Milbank Tweed beefs up its Asian reach with B&M hire

Baker & McKenzie‘s Asia business unit head has departed for fellow US firm Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy.

Charles Conroy, who is based in New York, joins Milbank Tweed as a partner and will focus on cross-border and domestic M&A with an emphasis on Asia. He will also work with the firm’s Asian acquisitions finance group, which represents financial institutions as well as US and Asian clients.

Milbank Tweed’s chair of the international corporate practice Lawrence Lederman says: “[Conroy’s] expertise in Asia will support our continued growth in the region.”

Asia is increasingly becoming a focus for US firms. Sidley & Austin has a Singapore office and Weil Gotshal & Manges recently entered into a strategic alliance with Arthur Andersen’s Singapore firm Rajah & Tann (The Lawyer, 31 July).

Lederman believes Milbank Tweed’s Asian focus is very much client led. He says: “[Conroy’s] background in cross-border matters will enable us to meet increasing demand for transactions around the globe.”

Milbank Tweed has spent the last 12 months boosting its international coverage with high-profile hires. It began the year by appointing Diageo head of legal Ken Mildwaters as senior European counsel.

But Conroy’s departure will come as a blow to Baker & McKenzie’s Asian operations. It recently became one of a handful of firms to win a licence to practise in Singapore, which it will do in association with domestic firm Wong & Leow.

Yet earlier this year it lost a three-strong team – partners Nicholas Serwer and Matthew Sheridan as well as counsel Janet Taylor – from its Singapore office to Sidley & Austin (The Lawyer, 7 August).

Prior to coming to New York, Conroy practised in both Hong Kong and Beijing. He also sits on the board of the National Committee on US-China Relations.

Baker & McKenzie was unavailable for comment.