A survey of experts finds that the new normal for domestic and international law firms is a fiercely competitive environment that leaves them with few moves to make, writes Alainna Wrigley
In January, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson made the stunning announcement that they would be closing their Shanghai and Hong Kong offices, effectively leaving Asia entirely after nearly a decade. In early July, Chadbourne & Parke similarly announced that they would be closing their Beijing office as they have already done in Singapore and Hong Kong, and leaving Asia after nearly two decades.
The exit scale may differ. Fried Frank’s closures affected more than 30 partners, lawyers and staff, while Chadbourne’s affected fewer than ten. Fried Frank reportedly has retained their licence to operate in China, while Chadbourne has not. However, firms choosing to close their China office at all is itself an anomaly.