Clifford Chance is set to close its Bangkok office and at the same time end its association in Indonesia, the magic circle firm revealed today.
Instead it will concentrate its Southeast Asia practice in the more stable jurisdiction of Singapore, where it already has an office.
The Bangkok office, which opened in 1996, will be wound down over the next 12-15 months, the firm said.
At the same time it has ‘mutually agreed’ not to continue its three-year long association with Linda Widyati and Partners (LWP) in Jakarta, Indonesia. According to the firm this coincides with LWP’s lead partner Linda Widyati’s decision to retire after more than 25 years.
Geraint Hughes, regional managing partner, said: ‘Concentrating our south east Asia resources and capability in our existing regional hub in Singapore, investing in systems and innovation that will further enhance our service to clients, and using leading local law firms in each jurisdiction, ensures we are best equipped to respond to this demand.’
The firm has 26 lawyers, including three partners, working in Bangkok. A decision has not been made as to what will happen to those individuals.
Hughes added: ‘Our people in Bangkok are talented individuals who have worked hard for our clients. We are very grateful to them for their service and contribution to the firm. We will provide them with our full support as we make these changes.’
Managing partner Matthew Layton, said: ‘Our strategy is based on leading positions in the most important financial and commercial centres. In Asia Pacific, we have a phenomenally strong platform and see huge opportunities for further development of our southeast Asian practice, including in Indonesia and Thailand, from our existing successful hub in Singapore.’
Clifford Chance was one of a spate of international firms to open offices in Bangkok in the 1990s but the country, which has a civil law tradition and courts operating only in the Thai language, remains a challenge for England and Wales firms.
The firm has been operating in Singapore for more than 35 years and was one of the six original firms to receive the country's qualified foreign law practice licence in 2008. This allows the firm to advise on a range of international and Singapore law in permitted practice areas.