Former Clyde & Co partner and head of its APAC hospitality practice, Benjamin Hirasawa, has launched his own regional practice, BH2I, as a leaner hybrid of traditional and virtual offices.
The firm comprises top-tier lawyers with decades of in-house and external counsel experience in complex hospitality, corporate and real estate transactions.
Hirasawa, BH2I’s founder and managing partner, has regional experience in the hospitality, corporate and real estate industries, representing many of the world’s global luxury hotel operating companies and institutional investors.
“BH2I stands for Benjamin Hirasawa Hospitality International,” Hirasawa to Asia Business Law Journal. “We are marketing under the BH2I name in an attempt to show the market that while we are appreciative that we are well-known for our hospitality expertise, that our foreign direct investment, private equity, corporate and real estate sector capabilities are also very much a part of our DNA.”
Headquartered in Singapore and Bangkok, BH2I specializes in advising real estate, corporate and hospitality clients on foreign direct investment. Other core offerings include international business transactions including private equity financings, joint ventures, cross-border M&A, and hotel, commercial and residential projects.
“We believe that BH2I’s lean business model, which features attorneys with large law firm pedigrees and reputation, and a hybrid bricks-and-mortar/virtual law firm structure, is genetically engineered to provide the market with greater value for legal services,” says Hirasawa.
He says larger global and institutional organizations have in the past adhered to a traditional mindset of wanting a large law firm with bricks-and-mortar offices in each city where they are located to work on their matters. “Many practitioners have wanted to streamline such a traditional law firm structure to use a business model that is similar to BH2I, but fear of widespread acceptance of a virtual law firm structure was viewed by many as an impediment to other potential firms and one of the perceived challenges we faced in setting up BH2I.
“The emerging post COVID19 ‘new normal’ environment has greatly assisted BH2I demonstrate that we offer efficiency and production of world-class work product in a hybrid virtual structure that can be superior to a cumbersome large law system and inflexible management model.”
BH2I’s team, formed by practitioners from international law firms such as Clyde & Co, DLA Piper and Rajah & Tann, will also include an extended affiliate network providing an execution capability in 37 countries and 27 languages.
Hirasawa said the firm would initially launch with eight full-time staff, including a managing partner, four associates and three administrative staff based in Singapore and Bangkok. Hirasawa will serve as managing partner for both offices, splitting his time between Bangkok and Singapore. The Singapore office has two associates and two administrative staff, while the Bangkok office has two associates and one administrative staff member.