Offshore: Asia bound

Offshore: Asia bound

Offshore law firms continue to launch offices in Asia, with Singapore and Shanghai the latest hot destinations. LB assesses the drivers behind recent openings and the challenges that lie ahead

The drive of offshore firms into Asia continues apace. Bedell Cristin opened a Singapore office in July, following Mourant Ozannes’ launch in Hong Kong at the start of the year; Appleby opened a representative Shanghai office in April; and in September, showing its own long-term commitment to South-East Asia, Maples and Calder also announced the opening of a Singapore office.

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Positive early signs at combined firm King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has enjoyed a successful first six months as a single firm, according to Handel Lee, head of the firm’s East China offices, who added that Africa could be the next destination for the firm en route to London and New York.

The firm, which went live in March, topped mergermarket’s Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) M&A league tables for volume for the first half of 2012, placing it ahead of Baker & McKenzie, Freehills and Clifford Chance in the table. The firm did 35 deals worth a total of $9.2bn.

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On the rebound

On the rebound

Government initiatives and a resurgent economy have made Singapore and South-East Asia a key focus of the international legal profession once again

In 2006 Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s then Asia managing partner Perry Noble explained to LB why the firm had pushed through a major rationalisation of its partnership in the Far East. In the hope that its Asia business would begin to make the profits that the London HQ demanded, the firm radically reduced the size of its partnership in Asia and closed its Singapore office.

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Redrawing the map

Redrawing the map

The latest boom in transactional work from emerging economies is a welcome antidote to difficult home markets for international firms. LB looks at the differing approaches to growth and who the clients of the future might be

It is easy to understand how law firms get carried away by the opportunities that new, emerging markets present. In the past five years there has been a rush to set up offices in places that a generation ago would have held little attraction. The shift of transactional power has now fundamentally moved to emerging economies led by Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC countries). Continue reading “Redrawing the map”