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.


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”


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 what we consider a very special opening at a well known, global and prestigious hedge fund in Hong Kong that most likely will be filled by a US associate from a top firm in HK (or possibly from elsewhere in SE Asia). Kinney has been given an exclusive search to fill this role. Here are some of the basics of the background the fund is looking for. Please feel free to reach out to us at asia@kinneyrecruiting.com for many more details.

  • Experience level – preferably 4 to 6 years of experience from top law firm (preferably US qualified)
  • At least a few years experience on the ground in Asia
  • English only is perfectly fine (Mandarin not required)
  • Significant debt experience
  • Great presentation and communication skills
  • Able to handle high level of responsibility without direct supervision in HK
  • Will be responsible for SFC regulatory compliance and keeping on top of relevant regulatory developments in numerous Asia markets
  • Will provide transactional support for public market trading desks

Candidates from cap markets or finance backgrounds, from top firms, could be a good fit for this role. Significant debt experience is key. Compensation is very competitive with what one would find at same level at a top Wall St. firm in HK / China (all in, including expat / cola). The new hire is likely to come from a top firm in Asia, rather than a bank or another in-house position, but those candidates will not be per se excluded.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: Special Hedge Fund In-House Opportunity In Hong Kong / State Of the Market March ‘12″


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

Happy Chinese New Year! We were extremely busy the past few months, including most of our US based team working from our Hong Kong offices during November and December.

As a follow up from our recent post, which listed our 62 US associate and counsel placements in Asia last year (vast majority in HK / China), please note that thus far in January ’12, we have already made nine US associate and counsel placements in Asia. This is an especially impressive number, considering the biglaw lateral hiring market in Asia is down right now (see state of the market brief overview below). These new placements are of new hires in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, who were interviewing with their new firm for a month or more and they are spread out among different practice areas, including project finance, litigation, fund formation, M&A and cap markets. We are close on four additional new associate placements, in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai, that we expect to close soon. We do not discuss partner placements in these articles, but the pace of partner recruitment in Asia (a large part of our business) has continued.

Hedge Fund In-House Openings in Hong Kong

We are seeing a small run of new in-house openings in Hong Kong at hedge funds. We are currently filling three different in-house positions at three different hedge funds in Hong Kong, two of these searches we are handling on an exclusive basis. All three will most likely be filled by a US associate, with about 4 to 6 years of experience. Mandarin not required. Candidates from NYC and London will be considered, but at one of these funds the new hire will likely come from Hong Kong / China or Singapore (with HK being the strong preference).

Please feel free to reach out to us at asia@kinneyrecruiting.com if you are interested in these hedge fund openings. As you probably would expect, the competition for these spots will be fierce and the funds will be very selective when choosing which candidates to interview.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: In-House Openings at Hedge Funds In Hong Kong / State Of The Market / 9 New Kinney ’12 US Associate Placements In HK / China”


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

The lateral hiring market for biglaw US attorneys has slowed down substantially in the past four months. We at Kinney have been fortunate to have continued a nice run of placements, but even our pace has slowed due to market conditions. We have made 62 placements of US associates and counsels at law firms in Asia in 2011 thus far (the vast majority in Hong Kong/ China and not including partners or in house placements), but 42 of those had come by the end of June. Our pace would have slowed down even further had we not been successful in making a much larger than usual number of fund formation and litigation placements for a four month period.

Please see our list of 2011 Asia placements below:

Skadden – Hong Kong *
Milbank – Singapore*
Shearman – Beijing
Morrison & Foerster – Hong Kong*
Davis Polk – Hong Kong*
Skadden – Shanghai
Skadden – Beijing
Latham – Beijing
Latham – Hong Kong*
Latham – Singapore
Paul Hastings – Hong Kong *
Simpson Thacher – Hong Kong*
Ropes & Gray – Hong Kong
*
Ropes & Gray – Shanghai*
Orrick – Hong Kong
Orrick – Beijing
Clifford Chance – Singapore*
Clifford Chance – Hong Kong
A&O – Hong Kong*
Proskauer Rose – Hong Kong
Baker & McKenzie – Hong Kong
Freshfields – Hong Kong
Shearman – Hong Kong*
White & Case – Singapore
Linklaters – Singapore
O’Melveny – Shanghai*
Skadden – Singapore
Vinson & Elkins – Shanghai
CWT – Beijing
Debevoise – Hong Kong*
Kirkland & Ellis – Hong Kong*
Kirkland & Ellis – Shanghai*
Gibson Dunn – Hong Kong
White & Case – Beijing
Kobre & Kim – Hong Kong*
Shearman – Singapore
Hogan Lovells – Tokyo
Freshfields – Tokyo
* denotes multiple placements at the firm in question.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: KINNEY’S 62 US ASSOCIATE PLACEMENTS IN 2011 THUS FAR IN ASIA / STATE OF MARKET”


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

Come join us this Thursday evening at NYU for an Asia career development seminar put on by the Asian Practice Committee of the New York County Lawyers Association. In the past, biglaw associates have found this type of event to be of great help when considering a move to Asia. Here is some basic info on the event:

Career Development in the Legal and Finance Fields
7:00PM – 9:00PM, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011
New York University
Room 212, Furman Hall
245 Sullivan Street

Co-Organizers:
*Asian-Pacific American Law Students Association
*US China Legal Exchange Foundation
*Chinese Public Company Advisory Committee of UCCA
*Culture and Career Club
*Asian Financial Society

Interested in Asia or an Asia-focused legal or finance career? Want to find an Asian practice related job or grow your Asian practice? Curious about how to build your network and develop more career opportunities? Come join us at our career development panel with four experienced professionals in the legal and finance fields!

Topics:
1. The Asian job market for legal and financial professionals
2. Insiders’ tips on qualities that law firms and financial institutions look for in candidates
3. Insights from practitioners about how to grow your Asian practice
4. Professionals’ views on how to network and find more career opportunities in the legal
and financial industries

Panelists:
*Zhihui Julie Guo, Attorney from NY office of a top US law firm
*Alex Hao, Partner from NY office of a top Chinese law firm
*Kevin Pollack (Former lawyer and now fund manager)
*Evan P. Jowers (Head of Asia recruiting at Kinney Recruiting)

When:
7 pm, Thursday, November 17, 2011

Where:
New York University
Room 212, Furman Hall
245 Sullivan Street

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 at kinneyrecruiting dot com.

Please note that Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong during the week of Sept. 25 and Evan will be in HK the following week as well. Alexis Lamb is permanently based in HK of course. Evan was also in HK last week (he is in Maldives this week on holiday, but can be reachable by email and phone if need be).

Check out our daily blog at theasiachronicles.com. Recent posts there include: “IPO’s (And Legal Work): From Gloom to Vroom”; “Hiring Spree in HK / China Fund Formation“; and “Korea – The Next Frontier – But When?“.

As we predicted in November, 2010, a COLA/Expat package of US$80,000 (annually) has become the standard in Hong Kong and China, up from $60,000. Please feel free to check out this link to see some of our recent articles on expat / cola allowances in Asia: http://www.theasiachronicles.com/archives/category/expat-packages

Most US and UK firms in Asia get us involved when they are considering any changes to their US associate expat / cola benefits package. In some cases we have even helped draft expat benefits policies for firm clients opening new offices in Asia. The reasons are quite simple: a) the hiring partners at these firms know us well after years of working together; b) they know we see more offer letters than anyone else in the market, from firms they consider relevant to them re associate recruiting; and c) unlike in other overseas markets (such as Moscow and Dubai for example), most US and UK firms in Asia tend to not share this information with anyone (recruiters, candidates or other firms), except when they provide offer letters. Thus, we have been asked for advice in this area from firms in Asia for years, going back to 2005. Without any doubt there is not any better source than our Kinney Asia team for major law firm expat / cola allowances in Asia.

With that said, we of course are never going to publish any specific firm’s expat / cola allowance information. In our posts on expat /cola allowances, we are only going to divulge general market info, without naming firms. However, of course we do provide to our associate candidate clients all the details on specific firms’ expat / cola policies that we cannot publish here. Recently, we are seeing quite an uptick in the market regarding these allowances. For example, in the past few months a magic circle firm has moved from $65,000 to $85,000 and three more Wall Street firms have moved from an allowance in the $60’000’s to one in the $80,000′s. Here is the current breakdown of expat / cola allowances above $80,000 at the top end of the market in HK / China, compared to 18 months ago (these numbers are for associates with no children as some firms pay substantially higher allowances for associates with children):

US$90,000 and above
- There are currently three US firms (although one of these firms has tax equalization on the base, so the overall take home pay is not top market). Eighteen months ago there were two firms at this level.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: EXPAT / COLA Allowances – Movin’ on Up”

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 at kinneyrecruiting dot com.

Please check out our daily blog, www.theasiachronicles.com! There you will find all our ATL posts, as well as many more posts and numerous daily Asia big law news articles. This week we have another new post by Alexis Lamb, “Mongolia And Then Some…,” (Yes, we have made a recent US associate placement in Mongolia!) and a number of Asia big law news articles.

A good number of our placements over the last six years have been of Korean-speaking attorneys, most of whom are Korean natives who were educated in the United States after a preliminary legal education in Korea. There are very few UK-trained Korean transactional lawyers interested in practicing in Asia. [If there are any out there we don’t know yet, we hope you will get in touch.]

In the earlier years of our practice involving placement of these lawyers, we had a large contingent of junior to mid-level candidates who had little interest in Korea as a place to lateral to, although some moved to Korea to work in Korea firms, for family reasons, or because it was easier for them to land positions in Korean firms than in US or UK firms. Some of our more senior Korean US associate candidates over the years have been making strategic career moves to Korean law firms, as well as moves there for family reasons.

Many Korean US associates based in US have long realized that if they wanted to work on deals where their Korean cultural and language skills would provide a head start over others, they needed to do this from overseas in Hong Kong or Tokyo (most likely in Hong Kong, where most Korea practices are based). Increasingly, though, the question has changed from, “What firms in Hong Kong or Tokyo have the best Korean practices?” to, “How soon is it going to be possible for my firm to open in Seoul?” In this post we will attempt to describe in very basic detail the legal framework under which firms who wish to be in Korea as soon as possible can be there. We will also discuss the reasons why the expected boom of Korean US associate hiring in Hong Kong and Seoul, at UK and US firms, in 2011 has been thus far beendelayed for 6+ months.

Historical View of Korean Legal Market for Foreign Legal Consultants

By necessity, due to the closed nature of the legal market in Korea, lawyers admitted in the United States have historically had two choices: these attorneys could either be based in other jurisdictions around Asia (Hong Kong and Tokyo predominately) but fly into Seoul on a regular basis for transactions (and Karaoke), or they could move to Korea to work in a Korean law firm as a foreign legal consultant (“FLC’s”). Some of the most well known transactional firms who have employed FLC’s include: Kim & Chang; Bae, Kim & Lee; Lee & Ko; Shin & Kim; Yulchon; Hwang Mok Park; and Kim, Chang & Lee; Lee & Ko (just to name a few of the best known such firms). For years these firms and others like them have held sway over the indigenous Korean legal market. By virtue of their power to block international competition, they have done very well in the hiring market and some of the more senior partners have earned US top-firm money.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: Korea – The Next Frontier – But When?”


[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 at kinneyrecruiting dot com.]

Please check out our daily blog, www.theasiachronicles.com, where we also have a new post today by Alexis Lamb, regarding the rising need for US litigation associates in Asia, among our numerous daily news posts on international biglaw in Asia.

Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be visiting NYC Aug. 2 through Aug. 4. They have fairly booked meeting schedules but do have some flexibility to meet with associates considering a move to Asia.

Here we are in the traditional vacation time of July and August, when interview processes can drag out quite a bit. This is especially true in this current still very hot biglaw market in Asia, where busy hiring partners are also juggling 2-week family vacations (sometimes piggy backed around a week or two working from NYC office, making the vacation time seem extended even further).

We feel fortunate at Kinney Asia that we have been able to add two US associate placements this week already – a junior associate placement in Singapore at a top UK firm and a junior associate placement in Hong Kong at a top UK firm’s Korea practice. This continues what has been a spectacular year for Kinney in Asia, with almost 50 US associate placements already this year.

While we expect the US biglaw associate lateral hiring market in HK / China and Singapore to remain very strong during the 2nd half of ’11, we don’t expect the sizzling hiring pace of the 1st half of ’11 to continue. The first half of ’11 was an anomaly, a situation caused by combination of extreme boom market for more than a year in HK / China and most of Asia, and the odd circumstance of busy Asia offices becoming very understaffed and not being allowed to hire as needed, and for many months not at all, for a 18 months of a bona-fide boom time. The boom has continued since then, another 7 months so far, although deal flow has been slowing a bit in some biglaw firms’ US practices in HK / China (some IPOs in HK, most notably Prada, has fallen flat and investigations and shareholder class actions filed against some Chinese companies have slowed down IPOs of Chinese companies in the US). It is still a very hot market, but going through a speed bump now and there has been a lot of hiring in the past few months.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: STATE OF THE MARKET IN ASIA / HOW TO HANDLE THE INEVITABLE COUNTER OFFER, BOTH FROM FIRM AND CANDIDATE’S PERSPECTIVE”


[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 four years. You can reach them by email: asia at kinneyrecruiting dot com.]

Despite best intentions, it has been some time since our last post here on ATL, except for ratcheting up our placement numbers. Since continuing on like that seems a bit gauche to us (and wasteful, considering the cost of this space), and the standard summer slow down in hiring seems to be on us, we wish to apologize for our unintended break and get back to work. For the record, we continue to remain extremely busy in the Asia markets, making already this year 42 US associate or counsel placements at law firms in Hong Kong / China and Singapore, as well as five in-house placements in Hong Kong / China. Our partner work in these markets, though we try to keep a tighter lid on that data, has also been increasingly fast and furious. We are going to now start once again having weekly posts here at Above The Law and also will finally begin more regular posts at theasiachronicles.com. The goal is and has always been daily posts. If any of our readers have a subject you would like addressed, please let us know.

If you would like to meet with any of our Asia team during the next two weeks, Evan Jowers, Robert Kinney and Yuliya Vinokurova will be available in Moscow, Danielle Cyr in New York, and Alexis Lamb in Hong Kong. Robert, Evan and Yuliya just returned from a few weeks in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Robert and Evan will also be in Beijing and Hong Kong in the first two weeks of August. Evan will be, as usual, in New York on and off this summer. Danielle and Alexis are of course based in New York and Hong Kong, respectively.

We are opening new Shanghai and Beijing offices soon and feel free to apply to Kinney if you are an experienced and successful recruiter in China, in either biglaw or the corporate world. Email us at asia@kinneyrecruiting.com.

We all make impulse buys from time to time. If there is any buyer’s remorse afterwards, the pain is limited to our pockets being a little light or, sometimes, a bad purchase may even cause a significant but temporary dent in our bank accounts. For example, a couple of weeks ago in Shanghai, our own Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney decided to kill some time on a rainy Saturday afternoon at M50 (50 Moganshan Road, a relatively new place – about 10 years old – where many modern art galleries are situated in 1930’s era buildings). What started as browsing ended up in spur of the moment purchases of six expensive paintings by an up and coming artist (at least that is what the gallery owner claimed), Wang Da, to put on display in our soon-to-be opened new Shanghai offices. The purchases were made while they were simply waiting for a couple of NYC based hedge fund manager friend / clients to meet them at a particular gallery. While Evan and Robert don’t have buyer’s remorse, at least not yet, they had some explaining to do to their wives and close friends, who are well aware that both guys know very little about modern art, and surely not modern Chinese art, and that scam artists in China outnumber real artists about 10,000 to one.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: Don’t be an “IMPULSE BUYER” When Selecting a Legal Recruiter – Ask For at Least 10 References of Past Placements in your Target Asia Markets”

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