After a quiet December, Hong Kong’s lateral partner activity got busier, recording 13 serious partner moves into US, UK, major PRC and Hong Kong firms. The Singapore market followed with 8 partner moves across a variety of international and local Singaporean firms. Beijing and Shanghai markets remain dominated by PRC law firms with all 11 lateral partners moving to major Chinese firms, while in Tokyo there was a major 3-partner real-estate team move from White & Case to Greenberg Traurig.
Allen & Gledhill’s latest launch in Shanghai shows the unique resilience of the China market where for a long time there hasn’t been such movement among foreign law firms. From an opposite perspective, JunHe’s recent announcement of their 3rd US office in Seattle represents the continued outbound interest from Chinese law firms investing and growing overseas.
Across all major Asian jurisdictions, December 2023 recorded probably the fewest lateral hire activities in the year. There was only one partner move in Hong Kong, made by Chinese law firm Jingtian & Gongcheng from US law firm Akin Gump, while in Singapore there were only four partner moves – two joined Dentons Rodyk and Allen Overy and the other two joined the local firm Rajah & Tann. In China, PRC law firms continued to hire from their peer PRC firms for growth – twelve recorded in tier-one cities Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, while another six in other tier-two and tier-three cities.
Jones Day, Norton Rose Fulbright, Hogan Lovells and Quinn Emanuel announced their annual partnership promotions which saw 9 in Asia, including 3 in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong – all of whom are disputes-focused. In addition, 4 major Chinese law firms launched new offices last month including Han Kun’s latest entry into New York. In contrast, it was also announced that Akin Gump will be closing its doors in Beijing.