across the Middle East and Central Europe. (from https://www.minterellison.com)

10 February – Saraf and Partners (Delhi, India)

India’s Saraf and Partners has hired Akshayy S Nanda as a partner in the firm’s competition law and data privacy practice in Delhi from Trilegal.

Nanda joins Saraf and Partners, established in July last year, as the firm continues to bulk up. In October, Saraf hired real estate partners Sachit Mathur, Ajay Bhadu, and Astha Singh Trehan in Delhi, and banking and finance partner Sagar Manju in Mumbai in October.

Nanda, who has nearly 15 years of experience, advises clients on competition law issues including cartel enforcement, abuse of dominance, merger control, leniency applications, competition law audits, and compliance. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/

10 February – Watson Farley & Williams (Hong Kong, China)

London-headquartered Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has hired Jonathan Silver, an expert in assets and structured finance, as a partner in its Hong Kong office from offshore law firm Maples Group.

A former head of the North Asia shipping practice at Norton Rose Fulbright, Silver has more than 18 years of experience advising on general banking and finance matters, working capital loans, syndicated and bilateral lending, secured lending, structured trade and commodity finance, debt capital markets and alternative finance. He also advises on the debt financing of ships, ship sale-and-leaseback lease finance, sale and purchase of ships, and other commercial shipping contracts.

Silver joined Maples in 2019 after nearly 15 years at Norton Rose across two spells on either side of a stint as partner at independent Hong Kong law firm Howse Williams (then known as Howse Williams Bowers) between 2013 and 2014. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/

10 February – Mourant (Hong Kong, China)

Offshore firm Mourant has added disputes and insolvency lawyer Michael Popkin as a partner to its litigation team in Hong Kong from rival Campbells, where he was a counsel.

Popkin, who has close to three decades of legal experience, advises clients on contentious issues arising out of investment and commercial disputes.

Prior to joining Campbells, Popkin worked for more than a decade with Allens in Australia, and also had stints at Siam Premier International Law Office and DFDL in Thailand and Cambodia, respectively. (from https://au.legalbusinessonline.com/)

10 February – LawPlus (Bangkok, Thailand)

Corporate lawyer Paul Westover has joined Thai firm LawPlus as a partner in Bangkok from Stephenson Harwood, where he previously led the Greater China corporate group.

Westover spent about 25 years at Stephenson Harwood in two spells on either side of a stint at Hong Kong’s Tanner de Witt between 2005 and 2010. He advises on corporate/commercial matters in Asia with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, specifically cross border, joint ventures, private equity and inward investment into the region. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

10 February – Herbert Smith Freehills (Singapore, Singapore)

Leading international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has hired Rupert Baker as partner, adding specialist Asia project finance expertise as part of its broader expansion of that practice within the region.

A firm alumnus, Rupert advises sponsors, investors and financiers on all aspects of project financing in Asia Pacific. This includes financing greenfield projects and brownfield asset refinancing as well as financing related aspects of secondary market acquisitions.

He worked most recently at SoftBank Group Corp. as Senior Counsel and Head of Legal, Project Finance & Energy. (from https://www.herbertsmithfreehills.com

9 February – Lander & Rogers (Sydney, Australia)

Growing corporate law firm Lander & Rogers has poached the founder and leader of KPMG’s commercial law practice, David Morris, as the exodus of leading lawyers from the big four consultancies continues.

Three senior lawyers from Mr Morris’ mergers and acquisitions team at KPMG are also jumping ship to Landers, signalling the law firm’s aggressive growth of both its Sydney office and its broader M&A and equity capital markets practices. (from https://www.afr.com/

8 February – Herbert Smith Freehills (Melbourne, Australia)

Leading law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has signed up PwC partner Cameron Whittfield for its technology practice.

The move has been revealed internally at HSF, but it has yet to be announced to the market and his profile remains on PwC’s website.

Whittfield, who takes on his new role in March, will help drive the firm’s global ambitions in the technology, cyber security and digital space. He is the second partner to join HSF’s technology arm in Australia this year. (from https://www.afr.com/

8 February- White & Case (Sydney, Australia)

Global law firm White & Case LLP has expanded its Global Project Development and Finance Practice with the addition of partner Joanne Emerson Taqi in Sydney.

Joanne is a project development lawyer with experience advising on a wide range of construction and project agreements in the infrastructure, utilities and real estate sectors. She advises on all types of developments, including commercial, industrial, domestic, public private partnerships and all forms of contracts, including the FIDIC and NEC suite of agreements and the Australian Standards. Joanne brings more than 20 years’ experience and joins White & Case from Norton Rose Fulbright, where she was a partner. (from https://www.whitecase.com/

8 February – Rita Ku & Solicitors (Hong Kong, China)

Sharon Ser, a senior regional partner at Withers specialising in divorce and family law, has announced that she will join recently launched Hong Kong boutique firm Rita Ku & Solicitors (RKS).

RKS, which specialises in family law, was established by Rita Ku, a former partner at Withers. Joining Ku in her new venture are four former Withers associates.

In a LinkedIn post, Ser wrote: “Later this year I will join Rita Ku in her HK boutique life solutions family law firm, where I will be able to combine my legal career with a growing commitment to charitable work. I was Rita’s mentor some 20 years ago and she became a long-time friend and business partner.” (from https://au.legalbusinessonline.com/)

7 February – K&L Gates (Melbourne, Australia)

Global law firm K&L Gates continues to grow its Australian labour, employment and workplace safety team with the addition of partner Dominic Fleeton, who returns to K&L Gates’ Melbourne office from Kingston Reid.

An experienced safety and industrial relations lawyer and litigator, Fleeton works across a range of industries, including construction, to help clients achieve their goals, and is known for his ability to balance the robust pursuit and defence of claims and the management of clients’ reputational outcomes. (from https://www.klgates.com)

4 February – MinterEllison (Sydney, Australia)

MinterEllison is delighted to welcome new Partner, Amela McPherson, to the Finance Solutions team. Amela has over 15 years of experience specialising in finance across top tier law firms and within major financial institutions. A MinterEllison alumnus, she re-joins MinterEllison after several years in the inhouse legal team at Westpac Institution Bank.

Amela, who is based in Sydney, brings her experience in corporate lending, leveraged finance and corporate finance, alongside project and real estate finance. (from https://www.minterellison.com)

4 February – Johnson Winter & Slattery (Sydney, Australia)

Leading independent law firm Johnson Winter & Slattery has bolstered its tax practice with the lateral hires of two new partners in Sydney, Matthew Shanahan and Annemarie Wilmore.

Infrastructure and projects tax specialist Matthew Shanahan joined the team on 1 January 2022 from Deloitte, where he was a partner. Matthew is widely recognised as one of the “go to” infrastructure tax specialists in the Australian market. He brings more than 22 years’ experience advising large corporates on infrastructure, M&A, property, funds management, banking, tax disputes and international tax matters, gained through his experience in professional services firms and working in a leading infrastructure advisory team at an international investment bank.

Annemarie Wilmore specialises in tax dispute resolution, bringing 17 years’ experience. She has advised on high-profile tax disputes and litigation for a range of clients, including those in the resources, technology, infrastructure and pharmaceutical sectors. Annemarie’s expertise includes advising clients at all stages of a tax dispute, from an initial assessment of tax risk in potential transactions through to reviews, audits, objections and appeals. She joined the firm on Monday 17 January 2022 from KPMG Law where she was Director in its Tax Controversy Team, and has previously worked at PwC and the ATO. (from https://jws.com.au/) 

3 February – Gilbert + Tobin (Sydney, Australia)

Gilbert + Tobin has appointed one of the world’s leading climate change lawyers, Ilona Millar, as a partner in its Banking + Projects practice.
Ilona joins from Baker McKenzie, where she was a partner and global head of the Climate Change Practice. She has extensive experience in advising on carbon market transactions and helping clients respond to climate change risks and opportunities.

Ilona’s recruitment strengthens G+T’s reputation as a leading Australian advisor on all legal aspects of climate change and ESG matters. It positions G+T to be the go-to firm for carbon markets transactions, decarbonisation and energy transition projects, climate risk governance and climate litigation. (from https://www.gtlaw.com.au/)

3 February – Herbert Smith Freehills (Brisbane, Australia)

Herbert Smith Freehills is pleased to announce the appointment of Kathryn Pacey as a partner in the firm’s market-leading Real Estate practice in Brisbane.

Kathryn, who starts at Herbert Smith Freehills in early February, joins from Clayton Utz where she has been a partner for 10 years. At Clayton Utz, Kathryn was the National Practice Group Leader of the Environment and Planning team.

Kathryn specialises in environmental assessment, major project approvals, incident management and compliance, planning litigation and regulatory issues. She also has extensive experience in managing investigations and assisting clients on environmental issues arising from M&A transactions.  (from https://www.herbertsmithfreehills.com)

2 February – Allens (Sydney, Australia)

Allens has appointed Ellen Thomas as a Partner in its tax practice, strengthening the practice’s expertise in mergers and acquisitions and finance transactions.

Over her 20 year career, Ellen has advised on a range of domestic and international M&A transactions, corporate restructures, post-acquisition integrations, international tax planning, distressed debt transactions, infrastructure investments and financial arrangements.

Ellen’s appointment will support the firm’s growth strategy and is an important step in growing the tax practice. Ellen joins Allens from PWC where she was a partner and head of the PwC Tax Deals Team.  (from https://www.allens.com.au/)

2 February – Allen & Overy (Perth, Australia)

Allen & Overy has announced Derek Chia as the new Head of the Advanced Delivery Centre in Australia, which is due to open in the second quarter of 2022.

Derek, a senior Australian legal practitioner, joins A&O from Herbert Smith Freehills and will lead a team of associates and legal support professionals, providing high quality, cost-efficient support to Allen & Overy legal teams around the world.

The new centre, to be based in Perth, Western Australia, will provide technology-enabled support on areas such as due diligence, document review, eDiscovery, regulatory-filings, as well as general transaction support and management.

The new centre will comprise senior associates, associates and legal support professionals, as well as dedicated project management and eDiscovery specialists and will build on the success of A&O Belfast, which opened in 2011. The team will integrate seamlessly with the Belfast office, providing increased language and legal skills, increased capacity and broader time-zone coverage for A&O’s network. (from https://www.allenovery.com/)

January 2021

31 January – Wotton + Kearney (New Zealand)

Native Insurance coverage agency poaches 18 legal professionals from DLA Piper in New Zealand.

Specialist insurance coverage agency Wotton + Kearney has poached an 18-strong crew from DLA Piper in New Zealand to turn into the biggest insurance coverage and dispute decision agency within the nation.

The crew, together with companions Peter Leman, Caroline Laband and Misha Henaghan, will be a part of the agency on Tuesday. (from https://investidollar.com/)

31 January – Ashurst (Sydney, Australia)

Ashurst is already ranked as a leading firm in Financial Regulation in Australia, having been recognised by Chambers with a Band 1 ranking for many years. The appointment of Narelle reflects Ashurst’s commitment to leading the market in this area.

With three decades of experience in financial services regulation, Narelle is widely recognised as a leader in the field. She has advised both domestic and international financial services providers on regulatory compliance, investigations and enforcement proceedings and M&A transactions in the financial sector.

Narelle’s experience extends to financial services, credit, privacy, anti-money laundering, fraud, bribery and corruption. She has overseen complex, large-scale, multi-faceted investigations, devised effective remediation programs, and managed the regulatory issues arising on financial services projects and corporate transactions.

With a client base encompassing the leading banks, BNPL providers, other financiers, payment service providers and technology companies, Narelle has acted on many regulatory firsts. She is a longstanding advisor to the Reserve Bank, which she has advised on payment systems reform for almost 20 years. (from https://www.ashurst.com/)

31 January – Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Sydney, Australia)

Australian law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth has tightened its grip on rival Allen & Overy’s banking and finance team, securing another pair of senior lawyers.

Corrs boss Gavin MacLaren told staff on Monday afternoon that the firm had hired James Abbott and Simon Huxley, both Allen & Overy partners, to work alongside their former colleague and new Corrs recruit Adam Stapledon.

MacLaren told staff that Abbott specialised in project, corporate and acquisition financings, including in the energy, resources and infrastructure sectors, while Huxley specialised in construction and commercial matters including complex project finance and M&A matters. (from https://www.afr.com/)

28 January – Rita Ku & Solicitors (Hong Kong, China)

Highly regarded litigator Rita Ku has left Withers’ Hong Kong office after more than 11 years to set up her own family law boutique, taking a trio of associates with her.

Ku, who has been a partner at Withers since 2012, said on LinkedIn she was ‘delighted to embark on a new journey with the establishment of my firm, Rita Ku & Solicitors (RKS).’

Senior associate Elaine Chung and associates Natalie Leong and Sarina Cheung have moved over from Withers alongside her, with the rest of RKS’ team made up of senior associate Sindy Wong, who has joined from HSBC but before that was also an associate at Withers, and client solutions director Leo Leung. (from https://www.globallegalpost.com/

27 January – Jones Day (Melbourne, Australia)

The global law firm Jones Day has announced that Lisa Taliadoros has been appointed Partner-in-Charge of its Melbourne Office. Ms. Taliadoros joined Jones Day’s Sydney Office in 2010, and in 2018 returned to Melbourne, her home town, to assist in establishing Jones Day’s fourth Australian office. She was appointed as Australian Chair of the Jones Day Global Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement Committee in 2015.

Ms. Taliadoros has led the Intellectual Property Practice in Australia since 2018. The practice was recently ranked as a leader in the Chambers and Partners 2022 Asia-Pacific Guide.

Ms. Taliadoros’ practice focuses on global intellectual property disputes, including in relation to patents, trademarks, copyright, and consumer law/passing off. In particular, she acts in the Australian and New Zealand chapters of multijurisdictional patent litigation in relation to pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices, including in a number of landmark High Court cases. She also advises clients on intellectual property issues in high-value international corporate transactions across a range of sectors including energy and resources, banking, consumer products, and healthcare. (from https://www.jonesday.com/)

27 January – Peter & Kim (Seoul, Korea)

International disputes firm Peter & Kim has hired arbitration expert Seokchun Yun as a partner in Seoul from Kim & Chang.

Yun’s practice focuses on cross-border arbitration and litigation, international trade, international taxation, and shareholder disputes. He joined Kim & Chang in May 2020 as a partner from fellow Korean Big Six firm Bae Kim & Lee (BKL). (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

25 January – Milbank (Seoul, Korea)

Milbank LLP is pleased to announce that David K. Cho, one of the leading corporate and M&A lawyers focused on South Korea, has joined the firm as a partner in the firm’s Global Corporate Group. Temporarily based in Los Angeles, Mr. Cho will ultimately be based in the firm’s Seoul’s office where he will lead the office as Managing Partner. Mr. Cho will be joined by special counsel Spencer Park and associates Amos Yoo and Susan Yoon.

Mr. Cho’s market-leading practice focuses on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, as well as other corporate finance and capital market transactions including public offerings registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Rule 144A / Regulation S offerings. Mr. Cho has extensive experience working with multinational clients, including major Asian companies, on international transactions spanning a wide array of sectors, such as private equity, ESG, technology, life-sciences, manufacturing and energy. (from https://www.milbank.com/)

25 January – DLA Piper (Melbourne, Australia)

Global law firm DLA Piper has today confirmed the appointment of Sallie Bowtell as a Melbourne-based partner in our real estate practice.

Sallie is joining from Moray & Agnew, where she specialises in major property projects, acting for institutional developers, foreign investors and developers, and listed and unlisted property trusts. (from https://www.dlapiper.com)

24 January – Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Sydney, Australia)

Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, has today announced that prominent banking and finance practitioner Adam Stapledon is joining the firm, based in Sydney.

Adam is currently the Head of Allen & Overy’s Debt and Projects practice in Australia. He has more than two decades of experience working with sponsors and lenders in Australia and the Asia Pacific, across project and acquisition finance, infrastructure, energy and resources, and syndicated lending. He covers the full spectrum of financing, including capital markets, banks and private credit, and has particular expertise in implementing complex multi-source financing structures. (from https://www.corrs.com.au/)

20 January – Lavan (Perth, Australia)

Lavan is coming into 2022 strong with several new senior appointments.

The firm brought in a three-strong team led by partner Bruno Di Girolami to beef up its employment, safety and education practice. Di Girolami was joined by special counsel Sharon Payn and associate Anna Lee.

Di Girolami and his team are experienced advisors when it comes to current workplace-related concerns like flexible workforces, vaccination strategies, discrimination and sexual misconduct, complex employment and safety litigation and COVID-19 restrictions on global mobility and migration. Di Girolami himself has played roles in significant employment and health and safety cases that have been brought before a variety of courts and tribunals. (from https://www.thelawyermag.com)

20 January – Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Melbourne & Perth, Australia)

Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, has today announced that it has appointed two new partners to its Energy & Natural Resources practice, with Tracey Greenaway joining the firm in Perth and Anthony Lepere joining in Melbourne.

Tracey is a specialist in the energy sector with extensive experience advising on a wide range of project developments, joint ventures and M&A transactions. She has more than 20 years’ international experience with a particular focus on oil and gas and LNG. Tracey’s experience includes advising on upstream oil & gas exploration and development, midstream transportation and storage infrastructure, large scale LNG import and export infrastructure transactions and commodities marketing and trading.

Tracey is joining Corrs from Allens where she has been a partner for almost a decade. In addition to her experience in private practice, Tracey worked as a senior in-house counsel with Shell for eight years in Europe and Australia. As a result she is a leading specialist in the sector who combines in-depth industry knowledge with a focus on commerciality.

Anthony specialises in corporate and project development in the energy and resources sector. He is a trusted advisor to mining industry stakeholders and regularly works with management teams and governments on business-critical issues. He undertakes a wide variety of commercial work, including in relation to the energy transition and the regulation of digital assets. Anthony has joined Corrs from Shearman & Sterling in London, where he was a partner in the global energy and infrastructure practice. (from https://www.corrs.com.au)

20 January – Seyfarth Shaw (Hong Kong, China)

U.S. law firm Seyfarth Shaw has hired TMT expert Paul Haswell as a partner in Hong Kong from Pinsent Masons, where he worked for nearly 15 years.

Haswell’s practice focuses on telecoms projects and commercial contracts relating to technology, data, outsourcing, supply chain, cryptocurrency, blockchain, and licensing. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

18 January – Simmons & Simmons (Beijing, China)

International law firm Simmons & Simmons has announced that Ruina Liu has joined the firm as a partner in its technology, media, and telecom practice in China.

This appointment furthers the growth of the firm’s TMT practice as well as continues to build on its multi-practice presence in China covering transactions, compliance and IP.

Ruina joins the firm from Han Kun Law Office, where she focused on corporate M&A and private equity transactions and, compliance in relation to TMT and life sciences clients. She has advised these clients on matters across the telecommunications, internet, e-commerce, IT, media and entertainment, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology spaces. She also covered a wide range of work encompassing foreign direct investment, private public partnership, capital markets, infrastructure and project finance, real estate, employment and intellectual property in China. (from https://www.simmons-simmons.com)

17 January – Linklaters (Singapore, Singapore)

Linklaters has hired a partner from US rival Morgan Lewis & Bockius to set up an investment funds practice in Singapore, its third Asia partner lateral in a month.

Joel Seow brings experience advising sponsors in Asia on the establishment of private investment funds across asset classes and jurisdictions, with a particular focus on private equity, venture capital, real estate and infrastructure, as well as hedge funds and special situations funds. (from https://www.globallegalpost.com)

17 January – Baker McKenzie (Hong Kong, China)

Leading virtual assets and investment funds lawyer Joy Lam has joined Baker McKenzie’s Financial Services Practice in Hong Kong, where she will advise clients on virtual asset funds, tokenized offerings, and the development of infrastructure that support the virtual assets ecosystem.

Joy has market leading virtual assets experience and has acted on several ground breaking transactions including advising on Asia’s first open-ended tokenized fund, Asia’s first close-ended tokenized fund and securing the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission’s first approval for a virtual assets fund that permits subscriptions and redemptions to be effected in cryptocurrency. Joy’s significant experience also includes advising on virtual asset funds, non-fund tokenized offerings, and the complex and rapidly evolving regulatory requirements for managing investments in virtual assets and operating secondary exchanges for virtual assets.  (from https://www.bakermckenzie.com)

17 January – Karas (Hong Kong, China)

Karas LLP in association with Mishcon de Reya is pleased to announce a significant addition to the firm’s regional dispute resolution and private wealth offering with the arrival of Kevin So as a Partner.

Kevin has an outstanding track record in the Hong Kong disputes space, particularly in handling various high-stakes contentious trust and international succession matters, and various probate, family and mental health disputes. His arrival further enhances the market leading dispute resolution practice and private wealth capability of Karas LLP, and perfectly complements the wider offering of Mishcon de Reya.

The team joining Karas LLP with Kevin includes two senior associates (Geoffrey Lai and Veronica So) and two associate level lawyers (Jamie Chan and Tricia Yu). (from https://www.mishcon.com

14 January – Christopher & Lee Ong (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Christopher & Lee Ong warmly welcomes Annette Soh and Daphne Lam to the Firm.

Annette Soh joins the Capital Market Practice as co-head, bringing with her a wealth of experience in the field of equity capital markets, acquisitions and disposals, mergers and demergers, and joint ventures. Annette is also a member of the Bar Council Corporate and Commercial Law Committee (CCLC), and she heads the Securities Commission Sub-Committee.

Daphne lam brings extensive experience in this field, having successfully advised on numerous IPOs as well as equity and debt securities offerings. She has advised clients from a wide range of industries from industrial automation solutions providers, to those in the construction and manufacturing industries, in relation to their corporate exercises. Daphne’s expertise also extends to matters involving takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, commercial property transactions, and joint ventures. (from https://www.linkedin.com/company/christopher-lee-ong/)

14 January – Tencent (Hong Kong, China)

A Hong Kong-based Slaughter and May partner has left the firm to take on a senior legal advisor in-house role at Tencent, the Chinese multinational technology and entertainment conglomerate known for developing the instant messaging app WeChat.

Corporate finance and M&A partner Charlton Tse left the firm at the end of 2021 to take on the role at Shenzhen-headquartered Tencent, according to a person with knowledge of the move.

Tse was promoted to partner in 2014 and he had a notable role in building the firm’s corporate and investment banking client relationships in both Hong Kong and the PRC. (from http://www.law.com)

14 January – Tjajo & Partners (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Indonesian boutique Tjajo & Partners has added capital markets expert Ken Prasadtyo as a partner in Jakarta from Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners (HHP), Baker McKenzie’s Indonesia member firm, where he worked for more than a decade.

Additionally focusing on M&A and financial services, Prasadtyo represents international banks and financial institutions, and various business groups.

Prasadtyo, who began his legal career at HHP, was named on ALB’s Indonesia Rising Stars list for 2021. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

13 January – LC Lawyers (Hong Kong, China)

Hong Kong’s LC Lawyers, a member of the EY global network, has hired corporate finance expert Li Fai as a partner from PRC firm Jingtian & Gongcheng.

Li has extensive experience in IPOs, enterprise restructuring, private equity finance, and corporate compliance. He has advised various mainland Chinese companies on their Hong Kong IPOs and also guided Hong-Kong listed companies on their restructuring and M&A projects, spanning industries like manufacturing, retailing, food, media, medicine, and energy. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

12 January – RPC (Hong Kong, China)

London-based law firm RPC has hired the co-head of Ashurst’s Korea practice in Hong Kong to lead its newly-formed Korea desk.

Peter Kwon brings experience advising Korean financial institutions, industrial conglomerates and investment funds in major cross-border disputes, as well in securities regulatory matters. (from https://www.globallegalpost.com)

12 January – Withers (Singapore, Singapore)

Tien Gui Koh joins Withers in Singapore as a partner from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, which will have five lawyers, including one partner, remaining.

Koh represents hotel operators, developers and owners of hotel developments and serviced apartments. He advises on hotel management, franchise and leasing arrangements, joint ventures and real-property, providing advice related to hotel operations and disputes. (from http://www.law.com)

11 January – Gateway Law (Singapore, Singapore)

King & Spalding and Norton Rose Fulbright have lost two veteran partners to Singapore boutique firms Gateway Law Corporation and Breakpoint LLC. Both local firms focus on providing litigation and arbitration representation.

Simon Dunbar leaves King & Spalding along with counsel, Kevin Lim, to join Gateway Law Corporation. Established in 2006, Gateway focuses on intellectual property, real estate and technology disputes. With its new hires, the firm counts 11 lawyers including three directors. (from http://www.law.com)

11 January – Charles Russell Speechlys (Hong Kong, China)

London-headquartered Charles Russell Speechlys (CRS) has hired family law specialist Lisa Wong as a partner in Hong Kong from local boutique Boase Cohen & Collins.

Wong focuses on all aspects of matrimonial law. She also advises on matters in relation to surrogacy and parental orders, jurisdictional disputes, as well as same-sex relationship disputes. Wong joined Boase Cohen in 2010, and became a partner in 2014. (from https://www.legalbusinessonline.com/)

5 January – Cooley (Singapore, Singapore)

Cooley has hired a top lawyer from Goldman Sachs in Singapore—the law firm’s first capital markets partner in the city-state.

Tim Pitrelli served as a Singapore-based executive director and senior counsel in the investment banking division at Goldman. He has significant experience in IPOs and other regional and international cross-border transactions, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of the Singapore and Southeast Asia markets, the firm said. (from http://www.law.com)

5 January – Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton (Shanghai, China)

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton has appointed Charles Gray managing partner of its office in Shanghai. He succeeds Kris Reed, who had served in that role since 2017.

Gray, who leads the firm’s Asia patent practice, has been with Kilpatrick for nearly 15 years and was a founding member of the Shanghai office when it opened in February 2017. His practice focuses on patent counseling and prosecution of both U.S. and international patent applications. (from http://www.law.com)

4 January – Withers (Hong Kong, China)

Withers has added a partner in Hong Kong as part of the launch of a global asset finance practice.

Paul Jebely joins as head of Withers’ new global asset finance practice, according to a firm statement. He was previously at U.S.-based firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, where he was a partner for five years and served as managing partner of the Hong Kong office as well as co-chair of the firm’s private wealth and asset finance practices. (from http://www.law.com)

3 January – Mayer Brown (Singapore, Singapore)

Mayer Brown announced today that Soumitro Mukerji has joined its Banking & Finance practice as a partner in Singapore. He joins from Hogan Lovells in Singapore, and previously practiced in London at Linklaters.

Mr. Mukerji has nearly 15 years of experience advising on complex banking and finance matters, including fund-level financing, leveraged and acquisition financing, general corporate financing and structured lending. His clientele includes banks, financial institutions, funds, corporates and financial advisors across the credit spectrum. (from http://www.law.com)

Private Practice Round-up 2021

Welcome to the new year; same as the old year?

The news in 2021 was dominated by something that was emerging as a mere curiosity this time two years ago. Those who had lived through the original SARS outbreak were confident (or at least hopeful) that the then-named Coronavirus would be eradicated in the warmer summer months and any inconveniences and concerns would be sharp but short-lived. Two years on the world braces itself for a new and highly transmissible variant, and the variable responses of different governments in curtailing the spread. The universal mood among individuals remains one of weariness, disenchantment, frustration (at those in power and each other), annoyance and despair. That confidence now looks hopelessly naive.

That said, the Asian legal markets maintained an air of stoicism and firms refused to stand still, whether continuing to drive forward, shifting their territorial focus or, in some cases, withdrawing from the region altogether – Baker Botts following fellow Texas oil and gas giants Vinson & Elkins and Locke Lord in shuttering physical operations and establishing something of a trend in that sector. Elsewhere there were closures in Thailand (Mayer Brown) and openings in Vietnam (Dentons) as international firms reconfigured their South East Asia strategy while Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and McDermott, Will & Emery shifted their focuses from China and Hong Kong to Singapore. While none of these shifts in strategy are directly attributable to the virus situation, with severe travel restrictions and political upheaval continuing ad infinitum in Hong Kong, Singapore is seizing the opportunity to present itself as an alternative, attractive, prosperous regional hub.

As we look forward to 2022 and beyond, the picture is murky; not necessarily gloomy, just unclear. As the world welcomed 2021 there was an air of optimism thanks to the impending availability of vaccines. A year on that optimism has been deflated somewhat by the continued spread of new variants, exacerbated by a scientific skepticism leading to a lower-than-expected uptake of the vaccine. Firms have by and large successfully pivoted and retooled to minimise disruption to their operations, and are therefore more capable of absorbing any further bumps and shocks along the road to normality. How much of that road remains, and what the world will look like by the time we reach the end, is anyone’s guess.

Asia In-house Legal Market Outlook 2022

2021 is generally touted as a year of recovery. Although the economic growth for Asia-Pacific remains the fastest moving region in the world[1], there were twists and turns along the way. As the highly transmissible Omicron variant lingers, we expect the Covid-19 crisis to continue to present challenges that shape the business outlook for the world. To remain competitive amid these challenges, it is critical for companies to understand how to invest in and upgrade their legal departments to counter the predictable and unforeseeable trials over the next few years.

According to the 2021 HBR Consulting Law Department Survey[2], corporate “legal departments are still in the mode of investing versus cutting back” [3] despite the shaky economy that contributed to the Covid-19 recurrences. In coping with current competitive labour markets affected by the Great Resignation, law departments are generally willing to invest in their people, processes, and technology to improve their teams’ success in the fast-evolving legal and regulatory environments. Keeping abreast of opportunities in the markets can help guide your career plans.

Going into 2022, both companies and lawyers will want to prepare well for the challenges ahead. So we present three key areas in Asia’s legal markets to look out for.

  1. Flourishing Industries

With increased vaccination rates across Asia and better management of the pandemic, some industries, including fintech, technology, manufacturing, luxury retailing, and biotechnology, are likely to keep growing exponentially in 2022, providing opportunities for which you should be well prepared in advance.

The global fintech market is booming and expected to continue to do so in 2022. Regulations around the world bore more scrutiny over fintech issues. For example, China has continuously shored up weak links in its financial regulatory system to keep pace with the evolving fintech sector. Also, despite continuous speculation on cryptocurrencies, Singapore has seen the immigration of many Chinese crypto markets since May 2021 and has now emerged as a major cryptocurrency hub in Southeast Asia. Hong Kong gave up its conservative stand towards fintech and is quietly catching up to become a fintech innovation hub.

Asian tech giants such as Alibaba, Ant Financial, Bytedance, Grab, and Tencent keep expanding globally, activity that will require legal and regulatory support and informed advice on cross-border market access and contract formation. Also, Southeast Asia has become an attractive market for US and Chinese tech firms. US tech firms such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have recently entered Southeast Asia after Tencent and Alibaba have expanded their footprints into the region. As a result, we expect the Asian technology industry will continue to shine.

Even amid the recurrent Covid-19 waves in 2021, the manufacturing industry includes automotive (EVs), energy, logistics, and biomedical sciences, benefitting from high demand. In addition, thanks to increased use of technology, luxury retailers expanded their digital engagement with shoppers even during the pandemic. Therefore, we expect the luxury industry to continue to benefit from the post-Covid-19 period.

Last but not least, the Covid-19 pandemic has generated stellar growth in biomedical and biotechnology in 2021. We expect this trend will continue in 2022 as the uncertainty of Covid-19 variants and healthcare expenditure roll on.

  1. Increased Legal Demands

Since the second half of 2021, corporate clients have seen their legal needs increase, and as a result, overall legal spending is expected to remain healthy into 2022. In particular, they anticipate demand to increase in brand protection, privacy & cybersecurity, and regulatory compliance practices.

E-commerce expanded rapidly as people increased their online shopping activity during the lockdowns. However, border shutdown and the slowdown of manufacturing have interfered with the supply of goods, and counterfeiters quickly began producing much-needed replacement products. Brand-protection online and offline teams had to step up to the mounting challenges and quickly develop strategies and solutions to deal with the issues. As we expect retail to continue to be a growth market in 2022, then the problem emerges that there are fewer brand professionals internally as many companies laid off their enforcement officials when Covid-19 started. We expect corporate legal departments will increase the hiring of brand protection professionals.

Companies are inevitably becoming more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, data breaches, privacy incidents, and technology challenges as a result of increased digitization and the shift to hybrid working. Heightened regulatory, contractual, and consumer obligations will emerge next year or soon after. Corporate in-house counsels need to ensure continuous compliance, tackle the issue of cybercrime far more diligently than ever before to build the framework for resilient security.

From now on, we expect that corporate law departments managing regulatory uncertainty will be a key growth area as more local and national governments across the region begin to adjust their regulatory compliance requirements to deal with the problems of Covid-19 and some of the compliance issues related to the fintech industry.

  1. In-demand Skills

While unknowns and unpredictability will continue moving into the new year, we anticipate seeing a multitude of opportunities as listed above. Asian legal markets constantly evolve, with certain specific legal skills becoming more in-demand with employers as others fade. Knowing what skills are needed can help in-house counsels prepare themselves and their employers to plan their recruitment, and internal training and development efforts to enable existing staff to overcome skills gaps.

Technological competency is essential. The pandemic has reshaped the business world, forcing companies to reinvent their business models and accelerate their shifts towards the digital world. Technological adaption is one of the most prevalent trends in the legal industry. With hybrid working and remote working arrangements here to stay long-term, we will see more employers entering the market of legal technology solutions with more cloud-based and enterprise solutions. To remain competitive and to thrive in this new environment, lawyers need to make technological competence a crucial part of their professional growth strategy in 2022.

Cross-discipline specialism is the skill of tomorrow. Lawyers are traditionally focused and reactive. Whenever lawyers are given a problem, they will solve it. But, as the increased rate of technological changes, legal complexity, and cross-functional work in recent years, legal professionals are no longer isolated on their departments in organizations but are rather out there integrated with other divisions. In-house counsels must be able to foresee problems before they occur and conduct legal work more efficiently with other departments.  The future lawyer needs specialised knowledge of the law for advanced legal issues, in the meantime also require proactivity, creativity, and broad knowledge for multidisciplinary cooperation.

[1] Huaxia, “Roundup: IMF revises down Asia growth forecast to 6.5 pct amid resurgence of pandemic,” XinHuaNet, October 2021, http://www.news.cn/english/2021-10/20/c_1310256176.htm (accessed 8 December 2021)

[2] HBR Consulting, “HBR Consulting’s Annual Survey and Sounding Board Series Reveal Optimistic Outlook for Law Department Growth,” HBR Law Department Survey,  December 2021, https://www.hbrconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/HBR-2021-LDS-Press-Release.pdf (accessed 8 December 2021)

[3] Phillip Bantz, “Legal Department Spending Held Steady Amid Pandemic, Expected to Rise Next Year,” Law.com, December 2021, https://www.law.com/corpcounsel/2021/12/07/legal-department-spending-held-steady-amid-pandemic-expected-to-rise-next-year/?cmp_share (accessed 8 December 2021)

Now is the right time to consider changing jobs

When the Covid-19 pandemic erupted in the legal industry last year, many professionals felt blessed to retain their jobs even with the challenges of working remotely and coping with additional challenges like childcare, home schooling and health risks. These combined stresses prompted the “Great Resignation” (also known as the “Big Quit”). As a result, high resignation rates led to record levels of job openings in the US, Europe, China, and Australia in the fall of 2021.

The Great Resignation

The legal industry, like all industries, is struggling to navigate a reset of worker expectations, of all levels, who bore much of the brunt of the past two years. A supposed mass exodus of legal professionals from their current roles is predicted to happen in the coming months as professionals seek to take a break. Being in a period when there are more vacancies than jobseekers, it could be the ideal time to consider changing jobs. Lawyers who want to reboot their careers can capitalize this trend. They will be given greater freedom of opportunity, and the ability to chase both better financial and personal situations, with employers compelled to offer competitive packages and broader benefits and flexibility.

Opportunities in legal markets

Vietnam was the world’s fifth fastest-growing economy in 2020. Despite the pandemic, the country has proven resilient, and the implementation of the free trade agreement helps Vietnam foster trades and investments. Allen & Overy and Duane Morris have made a few significant partner hires this year, along with recent Dentons’ arrival, sending a strong signal of interest and intent to bolster their business there. As one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, Vietnam should be a priority market for international law firms’ clients. The rise of the economy and the arrival and expansion of international law firms could signal the right moment for lawyers to find exciting opportunities.

Singapore’s legal market is gaining steam as a thriving arbitration and energy & infrastructure centre in Asia as it builds on past efforts of maintaining social stability sees the economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021 so far we witnessed a few significant partner-level hires and relocations to Singapore. In addition, Korean giant Bae, Kim & Lee, Shanghai-based firm AllBright, and Indian tier-1 law firms Khaitan & Co and Cyril Armachand Mangaldas ramped up their presences in the Lion City. As there have been more firms building up in Singapore, there are growing number of opportunities in the disputes, M&A, and energy areas.

Due to the current political/social environment and tight Covid-19 restrictions, there is an expat and local talent exodus in Hong Kong fueling the local senior-level job market. In reply to the talent outflows, employers are busy filling the gaps. In addition, recruitment agencies are struggling to persuade expats to relocate. So, companies can now acquire or keep the talent that Hong Kong has. Higher salaries and the promise of quicker promotions are hoped to halt the talent exodus in Hong Kong. This could be the golden moment for any high-calibre legal professionals to take the next step and work with their ideal employers.

In-demand fields

2022 looks to be a year of talent acquisition war as law firms and in-house legal departments pivot from pandemical survival to long-term growth. The practice areas lacking available mid- to senior-level talent are capital markets, employment, energy & infrastructure, intellectual property, M&A, litigation/arbitration, and real estate. We also expect the in-house legal departments to grow in the financial services, healthcare, and technology sectors. These teams need professionals with experience in compliance, corporate transactions, e-commerce, data protection/privacy, and regulatory.

Once in a career window

Now could be an opportunity for a career reboot. Building up a relationship with an experienced specialist legal recruiter before you start looking for an opportunity can help give you a competitive advantage. They can help you find the position with the right culture and fit for your individual requirements and preferences.

Despite ongoing Covid-19 issues, legal markets are picking up across Asia Pacific

The Covid-19 challenge has been unprecedented and persists throughout 2021.  However, we are happy to see legal markets across Asia Pacific are picking up so far this year. Compared to 2020, we witnessed growth of recruitment activities in India and Singapore. Both the Australian and Hong Kong legal markets remained relatively stable. After China’s strong rebound in the fall of 2020, there has been a significant drop of senior-level recruitments in that market.

Summer holidays, July to August, are traditionally a quiet time for significant moves. But, due to the lockdowns and travel restrictions, people stayed in their hometowns and worked as usual. As a result, the number of hires in Q2 and Q3 were the same.

The most significant partner recruiters were Ashurst and K&L Gates. Ashurst has actively recruited in Australia and Singapore, and K&L Gates has hired evenly throughout the Asia Pacific.

Top Partner Recruiters in the Region
Q3-1

Q3-2

  • Among the top 13 partner recruiters (Jan-Sep 2021), 4 were UK law firms, 3 from the US, 2 from India, 2 from China, and 1 from Australia. The top 3 partner recruiters in Q3 are Corrs Chambers Westgarth, L&L Partners, and White & Case.
  • White & Case, a White-shoe firm, was active in the region, especially during the Q3. An AmLaw100 firm, K&L Gates, announced lateral hires evenly spread out the first 3 quarters.
  • L&L Partners, a top-tier Indian law firm, has seen some departures during the year-long public feud between the firm’s managing partner Rajiv Luthra and former equity partner Mohit Saraf. In response, the firm hired 8 partners to their Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai offices. Their rival, HAS Advocates, also had made few significant hires for their corporate/commercial, disputes, and project practices.
  • In March, Ashurst expanded their consulting business with a five-partner hiring spree from the Big Four in Australia. The firm remained active in Australia and Singapore throughout the first 3 quarters.
Appointments
Q3-3

Q3-4

  • Despite a 20% decrease of lateral hires in the first 3 quarters in 2021 compared to 2020, much of it was related to China’s strong showing last year. If we take out key appointments made in China, we would see slight growth in the region hires.
  • July is usually a quiet period in the legal recruitment business as many partners/general counsels and HR personnel are partaking of summer holidays and traveling. However, we witnessed busy hiring activity in the past two consecutive summers, presumably because of the lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Locations 

Q3-5

Q3-6

Q3-7

  • Both India (50% up) and Singapore (32% up) saw growth in the number of key appointments compared to 2020. Despite having a quiet Q2 due to the Covid-19 re-occurrence, Singapore saw a strong come back in Q3. Singapore attracts attention from the US, UK and beyond.  
  • Australia and Hong Kong remained relatively stable and only slight drops occurred. Also, Hong Kong replaced China with the 2nd highest key appointment numbers Jan-Sep 2021.
Practices

Q3-8

Q3-9

Q3-10

  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices constituted 30% of the key hires in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
  • Like Q1 and Q2, Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets, Projects/Construction/Infrastructure, and Employment & Workplace practices observed significant growth compared to 2020.
  • Although we witnessed a drop in Litigation/Dispute Resolution/Arbitration/Investigations practices, hires in those sectors still sit at the 2nd place in 2021 Jan-Sep.   

Types

Q3-11

Q3-12

Q3-13

  • Lateral hires dominated the hiring markets in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
  • We witnessed a growing tendency in rejoining former firms, moves between In-house and Private Practice positions in both directions, and relocations in 2021 compared to 2020.
  • By contrast, we saw a significant drop in Promotions.