Welcome the The Glass Hammer’s “Spotlight on Asia” week! We will be highlighting successful women working in Asia all week long!
At just 37 years old, Paloma Wang’s rapid ascension to the partnership at global law firm Shearman & Sterling, where she specializes in initial public offerings (IPOs) and other corporate finance transactions in the firm’s Hong Kong office, is a tale worth telling. Her career achievements are a testament to the value of establishing a long-term vision and having the drive to make it a reality.
“You need to determine your own path and carve out your own unique identity,” Wang advises when reflecting on her career to date. “Don’t let anyone else dictate who you are as a professional or as a person.”
She adds, “By establishing your own priorities and doing the things that truly make you happy, you will drive your career path in the right direction. Don’t make concessions because you are junior or because you are a woman. Plant your feet firmly and set your sights on achieving everything you want.”
Career in Law
Born and raised in China, Wang graduated from a top law school and afterwards was offered a three-year, fully-funded scholarship to study law at Oxford. Wang received her training at a UK law firm in Hong Kong and in December 2005 she became qualified to practice law in Hong Kong.
Traditionally, the legal market in Hong Kong has been dominated by UK firms, but over the last five years, Wang explained, more and more US-based law firms are opening Hong Kong practices. Wang joined the team at Shearman & Sterling when the firm launched its Hong Kong law practice in January 2010. Currently, her practice focuses primarily on capital markets, representing both issuers and underwriters in IPOs. She also advises investors and corporates on private equity investments and listed issuers on compliance, general corporate and regulatory matters.
Although the majority of her practice is focused on Hong Kong, Wang noted that there is definitely an increase in large deals that require a lot of cross-border work and coordination with institutions in foreign jurisdictions, particularly the United States. “The integration of US law and Hong Kong law has been hugely successful at the firm’s Hong Kong office since many of the IPOs on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange have a US component as well,” she explains.
Changing Regulatory Landscape
According to Wang, the regulatory landscape in Hong Kong is very different from that of the US, but one of the most exciting aspects of her job recently has been witnessing the transformation of the Hong Kong regulatory regime.