Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) is set to launch an office in Hong Kong with a counsel from Linklaters, as the firm eyes mainland China next.
No date has yet been set for the launch, but managing partner Neville Eisenberg said the process of getting regulatory approval for the new office is “quite well advanced”.
Eisenberg declined to comment on specific hires made in relation to the new office, but it is understood that a counsel from Linklaters will be the first to join the firm in Hong Kong.
“We’re planning to make a number of hires,” said Eisenberg. “The office will be primarily comprised of local recruits. The establishment of the office fits in with our wider Asian strategy. We already have an office in Singapore, which we expanded in May with a team [from Holman Fenwick & Willan] headed by Alistair Duffield, and we’ve done work for a number of Chinese clients in London and Singapore, so a Hong Kong office should be seen in that broader context.
“We’re looking to have a multi-disciplinary team of lawyers, which will take a while, but the objective is to be quite focused on sectors like real estate, infrastructure and mining, and also to support the work of Chinese companies, which means doing asset finance, competition, trade, and general corporate and finance work.”
Eisenberg added that although the firm has no immediate plans to open in mainland China, Beijing and Shanghai are jurisdictions that “the firm will look at”.
“If you’re operating in the region and acting for state-owned entities and other companies, then it’s helpful to have a presence in the PRC [People’s Republic of China], so that’s something that we’ll look at. But we haven’t even reached the early stages of setting up there. We’re just focusing on Hong Kong at the moment.”
BLP’s Singapore office opened in 2007. The firm also has offices in Abu Dhabi, Brussels, Moscow and Paris.