Linklaters' Thai office thrown into doubt

Linklaters & Paines is planning to open an office in Thailand – but the move has been jeopardised by the economic crisis in the country.

Linklaters managing partner Terence Kyle said his firm had been looking at an office in Thailand for quite some time but was now deciding whether it would still be viable.

“Obviously the upsets in the market have led to our plans being reviewed,” he said.

But Kyle emphasised that the opening of the office was by no means ruled out.

“Sometimes there are more opportunities for law firms in these situations,” he said.

“And while the Thai capital markets have gone to sleep, project finance is still certainly a goer.”

Kyle also said that while it would be easy to send UK lawyers to Thailand, his firm was unwilling to open in the country unless it could find quality local lawyers with plenty of experience.

Linklaters has been linked with Chris King, a well-known international lawyer in the region who is a partner at Thai firm International Legal Consultants Thailand.

Kyle confirmed Linklaters did have close links with the firm and said its position as one of the biggest Thai firms would make it an obvious recruiting ground for Linklaters.

James Lawden, a partner at Freshfields' Bangkok office, said the economic slowdown had not led to a drop-off in business at his firm.”Work levels remain high, although we can see a downturn if no decisive action is taken by the Thai government on the economy.”