Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has hired hospitality lawyer Koh Tien Gui as a partner in Singapore, the first partner hire in Asia since the transatlantic merger between St. Louis, Missouri-based Bryan Cave and London-based Berwin Leighton Paisner.
Koh is expected to join Bryan Cave’s Asia real estate and hospitality and leisure practice in July from the large Singaporean law firm Rajah & Tann, where he is a partner. He specializes in mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures involving the hotel sector, as well as other hotel management and operations-related matters and disputes.
He previously worked in-house at hotel chains Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International and was general counsel for the German audio equipment manufacturer Behringer.
Before the merger, legacy Berwin Leighton had expanded its real estate and hospitality practice in Hong Kong. Last year, the U.K. firm hired former Mayer Brown JSM Asia hospitality head Andrew MacGeoch to lead its global hotels practice from Hong Kong; and real estate partner Mark Stevens also moved from Mayer Brown JSM earlier this year.
The combined Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has not officially launched in Singapore or in other Asian markets, including Hong Kong and mainland China, pending regulatory approvals. The Singapore office currently operates as legacy Berwin Leighton’s office, launched in 2007. Legacy Bryan Cave closed its Singapore office in 2017; in 2015, former office managing partner Iain Sharp left for the local firm Rodyk & Davidson.*
Hong Kong is the only Asian market where both firms have a presence. Legacy Berwin Leighton has about 30 lawyers in Hong Kong and operates in association with local firm Haley Ho & Partners. Legacy Bryan Cave has six lawyers in Hong Kong. In mainland China, Berwin Leighton has a Beijing office, while Bryan Cave operates in Shanghai.
*Updated 6/28: This story has been updated with the fact that legacy Bryan Cave closed its Singapore office in 2017.