HK associate snubs Fried Frank in Simmons U-turn

A Hong Kong-based senior associate has decided to return to Simmons & Simmons after just one month at US firm Fried Frank Shriver Harris & Jacobson.

Despite a higher salary at Fried Frank, real estate senior associate David Ip approached Simmons for his old job back.

Ip’s return mirrors that of corporate associate Matthew Durham, who rejoined Simmons’ Shanghai office in January after a year at Linklaters.

As first reported by The Lawyer (18 December 2006), Simmons global head of corporate Damon Le Maitre-George was parachuted into Hong Kong in part to rebuild the team after Fried Frank raided the office for eight partners and a clutch of associates.

Le Maitre-George told The Lawyer: “We’re delighted to welcome David back. He’s exactly what we needed and it just goes to show that the grass isn’t always greener.”

Although Ip is in real estate, an area deemed non-core to the office in the review of the operations that followed Fried Frank’s raid, he will provide support to the corporate group, said Le Maitre-George.

Ip joins three associates who joined the office in late 2006 from Herbert Smith and Clifford Chance.

Around eight associates are expected to join the office by the end of April, joining from a mixture of local and Western firms.

Before he relocated to Hong Kong, Le Maitre-George told The Lawyer that he would ideally like to hire a handful of new partners in Hong Kong and one in Shanghai by the end of 2007.

Simmons is also awaiting a licence to practise in Beijing, expected at the end of 2007.

Fried Frank declined to comment.