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Hogan Lovells makes Asia arbitration play with BLP hire

Hogan Lovells continues to make a play for greater market share in Asia with the hire of Berwin Leighton Paisner‘s (BLP) head of international arbitration, Kent Phillips, to its Singapore office.

The latest in a spate of hires made in Asia by the firm, Phillips will join its litigation and arbitration practice to bolster Hogan Lovell’s offering in the energy sector and Southeast Asia.

Senior disputes lawyer Phillips joined BLP in 2011 from Addleshaw Goddard and shared the global leadership role with Richard Power before the latter moved to Clyde & Co in 2014. He previously acted on the high profile Berezovsky litigation in the English courts and is experienced as counsel and as arbitrator, particularly in the energy sector (including projects and construction) and also in financial services.

BLP London-based partner Jonathan Sacher replaces Phillips as head of international arbitration.

Hogan Lovells has made concerted efforts to boost revenues in the Asia-Pacific region through lateral recruitment. Most recently it expanded its Australia operations with four new partners; Scott Harris from DLA Piper, Richard Hayes from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM), and Gilbert & Tobin duo Andrew Crook and Ros O’Malley.

Hogan Lovells litigation and arbitration head Michael Davison said: ‘Recruiting Kent is a key step in enhancing our international arbitration capability in this important market. Singapore has grown substantively as an arbitration hub for ASEAN making a compelling arbitration offering in Singapore critical for most multinationals. Kent also has specialist knowledge in Indonesia and India which are two important markets to our strategic plans.’

The firm’s disputes head for Southeast Asia, Maurice Burke, added: ‘The team here in Singapore is genuinely excited about Kent joining. I think he is going to be a great fit, and I have no doubt with him on board he will take the arbitration practice to the next level.’

BLP has also made a key Asia hire in Hong Kong with the recruit of private client partner Marcus Dearle from Withers, where he previously helped establish the latter’s family law practice and played a role developing its Hong Kong and Singapore offices where he served as office managing director.

It is no surprise that firms are looking to grab greater market share in disputes within Singapore, as London faces stiff competition from the region alongside Hong Kong and Paris to become the dominant international arbitration hub. Recently in January the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) notably launched a representative office in the Shanghai free trade zone, a move underpinning Singapore’s growing status as the major legal hub in Asia. Its third overseas office, following launches in Mumbai and Seoul, SIAC is to target Chinese companies as they increasingly turn to arbitration to solve corporate disputes.