Mayer Brown set for Hong Kong launch

Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw (MBRM) is to imminently open a Hong Kong office, getting the full Chinese legal offering that it has conspicuously lacked up until now, The Lawyer can reveal.

Likely to open by January, it will be a fully-fledged MBRM office rather than a consulting office, such as the firm currently offers in Beijing and Shanghai.

It is understood that London corporate partner Stephen Bottomley will be parachuted in to start up the office, although it is unclear whether or not he will be local managing partner.

Sources within the 1,534-lawyer firm said the office would have an initial corporate and banking and finance capability, hopefully expanding into other areas. Real estate and IP are understood to be particularly of interest. The hire of a prominent local finance partner is thought to be pending.

The firm said only: “Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw has submitted an application for a licence to the Hong Kong Law Society to set up an office in Hong Kong.” The application is yet to be approved.

MBRM has been hiring partners with China expertise for some time, most recently Washington DC-based trade partner Duane Layton and former Chinese foreign affairs ministry official Connie Wang.