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Herbert Smith has restructured its management team, relocating executive partner Tim Parkes to Hong Kong to become the firm's new head of the Asia region.
Head of real estate Iain Rothnie will take over Parkes' former role. The changes take effect next January. Rothnie said: "I'm delighted the partnership has confidence in me to continue the excellent work by Tim. Obviously, it's a new challenge for me." He hopes that the management side to the role will not come as too much of a surprise as he has 18 months of experience running his real estate department. He said that fee-earning would continue to be on his agenda, following in the tradition of Herbert Smith's approach of mixing management with practice work. "You don't want to lose contact with what your partners are doing," he said. The reshuffle returns Parkes to his former territory. Before taking up the mantle of executive partner, he spent more than five years in the Hong Kong office, where he was managing partner. Parkes said: "I am absolutely delighted to have the prospect to go back to Asia. It is a very exciting place to work and there are a lot of opportunities out there." Following Parkes' return to London in 1995, David Willis stepped in to head the Hong Kong office and Herbert Smith's expansion in Asia has continued throughout his tenure. The firm has offices or associates in Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok and Jakarta. Parkes said that because of all these developments it makes sense to have a partner responsible for the management and strategic growth of these regional offices. Despite the slowdown in the region, Parkes said that the firm has remained strong. "I would say activity is a bit patchy, but some areas are doing well," he said. Herbert Smith's strong suit, litigation, is one area that defies the difficulties encountered within the sluggish economy. Parkes said that he would also maintain a fee-earning capacity in his new post: "I very much want to litigate while I am out there. Herbert Smith is still very active in litigation and arbitration, both in Hong Kong and across the region." David Willis, who is on sabbatical, is due back in the UK at the end of October.