Gide extends Asian reach into HK

Gide Loyrette Nouel is continuing its push into Asia with the launch of a new office in Hong Kong.

The French international firm will be fully operational in the city by the end of this month after recently being granted a licence to operate.

Hong Kong will be Gide’s fourth Asian office following successful launches in Beijing, Shanghai and Hanoi during the past 13 years. Around 10 per cent of the firm’s 640 lawyers now practise out of China.

Earlier this year, Gide reported that turnover in the region had grown by a staggering 42 per cent between 2004 and 2005, contributing to the firm’s e57.5m (£39.33m) income derived from outside France.

Senior partner Gérard Tavernier told The Lawyer that, by opening in Hong Kong, Gide was following the same strategy that led it to launch its other international offices, including London. He said the firm needed complementary local expertise to advise both international and domestic clients.

“We’re clearly now one of the largest foreign law firms practising in China,” Tavernier said.

The Hong Kong office will be managed by Beijing-based partner Stéphane Vernay, with senior associates Rebecca Silli and Fabrice Turries on the ground. Turries has been working in Hong Kong for a number of years.

Another two or three lawyers are also expected to be located in the new office, which will initially practise French and Chinese law. Hong Kong will work on M&A and capital markets transactions, as that area of law meshes most closely with the work done on mainland China.

Tavernier said the lawyers in Gide’s Beijing office, open since 1993, and Shanghai, open since 2002, had been asking for a Hong Kong capability for a number of years.

Partners, staff and clients were told about the new office at a series of meetings at the firm’s Paris headquarters last week.