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Norton Rose is preparing to launch with a bang in Hong Kong and is keeping up the pace in Frankfurt as it lures two new partners.
Corporate finance lawyer Graham Muir has been recruited for the Hong Kong office when it reopens next April. He will join from the London office of Nomura, where he is part of the in-house team looking after the bank's own investments. Muir will work with ex-colleague David Stannard, who has been hired from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission to head up the new office. Stannard was also part of Norton Rose's Hong Kong office before it closed three years ago. Norton Rose was ejected from Hong Kong following a break-up with its longstanding partner Johnson Stokes & Master (The Lawyer, 5 December 1998).
"Our business in Hong Kong was a domestic practice. Now we want to be capable of operating on a global scale" Christopher Pearson, Norton Rose
The split took place when the Asian firm objected to Norton Rose developing its project finance and asset finance practices. But now Norton Rose is to return with a focus on corporate finance, asset finance, project finance and litigation. Corporate finance partner Christopher Pearson, previously based in Hong Kong, said that the firm wants to enter the market as a credible force from day one. "We're looking to hit the ground running with a team that's big enough to compete," he stated. As well as targeting its old clients, Norton Rose will also develop new relationships among investment banks and blue chip companies. "Previously, our business in Hong Kong was a domestic practice," said Pearson. "Now we want to be capable of operating on a global scale." Dirk Otto, a junior partner at Linklaters Oppenhoff & Rädler, will join the firm's Frankfurt office. Otto, who is a corporate lawyer specialising in M&A, joint ventures and arbitration, will join his ex-colleague and the firm's leading banking regulatory lawyer Frank Herring. Herring joined Norton Rose Vieregge from Linklaters in June this year.