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Asia wrap: MoFo hires Magic Circle trio and Nabarro takes key Gadens partner, as BLP makes office move to support growth in Hong Kong

This week in Asia, Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) added a trio of partners from three Magic Circle firms, as Nabarro has also strengthened its transactional practice in Singapore with the hire of former Gadens managing partner Marc Rathbone. Meanwhile, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) will move its premises in Hong Kong out of the Central District to Taikoo Place to allow for further growth.

In Hong Kong, Chuan Sun and Vivian Yiu have joined MoFo from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Allen & Overy respectively, while in Singapore, Yemi Tépé has joined the firm from Clifford Chance.

MoFo managing partner Eric Piesner said the hires illustrate the firm’s continued investment in Asia following the recent arrivals of partners Jason Nelms in Hong Kong and Joshua Isenberg in Tokyo. Sun joins MoFo’s technology transactions group, while Yiu brings significant experience in Hong Kong capital markets and Chinese-focused M&A matters to the firm’s corporate department. Tépé, who advised leading banks and financial institutions, major corporates and private equity sponsors, joins the firm’s financial transactions group.

In addition, Nabarro has also hired in Asia, strengthening its transactional practice in Singapore with the addition of Rathbone who specialises in infrastructure, construction and energy projects. Rathbone joins the firm from Gadens, where he founded the firm’s Singapore office in 2013 and was previously its managing partner.

Finally, BLP will relocate its premises in Hong Kong after signing a six year lease for 15,000 sq ft in Taikoo Place. The firm currently leases 9,500 sq ft in Central District, housing 40 staff, and said the new office can accommodate approximately 100 people and will enable further growth of the firm’s team.

BLP head of Asia Bob Charlton said: ‘Our move into the built environment centre of Hong Kong is an exciting development in the legal services market. A move to modern open plan working, already enjoyed by many of our colleagues in our London office, and by our investment in IT improvements, and smarter co-location of our teams, will also result in better communication and collaboration for our multidisciplinary teams on more complex matters for our high quality clients.’