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Asia Round-up: Linklaters and Sidley Austin hire in Hong Kong and Singapore while DLA suffers another Singapore exit

Magic circle lateral hires still happen comparatively infrequently but if they do happen, these days it’s quite often in Asia. The past week has seen Linklaters appoint David Kidd of his own eponymous firm as a partner to lead its pan-Asian restructuring and insolvency practice. He will join the firm in October and be based in Hong Kong. Linklaters has been involved in high profile insolvencies such as MF Global and Lehman Brothers and Stuart Salt, Linklaters regional managing partner for Asia, said: ‘David is one of the leading R&I lawyers in the region and we are excited about further developing this side of our business with him.’

In Singapore Sidley Austin continues its drive to forge a substantial funds practice as former colleagues of Han Ming Ho, co-head of the firm’s Asia investment funds practice, come across to the US firm from Clifford Chance. Ho is joined by Josephine Law, who will serve as counsel, senior associate, Joel Seow and associate Reina Chua, significantly boosting the firms fund capabilities.

‘Han Ming and his team are joining Sidley at an exciting time, as the interplay between the Singapore and Hong Kong markets continues to shape the funds industry in this region,’ said Thomas Albrecht, managing partner for Asia Pacific.

Elsewhere Duane Morris & Selvam has also expanded its Asian operations by opening an office in Myanmar, following Singapore heavyweight Rajah & Tann, which opened there in March. The firm will serve clients on a range of business and investment matters including tax, regulatory issues, reporting requirements and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as well as UK Bribery Act issues. This marks the first launch in the country by a US law firm, albeit through its tie up with Singapore’s Selvam in 2010.

‘Myanmar presents significant opportunities for foreign businesses, and our new presence there will allow us to provide on the ground, high quality counsel to foreign and domestic businesses seeking to seize those opportunities while minimizing the inherent risks,’ said Duane Morris chairman and chief executive, John Soroko.

The office will be run by Duane Morris’ current managing director in Singapore, Krishna Ramachandra. Benjamin Kheng, an associate director of Duane Morris in Singapore, will be a partner in Myanmar. In total the office will have ten fee earners.

‘Our team has built a strong relationship with Myanmar and its government, as a result of working closely with the Attorney General’s office for many years. This is a natural next step for us,’ said Ramachandra.

However, DLA Piper’s Asia fall out continues, as Will Harrison, head of the firm’s insurance practice in Hong Kong, moves into legal consulting. Having joined from Clifford Chance as a senior associate in 2007, he built a strong practice focusing on financial lines and speciality insurance, including directors and officers liability, professional indemnity and acting as defence counsel for insurers and insured. One of the most high profile cases he worked on was the collapse of Barings Bank and the resulting audit negligence litigation in London.

DLA has suffered a number of senior partner departures in the region, including Matthew Glynn, former managing partner of the firm’s Singapore office and head of its Asia intellectual property and technology group, who gave in his notice earlier this month. This followed on from the departure of another former Singapore managing partner, Martin David, who left for Ince & Co just a few months previously, and Justin Jagger, former co-chair of the firm’s global arbitration group and leader of its South East Asia disputes, who left for local Singapore firm Stamford Law last August.