Hammonds Hong Kong to break away ahead of Squire Sanders merger

Hammonds’ Hong Kong office will split from the firm ahead of its merger with Squire Sanders & Dempsey.

The six partners and seven lawyers in the Hong Kong office told Hammonds’ management on 24 November that they did not want to continue as part of the firm. It is not yet known whether the Hong Kong lawyers will spin off to create a new practice or join another firm.

The tie-up between Hammonds and Squires Sanders will go live on 1 January 2011.

A joint statement from the firms read: “As is common with large law firm combinations, even in circumstances such as ours where the vast majority of the voting partnership approved the combination, a small handful of partners in Hong Kong have taken the view that they don’t want to be part of a fully integrated global firm with established offices throughout China and have decided to leave.

“We wish them well. Regardless of this, the merger has significantly strengthened our ability to serve clients across the globe, and the collective energy of our two legacy firms is focused on the successful integration across our platform, including Asia.”

The departures will not deprive the firm of a presence in the region: Squires Sanders has a four-partner office in Hong Kong.

Earlier this month, more than 90 per cent of both firms’ partners voted in favour of the merger, which will create a 1,275-lawyer firm with a turnover of $625m.