Pinsent Masons launched in Hong Kong in the early 1980s, and now has a team of 25 lawyers based on the ground. The Hong Kong office was the firm’s first in the Asia Pacific region. It has since expanded to Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and Australia. They primarily focus on energy and infrastructure projects, but also financial services and technology.
Pinsent Masons lawyers have been involved in some of the city’s biggest infrastructure projects to date: from the launch of a new facility in Hong Kong International Airport to developments at major MTR stations. They have also helped private companies go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, with deals often stretching to several hundred million Hong Kong dollars. Notably, the firm has long been involved with advising on China’s Belt and Road initiative, which seeks to promote economic co-operation between several major global markets of the world.
The training contract is two years, broken down into four six-month seats across the firm’s core areas of practice. Expect hard work but to be supported along the way. And the work hours, on average, are decent; the firm’s current trainee cohort tells us they finish work around 7:30pm most evenings.
The Hong Kong office is housed in Wan Chai’s Central Plaza. There are several entrances, including one that connects with Hong Kong’s very stern-looking Immigration Tower. The office is on 50/F which takes two lifts to reach — the first to the Sky Lobby which feels high enough and then another up four more floors. Pinsent Masons occupies the whole floor and the meeting rooms are named after islands/harbours. With the firm being so high up, you can view many of these from the windows! There are two lawyers to an office and trainees share office space with their supervisors. There are around 60 members of staff in total and those in non-legal roles share open plan space.
The office is going green, thanks in part to the firm’s climate change and sustainability network. “They organise environmental initiatives pretty frequently,” says an insider. “I understand that they procure stationery made from recycled materials and highly encourage their staff to recycle plastic bottles and lunch boxes.”
The firm has a global agile-working policy in place, enabling its lawyers to work flexibly from the office and home. “The work from home arrangement is very flexible,” says one respondent to the Legal Cheek Hong Kong Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2023-24. “As long as you can get the work done, the supervisors allow you to work from home.”
Hong Kong trainees can expect quality work with ample support. One rookie tells us that “seniors are very approachable”, continuing that “they welcome any questions and great ideas from you. They also value your input and would give credit to you.” If you are lucky, you might get a chance to go on client secondment. Although respondents to our 2023-24 Survey hadn’t had a chance yet, the firm’s policy says that secondments are made available based on “performance, availability of such clients’ needs and future career aspirations”.
Pinsent Masons takes around 30 interns across its winter (January to March) and summer (May to August) vacation schemes but has just two training contracts up for grabs – so expect some intense competition! And the firm only hires through its vacation schemes; there’s no direct training contract application route. The vacation schemes run for two weeks instead of four weeks like at most Hong Kong law firms but mirror the approach taken in the UK, where the firm is headquartered and has nine offices. The Hong Kong graduate recruitment team operates a CV/cover letter application process and reviews applications for the firm’s offices in both Hong Kong and China.