Bird & Bird is not planning to replace Julian Courtney-Stubbs, its outgoing head of the Asia corporate practice.

Hong Kong-based Courtney-Stubbs is to leave the firm early next year to join Sydney-based Gilbert & Tobin.

“We had been aware of Courtney-Stubbs’ plans to move to Australia for some time,” explained Bird & Bird partner and head of communications, media and technology (CMT) in Hong Kong and China Marcus Vass.

Vass added that the “amicable and open” nature of the Courtney-Stubbs move allowed the firm to prepare itself and reshuffle its Asian offering to accommodate the move without having to replace the practice head.

Vass explained that two partners, Beijing-based Grace Chen and Courtney-Stubbs, had overseen the commercial and corporate work in Asia. After the departure of Courtney-Stubbs, he said the role will be “broadly shared” by himself and Chen.

As reported on www. (22 October), Courtney-Stubbs will be joining Gilbert following the firm’s assault on its local rivals, which also saw it snare two corporate partners from Minter Ellison’s Sydney office and two partners, one each in IP and litigation, from Freehills.