In-house Legal Jobs: Market Update | February 2022 | Hong Kong
What's the Hong Kong legal jobs market like right now?
This is a question we get asked daily by both employers and job seekers alike. In a nutshell, the legal recruitment market is reflective of what's hot in the economy! What's hot at any one-time changes regularly but the skills sought may be quite consistent. For eg, with more B2B and B2C businesses increasingly being available online, we have noticed an increase in demand by diverse industries for data privacy and/or technology lawyers and not just those having Hong Kong exposure, but those with global exposure including knowledge of GDPR and China's Data Security Law as well as the Personal Information Protection Law.
So what's hot in the market?
The hottest buzzwords or hashtags in the market currently include: #NFT, #metaverse, #crypto #cryptocurrency, #fintech, #blockchain, #gaming, #technology #digital etc! Whilst these words are not new, you may have noticed that they are constantly popping up in our social media feeds.
Other hot areas which are gaining traction are: (another technology area) legal tech and ESG/green finance.
Whilst most of this article discusses the legal trends relevant to in-house lawyers, the technical-expertise also applies to law firms. For example, I have had friends/contacts launching start-up businesses who have asked me who are good fintech lawyers that they can engage.
What do these trends in the legal recruitment market mean for Lawyers?
It is clear that lawyers need to keep up to date with the changes in regulations and laws to maintain and/or increase their marketability/competitiveness as well as their ability to deliver their jobs to the expectations of their employers.
The adage about having a flexible approach and love for learning will serve lawyers well. Nowadays, being 'flexible' may mean taking on a higher risk such as considering a substantial pay cut on base salary in exchange for shares or NFTs or taking on additional or new responsibilities or working remotely or at odd hours to get up to speed on quickly! The best way to do this is of course to gain that experience through practice on the job, talking with colleagues, contacts and external counsel as well as to read up on the topics and attend courses/webinars to learn more about technical subjects.
Another key point to note is that the start-up environment is fast-paced and expects both a quick turnaround as well as significant returns.
Hence, apart from honing-in on technical skills and knowledge, a key area that lawyers should always strive to continue improving on is their interpersonal skills, adaptability, their internal and external networking, commercial-sense and ability to think on your feet to find rapid and practical solutions.
This article is just some of my observations on the current legal market in February 2022. If you have other additional suggestions, please let us know!