The extreme welath gap in Hong Kong and the insane concentration of wealth in Hong Kong is well known and not news, so I should have anticipated that when working for one of the better known litigation practices in Hong Kong, I’d come across lots of ultra wealthy clients.
Perhaps this is just one more perk of practicing in Hong Kong, since I can’t imagine ever being staffed on the kinds of cases I am now if I were practicing in New York. Even if I were so lucky (or perhaps unlucky, depending on your perspective) to be working at the top litigation firms in New York, the chances of working for the likes of say Bill Gates or Warren Buffett are still close to nil.
I’ve had very wealthy clients before. Your typical white collar defendant will be banking at least a mill or so a year, but the wealthy clients I deal with now are seriously above and beyond that, with net worths of up to billions USD!
What I have found, unfortunately, is that these are not easy clients to work with! Something about the insanely wealthy just makes them, well, insane! They are very much used to getting their way, always being right, and having an army of yes-men around them. This makes it really hard to advise them when navigating risky legal waters.
The other thing about the insanely rich — at least in Hong Kong — is that their lives are insane too! These folks live dramas that are way better than anything you’ve seen on tv or the movies — wild kidnapping plots, tragic deaths, disappearing persons, fantastic murders, you name it – they live that!
So to all those who aspire to come to Hong Kong to become lawyers, get ready — it can definitely be the wildest ride you’ve ever had (as lawyers, at least)!