Gordon is the Founder of the GlobalLawyersConnect a global platform that makes navigating law career paths easier for lawyers across the world. He is a LinkedIn Legal Influencer, he was raised in Hong Kong, moved to Cambridge University to complete his postgraduate Master of Corporate Law (MCL) degree in 2017. A year after his graduation, he secured a training contract with Baker McKenzie’s London office. In the same year, he flew to New York and passed the bar exam. He has also published 2 book chapters by Springer and numerous articles in a range of peer-reviewed law journals in Europe and Asia.
Gordon talks about his international journey into law, and the long-term ambitions he has for the GlobalLawyersConnect and how this can help aspiring and current practising lawyers globally!
Rob Hanna (00:00):
Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast, powered by Kissoon Carr. I’m your host, Rob Hanna. Today, I’m delighted to be joined by the amazing Gordon Chung. Gordon is the Founder of GlobalLawyersConnect a global platform that makes navigating law career paths easier for lawyers across the world. He is a LinkedIn Legal Influencer, has passed the New York Bar and a Future Trainee Solicitor at the Global US Law Firm, Baker McKenzie based in their London office. He has also published 2 book chapters by Springer and numerous articles in a range of peer-reviewed law journals in Europe and Asia. So a very big welcome Gordon!
Gordon Chung (00:40):
Thanks for having me Rob, and I’m really excited to actually have to be on this podcast to be honest.
Rob Hanna (00:47):
Not as excited as we are to have you, but before we go through all of that and all the amazing work you’ve done so early on in your career, we do have an icebreaker question on the Legally Speaking Podcast, which you may be aware of. As I know, you’re a bit of a fan of Suits. So on the scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very real, how real would you rate the reality hit series Suits in terms of its reality on a scale of 1 to 10?
Gordon Chung (01:14):
Well, personally I would probably say a solid six or five, I think. Yeah.
Rob Hanna (01:21):
I was always wondering if you were going to go above five, cause I gave it five, but I was recently on a podcast, so yeah. Why’d you give it a five slash six? What’s your reason for that?
Gordon Chung (01:30):
Honestly, because when you look at, you know, as a TV series it’s going to be a little bit overdramatic, like compared to, you know, what it is supposed to be, but at least for some of the scenes like law firm interviews, they are doing it in particular, the hotel rooms, and I heard that from the Americans lawyers, like it holds some truth to that. And I do think that they tried to make it look more wonderful. Like I said, profession, that, you know, being a lawyer So I do think that they kind of, yeah, I do find that there are some truths, but of course there are some parts that are really dramatic and things, but also what makes it such a good show as well.
Rob Hanna (02:09):
Yeah, no, absolutely. And look there is so much that we need to go through, so let’s start at the beginning. Tell our listeners a bit about your family background and upbringing.
Gordon Chung (02:19):
Well, yeah, sure. Well basically I was born in Quandong, China. It was basically when I was like, what, like five months old, I moved to Hong Kong with my family. So basically based on my memory, I probably only remember the time when I was in Hong Kong. So I was raised there. And after that I did my LLB there as well. And basically I think for my family background, I, my parents are not really like legal professionals or even like professionals in general. My dad was actually a minibus driver back in Hong Kong. And yeah, I just remember the times, you know, they’ve worked so hard to raise me and I just feel that it’s good for me to really do something with my career to give them a certain level of comfort with their life style. And also, yeah, I feel that that probably was one of the motivations for me to work harder in general for my life or for my legal career.
Rob Hanna (03:16):
Yeah and that is truly admirable and really kind of you to say, and I’m sure your parents are exceptionally proud. But did you always want to go into the legal profession or were you considering other things?
Gordon Chung (03:24):
Look to be very honest, you know, under the current education system it is kind of difficult to say that you really want to be a lawyer right after the a levels or that public examination that you had in your country. I mean, Hong Kong is similar to that of the UK that we did a public examination. And then you were asked to choose a particular field that you’re going to commit you know, the rest of your life, which is kind of a scary concept. And for me at that time, at least based on what I studied in high school, I felt like I wasn’t specifically keen on those subjects that I studied, but I was always the kind of person who would love to learn more about different kinds of things. And I think law is kind of an interesting subject because it correlates with so many different aspects of our life, like landlord or real estate, businesses, family, criminal you know, it’s just such an, you know, the versatility of law. It’s just makes me a little bit more interested in it and I really want to pursue a career that can bring more possibilities to my life. So I would say based on that reason, I chose law as my option after I passed my A Level public examination back in Hong Kong.
Rob Hanna (04:35):
Yeah. No, that’s great. And so, in terms of, let’s talk a bit more about your roots that is more about your route to passing the New York Bar. I know that’s something you do a lot of commentary around and I’m not particular journey.
Gordon Chung (04:47):
Yeah, absolutely. Well basically for the New York bar exam, I think New York is such a good place to even like qualify or like to have your legal career in general. Just when you look at New York, one of the most profitable legal markets by a significant margin compared to other, you know, legal jurisdictions and New York really welcomes foreigners to actually take the examination and qualify there. It is one of the few States that actually allow foreigners or even law graduates from other countries who are not practitioners who could still actually sit for that examination and pass it. So when I first knew of this opportunity, it was probably back in when I was in my final year of law school or of law school, I was just intrigued by the idea that I could literally practice law or like the practitioners in New York state, even though I never have the opportunity or the financial means to study there. So I just feel like it’s an enticing concept. So that’s why right after I graduated from my master’s degree in Cambridge, I didn’t like get my training contract for the first round of applications. I just really wanted to have an opportunity to really boost my CV and also achieve this kind of a lifelong goal of like having a more international career. So I just kind of find resources online research for the right materials to use, ask my friends who did it before. So that I could start studying for three months. I remember during that period, I literally, it was like last year yeah, probably last year, like around May to July, I literally went to the British library, like almost every other day to study there because I already know, I need to dedicate all my efforts to study that it was a really short period of time those three months, but I needed to commit like, just like a full time job, you know, in order to actually do well for the bar exam and then flew to New York to take the examination. And it was an amazing experience as well, because I had never been to New York before, like afforded, you know, the examination and it was a wonderful city. I really loved it to be honest. I still, I’m still missing New York even today.
Rob Hanna (06:49):
Great stuff. And I think there’s just real admiration there because the dedication and what it took you to do that is truly fantastic. So well done. And tell us more then about some of your legal experience, some route to securing your training contract with Baker McKenzie. You did some paralegal work with A&O and others before that. So just tell us a bit more about those experiences.
Gordon Chung (07:07):
Yeah, sure. I would say actually back to my undergraduate study. I did quite a lot of different kinds of legal work experiences ranging from just internship at high street law firm, specializing in criminal, family law, to even barrister chambers where I worked with many people, even those experiences, I would say helped me a lot to actually, just to find my interest in working for Baker McKenzie or even international firms in London, because I actually had the experience of working in different sectors. It showcased that I didn’t just choose to become a commercial solicitor out of blue, I actually have the track record of experiences. I tried a bunch of different things that will help me tell an even more confusing story when it comes to putting them into writing in the application form. And afterwards, especially when I did my master’s degree in the UK, I knew that my main weakness at the time was that I didn’t have that many work experience in this country, which is a problem because law firms would love to have people who actually understand the legal system or how the things are working in this particular jurisdiction. So I try my best to attend almost, I would say 10 open days at different law firms first to actually understand different law firms, like practice area strengths and the kind of people they take in general and also their strategies, et cetera, which helped me a lot to really get into the UK legal market. Other than that, I actually, at first, I found some document review roles. I think that was probably one of the first few roles that fresh graduates could potentially secure after their graduation because firstly, those roles doesn’t really need extensive or substantial work experiences. So it’s perfect. And actually even money-wise, I would say they pay you a decent amount, not the very best amount of salary, but still it helps a lot as a fresh graduate and it also helped me think in different kinds of projects ranging from litigation to transactional work. So I do think that those experiences kind of helped me and yeah, really let me understand the UK market and also showcase to the firms that I make the efforts to actually understand the legal system,
Rob Hanna (09:12):
No great and thanks for kind of being quite open and what it kind of takes and actually highlighting some of those other experiences you had and how that’s really benefited you. And that all sounds fantastic. But as we know, getting into legal sector is tough and there is a lot of rejection along the way. So how did you handle any rejections that you may have had along your journey thus far?
Gordon Chung (09:32):
Yeah, that’s actually a good question, to be honest. I bet like even nowadays, when you’re look at those LinkedIn profiles or that those future trainees are listed there, they probably go through a lot of rejections. I remember back in Cambridge, it was considered as one of the most prestigious universities across the world. And I remember there were a few of my classmates. They even told me that like after they secure a training contract, as during their time at Cambridge should have told me, they’d probably tried for three or four years. They started applying since they were in the first year of law school. So I can imagine like even people who are considered really smart or intelligent at a university like Cambridge, they experienced way more rejections than you can anticipate. And I do think that they are amazing people, they could probably be really good lawyers, but it’s just kind of inevitable that everyone even no matter how smart you are, I think it’s just inevitable for you to experience that rejection. And I think you need to realize that it’s never personal and it’s more like a thing that you need to experience that you need to accumulate through hard work and repetition. I think that’s pretty much true for any kind of skills or things that you want to learn and what kind of skills you want to acquire in life in general. So rejection on an application is also kind of a skill that you can actually acquire through practices. So I think once I have this mindset, I understand that why I get rejected is probably because my similarity and also my experience in this field. So what can I do next? I was thinking the only like productive step for me at that moment was to actually reach out to people to learn about the process, to be even more proactive than I was because there’s, I always think that like hard work or like repetition or like diligence, there’s no limit to it. I do think that in terms of how hard you can work on something, that’s not something that you really hit your limit because I always think that you can really push your limit to a level you think that you can handle. So I do think that that mindset really kind of helps me a lot and I really needed some more motivational than movies or TV shows or even the tech talks in order to keep me motivated during that period of time. And especially I was kind of new in the UK and I didn’t have that many friends at that moment when I first moved to London after my time in Cambridge, it was pretty tough time in many senses and I do think that, keeping me motivated by, you know, hearing others’ story or even like watching those kind of like in motivational videos will kind of help me.
Rob Hanna (12:02):
Yeah. And I love that. And that just reminds me of what one of my mentors used to say to me as well as you can never be too prepared. I think you should always try and go above and beyond. And that mirrors what you’re saying there in terms of sort of what you did and what steps you took. I think in terms of, you know, the new world, we are still in lockdown at the moment, you know, hopefully that, will lift in due course. But what advice would you give to people to try and master video interviews? Cause I know you give a lot of advice generally, but is there any tips you would give to people who may be looking at more video based interviews or that becoming more commonplace?
Gordon Chung (12:36):
Yeah, sure. I think video interviews are really tough, especially the ones that are kind of recorded video interviews because most law firms, when they hire vacation schemers or applicants they tend to use the recorded video interviews. Basically it’s like just sit in front of your computer. And as there’s some recorded question and you basically have a time limits of like a minute to answer, or a minute and a half. And I think it was pretty daunting at first. I remember the first few times I did my video interview I also was really bad at it. And later on, I realized some techniques that you can use. First of all, I do think the structure and the weight, the delivery is way more important than the content is in that particular context. As you can imagine for video interviews, you may have the time limit or it is going to be conducted in a very short period of time. So, they are not going to test you or ask you to write an essay or have an analytical, fully analysed point of view, or on specific metrics. What they want to know is whether you can deliver something in a timely and even concise manner within a short period of time, you’re not panicking or, you know, so I think that’s really the key they’re looking for. So whatever you want to see, I think it’s always good to use signposts. Signposts, like summarize the thing you want to say at the beginning and then use signposts. Like I want to join this firm for three reasons. Firstly, secondly, thirdly. I think all those things kind of help you to, you know, deliver a message that you are actually really calm and you can deliver answers in a very presentable and concise way. I think that really helps. And also I do think that preparation is important. There are several kinds of interview questions you can expect. Like competency-based questions, scenario-based questions, you can definitely find lots of sample questions online even before the actual video interviews and prepare some answers to them in advance. And I think that’s also a crucial step because some of the questions seem to be repetitive because you know, most all firms you kind of can expect what kind of question may potentially come up. So I think preparation is also inevitable and really important.
Rob Hanna (14:41):
Yeah, no, and that’s really sage advice. So thanks for sharing that. And then you do so much for others in the legal sector. So I just want to get behind your why’ for that. So when and why did you decide to want to get back to the legal community? We’ll obviously talk about what you were up to now and have got up to, but what was the reason you wanted to do that?
Gordon Chung (15:03):
It’s a really complicated question in terms of, you know, because asking for motivation, because I always think that there are just so many reasons for doing something actually good to other people in general. I will say people always saying that, Oh, like Gordon, you post these videos or you, you may write a prose that inspires others or yeah, You just produce content that are helpful to others. I think you will always like focus on how others may benefit from my efforts so that I am kind or anything. But I will say that honestly, like even though for those who are actually helping people, I’m sure that themselves, actually benefit from like that act as well. For me, for example, there are like people reaching out to me asking questions or sharing their journey with me. In fact, I would say sometimes I actually learn things from them as well, based on their journey or their experience. I actually acquire some, maybe some kind of personality that really inspired me or like it really motivated me to also do something good in terms of my career as well. So people always ignore that part of how the one who gives also kind of receives in this intangible way as well. So I do think that that aspect is what I really enjoy doing. Not only because I experience the same hardship that most of the aspiring Lawyers are experiencing right now, especially those coming from a more international background. Also the fact that continuously, I think I actually learn more from the younger generation, even though I’m not very old right now, but I do think that like, even though there are 18 years old, 19 years old who have been working hard on their personal brand already on like Instagram and other social media platforms. I actually learn a lot about their passion from their platform. And also I just feel that it’s always good for even people who are considered more experienced to actually learn from the younger generation. And I do think that his is important. Yeah. Just, it’s not really, even an age thing is please just good to actually realize the concept that you are also learning something when you’re helping people.
Rob Hanna (17:00):
And do you know what I always teach people about the value of 360 mentoring because you’re absolutely right. You know, I learn so much from people beneath me, younger than me with new ideas. You know, the next generation is always far smarter, innovative than the current generation. So it’s great that you’re kind of relaying that as well because I think we can all learn. Yes, of course you can learn from people with more experience than you, but you can easily learn from lots of other people around you. So 360 mentoring and coaching is really, really important.
Gordon Chung (17:28):
You remind me of one point that I actually want to mention here is that the fact that I even started posting on LinkedIn was that I had this roommate who was 40 years old. He didn’t go to college or whatever, he was an entrepreneur. One day, he just kind of told me, Gordon, I think you have good experience. Why don’t you start posting on LinkedIn and share your own experience? So basically I started doing that just because my roommate who told me that. He wasn’t even from law school or anything. So I just want to kind of emphasize the point when I say that like learning from others is important, no matter how young he or she is even.
Rob Hanna (18:00):
Absolutely and we are definitely going to come on to talk more about LinkedIn, but I just want to talk, firstly, tell us more about your sort of YouTube works and series cause yeah. What were they all about? Cause I know you did a number of series on YouTube. Tell, tell some people who may be less familiar about that. Some of those works?
Gordon Chung (18:16):
Yeah, sure. Well honestly for you to be videos for me to be very honest, actually went outside of the training contract. I actually first came across Chrissie’s videos on YouTube first. You probably know Chrissie from yeah, from the social media as well. And I think it was really interesting to see like people from the legal professional to put out more long form content on YouTube, which is a very popular platforms for the young people, especially. So I just realized there are not too many like YouTube channels dedicating to a legal topic. So I think it’s good for someone or like for me to actually start a more legally related YouTube channel as well. So that’s why I started doing more videos and because for my LinkedIn is more like for short form content and it will disappear from time, you know, like after a few months or something. YouTube video is more long form content that can really deeply discuss a specific legal topic in depth so that it can benefit like lawyers or aspiring lawyers who want to watch some longer videos to learn about process. So I think that is more like the long form content I produce in order to help people in a more useful way.
Rob Hanna (19:28):
Yeah. No, absolutely. And it’s great that you mentioned Chrissie Wolfe there from Law and Broader. She’s been on the show before and I think it’s great that you got sort of inspiration from her and what you produced, I would encourage people to definitely check out your YouTube series cause there’s some really cracking content on there not only perspiring, but also current lawyers as well. And that again kind of leads us onto how our relationship, Gordon, has kind of developed over time because I’ve recently had the immense honour of working with you as an international advisor to your, your wonderful GlobalLawyersConnect. So for those of you new or perhaps people new to GlobalLawyersConnect, what is it and why did you decide to set that up?
Gordon Chung (20:04):
Yeah, sure. Yeah, it was really a great pleasure working, working with you on that particular project, because it’s really something I wanted to do in terms of making the legal profession more accessible at a more international level. Because it’s not uncommon for us, for example, to learn about training application like in the UK, where we actually live and are raised. We, you know, we are living, we live here and then we are raised in the UK, but it’s very difficult for foreigners even though like for people who, like UK aspiring lawyers to work in other countries, maybe New York or the U S. So this idea basically stems from my personal experience as a Hong Konger, trying to work in the UK. And I just realized there’s so many people from other parts of the world wanting to work in the UK and at the same time, so many people from the UK, they may want to work in Europe, Asia, and even the U S but there’s never a specific platform talking about how you can do it or actually sharing those experience of those lawyers who actually make it the in the legal profession and doing that. I actually remember when the time I wanted to take the New York Bar I searched so many profiles on LinkedIn. And I find out that so many people have really great journeys in terms of how they just move from one country to another country, but I couldn’t, I never could find any resources on that unless I actually search on LinkedIn. And those people also wouldn’t necessarily talk about their experience as well. It’s just how it works in the legal profession. So I think GlobalLawyersConnect is more like a platform. I want to make all those resources accessible in terms of how to break into different kinds of legal jurisdictions and how to build a career in a different country. And also how to connect people from one place with people from another place. I think it’s just a meaningful thing to do. And in the long run I really hope that I could actually collaborate with more law firms to organize specific events, open days for international people or foreign talent. You can see law firms nowadays that have many events for BAME candidates or like ethnic minorities for first year student or a postgraduate student. But there is no, like literally no law firm hosting an event for international students trying to break into the legal market while there are thousands, more than thousands, of international students coming to the UK to study every year. So I just feel like this is a gap and I think GlobalLawyersConnect is really hoping to kind of bridge that gap.
Rob Hanna (22:31):
Yeah, it’s fantastic what you are doing and all of the team at GlobalLawyersConnect and, you know, it’s still quite a new initiative and you’ve already got, you know, tens of thousands of kind of followers and people onto you and supporting you. So I do continue to wish you tons and tons of success with GlobalLawyersConnect. And I think you’re right.
Gordon Chung (22:48):
Rob Hanna (22:48):
Law firms will in time, definitely come around to collaborating and I’m excited for the future. And so we then must move on to LinkedIn because you very much are, you know, thanks to your roommate, you know, a LinkedIn influencer, legal in the legal space. So if future or current legal professionals, perhaps quite new to LinkedIn or not currently using the platform or not active, why would you say they need to be active? And what are the benefits of doing so?
Gordon Chung (23:17):
I didn’t even know that it could have such a huge impact in general, when I first started posting on LinkedIn, to be very honest. because it was usually perceived as a platform that’s used to kind of find a job or connect with recruiters, that kind of thing. But it’s interesting to see after some kinds of research. I find out that LinkedIn is like among all other social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook. So, you could actually spread your message to a wider audience on this platform, LinkedIn. If for example, even though you make a post or you make a kind of giveaway, you can reach over like a hundred thousand of people from all around the world. It’s just insane. Like for example, someone just making a post even. It’s just amazing to see how much impact you could make if you do it in a consistent basis and how many connections you can make. If you’re someone maybe like me, a first generation lawyer. And it also is very efficient to do that as well, because you don’t even need to go outside of your home. You literally can be like hosting a livestream with so many kinds of people but just sitting at home, in front of your computer. Having this is also the blessing of technology as well. And I think that’s why it’s a good thing to do. And especially if you’re a first year law student or second year law student or like a fresher, I think it’s good for you to start LinkedIn. Maybe not like sharing like, too many life experiences because you probably don’t have that many experiences yet, but I think it’s good before you even use it as a platform to connect with other law students, maybe to share tips on application, to review each other’s CVs, to get that support network that you may not have had because in the law/legal sector, I think people are usually more competitive. So it’s difficult to find a group of people maybe with like, like minded persons to actually help out each other as well. So I think LinkedIn is a good place to start with. And also about personal branding is very important as well.
Gordon Chung (25:08):
Nowadays, I would say like, people, like maybe they start reaching out to me for advice. Sometimes I was actually surprised by some qualified lawyer, even reaching out to me for some opinions on things. They may be from other countries, or they may be not so familiar with the UK legal system. I just feel like, I kind of feel some kinds of, I don’t want to say an authority, but like they think that I may have some good opinions on a specific legal matter or specific markets. So they trust me and they respect me so that they may ask me those questions, even though I’m not an experienced lawyer or anything. But I think it’s also the magic of LinkedIn as well. Because as soon as you keep helping others and are like giving like really great content, to actually benefit other people, other people will then perceive you as someone who is very resourceful and helpful. I think that’s what about in the legal sector as well, because as a lawyer, you are helping out clients, you are building that connection with people even outside of the legal field. I think that ability to connect with other people or to actually provide value to other people will make you become a more authoritative figure in your particular field. It will also help you further enhance your expertise in a particular legal area. So, LinkedIn is a good place for you to build a long-term brand. And even though in the future, you want to do something different. Maybe you’re not even going to be a lawyer or anything, you still have that audience who believe in your ability and what you’re doing because of your brand or because of your authority, to actually, your leadership in doing that. So I just feel like long-term branding is often ignored by people, or they may say people on LinkedIn keep posting, it’s kind of a waste of time or anything, but it’s actually part of the strategy all other ways for you to build your long-term audience or your long-term brand.
Rob Hanna (27:01):
And that’s definitely the way to look at it. And you put it so well there because you know, personal branding, you know, lawyers, partners, even future legal professionals need to be producing content. I strongly believe that. And it’s to add value to the marketplace. And like you say, then you can be seen as a thought leader, you’re building your tribe, you’re building your community whilst trying to help and add value to others. So would you go as far as to say you think all lawyers and people probably entering the legal profession know should be producing content?
Gordon Chung (27:28):
Well, I don’t necessarily seem still to be very honest. I think it really depends on what you want in your career life, because some people, they may be really happy and content with just having a nine to five job or having fun with friends in general. And this is definitely fine to be honest, because every person has just different agendas or different personal goals in life, because I would say many people have different meanings in their life in terms of they may want to impact other people in their career path. Will I do something, volunteering work, for a particular organization and whatsoever. So I feel like it’s, it’s more like whether you want to do it, or whether you are happy with doing that, because let’s say, if you’re not interested in doing something like that anyway, you couldn’t keep it up anyway. So you wouldn’t actually move anything good out of it anyway because you’re not enjoying doing it. If you don’t enjoy something, it’s really hard for you to actually work hard on it and make something great out of it. So I just feel like you need to kind of follow your heart and feel like whether this is something you really want to dedicate to doing. So I think that’s the key question for those. I would rather say it’s better for you not to just follow suit and just blindly doing this kind of thing just for the sake of doing it. And, you know, I think it just doesn’t make sense and it also doesn’t make you happy as well. So I do think that it really depends on your personal preference.
Rob Hanna (28:51):
Yeah, no, that’s really good advice. I think a lot of people will kind of go away and reflect on that and think, you know, what they want to do. So kind of bringing it back to you then obviously you are at the start of your legal career. Do you have an area of law you wish to qualify into eventually?
Gordon Chung (29:06):
Well, right now, I think it would be a bit early to even make a decision on that given that I haven’t really worked in that particular area, like the four seats I’m gonna work in. But I would say in general, I’m definitely interested in M&A for example. Basically, I’m interested in areas that have a really multi-jurisdictional element. I guess that’s also why I wanted to work in an international law firm in the first place as well. Probably like project finance, M&A, even arbitration. They’re really international, really leading fields in London specifically. So I would love to explore those areas.
Rob Hanna (29:42):
Yeah. And just kind of keeping on the theme of international. Then I mentioned at the start in the introduction, you’ve done a lot of writing too. So tell us again about some of the published book, chapters and articles you’ve written for law journals in Europe and Asia.
Gordon Chung (29:55):
Yeah, definitely. It was actually quite an interesting thing because I remember when I was in my undergraduate law degree, I was really interested in contract law. That’s why I wrote my dissertation on the frustration of contract. I kind of take a more international approach comparing contract law in Germany and also that in England and Wales and Hong Kong, I think that’s probably also why I already kind of knew that I was interested in international perspective of law in general, and I published that in the European Review of Private Law. And I’d definitely say that that publication actually kind of helped me get into Cambridge as well, to some extent, because it showcased my interest in corporate and commercial law. And I was doing my corporate law master’s degree at Cambridge. So I think that definitely kind of helped me with my career in this tangible way as well, in terms of publication. And also I’ve published two books chapters, they are particularly in international space law, which is an area that probably not too many people are interested in, but I found it very interesting, not only because, you know, I, in general, I’m just interested in international affairs. And also the outer space that we see is a really emerging area. Like there are many, an abundance of resources out there so that the commercialization of space requires lots of legal constraints or regulations to regulate it. So, I just feel like it is a growing area, that it will be in fact applicable in the coming next 10 years or something. With Space, Elon Musk, and also all those legal market players investing in this space sector So I just wrote articles and I’m just personally interested in this area of law, which by coincidence also intrigued the interests of the partners in my final interview with my current law firm Baker McKenzie as well. I think it was kind of like an incidental advantage, sometimes when you have a passion on a very special area that not too many people know about it. And they find you a little bit more interesting candidate rather than just another normal candidate interested in commercial law in general. So I think that also kind of helps when you have an interesting hobby or interesting passion.
Rob Hanna (32:04):
Yeah no. That’s really, really interesting, actually. I found that interesting. So thanks for sharing that. It wasn’t something that I knew too much about if I’m being completely honest! So as we sort of draw to a close, tell us a bit more about your pro bono work with Baker McKenzie, as I believe you were working on the Legal Atlas for the street youth. So tell us more about that and what it aims to achieve.
Gordon Chung (32:24):
Oh yeah. Well I’m actually surprised that you know Rob. You really did the research!
Rob Hanna (32:24):
Yeah, we don’t cut corners on the Legally Speaking Podcast, you know that Gordon, we can’t let you down and we have to get every piece of information!
Gordon Chung (32:35):
To be very honest, I needed that pro bono experience. Firstly, I’ll just be completely honest. I also need to satisfy the pro bono requirements for my New York admission, because usually in Asia, we rarely have the opportunity to do pro bono work. Even though I wanted to, I never had this opportunity. They didn’t really have legal clinic at that time, so I couldn’t really do any. So I remember I also need to qualify in New York with pro bono, 50 hours of pro bono work, at least. And I actually approached my firm for that opportunity. And I was fortunate enough that they actually referred me to the pro bono associate at my firm, and I worked for him for three to four months. At least it is actually way more over 50 hours anyway, but I actually really enjoyed doing that as well. Because with pro bono work sometimes it’s like, you’re actually doing something that is really benefiting the community at large. Basically it is a program that I needed to kind of research on the different areas of law, governing, maybe street children about their lives or the kind of treatment they have when it comes to criminal scenarios. So that I need to conduct legal research on this kind of different jurisdictions and countries, especially those countries that are like underdeveloped, not like big cities, London, maybe some countries in Africa, like some more like less developed countries there. So I think it was amazing also to see, like there actually are lots of countries that don’t have that many legal rights guaranteed for those children, especially because the legal system is not that well-developed, I would say to cover their rights. So they really need intervention from international organization or global law firms, all the work on projects, to help them bargain for reform for the legal system say or more wealth structure mechanism to actually help them navigate their rights or advise them of their legal rights at an international level. So I think that project basically, it was a really meaningful way for me to actually come across a more human rights related subjects. And I think it’s a really good area for you guys to explore as well, because as a trainees solicitor, I think it’s also important for you to get involved in some pro bono work. Not only the fact that you can actually do something even more meaningful at a more global scale, but also the fact that you may have that more like a personal interaction with the clients, or you can be more in charge of the whole project rather than a normal transaction, whether you may be under the submission of other attorneys. I think it is also a good experience for you to grow as a lawyer, it is not only about helping people, but also about your personal growth as well. So it’s really great to yeah have that experience.
Rob Hanna (35:12):
Thank you so much for sharing that. It sounds like a wonderful thing that you did. So I think Gordon, from all sides, it’s very clear and everyone who follows you, you’re a very busy person, but what do you try to do for some, for some downtime or what are some of your personal hobbies and interests?
Gordon Chung (35:26):
Yeah, sure. Actually to be very honest, but if it wasn’t because of the like current situation a lot of going to hike, hiking for example. I love the nature actually to be honest, I remember that before the lockdown, I went to like Norway for hiking, even back in Hong Kong, I always went hiking with my friends. Sports is an important part of my life as well. And I love going to the gym actually. During lockdown, I could only do that at home with my dumbbells, having exercise is something I really care about and also about eating a healthy diet. That kind of thing is also something I try to keep it up as well. And other than that definitely napping is something that everyone is doing in general. And other than that, I think just hanging out with friends. I actually love hanging out with friends who are from a different background, honestly, but I love hanging out with friends who are from Asia as well, but just friends from different backgrounds. I can always introduce something new to them, like in terms of my culture. And they also introduce something new to me in terms of their culture as well. I just love that interaction with someone from a completely different background. I remember even a few days ago when I took this Uber to you know somewhere in central, I literally talked to that Uber driver for 30 minutes nonstop about Asian cultures and about because he has all kinds of interest in that. And I just keep explaining and we just, it’s just amazing to actually just hang out with people who are from a different background. I think that’s probably my interest.
Rob Hanna (36:47):
Yeah. And I think that’s just amazing Gordon. So I think from our side, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the Legally Speaking Podcast. I’d like to wish you and all involved with GlobalLawyersConnect the very best of luck. If people want to get in touch, they come see, find you on LinkedIn, all of the social medias, Instagram’s, et cetera, should definitely encourage everyone to follow GlobalLawyersConnect as well. But from all of us Gordon, thanks a million. I’m wishing you lots of continued success for the future in your future legal career ahead.
Gordon Chung (37:18):
Yeah. No worries. Thank you so much Rob. I was really excited to be here to be honest, then I’m really glad that I joined this program and actually has a platform to share my experience with your audience. So I also wish you all the best with the Legally Speaking Podcast and I’m sure there will be a lot more collaboration between us in the future as well. So thank you so much.
Rob Hanna (37:36):
Absolutely. Watch this space listeners! Over and out.