Asian business for Australian firm

BIG-NAME Australian firm Freehill Hollingdale & Page has set up five jurisdictional desks to provide a national base for its Asian work.

The desks, which operate out of Sydney and Melbourne, handle client enquiries relating to Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

Each desk, staffed by lawyers who have either been previously based in Asia or who have a special interest in the region, liaises with its correspondent office on-site to provide clients with information on the legal, cultural and business environments in which they operate.

Hanoi's resident partner Andrew Messenger, who has worked in Vietnam for the past 18 months, said the desks, set up late last year, focused on information involving Freehill's natural resources, telecomms and construction caseload.

“Before, it was just a case of those who were interested stuck their hand up,” said Messenger. “Since then the firm has evolved from having an Asian practice group which involved interested partners and solicitors, to putting in place a more sophisticated network of support.

“The reason for doing anything like this is to make sure that you are client-focused.

“We have clients who have significant or potentially significant needs in these jurisdictions and it's important from our point of view that we are able to draw upon the considerable experience that we have in-house.

“That means making sure the right people get to come into contact with the clients.”