The Firms

November 8, 2011 6:06 PM

Perkins Coie Returns to Taiwan, O'Melveny Moves into Indonesia

Posted by Brian Baxter

Perkins Coie and O'Melveny & Myers announced Tuesday that they are expanding their respective presences in Asia in an effort to put their lawyers in closer proximity to major clients.

For its part, Perkins Coie announced that it is opening its third Asian office by launching Perkins Coie Foreign Legal Affairs Attorneys at Law in Taipei. The office in Taiwan's capital city, which will be heavily IP–focused, is intended to help the firm serve such local clients as HTC, ATEN International, Largan Precision, Princo, and Monolithic Power Systems.

"The attorneys at Perkins Coie have been actively representing Taiwanese companies for more than a decade in many high-profile patent cases," patent litigation practice cochair Jonathan James said in a statement announcing the new office.

A Perkins Coie spokeswoman says plans call for the office to be staffed initially by partners splitting their time between Taipei and the firm's offices in Palo Alto, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Shanghai. Chun Ng, chair of Perkins Coie's IP practice, is among those who will spend time in Taipei. Ng is a visting partner in the firm's Shanghai office, which Perkins Coie opened in 2006. Over time, the spokeswoman says, the firm expects to either relocate lawyers to Taipei permanently or hire lawyers specifically to staff the office.

Perkins Coie's move to Taipei comes a little more than a decade after the firm closed an office there in favor of focusing on opening a Beijing office, according to the Taipei Times. The firm's return to Taiwan comes a bit less than a year after the newly merged Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton announced that it was opening its second office in Asia with a Taipei launch of its own.

The two firms are relative latecomers to a market that sibling publication The Recorder reported as far back as 2004 was enjoying a technology boom that has helped feed a surge in U.S. patent litigation.  Other large U.S. firms that have offices in Taipei include Jones Day, K&L GatesOrrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, and Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner.

O'Melveny & Myers, meanwhile, announced Tuesday that it has entered into a formal association with local Indonesian firm Tumbuan & Partners. The agreement builds on an existing referral relationship between O'Melveny and Tumbuan, which has long-standing ties to Indonesia's government and business leaders.

As part of the agreement, O'Melveny plans to relocate Singapore finance partner Joel Hogarth to Jakarta to manage the relationship with Tumbuan, according to U.K. publication Legal Week, while associate Ratih Nawangsari will divide her time between Jakarta and Singapore. O'Melveny's Singapore managing partner, Bertie Mehigan, will remain in place and oversee the firm's overall efforts in Southeast Asia.

O'Melveny chairman Arthur Culvahouse, Jr., whose current and final term in the firm's top leadership post is set to expire within a year, said in a statement that the firm is following clients to an "increasingly important market" in Indonesia. With 250 million residents, Indonesia boasts the world's fourth-largest population, as well as Southeast Asia's largest economy, the firm notes.

That economy, which was hit hard by the Asian economic crisis of 1997, has been on a road to recovery of late, with demand for coal, palm oil, and other resources helping to fuel an economic boom, according to the Financial Times. As a result, the country has become an increasingly attractive destination for foreign lawyers, according to a report by Bloomberg last year.

Tumbuan was founded in the early 1980s by senior partner Fred Tumbuan. The firm focuses its efforts on corporate, finance, and capital markets counsel to local clients on matters of Indonesian law.

Other international firms with local alliances in Indonesia include Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, and Norton Rose.

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