Colliers International, a leading real estate and investment management firm headquartered in Canada, says Hong Kong is the best location in Asia for law firms.
According to research conducted by Colliers Radar, “Hong Kong’s first place reflects its superior regulatory governance, flexibility in its legal system, the high level of openness of its legal market in an Asian context, and high availability of talent for the law sector.
Singapore ranked second with Tokyo taking third place.
According to the research, Hong Kong scored 69.9% based on positive law-related factors such as regulatory governance reflecting the level of government interaction with the public when shaping regulations that affect the business community as well as the territory’s unique legal system and geographical proximity to mainland China.
“Hong Kong is the only city in China where the common law system applies. Given the very close cultural links and the geographical proximity that Hong Kong enjoys with mainland china, Hong Kong provides an ideal base for international legal and arbitration services for both mainland and foreign enterprises,” the report said.
Hong Kong’s legal services sector plays a pivotal role in meeting the professional support needs associated with investment in mainland China.
In addition to being the world’s gateway to China, “Hong Kong is the most open legal market in Asia, allowing foreign layers to practise local law after meeting certain requirements. According to the ‘Asia Pacific 100 2017’ research, Hong Kong has the largest number of partners in the Top 50 international law firms with 708 partners working in those international firms in the city as of June 2017.
It was to be expected that Hong Kong would score poorly on employer costs due to high average salaries and the world’s highest rents for CBD office space. According to Colliers’ estimate, real estate costs represent 12-20% of monthly outgoings for law firms in Hong Kong. While Central is still favoured as a location by many law firms, rising costs have prompted an exodus to locations such as Quarry Bay where rents can be up to 50% lower than in the CBD. In 2017, BLP, Ince & Co and Freshfields made the move. Baker & McKenzie, Simmons and Simmons, Eversheds Sutherland and RPC have also committed to a presence at One Taikoo Place in Quarry Bay.
In November 2018, Colliers Radar issued similar research on the best Asian location for finance operations where Hong Kong also ranked first.