A&O builds European and Japanese US law bridges

Allen & Overy (A&O) is bolstering it US law practice as it sets up a US capability in Frankfurt and Tokyo and builds a German desk in New York

Head of A&O’s German asset finance practice Peter Hein will launch the desk in New York on 1 June and the firm has hired Japanese speaker Piyasena Perera from Fenwick & West in California to head the new practice in Tokyo.
Later in the year, a three-lawyer team is expected to set up the US desk in Frankfurt, although it is not yet known who will be included. They will join dual-qualified partners Reinhard Hermes and Hartmut Krause
Managing partner of the US law group in London Bart Capeci said that part of the firm’s strategy is to use US capability to support the growth of overseas offices.
“Where we’re trying to build particular practices in overseas offices, there’s a lot to be said for supporting it with our US practice. In each office we target different practices and the US group then supports the firm’s broader practice areas, such as securities, M&A and asset finance,” he explained.
A&O is currently building its asset finance practice in Germany, and because its US asset finance is strongest in New York, it is strengthening ties between the two jurisdictions. The firm is targeting Deutsche Bank and Citibank as two of its largest clients that are also big players in Germany.
“We work a hub-and-spoke system, where we have one or two US-qualified lawyers in each office, and if the deal flow can’t sustain a large number on an ongoing basis, the deal is staffed out of the regional hubs,” said Capeci.
The regional hubs are London, Hong Kong and New York, but the firm also has US-qualified partners in Milan, Paris, Germany, Singapore and, following the appointment of Perera, in Tokyo as well.