How Hughes-Castell Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

2020s: A New Generation Of Leaders

By Katherine Fan

It was exactly January 4, 2010 when I first joined Hughes-Castell, initially as a Researcher and then promoted to Consultant. I had just moved to Hong Kong from Sydney a few months earlier, joining a number of my law school friends who had moved to Hong Kong to pursue their legal careers. Some of them were completing PCLL, some had started as trainees that year. My ambitious friends saw Hong Kong as a land of opportunities where they could leverage their Chinese language skills. I went along for the ride, also keen to see how my own career would develop.  

At that time, I had already decided to leave practice as a litigator so when Hughes-Castell hired me as a recruiter, I accepted – why not try something new I had thought. To my delight, I found that I loved my job. Being able to counsel lawyers, helping guide them to find what they were looking for and gaining insights about the mindset of successful people in our industry gave me enormous satisfaction. 10 years later, after stints leading recruitment at Morrison & Foerster, Baker McKenzie and starting my own businesses, I’m back at Hughes-Castell as MD, equipped with the same passion and determination, but also new skills and knowledge, to join forces with Doreen to lead our company to thrive in the new world today.

In just 10 years, I’ve observed the legal industry change rapidly, with new developments in client needs, candidate expectations and technologies continually transforming the traditional legal and recruitment industries. My peers, once trainees navigating the world we coined “Landmark Legal”, are now in senior positions as Partners, Of Counsels, Heads of Legal and Executive Directors. The legal industry in Asia is a competitive one, and where once long ago we used to brainstorm how to outperform the other interns to secure a training contract, now it’s discussions about how to grow our business, how to generate more revenue, how to manage our teams, how to be influential leaders, how to have a sustainable career and how to continue thriving (and well, at times just surviving) in such an evolving environment.

To my lawyer friends, hats-off to you for surviving this long – I’ve seen you pull those all-nighters, be pressured by demanding stakeholders, and compromise your personal life to stay in the game. As we prepare for the decade ahead, we will continue to work with you and share our perspectives to ensure you have everything you need for your continued success in your positions of leadership.

How Hughes-Castell Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

Market Intel and Trends

As a leader, you are now in a position to make decisions about your team and who you hire or wish to retain. But at the same time, you may also manage your team or department budget and need to be conscious of the financials of your P&L. As a senior lawyer, it is important to be financially astute and aware of market price points to calculate your team budget/financials. In addition to recruitment duties, you may also be expected to put quotes together for client work, forecast your fee income, perform work to relevant budgets, and assess when financial parameters need to be moved. You thought you had left maths behind when you became a lawyer, but you reach a point of seniority and it all comes back. With our broad network comprising of approximately 47,000 candidates in legal, compliance, risk, governance and C-suite positions globally, we have access to the latest market updates and trends, and would be glad to share our findings with you so you have the intel you need. Don’t be shy to ask. 


Traditionally, lawyers are not trained to be managers or entrepreneurs. We spend our first few years honing technical skills and how to manage clients whilst on the job. But then by 6th-7th year, you’re being assessed for the next stage of your career based on your potential to generate revenue, business development, management and leadership skills. With over 35 years’ expertise working with Partners and General Counsels, Hughes-Castell has in-depth knowledge about what employers expect from senior lawyers and we want to work with you on your transition whether as a senior associate/Of Counsel to Partner, or Salaried Partner to Equity Partner, or on the in-house side as you transition up the ranks to Head of Legal or General Counsel. As a qualified career coach and having worked with numerous senior lawyers of all different calibers in the industry, we can provide you with an unbiased assessment of your skills and what you should work on, including leadership and management training, preparing your elevator pitch, presenting your business plan, completing your first Lateral Partners Questionnaire and become more than a triple threat.

Recruitment Technology

Technology has created higher levels of expectations from candidates who want a fast, straightforward application process. Unfortunately, most processes in law firms/legal departments are falling behind to keep pace with the speed and accelerating rate of business transformation. Legal recruitment processes still tend to be long, and at senior levels taking as long as 6-to-9 months (if not longer in some cases). However, we are committed to improving our client and candidates’ experience by incorporating recruitment technology (new website services, online interactive options, conducting video or mobile interviews, working with our clients to create employer branding videos to increase outreach) and essentially implement a technology-driven approach to improve hiring quality and efficiency. We will also work closely with our clients and provide guidance on how to improve efficiency to ensure they do not miss out on good candidates due to inefficient recruitment processes. 

We are excited about the challenging projects that lie ahead and welcome you to join us for the ride. Send suggestions, comments, or inquiries to us at

Published by Hughes Castell

Asia's Premier Firm for Global Legal, Compliance, Risk and Regulatory Executive Search

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