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Asia focus: Gordon Dadds breaks international duck in Hong Kong while HFW adds Korea expertise

Ambitious listed law firm Gordon Dadds has launched its first overseas office in Hong Kong, as HFW bolsters its Korean capability with a London hire.

Gordon Dadds has been in acquisitive form since listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) last August, and has now turned its mind to international expansion after gaining approval to practise English law in Hong Kong.

The new Asian outpost will be led by Alan Ma, a real estate lawyer who joins from his own practice, Maxwell Alves Solicitors. Gordon Dadds’ London-based managing partner Adrian Biles will also spend time in the new six-lawyer office, which will initially specialise in property and corporate law.

Biles told Legal Business the Hong Kong market suited the firm’s strengths in capital markets, and commented on Ma: ‘He’s an extremely well-qualified lawyer and he has a lot of local contacts. He’s very well-liked in Hong Kong and an all-round nice guy.’

Biles said the firm was also eyeing Bermuda for its next international hub, citing the strength of the region’s insurance market.  The Hong Kong opening is a continuation of an expansion strategy that has seen the firm acquire five businesses in the 2017/18 financial year. Among those were tax advisory business, CW Energy, for £4m, and south London law firm, Alen-Buckley.

Gordon Dadds’ top line grew 25% to £31.2m in the year to 31 March, its first financial results since listing. Profits before tax were up 23% to £3m, while operating profits, which include partner profit shares, were up 19% to £8.8m.

Elsewhere, HFW added to Ince & Co’s recent fee-earner exodus by hiring its construction partner Kijong Nam.

Nam, who had been a partner at Ince since 2011, becomes the eighth construction partner to move to HFW in the last 18 months, following hires in Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne Perth and Sydney.

While Nam will be based in London, he is a native Korean speaker who will work with HFW’s Korean clients, including contractors, energy companies and project sponsors. His practice is focused on the offshore construction and shipping industries.

Nam commented: ‘My clients will be pleased to know that they can now benefit from HFW’s extensive international network and first-class multi-disciplinary team.’