As Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi celebrated victory for her National League for Democracy party in landmark elections for Myanmar, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) last week announced it was launching in the country

BLP has picked up Baker & McKenzie’s former Yangon managing partner Chris Hughes to head up the expansion.

The move is an extension of last year’s alliance with local firm Legal Network Consultants (LNC). LNC joined BLP’s Asia Network, and the relationship will continue despite the UK firm now having a foot on the ground in Yangon.

Bakers has been active in Myanmar since 2012, when it launched a Myanmar desk in Bangkok before opening its own office last year.

By joining its rival on the ground, BLP is bolstering the small but growing ranks of foreign-headquartered firms in Myanmar. The majority at present are regionally-based, with examples including Singapore’s Allen & Gledhill and WongPartnership and Japan’s Mori Hamada & Matsumoto.

With half a century of military rule now ended and the prospect of democracy brighter than before, Bakers and BLP could well be joined by other international firms in the not too distant future.

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