The legal market in Hong Kong SAR will likely recover in 2021 as it has remained relatively stable throughout 2020. Businesses and individuals were increasingly engaging professional legal services from private practice due to new employment laws and newly enacted national security law.

In response to the global healthcare crisis, most private practices in Hong Kong SAR have adopted a risk-averse attitude towards the business environment in 2020. Employers have tightened their headcount budgets and halted expansion plans to focus on business sustainability, and are only hiring talent to address clients’ needs.

However we can see some ease out in hiring activities, as we expect more organisations to expand their legal teams across capital markets, corporate and private equity in 2021. Employers are looking for highly-qualified professionals who have the technical expertise and in-depth knowledge of the local regulations in derivatives, fixed income as well as private equity.

2021 labour and salary trends for legal professionals

Salary freezes and cuts are not expected to happen in 2021 for legal professionals, as legal firms will likely focus more on resuming full business operations. Candidates who switch employers are able to bring with them relevant experience, knowledge and the network necessary for an in-house environment. Those who intend to make a lateral move within the in-house legal space in 2021 can also expect to receive a 10% to 20% salary increment.

Those moving from law firms to an in-house role may however, be offered a flat package or required to take a 10% to 20% salary cut, which is more aligned with the general business performance in 2020. Despite this, we observe a rising trend of senior associates looking to move in-house for better work-life balance.

download the digital copy of the hong kong SAR 2021 market outlook and salary snapshot

 download job market outlook in hong kong 2021
 download job market outlook in hong kong 2021

key highlights in the legal industry outlook in 2021

  • evolution of job responsibilities and required skills for legal in 2021.
  • anticipated job mobility of professionals across industries and different levels of seniority.
  • salary snapshots for more than 50 different legal jobs.

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