Former Akin Gump Asia managing partner Gregory Puff has left the firm to set up a food ordering technology start-up.
Puff joined Akin Gump in 2012 from Shearman & Sterling and helped launch the Hong Kong office for the firm. He served as the firm’s Asia managing partner until late 2015 when the Hong Kong management responsibilities were assumed by London managing partner Sebastian Rice.
Puff left the firm in December 2016 and now serves as the CEO at uFo Ordering Services, a technology company he founded that runs an app allowing dinners to order and pay for food in the restaurant via their devices.
It is understood that Akin Gump will not appoint a new regional managing partner. The firm’s Hong Kong office will continue to be led by Rice, who works closely with Beijing office head Bill Rosoff and Singapore head Bob Griffin.
“Our current focus – as it always has been – is on developing practice groups globally and providing the best possible service to clients where they need it. As such the firm does not currently see the need for such a regional role,” said Rice.
Akin Gump’s Hong Kong office currently has six partners, focusing on financial restructuring, corporate, investment management, international trade and dispute resolution.
Puff’s move to leave law comes after a number of US firms have faced increasing challenges in Asian legal markets.
At the end of 2016, Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft closed its Beijing and Hong Kong offices, with partners moving to Dechert, King & Wood Mallesons and Jones Day.
Earlier this year, O’Melveny & Myers lost its last Singapore partner Nathan Bush to DLA Piper.
Most recently, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe’s China offices have taken a blow with nine partners walking out to join Morgan Lewis, which launched its Hong Kong office earlier this week.
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