Law Firm Baker Botts Closes HK Office
HONG KONG – Baker Botts, one of the top 65 law firms in the United States, is poised to shutter its office in the Chinese territory by the end of this year, ending its presence in Asia, according to a recent report from The Global Legal Post.
The looming closure of the law firm’s office in Hong Kong comes as its other office in the region in Beijing had ceased operations in October 2021. That office had 8 attorneys including 5 partners.
Notably, Russell Wilkinson, Baker Botts’ last resident partner in Hong Kong, is poised to join DLA Piper. His resignation follows that of the law firm’s lead partner in the city and in Beijing, Michael Arruda, who departed at the end of 2020 to serve as a senior counsel for King & Spalding in Tokyo.
“We have been carefully considering the Hong Kong market for some time and following the announced reorganisation of our approach in Asia last year, we have decided to close the office,” said Baker Botts.
Previously, the Houston-based law firm ventured into Hong Kong in 2005 to cater to the energy sector as well as private equity customers seeking cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A) across Asia, especially in China. The firm also represented clients in international arbitration in the region including in Singapore and Hong Kong.
The law firm announced that it plans to continue to serve Asian firms and multinational corporations (MNCs) doing business in the region. It also said that it is “considering additional markets where the scale of the firm’s Asia practice can be expanded.”
In 2020, Osborne Clarke, a law firm based in the UK that focuses on the tech industry also closed its office in Hong Kong, likewise for American law firm Orrick.
Meanwhile, McDermott Will & Emery regained a physical presence in Asia when it established an office in Singapore in September.