You started as an associate in Loeb’s Los Angeles office and relocated to Asia to lead the firm’s Hong Kong and Beijing offices. How did that transition come about?
I was working in the Los Angeles office when the firm began looking to bolster its presence in Beijing and was interested in expanding into Hong Kong. The firm was looking for an attorney from our U.S. offices with experience in capital markets. As conversations with management developed, the firm told me that they were looking for a four-year commitment. I told them that I would agree to a year. About a day later, I got a call from the then-managing partner of the New York office. He said, “Lawrence, we would really like you to do this, but you won’t even be able to figure out the subway system in a year!” Well, he was right. I ultimately agreed to relocate to Asia for three years. At the start of 2020, my family and I will have been in the region for eight years. I have enjoyed it tremendously. I am very lucky to have been presented with the opportunity to try to shape the future of Loeb Asia. It has given me the chance to work with some incredible people along the way, including all of our partners based in Beijing and Hong Kong, as well as our U.S. management team, who have contributed to our overall success. It is an exciting time to be at Loeb. I look forward to all that the future has to offer.
How has the firm’s practice in Asia evolved or expanded in the past decade?
When we opened the Beijing office in 2009, we started with two local partners and a couple of associates. Our primary focus was on the U.S. capital markets, working with our talented group of corporate lawyers in New York to list China-based companies on Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange. Fast-forward 10 years, and we now have a strong presence in Hong Kong and, as our Beijing office has continued to mature through the years, we have expanded relationships with the business community. We have a total of 12 partners in Beijing and Hong Kong and approximately 50 fee earners throughout the region. Our practice offerings have grown to include Hong Kong and U.S. capital markets work, cross-border M&A, private equity, venture capital, banking and finance, intellectual property, and litigation, all involving Asia-based individuals and corporations. Our Hong Kong and Beijing offices are fully integrated with the management and administration of the firm. We regularly work with a number of our colleagues throughout our U.S. offices and collaborate with them on their business trips to Asia each year.
Los Angeles is Loeb’s oldest office, and Hong Kong and Beijing are two of its newest. What are some of the key differences from a business and cultural standpoint?
At 110 years old, most people in the Los Angeles business community know the firm quite well. Loeb’s Beijing office celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and the Hong Kong office, which was launched in 2012, is only seven years old. We have worked hard to get our brand name out into the marketplace in a relatively short period of time. The success we’ve had in doing so is a great testament to our Beijing and Hong Kong partners, as well as to our lead partners in the U.S. capital markets, entertainment and life sciences groups, to name just a few. While there are a number of cultural differences among our Los Angeles, Beijing and Hong Kong offices, one thing holds true in all of them: They are comprised of a great group of individuals with key core values that serve our clients at the highest level.
What’s ahead for Loeb in Asia?
I believe that we are very well positioned in the marketplace with a diverse group of practice offerings that sync nicely with many of the core strengths of the firm. We have a great group of attorneys and staff in Asia who collaborate and work well together, which will allow us to continue to grow and promote organically, as well as add lateral talent in the market to bolster our existing practice groups in Asia. I am very proud of how far our Asia offices have come over the past decade. I look forward to being a part of the next several years that lie ahead.