Debevoise & Plimpton is looking to expand its dispute resolution brand in Asia. The firm is relocating a New York litigation counsel to its Hong Kong office, and asking two of its senior partners to be based there for part of the year.
Counsel Philip Rohlik is one of three litigation lawyers who will fully relocate from New York to Hong Kong as part of the drive. Associates Corey Whiting and Sarah Thomas will also relocate.
Litigation and arbitration partner Christopher Tahbaz, who is based in the firm’s New York headquarters, will spend between a third and half of his time in Hong Kong. Another of the firm’s key figures, London-based former U.K. Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith, will also increase the amount of time he spends in Hong Kong.
The moves will allow the firm to better serve existing litigation clients, and meet demand for legal services among Asian companies, says Tahbaz. The Hong Kong dispute resolution practice will initially focus on arbitration, commercial litigation, and regulatory defense.
Debevoise & Plimpton has a leading regulatory disputes practice in the U.S. and Europe. The firm was appointed in 2006 by German electronics and engineering company Siemens A.G. to conduct an internal anti-corruption probe, which resulted in a record $1.34 billion settlement with U.S. and German authorities in 2008.
The firm has also advised on many high-profile arbitration matters. Tahbaz teamed up with New York partner David Rivkin to act for South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. in obtaining an International Chamber of Commerce arbitration award against other shareholders in Hyundai Oilbank Co. Ltd., a petroleum refining company. The award, which was rendered in Singapore in 2009 and successfully enforced in Korea in July 2010, entitled Hyundai Heavy to buy the respondents’ shares in Hyundai Oilbank at a 25 percent discount, equivalent to $750 million.
Debevoise & Plimpton has had a Hong Kong office since 1994. It now numbers three corporate partners and seven associates, according to the firm’s website.