Hong Kong-based ESG-focused law firm Ben McQuhae & Co recently became the first buyer of China's carbon emissions offset credits. ALB talks to the firm’s founder, Ben McQuhae, about the message he is sending behind this bold move, and how law firms can bolster their ESG credentials.
In September, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) announced it would allow the listing of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), as the city-state looks to attract more IPO listings. SGX, which has introduced a new framework, is hopeful the changes will create new opportunities.
The world is seeing an IPO frenzy at the moment, and India is no exception. According to Bloomberg, companies globally have raised a record $476 billion as of the third week of September, and India’ share is $10.2 billion. At least 64 Indian businesses have hit the equity capital markets in 2021, taking the S&P BSE Sensex to a record, Bloomberg added.
Singapore’s already competitive legal market has seen multiple new entrants this year, including India’s Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Khaitan & Co, China’s Allbright, Korea’s Bae Kim & Lee, and the U.S. firms Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and McDermott Will & Emery. While the city-state’s pandemic resilience has certainly been a draw, the firm’s see it as a hub for the fast-emerging Southeast Asian region.
Hong Kong has faced its share of challenges in the past year or two: Fallout from the trade war, political unrest, the COVID-19 pandemic and more. Leaders of law firms, though, believe that the adversity has only strengthened in the city’s position, and with further integration with the mainland happening via the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and other initiatives, Hong Kong will remain a regional hub for years to come.
While law firms weren’t caught completely off-guard by the COVID-19 pandemic, its extended duration has caused many to rethink how they are delivering services to clients, in addition to making the most of their remote workforce. While the past 18 months have brought both challenges as well as more pleasant discoveries, lawyers can agree that how they work has changed permanently.
Japan’s hostility towards crypto assets is unlikely to change anytime soon, as the new head of the financial industry watchdog recently reiterated the country’s tough regulatory stance.
The use of legal technology has been growing rapidly among both law firms and in-house teams in Japan, and the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have accelerated the process. While lawyers appreciate the efficiencies that legal tech brings, they also acknowledge its limitations.
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals picked up steam throughout Asia Pacific during the first half of 2021, in no small measure due to a rebound from the worst economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic through 2020. With vaccine rollouts continuing and border restrictions being gradually loosened, M&A lawyers can look forward to an upswing in work in 2022 and beyond.
As face-to-face meetings are reduced to a distant memory and continue to be substituted by video and phone calls in some offices, the global pandemic remains an unmistakable challenge for law firms. And legal networks are stepping in to help them out during an uncertain time.