Hong Kong Lawyer

JANUARY 2018

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Thriving in Hong Kong's dynamic business takes a high-level of expertise and efficiency. The legal profession forms the core of every organisation and we anticipate an encouraging number of both of newly created and replacement headcount. This is applicable across lawyers for private practice and in-house as well as legal support positions. Here are some of the legal recruitment industry's key drivers for 2018. More opportunities for in- house legal counsels The legal function has always been crucial to any business, and many companies in the region previously lacking an in-house team have started to build one over the past year. In-house legal counsels provide valuable legal advice, often derived from the fact that they have an insider's perspective on the business and have a vested interest in the good standing of their company. In- house counsels can also more effectively manage relationships with external lawyers due to a common understanding of business and industry practices. Lawyers entering an in-house role now have the opportunity to set up the legal function in companies who see value in building a legal team. Coming into a brand new team means the candidate has a chance to build their own profile, visibility and working style without concerns of legacy problems. There is also the possibility that the team will be expanded in the future as the company becomes more invested in growing their legal resources. Chinese solicitors are in high demand The Greater China and Hong Kong legal sectors have seen a rebound from the slow-down driven by the IPO and FDI market in 2015 and 2016. Their approach to their legal hiring and strategy have gotten increasingly local or regional. Hong Kong companies, Red Circle Firms, Chinese fund houses and state-owned enterprises are more aggressive and competitive in their hiring strategies, often showing a strong preference towards solicitors who are proficient in spoken and written Mandarin. We expect this trend to remain constant in the coming years. It may also be worth monitoring how the Hong Kong Law Society responds to the demand for Chinese solicitors – their policy with regards to the barriers of entry of legal professionals might affect this trend in the future. Work-life balance is possible for lawyers As with most of the workforce, consideration and emphasis on work-life balance have always been appreciated by those working in the legal industry. It is worth noting that some of the more progressive companies have started to introduce flexible work arrangements, prompting more traditional companies with strict policies to consider the possibility of overhauling their HR practices. LEGAL MARKET 職場資訊 Legal In-House Positions to Create New Headcount in 2018 By Marta Verderosa, Manager Legal, Michael Page Hong Kong 76 www.hk-lawyer.org •  January 2018

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