Asia Chronicles

The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting.
Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: asia@kinneyrecruiting.com.


As our readers and clients know, Kinney Recruiting and the Asia Chronicles have always been a big supporter of the Chinese Business Lawyers Association. We are institutional members of the CBLA and over the years have advised, represented and placed in Asia a large number of attorney members of the organization, including former board members. We support the CBLA because it is a great source of information on the Asia biglaw markets for US associates based in the US who are considering or seeking a lateral move or transfer to Asia.

The CBLA is having a seminar on Wednesday November 14 that deals with U.S. publicly traded Chinese companies going private. This is a very relevant topic in today’s market, as there is currently a large pipeline of such public to private deals at Private Equity downstream practices of U.S. firms in Hong Kong / China. While the deal flow in the HK / China markets at U.S. firms has been significantly down over the past 15 months, Private Equity practices have been relatively busy, with M&A deals as usual, but also recently very busy with public to private deals. In fact, some of our firm clients in Hong Kong are currently seeking US associate lateral hires with such experience.

During Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney’s most recent visit to Hong Kong, for a few weeks in September, they met with a number of US senior partners of top PE transactional practices and in each case the discussion included the significant pipeline of public to private deals (thought to be a two year pipeline). Part of these discussions on public to private deals dealt with the nice career benefits to mid-level PE associates who have the good fortune to work on such complex deals during this time in their careers. Two partners told us that their having these deals to work on as mid-level associates years ago was a significant fortunate break in their career development.

Clearly, this is a new recruiting trend that we dealing with now and are going to continue to be involved in during ’13 and likely ’14 as well.

Here below are the details on the CBLA event on Wednesday at NYU School of Law. Hope you can make it! Please RSVP by November 9.

Going Private and Going Dark: Considerations for U.S. Publicly Traded Chinese Companies

Dorsey & Whitney LLP and the Chinese Business Lawyers Association cordially invite you to a seminar on U.S. publicly traded Chinese companies that have considered going private or going dark. In light of the challenges many U.S. publicly traded Chinese companies face under the current regulatory and market conditions, an increasing number of Chinese companies are considering leaving the U.S. reporting system by going private or going dark. Going private and going dark are complex processes that involve many business, legal and accounting issues. Restructuring those companies after the completion of a going private transaction also involves tax and corporate issues that require careful planning. An expert panel consisting of senior investment bankers, lawyers and accountants with real case experience will discuss the topic with the audience. Please see the details below and register by November 9, 2012 if you would like to attend.

Wednesday, November 14
4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Registration and Refreshments
4:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. | Panel Discussion
6:15 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. | Reception

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “CBLA EVENT NOVEMBER 14 – GOING PRIVATE AND GOING DARK: CONSIDERATIONS FOR U.S. PUBLICLY TRADED CHINESE COMPANIES”

***UPDATE – PLEASE NOTE THIS EVENT HAS OF COURSE BEEN POSTPONED, DUE TO HURRICANE SANDY. WE WILL LET YOU KNOW WHEN THE EVENT WILL BE RESCHEDULED. ALL OUR READERS IN THE NORTHEAST BE SAFE!!***

As Kinney Recruiting has done for years, we are again happy to help out the Chinese Business Lawyers Association with their upcoming career panel event at Columbia Law School.  If you are interested in lateraling to HK / China in the future and have the time to attend the event on Monday, October 29, we can easily recommend it.  The CBLA career panel events over the years have been quite informative to both law students and associates who attend.  Evan Jowers will be participating on the upcoming panel and will also be available in New York most of Oct. 29 ad 30 for meetings with associates interested in moving to Asia.  Feel free to reach out at asia@kinneyrecruiting.com to arrange a meeting with Evan or simply come to the CBLA event and meet with Evan there.

NYC to PRC — Challenges and Opportunities in International Practices

The Chinese Business Lawyers Association, in conjunction with Columbia Law School and the Society for Chinese Law, is presenting “NYC to PRC — Challenges and Opportunities in International Practices” on Monday, October 29. The panelists include partners and counsel from leading law firms in the United States and the PRC, as well as recruiters specifically focused on the China market. The discussion focuses on developing international careers, and particularly career paths relating to China. Topics include how to advance within a firm, how to make a lateral move, how to build a useful network, as well as legal trends and opportunities in China.

Panelists include:
• Xiaowen Qiu, Partner, Sidley Austin
• Alex Hao, Partner, Jun He
• Evan Jowers, Managing Director, Kinney Recruiting
• Efraim Chalamish, Of Counsel, Dorsey & Whitney; Professor, NYU School of Law
• Justin Flowers, Principal, Lateral Link
• Ko-Yung Tung, Senior Counsellor, Morrison & Foerster; Professor, Yale Law School

Moderator:
• Geoffrey Sant, Special Counsel,Dorsey & Whitney; Director,Chinese Business Lawyers Association

Light refreshments will be served.

The reception will commence at 6 PM on Monday, October 29, 2012 in Jerome Greene 102 at Columbia Law School. We look forward to seeing you on October 29, 2012!


Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Evan Jowers, Robert Kinney and Alexis Lamb of Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: asia@kinneyrecruiting.com

In the past few years it has become increasingly difficult to lateral to Hong Kong from the US without Mandarin or Korean language skills. However, it has not been impossible by any means, especially in Pan Asia focused corporate practices. In the Investment Management realm, up until a few years ago, English only was just fine for lateral associate candidates in Hong Kong, especially considering most of the documentation is in English in this area anyways. Three plus years ago there were not nearly as many funds groups or funds openings at US firms in Asia as there have been in the past two years. Nowadays, this is a rapidly growing area, although still a small part of the landscape of US biglaw in HK / China. In the past couple of years, we have placed many US associates in fund formation practices in HK / China, but there has usually been a requirement of Mandarin fluency.

We like to point out “English only ok” opportunities in HK / China because they are not the norm and worth mentioning to our readers in this column from time to time.

Currently, we have a brand new “English only is ok” private funds senior associate opening at a top US firm in Hong Kong. The new hire will have 5 to 7 years of experience on the private equity, real estate and / or infrastructure side. This firm is not going to consider candidates who have focused in hedge funds in their career, as that is simply not a fit for their practice in China. Mandarin is not required. Some ties to (or strong career / personal reasons to move to) Asia is of course a requirement, especially considering the high level of responsibility this new hire will have and the fact that they will have a track to career advancement available to them at this firm. The new hire will need to demonstrate that they can and want to be committed to Asia for 3+ years.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: SENIOR US ASSOCIATE FUND FORMATION OPENING IN HONG KONG, ENGLISH ONLY OK, AT TOP US FIRM”


Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Evan Jowers, Robert Kinney and Alexis Lamb of Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: asia@kinneyrecruiting.com

We have an urgent opening at a top US cap markets practice in Hong Kong, and English only is just fine for this position (which is very rare for top US cap markets’ practices in HK in this year).  The hiring partner has a very busy practice in Pan Asia.  While there are no asian language requirements, this firm is very selective and the new hire will likely come from a top 15 US firm in US or Asia and have a very solid cap markets oriented deal sheet (all of this firm’s US associate lateral hires in HK over the past few years have come from only top 10 US firms). You will work on deals in China, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, India, and other jurisdictions.  It is a true Pan Asia practice and a part of one of the top US cap markets practice groups in Asia.  Although early for a 3rd to 5th year to be planning for career advancement, this firm does have a strategy and business case that supports promoting new partners in Asia in the coming years.  Your deal sheet at this firm, working for this particular partner, will be very solid so you would have great options in the market in the future, both in and outside of biglaw.  As expected, this firm pays top market NYC base, plus top market NYC bonus, pus a very competitive expat / cola allowance that is near the top of the market.

Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney have known the hiring partner for six years, consider him a friend, and meet with him numerous times per year (usually over drinks or dinner).  He is a very well respected market leader, is very popular at his firm and considered one of the truly good guys in the market, a great person to work for.  His practice is very large and he is very busy, even in this current down US cap markets period in China.  We have a ton respect for this guy, especially considering what he has accomplished in the market over the years, mainly through hard work.  Clients love him.

It would of course be very helpful to have some connection to Asia when competing for this spot, but even if you don’t have a connection to Hong Kong or Asia, it will be enough to have a solid reason for moving there and committing to Hong Kong and SE Asia for some years.  The hiring partner moved out to Asia years ago and did not have any personal connection to the region at the time, so he can relate.  The reason for making such a move must be solid though and being able to articulate those reasons and your plans for the future in Asia, both to us initially and then the hiring partner, is going to be key.

Any candidate for this US associate spot in Hong Kong, would also be a good candidate for several openings we have in Singapore.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: US Cap Markets Associate Opening (ENGLISH ONLY OK) in Hong Kong, 3rd to 5th Year, at Top US Cap Markets Practice”


Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Evan Jowers, Robert Kinney and Alexis Lamb of Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: asia@kinneyrecruiting.com

ASIA MARKETS – HALFTIME REPORT
It’s a beautiful summer here in Hong Kong, with the monsoons (winds) blowing all of the nasty pollution away from city’s skies and upward into southern China. This weather pattern generally means that Hong Kong summer skies will often be a clear robin’s egg blue, even if the heat and humidity make outdoor activity, such as hiking, a rather steamy adventure. Fortunately, many of Hong Kong’s great hikes, such as the hike to Sai Wan beach in the New Territories, end at some body of water where you can cool off in a clean, clear sea under a blue sky.

But, are the skies in the economic universe as clear as those in the meteorological one? The answer is, as always, ‘It Depends’.

INVESTMENT GRADE DEBT
The main pockets of debt capital markets activity involve investment-grade debt offerings.   These are not your high-yield (read: high-risk) offerings of 2007-2008 with 10%+ yields.   In these uncertain times, investors are seeking to find the optimum point between yield and safety.  They want to invest in debt securities which will offer more yield than, say, a treasury bond, but they want to minimize some degree of risk.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: ASIA MARKETS – HALFTIME REPORT”

Ed. note: This post is authored by Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney of Kinney Recruiting, sponsor of the Asia Chronicles. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in the past five years. You can reach them by email: asia@kinneyrecruiting.com

We are working on a number of openings at present in HK / China, Tokyo and Singapore, but one in particular is impressive and urgent enough that we thought we should mention here (something that we rarely do in this column). The position is a Private Equity / M&A focused spot at a top US firm in HK. The ideal candidate will be coming from a top 15 US firm in NYC, other major US markets, or already in HK / China. This top 10 US firm is very selective regarding current firm and JD academics. Mandarin fluency is needed for this role. This is by any measure a top 5 Private Equity practice in Asia and the firm globally is considered on of the best PE practices among all major international law firms. The firm also has offices in mainland China. We have placed a number of lateral US associates at this firm in HK / China over the years and these associates (one of them now a partner) have had very positive experiences there. Further, we have been close for years with a number of partners at this firm in Asia and they are amongst our most favorite hiring partner clients, due mainly to our own high opinions of them and their reputation in the market, including feedback from our many associates placed on their teams over the years.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: A+ PE / M&A Opportunity in Hong Kong at Top 10 US Firm – 2nd to 4th Year US Associate (Mandarin Fluency and Top Firm M&A Experience Required)”

Ed. note: This post is authored by Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney of Kinney Recruiting, sponsor of the Asia Chronicles. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in the past five years. You can reach them by email: asia@kinneyrecruiting.com
We realize that many of our readers do get many cold calls from recruiters looking to break into Asia, some of whom have even had some modest success in the Asia markets placing US associates, perhaps with 1 to 10 to their credit. The cold calls are to be expected, especially if your name happens to be of Asian background and / or your firm website bio lists Mandarin, Japanese or Korean as a language you are fluent in. Expect the calls to only increase, even in what is a reduced lateral hiring market in Asia nowadays. Most of the callers are people who have very little experience in Asia but who will be very good in some cases at taking a tiny bit of information and spinning it into “yarn.”

We admit to bias, but we feel strongly that our Asia team is the best resource you can have for keeping abreast of the constantly changing legal markets in Asia. No other firm we know of has so had so much placement success, with approximately 200 US associate placements in Asia since 2006. Over these years we have learned that each placement represents a story, sometimes a relationship of years. Many job searches are more than a year long, with each helping forge close business relationships and even numerous close friendships with the relevant US hiring partners involved). We spend more time, energy, and resources researching and staying abreast of the market than anyone else. Evan Jowers is the head of our Asia lateral associate team and splits time between Hong Kong and US. Robert Kinney, the founder of Kinney Recruiting, is personally involved and invested in Asia, taking 5+ trips there annually and being involved in Asia recruiting daily. Evan has personally been the lead recruiter on over 100 US associate placements in the past few years and has been involved heavily in each of the hundreds of offers we have handled for associates and partners as a company in Asia. There is no substitute for experience.

Feel free to reach out to us any time to set up a call or meeting with Evan, Robert, or any of our Asia recruiters (several of which, in their own right, have been the lead on dozens of Asia placements). Even if just to discuss the Asia markets and your career in general, we are always glad to hear from people looking at a move to Asia and we always try to do what we can to help with counseling and advice.

At any given time, a recruiter on our Asia team is on the ground in both HK / China and NYC and we are available 24 / 7 by phone, for our law firm, US associate and US partner candidate clients.

Ed. note: This post is authored by Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney of Kinney Recruiting, sponsor of the Asia Chronicles. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in the past five years. You can reach them by email: asia@kinneyrecruiting.com

It has been a busy past several weeks for our Asia team at Kinney Recruiting. Evan Jowers was in Boston earlier this week, participating in Harvard Law School’s Market Series. This is the first year they are including Asia markets in the program and Evan was asked by Harvard to be their recruiter representative for those markets. Evan will work with Harvard’s office of career services and be available to its law students who seek advice on the Asia markets and US and UK firms in Asia, where they may 2L summer and / or start as a 1st year associate. If you are a law student from another top JD program and have questions about the Asia markets, please feel free to reach out to us as well, at asia@kinneyrecruiting.com. Of course, we can’t place law students at firms (that is what on-campus recruiting is for), but we are happy to provide advice and begin positive long-term relationships.

In late April and earlier this month, Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney were working out of our Hong Kong offices for a couple of weeks, meeting with various law firm and attorney candidate clients. Also, in late March and early April, Evan Jowers and Yuliya Vinokurova were working out of our Hong Kong offices for a few weeks. Alexis Lamb is of course based in Hong Kong full time.

In mid April, from our Asia team, Evan Jowers, Robert Kinney, Alexis Lamb, Yuliya Vinokurova, Danielle Cyr, Peter Gutensohn, and Josh Carr were all in Austin, Texas for the annual NALP conference.

Please note that Evan Jowers will be in Beijing for most of July.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: Hong Kong / China Lateral State of Market; HK / China Expat Package News”


Ed. note: This post is authored by Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney of Kinney Recruiting, sponsor of the Asia Chronicles. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in the past five years. You can reach them by email: asia@kinneyrecruiting.com

Alexis Lamb here, fresh off a trip to the Lion City where I enjoyed daily jogs in the Botanic Gardens, lip-smacking good pepper crab at Lau Pa Sat hawker centre, a stunning sunset view with craft beer in hand at Level 33, and some unexpectedly tasty tapas at Sabio in Duxton Hill, a newly-gentrified neighborhood which was recently the topic of a NYT photo essay. Yep, Singapore is growing up. She’s shedding her dowdy image as the girl in the horn-rimmed glasses and grey cardigan who nurses one pinot noir before retiring to bed at 11:17 PM. She’s learned a few party tricks from big sister Hong Kong, yet maintains an air of sleek maturity–without the pollution. Now on to business.

A “PROLIFERATION OF WORK, UNLIKELY TO FALL AWAY”

Indonesia. India. Thailand. Vietnam. Malaysia. Philippines. Singapore is the regional financial hub for all of these markets. So, at any given time, dealflow from these countries – plus dealflow originating from within Singapore – is in the pipeline. Contrast this with Hong Kong, who sources most of its work from the PRC, either in the form of PRC IPOs or PRC-driven M&A activity, and you will see its unique advantage. While Singapore will never be the global financial hub that is Hong Kong, it covers a variety of markets and is diversified enough so that it is not dependent on one particular country for the bulk of its activity.

When one country’s business is down – India, for example – lawyers still stay busy as a result of work flowing out of other robustly performing markets, such as Indonesia. One partner described his firm as being inundated with a “proliferation of work” that is “unlikely to fall away”. And this is even with India being relatively moribund. Imagine how busy Singapore-based lawyers would be if both India and Indonesia were booming at the same time!

WHAT’S HOT:

PARTNERS WITH STRONG BOOKS OF BUSINESS. We have been approached by more than one law firm looking either to acquire partners in strategic practice groups for their Singapore office, or looking to do the same to facilitate opening an office in Singapore. Why Singapore? Singapore is relatively under-lawyered, especially at the elite (read: “BigLaw”) levels. This explains why a number of US and UK firms are eying entry into the Singapore market, seeing Singapore as a key strategic hub for project finance, as well as M&A, capital markets and even arbitration activity. Project finance remains the biggest draw, and Indonesia drives much of the dealflow in mining, metals and infrastructure. Singapore’s location – a 2-hour flight from Jakarta – puts it in a unique position to capture much of the work coming out of Indonesia. Some offices in Singapore source up to 80% of their dealflow out of Indonesia. Many firms looking to capitalize on the strength of the projects, energy and mining sectors are sniffing around in Singapore for projects/energy partners willing to “greenfield” their Singapore office.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: Singapore Dealflow – Hot, Humid, and Happenin’”


Ed. note: This post is authored by Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney of Kinney Recruiting, sponsor of the Asia Chronicles. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in the past five years. You can reach them by email: asia@kinneyrecruiting.com

We have seen a relatively slow biglaw lateral hiring market in HK / China in the first quarter of 2012, but things have nevertheless been fairly active for our Kinney Asia team, with 15 US associate and 2 US partner placements at law firms in Asia so far in 2012, at the following firms:

(* denotes multiple placements at the same office)

Ropes & Gray – Hong Kong
Allen & Overy – Hong Kong*
Skadden Arps – Hong Kong
Kirkland & Ellis – Hong Kong*
Linklaters – Hong Kong
Fried Frank – Hong Kong
Allen & Overy – Tokyo
Morrison & Foerster – Tokyo
White & Case – Beijing
Clifford Chance – Hong Kong
Baker Botts – Hong Kong
Vinson & Elkins – Shanghai
unnamed hedge fund – Hong Kong
unnamed hedge fund – Hong Kong

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: 17 Kinney US Biglaw Attorney Placements In Asia In First Quarter ’12 / Some Top US Firms Starting To Hire In Cap Markets Again”

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