Do Big Law Firms Need Chinese Speakers? Or Irrelevant?

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Do Big Law Firms Need Chinese Speakers? Or Irrelevant?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:28 am

Which big law firms recruit heavily for Chinese speakers? Are there any big law firms specifically looking for speakers of Chinese as one of their criteria? If so, which ones? I actually would love working in big law in NYC or Chicago though. Not trying to work in a China or HK office right away. But would there be an opportunity to eventually work in the China or HK office in the future? Any big law firms looking for speakers of Chinese? How do big law firms recruit for their international offices? Would my fluency in Chinese be relevant at all when trying to get a summer or full time job at a big law firm in NYC/Chicago?

fraught
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Re: Do Big Law Firms Need Chinese Speakers? Or Irrelevant?

Postby fraught » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:28 am

I think it would be a huge advantage. I knew a handful of Mandarin speakers at my school did way better than their grades would suggest.

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Re: Do Big Law Firms Need Chinese Speakers? Or Irrelevant?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:55 am

Virtually every non-regional firm does or wants to do business in China, and Mandarin fluency is very attractive to them. With the exception of Wachtell and Cravath, all of the V15 firms have at least one office in China/HK. There are certainly opportunities to work abroad sometime during your career. Many firms prefer that associates start in the U.S. for a year or two to familiarize themselves before working overseas, although some firms will recruit associates to start directly in China/HK.

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Re: Do Big Law Firms Need Chinese Speakers? Or Irrelevant?

Postby anon168 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:Which big law firms recruit heavily for Chinese speakers? Are there any big law firms specifically looking for speakers of Chinese as one of their criteria? If so, which ones? I actually would love working in big law in NYC or Chicago though. Not trying to work in a China or HK office right away. But would there be an opportunity to eventually work in the China or HK office in the future? Any big law firms looking for speakers of Chinese? How do big law firms recruit for their international offices? Would my fluency in Chinese be relevant at all when trying to get a summer or full time job at a big law firm in NYC/Chicago?


Define fluency in Mandarin? Can you speak it at a collegiate level? Can you translate an English document to Chinese -- both verbally and in writing? Can you and read and write Chinese -- formal traditional characters or the newer shorthand version favored by Mainlanders, or both?

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Re: Do Big Law Firms Need Chinese Speakers? Or Irrelevant?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:06 am

My honest view based on my OCI experience as a Chinese speaker is this. Yes firms want Chinese speakers these days but they want them only in certain practices and locations. The days of Chinese companies coming to the US and doing IPOs are pretty much over due to all the frauds and lawsuits. The most important businesses now for law firms related to China are capital market (doing IPOs elsewhere in the world but involving US laws), cross-border M&A and some litigation involving Chinese clients or issues related to China (international litigation, arbitration or FCPA). These kind of work, based on what interviewers have told me, are generally done in Hong Kong, Beijing, or Shanghai these days.

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Re: Do Big Law Firms Need Chinese Speakers? Or Irrelevant?

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:26 am

I spoke with a great deal of firms when I was a CSO Dean about this very issue and the answer was a near resounding "yes." Obviously these were firms who did work in Asia and particularity in China and/or had a presence in China, but we targeted these firms because we had a large number of students who spoke one or two dialects of Chinese.

Furthermore, in this hyper-competitive market, this is an elevating factor. Even for firms that do not currently do much work in Asia. If I spoke Chinese I would most definitely us this as a value-added skill set in my cover letter, resume, interview, etc.

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Re: Do Big Law Firms Need Chinese Speakers? Or Irrelevant?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:56 pm

Def. a plus, but to what extent ... that I am not sure. There are more fluent/native Mandarin speakers at T6/T14 than you thought, so to some extent this advantage is disappearing. Definitely emphasize that in your CV/interview, but don't hold your breath.




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