In a matter of a few days in May 2009, I decided,somewhat suddenly, to leave my nearly life-long home of New York City to move to Hong Kong.  When asked, why, I have just one simple response: Because it’s time.  That has, unsurprisingly, been entirely unsatisfactory to most friends, and you know what – even I am not quite sure what has led me this way.  This blog explores that question, and when I get there, should explore the further questions of  “what are you doing in Hong Kong?”, “what are you feeling in Hong Kong”, “when are you coming back??”


69 responses to “About

  1. I stumbled upon your blog in search of information regarding the OLQE. I am a lawyer in New Zealand and did the NY Bar early this year (bit of a strange combo I know). I am originally from Hong Kong and did an internship in a NY firm but decided that conversion exams, PCLL and training contract was probably a waste of time. I thought a different road would still lead me back to the same place.

    I assume you practiced in NY and are now battling your way through the OLQE. I am 2nd yr solicitor which means that I will have to do all the heads (except common law). How hard is the OLQE? I was lucky enough to work and pull through NY at the same time. This thing can’t be that much harder than NY right?

    Would appreciate if you could share some of your thoughts on OLQE vs NY Bar.


  2. Hi Gerry — gonna try to keep this short, but please feel free to contact me again with your email, and I’ll reply more fully — In short, I agree, the whole PCLL/traineeship route is just ridiculous. For starters — can you get a job in HK practicing NY law and then get the 3 years more exp you want in order to waive out of more exams? That is probably ideal. I have a British classmate taking 4 heads all at once while working here in HK – so people do do it. The thing is, you DO need time — no single head is anywhere near as hard as the NY bar exam, it’s true, but there is a whole other challenge to studying a bunch of law subjects in such depth and writing 4×3.5 hour essay exams – worst of all, while working. This guy taking 4 heads will be getting one week off per head as test date approaches, which I hear is standard. Hope this helps, but again, contact me with contact info and I will do my best to answer further.

  3. Thank you very much for your reply. My email is gerry.wong@russellmcveagh. Hope to stay in touch.

    I am looking at opportunities in both Hong Kong and Singapore. The recruiters are saying that firms are looking for applicants who are willing to be locally qualified so will have to think about whether to take on the challenge.


  4. Hi, this is Jasmine from the states. I’m an undergraduate student who’s currently a junior, majoring in B.A. Political Science. I’m planning to go to law school (aiming one of Top 20) in the US, and have done several internships in states and overseas. I reached your blog while I was doing research on ‘how to become a lawyer in HK.’ After graduating from law school in the states, passing from BAR exam, I’m planning to either become lawyer in the states or in HK. I’m thinking of being a lawyer in HK. However, I found out there’s not much informations I could find about this, so I’m leaving this comment to hear your thoughts. I want to know how hard is getting a job in HK as a US lawyer, even though I can’t speak any of Chinese, and if I want to get more opportunities is it necessary to take any kind of exams to become qualified lawyer in HK? I understand as a US lawyer there’s limited work I could do in HK. I will be happy if I hear from you. Thanks!


    • Hi Jasmine. Please understand that even if you don’t take any time off between law school and college, you’re still talking about something that is about 4.5 years in the future. So many things may change by that time, especially as rumor has had it that the Law Society plans to change the Overseas Lawyer rules for some time

      While some planning may be useful if you are pursuing a future in a foreign country, this may be extremely premature if you aren’t 100% sure of your plans of where to practice law (or even be a lawyer?). I think if you feel certain enough about what you want to do when you ‘grow up’, I think the first query is whether or not you feel committed enough to go to law school in HK or another more similar jurisdiction like England and follow with the PCLL than get qualified in the US. Try looking up those rules. As I’ve mentioned in my posts already, the OLQE currently consists of 5 exams, 4 of which you’d have to prepare if you came straight to HK after graduating.

      I know this doesn’t answer all your burning questions but without even knowing what type of law you will practice or what other qualifications you will amass by the time you move, it would be very hard to predict or advise. Good luck. My best advice is to enjoy the process in front of you now than one so far in the future.

  5. Hi there!
    Very interesting blog.

    I have been in Hong Kong as a foreign lawyer (qualified in England and Wales even though I am French) for over a year working in a local Chinese firm and I am now toying with the idea of taking the OLQE next fall. I would very much appreciate your thoughts about the exam. Did you only have to take the 2 heads you passed? Being under 3 years PQE I have to take 4 heads so I want to get an idea of how much work this requires. Anyway, any thoughts appreciated. Please feel free to email me at stellainhk at gmail.com.

    Many thanks!

    • Hi Stella. I’m going to answer publicly, since this seems to be the most queried subject on the blog:
      While the fewer heads the better, many still go ahead and take 4 heads before acquiring the requisite 5 years of experience because 1) there is the constant threat of the Law Society changing the format, and a known enemy is always better than an unknown one, and 2) it does seem to be increasingly required in the legal market by both international and local firms alike. Having taken 2 heads, I can tell you it’s no walk in the park and you definitely will need time. Will your firm help to sponsor your prep course? Will it give you time to study? Study leave? (Many firms seem to give one week per head. At 4 heads, that’s already a whole month off recommended.) These are some questions to ask now. The area prep courses start around beginning of August, and prepare students for up to 5 heads at a time (heads start end of October through November, and Head V in December, but only if you have passed Heads I-IV). I was lucky to not be working full-time during this study period, and I would say you definitely need some solid time off just prior to the exams. Hope this helps!

  6. Hi, many thanks for that! Yes it is very helpful as I won’t have any support whatsoever from my firm either in paying for a prep course or taking the time off. I may need to rethink taking the course for the time being…

    Thanks again!

  7. Hi ya. Very interesting blog! I wish I’d found it sooner as I’ve been researching about the OLQE. I was put onto your blog by a girl I have chatted with on an expat forum who suggested I take a look at your page.
    I am a lawyer in New Zealand and will have 2 yrs post-admission experience by the end of June (my bf and I are looking to move to HK around July as he has just got a job there). I’m tossing up whether I should be sitting the OLQE or not. I’m currently working in commercial law but am keen to shift into a litigation role. I have had mixed comments on this. Some people have told me I would find it very difficult to get into litigation and to simply register as a foreign lawyer while others have said I should sit the exams this year.
    I have also heard mixed reviews about LexOmnibus, particulary Heads 2 and 3. I was just wondering how you found Heads 2 and 3 with IP Learning and overall, how did you find IP Learning? I looked on their website and the testimonials are definitely encouraging. As with anyone, I don’t want to pass so want to ensure that if I do decide to take the courses, I get the best preparatory learning possible. Would love to hear your thoughts or feel free to email me privately (aoife_griffin@hotmail.com).

    • Does HK’s OLQE share much similarity with Australian law?

      • I’m sorry I can’t comment on that, since I’ve no Australian law experience, but since HK law is largely derived from England & Wales, and will draw precedent from Australia, I’m guessing there are similarities.

  8. Oops…I DO want to pass

  9. Hi Aoife – happy to do my best to help, and for the sake of any other curious OLQE-takers, will do so publicly.

    Timing. If you plan to arrive July, and take the OLQE, you should have already completed your entire application for registration. The latest and greatest in the application should be published some time later this month (April), and assumign the timetable is the same as last year’s, you will need to have completed your application by early July, including getting certificates of good standing from your home jurisdiction.

    To do or not to do. For HK, corporate law is far more popular and still holds more in terms of opportunities. Plus, unlike litigation, you are not essentially required to be HK qualified. If I were you, I’d just come and look for a job in corporate (get a headhunter to help you now as this is the season to look) and see how that goes before making the switch or even taking the exam. At 2 years PQE, you’d still need to take 4 heads, which is not easy. But if you are dead set on switching practice areas at this stage of your career, then you must take these exams (more or less). Also, the practice of litigation, as I’m finding (and ought to post on later) seems rather peculiar (at least to me) in HK. Might not differ so much from NZ though.

    Courses. I did hear mixed reviews on LexOmnibus, but it is one of the most popular courses (populous, at least), and a good percentage do pass. I loved my course and the teachers. As I mentioned before, the class size is small and intimate, and you focus on questions. It was effective for me, and while the courses are similarly priced – so much better value for the money. I only took Heads I and III, so can’t speak for II. When I started III, I was mortified and unsure how I’d ever get through it – but in the end, I did pass. I cannot speak more positively about IP Learning and Colin Wright, and will be writing my own testimonial soon.

    BTW – so flattered my blog has gotten notice by someone else and that I can be of help! If I can help with anything more, feel free to ask. Based on all these inquiries, I feel somewhat obligated now to keep up my OLQE/overseas lawyer in HK posts!

  10. Hi, this is Emon. I have just finished my traineeship in HK. I bumped into your site when searching for admission information. Your blog is great! Keep writing! Cheers!

  11. Hello..
    I stumbled on your post. I sat for the Head I exam yesterday (3 Nov). It was a little unnerving and I am now wondering how strict they are with the marking. I was rushed for time for the 4th question and probably missed quite a essential issues. I am doing 2 Heads with a full time job (UK qualified) and lack of study time was the main problem.
    From your own experience (and what you have heard), did you think the Head I marking was strict? Thanks for any thoughts you have on this. (I know this post-event rant is not particularly productive, but just feeling a little blue….)

    • Hi Sam – so sorry to hear about this bad experience, but it’s over and you should just prepare for your next head! I can’t say much about how strict or lax marking is. When you pass, you never learn your scores or see your paper. The only thing I know re: marking is that it’s all about GAINING points, so as long as you did your best to write up as much as you can to get even half a mark, that helps. You don’t lose points for writing wrong things. Oh, and speaking of, half marks are rounded UP. So, just try to forget it for now. Generally the biggest thing about these exams is making sure you stay on track for time and write as much as you can to get points here and there. Bear these pointers for your next exam — esp on time, and worry about this in Jan/Feb, or whenever it is that the results come out next year.

      • Thanks for the reply. I struggled with the final question due to lack of time (it was a seven-part question), I put down short answers for each part (i.e. some with authorities, some without). I dealt with the other 3 questions pretty adequately (I think). Do you recall any of your class/course mates saying the same (as me) and yet got through in the end? Cheers.

  12. Hi
    I stumbled upon this blog while researching on studying for the NY bar in Hong Kong. I apologise in advance if my post is unrelated, just thought I’d give it a shot to reach out for any advice.

    Im a qualified HK lawyer, working in HK and am considering taking the NY bar next Feb. Would you happen to know of anyone who has recently done the NY bar barbri course (preferably 2011) and still has their books, willing to sell? I’d be more than happy to purchase them off you.

    Thanks very much


    • I’m sorry I cannot help you directly. I definitely recommend a course, though I knew someone who passed just from studying from his wife’s materials while working! You should also double-check all the requirements — I knew that there was some requirement for foreign lawyers to have an ABA-approved LLM degree, but not sure how that works. I also understand that some folks needn’t do that. But the NY Bar is a whole other creature and from my recollection, is a LOT of material to learn and understand. I spent a LOT of time studying for that one and was not working, as I’d just graduated from law school when I took it. Good luck!!

  13. Hi
    I found this blog via google while researching on careers in relation to a law degree in Hong Kong, and it’s a great insight into life as a lawyer in Hong Kong!

    I was just wondering…I am just in my 1st year of Law school in Scotland, studying bachelors of law (LLB) and I am actually 100% chinese but born in Scotland, but my language in Cantonese is fluent and I do speak it regularly while able to actually some read and write some chinese as well.. I do want to move back to Hong Kong after university but in order to be a solicitor in Hong Kong … I do need to do my diploma then train in Scotland first, right? Or can I just go straight to Hong Kong to doing the training and diploma? Is it recommended? If I didn’t want to become a solicitor , is Hong Kong keen on employing people from overseas with a law degree? Would doing a masters in law be worth it if I wanted to get a pretty good job in Hong Kong?

    I’m so sorry for asking so many questions! I’m just pretty confused about my future as a law student….I also plan to maybe go to hong kong for my 3rd year as an exchange student! I love Hong Kong, the busy lifestyle is so much better compared to the life and working style in Scotland!



    • Hi Jessie – that sure is a lot of questions, but, as I’d advised another commenter who was not even in law school yet, you need to take things one at a time right now — you have barely even embarked on your proposed future profession yet! As you yourself hint at – you may not even ultimately become a solicitor! The thing about law education is that you can enter so many different practice areas, arenas, or even something having nothing to do with law. I’d say for the time being, go forward with your LLB in Scotland. The Commonwealth states actually practice law so much more similarly to each other than the US, which is what makes my experience very different ultimately. With a Commonwealth LLB, you can always come to HK and do your PCLL, followed by traineeship and practice just as you would in Scotland. Also, given the availability of overseas lawyers having the ability to go through the OLQE process (which I wrote about at length in this blog) to then become HK solicitors, you still have that avenue too. (BTW, my boss is from Scotland!)

      I also think your idea of studying abroad in HK is a great idea, and you may even wish to explore internships during the summers in HK (one of my colleagues, whom I first met when taking the OLQE, did a secondment during his trainee period to the HK office).

      My final recommendation is that you look into learning Mandarin and improve your reading and writing. It is not required, but it is increasingly preferred. Knowing Cantonese is helpful for office integration (getting jokes, getting along with others in a way more intimate than those gweilos who cannot speak, communicating with lower level staff), but not so much for work, except local practices reaching HKers who don’t really speak English. I will aim to write a post on this, actually, as it is something that has come up a bit in comments.

      Thanks for writing and reading – I hope this helps and indeed, you’ve inspired me to work harder in posting more frequently!

  14. Hi!

    Thanks so much for such a helpful and quick response! I guess I’m a bit anxious on the future since jobs are hard to find nowadays! Just got to hope that as time goes by the economy would slowly rise up again…. hahahaah…

    Oh i see! Will I have to go through any conversion processes if I do decide to the PCLL in Hong Kong? They can be Government funded if you are selected?

    Haha!! Is your boss from Scotland? Which part is he from? If it’s the good old Glasgow that would be funny(I’m from there too) ….I bet he doesn’t miss the very very very cold icy snowy weather….and all that rain we get!!!! Are you used to his Scottish accent? Even although I have one myself….I don’t find the way I speak particularly nice in the Scottish tone!! Haha!!!

    But anyways, thank you so much for the response! I will definitely look into doing mandarin during my time in university!

    Now, back to my studying for my last exam for this term….I will keep working hard! 🙂


    • Jessie – sorry for the late reply. From what I’ve learned, non-HK law grads have to take conversion exams and then apply for a spot in the PCLL (where there are only 3 programs in Hong Kong, and seats are not guaranteed to non-HK law grads). I don’t know about government funding. I do know that some people do their PCLL part-time over 2 years so that they can work at the same time and earn some $$.

  15. Another NY lawyer who recently moved to HK. I’d love to meet up for coffee sometime.

    • Haha Steven – that’s a first request! I like hiding behind the blog, even though I’m fairly forthright about my life at the same time. Surely we will run into each other in the tiny HK legal community soon! And of course, feel free to post any questions that you think I may be of help with!

  16. Just to report back that I passed both Heads of the OLQE that I sat for in November! (I was having a bit of a whinge on this forum back in November.) The results arrived in the post on Friday (24Feb). I am glad it is all over !

  17. Thanks! I have been trying to get my head around the Law Society’s info package regarding admissions. I have a question on the residency requirement, which you might be able to shed some light on. I am thinking of opting for the “I have resided in HK for at least 3 months immediately before my admission” route. I am based in HK (i.e. been working and living here for the last 3 years) but travelled home over the CNY period (in January). Do I satisfy the 3-month residence requirement?
    Thanks !

    • Hi Sam – I remembered using the 3-month route as being the most straightforward. As long as your passport shows those 3-months (even though they can’t look into future travel between now and the admission), you should be fine. I don’t recall being terribly concerned about travel I’d taken in between — since the exams in the Fall and the results coming out, I had travelled quite a few weeks too. I also could show a valid work visa, further supporting my residency (i.e., I was not in and out on tourist visas). Hope that helps – good luck. It’s rather tedious, and I have a few posts on the matter that may be of help.

  18. I just wanted to let you know how I have enjoyed reading your blog. I am embarking on a similar journey to Hong Kong and it was so inspirational to find someone who went down a similar path. I could definitely relate to your comment that it was time for the change. I am planning on flying in to Hong Kong in April and have had brief moments of panic about this life changing trip. Your blog has provided me with solace in knowing that through perseverance, I too can find success in this new journey in life. I would love to hear more about your experience if you are interested in exchanging emails. Thank you again.

    • Thanks Lisa! I’m so glad I can be of help, and I love fanmail! If you have a query that might help the greater public, please feel free to ask away and I’ll do my best to answer publicly. If it’s of a more private nature… I can understand. I will try to set up an e-mail button on the page in the coming future for that.

  19. Stumbled to your blog. My odessey was the other way round, from Hong Kong to New York. I grew up in Hong Kong and graduated from college there. Then, I immigrated to the U.S., went to law school here and got admitted to the bars of New York, New Jersey and DC. Since then, I have been practicing as an attorney for 15 years. Two years ago, I took and passed the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test and since last year I have been additionally a solicitor of England and Wales. I thought about getting admitted to HK and checked the Overseas Lawyers Qualification Examination, but decided that I have enough of the bar examinations for now even though I think the trend nowdays is to have bar admission to multiple jurisdications.

    The funny thing is that I interned at the HK Legal Aid Department in 1991. That was the time when the University of Hong Kong was the only school providing PCLL courses and City University, then known as City Polytechnic, was just starting its law school. I remembered the airconditioing was always in full blast at the High Courts in Admiralty and an afternoon hearing after lunch would meant sitting in seemingly subzero temperature with my sweaty shirt and suite sticking to my skin. Many jurist and learned counsels had fallen ill because of that! I hope things are different now.

  20. Hi! This blog is a great resource. I have really learned a lot – and it is quite entertaining. I have two questions:

    1. What sort of explanation you were able to use to obtain an exemption from Head IV (Accounts & Professional Conduct)? I have been a practicing corporate/commercial lawyer for the past 4.5 years and was toying with the idea of taking the QLQE next year. I’m hoping to be able to obtain the exemption for everything except for the Conveyancing Head.

    2. For filling in the application form on educational background – did the ordinary US law school curriculum on Constitutional Law suffice for the part on “Equity” and “Constitutional and Administrative Law”?


    • JP – sorry for my late reply, but stay tuned – I plan on posting answers to your questions in an entry!

  21. i am really happy i came across your blog while searching ‘ how to become a lawyer in hk’. i have some questions and hope you could help me with them 😉 i am a hong kong citizen and have always wanted to become a lawyer so i took the external LLB program offered by the university of London and have just finished my final year in May ( pending result) i also have a philosophy degree in a local university in HK ( which is irrelevant haha) anyway, as i did not do well in my LLB, i guess i would have a really slim chance to enter PCLL this year, although LLM in alternative dispute resolution from the city University of HK has admitted me. since a LLM is expensive and would not really help me get into PCLL next year, i have decided not to take this offer. ( sadly only after i hv paid a non refundable deposit!! ) i heard from a lawyer friend of mine that i still stand a chance to become a lawyer if i take the NY bar exam, come back HK to work as a foreign lawyer for some time and take the QLQE to get myself locally qualified. so my questions are as followed:

    1. i hv read the website of NY Bar exam but i am still unsure about it.it says that i hv to be admitted to practice law in a foreign country or If i am not admitted to practice law in a foreign country, submit proof of the educational requirements for admission to practice law in my country and proof from the bar admission authorities that i have fulfilled these requirements–> does it mean i must already be a qualified lawyer or hv the qualification to be admitted as a lawyer in hk?

    2. am i eligible for the NY bar exam as i am only a llb holder? must i study llm in the states?

    3. some say that its 2 years while some say its 3 years of working experience as a foreign lawyer in hk before i could start taking the QLQE , may i know which is true?
    4. i am also rather confused if i can only work as a foreign legal consultant or i can work as a foreign lawyer in hk after applying to be a FRL?
    5. would it be hard for me to obtain a job in hk if i could pass the NY bar exam successfully ? is the only job i can find available in some city/ international law firm? i am worried they may not consider me as i do not hv good llb result

    thank you so so so so much for taking the time to answer these questions. im really grateful that i can benefit from the information at your site!!!!

    hv a nice day, looking forwards to your reply =]

    a lost bella

  22. sorry but last question, must i practice in the states for some time before i can come back to hk to apply for QLQE? if so, is there any way to waive this requirement? thanks so much

    • Bella – I am such a terrible blogger for not answering you sooner, but I have begun to here. I know I may be terribly late, but I hope it helps!

  23. Pingback: You Asked – I’m Answering! Seeking a Head IV Exemption | Because It's Time

  24. I was born and raised in Hong Kong until I immigrated to California in the ’80s. My husband and I are both licensed attorney in California for 20 and 11 years, respectively. We are thinking of moving back to Hong Kong next year and would like to be qualified as barristers there. Do you know if it is difficult to get through the process at our age early 50s? I think barristers are self-employed, am I right? BTW, how do you like working as a solicitor in HK?

  25. Pingback: There’s No Such Thing as a Shortcut – You Asked I’m Answering (Part 1) | Because It's Time

  26. Pingback: There’s No Such Thing as a Shortcut – You Asked I’m Answering (Part 3 – final) | Because It's Time

  27. Hi there!

    I am a HK ID card holder (born and bred in HK) and an Australian qualified lawyer. I am on the hunt for a job in HK as I want to return home. I am 2 years PQE and would ideally start work as a registered foreign lawyer before taking my conversion exams as I want to sit them while living in HK (not by studying in Australia). Are the local firms more inclined to hire people as registered foreign lawyers or large international ones?

    Thanks and keep blogging!

    • Thanks Olivia! Being that you are fairly junior and from a relatively similar jurisdiction, I wouldn’t be deterred by the localness of a firm. Also, not knowing your practice area – generally foreign corporate lawyers have an easier time finding jobs than litigators. And because a firm is local doesn’t mean it can’t use someone with your qualifications or experience. Also – consider that an international firm loaded with registered foreign lawyers may actually be looking more for a HK qualified lawyer to be sure it’s 1:1 ratio is met. Just try any firm that suits your interests.

    • Hi Olivia,

      I am originally from HK and an Australian Lawyer (NSW) now. I am toying around to take QLQE too. I am toying around if i should do it or not.
      I just have 5 years PQE and may try to see what exemptions i can get for the exams. Which state are you in? My email is yingwa@hotmail.com.

  28. Thanks! I am in the corporate/commercial area. I am trying anything n everything to get up there so hopefully something comes up soon!

    • You’re welcome – there’s no rason to not try any of the firms! I think this post refers to some useful job search tools.

  29. Hello,
    I am from Hong Kong and am currently an undergraduate student at a US university. I am interested in pursuing law, and was wondering if you know whether it is possible for US college undergrads to intern at Hong Kong law firms in the summer (I presume this is rare, but is it still possible seeing as I haven’t studied law yet)? I am curious to know what a law career would be like, so am trying to find opportunities to go about this.

    Secondly, I would be interested in working as a lawyer in Hong Kong. Do you know if it is possible for me to apply to a UK university to study law (postgraduate program) with a US undergrad degree? Or would going to a US law school be a more efficient option?

    I would really appreciate any thoughts you might have. Thanks for your time!

    • Jeannie – I just realized I did not answer your question. I hope to do so in a post in the near future – so please stay tuned. These are good questions.

  30. Hello,

    I graduated from the University of Cambridge and came back home to Canada to article at a law firm here. As I recently got engaged and my fiance moved to Hong Kong, I would like to register as a foreign lawyer in Hong Kong. I’ve explored the HK Law Society website but am still a little unclear as to whether I absolutely need two years of post-admission experience in order to qualify for registration. As I am just finishing my training here, would I need to stay on in Canada and gain some experience before I make the move? Would it be more difficult for me to get a job with a firm in Hong Kong if I’ve only been admitted to the bar in Canada with no experience beyond that?

    I’d appreciate any and all feedback. Thanks!

    • Hi Nicole – first, big congratulations on your engagement! That is wonderful news! Second, I will look to answering your question in more detail in a post just for you – so stay tuned!

  31. Hi there! I want to let you know that I really enjoy reading your blog!

    and similar to a lot of other readers, i plan to take OLQE this year. I have 2 year PQE with NY bar. I am wondering if there is any possibility to be exempted from any of the Heads I to IV or it is absolutely impossible to be exempted without a 5 year PQE?

    BTW, there will be a new head VI constitution this year!!!

    thanks a lot in advance!


  32. Hi, I’m in my last year of a US JD program and looking to move to HK (am fluent in Putonghua). Have tons of questions, not sure where to begin, but would love to connect. I suppose, mainly, my question is how to seek out opportunities there.

    • Hi Jae – congratulations! I know I have a post about job hunting tips, and you should also take a look at my “There’s No Such Thing as a Shortcut” series. Also, you need to familiarize yourself with your options as a US qualified NQ (newly qualified). I also think there are some useful questions to ask yourself – like why you want to go to HK to practice, what practice areas you are interested in, etc. I will try to do up a post on this subject in the near future (hopefully — been travelling and a bit busy lately).

  33. Hi my name is John and i will be graduating in Nov 2013 with LLB from one of the New Zealand University – Major Law and 2nd Major Finance. I will to take college of law in Auckland so i can be admitted into High Court in Nz. However i would like to practice in HK. What are the steps
    1) Do i have to sit for exams in HK
    2) I do not have have any experience

    What about if i do my LLM?


    • Hi John – If you browse around my blog, I think I’ve written a bit about the different paths to becoming a solicitor in Hong Kong. I believe I’ve also written about registered foreign lawyers too. Also, do have a look at the Law Society of Hong Kong’s website. They have a whole page dedicated to this matter as well.

  34. Thanks for your Reply. I have read the HK Bar admission and it states as follows for Overseas lawyer: It it not clear to me and i would like to help me if i have understood this correctly.

    To be qualified for admission, an overseas lawyer must:
    (a) hold a currently valid certificate of admission as legal practitioner in his jurisdiction of admission;

    (i have to be admitted in my own Jurisdiction)
    (b) have been in practice for at least 3 years in the jurisdiction of admission;

    (this is what my concern is ; i do not have 3 years experience so what happens here it there any thing else i can do or you can suggest to me if i wana work there as a lawyer and once i gain 3 years experience than only i can practice on my own or work for mega firms. **********please advice me on this………..
    (c) be a person of good standing in the jurisdiction of admission; and
    (this is fine)
    (d) pass the Barristers Qualification Examination.
    ( do we foreign graduates with no experience have to sit for this exams)

    • John – are you looking to be a barrister? I am frankly not that familiar with that process, and am referring to the Law Society of Hong Kong – for solicitors. I believe per the Law Society’s rules, foreign lawyers with 2 years of experience may take the OLQE. Also, unless you have 2 years experience, you cannot be registered as a foreign lawyer without someone taking an undertaking for you. That is definitely in their website somewhere. But if you’re talking about being a barrister, I don’t have any personal experience or knowledge. Sorry!

  35. Hi! I’m a Chinese born South African currently a candidate attorney (equivalent to a trainee solicitor I’m assuming?) and speak fluent Mandarin and English. I’m doing research hoping to find a programme or “temporary” work for 3-6 months in an international firm in HK but not as secondment or an exchange programme. I’m hoping to do it when I’m admitted here in SA and after completing my articles. Any thoughts or heard about that? thanks!

    • Hi, I’ve never heard of such a temporary placement outside of a secondment or exchange program. Hiring is not a cheap exercise, so most firms are loathe to do so on such a short basis unless of course they have a discrete short term job. You can try looking for some, but other than that, nothing based on my limited experience. Best of luck.

  36. Pingback: Time is Flying! | Because It's Time

  37. Hi!

    I spent some time reading up on your blog after finding through Google and thought your posts are fascinating. Your background is so very similar to mine (grew up in NY, higher education in MA, lawyer in NY). Your posts about the CLC make them seem awesome (although, as I’m working, I can’t devote full semesters but I’m still thinking of checking them out for part-time study).

    In any case, just wanted to reach out and see if you’re interested in meeting up for coffee or something in Central – I love to meet new friends after moving to a new city. 🙂


    • Hi all,
      I am searching about lawyer and qualification required to be admitted in PCLL HK and found your blog. Extremely informative and found that HK legal circle is very competitive.

      I am considering the post degree qualification offered by BPP University UK which is a one-year pgm. Does anyone heard of this before and any comments?


  38. yep, am in New Zealand.

  39. I have found this blog very interesting, I just want to thank you for sharing your experience and grasps on the Hong Kongese legal system.
    I am the CEO for a law firm in Mexico looking for a partner in Hong Kong, would it be possible to contact you by email? Mine is cabrera@iltas.com.mx
    Karla Cabrera

  40. Do you have any OLQE materials/notes?

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