In the past month, Singapore has once again turned out to be the most active lateral market among all the major Asia jurisdictions. International players such as Watson Farley, Herbert Smith Freehills and Stephenson Harwood made serious partner hires in the city-state, while a few local Singapore boutiques such as Incisive Law, Meritus Law and Donaldson & Burkinshaw also expanded by acquiring senior partners or establishing alliance relationships with foreign firms.


The Indian legal market is also becoming particularly active. Major players such as Trilegal, Luthra & Luthra and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas are hiring at partner level, and last month also recorded two local Indian firm mergers, namely, BTG-Advaya and JSA-CLA.


The China lateral market continued to be dominated by PRC law firms who continue their domestic and overseas expansions, and it is interesting to note that Kirkland’s global annual partnership promotion includes nine in Hong Kong and Shanghai offices. Bird & Bird also announced their brand-new Shenzhen office in September, following Holman Fenwick and Morgan Lewis’ launch in the city earlier this year.


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Shawn Chen


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