US firm Mayer Brown JSM is set to drastically scale down its Thai operations after the departure of three key partners from its Bangkok office.
Nipaporn Weskosith, Anurag Ramanat and Peter Burke will all depart in the new year. ALB understands that Weskosith and Ramanat intend to establish their own firm focussing on servicing the local market. Mayer Brown JSM will still retain a presence in Thailand, though its practice will focus solely on cross-border and other international work.
“The Bangkok office will now focus on providing international legal advice to clients in Thailand,” the firm said in a statement. “This restructuring is in parallel with the departure of a number of lawyers from the Bangkok office who will establish a new firm to provide domestic legal advice. The two firms intend to work together in the future on an amiable basis."
The move is reminiscent of White & Case’s Thai exit in late 2008. On this occasion, the firm completely exited Thailand, leaving its entire local operations to the newly-created Weerawong, Chinnavat & Peangpanor. The two firms continue to enjoy a close relationship. Earlier this year, for example, they worked alongside each other on PTTEP Australia International Finance’s US$500m bond offering. Mayer Brown JSM will also hope that relations with its soon-to-be formed Thai offshoot remain as cordial.
“We will work on a referral basis with the new firm. We will refer them local work and they will do the same for us on international matters,” said a source from the firm.
Mayer Brown JSM’s downsizing means that there will be only two US firms boasting a Bangkok office of more than 20 lawyers. Baker & McKenzie remains the largest international player in Thailand by some way with its 100 or so lawyers, while Hunton & Williams has 24 lawyers in the Kingdom.ALB
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