Bryan Cave has become the latest casualty of the continued economic slump in the Far East.
As first revealed on www.thelawyer.com (5 January), the US firm is undertaking a full-scale review of its Far East practice, which is expected to result in a significant downsizing of its Hong Kong office.
Last year a number of predominantly US firms either abandoned or significantly scaled back their Hong Kong operations. In January, CMS Cameron McKenna downsized Hong Kong into an insurance boutique and abandoned Beijing, while US firm Dewey Ballantine shut the doors on its Hong Kong operation. Also that month, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe shut their branch offices in Singapore. Then, in March, Cravath Swaine & Moore abandoned its Hong Kong operation.
Bryan Cave’s 12-lawyer Hong Kong base has a full-service offering and advises clients on inbound investments into China. Following the review, it is expected to focus on a couple of niche areas such as private client.
London resident manager, partner Charles Attlee, confirmed the review. He said: “We expect to downsize our Hong Kong office,” but declined to comment on whether any Hong Kong lawyers would be made redundant.
Bryan Cave’s review is due to be completed by the end of the month.