The US law firm is set to close its office in Hong Kong
One of the top 65 US law firms Baker Botts is on the verge of closing its Hong Kong office this year-end. This would mean winding up its on-the-ground presence in Asia. The firm had shut in Beijing office comprising eight lawyers, including five partners, last year.
"We have been carefully considering the Hong Kong market for some time and following the announced reorganization of our approach in Asia last year, we have decided to close the office," the firm said in a statement.
However, it maintained that it would continue to work for Asian-based companies and multinationals operating in the region and was "considering additional markets where the scale of the firm's Asia practice could be expanded."
Baker opened in Hong Kong in 2005. With an emphasis on the energy industry, it offered corporate and private equity clients' cross-border mergers and acquisitions capabilities across Asia, particularly in China. The firm also represented parties on international arbitration in the region, including in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Baker maintains offices in London, Brussels, Moscow, Dubai and Riyadh, in addition to seven across the US, including its Houston headquarters.
Baker's last resident partner in Hong Kong, Russell Wilkinson has joined DLA Piper's finance, projects and restructuring practice in Hong Kong. He served as a senior partner at Baker for 15 years.
Wilkinson's practice focuses on the development, acquisition and financing of energy businesses and infrastructure and also the commercialization of energy resources.
His departure follows that of the firm's lead in Hong Kong and Beijing, Michael Arruda, who left the firm last year for a role as senior counsel at King & Spalding in Tokyo.