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Meet Our Talent

Matthew Leung


“You get to work with a diverse group of work colleagues from around the world where the atmosphere is collegial and support is always available when you need it. It truly is a teamwork orientated environment.”

What was the most difficult aspect of adjusting to work in Japan?

The most difficult aspect of adjusting to life in Japan was the language barrier that can complicate settling into your new accommodation provided by the firm. Making purchases of essential items becomes a mixture of logical guessing from the cover pictures or being lucky enough to find English written on the goods. Nonetheless, there can still be rather humorous mistakes. For example, on my first night arriving in Osaka, my first priority was to purchase a futon set to sleep on. Unfortunately, instead of purchasing a futon set, I misread what was written on the box at the Department store and bought a rather expensive (but admittedly very nice) duvet.

How was Japan in reality to what you had imagined before you arrived?

I already had the great fortune of visiting Japan many times before working at the firm, as well as being influenced by Japanese culture as a result of partly growing up in Hong Kong. Therefore, I already knew that Japan was a country with a fascinating juxtaposition of being at the forefront of technology whilst being heavily steeped in cultural tradition. Nonetheless, you only feel and appreciate this fact by living here as opposed to just knowing about it.

What has been your fondest experience in Japan?

Skiing in Japan is by far and away the best experience so far. The ski runs with wonderful powder snow in Hakuba and Niseko are matched by the amazing views you have when skiing down the mountains or through the forests. Night skiing in Niseko adds a further element of exhilaration to the experience too! Then at the end of the day after such a tiring day, it is capped off by a relaxing time at the onsen.

I am looking forward to experience ...

Mount Fuji! Before I leave Japan, I look forward to hiking up Mount Fuji in the summer.

What did you like most about working?

You get to work with a diverse group of work colleagues from around the world where the atmosphere is collegial and support is always available when you need it. There are always opportunities to improve and always new tasks and projects. This is definitely never a dull place to be, and I'm glad that I can help protecting brands and innovation. We have a really good team spirit and it is easy to get along and get help from my seniors and colleagues. It truly is a teamwork orientated environment.

What sort of work are you getting and is it challenging?

I work in the trademarks section of the firm. The work is always challenging and never boring because our team handles all facets related to trademarks. Working in a full service firm means we handle all trademark prosecution (e.g. searches, new applications, prosecution, and post-grant oppositions/invalidations/cancellations) and litigation (e.g. trademark infringement, and counterfeit goods). Accordingly, the experience is highly enriching and hugely rewarding when you resolve each matter.

What is the most important thing that working at SY has taught you about yourself?

Working at one of Japan's top intellectual property law firms is not simply about applying the law to the facts. It requires in-depth understanding of the nature of your clients and how you manage the relationship with your clients when handling matters on their behalf. It is imperative to be flexible and responsive to the issues they present to you whilst finding the best solution to meet their needs.

What advice would you give to entry level recruits?

It is very important to be able to time manage your tasks appropriately. It goes without saying that the working hours are going to be long when working in Japan, particularly when serving the highly respected clients of the firm. Management are not afraid to give you work from the outset, and as your skills and experience increases, the responsibilities increase as well. Therefore, it is critical to be able to time manage your responsibilities and to not be afraid of asking for guidance when you need it. You really cannot afford to waste time not knowing what to do as it will affect your other duties.

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