Biglaw in HK or Singapore as a Jr. Associate??

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Re: Biglaw in HK or Singapore as a Jr. Associate??

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you want to end up in the U.S. long term, think carefully before choosing to take a detour to Asia. I almost had to take a class year hit when I came back, and that was after having started in the U.S. Folks who started in Asia had a much harder time even getting offers to come back, and the few people I know who got away with internal transfers really struggled to get up to speed (I am sure there are plenty of exceptions, but many people I knew who did this ended up leaving the law altogether). The reality is that (i) the work in Asia is viewed as being less sophisticated than in the U.S. (probably more true for capital markets than M&A in reality) and (ii) the training in Asia is not viewed as being equal to training in the U.S. (in many cases this is probably true). These issues will make it difficult to return, and can also make it a struggle to find in-house positions given the lack of U.S. experience.

If you want to end up in Asia long-term, I still think you are better off starting in the U.S. Most people who I saw make partner in Asia either had an incredible skill set that they developed in the U.S. or had incredible relationships that led to rainmaker status (the latter was much more important). With a good skill set you can easily stay on in a meaningful counsel role almost indefinitely, while I know a number of lawyers trained in Asia who stay on in super senior associate roles for extended periods of time and struggle to grab work from younger associates with the same skill set.

As with all posts, your experience may vary, but experience at a good (thinking V-50) U.S. office seems to be more viewed as more valuable than similar experience at an elite Asian office. Ultimately, there are opportunities to jump to Asia at almost every point in your career, but the opportunities to go the other direction can be very limited.


I've heard the opposite, that junior associates in the U.S. get less experience compared to those in Asia offices, and that if you move to Asia as a junior, you would get class year cuts. So if you want to end up in Asia but start in the U.S., it's better to move as a mid-level/senior?


I never saw this in my time in Asia (I lateraled as a junior, but was going from a V-10 to a V-10), but I won’t pretend to be the expert on what others may have experienced. There are a lot of different reasons folks lateral to Asia early on, and some of those may lend themselves to a haircut on class year. That said, I have never heard that Asian experience is more valued than US experience. I agree that as a junior you may get more experience interacting with clients in Asia, but other than that just doing a high volume of plain vanilla cookie cutter work does not equate to being well trained and prepared to be a more senior associate. Expectations for quality and attention to detail are just much higher in the U.S. Again, I’m not going to rule out exceptions, but I do think the general perception is that a solid 3-4 years of US experience is better than starting in China and, in any case, a lack of US experience can make it very difficult to lateral to the US.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw in HK or Singapore as a Jr. Associate??

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: I almost had to take a class year hit when I came back, and that was after having started in the U.S.


Did you work in a US biglaw in Asia? Which practice area?

I suppose you couldn't transfer back internally?

Anonymous User wrote: Folks who started in Asia had a much harder time even getting offers to come back, and the few people I know who got away with internal transfers really struggled to get up to speed (I am sure there are plenty of exceptions, but many people I knew who did this ended up leaving the law altogether).


They got laid off because they struggled to get up to speed?
Where do they go after?


I was in US big law doing capital markets, and to be fair, I think M&A experience is much more transferable. US experience still seems to be more valued, but I don’t think there is near as much (if any) of a drop off in terms of actual skills in M&A.

The folks I mentioned who lateraled back internally without US experience didn’t get laid off, they made their way out the door pretty quickly because they simply could not keep up with midlevel/senior associates who had spent their entire time in the US. Again, I am sure there are plenty of exceptions, and being willing to take a class year hit can be helpful in bridging the gap.

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