Hong Kong legal market update - summer 2011
We are seeing a regular flow of lawyers coming to Hong Kong looking for jobs. In particular, these candidates are coming from Australia, New Zealand, Asia (including Mainland China), Europe (particularly the UK) and the USA or Canada.
International law firms are increasingly open to hiring overseas qualified lawyers with relevant technical skill-sets such as project finance, banking and finance, capital markets, derivatives and funds even if they do not have Chinese language capability. However, excellent academics and major (usually top tier) experience is usually a pre-requisite.
Overseas qualified lawyers wanting in-house roles will have a much higher chance if they transfer internally with their employers.
Moving Away From Hong Kong
Conversely, we are seeing an increasing flow of Hong Kong lawyers willing to re-locate to Shanghai or Beijing for a new job opportunity or internally transfer despite increased tax liabilities (if their employer is not willing to tax equalise them).
Lawyers with fluent Mandarin language skills may be able to cherry pick jobs if they are willing to relocate up North so to speak. Some lawyers may also be willing to consider relocating to Singapore.
Hong Kong companies as well as some multinational corporations with Mainland offices usually indicate a preference on hiring a Hong Kong qualified lawyer to take care of their legal affairs because of their common law training.
Whether a lawyer is mobile though is often related to their individual personal circumstances (family and financial), flexibility and motivation.
How mobile are you then?