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Asia round-up: Bingham makes funds push in Tokyo while Eversheds launches in Beijing

The lateral hire market has been particularly active in Asia this week, with some of the most established international players in the region losing experienced partners.

The most notable move came in Japan, where US firm Bingham McCutchen has added seven White & Case lawyers to its investment funds team in Tokyo.

The group is led by partners Christopher Wells and Tomoko Fuminaga. Wells was the head of White & Case’s Japanese investment funds and regulatory team and has 30 years’ experience of practising in Japan at Baker & McKenzie, Coudert and leading domestic firm Anderson Mori & Tomotsune.

Fuminaga, meanwhile, is a highly experienced bengoshi in White & Case’s banking and finance practice, which is top rated in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific.

‘The arrival of Chris and Tomoko further enables us to provide the best on-the-ground capabilities in Tokyo for domestic and international institutional investors, as the Japanese market has seen recent progress under the new Japanese administration,’ said Hideyuki Sakai, Tokyo managing partner at Bingham.

Norton Rose has also lost a funds partner, Daniel Yong, to domestic Singaporean firm Stamford Law this week. While at Norton Rose, Yong was a corporate partner and went on to lead the office’s investment funds practice.

Yong also practised at Duane Morris, Lovells and Jones Day. Recent experience includes establishing a $1bn private equity fund investing in PRC real estate assets and a $150m clean energy fund.

‘He enhances our capabilities in advising funds clients across the region, is highly experienced and understands the many complex issues that funds and private equity clients face when investing in Asia,’ said Lee Suet-Fern, senior director of Stamford Law.

Elsewhere in Singapore, UK firm Ince & Co has bolstered its energy team with the hire of Martin David from DLA Piper. He joins the firm as head of energy for Asia, having previously led DLA’s Asia finance and projects group. After originally training as an engineer, Martin also worked at Linklaters and left for DLA in 2008 to become managing partner of its Singapore office.

‘Martin’s considerable knowledge of international finance and projects experience will contribute significantly to the firm’s continued growth and success in Asia and more widely,’ said Jeremy Farr, global head of Ince & Co’s energy practice.

However, the most interesting move comes from China, where US firm Morgan Lewis has lost its Beijing co-head Ingrid Zhu-Clark, who has moved to Eversheds, where she will become managing partner of its Beijing office. Zhu-Clark becomes the first to leave of the crop of 20 partners that joined Morgan Lewis from Dewey & LeBoeuf less than a year ago, where she was managing partner of its Beijing office. Before joining legacy firm LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae, she was at Lovells’ Beijing office.

The arrival of Zhu-Clark heralds the launch of Eversheds’ Beijing office, which opens on 20 May after the firm obtained a licence to practise at the end of last year. It will be run by Zhu-Clark along with corporate lawyer Jay Ze.

In terms of new office openings in the region, the biggest splash was made by highly profitable disputes boutique Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which announced a Hong Kong arbitration practice this week, shortly after unveiling a new office in Sydney. For more on this story, click here.