The Asian legal market has been just about the lone bright spot in the global market for legal services in the last few years, but now it looks like continued global economic sluggishness may be catching up with law firms in the region. According to Legal Week, the latest sign of bad news is Allen & Overy making cuts to its Hong Kong partnership as it seeks to reduce its local partner ranks:
“The magic circle firm confirmed that it has asked four partners to leave, with the group understood to include partners from both transactional and disputes teams, while one further real estate partner has left the firm to set up his own practice.
The departures represent almost one-fifth of the firm’s partner headcount in Hong Kong, which currently stands at around 25. However, the firm said that none of its 80 Hong Kong associates will be affected by the partner exits.
Other recent changes in A&O’s Hong Kong office have included one partner retirement at the end of April, while corporate partner Vivian Yiu was made up in the firm’s promotions round earlier this year.
An A&O spokesperson said the role of Hong Kong as a regional hub has changed for the firm, which has grown its Asia headcount by 60% in the last four years. The magic circle firm announced last month that it is set to launch in Vietnam later this year, while it also last year entered the Indonesia market via an exclusive association agreement with Jakarta’s Ginting & Reksodiputro.”
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Nevertheless, this should not be taken as an alarm signaling a wave of redundancies as have been seen in the West since 2007, so have a look at what’s on offer for lawyers in Asia at Law Alliance.