The Legal Cheek View
US juggernaut Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Skadden) is best known in Hong Kong for its top tier capital markets, private equity and corporate practices; initial public offerings (IPOs) and mergers & acquisitions (M&A) are the firm’s bread and butter. The Hong Kong office is also the headquarters of the firm’s Asia Pacific international arbitration and litigation practice. Lawyers coordinate and execute a wide range of transactions, litigation and investigations, often spanning multiple jurisdictions.
The firm’s clients include multinational companies, state-owned enterprises, banks and private equity houses across a broad range of industries. Deal highlights include advising tech company Baidu on its HK$3.1 billion secondary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and selfie app Meitu on its HK$710 million IPO.
Skaddonites can expect to get stuck into big-money deals during the two-year training contract. The firm takes anywhere between four to six trainees a year. In the first year they gain experience in two of the following practice areas: corporate finance, M&A and private equity, banking and finance, or international litigation and arbitration. They discuss with their supervisors the remaining practice areas in which they would like to work prior to qualifying as a solicitor. They may also get the chance to go on an overseas secondment to the firm’s offices in Beijing, London, Brussels or New York.
Training is “comprehensive” and draws on the experience and teaching of partners, counsel and associates, qualified external consultants, and the firm’s global training and development team. They offer regular lunch-time training seminars across practice areas. Additionally, the firm’s “highly supportive” partners (there are nine) supervise, mentor and provide feedback to juniors throughout the training contract.
Skadden is situated on 42/F of The Landmark’s Edinburgh Tower in Central. To get there you pass through a maze of designer stores in the mall that occupies the floors beneath the building. The office is pleasant, with light red marble walls and floors, and views across the city sky-line. A wood and glass-panelled staircase connects the reception with the higher floors. There are a range of lunch options owing to the firm’s convenient location, but there’s a Pret and Urban Bakery Works (which get very busy during lunch hours) nearby Edinburgh Tower as well as upmarket restaurants China Tang and CIAK In the Kitchen.
The Hong Kong office champions equality, diversity and inclusion, and this year sponsored a mooting competition run by HKU law students and members of the university’s LGBTQ+ group Be EnGayged.
When it comes to perks, the firm provides lawyers with a tech allowance, monthly gym reimbursement, and private medical and dental insurance.
Skadden runs a winter (January/February) and summer (June/July) vacation scheme each year. The schemes, which run for four weeks, provide interns with experience on live transactions and cases as well as insights into the firm’s culture.