find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Real Estate & Projects Lawyer (6+ years PAE)
Category: Property Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Top tier firm with offices nationally · High profile clients
View details
Chinese firms prioritise prestige

Chinese firms prioritise prestige

Proximity to clients is the top consideration for law firms in the Asia-Pacific when choosing an office location, except in China, where an impressive address is more important, a new report has found.

Proximity to clients is the top consideration for law firms in the Asia-Pacific when choosing an office location, except in China, where an impressive address is more important, a new report has found.

The Global Corporate Services Asia-Pacific Law Firm Review surveyed more than 30 international law firms of various sizes across the Asia-Pacific late last year.

Senior partners involved in property and workplace decisions were interviewed to determine motivations for law firm office location and strategy.

“Proximity to clients” came top of the list overall for office location considerations, especially in Singapore and Sydney, while “cost” of office location was not seen as a primary concern anywhere except in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

 However, Alex Hill, head of Global Corporate Services (Asia-Pacific), said: “Ongoing uncertainty in the world economy is leading to firms becoming more cost conscious.”

 For law firms that were opening for the first time in a country, a prestigious address was seen as important in introducing the firm’s brand, the report found.

While all firms surveyed were located in the CBD (or equivalent), those in China listed “prestige” ahead of “proximity to clients” as the most important consideration for office location.

A number of interviewees in China had chosen to reside in iconic ‘Grade A’ office buildings.

With many international firms setting up in the region, lifestyle could be a consideration, whether it is schools for children, air quality or activities, although it was rated as least important by the firms surveyed.

Law firms are looking to reduce costs by outsourcing finance, IT, or storage solutions, but in certain jurisdictions like Hong Kong interviewees claimed that Law Society restrictions were preventing them pursuing some of these outsourcing possibilities.

The option of moving out of the CBD was dismissed by the large majority, but respondents from Australia and Singapore were the most open to the idea.

The most progressive law firms are now looking to split prime client-facing fee earners in the CBD and support staff on the city fringe to reduce operational costs, the report claimed.

Expansion plans

China was top of the list as the place partners were looking to expand into, with second-tier Chinese cities like Chengdu noted as possible expansion points in future.

“As more foreign firms move into the tier-two cities there’s a need for that legal service to be brought into those locations as well,” said Linda Zhu, associate director at Global Corporate Services.

Korea, which has already seen a significant number of firms opening offices since trade agreements with the EU and US relaxed to allow foreign law firms to operate, was also part of the expansion strategy of a number of firms.

Australia, Indonesia, Japan and then Mongolia were listed as the next most attractive destinations.

“Mongolia is remote and has always been remote and there is now a lot of resources projects in that region,” said Zhu, adding that wherever there’s foreign investment there’s the need for foreign law firms because investors feel safer working with law firms they are familiar with.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Chinese firms prioritise prestige
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
Applauds
Aug 21 2017
LCA applauds proposed Modern Slavery Act
The Law Council of Australia has welcomed new recommendations for the development of a Modern Slaver...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...