Vinson & Elkins loses first Shanghai partner following closure announcement

Sidley Austin has becoome the first firm to benefit from the imminent closure of Vinson & Elkins’ (V&E) Shanghai office, picking up energy partner Tju Liang Chua.

Chua will join Sidley Austin in Singapore as a partner in its international energy practice.

V&E announced plans to close its Shanghai office last week (12 July 2013), citing the rationale of concentrating more of its mainland Chinese resources in Beijing, where many of the firm’s energy clients are based.

Chua is one of the three partners based in the office, which was opened in 2003. He advises on complex international cross-border transactions, including energy M&A deals between Asia and the Americas. Chua is a native of Singapore and will advise on transactions governed by New York and Singapore law.

Sidley Austin is one of four international firms that have recently been awarded qualifying foreign law practice (QFLP) licences by the Singapore Ministry of Law (19 February 2013). The QFLP licences allow foreign firms to practise permitted areas of Singapore law. 

In March, Sidley Austin hired its first Singapore-qualified partner, Han Ming Ho, from Clifford Chance’s Singapore office, where he was a partner (21 March 2013).

“We expect energy and natural resource transactions and projects to continue to grow in number and complexity as the Southeast Asian economies try to meet the surging demand in these sectors, and we believe that Singapore will be the key energy hub for such matters,” said Thomas Albrecht, Asia Pacific managing partner of the firm.

Chua’s appointment follows after the arraival of energy partner Tom Deegan in Hong Kong, He was previously head of Simmons & Simmons’ China corporate group as well as head of energy and infrastructure (9 April 2013).

According to The Lawyer Asia Pacific 150, Sidley Austin is the fifteenth largest international firm in the region. In 2012, the firm had 124 lawyers, including 28 partners, across six offices.