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Being a solicitor herself, Terese Au-Yeung has been responsible for the recruitment of lawyers for law firms in Asia for the past fifteen years. She has also taken up the important duty of developing and mentoring interns and trainee solicitors and she is absolutely enjoying it.
Having strong English language skills is not the only criteria to enable candidates to earn a place in a law firm. Terese said she would test candidates' level of proficiency in Chinese during interviews as well, and on occasions, this has caught candidates off guard.
"Different firms have their own methods of recruitment. Generally, recruitment for both interns and trainee solicitors are done through interviews, from two to three rounds of interviews to a whole day interview at an assessment center."
Brush up on current affairs and financial market trends
In Hong Kong, the market practice is for international law firms and large local firms to consider applications for a training contract for trainees two years in advance.
Law firms are incubators for lawyers. As stipulated by the Hong Kong Law Society, aspiring lawyers must acquire a training contract which lasts for two years and complete that before they can be admitted as a Solicitor. Terese said that trainees typically would rotate and gain experience in different practice areas such as corporate, banking and litigation during their two-year training contract. In international firms, there is also an opportunity for trainees to be sent to overseas offices on secondment.
Terese advised that when candidates prepare for their interviews, they should not only brush up on current affairs but also pay attention to financial market trends. Reading international and financial news is important and having done so can help showcase their rounded interest and knowledge in these matters during the interview which can possibly give them an edge over other candidates. Knowing the background of the firm one is interviewing with, double checking application letters before sending out and making sure all information is accurate are, of course, "job hunting 101".