Life at Allens

Seizing opportunities abroad: Will Chen's Hong Kong secondment

When the opportunity arose to work overseas on secondment to Linklaters, Associate Will Chen couldn't resist an adventure that would take him from the familiar streets of Melbourne to the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong. We caught up with Will to hear about how he's getting on.

Asked about the type of work he's been involved in, Will shared insights into the varied and impactful projects he's been part of.

'I'm currently working in Energy and Infrastructure. We are a regional team, so I work with partners and teams across all Linklaters offices in Asia on various exciting energy and infrastructure project financing transactions. These have ranged from multiple global solar projects, waste-to-energy plants, hybrid power projects, aluminium manufacturing plants and many (many) Taiwan offshore wind projects! As a mid-level associate, a typical day involves drafting, reviewing and negotiating various project financing documentation, calls with clients and counterparties, providing advice (including on positions, rights, obligations and processes), instructing junior lawyers and reporting to seniors.'

As Will settled into his new life in Hong Kong, he encountered a world of new learnings and lessons.

'Working in developing markets and with clients with different backgrounds and cultures where English isn't the first language, I've found that the ability to adapt (with a strong sense of empathy) goes a very long way. In addition, I realised my skills developed back home transition well overseas, especially in a cross-border practice area. My work so far has almost exclusively been with English-speaking clients, so I have yet to use my Mandarin. I've learnt it's important to keep an open mind and not to underestimate yourself! Be open to opportunities and change.'

Beyond the office, Will says he's been able to experience new things and travel around Asia.

‘I’ve had too many new experiences to list here! Apart from being in one of the most convenient, safest, and most energetic cities in the world, the proximity to neighbouring Asian destinations (...and favourable exchange rates) takes weekend getaway options to another level. From laying on a beach in Thailand, golfing in Vietnam, KPop concerts in Seoul, music festivals (and eating all the food!) in Taipei, high-speed train rides to Shenzhen and all over mainland China, skiing in Japan and ferries to Macau – you’re spoilt for choice here with so many countries and cities just a few hours away.'

Will's insights aren't limited to his professional life; they also extend to his personal experiences. He shared valuable advice for those considering a similar opportunity.

'It may be obvious, but it isn't just a new job, workplace and colleagues - you'll be living in a new place away from your family and what you’re used to, so making new friends and working with new types of clients will be part of your day-to-day. There is certainly something exciting about being in the financial centre of Asia, where a large part of the growth in the world is happening (especially in energy and infrastructure). What makes you stand out as a lawyer is not what you say but how it's said and delivered. This experience has put me completely out of my comfort zone and taught me a lot about myself.'

As Will reflected on his overall experience so far, he described his journey in three words.

'I love HK! I have learnt (and am learning) so much, both personally and professionally – it certainly has been the best decision for me.'

Will's secondment has allowed him to embrace a new culture, forge lasting friendships and explore the dynamic city of Hong Kong and Asia, all while developing and growing as a lawyer.

Through our alliance with Linklaters, Allens lawyers can accelerate their careers with secondment opportunities in 41 offices in 26 countries. Find out more about our global network.

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