To Anna Chung, landing your “dream job” is not a question of whether you are female or male but rather of how good you are. As a Singapore-based senior lawyer at global law firm Shearman & Sterling, Chung has demonstrated the ability to shine on client work throughout Asia and, increasingly, around the world.
A project finance lawyer, Chung’s practice focuses on power, LNG, oil and gas, and petrochemicals projects. She began her career at a leading Australian firm but left after a few years for Shearman & Sterling.
“To be honest, my career was not particularly planned out, but I’ve been fortunate in having opportunities come my way,” she explains. “I knew I wanted life experiences in cities beyond the city where I grew up, and with Shearman & Sterling, I’ve been able to work in our London and Shanghai offices and am currently working out of our Singapore office.”
While she works on projects throughout Asia, Chung says it has been particularly meaningful to be one of the firm’s leading lawyers serving clients in Korea. She has been doing joint pitches, coordinating marketing trips to Seoul and preparing business plans as the firm expands its client base in Korea.
“It’s meaningful for me as Korea is where I am originally from,” Chung explains. “Our global project finance practice is quite an integrated one, and from fairly early on in my career, I’ve worked with senior partners from different offices on projects involving Korean financial institutions or corporates.”
She adds, “Korea is increasingly an important market for us with Korean financial institutions and corporates so active in the international project finance scene. We have been investing in our Korean relationships for some time now and it’s rewarding that as a firm and individually, we are getting significant market recognition.”
Loving Your Job
Chung has had two professional role models during her career to date – partners Bill McCormack at Shearman & Sterling and Michael Harrison at Minter Ellison. According to Chung, they are recognised experts in their fields but the real reason is that despite “the pressures and demands that come with such busy practices and management roles,” they manage to have a great sense of humor, treat every person with respect and be dedicated to their family.
Just like her role models, Chung finds humor in difficult situations. Throughout her career as a lawyer she has learned that little details, such as the correct date of an overseas pitch, do matter.
“Sometimes errors can work in your favor,” she explains. “One of my partners at Shearman & Sterling still teases me for getting the date wrong for an overseas pitch for a $1.2bn project. We arrived at the client’s offices a week early but still managed to win the pitch.”