DLA Piper revamps Asia management with added US focus

DLA Piper has unveiled a major overhaul of its management structure in Asia in a bid to increase the integration between the Asia offices and its US partnership.

The firm has installed a newly created Asia advisory committee, consisting of global co-chief executive officer Terry O’Malley and Americas co-chair Jay Rains, both based in San Diego, and Australia managing partner Andrew Darwin.

The new US-led committee will take over the leadership responsibility from current Asia Pacific managing director Bob Charlton. Charlton will step down from the partnership to take up a consulting role as a special supervisor to the Asia committee.

All three members of the committee will continue to reside in their current offices but spend more time in Asia.

DLA Piper Global is a Swiss Verein and has two financially separate partnerships in the UK and US. The Asia and Australian offices are currently part of the UK partnership.

The management for the firm’s Asia and Australia offices have undergone tremendous changes in recent years. In April last year, DLA named London-based EMEA finance and projects group head Bob Charlton as Asia Pacific managing director in Hong Kong, succeeding Alastair da Costa who retired from the partnership to take up a consultant role at the firm back in the UK (3 April 2012).

In Australia, DLA Piper sent former London managing partner Andrew Darwin to Sydney as the new Australia managing partner in March (7 January 2013). He took over the role from predecessor Tony Holland, who became chairman but later left to join Gilbert + Tobin (31 October 2013).

Since the leadership change, there has been a string of partner departures in Asia (6 September 2013) and Australia (8 November 2013). 

DLA Piper confirmed the transition of leadership responsibility for Asia to the Asia committee and a spokesperson said: “The Asia Committee will work closely with the Asia management and other partners to develop the practice across the region. This is an important step in the development of our Asia Practice as we aim to create the leading global business law firm in Asia.”

It is understood that the new committee will try to build up the Asia offices’ US capability through both lateral hires and secondments.

According to The Lawyer Asia Pacific 150, DLA Piper had 250 lawyers across seven offices in Asia in 2012 with an estimated revenue of £70m, 4.5 per cent of its total global revenue in the financial year 2012/13.