Offshore: The unsilent majority

Offshore: The unsilent majority

Among Asia’s competing financial centres, Hong Kong is the essential place to be for leading offshore law firms. Collectively, their local offices have grown significantly over the past few years to around 300 lawyers, making Hong Kong the third most-heavily lawyered jurisdiction by offshore firms after the Cayman Islands and Jersey.

But in early June, the first visible signs emerged of real discontent with Beijing’s increasing threat to Hong Kong’s freedoms: around 3,000 lawyers took part in a silent protest march in opposition to a government bill that would amend the city’s extradition law – the largest-ever protest by lawyers in history. They argued vehemently that the proposed amendment would allow Hong Kong to handle extradition requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements, most notably China, and would strike a blow to the rule of law. Since that peaceful march, Hong Kong has deteriorated to become a city in crisis. Several months of much larger pro-democracy protests by millions of its citizens have provoked widespread violence and a sustained fall in business activity. Continue reading “Offshore: The unsilent majority”

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”

CMS returns to Hong Kong to enhance Asia disputes practice

CMS returns to Hong Kong to enhance Asia disputes practice

wiegand, nicolas_(small)CMS opened in Hong Kong in September through its German branch CMS Hasche Sigle, re-entering the city as part of an international arbitration push.

The initial focus of the office will see the development of a dispute resolution practice by arbitration partner Nicolas Wiegand (pictured) who relocates from Munich.

Continue reading “CMS returns to Hong Kong to enhance Asia disputes practice”

Asia wrap: MoFo hires Magic Circle trio and Nabarro takes key Gadens partner, as BLP makes office move to support growth in Hong Kong

Asia wrap: MoFo hires Magic Circle trio and Nabarro takes key Gadens partner, as BLP makes office move to support growth in Hong Kong

This week in Asia, Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) added a trio of partners from three Magic Circle firms, as Nabarro has also strengthened its transactional practice in Singapore with the hire of former Gadens managing partner Marc Rathbone. Meanwhile, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) will move its premises in Hong Kong out of the Central District to Taikoo Place to allow for further growth.

Continue reading “Asia wrap: MoFo hires Magic Circle trio and Nabarro takes key Gadens partner, as BLP makes office move to support growth in Hong Kong”