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Asia Pacific

No. of Lawyers: 165+
Offices: 7

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer views China as the great driver for work through the wider Asia-Pacific region, not just involving US and European multi-nationals looking into China, but also Chinese companies looking at outbound investment around the world, as well as within Asia-Pacific.

Sixteen years since the handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese, the firm views the former British colony as still being strategically important. “These days it is a gateway for capital flow and looks to be set to stay that way, notwithstanding the liberalised environment in Shanghai. Hong Kong still feels very much like the place that the Chinese corporates look to raise money,” says Robert Ashworth, Freshfields' regional managing partner for Asia and head of the Hong Kong office.

But Freshfields' regional strategy is by no means exclusively centred on China. The firm points out that it has had a longstanding office in Tokyo and despite the Japanese economy having suffered over the last decade maintains that the third-largest global economy cannot be ignored.

Singapore is the third pillar of its Asia-Pacific strategy, ironically given the practice's rocky history in the city-state. Freshfields first opened in Singapore in 1980 and then dramatically shut up shop in 2007, having decided “it wasn't a market we wanted to pursue”.

However, in an equally dramatic strategic change, the firm moved back into the jurisdiction in February 2012. Ashworth explains the change of gear as a recognition “of the rise of significant intra-Asian business flows and the rise of Indonesia as a more stable economy than it was when we closed that office”.

The Asia Pacific profile is an edited version of a full write-up that appears in The Lawyer Asia Pacific 150, a comprehensive analysis of the legal market in the region that ranks the top 100 local firms and leading 50 international players by headcount. For more information and to purchase your copy please click here.

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65 Fleet Street

Turnover (£m): 1,221.00
No. of Lawyers: 2,086
No. of Lawyers (Asia Pacific): 165+
Offices (Asia Pacific): 7