This report was prepared on the basis of in-depth research carried out from July to September 2018. The results are based on data collected from 35 international law firms in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Jakarta and Seoul.
The report was researched by Gwilym Davies of Lexology Insights.
• Hong Kong: Lawyer headcount increased at 76% of the firms surveyed in Hong Kong during the past year. However, although associates are in high demand, increases in average compensation levels have been relatively modest this year following an accelerated period of salary growth from 2016 to 2017.
• China (Shanghai and Beijing): Law firms continue to grapple with the challenges of categorising China-qualified lawyers in international equivalent terms, with more firms turning to international qualification lockstep systems as a standard for salary categorisation for dual-qualified lawyers.
• Singapore: Lawyer headcount increased at 59% of the firms surveyed in Singapore during the past year, after the majority of offices contracted in size last year. An excess of junior lawyers in the Singapore marketplace has cooled salaries at junior level slightly, although like-for-like senior associate compensation levels continue to rise.
• Japan (Tokyo): Office growth remains stagnant for most firms surveyed, with only 27% registering increases in fee-earner headcount during the past year. Like-forlike salary levels for bengoshi lawyers remain stagnant at the junior end but have seen modest growth at the senior end.