Letter from… Sydney: After the churn of the foreign influx, Australian legal elite look primed for their golden age

Letter from… Sydney: After the churn of the foreign influx, Australian legal elite look primed for their golden age

Some speak of the dawn of a ‘golden age’ for the market; others of a sugar rush for the country’s top players; while a third group warns of more challenging times to come. Whichever way you look at it, the feeling is that a new era has begun for Australia’s legal industry.

While relatively unscathed following the global financial crisis a decade ago, the country’s top banks found themselves at the centre of unprecedented scrutiny last year off the back of an inquiry by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. Launched in 2017 after years of political pressure to investigate misconduct in the financial sector, the commission’s reports had by February 2019 led to several serious allegations against major institutions, including charging fees for no service and continuing to bill people who had died. Continue reading “Letter from… Sydney: After the churn of the foreign influx, Australian legal elite look primed for their golden age”

HSF becomes latest Western firm to gain Chinese law capability through new Shanghai alliance

HSF becomes latest Western firm to gain Chinese law capability through new Shanghai alliance

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has made what its senior partner James Palmer described as a ‘game changer’ for its Chinese practice by signing a joint operation agreement with 20-lawyer Shanghai firm Kewei.

The move announced today (7 August) makes HSF the sixth Western firm to acquire PRC law capability in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ), as part of the scheme launched by the Chinese government in 2013 in a bid to boost foreign investment. Continue reading “HSF becomes latest Western firm to gain Chinese law capability through new Shanghai alliance”

Bumpy road for US firms in Asia as Reed Smith, Cleary and Shearman lose out to local players

Bumpy road for US firms in Asia as Reed Smith, Cleary and Shearman lose out to local players

China and Hong Kong are becoming increasingly challenging places for the global elite as the competition for talent from local shops intensifies. Among the most recent victims were Reed Smith, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Shearman & Sterling, which lost out to Australian firm MinterEllison, King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) and Fangda Partners respectively.

A six-partner disputes team of David Morrison, William Barber, Nathan Dentice, Alex Kaung, Eddy So and Desmond Yu quit Reed Smith’s Hong Kong base over what Asia-Pacific managing partner Denise Jong described as client conflict issues. They will join MinterEllison at the beginning of next year. Continue reading “Bumpy road for US firms in Asia as Reed Smith, Cleary and Shearman lose out to local players”

Asia focus: Gordon Dadds breaks international duck in Hong Kong while HFW adds Korea expertise

Asia focus: Gordon Dadds breaks international duck in Hong Kong while HFW adds Korea expertise

Ambitious listed law firm Gordon Dadds has launched its first overseas office in Hong Kong, as HFW bolsters its Korean capability with a London hire.

Gordon Dadds has been in acquisitive form since listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) last August, and has now turned its mind to international expansion after gaining approval to practise English law in Hong Kong. Continue reading “Asia focus: Gordon Dadds breaks international duck in Hong Kong while HFW adds Korea expertise”

Asia calling: Linklaters and CMS confirm local law capability in Shanghai and Hong Kong

Asia calling: Linklaters and CMS confirm local law capability in Shanghai and Hong Kong

Recent announcements from Linklaters and CMS have provided a fillip to international firms looking to gain a surer footing in China.

Linklaters announced in May that it had finally received the green light to practise Chinese law through a joint operations agreement with Shanghai outfit Zhao Sheng Law Firm. Continue reading “Asia calling: Linklaters and CMS confirm local law capability in Shanghai and Hong Kong”

Looking east: Linklaters gets long-awaited Shanghai approval as CMS launches Hong Kong association

Looking east: Linklaters gets long-awaited Shanghai approval as CMS launches Hong Kong association

Linklaters and CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang have shown Asia is still high on the agenda of global law firms after each made moves to expand their presence in the region.

The Magic Circle firm announced today (21 May) its lawyers will be able to practise local law in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) through a joint operations agreement with local firm Zhao Sheng. FTZ rules allow international players to tie-up with domestic firms and practise local law. Continue reading “Looking east: Linklaters gets long-awaited Shanghai approval as CMS launches Hong Kong association”

Addleshaw Goddard recruits legacy BLP Asia head

Addleshaw Goddard recruits legacy BLP Asia head

As the inevitable fallout from the $900m Bryan Cave/Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) tie-up continues, Addleshaw Goddard is following up on its Asia ambitions by announcing the hire of legacy BLP regional head Bob Charlton.

Based in Hong Kong, Charlton will lead Addleshaws’ Asia-Pacific operations, with firm-wide managing partner John Joyce telling Legal Business the firm is looking to triple the size of its regional capability. He added the firm would look to grow from four to at least 12 partners, spread across its Hong Kong and Singapore branches, and did not rule out adding further bases in the region. Continue reading “Addleshaw Goddard recruits legacy BLP Asia head”

Addleshaw Goddard seeks material Asia growth with former BLP region head hire

Addleshaw Goddard seeks material Asia growth with former BLP region head hire

Addleshaw Goddard has brought in the former Asia head of legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner as it looks to triple the size of its presence in Asia.

Bob Charlton is joining Addleshaws after leaving BLP, now Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) following its US merger in February, where he was the legacy firm’s head of Asia since 2014. Charlton previously held a similar role for DLA Piper in the region. Continue reading “Addleshaw Goddard seeks material Asia growth with former BLP region head hire”

After an expansive 2017, Norton Rose Fulbright starts year with Asia pullback

After an expansive 2017, Norton Rose Fulbright starts year with Asia pullback

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) made headlines in 2017 by pulling off mergers in the US and Australia, but 2018 has started with the firm retrenching internationally, closing in Kazakhstan and Abu Dhabi while Paul Hastings raided its Japanese corporate team.

NRF Tokyo head of corporate, M&A and securities Eiji Kobayashi joined Paul Hastings’ Japanese base in mid-January, with a four-person team, including two associates, one paralegal and one secretary, to follow him a few weeks later. Continue reading “After an expansive 2017, Norton Rose Fulbright starts year with Asia pullback”

HFW strengthens Singapore with South East Asia triple play

HFW strengthens Singapore with South East Asia triple play

Energy and shipping specialist HFW has made a major play in its longstanding Singapore office, bringing in a trio of partners from rivals in the region.

HFW now boasts an 18-partner office in Singapore following the arrivals of finance partner Siri Wennevik, projects and energy partner Alistair Duffield and corporate partner Ivan Chia, taking the firm’s total partner additions in the region to six over the last year. HFW now has over 100 lawyers and 58 partners across its six Asia-Pacific branches. Continue reading “HFW strengthens Singapore with South East Asia triple play”