Watson Farley finalises Hong Kong launch plan

Watson Farley & Williams has recruited a partner from Goodwin Procter in Hong Kong as it finalises its plan to open an office in the city.

Michael Greville
Michael Greville

The firm has hired corporate finance partner Loretta Lau from Goodwin Procter’s Hong Kong office, which opened in 2008. Lau, who is qualified in Hong Kong and England, joined the US firm from Mayer Brown JSM in 2010.

Lau will work alongside Watson Farley asset finance partner Madeline Leong, who will relocate from Singapore to Hong Kong. They have established a local firm named Lau Leong & Co (LLC). Watson Farley plans to open a branch in Hong Kong that will form an association with LLC.

The firm said that it is in the final stages of applying for local regulatory approval, which it expects to receive from the Hong Kong Law Society in a few weeks’ time.

The Hong Kong office will be the UK firm’s third base in Asia, following Singapore and Bangkok. The firm launched into Singapore last October by establishing a joint venture with a local Singapore outlet (11 October 2011). Currently, the firm has 60 lawyers in Singapore and Bangkok.

The firm’s managing partner Michael Greville said in a statement: “As the economic activity in Asia has increased, the requirement for a complementary presence in Hong Kong, and direct access to mainland China, has emerged.

“Establishing a Hong Kong branch is therefore a significant strategic development for not only our Asia footprint the firm as a whole.”