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  #651 (permalink)  
Old 09-02-2016, 06:25 PM
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Hi, care to share your path of progression? did you study in singapore or at a UK law school? Also did you get hired by the MC in London or applied directly to their HK office.

I suppose you're looking to qualify as an English solicitor? Any views on whether SG qualified, SG law degree holder is disadvantaged when applying to MC in HK? Im called to the bar here, looking to get English qualified too and moving to HK for a while at least. Do many singaporeans do this?
UK law school, summer vac scheme at MC in HK, TC offer.

Every office does its own hiring, even if they're all within the same firm. If you want to work in HK, apply to HK offices directly. Applications are usually not shared across offices (although I've known a few instances otherwise).

I'm not looking to qualify as an English solicitor btw - HK trainees become HK qualified. I suppose I could do QLTS, but I wouldn't really bother unless there's a commercial need for it tbh. HK law is very similar to English law in any case.

If you're SG qualified, I imagine you'd be applying to HK laterally as opposed to trying for a TC? The Singaporeans lawyers I currently know in HK are a mix of HK trainees/ future trainees and laterals (more often than not, from London). I think lateral is doable insofar as you have the necessary experience. Mandarin and English fluency is very important, perhaps more so at the junior ranks (there are quite a few senior lateral gwai los from UK/ US who don't speak Mandarin). Cantonese is not required, but is helpful for social reasons.

Out of curiosity, why are you interested in moving to HK for a while?

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  #652 (permalink)  
Old 09-02-2016, 11:48 PM
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UK law school, summer vac scheme at MC in HK, TC offer.

Every office does its own hiring, even if they're all within the same firm. If you want to work in HK, apply to HK offices directly. Applications are usually not shared across offices (although I've known a few instances otherwise).

I'm not looking to qualify as an English solicitor btw - HK trainees become HK qualified. I suppose I could do QLTS, but I wouldn't really bother unless there's a commercial need for it tbh. HK law is very similar to English law in any case.

If you're SG qualified, I imagine you'd be applying to HK laterally as opposed to trying for a TC? The Singaporeans lawyers I currently know in HK are a mix of HK trainees/ future trainees and laterals (more often than not, from London). I think lateral is doable insofar as you have the necessary experience. Mandarin and English fluency is very important, perhaps more so at the junior ranks (there are quite a few senior lateral gwai los from UK/ US who don't speak Mandarin). Cantonese is not required, but is helpful for social reasons.

Out of curiosity, why are you interested in moving to HK for a while?
Yeah I was asking more about laterals. Am not terribly interested in becoming a trainee again and taking the PCLL.

Partly personal / family reasons, partly also because a bit of international experience is always a boon and never a bane.

HKD 80k to 100k for NQs is a great figure considering how low the COL in HK is! (about the same or even less than in Singapore).

MC firms pay about 75 to 78k (approx. SGD 151k to 157k annually), while top of the line US firms in London pay about 100k (SGD 200k). In NY, top firms are about USD 160k annually. But compare costs of living between HK with London or NYC. Earning that salary in HK is a very good deal, not to mention the exposure.

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  #653 (permalink)  
Old 10-02-2016, 10:29 AM
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Yeah I was asking more about laterals. Am not terribly interested in becoming a trainee again and taking the PCLL.

Partly personal / family reasons, partly also because a bit of international experience is always a boon and never a bane.

HKD 80k to 100k for NQs is a great figure considering how low the COL in HK is! (about the same or even less than in Singapore).

MC firms pay about 75 to 78k (approx. SGD 151k to 157k annually), while top of the line US firms in London pay about 100k (SGD 200k). In NY, top firms are about USD 160k annually. But compare costs of living between HK with London or NYC. Earning that salary in HK is a very good deal, not to mention the exposure.
Yeah I'm going to guess COL is probably similar to Singapore, maybe higher because of housing, especially since most people save on rent in Sg by living with their parents. Still, I think the pay difference should make up for it.

How senior are you currently? When are you looking to transfer - right now or in a few years' time? What's your area of specialization? Corporate, Finance and Disputes are generally the biggest departments, whereas stuff like Tax or Employment would be pretty niche (and quite rare for international firms I think). If you're in Disputes/ Litigation, bear in mind that HK has a split profession like the UK, and Disputes solicitors generally don't do advocacy.

Also, what firm are you at now, and what sort of work are you getting? I've had a quick look at some of the HK MC firms' recruiting websites, and some of them specifically ask for experience at an international law firm with cross-border experience (eg ://9.i-grasp.com/fe/tpl_freshfields01.asp?s=4A515F4E5A565B1A&jobid=364 87,4954878671&key=62149338&c=405698953423&pagestam p=senwggvfsuhnuniwng). Some other postings are less strict (eg s://9.i-grasp.com/fe/tpl_CliffordChance01.asp?s=4A515F4E5A565B1A&jobid= 35923,9848980212&key=62149388&c=454854364883&pages tamp=seltuzbxmrxswgfeey and ://9.i-grasp.com/fe/tpl_freshfields01.asp?s=4A515F4E5A565B1A&jobid=378 09,0276214623&key=62149338&c=405698953423&pagestam p=selfusmpiltuboyxuj)

Apart from applying direct to HK, in the alternative, I suppose you could apply to the Singapore office first and then ask for secondment/ transfer? I think some local firms do occasionally second their associates to HK international law firms (met one from a Big 4 at mine), so that's another possibility too if your focus is just on getting exposure and you don't intend to stay long term.

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  #654 (permalink)  
Old 11-02-2016, 11:38 AM
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Future HK MC trainee here. Current first year trainee pay is around 50k HKD (appx 9k SGD), newly qualified (ie after two years) is around 80k HKD (appx 14k SGD). All pre-tax and not inclusive of bonus.

The US firms can go as high as 100k HKD for NQs I think.

I should also add that accommodation in Hong Kong can be way lower than $3.5k SGD, depending on quality and location. My friends are currently paying 7-15k HKD.
F***! That's a lot more than I expected it to be. Yeah, I only paying S$1.1k for my small 120 sqft flat in Hong Kong. Then my friend, from MC, said "how she can stay in so small", from which I guess she pays around S$3.5k. If she earns S$14k, I don't see why not. She's from top US law school so I guess she earns it.

Thanks for the info.
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  #655 (permalink)  
Old 22-02-2016, 09:38 AM
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To current corporate lawyers:

So is it true that bankers don't respect lawyers?

Lawyers work similar hours to bankers for a fraction of the pay, and at the same time (perhaps justifiably) see themselves as smarter than the bankers, so I can see why there might be friction?

Are you M&A lawyers really just paperwork dogs? Just a question from a student mulling over his options.
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  #656 (permalink)  
Old 22-02-2016, 01:49 PM
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To current corporate lawyers:

So is it true that bankers don't respect lawyers?

Lawyers work similar hours to bankers for a fraction of the pay, and at the same time (perhaps justifiably) see themselves as smarter than the bankers, so I can see why there might be friction?

Are you M&A lawyers really just paperwork dogs? Just a question from a student mulling over his options.
"bankers" is extremely broad. the guy in ops making <3k a month vs the investment banker making >10k a month are also "bankers".

is the average investment banker smarter than the average lawyer? probably. investment banking takes the cream of the crop, probably less than 20 recruited per year for the entire singapore. and they pay cream of the crop salaries. in contrast how many lawyers per cohort?

at the other end of the spectrum, the average lawyer is also probably smarter than the "banker" in ops, simply due to the fact that there are a ton of ops positions available with lower salaries.

the interesting comparison to make would be between M&A lawyers and M&A bankers. maybe some others could shed some light on this.
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  #657 (permalink)  
Old 22-02-2016, 02:28 PM
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I think you are very misinformed.

First off, BB banks take in more than 20 new analysts every year.

Second, I think the losers in salarysg got to stop being so myopic. Investment bankers are no where near the "cream of the crap". Most aren't even as smart as your above average computer scientist/engineer. Only in Singapore will you find this over glorification of finance and finance related jobs.

Third, there is a self selection when it comes to banking. As I have commented many times before and which this forum finds it extremely hard to grasp, there are many many capable and smart individuals who do not desire a career in finance (especially investment banking) for a broad swathe of reasons.
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  #658 (permalink)  
Old 22-02-2016, 03:02 PM
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First off, BB banks take in more than 20 new analysts every year. ...

there are many many capable and smart individuals who do not desire a career in finance (especially investment banking) for a broad swathe of reasons.
First, I think you meant to say each BB bank, considering all functions, take in more than 20 new analysts every year. No worries, people make mistakes. It is accurate that for each BB bank, front office functions, then I agree at most 20 new analyst every year. In fact 20 leaning on the high side. 4 in M&A, 4 in S&T another 3 in Asset Management, so about 11 to 12 for FO functions.

Second, do you mean in Singapore, parents are ashamed when they tell their friends that their son or daughter doing something that is NOT banking, medicine or law?
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  #659 (permalink)  
Old 22-02-2016, 04:24 PM
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Second, do you mean in Singapore, parents are ashamed when they tell their friends that their son or daughter doing something that is NOT banking, medicine or law?
I didn't say that but I wish as a society, we are able to have a deeper, more measured conversation about our careers.

I know of girls in IBD who have told me that they are willing to sleep with their bosses to get ahead. I know of very scummish guys in AM. Sorry to generalize but banking attracts a lot of morally dubious individuals who are very prestige conscious. The same could be same about law. I am not sure about medicine since I don't have friends in those fields and I don't wish to lie about it.

But yeah, banking attracts a disproportionate number of individuals who are vapid, shallow and morally repugnant. Why doesn't anyone talk about that, at least in Singapore? When I travel to Europe or the US, there is real disgust and antipathy towards bankers, which is for the most part understandable.. Here we have a "kowtow to banker/lawyer" culture. Our society, no.. Our country has no spine.
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Old 22-02-2016, 05:02 PM
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Our society, no.. Our country has no spine.
I appreciate your view on this. First things first, does the sleeping around actually happen among the IBD? I know we have heard stories of it but I actually can't confirm. Call me opinionated, but I can believe stories of sleeping with boss to get ahead among the poly girls, insurance agents and MLM sales.

I never got down to investigate my hypothesis - the more prestigious and higher educated background you come from, the less you would likely sleep around to get ahead. Let's face it, IBD's have the top school grads where insurance agents are the poly grads. Don't the girls from those prestigious backgrounds think highly of themselves and not let their legs, and not their intellect, speak of their ability? Interesting.

Sure, Singapore could pull itself from the blend society it has become. However, I think we need to take a more macro view on what are the industries Singapore has that will offer jobs that give employees a pay high enough to live just as well as the bankers and lawyers? That's the problem. Singapore, relatively on their neighbours do not have enough of an edge to boost this industry.

Take a recent development. Google are beginning to form a development team in Singapore. Let's see how this evolves. If there's a development job that pays S$8k for fresh grads, then of course employees now have an option other than banking and law. Looking at a start up job that pays S$5k vs IBD S$8k, the answer is clear.
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