Hogan raids rival for HK launch

Washington DC-based Hogan & Hartson has bucked the trend for firms pulling out of Hong Kong by launching a new base there following a raid on US rival Squire Sanders & Dempsey.

Hogan’s new base will add to its existing China capability in Beijing and Shanghai, which were opened in 2002 and 2004 respectively.

“The move is being driven by the growth and expansion of our mainland China practice – not only the growth in M&A, but the need for clients to list in Hong Kong as well as the US pushing us into Hong Kong,” said Hogan international managing partner Ray Batla.

The firm is launching with the capture of a two-man team from Squire Sanders, led by corporate and finance lawyer Mao Tong, who joins Hogan as co-managing partner of the Hong Kong office. He will share managerial duties with the firm’s co-managing partner of China Jun Wei.

Hogan becomes the fifth US firm to announce new offices in China since March. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is waiting for regulatory clearance to launch in Shanghai in what will be its first presence outside the US. Houston-based Vinson & Elkins is also opening in Shanghai, and fellow Texas firm Baker Botts is joining Hogan in Hong Kong. Dewey Ballantine completes the quintet by relaunching in Asia with an office in Beijing.