Canadian firm Tory Tory DesLauriers & Binningtons has been forced to close its Hong Kong operation after five years because it was unable to meet its growing commitments there.
Partners Louise Pearson and Melissa Thomas have left the firm, with Thomas joining Hong Kong rival Freshfields, which is staffed by more than 50 lawyers. She is due to spend five months in Hong Kong before being redeployed to Beijing.
John Laskin, a litigation lawyer based in the head office in Toronto, said that given its market position, Tory Tory could not match the substantial resources larger firms were pumping into their Hong Kong offices. He added that the firm would continue its Hong Kong operations via Toronto.
Meanwhile UK practice Richards Butler has boosted its Hong Kong presence by making Andrew Brown a partner.
Brown, a banking and finance specialist who practised in London for two years before qualifying in Hong Kong in 1990, has been with Richards Butler since 1994.
Chris Howse, managing partner of the firm in Hong Kong, said: "The pace of economic activity continues in the Far East and this is a particularly exciting year for Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China.
"Andrew Brown will make an invaluable contribution."