Kennedys continues global expansion with Bangkok and Paris office openings

We are pleased to announce that we have strengthened our global footprint, and insurance practice, with the opening of new offices in Thailand and France.

Suraphon Rittipongchusit, formerly a senior partner in the insurance and litigation department of DLA Piper (Thailand), joins us to head up our office in Bangkok. He is supported by a second partner, Supreedee Nimitkul, and senior associate, Tassanu Chutikanon. Additionally, Ian Johnston, a solicitor and foreign qualified lawyer, relocates from our Singapore office.

Suraphon, who is highly regarded in Thailand, is an insurance and commercial litigation specialist with experience in advising on some of the most recent high profile disputes in Thailand, such as the 2010 riots and 2011 floods. Acting predominantly for major insurers and reinsurers, Suraphon also has expertise in advising on cross-border corporate transactions throughout South-East Asia.

Supreedee is a specialist in corporate and commercial matters, with over 20 years’ experience representing major domestic and international clients. He has advised on a number of key business reorganisations, debt restructurings, complex project financings, joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions.

The initial focus of our Bangkok office will be insurance/reinsurance, dispute resolution and corporate work. The extended reach across South-East Asia will also strengthen our position in the South-East Asia reinsurance market. Thailand, a major insurance market in the region, has a significant domestic market in many lines of business for which we provide services, most notably property, energy, casualty and financial lines.

I am delighted to welcome Suraphon, Supreedee and Tassanu to Kennedys. I am confident that they, along with Ian, will establish a leading insurance practice in Thailand that will complement our offices in Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as those in the wider APAC region.

Julian Wallace, Joint Managing Partner of Kennedys’ Singapore office

Suraphon added: “We are very excited to be joining Kennedys, who already have an excellent reputation in the region. The firm’s global network, and its established presence, will provide our clients with seamless access to legal expertise across the world.”

Meanwhile our Paris office, which is led by four partners formerly with French boutique litigation firm BOPS Avocats, will specialise in litigation and dispute resolution, encompassing insurance, reinsurance and complex commercial matters.

The office is headed by Christian Bouckaert, former senior partner and co-founder of BOPS, who has significant experience before French Courts and arbitral tribunals. Together, the Paris team offers specialist expertise in disputes relating to industrial risks, pharmaceutical, medical and product liability, property, aviation, professional risks, directors’ and officers’ liability, and financial lines.

Christian and fellow partners Alexis Valençon, Aurélia Cadain and Nicolas Bouckaert have worked with us for many years on shared, cross-border cases and have several key client synergies. We have advised on a number of high profile cases together, including major losses arising from the 2008 Channel Tunnel fire.

Christian, who is regarded as one of the leading lawyers of the Paris Bar, has over 40 years’ experience, with particular expertise in disputes relating to professional or product liability within aviation, pharmaceuticals, energy, construction and environmental pollution. Alexis is regularly instructed in complex (re)insurance disputes (coverage, defence and subrogation), which relate to a broad range of industries including finance, manufacturing and construction. Aurélia, who has significant experience in aviation and life sciences disputes, regularly acts for major airlines and pharmaceutical companies. And Nicolas, who is qualified both as a French Avocat à la Cour and a Solicitor in England & Wales, predominantly acts in (re)insurance disputes, with a particular focus on product liability.

The market is increasingly moving towards global firms with specialist areas of expertise. And for good reason: they offer real added-value legal services and international reach. Kennedys is leading the way, in this respect, and so we are naturally very excited to be creating the firm’s Paris office.

Christian Bouckaert, Partner

The decision to enter Bangkok and Paris is a classic example of responding to client demand. With little international insurance law expertise available in Thailand, there was a real need for what we can offer and that has been reflected in the exceptionally positive response we have had from clients.

Additionally, Paris is too important a market for us not to have a presence there in our own name. We know from our years of working together that Christian and his team understand the culture and ambitions of Kennedys. We continue to expand our global footprint in recognition of how the insurance market is developing. There are more opportunities out there for Kennedys and I have every intention of making sure we take them.

Nick Thomas, Senior Partner at Kennedys

The addresses for these offices are as follows:

Bangkok: 29th Floor, Units 2901-2904 Sathorn Square, North Sathorn Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok 10120.

Paris: 31 rue de Lisbonne, Paris (75008).