We’ve seen it a lot lately: U.S.-based law firms setting up shop in unique places or merging with other firms—both large and small—to create everything from specialty outposts to law firm powerhouses. But this is a first.

Philadelphia-based Duane Morris announced yesterday that it would be opening an office in Myanmar (also referred to as Burma) in an effort to expand its Asian presence. The office, which will be located in Yangon, Myanmar, is part of the firm’s joint venture with Duane Morris & Selvam. Selvam is a Singapore-based firm Duane Morris partnered with in 2010.

The firm’s main practice areas will include investment and business matters, including all aspects of tax, licensing, regulatory, market entry, reporting requirements and U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and UK Bribery Act issues.

“Myanmar presents significant opportunities for foreign businesses, and our new presence there will allow us to provide on-the-ground, high-quality counsel to foreign and domestic businesses seeking to seize those opportunities while minimizing the inherent risks,” Duane Morris Chairman and CEO John Soroko said in a press release. “We’re excited by Myanmar’s potential, and look forward to working closely with clients to achieve great things there.” 

The office will be headed up by Krishna Ramachandra, managing director of Duane Morris & Selvam, and Benjamin Kheng, associate director of Duane Morris & Selvam. The office will launch with 10 local senior and junior practitioners, including multiple former judicial officers, practicing in a range of commercial and regulatory areas.

“Our launch in Yangon, the country’s commercial center, is driven primarily by client interest, which has intensified significantly in recent years, as well as by the country’s projected long-term economic outlook,” Ramachandra said. “In addition, our team has built a strong relationship with Myanmar and its government, as a result of working closely with the Attorney General’s Office for many years. This is a natural next step for us. We intend to build a significant local contingent of experienced attorneys and consultants, supported by the infrastructure of an international law firm, to make our clients’ Myanmar plans a reality.”


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