Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has finally closed its Singapore office, after announcing intentions to close back in September of 2006. Wanting to focus on China, last week’s departure of China head Douglas Markel gave the firm the needed push to close in Singapore. In China, the firm also has offices in Beijing and Shanghai. The two remaining partners, Bruce Cooper and Yeelong Tan, will relocate to Hong Kong. Closing in Singapore will end Freshfields’ joint venture with Singapore firm Drew & Napier. Much of the firm’s restructuring efforts over the past year have focused on Asia – Paul Ng was promoted to the partnership in Hong Kong, and James Wood was relocated from London to Tokyo.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has opened a new office in Beijing. The firm recruited Douglas Markel, a partner from UK firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, to head the new office. Markel is a megers & acquistions lawyer, and he has practiced in Beijing for 16 years; he also headed Freshfields’ China practice last year. Simpson Thacher starting recruiting for the office last year, hiring Shearman & Sterling partner Leiming Chan and Shaolin Luo, a counsel from Chinese firm Fangda Partners. Corporate partner Chris Lin will also relocate from Simpson’s Hong Kong outfit to Beijing.
Troutman Sanders’ Washington office has recruited Kaye Scholer’s 11-person international trade practice. The firm has wanted to expand this practice, which formerly was comprised of only a couple of partners. Donald Cameron Jr. and Julie Mendoza, who join as partners, will continue to co-lead the group. Jeffrey Grimson also joins as a partner. Three additional lawyers, two non-lawyers, and three paralegals are also a part of the team. Counsel Judy Wang will work in Shanghai, and accountant Victor Wu will remain in Beijing. This group focuses its practice on federal anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws.
By affiliating with the Law Offices of Mohammed Al-Ammar in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, King & Spalding has opened a new office in Riyadh. Tariq Abbadi, formerly of Baker Botts, will join the new office as of counsel. He focuses on corporate and Saudi regulatory work. King & Spalding also opened an office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in December; the office now has eight lawyers.
Capital markets lawyer Bradley Edmister has joined Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy’s Tokyo office as Counsel. He comes from Sullivan & Cromwell, with whom he had for eight years, five of which were in Tokyo. Edmister has extensive experience in a variety of corporate matters including M&A, capital markets, finance, private equity, and joint ventures. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Milbank was the first American firm to open in Japan. Its other Asian offices are located in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Sidley Austin is ready to open a new Australia office after hiring Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s Sydney office managing partner, Bob Meyers. The Sydney office will open May 1, becoming the firm’s sixth office in the Asia Pacific region after offices in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore. Meyers, who will head the new office, advises Australian, New Zealand and US companies and investment banks on stock market listings, M&A and structured finance. He will join the firm’s corporate finance and capital markets practice.
Foley & Lardner announced that it has filed an application to open an office in Shanghai. Catherine Sun, a partner from Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ Shanghai office, was hired to head Foley’s Shanghai office, assuming that it will be approved. The new office will focus on intellectual property, specifically IP counseling and dispute resolution. Clients will also need the firm’s help with IP asset management, licensing, and litigation. Joining Sun in Shanghai will be seven other Foley attorneys, including three Chinese nationals. The Shanghai office would be Foley’s second in Asia, following the Tokyo location that opened in 2003.
Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner has hired IP Partner Aaron Wininger in its Shanghai office. Wininger comes from Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, and has significant experience in patent prosecution, client counseling, and patent litigation for Asia-based companies and Silicon Valley start-ups. He expects to expand his client base with Thelen Reid doing work in non-IP, corporate financing, and M&A. Thelen Reid’s Shanghai office has been growing recently – since January, the firm has added seven attorneys, pushing its numbers to twelve.
Jones Day senior associate Alex Cull has been hired by Norton Rose for their Singapore office. Cull joins the firm as a partner in their energy team. Through his work at Jones Day, Cull has a decade of experience in the energy industry, specializing in oil and gas project development, M&A and financing throughout Asia. Norton Rose energy and infrastructure partner, Jeff Smith, is excited about what Cull has to offer to the firm and sees this addition as another important step in the growth of the firm’s Asia practice.
After a 14 year absence, NY-based Chadbourne & Parke will be returning to the United Arab Emirates when it opens in Dubai on May 1. Former Chadbourne partner, Jack Greenwald, will lead the new office, overseeing a legal staff of eight lawyers and paralegals. Greenwald has been practicing in Dubai since 1986. The new office will build on the firm’s energy/project finance and cross-border acquisition practices. Joining forces with Greenwald and his team, many members of which are native to the area, allows the firm to handle local law issues on behalf of UAE-based and international clients.
Shearman & Sterling was finally granted a license to open in Shanghai today; the firm expects to open the new office later this spring. This will be the third office in the firm’s China operations after those in Hong Kong and Beijing. Corporate partner Andrew Ruff will head the new office; he has worked in the region for over 10 years focusing on M&A, infrastructure projects, and project finance. Chicago firm McDermott Will & Emery also launched in Shanghai this year.
Baker & McKenzie hired seven partners from Japanese firm Asahi Koma Law Offices and a linked operation for its Tokyo office. The firm hired name partner Fumio Koma, intellectual property partner Yasunori Hashiguchi, insolvency partner Shinichiro Abe and German-qualified counsel Markus Janssen. A group of four associates and counsel are also joining, putting Baker’s numbers in Tokyo up to 111. Baker & McKenzie is the largest practice of any foreign firm in Japan; about 75 percent of its lawyers there are locally-qualified bengoshi. There is a possibility that the firm may open a second office in Osaka in the future.