Orrick shutters Shanghai, Taipei offices

Orrick confirmed today it is shuttering its Shanghai office and has already terminated its Taipei lease, in a move the US tech-focused firm characterized as a “rebalancing” of its Asia-Pacific platform.

The move follows Orrick closing its four-partner Hong Kong base in 2020 after conceding defeat on its strategy of growing a technology and innovation practice in the city and leaving it with three offices across the region in Beijing, Tokyo and Singapore.

“We have decided to consolidate our China practice in Beijing and will not renew our Shanghai office lease. Separately, we have terminated our lease in Taiwan,” an Orrick spokesperson said.

“These moves reflect a rebalancing of our Asia Pacific platform, including the launch of our Singapore office in 2021, to align with client demand.

“Going forward, we are excited to continue to support our APAC tech and energy sector clients from our offices in Beijing, Singapore and Tokyo. In China, we will continue our litigation and IP practice, including both US federal court and ITC litigation for leading Chinese companies, and support with cross-border corporate transactions. Our Singapore team is focused on serving the fast-evolving energy transition market throughout South and Southeast Asia, including in collaboration with our Tokyo energy team.”

The firm’s two partners in Shanghai – IP specialist Yufeng Ma and M&A and ECM lawyer Jie Jeffrey Sun – and two associates will be affiliated with the Beijing office, Orrick said. The office’s one remaining associate and one consultant have been offered market severance.

Meantime the closure of the firm’s Taipei office, where it did not have any lawyers based permanently, follows California-based former Taiwan practice head Robert Benson moving over to Baker Botts earlier this year alongside fellow patent litigator Jeffrey Johnson.

Following the closure of the Shanghai office the firm will have 32 lawyers across its three APAC bases, including a five-strong team in Singapore led by energy partner Karthik Kumar, who joined the firm 18 months ago from Jones Day.

A number of international law firms have closed bases in mainland China in recent months as an economic slowdown, political tensions and regulatory uncertainty cloud their business outlooks.

Perkins Coie announced earlier this month that it was closing its Shanghai office and since June last year both Proskauer Rose and Akin Gump have announced the closure of their Beijing bases, while Latham closed in Shanghai.

Last August, Dentons cut its ties with its China arm citing Chinese cybersecurity and data protection laws a month after Eversheds Sutherland’s international arm and King & Wood Mallesons’ China business unveiled an exclusive cooperation agreement.