DLA Piper and Duane Morris have in recent months both initiated new drives to capture more work out of the Asia-Pacific region.

Last December, DLA Piper announced “the appointment of [a] new three-strong Asia advisory committee…designed to create more synergies between the firm’s US and Asia offices to take advantage of increasing dealflow between the regions” as LegalWeek reported at the time.

And just this week Duane Morris announced that it will be “expand[ing] into China with the launch of a new office in Shanghai.”

Cross-border US-Asia trade a focus

These moves come at a time when “Asian-based law firms are stuffed with cash and supplying an increasingly law-hungry market in the Asian region as the overall economy improves, according to a survey conducted by ALB,the Asia Legal Business magazine.” and which was outlined in a story last month in LawFuel.  The report cited  “A raft of new office openings have occurred and more US-based firms are moving into the region to develop their own businesses during a slow time at home.”

DLA  Global CO-CEO Terry O’Malley, told LegalWeek that “the driver behind the move was to tap a growing number of cross border deals between the two regions. ‘Our experience over the last few years has told us that the flow of business from the US to Asia was several times larger than business going into Asia from other parts of the world.  We also found there is an increasing interest within Asia itself to look to place capital into the developed markets and largely into the US marketplace.'”

Duane Morris said in a statement (reported in LegalWeek) that “it is aiming to capture outbound investment by Chinese corporates, while also advising on international aspects of inbound transactions.”

Duane Morris Chairman and CEO John J. Soroko stated that: “It is our intent to be a key facilitator of Chinese companies seeking to invest abroad. Additionally, many of our clients have shared with us their intense interest in entering the Chinese market or in actively developing their existing investments there. We are now even better positioned to help them achieve those goals.”

More similar moves by other US firms are likely to come as cross-border trade and investment between Asian economies and the United States continues to increase.

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal and is the author of A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets. He provides writing, editing, research and strategy services to the corporate and professional services sectors.

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