Fried Frank axes Hong Kong and Shanghai offices in Asia shutdown

Fried Frank’s Asian ambition shuddered to a halt this week as the firm closed its operations in Hong Kong and Shanghai after seven years in the region.

The move further reduces the firm’s presence outside the US. Although Fried Frank retains small offices in Frankfurt and Paris, it relocated its last Paris-based partner to London last year and the City has become the focus for its growth ambitions.

Although negotiations for the firm’s four Hong Kong partners and one Shanghai consultant to move to its other offices are underway, they may decide to look elsewhere for job opportunities.

Fried Frank’s loss could be a gain for other US firms, who are competing to beef up their Hong Kong practices .

Ropes & Gray added to its team earlier this month with a move from DLA Piper, and the final legacy Bingham partner found a home at Hong Kong-based Mayer Brown JSM .

But Fried Frank’s plans to maintain its licence in Shanghai and office space in Hong Kong leave the door firmly open to the chance of a re-launch in the future.

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