Making that move in-house

Author Samantha Fong
March 13, 2020

The Hong Kong and mainland China legal market is rapidly changing. We are seeing even more international and Chinese law firms starting to build up and expand their local corporate businesses. At the same time, however, firms are in more competition than ever with established international banks to attract overseas business from their Chinese clients whilst securing the best legal talent.

Whilst law firms continue to offer many opportunities across all levels, more and more new in-house opportunities are popping up with unique roles where individuals are required to develop specialised legal skills specific to their different sectors.

In-house is becoming an increasingly popular destination for associates that are not as focused on going down the partner route. Previously, a move in-house was seen mainly as a way to have more regular working hours, striking a better work life balance, however, this is not the case as much these days.

Many make the move to in-house now because of the unique opportunities it gives them to work with senior management. In most types of businesses, whether it is an investment bank, a FinTech company or a multinational commercial firm, legal counsel is considered a key business partner, working closely with the CEO and/or the senior management team. This difference in business model compared with a law firm is one of the biggest reasons we are seeing more candidates looking to make that in-house move.

As you become more senior in a law firm, associates and senior associates begin to take on more responsibility for business development. Not all lawyers enjoy this type of work and begin to look at in-house opportunities.  Quite often, in-house lawyers have the opportunity to work on a far greater variety of work whilst working closely with senior management, contributing to and driving key business decisions. If a lawyer is looking down a career path where they wish to be a more business-driven leader, in-house is often the direction they take.

With that being said there are many benefits to staying in private practice or moving in-house, it really depends on what an individual is looking for, both day-to-day, and in their long term career.

For more information on how Samantha can help you find that in-house role in Hong Kong, please email

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