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Asia round-up: Hogan Lovells turns to A&O for first partner based in Vietnam, while Bakers appoints new MP

Hogan Lovells has put its first partner on the ground in Vietnam, recruiting Allen & Overy’s (A&O) senior associate Jeff Olson as a partner to its corporate practice. Meanwhile, Baker & McKenzie elected partner Milton Cheng to serve as managing partner for its Hong Kong, China, Korea and Vietnam offices where he succeeds Paul Tan who held the position since October 2012.

Hogan Lovells hire of Olson is indicative of recent strategic expansion made by the firm in the Asia region, including the hire of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer TMT partner Mark Parsons in January this year and Kirkland & Ellis private equity partner Steven Tran last month, of which both moved to its Hong Kong office. US-qualified Olson joined from A&O’s Vietnam office and has moved to Hogan Lovells Ho Chi Minh City office.

Global head of Hogan Lovells’ corporate practice, David Gibbons, said: ‘Vietnam is a key market for our international clients and a gateway to ASEAN international trade. Jeff’s presence on the ground in Vietnam will complement our offering, along with the recent arrivals of Steven Tran and Mark Parsons in Hong Kong’.

Baker & McKenzie also made appointments in the region, electing longstanding partner Milton Cheng to succeed Paul Tan as managing partner for its Hong Kong, China, Korea and Vietnam offices. Having joined the firm’s London office in 1990 as a trainee, dual-qualified Cheng relocated to join the Hong Kong office in 1993 as an associate and became an equity partner in 2004. Previous management roles undertaken by Cheng includes serving as co-head of the corporate group and head of the firm’s Asia-Pacific mergers and acquisitions group.

Ashurst has also expanded in the region adding to its Hong Kong roster with the hire of Slaughter and May lawyer Ben Hammond, who specialises in non-contentious regulatory work.

The firm has made concerted efforts in recent months to improve its Asia offering, and finance practices in particular, and in May hired White & Case finance partner Kate Allchurch in Singapore, and relocated London-based finance partner Chris Tang and Sydney-based Doos Choi to Hong Kong.

Jonny Gordon, co-head of the global financial regulation practice and based in Sydney, said: ‘Hong Kong is a key financial centre for our clients in the Asia-Pacific region, and the addition of Ben in the non-contentious space complements our already strong contentious offering in the Hong Kong market and in the region generally’.