Bingham launches in Hong Kong

Bingham McCutchen is to increase its Asian practice by opening a three-lawyer Hong Kong office.

US-qualified finance partner Catherine Walters will head to Hong Kong for the 1 January opening, with two associates including Angeli Arora, whose clients include the hedge funds that Bingham is hoping to service.

Bingham will look to replicate its London offering, acting for distressed debt and hedge funds. The 36-lawyer London office had a strong financial showing last year, with a 33 per cent rise in turnover to £13.4m.

London managing partner James Roome said: “For the past 18 months, Hong Kong has been the destination of choice for a lot of these financial institutions, after them arriving in London. We’re not looking to be full-service but be the same kind of niche firm as we are in London.”

The 950-strong firm already has a three-lawyer office in Tokyo, which would be a likely target for more growth, according to Bingham chairman Jay Zimmerman. He told The Lawyer that despite growth in Hong Kong and Tokyo, the firm would not look to mainland China.

Roome said: “We see mainland China as financially underdeveloped. There are listings in China, but not the kind of work we would go in for.”