There are many ways to boost a firm’s presence in Asia, be it by lateral hires, relocations or internal promotions. While there is a clear sign that some firms are making strong lateral hires, with Latham & Watkins’ hire of Vinson & Elkins’ former China co-head David Blumental among the most recent high-profile moves, the internal promotions are also on the up.
In the years between 2010 and 2013, eight of the largest global firms in Asia promoted 101 partners locally, forming 12.9 per cent of their global figures combined. Hong Kong was by far the largest jurisdiction for promotions in the region, followed by China and Singapore.
If you are a lawyer with local language skills in these jurisdictions, the prospects of becoming a partner is even greater. The statistics show that a staggering two-thirds of all the elected lawyers are of native ethnic background with local language capability, rather than expats.
For aspiring lawyers working for global firms elsewhere, they are also seeing greater opportunity to experience the Asian promise. Herbert Smith Freehills has just become the latest of a growing number of global firms to offer trainees secondments in its Asia Pacific offices.
The rise of the Asian century clearly requires firms to have a fine balance between lateral hires of seasoned hands and the careful nurture of talented lawyers internally in the region.
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