International Spotlight On: Hong Kong

Are you interested in law jobs in Asia? In recent years, the UK/International law firms and the major US law firms have witnessed steady growth and hiring activity across Asia.  If you are considering Overseas legal positions want to learn more about the current status of international legal sectors, follow Thomson Legal’s “Spotlight On” series.

Spotlight On: International Law Firms in Hong Kong

Is there a demand for legal professionals?

There is definitely a current demand for high-quality lawyers in Hong Kong. Lawyers with 3+ PQE and experience in areas such as Corporate, Banking, Finance and Technology will be of interest- Mandarin language skills are obviously a major advantage.

What areas of law are hiring?

In terms of busy hiring areas and looking into the year ahead, there is a continued demand for quality transactional lawyers, specifically in areas such as:

  • M&A.
  • Debt Capital Markets.
  • Technology and Telecommunications.
  • Data protection and regulatory.
  • Derivatives.

Additionally, here has been an increasing interest from law firm clients in niche areas such as Tax, Pensions, Employment, and Insurance, which are typically more difficult to hire into, given the small pool of candidates in Hong Kong.

What level of PQE are law firms hiring at?

As with other markets in the Asia region, hiring is strongest at the mid-level to Senior Associate level with less options for more junior lawyers with less than 3 years PQE.

Partner Recruitment in Hong Kong

Partner hiring is ever busy with some big team moves catching the headline in Hong Kong. Opportunities continue to arise for those with a strong following and reputation in the market or their chosen legal discipline.

Remuneration in Hong Kong

Salaries have seen continued and impressive increases among most international firms, though those paying New York rates have seen their base salaries plateau after the big increases in 2016/ 2017.  COLA is still a feature for many US firms, though not as ubiquitous as in the past.

In the Summer of 2018, US law firm Mibank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy announced further increases in salaries at Associate level in all their global locations, including Asia.  While the majority of the other Asia law firms have so far resisted matching these increases, it’s a growing trend demonstrating competition for the best legal talent at Associate level.

Information on the Hong Kong market has provided by our Partners at JLegal, Hong Kong.


International Law Firm Recruitment Hong Kong

Please continue to follow our Spotlight On series to find out more about international law markets and your opportunities for making a move Overseas.

Our current International Guide can also be downloaded here:

Whether you are looking to applying for a position abroad or you are planning on finding a role closer to home, Thomson Legal can assist you. Please get in touch via the Contact Us details for a confidential discussion.

Thomson Legal

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