MdME Lawyers became the first Macau law firm to set up in Hong Kong recently, coinciding with the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge.
The firm is set for another first, and will become the first law firm to have offices in the three jurisdictions of the Greater Bay Area once it receives approval to open in the Hengqin island, Zhuhai.
Gonçalo Mendes da Maia, the managing partner of MdME, said in the briefing session that the Hong Kong branch will only practise Macau law for the moment, and MdME lawyers will benefit from Macau’s position as an investment hub along the Belt and Road to Portuguese-speaking countries including Portugal, Angola and Mozambique.
“Being closer to our clients and to law firms that work with Macau clients is very important to us,” Maia told China Business Law Journal. “There are lots of new investments and new opportunities in Macau that will trigger a new wave of investment from Hong Kong investors, developers and contractors from lots of sectors.”
“We are the first law firm of Macau to set up in Hong Kong, and we don’t know if other law firms in Macau will follow us,” Maia said, “but I think it’s important for the Hong Kong legal market to have Macau lawyers here to provide services of Macau law in Hong Kong.”
MdME’s partner Tirso Olazabal, will be head and permanent representative of the Hong Kong office, with other partners circulated to work in Hong Kong, based on workload. Olazabal specializes in real estate, and banking and finance.
MdME is a member of the Morais Leitão Legal Circle. Nuno Galvão Teles, the managing partner of Morais Leitão in Portugal, said Portugal has played an important role in the Belt and Road Initiative, and Chinese investors are in need of legal advice to reduce risks when directly investing into Portuguese-speaking countries.
Though gaming industry accounts for Macau’s major revenue, the government in recent years has taken measures to diversify the economy, including promotion to attract start-ups, and the amendments to Macau’s Financial System Act to be implemented in the near future.