The headline hire in the Hong Kong market this month is undoubtedly Eversheds Sutherland’s snaring of Mark Hughes from Slaughter and May. Hughes joins fellow Slaughters alumnus Mark Yeadon at the US/UK giant, although their history is curious in that Hughes arrived at the Hong Kong office of the Magic Circle firm just as Yeadon himself was moving to what was then Eversheds in 2010. Belatedly they will now work side by side, it seems.
Hughes’ hire is a coup for Eversheds Sutherland. Since the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) are constantly competing to be the pre-eminent venue in the region (notwithstanding the presence of CIETAC, the China International Economic & Trade Arbitration Centre), Asia remains a hot destination for international arbitration partners, increasingly seen as a bespoke specialism distinct from litigation under the umbrella of dispute resolution. The nature of the market also carries less of the burden of the portable book of business, a fundamental requirement of almost any other partner hire, opening up the catchment area to overseas markets. As the markets of Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia warm up, these neutral venues will be increasingly relied upon for cross-border fall-outs and investment treaty disputes.
Contributing writer: Sam Kenworthy