Clydes strengthens Asia construction practice prior to BLG merger

Clyde & Co has hired a construction partner from Stephenson Harwood’s Hong Kong office ahead of its November merger with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG).

Gilbert Kwok joins Clydes as a partner in the firm’s Asia construction practice, bringing experience of advising developers and contractors in both contentious and non-contentious matters.

He has advised a number of major Hong Kong developers on projects throughout China and Asia, and is also regularly engaged by clients to resolve construction disputes through litigation, arbitration and mediation.

Clydes’ push for a stronger construction team in Asia is the firm’s response to Chinese companies’ ’going global’ strategy, according to the firm’s Asia construction head Ian Cocking.

In a statement, Cocking said: “As the Chinese government continues to implement its ’going global’ strategy of encouraging Chinese companies to invest abroad, we’re seeing an increasing number of Chinese and Asian contractors investing in infrastructure and construction projects around the world.”

Kwok’s hire comes less than a year after Cocking joined from Minter Ellison’s Hong Kong office at the end of 2010. Earlier this year, the firm hired Paul Jebely as a counsel to establish a new aviation finance practice in Asia. Jebely was  previously a senior associate in Ashurst’s Hong Kong office and head of the firm’s aviation team in Asia, Middle East and Africa.

Clydes merger with BLG will go live on 1 November. The combined firm will operate under the banner of Clyde & Co and around 15 per cent of BLG’s 100 partners are expected to leave the firm as part of the deal. The new firm will have 270 partners and an international network consisting of 27 bases (4 August 2011).