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Asia Round-up: Field Fisher launches in Shanghai while Global 100 leaders position themselves in Hong Kong and Dubai

Field Fisher Waterhouse has joined forces with Ryser & Associates in Shanghai while a show of strength among the Global 100 leaders in Hong Kong over the past week has seen Jones Day, Dentons and DLA Piper bolster their finance and capital markets capability.

Field Fisher announced yesterday (8 July) that it has launched in Shanghai under the brand Field Fisher Ryser. Ryser & Associates was formed in 2004 with a focus on intellectual property and corporate.It services clients from China, Japan, the US and Russia across industries such as food, electronics, automobiles and finance led by managing partner Zoe Zhan.

Commenting on the move Field Fisher’s managing partner Michael Chissick said: ‘A key aspect of the two firms coming together was the opportunity to have a credible base in China built on the IP/IT and corporate focus of both firms. We hope Field Fisher Ryser will continue to grow over the next few years and help our clients realise their ambitions and strategic plans in China whilst also enabling us to better service our growing Chinese client base.’

In Hong Kong meanwhile, Jones Day – in 10th position by revenue in this year’s Global 100 – secured a high profile local hire in the form of Michelle Taylor, former Asia managing partner and China office leader at US rival Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe. She has joined the firm’s banking and finance practice.

Taylor has 20 years’ experience of structured finance, real estate finance, debt capital markets and securitisation. Jones Day Hong Kong head Robert Thomson said: ‘Michelle’s in-depth knowledge and market leading experience in structured finance make her a great asset to our clients and significantly enhances our ability to work on the some of the most innovative financial transactions in the region.’

The hire builds on the arrival last year of banking and finance specialist Maria Tan Pedersen, who came from K&L Gates in August.

Jones Day’s Asian presence was given a significant boost in February this year when it was one of four firms to be awarded a qualifying foreign law practice (QFLP) license in Singapore.

Also in Hong Kong, Dentons has bolstered its local capital markets practice with the hire of corporate partner Gordon Ng from O’Melveny & Myers, in what may be interpreted as a vote of confidence in the local IPO market, in which Ng specialises and for which the forecast has so far been cloudy.

This month saw the $284m IPO of leading Hong Kong casino and gaming facilities owner Macau Legend Development, in which Hogan Lovells’ Hong Kong office advised the underwriters.

Meanwhile, DLA Piper brought in Mayer Brown Hong Kong banking and finance partner Benjamin Sandstad. His practice focuses on structured finance, securitisation and debt capital markets transactions. Recent clients include China International Marine Containers (Hong Kong), which he advised on the establishment of a $600 million US commercial paper program.

Charles Morrison, partner and international head of finance & projects at DLA Piper said: ‘We are pleased to welcome such a highly regarded partner to the finance & projects group in Asia, Ben’s appointment is testament to our growing F&P practice and our commitment to the region. The Asia-Pacific market offers a wealth of opportunity for our firm, and it is a real coup for us to have such an energetic and dynamic individual join us.’

Bob Charlton, partner and managing director, Asia Pacific, of DLA Piper added: ‘The Asia region is a key focus for DLA Piper and the hire of Ben is seen as an important step in the plan to strengthen the F&P team there, this will ensure that the firm takes advantage of the available opportunities in the region now and in the future.’

Elsewhere, Morgan Lewis & Bockius announced this week that it plans to open an office in Dubai, bringing in Ayman Khaleq, a structured finance and debt capital markets lawyer in the Middle East region who has a particular knowledge of Islamic finance and Jim Knight, a corporate and transactional lawyer with more than 20 years of experience in energy and other industries.

They are joined by London-based energy transactions partner Lewis Jones, who concentrates his practice on the development and financing of energy and infrastructure projects with a particular focus on emerging markets.

Other recent entrants to the Dubai market include White & Case, which announced it has been granted a licence to practice in the emirateBaker & McKenzie which merged with leading Dubai outfit Habib al Mulla this month and Addleshaw Goddard and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, which opened in the emirate last September.