Addleshaw Goddard has announced the closure of its Hong Kong office when the current lease expires in September. Several partners and other lawyers, including trainees, will transfer to local law firm Howse Williams.
“No firm likes to withdraw from jurisdictions that it has previously identified as important to it, but having carefully considered our position in Hong Kong and the unique set of challenges we face there, we do not feel that renewing our lease, while continuing to hope for a dramatic change in outlook, is something we can economically justify,” said John Joyce, Addleshaw Goddard’s managing partner in London.
Goddard said it was reluctantly decided that “with a lease event upon us” the time was right to make a change.
Joyce added that this outcome did not reflect on the firm’s excellent Hong Kong team or the hard work they have put in, and the firm would not stop investing and growing in markets and sectors of importance to clients.
The firm’s immediate focus is on assisting colleagues in their search for a new home, with some lawyers considering relocation to Singapore, Dubai, or London among other options.
“A clear Asia strategy remains a key requirement for our business, and we will revert to a ‘best friend’ approach going forward in order to serve client needs in Hong Kong,” said Joyce. “We continue in Singapore and will look to build out that office as our key presence for Asia.”
Addleshaw Goddard opened for business in Hong Kong in 2013, making it the firm’s second office in Asia after it expanded to Singapore the previous year. The Hong Kong office employs 20 lawyers, including seven partners.