Orrick Opens Singapore Office

Global Law Firm Orrick Opens Singapore Office After Exiting Hong Kong

SINGAPORE – Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe announced on Friday that it intends to open an office in Singapore following the closure of its workspace in rival financial hub Hong Kong in 2020, reported Reuters on Saturday (21 August).

The multinational law firm revealed that it has been considering the relocation of its office to Singapore. Its energy and infrastructure Sector Leader Blake Winburne said they have been “investigating and looking for the right opportunity in Singapore for over two years.”

Winburne explained that in Singapore, they have a chance to grow a business that is much more integrated into Orrick on a global basis compared to its Hong Kong office, which is more focused on catering to customers there, and not much else.

“Markets change. Smart businesses look for those opportunities and change with the market,” Winburne justified.

“Over the last 15 years, Singapore has become a much more significant player in the region in terms of legal services, where Hong Kong is less of a legal hub for the region than it was 15-20 years ago.”

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s relocation to Singapore comes as other firms have been mulling to exit Hong Kong over the challenging situation there for American companies.

In July, the Biden administration warned American firms about the risk of operating in the Chinese territory due to the national security law. Because of this law, companies are at risk of electronic surveillance without warrants and could be forced to surrender corporate and customer information to government officials.

Nonetheless, not all multinational corporations (MNCs) are considering to leave Hong Kong. UBS AG, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and other global financial firms are hiring hundreds of staff in the city this year – a testament to Hong Kong’s unique position as China’s financial gateway.

Meanwhile, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s push into Singapore will be led by Jon Thursby, a former partner at Watson Farley & Williams who joined Orrick as a partner in its energy & infrastructure practice.

Thursby’s practice focuses on development and the building of large-scale renewables projects in Asia, including offshore wind power plants such as the US$3 billion Changfang and Xidao project in Taiwan.

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