Law firms’ merger goes live, Asia eyed for expansion
The combination of UK-based law firm Wragge Lawrence Graham with Canada’s Gowlings has gone live with the launch of Gowling WLG. Its new website hails the arrival of a law firm “built on the belief that the best way to serve you is to be in tune with your world, aligned with your opportunity and ambitious for your success.” The firm’s international coverage includes 18 offices and more than 1,400 legal professionals.
Although Gowling WLG has offices in China and Singapore, there is more expansion ahead. The firm is eyeing east Asia as a key area but there are no specific plans for Australia or New Zealand currently, with partners in London and Canada listed as the key contacts for both countries.
HSF reports strong outlook for Asia-Pac M&A
There are challenges ahead in the Asia-Pacific M&A market but the outlook is broadly positive. That’s the message from the latest review by Herbert Smith Freehills. Head of corporate for Australia, Andrew Pike, noted that there were “sustained activity levels throughout the year - particularly in Australia, China, Hong Kong and South Korea - and a number of multi-billion mega deals helping to push the total value of announced deals to over US$1 trillion.”
While equity and commodity markets may remain volatile, other circumstances such as a lower Aussie dollar will bring increased interest in the region. Technology, media and telecoms are expected to see increases in deals and IPOs while financials, property and energy sectors are also viewed by the law firm as heading for significant deal flows this year.
Squire Patton Boggs grows with acquisition
Squire Patton Boggs has acquired a San Francisco-based law firm with offices in Hong Kong. Carroll Burdick is focused on complex litigation and risk management and, while it is small with just 50 lawyers, it brings strength to the larger firm’s capabilities. The combination is due to become effective in March subject to regulatory approvals and Carroll Burdick will be integrated into the Squire Patton Boggs business.
HSBC legal spend hit US$1.65 billion last year
Global bank HSBC, once headquartered in Asia but now London-based, had a legal spend of US$1.65 billion in 2015 according to its newly released accounts. The bank’s costs escalated as it was forced to reach settlements with regulators over allegations of foreign exchange manipulation for which it was advised by law firm Locke Lord. There was also a large cost associated with compensating consumers in the UK for mis-selling of payment protection insurance.