Allen & Overy (A&O) has become the first magic circle firm to enter into Myanmar, with the launch of an office in Yangon.
A&O’s Yangon office provides international legal services and will not practise Myanmar law. The new office is managed by Bangkok managing partner Simon Makinson and currently has two associates and two support staff.
It is understood that the firm has had lawyers based on the ground to service clients for some time following jurisdictional reform that opened up the legal market in 2012.
Last year, the firm helped long-standing client Norwegian telecoms company Telenor to win one of two licences granted to foreign companies allowing it to provide telecommunications services in Myanmar (17 July 2013).
A&O continues to provide legal services to the company as it rolls out its services network across the country. Makinson is the lead partner on the team.
While focusing on international law and advice, A&O works with a number of local firms in Myanmar for local law support. It has a close relationship with Myanmar Legal Services, an affiliate of Thai firm Chandler & Thong-ek Law Offices.
A&O senior associate Kathryn Thornton, from its Sydney office, has been on secondment to Myanmar Legal Services since 2012. She is one of the two lawyers based in A&O’s Yangon office initially.
A&O is the latest international firm to set up shop in the fast-developing South East Asian economy. In February, Baker & McKenzie launched its Yangon office (18 February 2014), and in March, Berwin Leighton Paisner moved into Myanmar through a tie-up with local firm Legal Network Consultants (13 March 2014).
A&O could not be reached for comment at the time of reporting.