US firm Blank Rome closes Hong Kong office as partners depart

Blank Rome has closed its Hong Kong office, making it the latest international outfit to downsize in Asia.

The US firm, which made its regional debut in Hong Kong in October 2006, said it was realigning its resources in response to client demand and had shut the base on July 27.

Corporate specialist and former managing partner of the office Kristi Swartz, together with commercial lead partner Nigel Binnersley, have both moved to the Hong Kong base of Bryan Cave.

In a statement, co-chairman and managing partner of the firm Alan Hoffman said it planned to focus on its Shanghai office going forward.

“In response to client needs and local economic forecasts, we are determined that Blank Rome will remain focused on China from its Shanghai office while we look to expand further in the United States and elsewhere in the world.

“We anticipate a solid 2013 and hope to grow our global capabilities, particularly in corporate law, intellectual property, maritime and litigation.

“[The firm] has worked closely with the Hong Kong based lawyers and staff over the last several months to ensure a smooth transition, both of client work and for each of the affected individuals.”

Blank Rome is a full service law firm with nearly 500 lawyers and 11 offices in the US and Asia.

It launched its Hong Kong office in October 2006 through a union with maritime law firm Heallie & Bailey, and opened Shanghai in 2011.

It currently has no partners based permanently in Asia, but its regional practice head Barry Genkin is understood to split his time between China and Philadelphia.

The Shanghai office focuses mainly on the firm’s core practices of corporate, litigation and intellectual property, and on biotech and life science patent work.

Earlier this month, Vinson & Elkins also announced plans to consolidate in Asia with the closure of its Shanghai office. 

Related: Vinson & Elkins to shut Shanghai office