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Herbert Smith's Bangkok office has hired its first Thai partner.
Top corporate lawyer Kowit Somwaiya joins the office from his own firm, George & Kowit, where he was senior partner.
He joined Herbert Smith last Monday and will be followed by a team of two or three assistants. He will concentrate on financing, restructuring, banking and corporate matters.
Somwaiya recently drafted the Framework for Corporate Debt Restructuring in Thailand (The Bangkok Approach) and other key documents in planning the recovery of the Thai banking system.
David Willis, Herbert Smith's head of Asia region, says Somwaiya has been a key player in leading Thailand out of economic crisis.
He says: "Few other lawyers have such depth of restructuring experience. Companies in Thailand are looking for ways to bring themselves out of economic difficulty, and Kowit is able to provide advice with a level of insight matched by few
"The work he has done in terms of drafting of debt restructuring in Bangkok is all very significant stuff. He is very well known in the banking community, and it's a very exciting development for us.
"We had an international team, but what we really need is a blend of international and local law, which is what we have got with Kowit."
Somwaiya will become a partner once he has registered with the Law Society.