Coudert profits from Freshfields retreat in Bangkok

Coudert Brothers is set to pick up the remaining vestiges of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Bangkok office, axed after this year’s Asian practice review.

Under a deal finalised yesterday, partners Stephen Bennett and Surasak Vajasit will be joined by a group of Freshfields associates and support staff at Coudert Brothers. The US firm is also expected to take on Freshfields’ Bangkok clients. It is understood the team will join Coudert by the end of the year.

A third Freshfields Bangkok partner, UK-qualified partner Jeremy Jennings-Mares, will return to the UK.

Freshfields is the only UK firm in Asia to operate a full equity partnership, meaning that while other firms can offset lower Asian revenues with less costly local, or salaried partners, Freshfields cannot.

As first reported in The Lawyer (19 April), Freshfields announced it was axing its three-partner Bangkok office as part of a strategic review of Asia. The review has already seen Singapore downsized, with retiring partners not replaced and others returned to London.

The hires will take to four the number of partners in Coudert Brothers’ Bangkok office, which has been operating independently since 1993.

Coudert was unavailable for comment. Freshfields declined to comment.