Secondments – Where we turn great talent into great lawyers

posted on 19 May

Hong Kong Secondment

Overview

All of our Trainees have the opportunity to apply for a three-month secondment to one of our international offices which gives them the chance to deepen their knowledge and skills, and helps shape them into future professionals.  Jack, Amanda and Miriam had the opportunity to spend three months in the Hong Kong office to develop both professionally and personally, all while taking in a different cultural experience. Secondments are seen as a great opportunity to meet new people, experience different types of work and spend time in a completely different part of the world.

“On a professional level, working in Hong Kong allowed me to get involved in Capital Markets and Public M&A deals, which I couldn’t have done in London. It also enabled me to build relationships with colleagues in our other Asian offices. Living in Hong Kong also helped me to build a network, as there were so many Trainees and non-lawyers working there. This was not only invaluable for my career going forward, but meant that I had a very sociable and enjoyable experience.” – Amanda, Associate

 

Down to Business

Not long after joining the Hong Kong office, Amanda was heavily involved in an acquisition in which her client was acquiring certain companies and assets from a third party. The project was exciting and had Amanda compiling a due diligence report alongside her new colleagues and highlighting issues that the client had to be aware of. Miriam found herself sitting in the IT/Commercial team, gaining exactly the kind of exposure to data privacy, commercial contracts, copyright and trademarks work that she hoped would boost her skills. Jack, was seconded to the Disputes team which immersed him in a range of arbitration, compliance and regulatory matters.

 

The Culture

Moving to a new place is inevitably an exciting thing to do. Amanda thought that the biggest learning curve in Hong Kong for her was the cultural differences in the workplace. However, she found her team to be friendly and welcoming. Both Jack and Miriam were surprised with how much there was in common between the laws in the UK and Hong Kong. Figuring out the differences was both interesting and made easy thanks to the guidance from their colleagues.

 

Out of hours

Living in a place like Hong Kong isn’t just all about work. Amanda was soon taking trips, hikes and enjoying the many bars and restaurants in the city in her free time. Miriam’s highlight was celebrating Chinese New Year in Beijing in a traditional Chinese cheongsam that she bought in the city markets.  She also visited Myanmar and other countries in the region.

There was also a fascinating contrast between Hong Kong and London as cities in which to live and work.

“In many ways, it felt a lot like London, except squeezed into half as much space, with twice as many cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs. I generally walked everywhere, as everything was quite close by, and the weather was a lot better than in London. It's also a much ‘later’ city – most shops don't open until 10.30am, but then might not close until 10pm, even on a Sunday.”  – Jack, Associate

 

Pearls of wisdom

Secondments are a big experience and they leave big impressions with our Trainees. The lessons that they learn and the skills they obtain are truly valuable to our business – that’s why we encourage and support them every step of the way. For Miriam, Hong Kong was a thought-provoking experience that illuminated the ways in which cultural factors should always be considered when working with colleagues from around the world. And for Amanda, living and working in Hong Kong taught her lessons and skills she feels will carry her forward in her career.

“Living and working in Hong Kong was a hugely beneficial experience, both personally and professionally. It was a great opportunity to improve my interpersonal skills and meet with colleagues across the Firm.” – Miriam, Associate