Perkins Coie consigns Hong Kong to history

Seattle-based law firm Perkins Coie has become the latest in a string of foreign firms to scale back its presence in Asia.

As first revealed by Lawyer News Weekly last Wednesday (8 December), the firm is shutting the doors of its 12-year-old Hong Kong office.

Perkins Coie told staff a fortnight ago that, following a strategic review, it had decided to pull out of Hong Kong.

As a further blow, one internal source at Perkins Coie admitted that the firm is also considering downsizing its office in Beijing, or even dispensing with it altogether.

Perkins Coie’s decision to close its Hong Kong practice was triggered by the continuing economic downturn in the region as well as the outbreak of Sars.

A spokesman for the firm added that Perkins Coie felt the need to focus on opportunities in California and Chicago.

According to a well-placed source, the move will result in all of Perkins Coie’s Hong Kong staff, including 15 lawyers, being made redundant.

The closure will become effective from 31 March 2005.