Global accounting firm Deloitte has confirmed that it will launch a 25-lawyer Hong Kong law practice in January.
The new firm will have six partners, all hired from local firms, and focus on corporate and commercial matters, according to Patrick Yip, Deloitte’s Hong Kong-based deputy China managing partner for tax and legal. Yip declined to name the partners and the law firms they’re joining from, citing confidentiality.
Yip said the new law firm will enable Deloitte to give clients integrated solutions in Hong Kong and help it compete with its Big Four rivals, but the accounting giant has no interest in competing with the global law firms such as the Magic Circle firms.
Deloitte is preparing for its Hong Kong law firm at a time when its Big Four rivals are also expanding their legal offerings in the city. Earlier this year, PwC recruited four partners with international firm experience from Baker McKenzie, Jones Day, Mayer Brown and MinterEllison; while EY snapped up a four-lawyer team from Troutman Sanders. KPMG is preparing to launch a 20-lawyer Hong Kong firm by the end of the year.
The Hong Kong firm will join Deloitte’s global legal network, which has over 2,000 legal professionals in more than 80 countries. Yip said the Hong Kong team will work closely with other Deloitte Legal member firms in the region, including China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia.
It will be located near Deloitte’s head office in Admiralty, one of Hong Kong’s main business districts, and house a total of 40 staffers including fee earners, secretaries and other supporting staff.
Earlier this month, Deloitte launched a Singapore law practice led by former Allen & Overy counsel Lian Chuan Yeoh. In July, the auditor formed a foreign law practice in Singapore, led by Rashed Idrees, a former partner with Southeast Asian law firm DFDL, where he oversaw practices in several Southeast Asian countries.
In 2013, Deloitte was the first among the Big Four to start offering Chinese law services when it launched Qin Li Law Firm, a Shanghai-based Chinese firm, where Yip is also a senior international adviser. Qin Li has since grown to have more than 50 lawyers, including eight partners.