Bryan Cave benefits as Blank Rome exits Hong Kong

Bryan Cave has hired two partners in Hong Kong from US rival Blank Rome, which has recently closed an office in the city.

The two partners that have joined Bryan Cave’s Hong Kong office are corporate partner Kristi Swartz and commercial litigation partner Nigel Binnersley. Both were previously partners at Blank Rome’s Hong Kong office, where Swartz was also the former managing partner.

Their move was partially connected to Blank Rome’s decision to consolidate its Asia practice in Shanghai, which led to the formal closure of its Hong Kong office on 27 July.

“After just over two full years of operation, our Shanghai office has quickly emerged to play a vital role in our ability to service clients globally, and continues to have a positive impact on the Firm’s revenues,” said Alan Hoffman, Blank Rome’s co-chairman and managing partner, in a statement. “In response to client needs and local economic forecasts, we determined that Blank Rome will remain focused on China from its Shanghai office while we look to expand further in the United States and elsewhere in the world.”

Blank Rome opened its first Asia office in 2006 when it acquired 23-lawyer maritime law firm Healy & Baillie, based in New York with an office in Hong Kong. The firm opened its second Asian office in Shanghai in 2011. It currently has three lawyers and support staff in Shanghai.

According to the firm, its Hong Kong office most recently had four lawyers each of whom has now located a position with another Hong Kong firm. The office also had paralegals, as well as other administrative staff members. It has worked closely with the Hong Kong based lawyers and staff over the last several months to ensure a smooth transition.

In addition to the two partners who moved to Bryan Cave, former shipping of counsel Conor Warde joined Clyde & Co’s Hong Kong office.