Freshfields sends heavyweight litigators to Asia in practice push

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has moved to strengthen its Asian disputes practice by sending two of its most senior litigation and arbitration partners to Hong Kong.

New York arbitration partner Lucy Reed, co-head of the global international arbitration group, is set to transfer to the firm’s Hong Kong office in May alongside London partner Geoff Nicholas, who heads the international commercial disputes group and co-heads the global investigations practice. Nicholas will make the move in the summer, although the exact timing is not yet confirmed.

The pair will be joined by Washington DC senior associate John Warren, who is set to move to Hong Kong imminently. He focuses on while collar crime and investigations.

New York arbitration associate Nicholas Lingard, meanwhile, will transfer to the Tokyo office in May at the same time as Reed moves to Hong Kong.

London-based disputes head Christopher Pugh said the firm was looking to expand its Asian litigation and investigations footprint and that it was a radical move in the market to send senior disputes figures to the region.

The move mirrors Freshfields’ decision to send competition partner Jenny Connolly and corporate partner Simon Weller to China last year (21 April 2011).

The firm has said it is considering re-opening in Singapore, a key arbitration hub, as one of number of options for Asian expansion. It shut down the office in 2007 and relocated the remaining partners to Hong Kong (21 September 2006).

Last year rival Linklaters announced it was transferring three senior European corporate partners to Asia, including global M&A co-head Matthew Middleditch (10 October 2011).