Applications / Job market

How to get that solicitor’s training contract in Hong Kong

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

Mayer_Brown HK Office250A 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

Do_you_speak_chinese250HK 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


Shot of a creative team in a video conference meeting

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!”

One thought on “How to get that solicitor’s training contract in Hong Kong

  1. In regards to point 5:

    Dear students from Hong Kong

    I am writing to update you on our policy with respect to the Conversion Examinations to meet the requirements for admission to the PCLL in Hong Kong.

    We strongly encourage you not to sit PCLL conversion examinations while studying for your degree at Warwick. Adding the burden of additional exams to your workload here has potentially negative consequences for your performance in both.
    This is also the position taken by the Hong Kong Conversion Examination Board (PCEA), who have confirmed to me in writing that they “do encourage students to take it slowly or even take a year out to do the examination so that it won’t affect their LLB degree.”

    If you still want to go ahead with PCLL conversion exams in January, please be advised that, contrary to our previous policy, we will not grant an extension to essay deadlines for that reason only. This brings our practice in line with our published advice on extensions ( Please note that you can still apply for an extension if you have any mitigating circumstances in addition to sitting a conversion exam in Hong Kong.

    This year the exam dates in Hong Kong are entirely during our Christmas break (5 – 8 January) so that there should not be any need for absences or extensions. I thought it best to clarify our position for the future though.

    If you have any queries please do not hesitate to get in touch with me or Helen Toner.

    Best wishes,

    Christopher Bisping Dipl.-Jur, LLM, PGCHE, FHEA
    Rechtsanwalt, Associate Professor
    Director of Undergraduate Studies
    office hours: Monday 11-12; Wednesday 10-11
    University of Warwick, School of Law, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK
    Tel +44 (0)2476 528981, Fax +44 (0)2476524105
    The University of Warwick: “A powerhouse of teaching excellence”.
    Times and Sunday Times University of the Year 2014-15

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