Slaughter and May eyes Asia growth

Never one to follow the crowd, elite UK firm Slaughter and May is bucking yet another trend by investing in its Asia practice.

As we revealed in this year’s The Lawyer Asia-Pacific 150, international firms have been reassessing their positions in the region, holding back on expansion while local independents have been going for growth.

Slaughter and May, however, has just expanded its Hong Kong base with the rare promotion of an associate to partner. The elevation of M&A and corporate lawyer Charlton Tse brings the firm’s partner headcount across Hong Kong and Beijing to 13.

With Slaughter and May promoting only a handful of lawyers every year – this year it made up seven in London, its highest number in six years – the move would be significant enough in itself. However, coming as it does just months after the firm made its first-ever lateral hire in the shape of Morrison & Foerster China capital markets co-head John Moore, it can be seen as a real statement of intent.

The firm’s managing partner Chris Saul was typically understated about the move, saying he and his partners are “pleased with activity in Asia at the moment”. The smart money says that what he really means is “Asia is where it’s at”.

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