Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard To Exit Hong Kong, Relocate To Singapore

HONG KONG – After opening its office in the Chinese territory in 2012, Addleshaw Goddard is poised to shutter its Hong Kong branch in September 2022 upon the expiration of its office lease here, reported International on Thursday evening (26 May, SGT).

The law firm’s Hong Kong office, which employs 20 attorneys including seven partners, was told about the closure on Monday, 23 May.

Addleshaw Goddard Hong Kong’s partners include Head of Asia Bob Charlton, in addition to Janie Wong, Ivan Chang, Lance Jiang, Daniel Wan, Ronald Sum, and Agnes Wong. All of them provide advice regarding equity capital markets, as well as corporate and litigation matters.

The law firm revealed that some of its attorneys will transfer to its offices in Singapore, Dubai, or London, and arrangements for the relocations are ongoing.

“No firm likes to withdraw from jurisdictions which it has previously identified as important to it, but having carefully considered our position in Hong Kong and the unique set of challenges we face there, we do not feel that renewing our lease, whilst continuing to hope for a dramatic change in outlook, is something we can economically justify,” said Addleshaw Goddard’s Managing Partner John Joyce.

“Today’s news does not change our desire to invest and grow in the markets and sectors that are important to our clients. A clear Asia strategy remains a key requirement for our business and we will revert to a ‘best friend’ approach going forward in order to serve client needs in Hong Kong. We continue in Singapore and will look to build out that office as our key presence for Asia,” he added.

The law firm already has a Singapore office and it has been investing in that outlet’s growth. In 2019, they hired construction partner Chau Ee Lee in Singapore from the Beijing office of King & Wood Mallesons. In the same year, Addleshaw Goddard also brought in the present Head in the city-state, Ton van den Bosch, who joined from legacy Ince & Co.

Addleshaw Goddard is not the first global law firm to pivot its focus in Asia to Singapore. McDermott Will & Emery relaunched in Asia via Singapore a year after closing its China office. It has since hired reputable attorneys from Sidley Austin, King & Spalding, Latham & Watkins, and Herbert Smith Freehills.

In 2021, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe announced it was launching a Singapore office 12 months after shuttering its Hong Kong branch. Some law firms have also shuttered their Hong Kong office in the past few years, while many law firm partners have moved out of the Chinese territory.

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