Hong Kong Question 3L

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Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:44 pm

Hey everyone, I was wondering if there was a strategy to mass mail HK offices (big law) as a rising 3L.

I am at a T2, grades above median (not great though), and secondary journal. Last summer I worked for a large firm in Asia and this summer with the same firm in June and the UN Commission on International Trade Law in July.

Any shot? I'd appreciate any input. Thanks.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:22 am

I strongly advise you to mass mail all the big firms' HK offices, but especially focus on the UK firms. US firms are expanding aggressively in HK but they don't usually put new grads directly in HK. They typically send associates to HK after a few years in NY. UK firms are more likely to have new US grads as first year associates. I know this first hand because I am a summer associate at one of the UK firms in HK right now and most US associates here started in HK right away after graduation.

In fact, I think you should expand your search to UK firms' other offices in Asia, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, etc. I actually met an associate from one of those offices. He is from T2 as well and he didn't summer in HK. He found a job after graduation by mass mailing UK firms in Asia.

You should note that the areas for US lawyers in HK are very narrow, typically just US securities and M&A. Both areas are REALLY REALLY down right now. It is unlikely they are hiring many people. So I think you should be persistent and be willing to spend some time waiting for the economy to get better.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:14 am

but why would UK firms hire US JDs? don't their asian offices look for graduates from UK or Asian universities?

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Old Gregg
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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:20 am

They want candidates with international/US M&A and cap markets experience who can speak Mandarin. You don't find that locally.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:but why would UK firms hire US JDs? don't their asian offices look for graduates from UK or Asian universities?


Thanks to the expansive nature of US Securities laws, virtually every significant offering of securities around the world has US Securities legal implication. Moreover, US has the largest pool of investors with the biggest pot of money, no significant IPO in the world can be a success without US investors getting involved.

Thus, US Securities legal advice is critical for the success of IPOs and other kinds of offerings in Hong Kong. But the practice area is very narrow. It is almost always Reg S/144A offering. Dual listing in HK and NY is very rare.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby monkey85 » Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:I strongly advise you to mass mail all the big firms' HK offices, but especially focus on the UK firms.


That is good. Also, will you be visiting the area before 3L begins? If so, let them know and try to coordinate a meeting/interview. It may be appealing to interview you in-person if you are around.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:55 am

if they read your transcript and did not find securities law courses, would that be a ding?
I have worked at some US law firms but they focus on litigation.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:03 am

What about for a rising 2L who wants to summer in HK?

I am in HK right now and was wondering whether to email law firms before OCI/I go back to the States for 2L.

Also, to those with experience in HK, how much of a ding is not knowing Mandarin?

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:07 am

Pretty big ding these days. If you can't speak any dialect of Chinese, go work in Singapore,

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:10 am

Fresh Prince wrote:Pretty big ding these days. If you can't speak any dialect of Chinese, go work in Singapore,


I speak Cantonese and am from HK. Would prefer to come back to HK, but am open for SG at least in the beginning. Anyone know of firms where no Mandarin would be less of a ding?

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:if they read your transcript and did not find securities law courses, would that be a ding?
I have worked at some US law firms but they focus on litigation.


Others please correct me if I am wrong. I am only summering at the US securities team, not other departments.

But, I have heard that the investigation/FCPA practice is very hot right now. So if you can spin your litigation experience towards that direction, I think many firms might be interested.

In fact, US securities practice is very down right now because market is just so shitty. But thanks to the US government, there are a ton of FCPA investigations and a lot of FCPA lawyers getting rich in HK.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:What about for a rising 2L who wants to summer in HK?

I am in HK right now and was wondering whether to email law firms before OCI/I go back to the States for 2L.

Also, to those with experience in HK, how much of a ding is not knowing Mandarin?


I got my summer job here through mass-mailing after OCI. My firm didn't do OCI in my school in the US. But I think since you are in HK already, it is good to build up some personal connections. The reason being that US lawyers in HK are a very small community. If you can make some connections while you are here, you will definitely have an edge when they decide who they want to hire for the summer. Keep in mind that they don't hire many US summers here, personal connections can make a difference.

Another thing is that I found US lawyers to be very friendly and eager to help US law students. Every time I introduce myself to a US lawyer here, they are excited to talk to me. It is as if you are a minority in a community and you meet someone of similar background.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:Pretty big ding these days. If you can't speak any dialect of Chinese, go work in Singapore,


I speak Cantonese and am from HK. Would prefer to come back to HK, but am open for SG at least in the beginning. Anyone know of firms where no Mandarin would be less of a ding?


I think speaking Mandarin gives you an edge. But I have met associates who are not mandarin speakers and they are still doing pretty well. At the end of the day, you are here to give advice on US securities laws (or a few other practice areas). You are going to work with local HK lawyers or mainland Chinese lawyers on matters related to China. You will also work on a ton of deals from non-Chinese companies; after all, HK is an international financial center (used to be at least, not this fucking year). Finally, you will have many mandarin-speaking colleagues at your firm. If you are hardworking and quickly establish yourself as an expert in US securities, others will still come to you in HK.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What about for a rising 2L who wants to summer in HK?

I am in HK right now and was wondering whether to email law firms before OCI/I go back to the States for 2L.

Also, to those with experience in HK, how much of a ding is not knowing Mandarin?


I got my summer job here through mass-mailing after OCI. My firm didn't do OCI in my school in the US. But I think since you are in HK already, it is good to build up some personal connections. The reason being that US lawyers in HK are a very small community. If you can make some connections while you are here, you will definitely have an edge when they decide who they want to hire for the summer. Keep in mind that they don't hire many US summers here, personal connections can make a difference.

Another thing is that I found US lawyers to be very friendly and eager to help US law students. Every time I introduce myself to a US lawyer here, they are excited to talk to me. It is as if you are a minority in a community and you meet someone of similar background.


you mean US lawyers eager to help US law students who are Americans, or any student, American or foreign, doing a JD in America?

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What about for a rising 2L who wants to summer in HK?

I am in HK right now and was wondering whether to email law firms before OCI/I go back to the States for 2L.

Also, to those with experience in HK, how much of a ding is not knowing Mandarin?


I got my summer job here through mass-mailing after OCI. My firm didn't do OCI in my school in the US. But I think since you are in HK already, it is good to build up some personal connections. The reason being that US lawyers in HK are a very small community. If you can make some connections while you are here, you will definitely have an edge when they decide who they want to hire for the summer. Keep in mind that they don't hire many US summers here, personal connections can make a difference.

Another thing is that I found US lawyers to be very friendly and eager to help US law students. Every time I introduce myself to a US lawyer here, they are excited to talk to me. It is as if you are a minority in a community and you meet someone of similar background.


you mean US lawyers eager to help US law students who are Americans, or any student, American or foreign, doing a JD in America?


I am an international JD student studying in the US. From my experience, US lawyers overseas are eager to help US law students in general, regardless of your nationality.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
I am an international JD student studying in the US. From my experience, US lawyers overseas are eager to help US law students in general, regardless of your nationality.


I wonder if this is also true for other Asian markets like Seoul or Kuala Lumpur?

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:47 am

OP here. Thanks for the input above. I don't speak mandarin/cantonese but I speak Korean.

Should I just start digging UK HK offices and mass mailing them? Whats the best way to do this?

I'm probably auto-ding no....?

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:51 am

I don't mean to hijack the thread with an irrelevant question, but this is the first active topic I've seen on firms in Asia for a while. I'm really interested in ending up at a Tokyo office sometime down the line, but I have a couple of concerns. First, I've heard that language expertise can be huge, and while my language skills are advanced I definitely don't think I could be going through discovery documents yet with any confidence. Second, I have no experience in or background for transactional work and I have a hard time believing that overseas firms have a need for associates with american litigation expertise.

If I'm serious about ending up in Tokyo, do you guys have any recommendations? I'm a rising 2L, should I be hitting Tokyo offices up now, or just firms with Tokyo offices? Should I definitely push for transactional work or would litigation be okay? Any advice or insight would be huge-- thank you.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby SHANbangs » Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:28 pm

Not to hijack this thread, but please allow me to pose some questions. I'm personally very interested in working in Asia, especially HK/SG/Shanghai/Beijing. But I was always under the impression that US/UK firms in Asia want US laterals who already have like 3+ years of corporate experience, and that they are not very interested in American 2L/3L JDs who don't actually have that experience. Yet it seems like people on this thread are saying mass-mailing while still in law school could potentially reap some rewards? I'm confused.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:20 pm

(different anon). Interested in this as well. I am white but speak Mandarin - but probably will not do so very well by the end of law school. I am at a top 15, top 15%.

My plan was to work in NYC for a few years and then go to HK. I really thought going straight to HK w/out U.S. work experience was career suicide. Can someone comment on this? Maybe just at the tiny offices of U.S. law firms?

What if I were to take the PLLC directly after my J.D. and apply to UK, Australian, or even local firms? I am more comfortable getting experience in the U.S. first, but I would be open to going directly to HK IF it wasn't career suicide.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:03 pm

bump (OP)

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby superflush » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:but why would UK firms hire US JDs? don't their asian offices look for graduates from UK or Asian universities?


Thanks to the expansive nature of US Securities laws, virtually every significant offering of securities around the world has US Securities legal implication. Moreover, US has the largest pool of investors with the biggest pot of money, no significant IPO in the world can be a success without US investors getting involved.

Thus, US Securities legal advice is critical for the success of IPOs and other kinds of offerings in Hong Kong. But the practice area is very narrow. It is almost always Reg S/144A offering. Dual listing in HK and NY is very rare.


Magic Circle firms need US JDs. I believe they typically will hire a class, do some training in NYC, then have some people stay in NYC and send others to London and Hong Kong.


Anonymous User wrote:Also, to those with experience in HK, how much of a ding is not knowing Mandarin?


Not being able to write or read Mandarin is definitely a hinderance, but you still could be able to find a job without it.
However, even if you do, I would consider it to be severely limiting in terms of career advancement down the road.
They might be able to give you enough English-side work to keep you busy, but you aren't going to be able to get out in front of things the way a bilingual lawyer can.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby cantaboot » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:49 pm

for those of you with no ties to Asia and/or do not speak Mandarin/any form of chinese, why do you even consider working in ASia?
A lot of these big cities are actually pretty cool (well, as long as you got a well paid job you can live a great life almost anywhere) but I don't see how Asia hold such a strong appeal to americans.

edit: if you really want to work in Asia, learn the language(s) by cultivating an interest in them. You have no idea how many westerners claim to be interested in everything Chinese but who are only interested in $$$ and do not even bother learning the language other than a few phrases. If you show genuine interest a lot of Asians will be impressed and will truly appreciate it.

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:56 am

bump (OP).

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Re: Hong Kong Question 3L

Postby 20121109 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:36 am

Um. I'm in Hong Kong right now working at a US based firm, and let me tell you, language ability is not even a prerequisite for any associate. Yes, you have to show why you want to be there, but such interest can be demonstrated by past teaching, research or cultural experiences. You don't necessarily have to be from Asia or speak any language. In fact, most of the Asian attorneys in my office are born and bred in the US and don't even speak Cantonese. A lot of business is conducted in English in Hong Kong. Actually, the managing partner of all the Asian offices of my firm doesn't even speak Chinese. She speaks Japanese, but the firm doesn't even have an office in Tokyo. So, you see my point.

Some firms like Davis may send you to HK or Tokyo as a first year if you have adequate language ability. I think Skadden wants you to be trained in NY or another US office for at least two years. But some firms like Weil will let you summer there, get trained at a US office for 3-4 years before sending you out to HK, Shanghai or Beijing.

You can but you don't have to mass mail HK offices. Secure a SA with a firm that has offices in Asia and then express your interest in splitting the summer. Most of my SA friends in Asia went this route.




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