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Charles Russell hires Hong Kong duo to enter Asia’s burgeoning high net market

Charles Russell Speechlys (CRS) has opened its first Asian office in Hong Kong, with the hire of two lateral partners to form a new team, days ahead of a new Dubai office launch.

The office, due to open on 10 July, precedes by four days the firm’s Dubai office opening. The new Middle East office is based on the hire of disputes partners Ghassan El Daye from King & Wood Mallesons and Jonathan Brown from UAE law firm Hadef & Partners. The Dubai office gives CRS its third office in the Middle East, alongside existing bases in Bahrain and Qatar.

Former Mayer Brown JSM partner Jonathan Mok joins the firm to head up CRS Hong Kong, alongside partner Richard Grasby, who joins from Cayman Islands-headquartered Maples and Calder. There he was Asia head of trusts and private wealth.

Mok, who is admitted to practice in England & Wales, Hong Kong, and Australia, covers all areas of family disputes and focuses on high-profile matrimonial, asset-tracing and criminal litigation.

Grasby was formerly at Maples in both its Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands offices. He advises institutional trustees and private individuals on all areas of trust law and related private client issues.

London-based financial service regulation and funds partner Ashley King Christopher will relocate to Hong Kong to join the new partners and add strength to the new office.

CRS managing partner James Carter (pictured) said the move into Hong Kong fits with the firm’s international expansion strategy.

He added the firm will gain ‘direct access to clients and intermediaries in five of the world’s top ten private wealth centres’ with the new office opening.

This will further extend the firm’s ‘ability to support the world’s leading creators and owners of private wealth, their families and enterprises across the full spectrum of business and personal needs.’

The new office now brings CRS’s office headcount to 12 with hubs across the UK, Europe and the Middle East. CRS currently has 167 partners and 443 lawyers working across charities, construction and infrastructure, energy, financial services, healthcare, private wealth, real estate, retail and leisure, sport and technology, media and communications.

Managing partner James Carter and senior partner Christopher Page were this year re-elected to the CRS management team for another three years. Carter and Page began their second three-year term in May after the pair ran unopposed in the firm’s elections.