news

The year 2021 was undoubtedly tough for law firms, but with vaccinations on the rise and border restrictions loosening, there is hope on the horizon. As firms attempt a return to normalcy, they find the needle has shifted when it comes to the expectations of lawyers. As a result, firms are increasingly looking inward, carefully considering their needs, and how to ensure they can retain the talent they seek.

 

As December draws near, law firms can breathe a sigh of relief that they made it through yet another pandemic-impacted year. Far from just weathering the storm and uncertainty, a number of firms have grown, expanded and entered into new practice areas. In many cases, to do this, they’ve had to add headcount. While hires still make headlines, the global conversation has increasingly turned to that of retention, and how to keep lawyers, especially younger hires, engaged and supported.

Office culture and work-life balance are scrutinised more than ever before, and law firms are among those to closely examine their hiring needs and retention strategy during these uncertain times.

For Helmsman, which has a presence in both Singapore and Hong Kong, hiring is all about fit. Ian Teo, managing director, and Maureen Poh, director, that believe in order to make a successful hire, they need to spend time getting to know the candidate.

“We rather take the time to learn about the candidate because there are attributes such as critical thinking, collaboration and problem-solving which are really important to us,” Teo and Poh say, noting these attributes may not be visible on a CV.

Hiring carefully and looking beyond the critical hard skills remain important for Helmsman, which looks for character, longevity in previous roles, understanding of the law, and interests beyond being a lawyer.

“We consider many attributes because we are not just hiring another lawyer but rather bringing in new permanent members into our professional family. Finding the right fit ensures we have a strong and supportive network to drive the firm collectively in the long term. This is more sustainable than finding quick fixes for our firm,” they say.

Meanwhile, Bazul Ashhab, managing partner of Oon & Bazul, which has offices in Singapore and Malaysia, says diversity is a key element of the firm’s hiring strategy.

“I believe differences are to be celebrated. From experience, it is a great driver for change and a great contributor to solutions. We recently hired three ex-Magic Circle lawyers and one former Big Four lawyer in our firm. They bring into the practice their rich experience, which we integrate into the firms’ best practice guide,” Bazul says.

Aside from legal backgrounds, Bazul looks also for “those who can lead by inspiring others. They are those who enjoy their practice so thoroughly and find that it is a meaningful way to earn a living. This has a ripple effect and generates a positive vibe in and around the firm. I also hire business professionals who are passionate and entrepreneurial in their outlook, who work hand in hand with the legal professionals to bring the practice to greater heights,” he says.

Bazul says he has “an amazing team of lawyers and business professionals,” considering them “not just colleagues but friends.”

During the pandemic, this has only grown more important. “The trust I have placed in them, and them in me, has not been shaken and in fact, has strengthened.“

“The team has demonstrated great adaptability and has responded innovatively to the pandemic to avert crisis,” he says.

Looking further into the future, Bazul remains “deeply confident” the world economy will spring back, and new opportunities will continue to appear.

“The pandemic has created hiring opportunities. The opportunity in the firm for those in their mid-careers to explore their full potential both in lawyering and entrepreneurial skills is attracting top talent. The commercial fallout arising from the pandemic has increased the workflow for the firm and created opportunities to hire,” he says.


THE LIST

ALB TOP 50 FIRMS (INTERNATIONAL)

2021 Ranking

Firms

Headquarters

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

Baker McKenzie

U.S.

303

498

911

2

Linklaters

UK

70

272

375

3

Clifford Chance

UK

68

222

338

4

Allen & Overy

UK

69

183

305

5

Mayer Brown

U.S.

86

143

241

6

Herbert Smith Freehills

UK/Australia

78

92

241

7

Morrison & Foerster

U.S.

62

125

189

8

White & Case

U.S.

56

131

187

9

Withersworldwide

UK

66

114

180

10

Norton Rose Fulbright

UK

65

98

180

11

Stephenson Harwood

UK

59

79

166

12

Ashurst

UK

52

114

163

13

K&L Gates

U.S.

64

75

157

14

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

UK

41

86

146

15

DLA Piper

UK/U.S.

55

29

135

16

Hogan Lovells

UK/U.S.

42

65

134

17

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

U.S.

39

90

132

18

Latham & Watkins

U.S.

45

71

128

19

Kennedys

UK

35

88

123

20

Reed Smith

U.S.

43

72

121

21

Bird & Bird

UK

31

88

119

22

Sidley Austin

U.S.

23

10

117

23

Kirkland & Ellis

U.S.

31

67

116

24

Jones Day

U.S.

49

55

104

25

HFW

UK

37

59

102

26

Clyde & Co

UK

26

38

99

27

CMS

UK/Germany

28

62

93

28

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

U.S.

17

73

90

29

Watson Farley & Williams

UK

22

34

87

30

Pinsent Masons

UK

29

54

83

31

Davis Polk & Wardwell

U.S.

19

49

81

32

Ropes & Gray

U.S.

21

47

79

33

Paul Hastings

U.S.

20

59

79

34

Shearman & Sterling

U.S.

18

59

77

35

O'Melveny & Myers

U.S.

25

25

76

36

Simmons & Simmons

UK

31

44

75

37

Ince

UK

13

23

74

38

Squire Patton Boggs

U.S.

37

31

73

39

Duane Morris & Selvam

U.S.

10

32

65

40

Slaughter & May

UK

14

35

53

41

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

U.S.

5

29

53

42

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

U.S.

19

28

52

43

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

U.S.

13

12

50

44

Milbank

U.S.

13

30

48

45

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe

UK

16

11

46

46

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

U.S.

5

22

45

47

Cooley

U.S.

10

31

41

48

King & Spalding

U.S.

13

22

36

49

Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison

U.S.

7

19

34

50

Taylor Wessing

UK

17

10

31

 

ALB TOP 50 FIRMS (DOMESTIC)

2021 Ranking

Firms

Headquarters

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

YingKe Law Firm

China

1366

10024

11390

2

Dentons China

China

2050

4730

6780

3

Jingsh Law Office

China

318

4993

5311

4

DeHeng Law Offices

China

648

3017

3665

5

AllBright Law Offices

China

792

2601

3436

6

W&H Law Firm

China

659

2008

3006

7

Grandall Law Firm

China

1002

1661

2709

8

Beijing DHH Law Firm

China

178

2282

2519

9

Zhonglun W&D Law Firm

China

610

1550

2160

10

Zhong Lun Law Firm

China

365

1785

2150

11

King & Wood Mallesons

China

454

1659

2121

12

Tahota Law Firm

China

642

1350

2100

13

Zhong Yin Law Firm

China

420

1338

1765

14

Long An Law Firm

China

411

1166

1663

15

Duan & Duan Law Firm

China

393

1226

1619

16

Hui Ye Law Firm

China

367

1084

1503

17

China Commercial Law Firm

China

220

1211

1502

18

Jincheng Tongda & Neal Law Firm

China

420

958

1411

19

Hengdu Law Firm

China

150

934

1200

20

Hylands Law Firm

China

290

852

1189

21

Guangdong Guanghe Law Firm

China

191

942

1135

22

Hansheng Law Offices

China

274

837

1129

23

Tian Tai Law Firm

China

347

683

1109

24

Kangda Law Firm

China

182

927

1109

25

City Development Law Firm

China

290

789

1092

26

Guantao Law Firm

China

305

692

1000

27

Hiways Law Firm

China

301

668

1000

28

Kim & Chang

Korea

180

808

988

29

Sichuan Mingju Law Firm

China

125

775

932

30

Zhongwen Law Firm

China

417

512

929

31

Beijing Yinghe Law Firm

China

85

470

922

32

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas

India

141

729

870

33

JunHe LLP

China

233

603

847

34

Khaitan & Co

India

180

652

832

35

Nishimura & Asahi

Japan

207

472

753

36

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

India

150

600

750

37

Lee & Ko

Korea

278

447

725

38

Rajah & Tann

Singapore

261

424

685

39

KINGBRIDGE Law Firm

China

84

527

663

40

Guangdong Everwin Law Office

China

171

483

656

41

Zhejiang Zeda Law Firm

China

200

448

648

42

ETR  Law Firm

China

154

494

648

43

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Japan

157

401

636

44

Allen & Gledhill

Singapore

189

394

592

45

Han Kun Law Offices

China

105

472

577

46

SGLA Law Firm

China

134

437

571

47

Shin & Kim

Korea

251

319

570

48

JunZeJun Law Offices

China

164

397

561

49

Bae Kim & Lee

Korea

265

268

558

50

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Japan

170

318

548

 

ALB CHINA FIRMS (INTERNATIONAL)

2021 Ranking

Firms

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

24

52

90

2

Stephenson Harwood

29

36

78

3

Clifford Chance

11

48

72

4

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

7

42

49

5

Paul Hastings

5

37

42

6

DLA Piper

20

2

41

7

Baker McKenzie

9

25

37

8

Allen & Overy

9

20

34

9

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

3

19

34

10

Sidley Austin

6

1

33

11

CMS

7

21

31

12

Watson Farley & Williams

6

11

30

13

Bird & Bird

8

21

29

14

Cooley

6

22

28

15

White & Case

5

23

28

16

Herbert Smith Freehills

17

5

25

17

Hogan Lovells

9

8

24

18

Kirkland & Ellis

7

16

24

19

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe

12

6

22

20

Jones Day

9

8

22

21

O'Melveny Myers

5

6

22

22

K&L Gates

9

10

21

23

Pinsent Masons

6

14

21

24

Ropes &Gray

4

13

21

25

Clyde & Co

6

9

20

26

Reed Smith

4

10

19

27

Ashurst

2

16

18

28

Deacons

 

17

17

29

Eversheds Sutherland

5

10

16

30

Simmons & Simmons

6

9

15

 

ALB HONG KONG FIRMS (INTERNATIONAL)

2021 Ranking

Firms

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

King & Wood Mallesons

39

177

216

2

Mayer Brown

67

114

193

3

Baker McKenzie

52

83

167

4

Clifford Chance

30

85

134

5

Allen & Overy

24

46

108

6

Herbert Smith Freehills

20

43

95

7

Kirkland & Ellis

24

51

92

8

Linklaters

33

43

90

9

Sidley Austin

17

6

84

10

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

19

42

72

11

Reed Smith

28

43

71

12

Withersworldwide

23

45

68

13

Stephenson Harwood

24

33

66

14

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in Hong Kong

11

54

65

15

Latham & Watkins

22

34

64

16

Davis Polk & Wardwell

10

43

62

17

Norton Rose Fulbright

19

39

60

18

White & Case

17

41

58

19

Ashurst

20

37

57

20

HFW

17

34

53

 

ALB HONG KONG FIRMS (DOMESTIC)

2021 Ranking

Firms

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

Deacons

54

149

203

2

Howse Williams (formerly HWB)

26

65

91

3

Woo Kwan Lee & Lo

34

53

87

4

Li & Partners

10

44

73

5

Stevenson Wong & Co

15

37

57

6

P.C. Woo & Co

15

33

54

7

Tanner De Witt

15

31

46

8

ONC Lawyers

13

20

42

9

Gallant

16

25

41

10

Wilkinson & Grist

19

15

40

 

ALB INDIA FIRMS

2021 Ranking

Firms

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas

141

729

870

2

Khaitan & Co

170

651

829

3

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

150

600

750

4

Trilegal

63

392

515

5

AZB & Partners

110

384

509

6

J. Sagar Associates

108

246

354

7

IndusLaw

54

248

302

8

L&L Partners

79

160

239

9

Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan

42

62

225

10

Desai & Diwanji

38

184

222

11

Singh & Associates

15

195

210

12

Link Legal India Law Services

38

170

208

13

Fox Mandal & Co

21

186

207

14

Kochhar & Co

46

145

191

15

Economic Laws Practice

42

101

160

16

HSA Advocates

29

120

149

17

DSK Legal

22

122

144

18

Wadia Ghandy & Co

36

98

134

19

Singhania & Co

12

100

112

20

Vaish Associates

12

93

105

21

Argus Partners

18

74

92

22

Phoenix Legal

12

75

87

23

Anand and Anand

30

55

85

24

Bharucha & Partners

13

70

83

25

Mulla & Mulla & Craigie Blunt & Caroe

11

65

76

26

Dhir & Dhir

11

64

76

27

Nishith Desai Associates

8

64

72

28

S K Singhi & Co

3

63

66

29

Singhania & Partners

15

45

60

30

Majmudar & Partners

8

49

57

 

ALB INDONESIA FIRMS

2021 Ranking

Firms

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

Assegaf Hamzah & Partners (Rajah & Tann)

27

108

135

2

Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo

7

107

115

3

Ali Budiardjo, Nugroho, Reksodiputro (ABNR Counsellors at Law)

21

90

111

4

Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners

18

70

102

5

Hanafiah Ponggawa & Partners (Dentons HPRP)

16

72

93

6

SSEK Legal Consultants

15

55

70

7

Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung

11

37

55

8

Mochtar Karuwin Komar

5

45

50

9

Makarim & Taira S.

10

37

47

10

Soemadipradja & Taher

10

32

45

 

ALB JAPAN FIRMS (INTERNATIONAL)

2021 Ranking

Firms

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

Baker McKenzie

47

77

144

2

Morrison & Foerster

37

70

107

3

Clifford Chance

7

28

43

4

White & Case

14

22

36

5

Linklaters

9

19

31

6

Squire Patton Boggs

14

11

30

7

K&L Gates

12

11

26

8

Hogan Lovells

7

15

26

9

DLA Piper

6

11

25

10

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

7

13

23

11

Herbert Smith Freehills

5

9

23

12

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe

3

5

22

13

Withersworldwide

11

6

21

14

Jones Day

8

5

21

15

Allen & Overy

5

12

18

16

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

8

9

17

17

King & Wood Mallesons

5

12

17

18

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

5

11

16

19

Ashurst

4

12

16

20

Shearman & Sterling

5

8

13

 

ALB JAPAN FIRMS (DOMESTIC)

2021 Ranking

Firms

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

Nishimura & Asahi

173

374

609

2

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

163

279

496

3

TMI Associates

141

346

487

4

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

126

301

486

5

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

121

315

473

6

Atsumi & Sakai

77

79

186

7

City-Yuwa Partners

71

72

167

8

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners

65

64

154

9

Kitahama Partners

38

45

93

10

Nakamura & Partners

46

34

80

 

ALB MALAYSIA FIRMS

2021 Ranking

Firms

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

Zaid Ibrahim & Co (ZICO Law)

67

92

159

2

Skrine

43

68

115

3

Shearn Delamore

44

66

110

4

Adnan Sundra & Low

14

74

90

5

Zul Rafique & Partners

35

50

88

6

Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill

31

57

88

7

Rahmat Lim & Partners

28

60

88

8

Christopher & Lee Ong (Rajah & Tann)

36

47

83

9

Raja, Darryl & Loh

23

51

74

10

Wong & Partners

14

41

63

 

ALB PHILIPPINE FIRMS

2021 Ranking

Firms

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

ACCRALAW

56

78

145

2

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

43

72

122

3

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura

50

37

93

4

DivinaLaw

19

36

69

5

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia

23

37

60

6

Villaraza & Angangco

21

39

60

7

Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos

30

18

51

8

Quisumbing Torres

20

31

51

9

Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio (C&G Law) (Rajah & Tann)

17

24

41

10

Puno & Puno Law Offices

15

26

41

 

ALB SINGAPORE FIRMS

2021 Ranking

Firms

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

Allen & Gledhill

144

278

426

2

WongPartnership

111

223

334

3

Rajah & Tann

156

163

319

4

Drew & Napier

98

148

319

5

Dentons (Singapore)

93

72

198

6

Shook Lin & Bok

54

86

140

7

Baker Mckenzie Wong & Leow

31

84

131

8

Withers Khattarwong

32

63

95

9

Clifford Chance

20

61

87

10

Harry Elias Partnership

24

54

78

11

Allen & Overy

15

58

75

12

Stephenson Harwood Alliance

20

49

69

13

Norton Rose Fulbright

15

46

61

14

RHTlaw

23

23

58

15

K&L Gates Straits Law

17

30

53

16

Bird & Bird ATMD

13

37

50

17

Oon & Bazul

19

29

48

18

Herbert Smith Freehills

14

15

47

19

White & Case

14

31

45

20

Ashurst

16

28

44

 

ALB SOUTH KOREA

2021 Ranking

Firms

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

Kim & Chang

190

890

1080

2

Lee & Ko

275

435

710

3

Shin & Kim

243

304

547

4

Yulchon

226

316

542

5

Bae Kim & Lee

255

258

538

6

Yoon & Yang

131

319

450

7

Jipyong

4

286

290

8

Barun Law

6

231

237

9

DR & AJU

105

96

201

10

HMP Law

47

73

120

 

ALB THAILAND FIRMS

2021 Ranking

Firms

Total
Partners

Total
Associates

Total
Lawyers

1

Weerawong C&P

13

100

113

2

Tilleke & Gibbins

22

85

107

3

Chandler MHM

17

62

92

4

Baker Mckenzie Ltd

60

21

83

5

SCL Nishimura

10

53

63

6

Rajah & Tann Thailand

11

46

57

7

Allen & Overy

4

27

36

8

Hunton Andrews Kurth

5

22

32

9

Watson Farley & Williams

6

23

30

10

DFDL

8

21

29

 

 

To contact the editorial team, please email ALBEditor@thomsonreuters.com.