Stikeman downsizes HK presence

Canadian firm Stikeman Elliott has become the latest casualty of the continued economic slump in the Far East.

The firm has confirmed that it is scaling back its five-strong Hong Kong operation to just a representative office, maintaining only its managing principal Douglas Smith.

At the beginning of last year the firm had 12 lawyers based in Hong Kong and it has gradually been reducing that number.

Stikeman London managing principal Shawna Miller blamed the economic downturn for the decision, but said the four assistants affected by it have all been offered positions at Atlanta-based Troutman Saunders.

Last week The Lawyer revealed that US firm Bryan Cave was undertaking a full-scale review of its Far East practice, which is expected to result in a significant downsizing of its Hong Kong office (first revealed on, 5 January).

Meanwhile, a number of North American firms have either abandoned or significantly scaled back their Hong Kong operations. Last year, for example, US firm Dewey Ballantine shut the doors on its Hong Kong base and Cravath Swaine & Moore also abandoned its Hong Kong operation.