Hong Kong

Lewis Sanders have undertaken a legal salary survey with a number of multinational and Hong Kong companies across various industry sectors (excluding financial institutions and banks) in Hong Kong.
The data was collected between May and June 2011. The information was collated with the help of their in-house clients and from candidates they recently placed in-house or who are currently registered in the company’s database.

2011 has seen a marked improvement in market sentiment and there has been a notable increase in in-house recruitment activity. Lewis Sanders have been instructed on a number of newly created and additional headcount positions, particularly at the mid to senior level. This continues to reflect the strong recovery of the Asian economy and markets as many US and European MNCs are looking to benefit from and be part of Asia’s growth, particularly at a time when domestic US and European markets remain relatively weak.

There has been a slight increase in salaries in 2011 averaging 3-5%. Bonus payments for 2010/2011 showed improvement on 2009/2010 averaging 2-3 months, although some HK listed companies paid out significantly more than this.

The demand for overseas lawyers remains limited with the preference being for Chinese speakers, both Cantonese and Mandarin. Expat packages are rare with the majority of packages comprising base salary, discretionary bonus and share/ stock options.

A move in-house continues to be a preference for many private practice lawyers who no longer see law firm partnership as an attractive or realistic option, and many are prepared to accept a reduction in base salary in order to make this change.

The perceived upside is the opportunity to work closely with the business and a better work/life balance.

The tables below outline current salary ranges for in-house lawyers at multinational and local companies based in Hong Kong.

Courtesy of Lewis Sanderswww.lewissanders.com
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