CMS has reversed its strategy in Hong Kong, opening an office there for the second time.
The firm had previously operated an insurance practice in Hong Kong but scaled back its focus in the region when it culled the office in 2003.
The cuts saw the firm abandon its fledgling four-associate Beijing practice and reduce its Hong Kong office to an insurance boutique. The move resulted in the loss of 40 lawyers in Asia. Insurance partner Tim Ingham led the Hong Kong practice before the office was closed.
CMS has now reopened its doors in Hong Kong in an attempt cash in on the region’s reputation as a global arbitration hub. The office will initially focus on dispute resolution and M&A work and will be led by partner Nicolas Wiegand, who works within the firm’s German arm CMS Hasche Sigle.
The German team initially entered the Hong Kong market in 2013 after becoming tenants in the Hong Kong Arbitration Chambers. Wiegand was one of five CMS Hasche Sigle lawyers that have split their time working in German and Hong Kong over the last three years.
Wiegand is also a partner in CMS’s international arbitration group. His experience includes advising German and Chinese clients in Hong Kong as well as advising local clients on their operations in Europe.
Although Hong Kong will focus on dispute resolution and M&A work the firm plans to add a banking and finance practice to the office in 2017.
CMS Hasche Sigle has been a major player in CMS’s international expansion. In 2010 the German member gave CMS its first office in China when the firm opened its doors in Shanghai.
In 2012 a joint venture between UK member CMS Cameron McKenna and CMS Hasche Sigle saw the firm return to Beijing. The office focuses on the life sciences sector and is led by UK IP life sciences head Nick Beckett.
This is the second office to be opened by CMS Hasche Sigle team this year after it opened an office in Iran. The Tehran office was opened two weeks after sanctions against the country were lifted by the US.
The Tehran office is led by partners Jürgen Frodermann and Shaghayegh Smousavi and will specialise in private equity and M&A transactions.