Revolving doors: Linklaters boosts Asia restructuring practice while SJ Berwin makes key disputes hire

Revolving doors: Linklaters boosts Asia restructuring practice while SJ Berwin makes key disputes hire

In the second recruit to its Hong Kong office in the last couple of weeks, Linklaters has hired former Allen & Overy (A&O) partner David Kidd to lead its restructuring & insolvency (R&I) practice as the Magic Circle firm strengthens its finance and litigation teams in the region.

Kidd, who has operated under his own banner for around a year since leaving A&O in 2012, will make the move to Linklaters next month, joining former Herbert Smith Freehills Asia disputes head Gavin Lewis, whose appointment as partner to Linklaters litigation team was announced in August.

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SJ Berwin’s high stakes tie-up with KWM dares to bring a new equation to global law

David Stevenson and Alex Novarese assess SJ Berwin’s audacious Asia-Pacific tie-up and ask if the union can truly propel the firm into the global premier league

‘This isn’t about doing anything with our backs against the wall,’ says Jonathan Blake, the former senior partner of SJ Berwin, and one of the architects of his 165-partner firm’s impending tie-up with King & Wood Mallesons (KWM).

Despite some well publicised reverses in recent years for the mid-pack City player, Blake’s comment is undoubtedly true. But as to what the deal that goes live on 1 November does signify, well, opinion is sharply and starkly divided. Continue reading “SJ Berwin’s high stakes tie-up with KWM dares to bring a new equation to global law”

India calling: Freshfields and Linklaters make key India hires as Amarchand opens up its partnership

India calling: Freshfields and Linklaters make key India hires as Amarchand opens up its partnership

The periodic excitement over the liberalisation of the Indian legal market may currently be reduced to background chatter but the past fews days have been a reminder that the top UK firms continue to position themselves for India work while leading local firms are themselves bulking up and adopting far more expansive strategies.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has appointed Linklaters’ Arun Balasubramanian to co-head the firm’s India group out of Singapore, working alongside Pratap Amin, chairman of Freshfields’ India group. Continue reading “India calling: Freshfields and Linklaters make key India hires as Amarchand opens up its partnership”

Quinn’s global master plan – elite disputes shop hits HK for third foreign launch of the year

Having only launched its first foreign office in 2008, US disputes leader Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan clearly now has the taste for foreign expansion. The latest stop on its global tour is Hong Kong, with the ultra-profitable litigation shop today (15 May) unveiling details of its long-awaited local launch, coming only days after it sealed a deal to enter the Australian legal market. Continue reading “Quinn’s global master plan – elite disputes shop hits HK for third foreign launch of the year”

Firms set sights on Asia investment into Middle East

Squire Sanders expanded both its Middle East and South Korea operations in October, as Latham & Watkins reported a surge in investment activity between Asia, most notably China, and the Gulf states.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton also announced in October that it will open an office in Seoul, following approval from the Korean regulatory authorities. This follows the opening of the firm’s office in Abu Dhabi in September. Squire Sanders expanded its Middle East practice through the acquisition of El-Khoury & Partners’ Middle East and North Africa (MENA) business, which formerly operated in Saudi Arabia as EK Partners & Al-Enezee.

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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”