More U.S. firms are joining their U.K. siblings in Hong Kong as Washington headquartered Akin Gump has announced an office opening in the growing Asian legal hub, according to law.com:
“Gregory Puff will lead the new office. Previously a mergers and acquisitions partner in the Hong Kong office of Shearman & Sterling, Puff last November advised the chief executive and majority owner of Chinese gaming company Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd. on a $690 million take-private transaction. A former Shearman associate, Puff rejoined that firm in 2008 from the Hong Kong office of O’Melveny & Myers, where he had been head of Asia M&A and had also worked as a partner in both Tokyo and New York.
Andrew Abernethy, who is joining Akin Gump from Norton Rose, focuses on M&A in the energy sector. He relocated to Hong Kong in 2010 from the Dubai office of Norton Rose. Abernethy joined the British firm as a partner in 2008 from New Zealand law firm Bell Gully, where he was also a partner.
Founded in Dallas but with its largest office now in Washington, D.C., 800-lawyer Akin Gump has previously only had a small Beijing office in the Asia-Pacific region. International managing partner Rick Burdick says the firm realized it was underweight in Asia, and that Hong Kong, the region’s largest financial center, was an especially critical destination.
‘It’s hard to have a China practice without being in Hong Kong,’ says Burdick. ‘It’s the New York of Asia, possibly the world.’”
Akin is also considering Seoul and following in the footsteps of Clifford Chance, but that last bit about Hong Kong is really becoming a reality as the SAR continues to produce the most available positions for lawyers working in Asia, many of which you can find at Law Alliance.
Thoughts on whose next?