Betterment EventTransitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.

Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.

For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.

In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.

Details and panelists after the jump…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Innovative Lawyers: You’re Invited To A Night With NYC’s Premier Start-up GCs”

Ed. note: 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 seven years. You can reach them by email: asia@kinneyrecruiting.com.

It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.

For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.

For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls.  This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.

Evan and the rest of our Asia team – Robert Kinney, Yuliya Vinokurova, Andrew Lin, Jack Hopper and Danielle Cyr  - are of course happy to advise law students from other JD programs as well.

To set up a phone call with Evan or one of our other Asia team members, please email Evan Jowers at evan@kinneyrecruiting.com or asia@kinneyrecruiting.com.

The choices a JD makes during their IL and 2L summers and 2L falls can have an enormous affect on their future marketability in Asia, should they be interested in such a move.

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Connecticut plaintiffs-side boutique litigation firm (12 lawyers) seeks full-time associate with 2-4 years litigation experience, top tier undergraduate and law school education. Journal or clerkship experience a plus; highest ethical standards and strong work ethic required. Familiarity with Connecticut state court legal practice is preferred, but not required.

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Ed. note: 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 seven years. You can reach them by email: asia@kinneyrecruiting.com.

The head of our Asia recruiting, Evan Jowers will be in Seoul all next week and available for meetings. Evan was in Hong Kong all last week and was unable to meet with everyone who reached out, due to a completely booked schedule. Apologies for that. He is in Hong Kong monthly and Robert Kinney and Yuliya Vinokurova are often in Hong Kong as well, so feel free to reach out to us at asia@kinneyrecruiting.com to schedule a Hong Kong meeting for later this month or next month, or just a phone call if you prefer.

Kinney has had the privilege of representing and placing a number of Korean background US associates and counsels and one partner in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore over the years. We are now getting more involved in the expanding Seoul market. We are helping two of our law firm clients open up offices in Korea at present and that will be taking up some of Evan’s time, but he will have time also to meet with US, UK and Australia trained associates at international firms and Korean firms who would like to meet Evan or re-establish a connection with him. By all means any of the attorneys in Korea who we have worked with and placed in the past should also feel free to reach out to Evan as well at evan@kinneyrecruiting.com. Having any reason to look for a move in the foreseeable future is never a pre-requisite to setting up a meeting with any of our Kinney Asia team. Most of the folks we meet and establish relations with over the years in Asia are not interested in considering a move at our first meeting (or the next several meetings). We always enjoy a good discussion on the market and an individual’s career plans. Ultimately, over 50% of those attorneys we place in Asia have had such discussions with us for 2 or more years prior. Some of our closest relationships in Asia we may never place because they are doing so well at their firm for years and have no reason to move, and that’s fine by us.

We do have a limited amount of Korean background US associate openings in Seoul in project finance, asset finance, M&A and cap markets. It is not a very hot market for lateral hiring at present, but things are picking up when compared to the past two years. We think that the lateral hiring market in Korea will be stronger in ’15 and ’16, conditioned upon market conditions of course, as the dust settles on all these new offices having opened in Korea recently. Most of the US firms in Korea are small offices of perhaps one partner and one associate and will stay small, as they are there to connect their firm’s litigation or other practices back in the US with important potential or actual large Korean clients. The smartphone wars have become extremely lucrative for some US firm’s litigation practices. There are other firms though, some that were among the first US or UK firms to open in Korea, and some which more recently opened or are still working out plans to open, that are true Korean corporate, cap markets, project finance and / or finance practices. In the coming years these larger Korea transactional practice groups (and now or soon to be Seoul offices) will hire from time to time, just as some of the well established Korea practices hired in Hong Kong over the years (before they moved to Seoul).

As always, feel free to reach out to Kinney Recruiting at asia@kinneyrecruiting.com if you have any questions regarding the Asia markets.

Ed. note: 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.

Our advice to any Mandarin speaking 2L summer associate who is interested in a future transfer or lateral US associate move to Hong Kong / China: It’s not just about corporate and other transactional practices any more. If you are more interested in litigation than transactional, don’t hesitate to choose litigation or a litigation-related practice area. There is a sharply growing need at top US firms in Hong Kong / China for laterals and transfers in US litigation (mostly FCPA / White Collar work), Anti-Trust, and Disputes / Arbitration. This is not just a trend, it’s a permanent change on the landscape. We find it exciting that Mandarin speaking JDs now have more options to choose from in positioning themselves for a future Hong Kong / China move. Feel free to contact us at asia@kinneyrecruiting.com if you are a summer associate interested in Asia and have any questions about choosing a practice. It can be one of the biggest decisions you make in your career and yet one usually made without much analysis. Also, feel free to contact us if you are an associate interested in joining an FCPA / White Collar practice or Disputes practice in Asia. We have made numerous such placements in the past few years and a number of our candidates are interviewing for FCPA / White Collar positions at present in Asia.

Check out this relevant recent Legal Week article by Elizabeth Broomhall, where Kinney Recruiting’s Evan Jowers is quoted several times: Courting Eastern promise – the drive by international firms to recruit more disputes lawyers in Asia.



Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be working out of our Hong Kong offices the week of June 16, if you would like to set up a meeting with them, to discuss your career and the Asia markets. Evan is in Hong Kong monthly and Robert is there very frequently as well. It is not possible to find a recruiter who has placed half as many US associates and counsels in Hong Kong / China as Evan Jowers and you are not going to find recruiters with more experience in US partner movements in Hong Kong / China as Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers, but Robert and Evan have also advised a lot of US attorneys in Asia over the years, including senior partners, who have not had reason to move from their firms. It is ultimately a relationship business more than a placement business, although placements can be a bi-product of a lot of good relationships. Feel free to reach out to Robert and Evan at robert@kinneyrecruiting.com and evan@kinneyrecruiting.com to set up a meeting.

During any type of lateral hiring market in Asia, hot or cold, we will have the usual M&A, Cap Markets, FCPA / White Collar and Project Finance openings for Mandarin speaking junior to mid-level US associates in HK / China, as well as Korean fluent corporate openings in Seoul and Japanese fluent corporate openings in Tokyo. We have a bunch of those now, as always, in what is currently average and spotty lateral hiring market conditions (Asia lateral market report coming next week). Here though are two of our more unique openings in Asia:

Korean fluent, Project Finance / Asset Finance, mid-level to senior associate (Hong Kong / Seoul)

-This spot is for a 4th to 8th year US associate and will be initially based at a top US firm’s Hong Kong office. However, the hire will likely need to move to the firm’s Seoul office within a year or so. There is a realistic partnership track for this role, especially because of the new hire’s important role in building the Seoul office. Already based in Asia is preferred, but candidates will also be considered from US and Europe. This position is unique for two reasons: Firstly, it is not common to have project finance or asset finance openings for Korean fluent US associates. We have filed a number of such spots over the years, but its not a common opening. Secondly, this new hire will have the special circumstance of arriving into a position where there already exists a business case for promotion to partnership in the future.

PE Fund Formation, mid-level to senior associate, English only ok (Hong Kong)

-This spot is for a 3rd to 7th year associate at one of the top PE fund formation practices in Hong Kong, at a top US firm. What makes this opening uncommon is that English Only is ok for this spot and the expectation is that the new hire with come from New York, London or another major western market where there are very strong PE fund formation practices. The vast majority of the time we have a PE fund formation opening in HK / China, Mandarin is required or at least preferred. There is a business case for this funds group to add a partner in some years so this is a realistic partner track position if the new hire is on the senior end of the 3rd to 7th year range. The range is big because the hiring partner is more focused on finding the highest quality hire with the best PE fund formation experience, who can lead deals, rather than focusing on an exact class year. Of course, the expectations for the new hire will vary depending on their seniority.

Both of the above spots have very competitive pay packages, including NYC top market base and bonus, and very competitive expat / cola / housing allowances for Hong Kong. The hiring partners for both spots have great reputations in the market, not only for their practice, but also for being great mentors and treating their associates well.

As always, feel free to reach out to us at asia@kinneyrecruiting.com if you are interested in one of these openings, one of our many other US associate openings in Asia, or if you just want to talk about your career plans and how to make yourself more marketable in any of the Asia big law markets.

Talk to any law student and most will admit that where a law school placed in the rankings was a key reason he or she enrolled in a particular program – maybe even the biggest factor. At Kaplan, we’ve long told pre-law students that while they shouldn’t get hung up on whether a law school is ranked #15 or #21, as this won’t matter five years down the road.  On that note…April’s special edition of “The 180 – Live”, Kaplan’s live, online talk show about legal issues, featured ATL’s Elie Mystal, Brian Dalton and myself announcing and discussing Above The Law’s 2014 Rankings of the Top 50 Law Schools.

We all agree the rankings can serve a purpose — they are good aggregate sources of data around job placement stats, academic life and other considerations and can be one of many factors students look at. As you’re considering where to enroll, the more relevant, transparent and helpful information, the better. By focusing on the outcomes law school students (should) care about (like jobs in the legal sector and clerkships) and less on inputs (like LSAT scores and GPA), ATL’s rankings give us a different perspective on how law schools stack up against each other — useful insights as students consider where to spend the next three years of their lives.

In fact, findings from Kaplan Test Prep’s latest survey of pre-law students reinforce the notion that students should place more emphasis on outcomes such as job placement rates and bar passage rates – in keeping with ATL’s rankings methodology. (Remember you can’t do much in law without passing the bar! And if bar passage isn’t required for your desired career path, we’d ask you “why law school” in the first place.) Specific survey highlights include:

  • 84% of pre-law students say that where a law school places in the rankings is important in determining where they will enroll. Understandable. Studies by PayScale.com show that in general the higher a law school ranks, the higher its graduates’ starting salaries are.

  • Pre-law students surveyed were nearly unanimous in saying a law school’s academic quality (99%), bar exam passage rate (95%), and job placement statistics (94%) should have a lot of weight in determining where a law school places in the rankings.

  • Previous Kaplan research of graduating law school students found that what they said the biggest factors future law students should focus on were 1) a school’s job placement rate and 2) affordability/tuition. Make sure you can reasonably afford your law school…try to get scholarships. And how do you get’ em? A stellar LSAT score. That’s what we’re here for.

Final piece of advice: Ultimately each law school applicant should enroll in a JD program that is the best overall ‘fit’ for the individual’s professional, financial, and lifestyle goals and needs.  This will be one the biggest decisions of your professional lives (no pressure!), so be judicious – it’s a skill you’ll need for the long haul anyway, so start now.

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