There have been some mixed messages in Asia over the past week. First came Freshfields’ highly-anticipated relaunch in Singapore, confirming the city state’s importance. Then there was Clifford Chance’s shocking move to ask its Singapore capital markets associates to take voluntary sabbaticals, responding to a drop in demand in the market.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong some international firms are said to be exercising “stealth” downsizing – but Slaughter and May has reaffirmed its commitment to the jurisdiction, and is even thinking of hiring US lawyers to build up a US law capability there.
Many would jump to the conclusion that Asia’s bubble is about to burst. But we think it’s a time of change and certain adjustments need to be done. However, it’s a firm’s long-term commitment, patience and selective strategic decisions that will ultimately determine its fate in Asia.
Yun Kriegler, Asia editor
Slaughter and May is considering whether to add US law capability to its Hong Kong base by hiring US-qualified lawyers as part of its regular strategy review.
After I completed my Masters at NYU in 2002, I did a half-year attachment with Weil Gotshal & Manges in New York. It was an enriching experience, and I was able to get an overview of the US bankruptcy regime. That continues to be useful to this day, particularly in cross-border insolvency or restructuring cases.
As UBS’s first Asia-Pacific general counsel, Kevin Wilkey is rekindling his love affair with Hong Kong, a land of opportunity and increasing competition
COUNTRY REPORT: SINGAPORE
The Singapore government is opening the door to international firms and developing the lion city as a centre of arbitration
Translating Slaughter and May’s European best friends approach to Asia-Pacific faces major challenges