Slaughters ponders US law blitz in East Asia

By Jonathan Ames

24 September 2012 at 13:25 BST

English magic circle firm Slaughter and May is considering launching a US law offering in Hong Kong, media reports from London suggest today.

Eddy Galeotti/

The Lawyer newspaper cites ‘well placed’ sources as claiming the firm is actively sniffing around for US-qualified lawyers for all its overseas operations as part of a strategic review – but with a current emphasis on the former British colony.

Market changes

One of the newspaper’s sources said the review was ‘triggered by the significant changes in the market’, pointing out that ‘in the past year, a number of US firms have moved on to take on Hong Kong law capabilities’.
Illustrating the point, The Lawyer points out that Cleary Gottlieb, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Sullivan & Cromwell are all US firms that have recently launched Hong Kong practices.

Traditionally English

Slaughters is viewed as perhaps the most traditionally English of the magic circle crop, having a reputation for recruiting partners from the cream of the country’s private schools an ancient universities. It has also steadfastly maintained its position as an ‘independent’ firm, eschewing a network of worldwide offices in favour of a ‘best friends’ network of likeminded practices.
However, there is now speculation that the firm will have to tackle the booming far east market head on. Nonetheless, The Lawyer reports its source as saying ‘the firm is committed to remain independent, and we will strive to strengthen our international network model and ensure it’s well understood among our relationship firms and clients ...’


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