A Passage to China

You can’t take your eye off the Asian market for one day without another UK firm trying to muscle its way in.

The most recent firm to bulk up Down Under is Ashurst, which has just confirmed a tie-up with Australian independent Blake Dawson (see story). Blakes has six offices across Australia as well offices in Shanghai, Singapore, Port Moresby, Tokyo and an associated office in Jakarta.

Blakes will re-brand as Ashurst but the joint operation will not include Blakes’ Australia offices until 2014 and only then if the full merger is voted through by both partnerships. Confusing, no?

Rumours of talks between the two firms have been doing the rounds since at least March – but then, it probably took the two firms that long to hammer out their convoluted deal.

Perhaps rebelling against the one-way nature of East-West stories in the legal press at the moment, China’s second largest firm by headcount, Yingke, has unveiled plans for a London launch (see story). The firm also has plans to expand in Hong Kong, the US, Japan, Australia, Singapore and the Middle East – all in the coming year, too.

That sounds like a lot of launches in one year, but then Yingke isn’t going to achieve its aim of becoming ’China’s Baker & McKenzie’ by sitting around and watching the world go by, is it?

Of course, a much easier way of becoming China’s Baker & McKenzie, would be just to merge with Baker & McKenzie.


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Also on TheLawyer.com: Linklaters coughs up a cool £13m to settle a
longstanding professional negligence claim brought by a former client; A&O turns its back on a potential Canadian launch to focus on Oz; and the phone-hacking saga continues as Andy Coulson hires DLA Piper to launch a High Court claim against his former employer, News International.