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 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”


[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.]

Evan here. It has been a solid past few months for us in HK / China and Singapore. Here is a list of our very recent placements in 2011. We also are in the process now of making numerous additional Asia placements (outstanding offers with our candidate likely to accept). Further, please note that this list does not include the several in-house and partner level placements we have made in Asia this year. We also have represented numerous associates who had offers but transferred within their own firms to Asia. Even these situations are successes when they allow our candidates to make an informed decision.

* – denotes 2 or more 2011 placements in the office

Skadden – Hong Kong *
Milbank – Singapore*
Shearman – Beijing
Morrison & Foerster – Hong Kong
Davis Polk – Hong Kong*
Skadden – Shanghai
Latham – Beijing
Latham – Hong Kong*
Latham – Singapore
Paul Hastings – Hong Kong *
Simpson Thacher – Hong Kong*
Ropes & Gray – Hong Kong
Ropes & Gray – Shanghai (soon to be opened office)*
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

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: Kinney’s 42 (so far) 2011 Asia Placements of US associates in Law Firms”

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double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Thanks to This Week’s Advertisers”


[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.]

Evan Jowers here. There is nothing like expat package discussion to get our readership up. It seems like we have recently written on this topic, but there has since then continued to be an uptick in housing / cola, as well as a lot of momentum for a cross the board market shift upwards regarding what is considered a competitive expat / cola allowance in HK / China.

First, please check out our recent press at CNBC, where our Alexis Lamb is the only recruiter interviewed for the March 7 ’11 article “Law Graduates Head to Asia as IPO, M&A Boom Creates Talent Shortage,” by Ansuya Harjan. We will be featured / interviewed in several other national and global publications, regarding Asia biglaw, in April as well.

Usually when the top US or UK firms in HK / China are considering an expat / cola raise, they will contact Robert Kinney, Alexis Lamb, Yuliya Vinokurova and / or me for information on other expat / cola allowances in the markets, recent changes we have seen, and what we are expecting in the near to medium-term future. We have been taking such calls on a just about daily basis recently. Why are we such a great source of information for these hiring partners? Well, it is known that we are the market leaders and are the most informed recruiters in the HK / China biglaw market and each year we see offer letters from just about every top US or UK firm in HK / China. Routinely, Robert and I are asked to meet with senior partners in both Hong Kong and New York in order to discuss the state of the lateral hiring market in Asia, including cola / housing allowances.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: HOUSING / COLA ALLOWANCES IN HK / CHINA ON THE RISE 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 four years. You can reach them by email: asia at kinneyrecruiting dot com.]

Alexis Lamb here, writing from my soon-to-be-old flat (err, apartment) in Hong Kong. Housing markets tend to be a barometer of more general market conditions, and nowhere is that more apparent than in more emerging economies. While China is more of an emerging superpower than an emerging economy, the grand fall and rise of the Hong Kong property markets are evidence of general economic strength and renewed optimism in this part of the world.

I moved into my current flat in April 2009, smack-dab in the depths of the economic dead zone. I was able to secure my 680 square-foot, high-floor, doorman building with pool and clubhouse for approximately US$1980 (HK$15,000) without the landlord putting up much of a fuss. If anything, the landlord seemed relieved that someone – anyone – was renting his flat!
Fast forward 2 years to mid-March 2011. Landlord decides to nearly double my rent to HK$25,000, or US$3,200! Before I launched into “Why you gotta break my balls”, I did some market research and found that other flats in my building on similar floors were being rented out for a similar price. Time to get a better deal.

Fortunately, a bit of digging and creativity yielded results. For some bargaining I was able to find apartments that fit my checklist. 500 square feet? Check. Doorman, luxury building? Check. Near the Robinson Road escalator stop? Check. Within my budget? What budget! Budgets are for the boring! Just kidding; check. Bigger and more tricked-out options were to be found in more farflung neighborhoods – which, in HK, means a 15-minute walk to the escalator instead of a 45-second walk to the escalator – such as Sheung Wan and NoHo (“North of Hollywood Road”).

The NoHo option was intriguing. I found a bright, airy, 800-square foot studio (asking price slightly over US$2,400) on Gage Street, right next to the Gage Street wet markets, a wholesale distributor of flash-frozen high-end meat products imported from places like New Zealand and South America, art galleries, and a cheerful spattering of unique jewelry and clothing boutiques run by local designers. The apartment was a stone’s throw from Gough (rhymes with “cough”) Street, which has surfaced as a grittier, cooler escape from the expat ghettoes of Soho and Lan Kwai Fong. To draw a comparison with the mean streets of New York, if SoHo is the Upper East Side, Gough Street is the Lower East Side (for my fellow Longhorns: if SoHo is 6th Street, Gough Street is South Congress).

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: NEED PROOF HONG KONG / CHINA IS BOOMING? TRY RENTING A NEW FLAT!”


[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.]

Evan here, writing from a lounge on a short layover at LAX. Robert and I just returned to the US this morning from another exhausting China trip (8+ meetings per day makes for early rises and late evenings), something we repeat about every other month. No surprise, but all indications on the ground, from meetings with various corporate / cap markets partners at top law firms in HK / China, we are still planted solidly in an economic and deal flow boom there.

We have been averaging about 2 US associate or counsel placements per week in Asia so far this year, a blistering pace that can’t continue quite frankly, but is an indicator of how hot the market is right now (see recent Asia Chronicles ATL posts for more details on this hiring boom or do a search at theasiachronicles.com for such info).

Just the fact that Robert and I can set up meetings on short notice with the leading corporate partners of top US and UK firms in HK / China (especially in a boom market where time is at a premium for such persons running multiple big deals on understaffed teams) is a major difference between Kinney and other recruiting firms trying to break into the increasingly hot US associate biglaw lateral hiring market in HK / China. Remember that just about every US and UK firm in HK / China are hiring US corporate associates at this time, so you should not settle for a recruiter / agent who simply is aware of openings and can provide a list of firms and can name a few partners there. double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: Only Kinney Can Provide 100+ References Of US Associates We Placed in HK / China In Past Few Years”


[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.]

Evan here. Please check out our daily blog at www.theasiachronicles.com where we will have more posts than those that appear here. Today, for example, we have this post and also a post from Alexis Lamb regarding the Singapore market – “Singapore Swing.”

Please note that Robert Kinney and I will be working from our Hong Kong offices for a few weeks later this month and can be available for meetings with our readers then. Alexis, of course, is based permanently in Hong Kong.

Three Quick hits of the day (a new feature at theasiachronicles.com): One US firm in Hong Kong now has an expat / cola allowance of over $90,000 for single associates and over $100,000 for married associates; Almost every strong US cap markets practice in HK / China is hiring lateral associates now; It has recently become more common for US and UK firms in Singapore to offer an expat / cola allowance, albeit much smaller than in HK (for years, most firms offered no allowance in Singapore).

While interviewing for a US associate position in Asia can be quite different from interviewing for a spot down the street in New York or another major domestic market there are also some similarities to a job search in any domestic market. The key determining factors on whether you will have a chance at interviewing are top firm experience and impressive law school academics. The other obvious factor determining whether you will be asked to interview, at least for most positions in Asia, is language skills (Mandarin, Korean, Japanese).

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: INTERVIEWING FOR ASIA US ASSOCIATE POSITIONS – WHAT HIRING PARTNERS ARE LOOKING FOR IN A CANDIDATE”


[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.]

Evan here. As we have been predicted would happen in past posts, a sizzling biglaw US associate lateral hiring boom has arrived in Hong Kong / China for the first quarter ’11. We expect this hiring boom to continue until spring, with hiring being steady afterwards but dropping to more normal levels.

A “perfect storm” has developed, causing many US and UK firms in Hong Kong / China to have multiple US corporate / cap markets urgent openings at one time now.

A lot of these top firms in Hong Kong / China have been understaffed since late 2009. When the global recession went into full swing in late 2008, the downturn had started to seriously affect biglaw deal flow in China (about a year after negative effects were felt in US and other Western markets), with IPOs coming to a stop. There was misguided concern at the time that because China had some dependence on US exports for its economy to be fully fueled, China would be heading into a bubble-busting down turn, even much worse than what was taking place in the US. However, in mid-’09, deal flow in China was booming again, fueled in large part by China’s own consumer economy expanding rapidly. This was no surprise to many of us who have observed China for several years. After all, 2009 was the year that China over took the US in new cars purchased annually, China overtook India in gold purchased annually, and the Asia Pacific Region overtook North America in daily commercial flights. double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: As Predicted, The HK / China Mini Hiring Boom Has Begun”


[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.]

Evan Jowers here, with a quick post before the New Year holiday. As you know from our recent posts, Robert Kinney and I have continued our pattern this year of traveling to Hong Kong / China to meet personally with clients and learn of openings (six trips each this year – ouch). Alexis Lamb of course is permanently based in our Hong Kong office and Yuliya Vinokurova travels to Asia periodically from her base in Russia. As a result of our availability to firms and more importantly our success in placing more US attorneys in Asia than any other recruiting firm, we are on top of many US associate openings at present in Hong Kong/China.

As you know from recent posts, we have many current openings for Mandarin fluent cap markets and M&A US associates (too numerous to list here). As the year winds to a close, we wanted to list in one place a description of some of our more unusual openings for US associates at top US and UK firms in Hong Kong / China:

Hong Kong – native Korean fluent private equity fund formation US associate; 2 to 5 years experience

Shanghai – native Mandarin fluent IP transactional US associate; mid to senior level

Hong Kong or Singapore – US securities / high yield / M&A mix US associate (English only ok); 4 to 7 years experience (the successful candidate will have his/her choice of Hong Kong or Singapore location)

Hong Kong – native Korean fluent private equity M&A US associate; 2 to 6 years experience

Hong Kong, Beijing or Shanghai – native Mandarin fluent US senior capital markets associate for counsel or partner role (several openings); very senior associate with top firm experience in China and NYC preferred

Hong Kong – native Korean fluent project finance US associate; 3 to 6 years experience

Beijing – native Mandarin fluent finance associate; junior to mid-level (multiple openings) double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: Hong Kong / China Openings; Hiring Boom In First Quarter ’11?”


[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.]

Evan here. If you are a transactional associate at a top US firm and your name happens to be of Asian origin, especially of Chinese background, then you are probably receiving multiple cold calls per day from recruiters. After all the Asia lateral biglaw markets, especially HK / China are red hot now and it is of course very easy to compile a list of top US firm associates with Asian names.

Keep in mind that there can be very negative consequences in giving control of such an important career move and job search to someone calling you out of the blue (no matter how many times they may call). We often get calls from very well qualified US associates with sad tales of at worst their resume being plastered unauthorized all over China or other Asia markets; or at best only authorized submissions (thankfully) but realizing their recruiter has done little more than emailing their resume to begin with and is unresponsive for weeks.

It is important to note that your resume is a very valuable commodity to recruiters calling you. When you are placed at a law firm, the recruiter who submitted your resume is typically paid (by the law firm) 25 to 30% of your starting base salary. Thus, the recruiters cold-calling you have a big incentive to get a hold of your resume and email it to law firms, with or without your authorization (believe it or not, some biglaw recruiters in Asia are known to be even less ethical than the worst of the lot in the US). Once your resume has been submitted to a law firm, the recruiter who did so “owns” your candidacy there for at least six months. Further, when your resume has been submitted without your authorization, it will take an affidavit from you to the target firm explaining such for the submission to be reversed (and basically that is you explaining to the firm that you did not know you even applied there, which can of course cool off any motivation of that firm to continue to want to interview you, and the unethical recruiter is counting on you to thus not take that route).

We try to think that a lot of recruiters do not take such unethical steps, but please note that even the most well-intentioned recruiters trying to break into the Asia markets are more often than not woefully inexperienced with such lateral placements (and even most of those with some experience have never been more than resume pushers). double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: Be Careful With Cold-Callers”

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