Clifford Chance - one of the largest law firms in the world - has relocated three partners to the firm's regional headquarters in Hong Kong. Most importantly, it has moved Stephen Roith, the head of the firm's Asian capital markets practice, from Tokyo to Hong Kong. Roith has been in Tokyo since September 1999 and also worked in the firm's Hong Kong office during the 1980s.

His move reflects the growing importance of Hong Kong and Asia to the firm and the need to have world-class lawyers working on the increasingly complex capital markets transactions that are coming out of the region. "We recognize the need for the management of the regional capital markets team to be based in Hong Kong," commented Roith. "This reflects not only the substantial growth in our practice in the last year-and-a-half but also the fact that Hong Kong is the right place from which to coordinated our Asian regional practice."

Joining Roith in Hong Kong will be two other capital markets partners, Jonathan Zonis and Alice Chan who are relocating from New York and Singapore respectively. Replacing Roith in Tokyo will be Paul Severs, a partner who specializes in securitization and real estate financing. He will be joining Matthew Cahill who is widely regarded as the finest foreign securitization lawyer working in Tokyo. The move also reflects the growing importance of securitization and asset-backed financing in Japan.