Linklaters ties up Thai shop in Bangkok

LINKLATERS has finally set up shop in Bangkok, ending doubts over the move given Thailand's economic crisis.

The partnership cleared the opening at the end of December. A team of six UK and Thai lawyers has been put together for the start-up.

Chris King, identified by The Lawyer in September as the key lawyer being courted by Linklaters, heads the office, joining from local firm Legal Counsellors Thailand, where he had worked since 1969.

He said: “It was a wrench to leave the firm and I did not do it lightly. But I felt that it was time to do something different.”

The office will focus on Linklaters' main strengths in project finance and securities. King also noted that “there is the additional mix of corporate restructuring and recovery work”.

To bolster the English law side of the practice, London partner Charles Dunn will move to the Thai capital in April. Associate Nick Thwaites is being transferred shortly to join the office as a local partner.

The firm also plans to build a Thai legal capability, partly to satisfy rules requiring foreign firms to operate joint ventures with local outfits. But King noted: “We felt that the office would only work if we could put together the right team of senior Thai lawyers.”

Three local lawyers have joined the venture. Wilailuk Okanurak was previously with Freshfields and Thanathip Pichedvanichok with US firm Hunton & Williams. The third lawyer, Orapin Sreesangkom, joins from King's old firm.