Bird ;& ;Bird’s ;newly formed association with Singapore firm Alban Tay Mahtani & de Silva (ATMD) has been established as a precursor to a full-blown merger.
The alliance, which is due to launch formally on 1 January, will see the firms share clients and resources with the aim of full financial integration once Singaporean regulations are relaxed.
Bird & Bird CEO David Kerr told The Lawyer: “We’re hoping that this will be a very close arrangement. As and when the regulatory environment allows, we’ll definitely be interested in a merger. But obviously at the moment the Singapore practice will be a separate practice.”
Kerr denied that Bird & Bird had applied for a Singaporean local law licence, as the alliance with ATMD would give the firm all the benefits it needed to service its South East Asia and Singapore client base.
Bird & Bird currently has offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and has been working hard at expanding its IP capability in the region with a string of hires (TheLawyer.com, 18 February).
Despite the turbulent conditions in the market, Kerr did not rule out further expansion in the region.
“We’re open-minded,” he said. “We live in difficult times and we’re very careful about where we’d like to expand to next. We’ve gone through a period of considerable expansion, but we’re very much minded to continue that if that’s what the clients want.”
ATMD is a firm of 10 partners and 20 other lawyers based in Singapore and specialising in IP and technology corporate commercial work. ATMD also has a current association with Malaysian firm Tay & Partners.