Hogan Lovells is the latest firm to set its sights on an Australian launch, confirming that it has held “informal meetings” with firms in the region.
Responding to The Lawyer, the firm issued a statement, which read: “We’ve had very informal meetings with a number of firms to assist us in setting our direction in the Australian and Asia markets.”
No details have been given about Hogan Lovells’ plans in Australia, and it is unclear whether it is looking for a merger, a tie-up or a greenfield operation. London litigator and Asia managing partner Crispin Rapinet is responsible for the firm’s strategy in the region.
Hogan Lovells already has comprehensive coverage in Asia, with offices in Beijing, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Ulaanbaatar.
But according to sources in Australia, a booming resources-based economy and the entrance of Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance into the market has left firms questioning whether they are missing out by not having presences there.
Since Christmas the Australian legal market has been rife with talk about firms from Canada, the UK and US holding talks with local firms. Most recently The Lawyer revealed (16 May) that Herbert Smith was considering a move into the jurisdiction.