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Herbert Smith has ended its 18-month association agreement with Jakarta firm Prof Dr Mariam Darus, Badrulzaram & Partners and formed a link with a new arrival on the Indonesian legal scene, Kramadibrata Karim Sani Manihuruk (KKSM).
Herbert Smith's resident lawyer in the Indonesian capital, Stefan Ricketts, has moved to KKSM's offices in Jakarta where he will be a consultant in line with local Bar rules.
Richard Bond, a partner at Herbert Smith, said the split with Darus, Badrulzaram & Partners was amicable and that the firm still maintained informal ties with Mariam Darus, the firm's main contact, who has since left to set up her own practice.
Bond said that the KKSM move was 'a natural development for the work we do', in that the Jakarta firm had 'a more commercial practice than [Prof Dr Darus] had'.
KKSM was set up in October last year by: Kitty Sugondo-Kramadibrata who had been running her own practice; Tio Manihuruk a partner at leading Jakarta firm del Jusar & Wiriadinata; Iswahjudi Karim; and Arsul Sani who joined from local firm Gani Djernat.
US attorney Karen Mills, previously at local firm Albert Hasibuan & Rekan, has also joined the firm as Of Counsel.
Bond refutes suggestions that forming another association was odd given Indonesia's worsening economic conditions.
He noted that, while some areas of practice, such as initial public offerings and project work had 'slowed down', the crisis had brought other opportunities such as restructuring and litigation.
'One doesn't want to take a too short-term view,' he said. 'Especially as the firm's investment in the country was modest.'