Legal Business Blogs

Asia round-up: DLA loses former Singapore head..again.. as Hill Dicks launches in Hong Kong

With all eyes trained on Asia the office fall outs and launches have been throw into far sharper relief. Losing one former office head could be said to be an accident but DLA Piper’s loss in Singapore of its second former managing partner (MP), Matthew Glynn, is starting to look like trouble, after ex MP Martin David left in May to join Ince & Co. The departure also follows the resignation last August of disputes partner Justyn Jagger for local firm Stamford law.

Glynn, who led the Singapore office for a relatively short period between June 2011 and February this year, was also head of the firm’s Asia intellectual property and technology group.

Incumbent Singapore managing partner John Goulios, who took over from Glynn in February, said: ‘I can confirm the departure of Matt Glynn from our Singapore office – we wish Matt all the best in his new endeavours. DLA Piper is committed to the strategic growth of our Singapore office and with the onset of the economic community in ASEAN in 2015, Singapore and Southeast Asia are of crucial importance to our firm.’

It is the wrong time to be in a weakened position in Singapore, as the Southeast Asian Republic continues to attract the global legal elite. Simmons & Simmons in May opened an office in a year that has also seen Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer reverse its decision five years ago to shut shop in the jurisdiction. Its Singapore offering includes corporate heavyweight Stephen Revell, who heads the firm’s global capital markets practice and Gavin MacLaren, a lateral hire from Allens Arthur Robinson where he led the Australian firm’s Southeast Asian practice from Singapore for many years.

Elsewhere, Hill Dickinson, already a presence in Singapore, has formally announced that it is to launch in Hong Kong in October. Speaking to Legal Business recently, Jackson said he had no intention of challenging the Magic Circle and will enter the market on a marine platform that seems to have worked well for the firm thus far.

The firm will be launching in Hong Kong in association with a local firm after it received regulatory approval from the Law Society of Hong Kong. Due to a confidentiality agreement the local firm cannot be named until the association is finalised. Hill Dickinson will be relocating a partner from the UK to lead the new venture and head a team of four.

Peter Jackson said: ‘Working with the partners at Hill Dickinson we are making a series of strategic decisions to strengthen the firm’s position both nationally and globally. We submitted an application to the Law Society in Hong Kong in May after identifying a gap in the local market. Our Singapore office has performed extremely well and we believe we can replicate this success in Hong Kong.’

Meanwhile, Vinson & Elkins continues to deal with the fallout of its decision to shut its Shanghai office. China co-head David Blumental is relocating to the firm’s Hong Kong office, while his opposite number, Jay Kolb, will now be based in Beijing.

Earlier this month Vinson & Elkins Shanghai energy specialist Tju Liang Chua left the firm to join US rival Sidley Austin in Singapore.