Hong Kong Hong Kong

A pair of former Baker Botts lawyers has formed a new firm with an ex-Addleshaw Goddard Asia corporate head in Hong Kong; offerings include agile legal services.

Former Baker Botts international arbitration partner Phillip Georgiou and special counsel Sonny Payne and former Addleshaw Asia corporate head Brett Stewien have formed a new Hong Kong law firm GPS Legal—not to be confused with GPS Legal & Consulting, which is a Bangkok-based law firm.

A core feature of the firm is an agile legal service dubbed GPS Flex. Depending on the nature of a case or transaction, the firm assembles senior arbitration lawyers and barristers for large disputes and tailors and manages team for transactional work including deploying technology during the due diligence process.

The firm said on its website that GPS Flex responded to client demands for hands-on involvement from partners and only appropriately qualified and experienced lawyers; it thus “removed the inefficiencies and inevitable cost blow-outs resulting from downward delegation to inexperienced personnel.”

“Clients have little, if any, tolerance for young lawyers learning on the job, let alone at the clients’ expense,” said Georgiou. “GPS Flex allows us to develop carefully managed teams and deploy technology that reduces the major resource and price inefficiencies of traditional law firms.”

This different model, according to the firm, allows it to bring the experience and capability of Big Law but with a different fee structure. The firm said it had moved away from the traditional hourly rate fee structure, and instead arranged value-based legal fees aligned with clients’ legal budgets.

Georgiou and Payne both specialize in disputes in the energy and natural resources sectors, and Stewien advises foreign companies on transactions in mainland China and Southeast Asia. In addition to the three founding partners, the firm also has trademark lawyer Helen Tang as consultant.

Georgiou joined Baker Botts in 2015 from Jones Day, where he practiced for over a decade and had been a partner since 2010. He worked with both Payne and Tang at Jones Day.

Stewien was a founding partner of Addleshaw’s Hong Kong office when the U.K. firm formed an association with his own firm Stewien & Co in 2013. He was a partner with DLA Piper in Hong Kong before that.