There are a lot of HK students studying law in the UK, and many of you will be planning to return to HK after graduation to settle close to your families. It can be daunting to make long distance applications and you might feel a bit lost as to what approach you need to take to secure that coveted post. Carol Wong from Mayer Brown JSM HK office has shared her top tips for success. Over to Carol…
“1. Pay attention to dates of career talks
A lot of English and American firms regularly visit a number of universities. But did you know that some firms send representatives (partners, trainees, HR, etc.) from their HK office to do separate career events? This is a mark of how seriously the firms take their UK recruitment. It’s a great opportunity to understand more about the prospects of taking on a legal career in HK and getting your face out there! Make sure that you don’t miss out on those events.
2. Apply for internships in HK during university breaks
If you’re coming back to Hong Kong, do make wise use of your time during summer and winter breaks. Find out how it feels to work in HK. Be aware that most law firms use internships as an opportunity to assess students, often the high performers will be offered training contracts.
3. Showcase your Asian language skills
HK is one of the world’s fastest growing markets. As a solicitor here, you’ll get to deal with clients from all across Asia. It’s always desirable to be able to communicate in the same language as your clients and colleagues. Asian language skills (Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, etc.) will be an advantage in any application. Don’t forget to include details of your linguistic prowess in your applications.
4. Be prepared for video conference interviews
Congratulations if you’ve made it to the interview stage! Given that you’re studying in a different location, interviews will often be conducted by Video Conference. This will be very different from face-to-face interviews. First and foremost, you should ensure a reliable internet connection for the video conference. Also, you should still dress formally for the interview. Don’t forget that the interviewer can see you through the monitor. You should be mindful of your body language too. Think about the background behind you, an untidy bedroom is unlikely to impress! Have a look at Claire Leslie’s post for more tips on video interviewing
5. Take your PCLL conversion exams earlier
To be eligible for admission to the PCLL in Hong Kong, all students will have to demonstrate competence in 11 core subjects / top-up subjects. The requirements will depends on which education institute you obtained your law qualification from and on the subject you studied. Check PCLL for further information.
It’s good to take your PCLL conversion examinations earlier rather than later. It will alleviate your workload later on, as your degree gets tougher, and it also helps to show the interviewers your keenness and motivation to practise in HK. This is crucial. Prospective employers need to be sure that you are committed to the firm. You don’t want to miss out to someone who has been more proactive with the PCLL.
This is not an exhaustive list of everything you need to consider if you’re thinking of returning to work in Hong Kong. But I hope that the above has provided you with a starting point to prepare for a successful career search. Good luck to all of you!”