Vinson & Elkins closes office in Beijing & unstaffed HK office

We haven’t been reporting all office closures in Asia by US firms as there simply isn’t enough time in the day to report on all issues arising from the effects of the pandemic . The fact that Vinson & Elkins are now closing their Beijing office illustrates a trend that is a triage of  politics, pandemic and trade issues. Who wants to guess how many US law firms will have offices in Beijung & Shanghai by the end of the year?

What about HK too ? reports…

Vinson & Elkins has shut down its Beijing office as the U.S. firm further retreats from Asia following a significant drop in oil and gas work in the region.

The firm has removed its Beijing office from its website, and the Hong Kong office is listed as “by appointment only” and has no resident lawyer.

V&E chairman Mark Kelly confirmed the closing of the Beijing office and said the Hong Kong office remains open, although the firm is evaluating its plans there going forward. The firm’s Taipei office closed in October 2018, he said.

“We continue to work for clients in a variety of industries in Asia,” Kelly said. “We remain committed to providing those clients the highest level of service and believe we are more than capable of doing so with our deep bench of lawyers positioned across our other global offices.”

In Asia, V&E still has an office in Japan. Outside of Asia, it has offices in Dubai, London and Riyadh, as well as in the U.S.

But the office closings are yet another step in Vinson & Elkins’s steady scaling back from an on-the-ground presence in Asia. According to data collected for the Asia 50 rankings, the firm had only 2 lawyers based in the Asia Pacific in 2018; that compared to 28 in 2013 and 39 in 2011.

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