Job opportunities in Asia-Pacific after which LLM ?


utgen

Hi,

I'm a french student, studying law in a well known french university, though with average grades.

I want to do a postgraduate program that will allow me to work in major asian cities (HK, Singapore...), particularly in business/taxation/banking law, but I really don't know how to proceed.

Should I choose a LLM in university like NUS, HKU, etc.. Or is it better to do a more business- oriented than law-oriented postgraduate program ? Or is it even better to study in the UK before ?

Any guy having successfully built a carrer in Asia after studying law in a civil-law country ?

Best regards

[Edited by utgen on May 23, 2020]

Hi,

I'm a french student, studying law in a well known french university, though with average grades.

I want to do a postgraduate program that will allow me to work in major asian cities (HK, Singapore...), particularly in business/taxation/banking law, but I really don't know how to proceed.

Should I choose a LLM in university like NUS, HKU, etc.. Or is it better to do a more business- oriented than law-oriented postgraduate program ? Or is it even better to study in the UK before ?

Any guy having successfully built a carrer in Asia after studying law in a civil-law country ?

Best regards
quote
chicken so...

Finding a law job after an LLM might be tricky, unless you are already licensed to practice law in Hong Kong or Singapore, or wherever you would like to practice.

If you are interested in international mobility - using a degree to transition to one of these places, you might want to consider either an MBA from a top school in the region - Insead / HKU / NUS / Nanyang / CUHK / etc.; or a program that combines an LLM with a business degree from a school of this caliber. Those business schools will have much more effective career support for somebody looking to make this kind of transition than any law school would. 

I would not suggest studying in the UK if your goal is to go to Asia. 

Finding a law job after an LLM might be tricky, unless you are already licensed to practice law in Hong Kong or Singapore, or wherever you would like to practice.<div><br></div><div><br></div><div>If you are interested in international mobility - using a degree to transition to one of these places, you might want to consider either an MBA from a top school in the region - Insead / HKU / NUS / Nanyang / CUHK / etc.; or a program that combines an LLM with a business degree from a school of this caliber. Those business schools will have much more effective career support for somebody looking to make this kind of transition than any law school would.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>I would not suggest studying in the UK if your goal is to go to Asia.&nbsp;</div>
quote

US lawyer here who practiced in both HK and Singapore. I just moved back to the USA after the Covid-19 outbreak began.
Getting a job in Asia for civil lawyers is not easy. I recommend you get fully qualified first, before moving to Asia. Most of the top continental European law firms (CMS, Loyens, Rodl & Partner, Luther) have offices in SG/HK. They are not big offices. Because they are only allowed to practice “foreign law” they basically project manage their clients’ cases in Asia and engage local law firms to do the actual substantive work.
If you are fully qualified, have good legal experience, AND you have good people skills - you have a shot with some of the above firms in Asia (although no one is hiring right now) 
In regards to the LLM - my firm in Singapore got applications from foreign LLM candidates from NUS and SMU all the time. Many of the students are from civil law or hybrid jurisdictions (Poland, Germany, India) and there was virtually no business case to hire them as they were not native English speakers and they did not have (usually) very impressive experience. 
Note that in Southeast Asia having excellent English is absolutely imperative. It is the language of business in ASEAN. Likewise, in Hong Kong, Mandarin Chinese is now the more important language and it will be very hard to get a job in those places without being absolutely fluent in the above respective languages.
Keep in mind that in some Asian countries (like HK) there are requirements to be registered as a foreign lawyer. You have to have some PQE and you cannot be NQ. Singapore is an exception and you can be registered as long as you are fully admitted (read no traineeship, articling period required, etc - you are fully admitted) in your country. 
I would strongly suggest if your grades are good enough to get into a top firm in Paris and work a few years - then transfer to Asia. You will have much better choices.
If it were me I wouldn’t waste my money or my time on any of the Asian schools for an LLM. Their education is not good and most of the top students in Asia go to the US/UK/AU for their LLMs, not Asia. That should tell you everything right there.
Best of luck.

[Edited by Epicon0711 on May 25, 2020]

US lawyer here who practiced in both HK and Singapore. I just moved back to the USA after the Covid-19 outbreak began.<div><br><div>Getting a job in Asia for civil lawyers is not easy. I recommend you get fully qualified first, before moving to Asia. Most of the top continental European law firms (CMS, Loyens, Rodl &amp; Partner, Luther) have offices in SG/HK. They are not big offices. Because they are only allowed to practice “foreign law” they basically project manage their clients’ cases in Asia and engage local law firms to do the actual substantive work.</div><div><br></div><div>If you are fully qualified, have good legal experience, AND you have good people skills - you have a shot with some of the above firms in Asia (although no one is hiring right now)&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>In regards to the LLM - my firm in Singapore got applications from foreign LLM candidates from NUS and SMU all the time. Many of the students are from civil law or hybrid jurisdictions (Poland, Germany, India) and there was virtually no business case to hire them as they were not native English speakers and they did not have (usually) very impressive experience.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Note that in Southeast Asia having excellent English is absolutely imperative. It is the language of business in ASEAN. Likewise, in Hong Kong, Mandarin Chinese is now the more important language and it will be very hard to get a job in those places without being absolutely fluent in the above respective languages.</div><div><br></div><div>Keep in mind that in some Asian countries (like HK) there are requirements to be registered as a foreign lawyer. You have to have some PQE and you cannot be NQ. Singapore is an exception and you can be registered as long as you are fully admitted (read no traineeship, articling period required, etc - you are fully admitted) in your country.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>I would strongly suggest if your grades are good enough to get into a top firm in Paris and work a few years - then transfer to Asia. You will have much better choices.</div><div><br></div><div>If it were me I wouldn’t waste my money or my time on any of the Asian schools for an LLM. Their education is not good and most of the top students in Asia go to the US/UK/AU for their LLMs, not Asia. That should tell you everything right there.</div><div><br></div><div>Best of luck.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div></div>
quote
utgen

Thank you very much to both of you. Valuable infos. 

I understand that I must complete my cursus in law in France with maybe a UK/US LLM of good reputation, then, being sent by a local law firm from Paris to Asia.

Or use my law cursus as a base to do a much more business oriented diploma such as a MBA in asia, in order to have the proper connections to work in the region.  

In this case, will a LLM of good reputation, in top of a good french law degree will be a big plus to be admitted in a MsC or MBA in a top asian business school ? 
Best regards

[Edited by utgen on May 26, 2020]

Thank you very much to both of you. Valuable infos.&nbsp;<div><br><div><br></div><div>I understand that I must complete my cursus in law in France with maybe a UK/US LLM of good reputation, then, being sent by a local law firm from Paris to Asia.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>Or use my law cursus as a base to do a much more business oriented diploma such as a MBA in asia, in order to have the proper connections to work in the region.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>In this case, will a LLM of good reputation, in top of a good french law degree will be a big plus to be admitted in a MsC or MBA in a top asian business school ?&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Best regards</div><div><br></div></div>
quote

I disagree with the above poster saying you should get an MBA. Do you want to be a lawyer or do you want to work in business? Your messages don’t make it clear. An MBA has no value for a legal practice outside of networking with potential clients. I have friends who have graduated from NUS, NTU, and SMU MBAs including an ex-girlfriend. Those schools are highly ranked on paper but are not respected as highly in practice. In Singapore people prefer experience to extra education. Also, to get into most MBAs you need work experience. An LLM won’t count. Most of my friends who graduated from NUS MBA did not get good jobs. Maybe making SG$8,000 - 10,000 per month and they had years of experience. That is not much money. To get the top investment banking or consulting jobs with MBB in Singapore you need to come from the M7, top UK mba, or Insead. Those jobs don’t go to MBAs from Asian schools.
Also, I’m not suggesting you get an LLM right now. I would work and get experience. Im telling you, an LLM is not necessary to get a job. I worked and then when I applied to firms in Singapore I had plenty of offers - why? Because I had good work experience.It seems like you are really desperate to get to Asia. Get fully qualified then go looking for a job - that’s your best bet. If you can find something, great. There are some regional firms like DFDL, VDB Loi, Kelvin Chia Partnership that have offices around Asia. You may be able to get a job in French Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia) and then after a few years get a job in Singapore or HK. I think it will be near impossible for you to get a job in HK and SG without experience.Good luck.

[Edited by Epicon0711 on May 26, 2020]

I disagree with the above poster saying you should get an MBA. Do you want to be a lawyer or do you want to work in business? Your messages don’t make it clear. An MBA has no value for a legal practice outside of networking with potential clients. I have friends who have graduated from NUS, NTU, and SMU MBAs including an ex-girlfriend. Those schools are highly ranked on paper but are not respected as highly in practice. In Singapore people prefer experience to extra education. Also, to get into most MBAs you need work experience. An LLM won’t count. Most of my friends who graduated from NUS MBA did not get good jobs. Maybe making SG$8,000 - 10,000 per month and they had years of experience. That is not much money. To get the top investment banking or consulting jobs with MBB in Singapore you need to come from the M7, top UK mba, or Insead. Those jobs don’t go to MBAs from Asian schools.<div><br><div><div>Also, I’m not suggesting you get an LLM right now. I would work and get experience. Im telling you, an LLM is not necessary to get a job. I worked and then when I applied to firms in Singapore I had plenty of offers - why? Because I had good work experience.</div><div>It seems like you are really desperate to get to Asia. Get fully qualified then go looking for a job - that’s your best bet. If you can find something, great. There are some regional firms like DFDL, VDB Loi, Kelvin Chia Partnership that have offices around Asia. You may be able to get a job in French Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia) and then after a few years get a job in Singapore or HK. I think it will be near impossible for you to get a job in HK and SG without experience.</div></div></div><div>Good luck.</div>
quote

Hi, I'm a NY qualified lawyer practicing in Hong Kong right now at a biglaw. Specializing in dispute resolution.

From the Hong Kong perspective, the starting point is the practice area that you want to get into. My firm for instance doesn't shy away from hiring foreign lawyers, but my firm would usually want someone who is qualified in England & Wales or New York for the transaction and DR teams. So having one of those qualifications (by way of QLTS or New York Bar Exam) would be a way in. I didn't have a LLM so that hasn't really stopped me from getting this gig, although it would certainly be helpful to have a LLM from a reputable university.

In Hong Kong, a top UK LLM / Oxford BCL has as much weight (if not more for some firms e.g. Magic Circle firms) as a top US LLM.

Lastly just to clarify something Epicon0711 said: "Keep in mind that in some Asian countries (like HK) there are requirements to be registered as a foreign lawyer. You have to have some PQE and you cannot be NQ." 

There is no minimum PQE requirement to be accepted by the Hong Kong Law Society to be a Registered Foreign Lawyer (I got my certificate as a NQ). You do need supervision and at least 2 PQE to take the OLQE though.

[Edited by NobleEight on May 30, 2020]

Hi, I'm a NY qualified lawyer practicing in Hong Kong right now at a biglaw. Specializing in dispute resolution.<div><br></div><div><br></div><div>From the Hong Kong perspective, the starting point is the practice area that you want to get into. My firm for instance doesn't shy away from hiring foreign lawyers, but my firm would usually want someone who is qualified in England &amp; Wales or New York for the transaction and DR teams. So having one of those qualifications (by way of QLTS or New York Bar Exam) would be a way in. I didn't have a LLM so that hasn't really stopped me from getting this gig, although it would certainly be helpful to have a LLM from a reputable university.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>In Hong Kong, a top UK LLM / Oxford BCL has as much weight (if not more for some firms e.g. Magic Circle firms) as a top US LLM.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>Lastly just to clarify something Epicon0711 said: "Keep in mind that in some Asian countries (like HK) there are requirements to be registered as a foreign lawyer. You have to have some PQE and you cannot be NQ."&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>There is no minimum PQE requirement to be accepted by the Hong Kong Law Society to be a Registered Foreign Lawyer (I got my certificate as a NQ). You do need supervision and at least 2 PQE to take the OLQE though.</div>
quote
Buci

Hi Utgen,

I would be more than happy to connect you with the Alumni of the LLM in International Business Law of University Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas - Singapore campus. 

There are plenty of French students who have completed our programme and some of them have made the decision to work and live in Asia. 

You may visit our programme here : https://www.sorbonne-assas-ils.org/llm-programme-singapore/

And drop me an email at buci.chan@sorbonne-assas-ils.org 

[Edited by Buci on Jun 04, 2020]

Hi Utgen,<div><br><div><br></div><div>I would be more than happy to connect you with the Alumni of the LLM in International Business Law of University Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas - Singapore campus.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>There are plenty of French students who have completed our programme and some of them have made the decision to work and live in Asia.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>You may visit our programme here :&nbsp;<a href="https://www.sorbonne-assas-ils.org/llm-programme-singapore/" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">https://www.sorbonne-assas-ils.org/llm-programme-singapore/</a></div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>And drop me an email at buci.chan@sorbonne-assas-ils.org&nbsp;</div></div>
quote

Lastly just to clarify something Epicon0711 said: "Keep in mind that in some Asian countries (like HK) there are requirements to be registered as a foreign lawyer. You have to have some PQE and you cannot be NQ." 

There is no minimum PQE requirement to be accepted by the Hong Kong Law Society to be a Registered Foreign Lawyer (I got my certificate as a NQ). You do need supervision and at least 2 PQE to take the OLQE though.


When I was there, you had to have 2 years of practice in your home jurisdiction to be registered. If you have less than two years then you must be “supervised” by a lawyer from your home jurisdiction in your firm until you reach the 2 year mark. So, technically you cannot be registered with less than two years unless you are supervised. I just checked LawSoc’s website and the requirements remain the same as when I was there.

As a NY lawyer in BigLaw (I am as well), then I suspect for your first two years had you supervised by a NY lawyer in your firm. If the requirements have some how changed since then - then I stand corrected.

I think this is an important point to make because civil law lawyers with less than 2 years PQE will have a hard time getting supervised because they may not be able to work under a lawyer in HK from their jurisdiction. 

[Edited by Epicon0711 on Jun 08, 2020]

[quote]<span style="-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Lastly just to clarify something Epicon0711 said: "Keep in mind that in some Asian countries (like HK) there are requirements to be registered as a foreign lawyer. You have to have some PQE and you cannot be NQ."&nbsp;</span><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>There is no minimum PQE requirement to be accepted by the Hong Kong Law Society to be a Registered Foreign Lawyer (I got my certificate as a NQ). You do need supervision and at least 2 PQE to take the OLQE though.</div> [/quote]<br><br>When I was there, you had to have 2 years of practice in your home jurisdiction to be registered. If you have less than two years then you must be “supervised” by a lawyer from your home jurisdiction in your firm until you reach the 2 year mark. So, technically you cannot be registered with less than two years unless you are supervised. I just checked LawSoc’s website and the requirements remain the same as when I was there.<br><br>As a NY lawyer in BigLaw (I am as well), then I suspect for your first two years had you supervised by a NY lawyer in your firm. If the requirements have some how changed since then - then I stand corrected.<br><br>I think this is an important point to make because civil law lawyers with less than 2 years PQE will have a hard time getting supervised because they may not be able to work under a lawyer in HK from their jurisdiction.&nbsp;<br><br>
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