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Slaughter and May has made its first lateral hire in Asia with the addition of Morrison & Foerster’s (MoFo) co-head of China capital markets John Moore.
The move will gift Slaughters a US law capability for capital markets transactions in Hong Kong, a strategy which has been on the cards since 2012 (24 September 2012).
A source said the strategy of hiring US-qualified lawyers in Hong Kong was triggered in 2012 by "significant changes in the market” after a number of US firms moved to take on Hong Kong law capabilities.
These include Davis Polk & Wardwell, a Slaughter and May best friend, which has developed local law capabilites in numerous jurisdictions, including London and Hong Kong.
Partner Paul Olney said the firm will initially look to hire two or three associates to support Moore, but is unlikely to bring in another US-qualified partner. He stressed that the US firms Slaughters has a relationship with have been kept informed of the move since 2012.
John Moore, who will start at Slaughters next month, joined MoFo from legacy Herbert Smith in 2011, where he was head of the firm’s US capital markets in Asia. He was previously a senior legal counsel at Goldman Sachs, where he was responsible for legal coverage in Asia.
It was while at Goldman Sachs that Moore first started working with the firm, with both advising on the Tracker Fund IPO in 1999. "Since then, we have worked together on several client matters, so I know the team well and have the highest regard for them,” Moore said.
He added: “My joining Slaughter and May in Hong Kong will enable the firm to provide integrated Hong Kong and US law capability for capital markets transactions in Hong Kong and strengthen the firm’s long-established presence and practice in Hong Kong.
Olney said Slaughters has no intention to practice US law in London.