Volume 3, Issue 4, (Originally Published on Monday 25th March 2013)
Amidst the excitement of the Hong Kong Law Fair last week, the Law School’s China-centric mentality became apparent. Sure, there are benefits to working in Hong Kong. There are great opportunities for foreign workers in an expanding market, and the lawyers are highly paid. In that sense, Hong Kong is a great place to be for corporate lawyers, especially as many Westerners look to the East for new profit sources.
But in our Hong Kong focus, let’s not overlook the rest of Asia. The perks of working in Hong Kong also apply to its southern neighbors. Like Hong Kong, wages for foreign legal counsel in Southeast Asia are high where economies are booming and attracting tons of foreign investment.
Indeed, they have persistently defied expectations to perform strongly and are shaping up to be global power-houses. This translates into a growing client base, where lawyers get to work on exciting and varied legal issues. As Southeast Asian countries grow and see a continuous influx of foreign investment, lawyers have more opportunities to work on cutting edge legal decisions where the law is oftentimes still developing. Lawyers who are patient, flexible and adventurous would do well here.
Yes, there are challenges – lawyers must navigate through a maze of government corruption and complex legal frameworks, as well as adapt to local cultures and Bombay belly. However, despite the challenges, there is enormous potential in Southeast Asia that many at the law school have surprisingly not woken up to.