The Legal Cheek View
International full-service law firm Eversheds Sutherland has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai in Asia. Together they form the Asia Pacific Alliance (ESAPA) consisting of 20 partners, more than 45 lawyers and 80 members of staff who provide services in more than 45 APAC jurisdictions.
The Hong Kong office is located on 37/F of One Taikoo Place in busy Quarry Bay. Entry is through what feels like a very luxurious penthouse and the couches in the meeting rooms add a nice, homely touch. What’s more, the glass walls offer stunning views across the city’s high-rise buildings and hilly backdrop. Eversheds early birds tell us the view is unrivalled at sunrise: the sun beams through the panoramic glass panes creating an atmosphere which is utterly idyllic.
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Hong Kong is the bridge between China and the West, and the firm has nailed this in its office design. The furnishing is dark and modern with oriental touches: from the artwork on the walls to the sculptures dotted around the rooms, light fixtures and grand oak tables. The rooms are named after elements, such as earth, metal, wood and fire, and the staff are polite and super friendly — some even wear traditional Chinese tops as part of their uniform.
The office is highly regarded by the firm’s lawyers not least because they were packed into Gloucester Tower in Alexandra House just under three years ago and had to convert some of the meeting rooms into office space.
The Hong Kong graduate recruitment team runs an Instagram account, @esasialaw, which gives prospective applicants further insights into the culture of the firm. A recent snap shows the firm’s lawyers and staff receiving traditional red treat boxes (‘chuen hup’) to celebrate Chinese New Year. Around the same time the team shared a photo of a food donation made to local charity The Women’s Foundation, with the hashtags #CSR and #spreadthelove. Last Christmas the firm hosted a “marketplace” in the office complete with chocolate fondue, mulled wine and gingerbread biscuits. And the staff took part in a tree decorating workshop too! To mark the month of ‘Movember’, which spotlights men’s health, an array of activities were hosted by the firm, including games nights, a dim sum lunch and night hike, and at the end of it all, the trainees shaved the staches of the partners! There’s also a mini video series where some of the firm’s newly qualified (NQ) solicitors share the details of their training experience and top tips to join the firm.
Eversheds takes 12 interns across two summer vacation schemes and offers four training contracts each year. Possible seat options include banking, corporate, litigation and, Covid-restrictions permitting, a secondment to one of the firm’s overseas offices in London and Shanghai, among others. “The trainee programme at Eversheds Sutherland is well-structured and highly rewarding,” reports one current trainee. “We are given the opportunity from the very beginning to work on cutting-edge deals under the close supervision and guidance of senior lawyers.”
Each trainee is assigned a supervisor who gives them regular feedback, in addition to a formal appraisal which takes place in the middle and at the end of each seat. They’re also paired with a more experienced NQ ‘buddy’ who they can turn to for personal support and development.
The partners are professional yet approachable. “Fortunately, if we ever get caught in bewilderment, we can always turn to our senior colleagues who are friendly, patient and willing to take time out of their busy schedules to guide us through our problems,” adds another trainee. Eversheds partners often host “learning lunches” for the firm’s junior lawyers — trainees included — to learn about topics such as self-confidence.
As for perks the firm offers private medical insurance, language training sponsorship and the option to join a rental reimbursement scheme.
This year the firm launched the Hong Kong Student Award which aims to support law students from underprivileged backgrounds in Hong Kong by providing them with financial support and work experience during their first year of studies.