The Lion City awakens

Greater China, traditionally a major Asian powerhouse of lateral hires, witnessed a quiet 2022. On the other hand, Singapore had a strong Q3 and moved ahead of Hong Kong, China, and India as the joint busiest hiring market in Asian Pacific, alongside Australia. The lateral hiring markets in Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia grew stably in Q3.

Despite several economic headwinds, Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices remain the top partner recruiting areas in the Asia Pacific, despite a 48% drop from 2021. Real Estate and Employment remained stable in term of hiring numbers compared to 2021.

The top partner recruiter so far in 2022 is Herbert Smith Freehills, with two more partner hires made in Q3 (Hong Kong and Bangkok). the firm also made its largest ever round of senior associate promotions of Asian ethnicity. Singaporean law firms, including ADTLaw and DentonsRodyk, and leading Indian law firm Trilegal, were active in Q3.

Top Partner Recruiters in the Region


  • Despite countries in the region showing success in suppressing the Covid-19 pandemic, we still saw a 25% decrease in senior appointments in 2022 compared to 2021.
  • July saw significant drops in 2022 compared to 2021 and 2020.
  • The APAC lateral hiringmarket saw consecutive growth in July, August and September.


  • Australia saw76 key recruitments in Q1, Q2 and Q3 of 2022, followed by Singapore (58) and Hong Kong (53).
  • Despite that Australian hiring spree, we saw a decreasing overallin that market. It is also rare to see Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia more active than China.


  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices dominated the key hires in Q1, Q2, and Q3 of 2022.
  • All practices except Real Estate observed a drop compared to 2021.
  • Despite a drop overall in Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets, hiring in those areas remains popular in the region.


Published by Hughes Castell

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

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