Herbert Smith's Hong Kong office has lost litigation partner Martin Rogers to Clifford Chance.
Described locally as a "major coup", Rogers' departure has created waves in the Hong Kong market as his 11-year tenure at Herbert Smith demonstrated a long-term commitment to the firm's principal base in Asia. Rogers will join Clifford Chance's Hong Kong litigation and dispute resolution practice as a partner in February 2002, following a period of gardening leave. He will concentrate on three main areas - international litigation, insolvency and regulatory work. He said that although there is no doubt that Herbert Smith has the pre-eminent dispute resolution reputation in Hong Kong, Clifford Chance has a prominent contentious practice. He is optimistic about the opportunities presented by the move to Clifford Chance. "I'm looking forward to the challenge of building up the practice," he said. Clifford Chance's head of litigation and dispute resolution in Asia Denis Brock said: "I'm delighted that Martin has agreed to join my team. Martin's areas of practice after 11 years in Hong Kong are complementary to the other partners in the practice." Rogers appointment is part of a push to expand the practice's capability, with a number of new, and as yet unspecified, associates joining the firm during the next few months. David Willis, managing partner of Herbert Smith's Hong Kong office, played down the departure. He said that losing Rogers would not be a determining factor in the continued success, or otherwise, of the firm's operations in Hong Kong. He said: "It's always a shame to lose talented people but he's part of a large team including nine litigation partners, and we have some good prospects coming through the ranks." He was bullish about Herbert Smith's prospects, saying that the firm's reputation in litigation rested on the team as a whole rather than the individual components. He said: "Martin is an excellent litigator and we're sorry to see him go. But I don't think the impact will be particularly severe." When questioned about recruiting a replacement for Rogers, Willis said: "No, I'm confident that we've got the people we need."