Tips for Corporate Lawyers: The truth about accessing Asian deals from your local market

The importance of Asian tie ups, shared information systems and a firm’s track record in Asia has never been more important  to Australian corporate candidates, and rightly so. With Hong Kong, Singapore, and Beijing operating as launch pads for significant investments across Europe, through the region and locally, it makes sense to keep firms that can truly offer these dealings high on your career radar. And yes there are firms that genuinely meet these criteria at all levels of the spectrum not just at the top tier. It is valuable to explore who they are and decipher what is rhetoric and what is not. Agents who ask the right questions around cross-border transactions in their initial briefings with clients can be useful here.

However, what is more interesting is that while demand for high levels of cross border activity among Australian candidates is high, the amount that individuals are currently investing in up-skilling themselves to be equipped for ongoing cross border activity is still showing strong room for improvement in the legal market. 

It is a given that if you are a talented lawyer, you are already thinking about what you need to achieve in your career to reach the next milestone two years before you actually pursue it. Technical and client development opportunities within your current firm are one thing to position yourself but the message is to spend some time brushing up your ‘softer’ skills; the things that tip you above your competitor with the same degree and comparable working history. It has never mattered more than in the 2015 race for Asian inbound investment.

Top Tips


Rigorously pursue gaining Asian Language Skills (Self-explanatory) Law firms seeking candidates in this space put more value on this than any other skill uplift.

Cultural Literacy

Travel to the areas of interest, read local media and publications, learn local customs as they transfer into the business setting  -these nuisances and understandings will directly help you to cultivate repeat client relationships (Knowledge in this area is an excellent tool to exercise in the interview process also)

Australian Conferencing Network

Attend distinguished conferences and seminars in Australia promoting Asian engagement -there are many.  Don’t limited these activities to attending only those hosted by the law profession or academia (although these are an excellent source of learning) –Directly network with speakers after the events, actively pursue expert connections in this area and across Asia itself. Face to face meetings ‘handshakes’ often become powerful connections in future business

Post Graduate Study

Post graduate study needs to be re-examined as practical tool rather than simply adding prestige to a resume. There are several Graduate Diplomas that would give you pragmatic tools to make an impact on cross border deals you perform for your firm such as the graduate diploma in Chinese business law. You will gain insight into Chinese outbound and inbound investment and cross border dispute resolution Through performance on these deals your aim is to be remembered and be involved in generating repeat business.

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