Denton Hall appointment beefs up Asia-based team

Denton Hall is to boost its legal team in Asia by sending one of its top partners to spearhead its Asian practice.

David Moroney, head of the firm's energy group, has been appointed head of projects, Asia, in an effort to capitalise on work flowing from governments keen to develop infrastructure and private utilities.

The move is an attempt to localise knowledge and services in Asian offices and to ensure that more Asian specialists are resident in the region.

Moroney said only 80 per cent of infrastructure and utilities work is currently handled by lawyers based in Asia, with the remainder tackled by those on secondment from London. One of his key tasks is to co-ordinate work for Asian specialists who live in the region.

Another task for Moroney on his arrival next month at his new base, Denton Hall's Singapore office, will be to double the number of partners and fee earners based there.

“I think there will still be a role for lawyers who intend to stay just for a couple of years, but I think we will be looking at recruiting more locally trained people,” he says.

Moroney can call on around eight solicitors based in Beijing, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, with specific expertise in advising on the authority of government regulations surrounding privatisation, and contracts drawn up in the fields of oil, gas, private power, electricity restructuring, mining, telecoms and property development.

His appointment is part of a trend which has seen London-based firms develop and co ordinate localised networks of offices in Asia which can effectively stand alone from their head offices.

Linklaters & Paines sent Andrew Carmichael to head up Asian capital markets in the summer, while last autumn, Freshfields appointed its first managing partner for the firm's Asian network.

Both firms wished to treat their Asian offices more as a stand-alone operation, less reliant on London.

Denton Hall's foreign interests are also reinforced by the appointment of Lynn McCaw, a Canadian by birth, who practised there for eight years.

McCaw joins from Nabarro Nathanson, where she worked on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, particularly in North America. McCaw says she left Nabarros because there were “no big deals for me to get my teeth into”.