We’ve got Asia covered

Linking up with an Australian firm is very much à la mode in the international legal community but, as this week’s cover story explores, it is a challenging task to achieve full financial integration with local firms – and all to secure a launchpad for the Asia Pacific region.


Yun
Yun Kriegler

Linking up with an Australian firm is very much à la mode in the international legal community but, as this week’s cover story explores, it is a challenging task to achieve full financial integration with local firms – and all to secure a launchpad for the Asia Pacific region.

Indeed, when we talk about Asia the key jurisdictions now extend far beyond the traditional markets of China, Hong Kong, Japan, India and Singapore to a much wider range of emerging economies – South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia and Myanmar, to name but a few.

Allen & Overy’s latest strategy of diversifying its investment in Asia Pacific rather than focusing on the conventional Hong Kong and Singapore hubs is a reflection of the fast-changing dynamics in the region. Slaughter and May’s struggle to duplicate its European best friend strategy in Asia Pacific that we revealed earlier this year (The Lawyer, 14 May) also shows that what is appropriate in Western markets does not always apply in Asia.

While China – Asia’s largest market and on course to become the world’s largest – has seen a slowdown in economic growth, its largest law firms have not. Dacheng is China’s largest law firm by headcount (see The Lawyer’s detailed profile on 16 January this year). It already has seven overseas offices and has signed cooperation agreements with 40 foreign law firms. Its next step is to open in London. And King & Wood, the country’s highest grossing firm, is famously aiming for world domination after its combination with Australia’s Mallesons, as detailed in The Lawyer on 2 July.

No international firm can afford to ignore what is happening in Asia, but getting to grips with this dynamic, complex and competitive region is as challenging as it is rewarding. Therefore, this could not be a better time for The Lawyer to launch The Lawyer Asia weekly e-newsletter – available today – delivering not only the latest news, deals and regulatory updates across the region, but also compiling in-depth analyses and features on market trends, insightful in-house profiles and intriguing Q&As with top rainmakers.

And, as part of our commitment to unmissable legal coverage in the region, we are also inaugurating The Lawyer Asia 100 early next year, a sister supplement to our UK 200 and European 100 products, which will provide comprehensive information on Asia’s 100 largest independent law firms. Remember, knowledge is power. Or, as Chairman Mao would have put it: “知识就是力量”

Yun Kriegler