Dobson has worked in Asia for more than 20 years and specialises predominantly in cross-border M&A, although he also handles finance work.
Thailand is renowned for its restructuring work, particularly in the wake of the Asian crisis, but Dobson will continue to focus on M&A for both domestic and international clients.
Bangkok managing partner Simon Makinson says the corporate practice is continuing to grow.
“The restructuring work is there because people are short of money, so they are either restructuring or raising more debt,” he says. “But the other way is to sell yourself and get more money into the company. So the increase has come about because of the economic crisis.”
Dobson says: “The move was lifestyle-driven and the question of what work I was going to do was not relevant. But I’m going back to doing something that I enjoy doing – delivering a high-end product.”
He refuses to go into specifics about clients, but does concede: “I’d hope that, over my 20 years here [in Asia], I’ll have enough connections to be able to attract clients.”
Dobson, who is qualified to practise in Hong Kong as well as in the UK, has spent most of his time in the region as a partner with leading Hong Kong firm Deacons. In 1991 he moved to Bangkok, where he spent three years establishing and managing the firm’s operation, before moving back to Hong Kong for a further two years. In 1996 he quit to join shipping and insurance expert Clyde & Co’s Hong Kong operation.
A&O’s Ban-gkok office has seven partners, including five who are qualified to practise Thai law. Dobson will join as a senior consultant.