- Former partner of Watson Farley & Williams leading the Singapore launch
- Singapore has become a more important legal market in recent years, says Orrick-Führer
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(Reuters) – After Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe closed their Hong Kong office last year, it announced on Friday the opening of another major East Asian financial center with a new office in Singapore.
At the forefront of the company’s foray into Singapore is Jon Thursby, a former Watson Farley & Williams partner who joins Orrick as a partner in the energy and infrastructure sector.
Orrick has had his eye on the move for some time, according to Blake Winburne, director of the company’s energy and infrastructure sectors, who said that “the right opportunity has been sought and sought in Singapore for over two years.”
In Singapore, the company has an opportunity to develop an operation that is much more integrated with Orrick around the world than its Hong Kong office, Winburne said. Orrick’s Hong Kong office focused on serving its customers and not much else, he added.
“We believe that over the past 15 years Singapore has become a much more prominent player in the area in terms of legal services, where Hong Kong is less of a legal center for the region than it was 15-20 years ago.” “Said Winburne. “Markets change. Smart companies look for these opportunities and change with the market.”
Orrick announced in March 2020 that it would close its Hong Kong office. Sook Young Yeu, who was the administrative partner of Orrick’s Hong Kong office for 15 years, joined K&L Gates in August 2020.
Orrick’s expansion into Singapore comes as other companies consider leaving Hong Kong given the difficult climate for US businesses in the former British colony.
The Biden administration last month warned U.S. companies that they are subject to Hong Kong’s 2020 National Security Act, saying companies are exposed to risks related to electronic surveillance without a warrant and disclosure of company and customer data to authorities.
But not all of them go. Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Citigroup Inc, UBS AG and other banks are each hiring hundreds of employees in Hong Kong this year, a sign of the city’s unique position as a financial gateway to China.
Prior to joining Orrick, Thursby served for eight months with Blueleaf Energy, a Singapore-based solar panel manufacturer. Blueleaf Energy is a subsidiary of Orrick’s client Macquarie Capital, the investment arm of the Australian financial conglomerate Macquarie Group Ltd. Macquarie raised $ 6.9 billion last month for its newest fund to invest in North American infrastructure, well above its target of $ 5 billion.
Orrick stated that Thursby will reunite in the company with a group of former Watson Farley partners based in London.
Thursby’s practice focuses on developing and building large renewable energy projects in Asia, including offshore wind projects such as the $ 3 billion Changfang and Xidao projects in Taiwan.
“I am excited to join Orrick’s market-leading global energy and infrastructure platform and return to join my colleagues,” said Thursby in a statement released by the company.
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David Thomas reports on the legal business including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @ DaveThomas5150.