Am Law Daily’s First “Letter From Asia”

Two pieces of news in one here. First up .. this is the first story (that we’ve seen) filed by Incisive Media’s new correspondent on the ground in Hong Kong, Anthony Lin. His story concerns the fate of US / UK  law firms in an Asian legal market that isn’t quite as bullish as it was six months ago..

In his piece he talks about the fate of firms who decided to open an Asia office last year and then discovered massive changes in the market foisted upon them at high speed.


He writes by way of introduction:


Goodwin Procter is one of several U.S. and U.K. firms to launch Asia offices in recent months. Others include local rival Ropes & Gray, Ashurst, and Proskauer Rose. Dechert and Weil Gotshal & Manges opened Beijing offices last summer, mere months after both opened in Hong Kong as well. And Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher launched a Singapore office last May.

In most instances, the firms made their decisions amid rosy projections of continuing economic growth in the region. But the global financial crisis has made its way to Asia and newcomers must confront a different reality than the one they anticipated.
"Private equity investments definitely looked a lot better a year ago," acknowledges Rana, who specializes in representing funds seeking opportunities in India.

Whether the new arrivals will stay the course in the downturn is a much discussed topic among veteran Asia lawyers. Both the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the slump that accompanied the 2002 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) saw notable departures from the region.


Read the full article at :