DLA Piper cocks a snook at Orrick with Far East growth

DLA Piper cocks a snook at Orrick with Far East growth” />Nigel Knowles, joint chief executive officer of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, has claimed his firm is now the biggest in Singapore and China, where the firm’s feud with Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe still simmers.

DLA Piper swooped to take all of Coudert Brothers’ lawyers in Singapore and Tokyo last week, a move which will see it more than double in size in Singapore and the launch of its first Tokyo office.

“When you add up all of the hires we’ve made, we’re certainly the largest international law firm in Singapore and the largest international law firm in China,” said Knowles. “There’s been enormous interest from international and US firms in Coudert’s offices in Asia and we’re delighted to gain the Tokyo and Singapore offices.”

The coup follows a bitter row between DLA Piper and Orrick for control of Coudert’s Beijing office. So far, DLA Piper has signed Coudert’s China head Jingzhou Tao and at least 20 lawyers, as well as a further 20 support staff in Beijing.

Orrick has scooped nine of Coudert’s 11 equity partners in China, including the remaining employees in Beijing and the entirety of Coudert’s offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Relations between the two firms remain frosty as they try to finalise the positions of all the employees in Beijing. The complex regulatory regime in China has made negotiations between Coudert, DLA Piper and Orrick even trickier.

Orrick agreed to take the Coudert offices, fixtures and fittings, leaving Tao and his team out in the cold. DLA Piper is now arranging rented accommodation for its team.

DLA Piper has secured 20 lawyers in Singapore and three lawyers in Tokyo, with the transition expected to take effect by the end of the month. The firm also annexed Coudert’s Frankfurt office and took on much of its Brussels operation.