Like Tree2Likes

somewhat-law-related jobs for a recent graduate?

Closed Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
  1. #1

    somewhat-law-related jobs for a recent graduate?

    I graduated a few months ago with a JD from a top-10 US law school. I had planned to work for a big law firm (eventually if not immediately in Hong Kong or elsewhere in Greater China). But I failed to get a summer associate position while in law school, and it is now practically impossible for me to ever get a permanent associate position at one of these firms. Given that I am (1) interested in corporate law and not litigation and (2) interested in working in Hong Kong/Mainland China/Taiwan/Singapore rather than in the states, I'd like to avoid the usual "fall back" options for biglaw rejects of working for the assistant district attorney, public defender, legal aid, local government, or small law firm. I don't mind not working as a lawyer, but I do mind being stuck in the US forever.

    ...so my question for the board: Given that few big law firms would ever want to touch me, what kind of somewhat-law-related jobs in Hong Kong (or elsewhere in the region) could I realistically apply for? could I try consulting? or compliance for one of the big banks? or some sort of import-export business that takes advantage of my bilingual background? I am at a loss on where to start my job search.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Tuen Mun
    Posts
    2,089

    Two important questions you need to answer before anyone can even start to give constructive advice:
    1. Do you have the right to work in HK, or would you require visa sponsorship?
    2. Do you speak/ read/ write Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese)?


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Gold Coast Marina
    Posts
    17,934

    Have you tried "small law" firms? There are many here who might like an overseas recruit (although you will be competing with the locals, so you better have something extra to offer). I would suggest that even working for the fallback options in the USA still gives you some experience to peddle here. I'm in consulting and would probably not value a law school hire, just fyi (since you asked about consulting). You might try regulators in the region - but not many in HK.


  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by chingleutsch:
    Two important questions you need to answer before anyone can even start to give constructive advice:
    1. Do you have the right to work in HK, or would you require visa sponsorship?
    2. Do you speak/ read/ write Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese)?
    1. I have RTL, so I do not need a visa to work in Hong Kong.

    2. I can speak Mandarin at a fairly advanced level (I can discuss professional topics, if needed), but am not conversant in Cantonese. I can read most Chinese documents, but at a pace much slower than a native speaker. I cannot write Chinese without making grammatical mistakes.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    383
    Quote Originally Posted by MovingIn07:
    Have you tried "small law" firms? There are many here who might like an overseas recruit (although you will be competing with the locals, so you better have something extra to offer). I would suggest that even working for the fallback options in the USA still gives you some experience to peddle here. I'm in consulting and would probably not value a law school hire, just fyi (since you asked about consulting). You might try regulators in the region - but not many in HK.
    The OP wold not be qualified to work as a lawyer at a small law firm in HK as there aren't any that practice US law and s/he would need years of additional training for a HK qualification. Also, regulators in HK will require a HK law degree or UK/ Aus degree with PCLL in HK, and HK bar so probably a non-starter (sorry).

    You could look into paralegal/ legal assistant positions at big law firms, and would probably be quite competitive, but this will rarely (pretty much never) transition into an associate position, so wouldn't get hopes up about doing a really good job and being bumped up to the associate ranks. Pay is good, hours can be very bad.
    Last edited by elliee; 02-01-2013 at 02:47 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by elliee:
    You could look into paralegal/ legal assistant positions at big law firms, and would probably be quite competitive, but this will rarely (pretty much never) transition into an associate position, so wouldn't get hopes up about doing a really good job and being bumped up to the associate ranks. Pay is good, hours can be very bad.
    What would be the pay? I need to pay the rent in Hong Kong, so pay vs. cost of living is a consideration (relative to Shanghai or Taipei...).

    In the US there are "staff attorney" positions at big law firms, which are basically attorneys who are not on track to become promoted to partner and assigned to more mundane tasks. The salaries are lower compared to associates (100k vs. 160k+bonus), but hours are also less. Is there something similar in Asia, or do they already push the lower-level work onto the less-compensated local hires?

  7. #7

    I don't necessarily need to work for a law firm or in the legal field. I am just looking for jobs in which my background could make me remotely competitive. Any ideas?


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    4,821

    Jusr to be clear, you're a new graduate with no real world experience, failed to get into any big firms, and you're hoping to be paid at least us$100k per year? (let's say hk$70k per month)

    You are aware that the average graduate starting salary in hong kong is around hk$10k per month? Even fairly top end grads going to people like Goldman start on ~$35k.

    Dream on!

    MovingIn07 likes this.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    DB
    Posts
    3,699
    Quote Originally Posted by blahblah949:
    What would be the pay? I need to pay the rent in Hong Kong, so pay vs. cost of living is a consideration (relative to Shanghai or Taipei...).

    In the US there are "staff attorney" positions at big law firms, which are basically attorneys who are not on track to become promoted to partner and assigned to more mundane tasks. The salaries are lower compared to associates (100k vs. 160k+bonus), but hours are also less. Is there something similar in Asia, or do they already push the lower-level work onto the less-compensated local hires?
    How would you differentiate yourself from the "less-compensated local hires", i.e. what do you bring to the table that they are not? I think that would be a better starting point for reference, rather than a US staff attorney perspective.

    Good luck with everything.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Gruntfuttock:
    Jusr to be clear, you're a new graduate with no real world experience, failed to get into any big firms, and you're hoping to be paid at least us$100k per year? (let's say hk$70k per month)

    You are aware that the average graduate starting salary in hong kong is around hk$10k per month? Even fairly top end grads going to people like Goldman start on ~$35k.

    Dream on!
    No I didn't say that. I don't think I implied it either. I'm certainly not expecting anything close to that 160k starting salary. The problem for me is that most entry-level lawyer jobs in Hong Kong/China for JD degree/US licensed attorneys like myself are only available at one end of the spectrum - in the biggest of the law firms engaged in the most sophisticated of deals. Given that the field of law (as it is available for American lawyers in Asia) is pretty much closed to me, I'm asking if there are other jobs (perhaps in other roles or industries) that I could realistically apply to. I'm not sure even where to begin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiona in HKG:
    How would you differentiate yourself from the "less-compensated local hires", i.e. what do you bring to the table that they are not? I think that would be a better starting point for reference, rather than a US staff attorney perspective.

    Good luck with everything.
    A problem here is also that I do not even qualify as a "local hire" because I would have to get the PCLL. I've been told it won't be worth pursing that route. My US bar admission is on a separate employment track, a track that I cannot get on because that requires a summer associateship in law school.

Closed Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast