My international secondment: Hong Kong

by Krystal Lee, trainee solicitor

Cityscape Hong Kong

Fun, friends and firm future career prospects – Krystal Lee tells us all about her secondment to Hong Kong and how the discovery of different cultures and practices has impacted her work.

Why did you choose to apply to Stephenson Harwood?

I applied to Stephenson Harwood primarily because of its focus on Asia, which I felt was evidenced by the firm's strategic presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Why did you want to join an international law firm?

I enjoy the pace of work in private practice as well as the challenge of working in a team to strategise and deal with a client's problems. Having lived in various cities around the world in the course of my education and loving that experience, I relished the idea of continuing to discover different cultures during the course of my career.

What made you want to apply for an international secondment?

I applied for an international secondment because it's a fantastic way to experience the collaboration and synergies of the different offices communicating and assisting each other in supporting clients, managing cases/deals and business development initiatives.

What did you choose to apply for the secondment in particular? What made this location stand out?

I chose Hong Kong because of its importance to Stephenson Harwood as the second largest office of the firm, which also means that it has the capacity to offer a full array of services to clients. Given my background as a Mandarin Chinese speaker it was the perfect opportunity for me to gain work experience in my second language.

How has the secondment contributed to your career development and future career progression?

The secondment has given me real insight to the legal market in Asia. I believe this will be beneficial going forward as my responsibilities with client care increase, in terms of my understanding of the profile of clients in Asia, their preferences, working practices and needs.

What did you learn from the secondment that you'll be able to apply in the future?

I've learnt the importance of taking the initiative even if it means stepping outside of my comfort zone!

Why would you recommend others to apply for international secondment?

I would highly recommend an international secondment to any location because I think adaptability to a new environment is an important skill to develop at the start of your career. There are numerous unexpected benefits to being outside your comfort zone – from new friends to new perspectives about work, life and cultures – and also, it's a lot of fun!