UK Real Estate Lawyer moving to HK

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    UK Real Estate Lawyer moving to HK

    Hi, I am moving to HK in mid-August with my husband who has just been offered a good career opportunity. As I am keen to continue my career in HK, I am currently getting my CV, references, on-line profiles, certificates etc all in order so that i can hit the ground running once I land.

    I am a UK qualified real estate lawyer with 5 yrs PQE, working in a large regional practice. I wish to continue practising as a lawyer, but need some advice on certain aspects of my job hunt and wonder whether anyone can help?

    1. I have looked into applying to take the Qualified Lawyers Qualification Examination (QLQE) to requalify as a Hong Kong solicitor, and am hoping to try and rely on most of the exemptions so that i only have to complete Head I (conveyancing) in order to qualify. Has anyone managed to do the same thing? How much evidence is needed to be supplied in order to prove that Heads III and IV have been met? The Law Society has said that there is only a 40% pass rate??

    I have also understand that the application deadline to apply for the QLQE is this Friday (29 June), and that exams and admittance is once a year. Has anyone managed to make an application part way through the year, as i suspect it may take me longer than a few days to get a certificate of good standing from the SRA?

    2. I don't speak Cantonese or Mandarin but understand that most legal jobs require fluency of one or the other. As i enjoy languages, i am more than happy to start taking lessons, but am a little uncertain as to which language to go for. I am leaning towards Mandarin, but any advice would be greatfully received.

    3. I will probably look to going to the HK Law Society and the High Commission when i land, to see whether they can offer me anyfurther guidance/contacts etc. Save for recruitment agents, are there any other contacts that i need to make?

    4. Save for all the normal certificates and references which i should get in order, is there any key information which i must bring with me for work purposes?

    5. Lastly, (and off piste!) is there anything that you would recommend bringing over from the UK which all Brits miss in HK or is really overpriced to buy?

    Thank you all in advance.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Hong Kong

    Hi Davina

    I know a few English lawyers working in HK. If you get a job before you complete the HK exams you are known as a "registered foreign lawyer". I don't know what the implications of this are - I expect it means you can't sign anything. I haven't heard anyone registering for the exams part way through the year.

    With regards non-Chinese speaking, it will be a hindrance, but doesn't mean you're unemployable, the guys I know don't speak Chinese. To be honest, to get to a level where you could use the language in your profession would take many years of full time study. Probably best to focus on English speaking roles.

    I think your difficulty is going to be your area of expertise, English real estate. The English lawyers I know working here are mainly corporate lawyers, and one is in litigation, which is fairly cross border. Real estate is very specific to England. What exactly do you do within real estate?

    If you are in conveyancing, the fact you will have a dependent visa could give you an opportunity. As you may know, a lot of HK residents buy property in the UK. I know of English lawyers who travel back and forth to HK and Singapore to see their clients constantly. How about trying to get a job with one of those UK firms, but your USP being you would be based in HK, work from home and be able to see clients every day?

    Last edited by Beanieskis; 25-06-2012 at 08:10 AM.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Grüne Hölle (CWB)

    My application is nearly complete and will be going in this week. I have not heard of anyone missing the deadline and still being allowed to take the exams, but in theory, Hell could freeze over at some point...

    There are many jobs a UK lawyer can do in HK as a Registered Foreign Lawyer, even without Cantonese or Mandarin, but as my area is corporate, I'm only familiar with that one (and for us, Mandarin is the hot ticket). Good luck.