The Legal 500

The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2014

The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2014

Now available: The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2014 in print and ebook formats (for iPad, iPhone and Kindle)

The full in-depth, comprehensive analysis of law firms across the Asia Pacific is available to view here - no registration or fee is required. The research can also be downloaded as a region-specific .epub or .mobi-formatted eBooks – ideal for use on Kindle, iPad, iPhone and Android/Blackberry readers.

eBooks

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Directory

Australia

AUSTRALIA

The continued volatility of the global financial climate and the changing dynamics of the mining and resources sector, as well as the continuing decline in the commodities prices, has had an impact on the Australian market. The latter is particularly significant for the country’s energy and resources driven economy.

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China

CHINA

The past year saw a general reduction in China-related M&A activity, with the weak global economy, the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and China’s leadership change all being contributing factors. The private equity sector in Greater China has also struggled in recent times, and the continued uncertainty in the global economy and shifting investment strategies have led to an increase in divestments by multinational companies and other foreign investors.

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Hong Kong

HONG KONG

After several years of fluidity, Hong Kong’s legal market remained fairly stable in 2012 and 2013. The preceding years involved a series of lateral partner moves, with Hong Kong qualified partners departing Magic Circle firms for US competitors. This was largely in the corporate and corporate finance sector, as US firms sought to exploit the buoyancy in the Hong Kong capital markets and an expectation that M&A, including People’s Republic of China (PRC) outbound acquisitions, would grow. However, since 2011, Hong Kong’s capital markets have been far from lively, particularly on the equity side. Even so, US firms such as Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP are clearly developing a greater market share and are eating into the traditional hegemony of Magic Circle practices such as Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters.

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Singapore

SINGAPORE

Singapore continues to develop as a regional hub for international law firms conducting business in Southeast Asia and beyond. A further four international firms were granted Qualified Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) licences over the last 12 months: Jones Day, Linklaters Singapore Pte. Ltd, Sidley Austin LLP, and Gibson Dunn. The licence, now held by ten firms, allows foreign law firms to practise in Singaporean commercial law.

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south-korea

SOUTH KOREA

South Korea’s domestic market remains sluggish, with lawyers reporting slim pickings on the M&A and capital markets fronts. In contrast, firms report an uptick in outbound transactions, and a marked increase in shipping finance. Also, more corporate private auctions are taking place as holding companies seek to sell off subsidiaries.

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Indonesia

INDONESIA

It has been a mixed picture for Indonesia during 2013. The jurisdiction has witnessed a period of relatively strong economic growth, political stability, rising domestic consumption and improved credit ratings, with its rich natural resources and growing consumer population making it an attractive foreign investment target.

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Japan

JAPAN

In Tokyo ‘Abe-nomics’ is the buzzword, and business confidence is back. Aggressive monetary easing by the Bank of Japan and massive economic stimulus spending saw the yen weaken against the dollar by 20% in early 2013 to $1:¥100 in a matter of months. In addition, the Nikkei 225 stock index rose 43% between January 2013 and May 2013. Although the weakening of the yen will result in more expensive overseas acquisitions, major exporters are looking abroad for investment opportunities. Southeast Asia is an area of focus, but so too is the US and Latin America.

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Malaysia

MALAYSIA

Three local firms – Christopher Lee & Co, Lee Ong & Kandiah and Kamilah & Chong – merged to form Christopher & Lee Ong in July 2013. The new firm, which has an association with major Singaporean player Rajah & Tann LLP, has strong energy, corporate and shipping capabilities.

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India

INDIA

The twin hubs of Mumbai and New Delhi remain the economic engine rooms of India and are consequently the primary locations of the majority of significant law firms in the market. Outside of those two cities Bangalore is another key centre for legal practice and, given the city’s reputation as ‘the Silicon Valley of India’, is the site of a good deal of venture capital and TMT work.

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New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND

Although the New Zealand market remains slow, Christchurch’s rebuild has boosted construction, and some lawyers predict mass migration into the country to satisfy future labour demand. Traditional transactional work is still thin, with private equity and capital markets fighting to plug the gap. In the aftermath of Shanghai Pengxin’s controversial Crafar Farms purchase, Asian investors are increasingly being drawn to the country, and particularly its world-leading agricultural industry. As trade with China and the rest of Asia rises, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts and DLA Phillips Fox are benefitting from their strong links to the market. National firms are increasingly focusing their energies on building up international capabilities.

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Sri Lanka

SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka’s economy has been recovering rapidly since the end of the civil war in 2009, and is now considered to be relatively buoyant.

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Pakistan

PAKISTAN

The accession of a new government in Pakistan signals a time of change for the legal market. Whereas uncertainty blighted many transactions and investments during late 2012 and the early part of 2013, many firms are looking forward to a more fruitful 2014, anticipating an increase in deal flow and foreign investment. With the new government announcing plans for a new privatisation programme, firms are also expecting an increased amount of work in this field.

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Phillipines

PHILIPPINES

The Philippines remains a bright spot in the global economy and has the highest GDP growth rate in Asia, reporting 6.8% growth in 2012, and 7.8% growth in the first quarter of 2013. With the economies of its two largest export partners Japan and the US, starting to send positive signals, this growth should hopefully continue, especially in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), manufacturing and mining.

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Thailand

THAILAND

Thailand’s legal scene is centred in Bangkok, which saw 2012 pass without major disruptions, allowing the economy to rebound significantly. The country’s stock market flourished in 2013, partly due to the loosening of regulations that govern stock listings, and led to an increased number of high-value IPOs.

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Taiwan

TAIWAN

Export-reliant Taiwan is recovering from depressed demand from Japan, its largest trading partner, and the rest of the developed world. Taiwan’s government, recognising that an international focus is the key to economic growth, introduced measures to encourage inward investment, including revising an unpopular capital gains tax that may have contributed to the stock market’s poor performance. Liberalisation of financial and trading arrangements with China increased cross-straits business. Taiwan signed a free trade agreement with New Zealand and is looking to reach a similar agreement with Singapore.

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Vietnam

VIETNAM

In 2012, economic growth reached a 13-year low in Vietnam, and the first two quarters of 2013 did not suggest any improvement. Financial gloom has been most apparent in the real estate and capital markets sectors, and in the construction space, the majority of projects remain on-hold across the country. However, more recent signs are encouraging and there is greater hope for the 2014 economic forecast. Foreign interest in the country remains high, and Vietnam continues to attract investment from around the region, particularly South Korea and Japan. Thailand’s decision to introduce a minimum wage has benefited its neighbour as companies have sought alternative markets for cheaper labour costs.

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Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to
  • Exempted Limited Partnership Law, 2014

    The Exempted Limited Partnership Law, 2014 (the New ELP Law ) has replaced the Exempted Limited Partnership Law (2013 Revision) (the Previous Law ). The New Law includes significant changes to the Cayman Islands' statutory framework regulating exempted limited partnerships ( ELPs ) that will increase the attractiveness of ELPs and will be appreciated by managers, investors and creditors alike. Private equity sponsors in particular will notice substantial improvements that are indicative of Cayman's continuing commitment to balanced and commercially sensible legislation. Read more...
  • Restructuring and insolvency in Luxembourg (part 2)

    RESTRUCTURING - COURT PROCEDURES
  • Enhancements to the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991

    On 23 May 2014, the States of Jersey passed the Companies (Amendment No. 11) (Jersey) Law 201- (the Amendment Law ).  This will now be sent to the UK Privy Council for consideration, then laid before the States of Jersey for a final time before coming into force.  The latest information we have is that the Privy Council will be approving the law on 19 July 2014 and it may come into effect as soon as 4 August 2014.
  • Joost Fanoy appointed partner at BarentsKrans

    The Hague, 4 July 2014 - BarentsKrans has appointed Joost Fanoy as a partner in the Antitrust & Public Procurement department, effective as of July 1, 2014. Joost specializes in European law in general with a particular focus on European and Dutch competition, public procurement and state aid law and is the head of the Antitrust and Public Procurement Practice Group. Joost is also a member of the Cartel damages team of BarentsKrans.
  • PineBridge Acquires 50% Stake in Romatem

    PineBridge Investments Middle East, a global multi-asset class investment manager with regional headquarters in Bahrain, and nearly 60 years of experience in emerging and developed markets, has acquired a 50% equity stake in Romatem, the leading physical therapy and rehabilitation services chain in Turkey.
    - Paksoy
  • Isbank Issued USD 750 Million Notes

    Isbank issued 750 million USD notes under its GMTN programme established in 2013. The notes are listed on the Irish Stock Exchange and bear interest at the rate of 5 % with a maturity date 2021. Mr. Omer Collak (partner) and Mr. Baris Kencebay (head of tax practice) have acted for the joint lead managers Barclays, Citigroup, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and The Royal Bank of Scotland.
    - Paksoy
  • Halkbank Issued USD 500 Million Notes

    Halkbank issued five-year term fixed interest rate US currency notes, with a total amount of USD 500 million  with an interest rate of 4.765 %  and an annual coupon rate of 4.750 %. The notes offered the lowest borrowing rate in the first five-month period of 2014, and total demand rose nearly nine-fold due to high investor interest. The note issuance drew great interest from international investors settled in the Middle East and Asia, as well as those investors based in the US and Europe. Mr Omer Collak (partner) and Mr Baris Kencebay (head of tax practice) have advised the joint lead managers.
    - Paksoy
  • Turkiye Finans to Issue Ringgit Sukuk to Raise Up to MYR 3 Billion In Malaysia

    Turkiye Finans issued the first ringgit sukuk originating from Turkey. The bank initially raised MYR 1 billion with a five-year commodity sukuk on June 30, with an annual return of 6 %. The sukuk under the programme will have tenure of one to 20 years. Funds raised will go towards general corporate purposes. The sukuk will be issued through TF Varlik Kiralama A.S., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Turkiye Finans. Malaysia's RAM Ratings has accorded the programme an indicative long-term rating of AA3. HSBC Amanah Malaysia and Standard Chartered Saadiq were the joint advisers. Mr Omer Collak (partner) and Mr Baris Kencebay (head of tax practice) have advised Turkiye Finans and the issuer TF Varlik Kiralama A.S.
    - Paksoy
  • Ziraat Bank Established GMTN Programme to Issue Bonds Worth USD 2 Billion

    Ziraat Bank, the largest state owned bank of Turkey, established GMTN programme on 21 May 2014, for the notes to be issued up to  USD 2 billion listed on Irish Stock Exchange. The notes are unconditional, unsubordinated and unsecured obligations, and rank  pari-passu with Ziraat Bank's other senior unsecured obligations.
    - Paksoy
  • Vakifbank Sells EUR 500 Million Notes Under USD 5 Billion GMTN Programme

    Vakifbank issued EUR 500 million 5-year unsecured and unsubordinated notes under the first GMTN programme of Turkey established in 2013. The notes are listed on Irish Stock Exchange and bear interest at the rate of 3.5 % p.a. with a maturity date 17 June 2019. This is the very first EUR denominated RegS offering of a Turkish entity.
    - Paksoy