Slaughters unveils best friends strategy in Asia

Slaughter and May

is ramping up its global strategy with the first ‘best friends’ meeting of its Asia law firms.

The firm is now comfortable that its European best friend firms are working as one seamless organisation and believes it now needs to replicate this model in Asia.

Hong Kong partners George Goulding and Neil Hyman, who have been tasked with building up Asia referrals, hosted a two-day session last week in Bangkok.

At present the group of Asia best friends is being constituted on what Slaughters partners describe as an informal basis. However, in the long term the firm is hoping to replicate the ‘one-firm’ structure that it currently operates with its European best friends Bonelli Erede Papalardo, Bredin Prat, Hengeler Mueller and Uría Menéndez.

The firms invited include Jun He Law Offices from China; Shin & Kim and Kim & Chang from South Korea; Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu and Mori Hamada & Matsumoto from Japan; and the firm’s existing Australian best friend Allens Arthur Robinson. Other jurisdictions represented are understood to include Taiwan and Indonesia.

Many of the Asian firms have worked together before, albeit on a bilateral basis, and Slaughters is acting as the facilitator.

Slaughters practice partner David Frank told The Lawyer: “We’re sowing the seeds of further cooperation. The medium-term aim is to build up people’s understanding of who the main operators are in each jurisdiction. It’s a ‘getting to know you’ exercise.”

Goulding moved to Hong Kong last autumn (The Lawyer, 18 September 2006) with the specific brief of extending Slaughters’ influence in Asia.

At the time the firm acknowledged close working relationships with three Chinese firms: Haiwan Law Firm, Jun He and King & Wood. However, only Jun He was represented at the meeting in Bangkok.