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US firm Squire Sanders & Dempsey has become the second US firm in recent months to gain local law status in Hong Kong.The Ohio-based firm will now be able to hire local lawyers and then offer Hong Kong law to its clients through its three-partner office.In April West Coast firm Morrison & Foerster also gained local law status for its Hong Kong office.To utilise Squire Sanders’ new status the Hong Kong-based partners have also qualified in local law.The local law capability offers the firm the ability to handle domestic litigation rather than having to refer work out.However, Squires will primarily be using its local ability for telecommunications and corporate finance. Despite setting up a local capacity the firm will continue to keep its alliance with local Hong Kong firm Boughton Peterson Yang and Anderson.It also adds the possibility in the future of its local Hong Kong lawyers offering advice in mainland China, after Chinese officials hinted last year they may be able to work across the border.Squire Sanders Hong Kong head James Tsang said: “Now we can work more closely with local clients on cross-border transactions.”In recent weeks Hong Kong has seen increasing activity in the legal market, with a number of magic circle firms making major hires.Both Linklaters and Lovells have bulked up their Hong Kong and mainland China offices primarily to take advantage of inward investment into the region.

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