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Office closures: Paul Hastings picks up Fried Frank’s Asia head in Hong Kong

Rival firms have been keen to pick up talent following Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson’s exit from Hong Kong and Shanghai, with Paul Hastings being the latest firm to benefit from the closures.

The firm has hired Fried Frank’s corporate duo Douglas Freeman and Victor Chen, who will join Paul Hastings’ Hong Kong office as partners in the corporate practice.

Freeman previously headed Fried Frank’s Asia practice, and focused on cross-border M&A, reorganizations, leveraged buyouts, listed company transactions and hostile or contested control transactions, for public and private companies, private equity firms and investment banking firms. Some of his key clients include Goldman Sachs, Carlyle Group, Citic Capital Partners, Affinity Equity Partners, LionRock Capital Management, Lazard Freres and Duff & Phelps.

Chen joined Fried Frank as a partner in 2011, and represents private equity sponsors, multinational corporations and institutional investors in M&A transactions and investments, with a particular focus on Asia cross-border deals.

Recent work for the duo include advising the buyer group on a $3.7bn acquisition of Focus Media Holding, representing FountainVest Partners and China Media Capital in its investment in the Greater China business of IMAX, and acting for Lazard in connection with the Alibaba Group’s acquisition of AutoNavi Holdings. They will work closely with former colleague David Shine, who recently joined Paul Hastings from Fried Frank as chair of the New York M&A practice.

‘Doug and Victor’s arrivals represent a further step towards providing our clients with strategic regional and cross-border transactional advice,’ said Sammy Li, chair of Paul Hasting’s Hong Kong office. ‘Doug and Victor have worked together as a focused, effective team for seven years and I am confident that they will further enhance our Asia M&A and private equity practices by tapping into new opportunities whilst cross-selling other key practice areas which are natural business complements to their work.’

Paul Hastings is the second firm to pick up partners this week following Fried Frank’s decision to pull out of Asia, after Norton Rose Fulbright recruited a team of five lawyers from its disputes practice in Hong Kong. Fried Frank announced in January it would shut down its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices, leaving the US firm without an outpost in Asia, affecting 33 employees in total.