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PwC launches Hong Kong legal practice

PwC has launched a Hong Kong legal practice with hires from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) and O’Melveny & Myers.

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The move has involved the establishment of a new independent Hong Kong firm, Tiang & Co, which has entered into an association with PwC’s Singapore licensed foreign law practice, PwC Legal International.

Philippine boutique firm launches NYC office

Manila-based boutique Gulapa Law Office (G-Law) has opened a satellite office in Manhattan, New York City, through its affiliate Gulapa & Baclay.G-Law is the first Philippine-based firm to open an office in New York.

It advises on general corporate, infrastructure, government contracts, dispute resolution, tax and IP, among others.

Managing owner Aris Gulapa, resident partner Oliver Baclay, Jr., and of counsel Licelle Conrador are part of the new office’s legal team.

Ogletree Deakins expands European operation

The US law firm has hired a team in Paris, adding to its London and Berlin practices.

Gibson Dunn posts rising revenues for 21st consecutive year

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher saw revenue surpass $1.6bn (£1.3bn) in 2016, while profits per equity partner grew by nearly 3% as the firm continues to build on two decades of growth.

Chairman and managing partner Ken Doran described 2016 as an “active” and “fabulous” year for Gibson Dunn, adding that it was the firm’s 21st consecutive year of revenue growth and the 20th consecutive year of increased profits.

ES and HSF advise on $2.6bn Chinese investments in Abu Dhabi oil venture

Eversheds Sutherland (ES) and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) have advised two Chinese energy companies on their combined $2.6bn (£2.1bn) investment in a joint venture with state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

Abu Dhabi Skyline, United Arab Emirates

In a deal announced on 19 February, state-owned China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) – one of the three top oil producers in China – agreed to pay $1.76bn (£1.4bn) for an 8% stake in the $22bn (£17.5bn) Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations concession.

LawManlia

Harvey Law Group expands in Asia via new Manila office

Canada-based firm Harvey Law Group (HLG) has opened an office in the Philippines that is expected to offer immigration and business legal services to corporations and individuals.

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Located in business hub Makati City, the new branch will have a 10-member team and replaces HLG’s eight-year-old representative office in Pasig City.

HLG’s other areas of expertise includes commercial law, contracts, naturalisation and citizenship. “Our new office in Manila reflects the firm’s continuing commitment to the Philippines as well as Asia’s growing role in the global economy,” said managing partner Jean François Harvey, in a statement.

Established in 1992, HLG has offices across the globe, including Montreal, Hong Kong, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok.

NewYork

Allen & Overy continues finance drive in the US with PH hires

Allen & Overy (A&O) has continued to drive its US finance team with the hire of a three-partner team from Paul Hastings.

The magic circle firm made headlines last year as it broke lockstep for the first time through the recruitment of four finance partners from White & Case and Proskauer Rose.

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The new hires from Paul Hastings expand A&O’s leveraged finance capabilities in New York and take partner numbers to 12.

The team is led by Paul Hastings former head of leveraged finance Bill Schwitter, alongside partners Michael Chernick and Jeffrey Pellegrino.

Schwitter joins A&O as its co-head of global high yield and head of US private equity.

A&O has been on a recruitment drive in the US, also hiring Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft partners Gregory Mocek and Anthony Mansfield in Washington DC.

It did, however, lose its US senior partner Kevin O’Shea last year for Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy along with two real estate partners from the firm.

Hong Kong

Ashurst Hong Kong exits continue as project finance partner joins DLA Piper

Matthias Schemuth leaves firm after nine years for move to DLA Piper.

Ashurst has seen another departure from its Hong Kong office, with project finance partner Matthias Schemuth leaving for DLA Piper.

Schemuth, who is joining DLA in Hong Kong, advises lenders and sponsors on projects in the oil and gas, petrochemical and mining sectors. In 2014, he led the team representing a consortium of Japanese and Korean export credit agencies and commercial lenders on a $2.8bn (£2.2bn) liquefied natural gas project in Indonesia.

White House considering writing ‘brand new’ immigration order

President Trump has said that he is considering rewriting his executive order temporarily barring refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country, indicating that the administration may try to quickly restore some aspects of the now-frozen travel ban or replace it with other measures.

Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he would probably wait until Monday or Tuesday to take any action, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said several options — including taking the case to the Supreme Court — were still on the table.

Trump hinted that the ongoing legal wrangling might move too slowly for his taste, though he thought he would ultimately prevail in court.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled unanimously Thursday that Trump’s travel ban should remain suspended, allowing people previously barred to continue entering the United States. While the judges were deciding only whether national security concerns necessitated immediately reinstating the ban — and not whether it could ultimately pass constitutional muster — their ruling put the future of Trump’s order in doubt.

White House and Justice Department officials began mulling several options as new Attorney General Jeff Sessions was briefed on the matter. They could rewrite the order in hopes that modifications would help it pass legal muster. They could ask the Supreme Court or the full 9th Circuit to intervene immediately. Or they could wage a battle in the lower courts, hoping that judges considering more squarely whether the issue ran afoul of the Constitution would land on Trump’s side.

On Friday, the White House injected an element of confusion when an official told reporters that the administration would not seek Supreme Court intervention, only to take it back and be contradicted by Priebus minutes later. Meanwhile, a 9th Circuit judge, without prompting, called for a vote to determine whether the entire court should rehear the case. The court asked for briefs from those involved in the case by Thursday.

 

 

Tokyo

EY Law appoints Japan managing partner from Freshfields

EY Law has hired Junzaburo Kiuchi as managing partner in Japan from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Tokyo office. Kiuchi’s practice covers M&A, private equity, restructuring and general corporate matters.

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He has broad experience in capital markets, acting for Japanese clients on secondary listings and offerings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Kiuchi joined Freshfields in 2000, starting as an associate, moving on to a senior counsel role and then becoming a partner in 2007.EY Law also recently added Kelly Ho to Lin and Associates. Its member firm in Hong Kong, to lead the corporate and capital market teams.