Morning Briefing: BLP to expand Asia footprint

Berwin Leighton Paisner has announced its intention to expand its Asia footprint with a new office in Myanmar… Allen & Overy leadership contenders named… Offshore firm wins Asia-Pac award… New UK top 20 firm could be created…

BLP to expand Asia footprint
Berwin Leighton Paisner has announced its intention to expand its Asia footprint with a new office in Myanmar. The new office will build on the firm’s others in Asia, in Hong Kong and Singapore, and will bring its total number of international offices to fourteen. The new office will be led by former Baker & McKenzie Yangon managing partner Chris Hughes. Hughes is Australian and UK qualified and has a broad corporate background.
BLP’s head of Asia Bob Charlton commented that Myanmar is an important emerging market and highlighted that the legal market in the country is growing. BLP began a partnership in the country with local firm Legal Network Consultants in 2014 but this relationship is not affected by the news with the two firms sharing work whenever necessary.
Allen & Overy leadership contenders named
There’s still a few weeks until the formal nominations are announced but some names have emerged as potential leaders at Allen & Overy. Senior partner David Morley and global managing partner Wim Dejonghe’s terms at the firm are coming to an end and they will not be eligible for re-election to their existing roles. Dehonghe can stand for the senior partner role however and would likely face Tim House, global head of disputes; and Stephen Kensell, global co-head of banking. The global managing partner election is likely to include Andrew Trahair, to other banking leader; Andrew Ballheimer, global co-head of corporate; or Michael Castle, a banking partner. 
Offshore firm wins Asia-Pac award
One of the largest offshore firms in Hong Kong has won the Asia Transformation and Turnaround Award. Harneys won in the legal services category for its work for Titan Resources. Harneys has been in Hong Kong for ten years this year.
New UK top 20 firm could be created
There is speculation that two UK firms are considering merging to form a new UK top 20 law firm. Irwin Mitchell and Thomas Eggar are the two firms rumoured to be in talks although neither have confirmed or denied the reports. Irwin Mitchell has been expanding in the last three years with the acquisition of six firms and has been linked with a possible stock market listing.

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