Hong Kong not wrong

This year birds will fly north for the winter, Slaughter and May will look to hire US lawyers in Hong Kong and cats will start barking at cars.

To be honest, two of those statements are untrue. But after The Lawyer’s revelation that the UK’s most prestigious and conservative law firm is considering branching out and adding US law capability to its roster of services in Hong Kong, all bets are off.

The news comes after one of Slaughters’ best friends, Davis Polk & Wardwell, moved to establish local law capability in jurisdictions like Hong Kong and London (6 January 2012). As a result, Slaughter and May has been drawn into the ugly spectacle of competition, and will look at whether it too should hire US-qualified lawyers in Hong Kong and other countries.

This, of course, raises the possibility that the firm will be forced to make lateral partner hires to bring on board the talent it requires. At that point we really will be in uncharted territory. In fact, this event has popped up as one of the precursors to the end of days on the Mayan calendar.

In all seriousness, Slaughter and May making a lateral partner hire does raise an interesting question of form: will the new recruit be entitled to receive the same silver napkin ring that is presented to every partner made up from within the firm?


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