Herbert Smith follows A&O into Bangkok as crisis fades

Herbert Smith has become the second City firm in a week – along with Allen & Overy – to announce plans for a Bangkok office.

Herbert Smith's London-based spokeswoman said the firm hoped to have the office up and running in November. But she would not say how many lawyers would be sent to Thailand. Meanwhile, Allen & Overy is acquiring 18-lawyer Thai and English law practice MPS & Associates.

Bangkok already plays host to Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Freshfields – all of which have been building up the size of their offices in recent months.

City lawyers based in the region report that Thailand is recovering well from the Asian currency crisis. Roger Dyer, managing partner of Freshfields' Singapore office, said: “Thailand is further along the road to recovery than other countries in the region.”

MPS & Associates – the firm being bought by Allen & Overy – was set up by partners Simon Makinson, Pises Sethsathira and Suprapon Satimanont in January 1995.

The trio established the Bangkok office of Denton Hall in 1989 before it pulled out of the city in 1993. They then linked up with Arthur Andersen for two years.

Allen & Overy already has associates Stephen Jaggs and Karina Ng on secondment with MPS in Bangkok .

Hong Kong-based banking partner Tom Brown will join them at the end of the year.

Brown said: “It is generally recognised that Thailand has faced its difficulties front-on and that as a result it will probably emerge quicker and stronger than other Asian jurisdictions.”

Makinson said MPS and Allen & Overy had already worked closely together for two years and would enjoy a perfect fit because both had banking-led practices.