US Law firms stealing limelight from UK rivals in Hong Kong

April 13, 2012 Over the past two years, numerous US law firms have entered the market in Hong Kong and recruited top talent from their UK rivals, and now they are starting to see results - landing some of the biggest deals going and establishing solid reputations in the region.
"A lot of U.S. firms see Hong Kong as a strong market with good growth opportunities that has been dominated by a couple of key firms and is ripe for some more competition," said Antony Dapiran, a founding partner of Davis Polk's Hong Kong practice, who joined the firm from the partnership at UK firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

The US firms have made recruitment easy for themselves by offering ‘New York rates’ - a pay scale that is well above the compensation offered by other top-tier firms in the region.
A survey by CML Recruitment shows that newly qualified lawyers at US firms in Hong Kong earn around HK$1.24 million ($159,700) per year, while their UK counterparts are taking home between HK$864,000 and HK$936,000.

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