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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

Historical data

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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NEW Download The Legal 500 eBook: South Korea

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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The Legal 500 Historical Data: historical rankings and analysis

Now available: The Legal 500 Historical Data – a new interactive service available exclusively to commercial partners. The site contains historical rankings from 2008-2013 from The Legal 500 United Kingdom, United States, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Users are able to manipulate the raw data to produce and download reports including comparing and contrasting your firm with your peers and competitors, and customising data which can be used in pitch documents and RFPs. Visit www.legal500.com/historicaldata for more information.

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
  • Austria/Malta: Schoenherr advises Oesterreichische Volksbanken on sale of Volksbank Malta

    Schoenherr, a leading corporate law firm in Central and Eastern Europe, advised Österreichische Volksbanken-AG (OeVAG) on the sale of its fully-owned subsidiary Volksbank Malta Limited to Malta-based Mediterranean Bank plc. On 11 April 2014, OeVAG and Mediterranean Bank signed a Share Purchase Agreement for 100% of the shares in Volksbank Malta. Closing shall take place after the required approvals of the relevant regulatory bodies are received. read more...
  • Austria: Stefan Kuehteubl new head of Employment practice at Schoenherr

    Stefan Kuehteubl will join Schoenherr, a leading corporate law firm in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), as a partner and the head of the firm's Employment practice as of July 2014. A highly-regarded employment law practitioner, Kuehteubl will be returning to Schoenherr, where he previously worked as a member of its employment team between 1999 and 2004. During the past ten years, he worked in a well-known Vienna-based employment law boutique, in which he was a partner since 2008. read more...
  • Proud to continue charitable donations in 2014

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  • New Swiss Law on Product Safety

    The Swiss law on product safety ( Produktesicherheitsgesetz, PrSG) is currently scheduled to enter into force on July 1, 2010. This new law aligns Swiss product safety requirements with EU law. It applies not only to manufacturers, but to anyone who commercially or professionally markets products in Switzerland, and it introduces substantial new obligations before and after the sale of a product.
  • Chambers Global has once again recognised Pepeliaev Group's tax practice as the best in Russia

    The Chambers Global 2014 international ratings have hailed Pepeliaev Group's tax practice and the firm's managing partner Sergey Pepeliaev as Russia's best in the area of taxation (band 1 and Star Individuals). Commentators describe Mr Pepeliaev as "the father of Russian taxation." He has an outstanding reputation in tax litigation, for which he is said to be "absolutely brilliant." In addition, Chambers Global  lavishes praise on Rustem Ahmetshin (band 2), one of the firm's senior partners, who has considerable expertise in areas such as VAT and audit advice. Chambers Global sources commend Pepeliaev Group partner Valentina Akimova (band 3) as a "smart tax specialist." She has significant experience in a wide range of tax matters such as VAT, income tax and excise duties. Sources recommend Andrey Nikonov (band 3), another senior partner in the firm, as an authority on VAT, mineral extraction tax and unified social tax.  Chambers Global also rates Mr Nikonov highly for his experience in resolving tax disputes advising on the tax aspects of M&A transactions.
  • DHIR & DHIR ASSOCIATES ADVISES NATIONAL HOUSING BANK ON THE TRANCHE- II OF PUBLIC ISSUE OF TAX FREE

    Dhir & Dhir Associates advised National Housing Bank, wholly owned by Reserve Bank of India, on the Tranche- II of public issue of tax free bonds in the nature of secured, redeemable, non-convertible debentures with benefits under Section 10(15)(iv)(h) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, aggregating upto Rs. 1,000 Crore.
  • WHAT CANNOT BE DONE DIRECTLY CANNOT BE DONE INDIRECTLY ANDHRA PRADESH HIGH COURT

    In a recent landmark judgment of the Hon'ble Andhra Pradesh High Court in the matter of Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd. (DCHL) & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors ., the Hon'ble Court has laid down an important principal of law to the effect that SARFAESI Action can be taken by an assignee/ successor in interest only if the original lender had SARFAESI power.
  • DHIR & DHIR ASSOCIATES ADVISES NATIONAL HOUSING BANK ON THE PUBLIC ISSUE OF TAX FREE BONDS AGGREGATI

    Dhir & Dhir Associates advised National Housing Bank, wholly owned by Reserve Bank of India, on the public issue of tax free bonds in the nature of secured, redeemable, non-convertible debentures with benefits under Section 10(15)(iv)(h) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, aggregating upto Rs. 2,100 Crore.
  • Angel Buzalov from “Popov & Partners” has participated in “Legal Day 2014”of GBICC

    On 20.03.2014 was carried the first part of the annually organized forum "Legal Day" of German-Bulgarian Industrial Commercial Chamber. Representatives of the leading legal companies in Bulgaria and industry representatives also took part in the event.
  • “Popov & Partners” took part in the consultations organized by the German-Bulgarian Industrial C

    On 24.03.2014 a meeting of the Advisory Board "Law" of the German-Bulgarian Industrial Commercial Chamber (GBICC) was held. The event was attended by representatives of the business as well as lawyers from major law firms in Bulgaria, including the law firm "Popov & Partners."