Latham & Watkins
International Top 30 position: 2
Asia-Pacific International 50 rank: 22
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The Asia Pacific profile is an edited version of a full write-up that appears in The Lawyer Asia Pacific 150, a comprehensive analysis of the legal market in the region that ranks the top 100 local firms and leading 50 international players by headcount. For more information and to purchase your copy please click here
Latham & Watkins posted a 3.4 per cent rise in total turnover for the 2011–12 financial year, bringing the firm's global revenue to $2.23bn.
The firm now has 31 offices worldwide and handles a large number of high-profile international deals. In one standout deal Latham represented the lenders, which included Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Export-Import Bank of China, in connection with the $8.5bn (£5.5bn) project financing of Australia Pacific LNG, a coal seam gas to liquefied natural gas project in Queensland, Australia.
Other key mandates include representing Lucasfilm, which is 100 per cent owned by Star Wars creator George Lucas, on its $4.05bn (£2.5bn) acquisition by Walt Disney in October 2012.
Latham also landed one of the most high-profile matters in the oil and gas sector in September 2012 when it was appointed counsel for Plains Exploration & Production as it bought interests in a range of fields in the Gulf of Mexico for $5.5bn (£4.3bn).
Revenues at the firm's London office grew by 16 per cent from $165m to $195m for the 2010–11 financial year, which placed it in second position in The Lawyer's Top 30 international firms in London 2012.
Litigation is also a strong suit globally and the firm's overall litigation turnover in 2010–11 was $602.6m, placing it in ninth place of the The Lawyer Litigation Top 50 2012.
No. of lawyers: 97
David Miles, the Hong Kong office senior partner at Latham & Watkins has some blunt words for those competitors rushing to join the queue for practice licences in Seoul and to cut association deals with Indonesian players.
He says that South Korea is a ‘feeding frenzy’ while Indonesia is an important market but the firm does not want to limit itself with an exclusive local tie-up.
Where the firm does want boots on the ground is the crucial axis of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Hong Kong is still seen as the “outside face of China”, says Miles, and it is a major centre for equity or debt capital raising, which is a crucial practice area for the firm.
The firm is also a strong supporter of maintaining a two-pronged presence on the mainland. “To be credible and serious about the China market and to be active in it you need offices on the ground in those two main business centres. And we need to be consistent with our main competitors — and they have very similar infrastructure profiles to those three offices.”
In the capital, the firm targets instructions from state-owned companies. In Shanghai the targets are private companies, particularly those in the technology sector, with which it trades on the expertise of its Silicon Valley office.
News from The Lawyer
Briefings from Latham & Watkins
Jurisdiction of the Hong Kong Courts re winding up and unfair prejudice petitions — offshore companies
Hong Kong law contains a number of provisions designed to protect the interests of minority shareholders, including the “unfair prejudice” remedies under section 168A of the Companies Ordinance and the Ordinance’s “just and equitable” winding-up provisions.
The EU’s banking union proposals, consolidating the European regulatory supervision of credit institutions
On 12 September 2012 the European Commission adopted legislative proposals, including a draft EU Regulation, to establish a single supervisory mechanism for banks which is to be led by the European Central Bank.
Analysis from The Lawyer
Imagine you’re the general counsel of London-based private equity investor BC Partners. You’re sipping on your coffee, hashing out the details of your imminent £382m investment into UK-based business publishing company Mergermarket.
Why has Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) decided to walk away from the Singapore qualifying foreign law practice (QFLP) scheme?
Browse This Firm’s
Firmwide revenue 2011 ($m): 2,152
Global lawyers 2011: 2,062
No. of lawyers (Asia Pacific): 97
Offices (Asia Pacific): 5