Asia Moves: Rouse’s Global Disputes Head Leaves; DAC Beachcroft and Herbert Smith Make Hires Across Asia

Significant moves have taken place recently at global law firms Rouse, DAC Beachcroft and Herbert Smith Freehills across Asia.

Rouse’s global head of disputes, Douglas Clark, has left the intellectual property (IP) firm to set up his own practice, Douglas Clark LLP.

Fluent in Mandarin, Clark has practiced as a contentious intellectual property lawyer in Hong Kong and China since 1993. His stint at Rouse was short: He joined the firm in 2020, and the firm said at the time he would split his time between Hong Kong and the firm’s then newly opened Shenzhen outfit.

Prior to Rouse, Clark was a barrister at Hong Kong-founded Gilt Chambers. He joined Gilt in 2011 from Hogan Lovells, where he had practiced for more than 17 years. At Hogan Lovells, Clark held several different roles during separate stints, including as the firm’s head of China IP practice, Shanghai managing partner, and global head of the firm’s patent group.

In mainland China, where Rouse has four offices, the firm works in partnership with local IP agency Lusheng Law Firm.

With Clark’s departure, Rouse will have 35 lawyers in its Greater China offices.

In Singapore, British firm DAC Beachcroft has hired two new lawyers for its disputes practice.

Joining DAC as partners are Summer Montague and Andrew Robinson. Montague was a partner at RPC and Robinson was a senior associate at DLA Piper.

Montague specializes in cross-border insurance and reinsurance disputes arising from property, power generation, energy, mining and construction risks. She is also experienced in advising on product recall policies and in handling products liability claims in Asia, Europe and the U.S., particularly those involving the technology, pharmaceutical and automotive industries.

She practiced at RPC for nine years, relocating to Singapore during that time. Prior to that, she was an associate at Mayer Brown and also at Kennedys in London.

Robinson, who joined DAC earlier in the year, also advises on insurance and reinsurance matters. He has expertise in large-scale international financial lines and professional indemnity disputes, environmental, social and governance (ESG) and regulatory and compliance issues. His move marks his return to the firm, having previously practiced in its London office for six years, joining in 2007. He relocated to Singapore in 2013 to join Kennedys and then left in 2018 for DLA Piper.

“The economic and social growth of the Singapore and Southeast Asian market has been fast-paced and exponential in recent years, spurring a boom in insurance claims that have become increasingly complex, more frequent, higher value and higher profile,” said Gustavo Blanco, DAC Beachcroft’s head of international business. “As such, Singapore is a key market for insurers, and to better meet their needs, we have plans to increase our presence significantly in Singapore and, more broadly, Asia.”

Elsewhere in Asia, DAC also has offices in Hong Kong and Malaysia where it operates in alliance with domestic firms, Oldham Li & Nie and Gan Partnership, respectively.

The new additions join DAC’s one other Singapore partner, Julian Teoh, and two other associates.

Herbert Smith Freehills has also added two new partners recently. Allen & Overy’s Bangkok senior associate Niab Paiboon and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison’s Shanghai counsel Ellen Mao have joined the U.K. firm as partners in Thailand and Hong Kong.

Paiboon is a corporate lawyer who advises on complex public and private M&A transactions, and competition and antitrust law. Based in Bangkok, Paiboon is dual-qualified in Thailand and England & Wales. She has spent more than 12 years at Allen & Overy and was previously based in the firm’s Singapore and London offices.

Mao is a Herbert Smith alumna; she left the firm in 2017 for a Shanghai-based counsel role at Paul, Weiss. She has previously also practiced at Chinese law firm JunHe Law Offices as well as at Clifford Chance.

Mao advises clients on syndicated lending, cross-border financing, insolvency work and complex project financing.

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