ChatGPT: do the benefits outweigh the potential pitfalls?

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot system developed by OpenAI which uses large databases of language to generate human conversational text based on the context of the conversation. “GPT” means Generative Pre-training Transformer architecture, a neural network designed for natural language processing tasks. It uses its pre-trained massive databases from the internet to intake inputs and almost instantly prompts and generates the appropriate response in a natural, human, and conversational text structure. You can ask anything on ChatGPT; in doing this, you help the company to improve the software.

ChatGPT, an opportunity or a challenge?

Since its release last November, ChatGPT has been the fastest-growing online application in history, reaching 100 million monthly active users. However, it also has boosted concerns about AI technology. On the one hand, schools and colleges are restricting students’ access to ChatGPT on campus, and on the other hand, they are adopting anti-cheating technology. The banking sector, which deals with highly confidential data and is closely monitored by regulators, tends to restrict staff using ChatGPT[1]. Interestingly, some law firms embrace the software by encouraging their employees to evaluate the benefits of ChatGPT or incorporate ChatGPT into their daily work.

Benefits of using ChatGPT

“The model was trained using text databases from the internet. This included a whopping 570GB of data obtained from books, webtexts, Wikipedia, articles and other pieces of writing on the internet. To be even more exact, 300 billion words were fed into the system.” [2]

The resourceful and powerful ChatGPT does help law firms optimize their operations and services and promote legal professionals’ efficiency. There is a range of work ChatGPT can help improve a law firm’s operations, including legal research, document drafting, and predictive analysis.

Legal Research: ChatGPT can analyze vast volumes of legal documents, case law, statutes, and legal opinions to identify relevant information, inconsistencies, and potential issues and provide summaries of applicable case law almost immediately.

Case Analysis: ChatGPT can help lawyers and law firms to analyze legal precedents and then quickly identify potential conflicts, gaps in the law, and legal trends that could impact a case.

Predictive analytics: ChatGPT uses a language model to predict the outcome of future cases by analyzing data on past issues and identifying patterns and trends.

Legal Drafting: Within its massive databases, ChatGPT has a wealth of legal documents which can be used as templates to assist legal professionals in drafting legal documents, such as contracts, legal briefs, and pleadings.

Risks of using ChatGPT

Even though OpenAI is constantly working hard to train ChatGPT, they admit the software still has limitations[3].

Since ChatGPT is trained on a large amount of data, it may only sometimes be able to distinguish between credible and inaccurate information from a legal perspective. The possibility of an incorrect answer is a challenge to the legal community, which is sought and established through accuracy with reams of case law, legislation, and other legal authorities.

There is a question about authorship and intellectual property in relation to answers provided by ChatGPT, which may include copyrighted material. If any lawyer uses the generated text replies, s/he might infringe the copyrights.

Another danger of ChatGPT is the potential for confidentiality breaches. Law firms and lawyers have a duty to protect their clients’ confidential information and ensure that ChatGPT is used in a way that does not compromise this duty. For example, if you input sensitive and highly confidential client information into ChatGPT for queries, it may breach data privacy laws and expose you to claims for damages, penalties and harm the company’s reputation.

[1] Julia Horowitz, “JPMorgan restricts employee use of ChatGPT”, CNN, 22 February 2023, https://edition.cnn.com/2023/02/22/tech/jpmorgan-chatgpt-employees/index.html (accessed 25 Feb 2023)

[2] Alex Hughes, ‘ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about OpenAI’s GPT-3 tool” ’, Science Focus, 2 February 2023,https://www.sciencefocus.com/future-technology/gpt-3/ (accessed 26 Feb 2023)

[3] Openai.com/blog/chatgpt/

Women in Law – Asia Pacific

In Asia Pacific, women have made significant progress in the legal sector in recent years. Currently, women lead the Asian operations of at least six global firms. They include Ashurst’s Head of Asia Jini Lee; Clifford Chance’s Asia Pacific regional Managing Partner Connie Heng;  Herbert Smith Freehill’s Asia Managing Partner May Tai; Linklaters’ Asia Managing Partner Nathalie Hobbs; Sidley Austin’s Asia Pacific Managing Partner Constance Choy; and Shearman & Sterling’s Asia Regional Managing Partner Lorna Chen. [1] In addition, Nguyen Thi Lang was appointed the first female chair of an international law firm in Vietnam in 2021. But the status of women in law varies from country to country.

In Australia, since 2019 the legal sector was promoting the 40-40-20 model, with 40% of any new admissions and/or promotions in any year being male, 40% female, and the remaining 20% varying depending on the candidate pool. By December 2022, five of “Big Six Firms”[2] had failed to achieve the target of women leadership in law firms, Allens followed with 36.4%, Clayton Utz 30.1%, HSF 34.5%, KWM 33.9%, and MinterEllison 32.7%.[3]

In Singapore, of all practicing lawyers in 2020 43% are women and only 14% are in the senior category (15+ PQE). [4] The Law Society states that women represented 65% of legal trainees in Hong Kong yet only 30% of partners. In India the average percentage of women at the partnership at 30 top Indian law firms stands at 30%. At top-tier Indian law firms Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and AZB & Partners in 2019, respectively 42% and 40% of new partners were women.[5]

On the other hand, in countries such as Japan and Korea, women face challenges even getting into the industry. For example in Japan, women make up only about 18.8% of lawyers[6]. Similarly, according to Ministry of Justice gender index statistics, women lawyers accounted for 27.8% of the headcount in all legal professions.[7]

Overall, numbers of women in the legal profession in many Asia countries continue to grow, and the status of women in law in some countries is better than their peers in the US, UK, or Europe. Efforts are also underway to increase gender diversity in the legal profession. 

#EmbraceEquity #IWD2023 #InternationalWomenDay #WomenInLaw

[1] Anna Zhang “Women Hold Up Half the Sky: Why So Many Women Run the World’s Largest Law Firms in Asia.” law.com, 12 April 2021, https://www.law.com/international-edition/2021/04/12/women-hold-up-half-the-sky-why-so-many-women-run-the-worlds-largest-law-firms-in-asia/ (accessed 7 Mar 2023)

[2] The following firms were generally regarded as the Big Six firms in Australia: Allens, Ashurst, Clayton Utz, Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, and MinterEllison.

[3] Hannah Wootton and Michael Pelly, “Law firms go backwards on female partners”, Financial Review, Dec 8 2022, https://www.afr.com/companies/professional-services/law-firms-go-backwards-on-female-partners-20221130-p5c2f3 (Accessed 7 Mar 2023)

[4] The Law Society of Singapore, “Leveling the Playing Field,” August 2020, https://law-society-singapore-prod.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/2020/08/WIP-Report-Levelling-the-Playing-Field.pdf (Accessed 7 Mar 2023)

[5] “Women in Indian law firms: In a growing minority,” legallyindia.com, 1 June 2019, https://www.legallyindia.com/india-unleashed-editorial/women-in-indian-law-firms-in-a-growing-minority-20190601-11000 (accessed 7 Mar 2023)

[6] Jesscia Seah, “Even in Japan, Law Firms Boost Diversity Initiatives to Attract Women Lawyers”, law.com, 12 November 2020, https://www.law.com/international-edition/2020/11/12/even-in-japan-law-firms-boost-diversity-initiatives-to-attract-women-lawyers/ (Accessed 7 Mar 2023)

[7] Lim Mi Ran and Nguyen Yen, “Korea’s top 100 lawyers 2022,” Asia Business Law Journal, 17 November 2022, https://law.asia/top-lawyers-korea/ (accessed 7 Mar 2023)

The Legal Sector’s Reply to ChatGPT

With the boom in ChatGPT, a generative AI, the legal sector is trying to figure out how the advance AI applies to the market. Here are some law firms’ reactions to ChatGPT.

Clayton UTZ (21 Feb 2023) – The age of the self-driving bureaucracy? ChatGPT and the Public Sector (https://www.claytonutz.com/knowledge/2023/february/the-age-of-the-self-driving-bureaucracy-chatgpt-and-the-public-sector)

Allen & Overy (15 Feb 2023) – Magic circle firm rolls out “gamechanger” ChatGPT-type platform ( https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/magic-circle-firm-rolls-out-gamechanger-chatgpt-type-platform/5115150.article)

Allens (15 Feb 2023) – ChatGPT in law: unlocking new opportunities while managing the risks (https://www.allens.com.au/insights-news/insights/2023/02/ChatGPT-in-law/)

Andries Law Firm (13 Feb 2023) – Is ChatGPT safe to use from a legal standpoint? (https://www.andrieslawfirm.com/is-chatgpt-safe-to-use-from-a-legal-standpoint/)

Stephenson Harwood (8 Feb 2023) – ChatGPT: Will it pass its probation? (https://www.shlegal.com/insights/chatgpt-will-it-pass-its-probation)

Goodwin Procter (2 Feb 2023) – ChatGPT might simplify life for in-house counsel (https://www.goodwinlaw.com/en/news-and-events/news/2023/02/02_02-chatgpt-might-simplify-life-for-in-house-counsel)

VB Attorneys (1 Feb 2023) – How ChatGPT is revolutionizing the legal profession (https://www.vbattorneys.com/blog/how-chat-gpt-is-revolutionizing-the-legal-profession)

Barbeau Evans (30 Jan 2023) – ChatGPT and the World of Law (https://www.barbeau.co/commerce-marketing/chatgpt-and-the-world-of-law/)

Morris, Manning & Martin (30 Jan 2023) – Are lawyers at risk of being replaced by AI like ChatGPT? (https://mmmpressions.mmmlaw.com/post/102i6gl/are-lawyers-at-risk-of-being-replaced-by-ai-like-chatgpt)

Addleshaw Goddard (19 Jan 2023) – ChatGPT (https://www.addleshawgoddard.com/en/insights/insights-briefings/tech-talks/chatgpt/)


Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig (17 Jan 2023) – Will ChatGPT end the legal profession? Don’t fire your lawyer just yet (https://www.dbllawyers.com/will-chatgpt-end-the-legal-profession/)

Gilbert + Tobin (17 Jan 2023) – CPTZero: an antidote to ChatGPT (https://www.gtlaw.com.au/knowledge/gptzero-antidote-chatgpt)

Linklaters (19 Dec 2022) – ChatGPT – 50 questions to road test its legal advice (https://www.linklaters.com/en-hk/insights/blogs/digilinks/2022/december/chatgpt—50-questions-to-road-test-its-legal-advice)

Fieldfisher (9 Dec 2022) – ChatGPT – legal challenges, legal opportunities (https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/insights/chatgpt-legal-challenges-legal-opportunities)

Legal Move Updates (Jan – Mar 2023)

Editor’s note: This is an ongoing list.


24 Mar – Mishcon de Reya (Singapore, Singapore)

Mishcon de Reya has promoted eight of its lawyers to partner—fewer than half the number made up the previous year.

The law firm has promoted a single lawyer, Singapore-based Hong Chong Yi, to equity partner—as well as seven lawyers to junior equity partners. (from http://www.law.com)

22 Mar – Cooley (Beijing, Shanghai, & Hong Kong, China)

Cooley announced a new generation of leadership in three of its Asia offices. Xun Zeng and Michael Yu have been appointed as the first-ever partners in charge in the firm’s Beijing and Hong Kong offices, respectively. In Shanghai, Yiming Liu has assumed leadership of the office from Christina Zhang, who led the Shanghai office since joining Cooley in 2012.

Zeng joined Cooley’s Beijing office in 2019 and is a partner in Cooley’s investment funds practice. Broadly speaking, her practice focuses on the formation, structuring and operation of a wide variety of investment funds, including venture capital, private equity, hybrid and co-investment funds. In 2021, Zeng became the first Asia-based member of the firm’s partnership nominating committee.

Yu joined Cooley in 2019 as a partner in the capital markets practice based in Hong Kong. His practice focuses on initial public offerings and other equity capital markets transactions on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, pre-IPO investments, public takeovers, and listing rules and securities regulations compliance. Yu has deep Hong Kong regulatory experience with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

Liu joined Cooley’s Shanghai office in 2021 as a partner in the capital markets practice. He represents companies and investment funds on strategic transactions in the life sciences and technology industries and is widely recognized for his work on life sciences and healthcare IPOs in Hong Kong and the US. He holds advanced degrees in molecular, cellular and developmental biology and health services administration. (from http://www.law.com)

22 Mar – Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.  (Mumbai, India)

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. has hired corporate experts Danish Kazi and Manan Mehta as partners in Mumbai from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

With more than 15 years of experience, Kazi specialises in private equity, M&A and corporate restructuring. He advises sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and private equity funds on their investments and divestments in India, and Indian conglomerates on restructuring, cross-border transactions and joint ventures.

Kazi joined CAM as a partner in 2018 from Khaitan & Co, where he was a principal associate. . Prior to that, he worked at AZB & Partners and Crawford Bayley & Co.

Meanwhile, Mehta has experience of nearly two decades in M&A, securities law, corporate restructuring, corporate & commercial law, insolvency and bankruptcy, capital markets and litigation and arbitration. He advises multinational companies on foreign investments, involving both listed as well as unlisted entities, across sectors in India.

Mehta joined CAM as a partner in 2017 from AZB & Partners, and was at Crawford Bayley before that.  (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

16 Mar – Abhishek Sharma & Associates (Mumbai, India)

Abhishek Sharma, co-head of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas’ (CAM) real estate practice, has left to set up his own firm in Mumbai.

Abhishek Sharma & Associates will advise financial institutions, funds, real estate developers, large corporate houses and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) on strategic real estate matters, land and title diligence reports, and disputes related to real estate.

Having started his Wadia Ghandy & Co, Sharma moved to Khaitan & Co. in 2005. He left the latter firm as an equity partner in 2019 to join CAM. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

16 Mar – Norton Rose Fulbright (Sydney, Australia)

Norton Rose Fulbright has made its second Australian partner hire in two days, with financial crime prosecutor Sonja Marsic joining the global law firm in Sydney.

Marsic joins the firm’s national risk advisory team from the Australian Government’s central legal service, the Australian Government Solicitor. Norton Rose said she is among the most successful solicitor prosecutors of financial crime and anti-money laundering (AML) cases in Australia. (from http://www.law.com)

15 Mar – Atsumi & Sakai (Tokyo, Japan)

Japanese law firm Atsumi & Sakai (A&S) has hired finance specialist Taku Sonoura as a partner from Nishimura & Asahi.

Sonoura’s arrival marks the fifth lateral partner hire in Tokyo by A&S in the past 10 months. The other four are Harukuni Ito, Mitsuru Misawa and Kazuki Ishihara as partners in Tokyo, who cover emerging practice areas such as data protection, risk advisory, and environmental, social and governance (ESG); and corporate practitioner Fumiyo Doi, who joined last month and in-house role at GE Healthcare.

With more than two decades of experience, Sonoura advises on banking, structured finance, securitisation, trust, tax and tax planning, real estate finance and REIT among other things.

Having started his career at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu in 2001, Sonoura moved to Nishimura & Asahi in 2014. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

14 Mar – Norton Rose Fulbright (Sydney & Melbourne, Australia)

Norton Rose Fulbright has boosted its mergers and acquisitions team in Australia with the addition of a partner from PwC.

Michael O’Neill will divide his time between Norton Rose’s Sydney and Melbourne offices. (from http://www.law.com)

14 Mar – Ashurst (Sydney, Australia)

International law firm Ashurst has hired an experienced employment partner and former prosecutor to bolster its growing workplace health and safety practice.

Sydney-based Scarlet Reid, who joins from the partnership of local firm McCullough Robertson, has specialized in workplace health and safety and employment law for 25 years. Her safety practice focuses on investigations, incident management, and assisting clients to respond to safety regulators. (from http://www.law.com)

14 Mar – Rajah & Tann (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore firm Big Four firm Rajah & Tann has added an international arbitration lawyer to its partnership in Singapore.

Vanina Sucharitkul will initially be based in Bangkok and will eventually relocate to Singapore. (from http://www.law.com)

9 Mar – Stephenson Harwood (Hong Kong, China & Singapore)

Stephenson Harwood has appointed new leaders in Asia, which will see Jamie Stranger cut short his five-year term as Greater China managing partner, as well as the retirement of Singapore head Martin Green.

Dispute resolution partner, Daryll Ng, has succeeded Green, who will be retiring from the partnership in April. As the firm’s new Singapore head, Ng has relinquished his title as managing partner of Virtus Law, Stephenson Harwood’s Singapore Formal Law Alliance practice, to commercial litigator and restructuring lawyer, Lauren Tang. (from http://www.law.com)

7 Mar – Deacons (Hong Kong , China)

Deacons has strengthened its financial services practice bench in Hong Kong with the hire of regulatory lawyer Isabella Wong as a partner from global asset manager PIMCO, where she was a senior legal counsel.

The hire comes about six months after the Hong Kong-based firm added Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s former corporate partner Mark Stevens. The firm did, however, also lose its capital markets partner, Peter Cheng, to Paul Hastings in November. (from http://www.law.com)

7 Mar – Yoon & Yang (Seoul, Korea)

Korean law firm Yoon & Yang has hired three senior foreign attorneys: U.S.-qualified M&A expert Jason W. Lee (L) joins from Kim & Chang, corporate specialist Sung Jin Ro joins from an in-house role at Versum Materials, and China-qualified technology practitioner Song Feng Hong joins from Bae Kim & Lee. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

7 Mar – Luthra & Luthra Law Offices (Delhi, India)

Indian law firm Luthra and Luthra Law Offices has hired disputes expert Shreya Sircar as a partner in Delhi from Bharucha & Partners, its second partner hire in the capital in the last two weeks.

With more than 13 years of experience, Sircar advises on commercial disputes, arbitration, and litigation. She joined Bharucha in 2021 from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, where she was a principal associate. She previously worked for Bhasin & Company Advocates. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

6 Mar – Quinn Emanuel (Beijing, China)

Xiao Liu, the firm’s China practice chair and Shanghai co-managing partner, will be relocating to Beijing to lead the firm’s new office.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has received Chinese government approval to open a new office in Beijing—its fourth outfit in Asia.

The firm has over the past few years witnessed a shift in its clientele in China which warrants a physical Beijing presence, said Xiao Liu, Quinn Emanuel’s China practice chair and Shanghai co-managing partner. (from http://www.law.com)

3 Mar – DLA Piper (Bankgok Thailand)

DLA Piper has added a new partner to its corporate practice in Bangkok.

Joining from Baker McKenzie is Thananan Sangnuan, who has worked at Baker McKenzie for over two decades, first starting as an associate in 1998. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

2 Mar  – PDLegal (Singapore)

Singapore law firm PDLegal has welcomed aboard disputes expert Nazim Khan as senior partner from UniLegal, its third disputes partner hire in just over a year.

In October last year, PDLegal hired insurance disputes expert Wei Hong Ling, while international arbitration and China practice specialist Cathryn Neo joined the firm in February 2022 from Ashurst ADTLaw.

With more than 25 years of experience, Khan focuses on fraud and white-collar crime cases, international arbitration matters, and forensic investigations. In a notable case, he represented an ex-Goldman director in the 1MDB case in relation to CMS charges in Malaysia as they related to Singapore. Khan also advises clients on corporate matters, including shareholders’ agreements, mergers and acquisitions, and asset and business purchases and sales. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

2 Mar – IndusLaw (Gurugram, India)

Indian law firm IndusLaw has welcomed a team of corporate lawyers from J Sagar Associates (JSA) in Gurugram, including partner Shantanu Jindel and principal associate Shweta Gupta.

Jindel advises on mergers and acquisitions and private equity investments, with a focus on the pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

2 Mar- J Sagar Associates (Gurugram, India)

Indian law firm J Sagar Associates (JSA) has hired Shraddha Krishnan Dash as a partner in the firm’s corporate practice in Gurugram from Trilegal, where she was a counsel.

Dash advises clients on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity transactions, and inbound and outbound investments in sectors such as information technology, infrastructure, renewable energy, and insurance. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)



28 Feb – Norton Rose Fulbright (Tokyo, Japan)

Norton Rose Fulbright has secured Japanese law capability with the hire of a new Japanese-law-qualified banking and restructuring partner, Akihiko Takamatsu.

The firm will now operate as a foreign law joint enterprise, known in Japan as a Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo. (from http://www.law.com)

28 Feb – DLA Piper (Brisbane, Australia)

DLA Piper has rehired lawyer Jack Brumpton to the firm’s Brisbane office as a partner in the finance, projects & restructuring practice.

He is returning to the firm from renewable energy company Sun Cable where he was senior legal counsel. Prior to that Brumpton had been Special Counsel at DLA Piper in Brisbane. (from http://www.law.com)

28 Feb – Goodwin Procter (Singapore)

Goodwin Procter has made its first lateral partner hire in Singapore since launching in the city-state in October.

Matthew Nortcliff joins Goodwin from CMS, where he was head of the firm’s funds and indirect real assets practice in Asia.  (from http://www.law.com)

28 Feb – Clifford Chance (Singapore)

Clifford Chance has hired a new Singapore technology practice partner, Stella Cramer, from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Cramer was Norton Rose’s technology practice co-head globally, co-head of the firm’s intellectual property and technology practice across Asia, the Middle East and Europe, as well as its fintech practice in Southeast Asia. (from http://www.law.com)

27 Feb – K&L Gates (Sydney, Australia)

K&L Gates has bolstered its real estate team with the hire of a partner from Australian firm Arnold Bloch Leibler, continuing a strong run of hires in Asia Pacific.

Sydney-based Jennifer McCosker has advised commercial property investors and developers on transactions including large-scale property and development finance matters, among others. Before joining Arnold Bloch Leibler in 2022, she was for 11 years a lawyer at King & Wood Mallesons, according to her LinkedIn profile. (from http://www.law.com)

27 Feb – Ascendant Legal (Singapore)

Ascendant Legal, Norton Rose Fulbright’s (NRF) formal law alliance firm in Singapore, has hired Mei Yen Tan as its head of restructuring and insolvency from local outfit Oon & Bazul, where she co-led that practice.

Tan joined Oon & Bazul in 2017 from WongPartnership, where she had been a partner since 2011. Prior to that, she was a director at another Big Four firm, Drew & Napier.

With more than two decades of experience, Tan advises multi-national corporations, court-appointed administrators, funds, banks and individuals on cross-border disputes, insolvency and restructuring, corporate fraud, and investigations. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

23 Feb – Han Kun Law Offices (Shanghai, China)

Tian Yuan Law Firm’s Shanghai-based managing partner Xu Ping has moved to Han Kun Law Offices to strengthen the latter’s capital markets capability.

Bringing more than 20 years of experience, new partner Xu specialises in securities, M&A, capital restructuring and overseas financing. (from http://www.law.com)

23 Feb – Luthra & Luthra Law Offices (Delhi, India)

Indian law firm Luthra and Luthra Law Offices has welcomed TMT expert Vikash Kukreti as a partner in Delhi from Big Four consulting firm EY, where he was director, regulatory advisory.

With more than decades of experience, Kukreti advises on compliance, regulatory and other disputes and litigations, contracts, business and operational issues, and policy and governance implementation. He joined EY in 2020, prior to which he held in-house roles at Telenor India. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

21 Feb – Appleby (Hong Kong)

Offshore law firm Appleby has recruited veteran restructuring expert Lorinda Peasland as a partner in Hong Kong from rival Harneys, where she was a consultant.

She becomes Appleby’s first partner in Hong Kong since July last year, when it added former Harneys partner Bronwyn King.

With over 30 years of cross-border onshore and offshore experience, Peasland advises banks, funds, creditors, accountancy firms, onshore law firms and regulators on restructuring, insolvency and workouts. She was earlier an equity partner at DLA Piper for 13 years. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

16 Feb – Cyril Amarchand Mangalds (Mumbai, India) 

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas has expanded its current two-member technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) practice with the hire of intellectual property (IP) and education lawyer Aarushi Jain for its Mumbai office.

Jain, who was previously a senior associate and the IP and education practice group leader of Nishith Desai Associates, will now be Cyril Amarchand’s head of media, education and gaming practice. (from http://www.law.com)

13 Feb – Hall & Wilcox (Sydney, Australia)

Baker McKenzie has parted ways a finance partner who leaves its Sydney office join an Australian firm at the same time as it has hired a lawyer from Allen & Overy.

Baker McKenzie partner David Cooper left the firm to lead the Sydney finance practice at Hall & Wilcox. His expertise includes project finance, acquisition finance, corporate finance and real estate finance and he acts for a mix of domestic and offshore clients. (from http://www.law.com)

12 Feb – Allen & Overy (Hong Kong, China)

Allen & Overy has hired White & Case’s only Hong Kong litigation partner, in a knock to its Asia disputes practice.

The firm has added Melody Chan as a partner in Hong Kong from White & Case, where she was the head of the firm’s Greater China disputes practice. Her departure will leave White & Case without any commercial litigation and international arbitration partners in Hong Kong. (from http://www.law.com)

9 Feb – Ashurst (Sydney, Australia)

Ashurst has hired two lawyers, including a partner, from Deloitte to join its tax controversy practice in Australia, in anticipation of growing demand for complex advice as governments focus on revenue collections to bolster their budgets.

Deloitte partner Colin Little and director Vanja Podinic both join the firm’s Sydney office as partners. (from http://www.law.com)

9 Feb – Atsumi & Sakai (Tokyo, Japan)

Japanese law firm Atsumi & Sakai (A&S) has hired corporate practitioner Fumiyo Doi as partner in Tokyo from GE Healthcare, where she held an in-house role.

Doi joined GE Healthcare last year from another in-house role at Amazon Japan, where she worked about six years. She spent the early part of her career at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu.

Experienced in the technology and pharmaceutical sectors, Doi advises on fintech, communications and intellectual property matters, among other things. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

9 Feb – Ashurst (Sydney, Australia)

Ashurst has hired two lawyers, including a partner, from Deloitte to join its tax controversy practice in Australia, in anticipation of growing demand for complex advice as governments focus on revenue collections to bolster their budgets.

Deloitte partner Colin Little and director Vanja Podinic both join the firm’s Sydney office as partners. (from http://www.law.com)

8 Feb – CMS (Hong Kong, China)

CMS has hired a Mayer Brown practice head to lead its Hong Kong asset finance practice.

Conor Warde, who has been based in the city-state for more than a decade, was Mayer Brown’s head of ship finance and maritime practice in Hong Kong. (from http://www.law.com)

8 Feb – J.Sagar Associates (India)

Indian law firm J. Sagar Associates has hired Varun Sehgal as a partner in its corporate practice. Sehgal joins from hotel aggregator Oyo Hotels and Homes, where he was VP legal.

Sehgal joined Oyo in September 2021 from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, where he was a partner. Prior to that, he spent about 13 years at the legacy Amarchand Mangaldas and then Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, becoming a partner in 2017.

With experience in strategic acquisitions, joint ventures, and corporate restructuring in e-commerce, retail, technology and infrastructure sectors, Sehgal was part of the global legal and compliance team at Oyo, focusing on transaction management. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com

8 Feb – Simmons & Simmons (Hong Kong, China)

Employment lawyer Wendy Wong has returned to Simmons & Simmons as a partner in Hong Kong following a 14-month stint at DLA Piper, where she was a counsel.

Wong specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment law matters, with a focus on sectors including financial institutions, asset management and investment funds. She previously spent a decade at Simmons & Simmons before joining DLA in November 2021. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

7 Feb – King & Wood Mallesons (Melbourne, Australia)

King & Wood Mallesons has rehired lawyer Annamarie Rooding, who is joining the firm as an employment law partner.

Rooding joins the firm’s Melbourne office from her own employment law consultancy. Before that, she spent eight years in-house at the wagering company Tabcorp, with more than three of those years as general counsel for operations. (from http://www.law.com)

6 Feb – K&L Gates (Sydney, Australia)

K&L Gates has rehired a partner to its asset management and investment funds practice from Australian funds management company Maple-Brown Abbott, where he was general counsel.

Matthew Watts, who will join K&L Gates’ Sydney office, was previously a partner in the firm’s asset management and investment funds before joining global asset manager First Sentier Investors and then Maple-Brown Abbott.  (from http://www.klgates.com)

6 Feb – Paul Hastings (Hong Kong)

Paul Hastings has bolstered its capital markets practice in Asia with the hire of Sidley Austin partner Steven Hsu in Hong Kong.

Hsu’s legal career spans more than 12 years advising various entities, including financial institutions and asset managers, on corporate finance and capital markets transactions. This includes co-leading Sidley’s team acting as Hong Kong and U.S. legal counsel for joint sponsors and the underwriters on lifestyle products retailer MINISO Group’s $72 million dual-primary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last year. (from http://www.law.com)

6 Feb – Morrison & Foerster (Singapore, Singapore)

Morrison & Foerster has boosted its private equity and real estate practice in Asia with the hire of Tabitha Saw from White & Case for its Singapore office.

The appointment comes slightly over a month after Mayer Brown Hong Kong corporate partner Steven Tran relocated to Singapore to join Morrison & Foerster. (from http://www.law.com)

3 Feb – DLA Piper (Singapore, Singapore)

DLA Piper has appointed international tax veteran Barbara Voskamp as a partner for its Singapore office. She was previously the Asia Pacific co-head and Singapore head of Rotterdam-based Loyens & Loeff.

According to the Loyens & Loeff’s website, Voskamp was its only member of staff in Singapore. It is unclear if the firm will continue operating in Singapore with Voskamp’s departure. The firm has been contacted for comment. (from http://www.law.com)

3 Feb – Pinsent Masons (Sdynedy, Australia)

Norton Rose special counsel Melanie Hunter joins Pinsent Masons’ Sydney office as a financial services partner. She brings an extensive deal track record including advising global banks on large mixed-used real estate development and construction facilities, the international firm said. She was at Norton Rose for over nine years. (from http://www.law.com)

3 Feb – Link Legal (Bangalore, India)

Corporate generalist attorney Prashanth Sabeshan has joined Link Legal as Partner at its Bangalore Office.

Prashanth is a graduate from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore (1997 batch) and is dual qualified as an advocate and a (non-practicing) solicitor in India and UK, respectively.

With more than 24 years of experience, Prashanth specializes in general corporate, commercial contracts, infrastructure, construction, electricity, renewables and clean energy, oil & gas, ports, banking and project finance, foreign investments, real estate, regulatory and policy advisory sectors. He will strengthen the existing robust corporate, renewables, infra and ESG practices of Link Legal. (from http://www.bwlegalworld.businessworld.in

3 Feb – McCullough Robertson Lawyers (Sydney, Australia)

Norton Rose Fulbright has parted ways with two lawyers, a partner and a special counsel, both based in Sydney.

Australian law firm McCullough Robertson Lawyers has hired Norton Rose partner Stephen Iu to join its corporate team while Pinsent Masons has hired a NRF special counsel to join its partnership. (from http://www.law.com

2 Feb – Morgan Lewis & Bockius (Hong Kong, China)

U.S. law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius has hired debt capital markets expert David (Changyu) Liao as a partner in Hong Kong from the PRC’s Fangda Partners.

Liao advises corporates, investment banks, and other financial institutions based in China and other Asian countries, with experience in the issuance of investment grade bonds, high-yield bonds and debt and equity hybrid instruments as well as tender offer, exchange offer, consent solicitation and other liability management transactions in connection with debt securities. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

2 Feb – Indochine Counsel (HCMC, Vietnam)

Vietnamese law firm Indochine Counsel has hired M&A expert Truong Huu Ngu as a partner in Ho Chi Minh City from Japan’s Nishimura & Asahi (N&A), where he was a counsel.

With more than 14 years of experience, Truong advises clients in sectors such as banking, real estate, energy, and pharmaceuticals on cross-border M&A, project finance and capital markets transactions. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

1 Feb – Watson Farley & Williams (Seoul, Korea)

Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) is delighted to announce the opening of its 18th international office in Seoul, South Korea, with the arrival of new Partners Eugene Chang and Philip Kim who join the firm from K&L Gates and Herbert Smith Freehills respectively.
WFW Seoul will offer services across the firm’s core sectors with a particular focus on maritime, aviation, energy and disputes work and will expand the firm’s offering across Asia and worldwide. Having a dedicated office in South Korea will also enable the firm to develop its existing South Korean-based relationships and will provide an excellent launchpad for establishing a strong presence in the country. (from http://www.wfw.com)

1 Feb – DLA Piper (Tokyo, Japan) 

DLA Piper has bolstered its cross-border M&A and energy-related project advisory capability with the hire of corporate M&A partner Peter Armstrong from Nishimura & Asahi in Tokyo.

Qualified in Canada and registered as a foreign attorney in Japan, Armstrong speaks fluent Japanese and has advised Japanese and foreign companies on cross-border transactions and projects for more than 15 years. The Canadian lawyer’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and foreign investments, specializing in renewable energy projects both in Japan and abroad. (from http://www.law.com)

1 Feb – Sidley Austin (Hong Kong, China)

Sidley Austin has strengthened its regulatory and dispute resolution capability in Asia with the hire of Stephanie Chan as a partner from Reed Smith for its China corporate and finance practice in Hong Kong.

Chan has a legal career spanning more than a decade, specializing in contentious regulatory matters, commercial litigation and international arbitration. She has handled disputes across multiple industry sectors including financial services, mining and real estate. Sidley Austin has strengthened its regulatory and dispute resolution capability in Asia with the hire of Stephanie Chan as a partner from Reed Smith for its China corporate and finance practice in Hong Kong.

Chan has a legal career spanning more than a decade, specializing in contentious regulatory matters, commercial litigation and international arbitration. She has handled disputes across multiple industry sectors including financial services, mining and real estate.

1 Feb – Clayton Utz (Brisbane, Australia)

Australian corporate law firm Clayton Utz has hired a planning law partner to join its environment and sustainable development team in Brisbane.

Wendy Evans, a practicing town planner before she qualified as a lawyer, joins the firm from Evans Planning Law, which she founded in 2020. (from http://www.law.com)


31 Jan – Pinsent Masons (Melbourne, Australia)

Pinsent Masons hired corporate partner Andrew Fisken from DLA Piper to join its Australian offices as the international law firm gears up for an anticipated rise in mergers and acquisitions from China.

Fisken, who led DLA’s China practice in Australia, specializes in cross-border M&A with a focus on advising clients from East Asia on their strategic investments into Australia and Australian clients on transactions involving Asian counterparties. (from http://www.law.com)

31 Jan – WongPartnership (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore Big Four law firm WongPartnership has hired Low Wee Siong as a partner in its China practice from local firm CNPLaw.

Low joined CNP in early 2021 from Wong Tan & Molly Lim, where he was a director. He advises on mergers and acquisitions, represents companies in takeovers, and works with issuers, sponsors, underwriters and subscribers in equity and debt market transactions. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

31 Jan – Reed Smith (Hong Kong, China)

Reed Smith and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius have each hired a debt securities partner in Hong Kong.

Reed Smith has appointed Vivian Ji, who joins the firm as a partner from the small Hong Kong corporate finance law firm Jeffrey Mak Law Firm, where she was one of two partners. (from http://www.law.com)

30 Jan – K&L Gates (Sydney, Australia)

K&L Gates has hired a corporate partner and three lawyers from Australian firm HWL Ebsworth, as it continues to grow its corporate and asset management and investment funds teams.

The hire comes just weeks after the international firm poached three other partners from HWL to join its asset management and investment funds team. (from http://www.law.com)

19 Jan – OH-EBASHI LPC & Partners (Tokyo, Japan)

Osaka-based OH-EBASHI LPC & Partners, one of Japan’s largest law firms, has hired former Atsumi & Sakai corporate M&A and disputes partner Go Hashimoto as a foreign law partner in Tokyo.

Admitted in New York and a foreign registered lawyer in Japan, Hashimoto has a legal career spanning more than 25 years specializing in cross-border corporate M&A transactions and dispute resolution. (from http://www.law.com)

18 Jan – K&L Gates Straits Law (Singapore, Singapore)

K&L Gates Straits Law has bolstered its litigation and dispute resolution practice in Asia with the hire of disputes partner Joan Lim-Casanova from Cavenagh Law, Clifford Chance’s Formal Law Alliance (FLA) partner in the city-state.

Lim-Casanova specializes in providing advice on contentious issues and dispute resolution, with a focus on commercial litigation and international arbitration. She acts on cases involving the infrastructure, power generation, and insurance sectors. Whilst at Cavenagh, she regularly advised Chinese private and state-owned enterprises on managing and avoiding disputes across Asia. (from http://www.law.com)

17 Jan – Vanguard (Melbourne, Australia)

A senior executive at Australia’s financial regulator has left the public sector to join global investment fund Vanguard to lead its Australian office of the general counsel.

Sean Hughes, who was appointed a commissioner at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in 2018, will oversee the legal and compliance functions of the business and join the Australian executive team. He starts Feb. 8.  (from http://www.law.com)

16 Jan – Linklaters (Singapore, Singapore)

Linklaters has bolstered its financial regulation, and structured finance and derivatives practices with the hire of Ashurst’s Singapore financial regulation practice head, Evan Lam, as a partner in the city state.

Lam’s hire comes about a week after the U.K. firm expanded its investment funds practice also in Singapore with the hire of counsel Kylee Zhu, who was previously Singapore-based Dymon Asia Capital’s deputy general counsel.

Starting his legal career at Singapore firm Allen & Gledhill, Lam advises banks, fund managers and brokerage houses on Singapore financial regulations, specializing in areas such as over-the-counter derivatives and financial technology. (from http://www.law.com)

12 Jan – Loeb & Loeb (Hong Kong, China)

Loeb & Loeb has strengthened its corporate practice in Asia with the hire of Cooley’s former Beijing corporate practice head Henry Yin as a partner for its Greater China practice.

Yin specializes in cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as well as equity and capital investments. He represented Asia-based private equity firm SAIF Partners on a $401 million offer to take private Chinese biotech company Sinovac Biotech Ltd. from Nasdaq in 2017. He also acted for Hong Kong-based tech startup Tink Labs on a $125 million financing round from technology manufacturer Foxconn in 2016. (from http://www.law.com)

12 Jan – Allen & Overy (Perth, Australia)

Allen & Overy has announced the appointment of David Jenaway as its office managing partner for Perth.

Jenaway’s appointment will take effect on February 1, as he succeeds M&A partner Geoff Simpson in the role. A&O said the appointment would “allow time for transition ahead of [Simpson’s] upcoming retirement from the partnership”. (from http://www.law.com)

12 Jan – Watson Farley & Williams (Singapore, Singapore)

Watson Farley & Williams has hired a new energy practice partner in Singapore from Dentons.

Kunal Kapoor was a Singapore partner and co-head of Denton’s ASEAN energy and infrastructure practice. (from http://www.law.com)

12 Jan – Cuatrecasas (Beijing & Shanghai, China)

Cuatrecasas has hired a new director of its offices in China as the country reopens after almost three years of lockdown under its zero-COVID policy.

The new director, Sandra Costas, worked for DLA Piper in China for one decade and then as senior legal director for investment management company Carpag for six years, according to her LinkedIn profile. In China, Costas also worked for the Spanish Chamber of Commerce. (from http://www.law.com)

11 Jan – Withers KhattarWong (Singapore, Singapore)

Withers KhattarWong has launched a Japan desk in Singapore with the hire of a corporate partner from a Big Four Japanese firm.

Yutaka Sakashita joins from Tokyo-based firm Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu, where he had been since 2007. He relocated to Singapore in 2015 and was made partner in 2019. He advises on private equity investments in Asia Pacific. (from http://www.law.com)

9 Jan – Allen & Overy (Shanghai, China)

Allen & Overy has added an investment funds partner, Daisy Qi, to its Shanghai office from Beijing-based Han Kun Law Offices, marking the firm’s second lateral this year.

Qi’s joining follows the hire of antitrust and competition partner, Vivian Cao, to Allen & Overy’s Shanghai joint operation partner firm, Lang Yue Law Firm, last week. Cao joined the firm from the Beijing office of Linklaters’ China joint operation practice, Zhao Sheng Law Firm. (from http://www.law.com)

9 Jan – DLA Piper (Hong Kong, China)

DLA Piper has strengthened its corporate practice in Hong Kong with the hire of a corporate partner from Mayer Brown.

Xin Fang was previously a counsel at Mayer Brown in Hong Kong, a position that he had held since 2018, specializing in cross-border M&A, joint ventures and private equity transactions with a focus on Greater China and the Asia Pacific region. (from http://www.law.com)

8 Jan – Hillman Sembiring Advocates (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Oentoeng Suria & Partners (OSP), Ashurst’s association firm in Indonesia, has hired litigator Hillman Sembiring as a partner in Jakarta.

Sembiring joins from Hillman Sembiring Advocates, a firm he founded in March 2016. He previously worked at HHP, Baker McKenzie’s member firm in Indonesia.

With expertise in formulating dispute strategies, Sembiring’s experience spans class-action cases, civil lawsuits, financial derivative cases, arbitrations, and import-export disputes. He also conducts internal investigations in clients’ companies, especially on corruption and bribery issues. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

8 Jan – Baker McKenzie (Hong Kong, China)

Baker McKenzie has boosted its employment practice in Asia with the hire of employment lawyer Tess Lumsdaine from Herbert Smith Freehills for its Hong Kong office.

Before joining Baker as a partner, Lumsdaine had spent more than 12 years at Herbert Smith first as an associate in Australia and later as a counsel in Hong Kong representing Asia-based clients in labor and safety litigation cases. She also assisted businesses in carrying out multi-jurisdictional compliance and restructuring projects, as well as employee relations management. (from http://www.law.com)

5 Jan – Baker McKenzie (Hong Kong, China)

Baker McKenzie has boosted its employment practice in Asia with the hire of employment lawyer Tess Lumsdaine from Herbert Smith Freehills for its Hong Kong office.

Before joining Baker as a partner, Lumsdaine had spent more than 12 years at Herbert Smith first as an associate in Australia and later as a counsel in Hong Kong representing Asia-based clients in labor and safety litigation cases. She also assisted businesses in carrying out multi-jurisdictional compliance and restructuring projects, as well as employee relations management. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

5 Jan – Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai, India)

Indian law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas has hired real estate expert Siddharth Hariani as a partner in Mumbai from Phoenix Legal.

Hariani becomes CAM’s second real estate partner hire in Mumbai in as many months. In December, the law firm added Rishiraj Prasad Bhatt from Kanga & Co.

Hariani, who was a partner at Phoenix Legal for 11 years, advises real estate developers, companies, funds and investors on mergers and acquisitions and investment in the real estate sector. He began his career at Hariani & Co before joining Phoenix in 2011. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

4 Jan – Link Legal (New Delhi, India)

Indian law firm Link Legal has recruited energy and environment expert Rajesh K Sehgal as a partner in New Delhi from the Singapore office of U.S.-headquartered Trina Solar, where he was head of legal and regulatory compliance for India and the Asia-Pacific.

With more than 23 years of experience, Sehgal advises on cross-border energy assets acquisition, renewables and infrastructure projects, project financing, risk management, contracts and due diligence, and global compliance.

Sehgal, who joined Trina Solar in 2015, previously held in-house roles at Singapore’s Sembcorp Industries and WWF India. He additionally worked at law Fox Mandal in Delhi. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

4 Jan – Tilleke & Gibbins (Bangkok, Thailand)

Thailand’s Tilleke & Gibbins has hired five capital markets lawyers in Bangkok, led by partner Yaowarote Klinboon, from the local office of U.S. law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth.

Joining Yaowarote in the move are senior associaties Karinevidch Olivero, Phatamol Phisitbuntoon, and Sittiwate Jewsittiprapai, and associate Wisara Harnchonboth.

With more than 20 years of experience in domestic and international capital markets work, Yaowarote is experienced in U.S., Singaporean and Thai securities law. She also advises on general corporate matters, corporate governance, and M&A, as well as offerings of equity and debt instruments.

Yaowarote, who started her career at the legacy Weerawong, Chinnavat & Peangpanor in 2003, left that firm in 2015 to join The Capital Law Office. She moved to the pre-merger Hunton & Williams in 2017, becoming a partner in November 2021. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

3 Jan – Allen & Overy (Bijing, China)

Allen & Overy and Linklaters have both kicked off the new year by adding new partners to their joint operation practices in mainland China.

Shanghai Lang Yue Law Firm, Allen & Overy’s joint operation partner, has hired Linklaters antitrust and competition partner, Vivian Cao, who had been practicing in the Beijing office of Linklaters’ China joint operation practice, Zhao Sheng Law Firm. (from http://www.law.com)

A Challenging Year: An Appraisal of the Chinese Legal Market in 2022

Vicky Liu, Director at Hughes-Castell, is held in high esteem by clients and candidates in China’s legal market. In this interview with Agnes Wang from China Business Law Podcast, she discusses what China’s legal market looked like in 2022 under the influence of the pandemic, and the trends of Chinese and foreign law firms in China.

Q: Vicky, please describe the Greater China legal market in 2022.

In 2023, although law firms’ businesses in the region were generally quiet, some practices were busy during the year: dispute resolution (including international arbitration, restructuring & insolvency), IP, TMT/data privacy/cyber security, and compliance regulations. In contrast, there were practices deeply troubled by the pandemic. For example, corporate/capital markets/M&A have been quiet in 2022.

Q Could you tell us more about the development of Compliance practice in the Greater China region?

Regarding compliance practices, some Chinese law firms have done well. This is because they developed the field very early, were well-developed on quite a large scale, and have earned their strong reputations in the market.

Government regulatory requirements are becoming more and more stringent and fast-changing, so companies in China have an increasing demand for regulatory compliance. As a result, some Chinese law firms that do not have partners or resources in this area were willing to strengthen the development of regulatory compliance businesses to respond to market demands.

Besides compliance investigations and anti-corruption, FCPA-related compliance and audit checks on China-listed companies are in great demand in China.

Q: How was the legal recruitment market in China?

On Associate-level, overall, there were fewer vacancies in 2022. Summing up the experience of this year, the sources of new positions are as follows:

  1. The on-demand practices mentioned earlier need to keep pace with the increased business by hiring.
  2. Although the corporate and capital markets practices were less busy than before, law firms are still hiring for replacements when associates leave. Alternatively, the firms will see if internal reorganisation is possible.
  3. When a law firm recruited a new partner, but s/he did not bring her/his own team. Then, the law firm needs to build a new team for the partner.
  4. We have seen some joint-venture firms in recent years. Whenever there is a joint-venture firm established, it will typically recruit many associates. Despite that, this year, only a few joint ventures were hiring talent, such as in litigation and labour law practices.

On Counsel/Partner-level hires, we found that Chinese firms were much more active than international firms; also, more international firms’ partners moved or were willing to move to Chinese law firms than previously.

As mentioned above, dispute resolution and intellectual property practices were active in China. The firms that are well-renowned for these practices are Chinese law firms. Although some international firms have good litigation and IP teams in China,  they are still in the minority; also, these practices involve litigation work, so Chinese law firms are in a favorable position;

At the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, the Big Four accounting firms’ legal arms closed down, and these partners’ potential destinations attracted attention. Most of them have moved to Chinese law firms, Red Circle firms particularly, regardless of the practices. Most of them came from Corporate practice. Only a few chose international firms.

From these moves, one can infer that Chinese firms are the preferred choice to partners now.

Q: Do Chinese law firms tend to recruit talent from international firms? Or from other channels? Do you have any suggestions for the lawyers or partners of international firms about to leave?

Chinese law firms still welcome lawyers from international firms, especially their senior consultants or partners. In the meantime, senior lawyers of international law firms also think that Chinese firms will be their ideal stop for their career development. Chinese firms are very fond of lawyers with international backgrounds who have worked in international firms for many years and have overseas experience as well as mainland industry experience, which makes the offering of Chinese firms more international. Moreover, Chinese law firms can apply their partners’ international expertise to serve multinational corporation clients as if they were international law firms. Now the market has changed; well-developed Chinese law firms can play the lead counsel role for their multinational clients that international law firms previously performed.

Some international law firms got strength in litigation, life sciences, data privacy, or compliance teams overseas. The lawyers who work in their Chinese offices are Chinese law firms’ preferred recruitment targets because they are equipped with international expertise and local experience.

Regarding suggestions, it is hard to give one for all. The situation varies each time. Career development must be improved from the senior associate level and above. If you need to set up a new business/team in your new firm, most importantly, you have to ensure whether the firm has the resources and willingness to provide you with any necessary support.

Lastly, the lawyers should evaluate whether their background and expertise are a good fit for the firm and its client group. Whether is there synergy between you and the firm. Whether there be good cooperation between you and incumbent partners And whether you can work together to solve any problems. I have handled a complicated case of compensation negotiation recently. Although the processes were challenging, the partner was very pleased and full of confidence to join the new firm after the negotiation. The negotiation process encouraged him that he can work with the firm in resolving difficult situations.

Q: What other trends are there in China’s legal market?

The most apparent trend in the past two years is the continuous expansion of business areas of Chinese law firms. In addition to the established Red Circle firms, some Chinese firms are well-known for their specific practices or expertise and have continued to expand. Their goal is to provide one-stop services for their clients.

We saw more lateral hires returning to private practice. They left private practice to move in-house, and after a few years, they moved back to law firms. Most of them are taking partner roles. It is common in IP, TMT, Data Privacy, and Compliance practices. Why?

  1. Although the in-house legal department is vital for a corporate, it is only a supporting department. The development of lawyers within the enterprise is limited. Inprivate practice, lawyer’s professional career development seems relatively longer;
  2. Lawyers perfect law firms’ work and rhythm;
  3. Since these lawyers come from in-house,  they have greater insight and can provide solutions from their client’s perspective, better services fulfilling customers’ needs.

Q In the in-house recruitment market, which industries are more active?

The in-house legal recruitment market was stable this year. Even though during Shanghai’s lockdown law firms slowed down, in-house legal departments have been actively recruiting to preserve their department headcount. However, we saw a recruitment drop-off in the year’s second half.

Active industries: Medical/Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Startups (Electric Vehicles). Relatively quiet industries: Retail, Mobile Luxury, FMCG.

Q What do clients looking to hire in-house counsel value in ability, qualifications, and background?

There are several aspects the company will prioritse. At mid-level (4-7 yrs), legal )counsel/senior legal counsel – 1). an excellent legal background: graduated from a top-tier law school in China along with overseas education background and experience in any leading law firm, such as a Red Circle firm; 2). China legal qualification: more and more companies seek candidates with a Chinese Bar. Of course, an overseas bar, especially an American Bar, would be a strong plus; 3). In addition to corporate transactions, experience in general corporate/commercial, labor law, data, compliance, etc., are highly desirable; 4). Multinational corporations used to hire lawyers onlyfrom international law firms. Nowadays, many people prefer Red Circle law firms for their experience in China. Moreover, the quality of the lawyers in these RedCircle firms is outstanding, and their salary is relatively lower than their peers in international firms. Professional background, Chinese language skills, and expected salary levels make lawyers from Red Circle law firms very desirable in the in-house recruitment market.

For the private equity or investment bank recruitment market, companies prefer senior lawyers from international law firms with high-end, international transaction experience.

Last but not least, multinational companies need excellent written and oral English.

Q Any suggestions for lawyers who want to turn in-house?

As mentioned above, corporations will have more vacancies at 4-7 years PQE. So, for any private practice lawyer wanting to turn in-house, I first advise paying attention to opportunities after you have worked in a firm for 4 to 7 years. If you are searching for a more senior in-house role, you had better have acquired in-house and private practice experience.

While you are working in law firms, in addition to transactions, try to gain broader experience in labor law, data, compliance, IP etc. A wider skill set is more appealing in the in-house market.

Recoveries vary across different countries, but overall rebound expected in 2023

After having their economies battered for over two years, in 2022 several countries were fighting to return to normal while China was clinging to Covid restrictions. China’s strict zero-Covid policy had a ripple effect on the economy and the legal industry. As a result, Australia has replaced China as the region’s top location for significant hires last year. Singapore usurped Hong Kong as the second most active location for lateral hires in 2022.

Although China had a quiet 2022, China’s legal recruitment market regained momentum in Q4 after the shift away from its strict Covid restriction policy. There is optimism that legal markets in the wider region will rebound after China returns to normal.

The corporate practice continues to be the busiest practice in the region, but its share has dropped from 30% to 23%. Hong Kong, an international financial hub, was deeply affected by Covid-19. Capital markets transactions and business operations were quiet throughout the year. Instead, there was substantial growth in the insurance practice.

The most significant partner recruiters in 2022 were Herbert Smith Freehills, Ashurst, Trilegal, Clyde & Co, and White & Case. They have been active in job markets throughout the year and accounted for  16% of key hires.

Top Partner Recruiters in the Region




  • 156 firms have made significant hires in 2022. The top 5 significant-hire recruiters are Herbert Smith Freehills Ashurst, Trilegal (India), Clyde & Co and White & Case that shared 16% of total key appointments in the region.
  • Among the top 5 partner recruiters in 2022, 3 are UK law firms, 1 from the US, and 1 from India.
  • Top 5 partner recruiters were active in the region throughout 4 quarters.
  • Top 3 locations of their hires are Australia, India, and then Singapore. 




  • Despite a 18% decrease of lateral hires in 2022 compared to 2021, We have witnessed stable legal recruitment markets in certain areas throughout the year.
  • There was growth in the fall of 2022 compared to the previous year.





  • In 2022, Australia and Singapore saw growth in the number of key appointments compared to 2021.
  • After significant drops in Q1, Q2 and Q3, China recovered in Q4.
  • Despite a strong start in the Q1 and Q2, Hong Kong saw a drop in hiring numbers in the fall.





  • In 2022, the top 5 practices were Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets (1st), DR/Litigation/Arbitration/Crime (2nd), Projects/Construction/Infrastructure/Energy (3rd), Executive Level (4th), and Banking & Finance (5th).
  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices constituted 23% of the key hires in the 2022.
  • Executive Level Hire, Banking & Finance, IP/TMT, Insurance, Tax, and Shipping/Transportation received growth compared to 2021.






  • Lateral private practice hires dominated (74%) the hiring markets in 2022 but saw a 28% drop compared to 2021 due to the decrease in the total number of significant hires in 2022.
  • We witnessed a growing tendency in team hires, partners rejoining former firms, going private practice, relocations, and firm acquisition 2022 compared to 2020 and 2021.
  • By contrast, we saw a significant drop in new firms being launched.

Asia Legal Market Looks To 2023 For Stability

Although the world is weary of talking about Covid and its effects on the markets and day-to-day life, the reality is that the effects of the pandemic continue to resonate in this part of the world in a way that seems like a bad memory for the west.

Protests in China have been well-documented, and have indeed led to a relaxation of restrictions. In Hong Kong, mandatory quarantine and isolation requirements for incoming travellers, and limitations on numbers gathering in social situations have belatedly been lifted (although the mandatory wearing of masks outdoors remains in place, much to the bemusement of both residents and outsiders).

Shifts in the market have been well-documented, especially the notable office closures of major, long-term resident US firms in Hong Kong preceding new launches for those firms in Singapore, previously regarded as very much poor relation of the SAR as a regional economic hub. Whether this trend continues in 2023 will be an interesting indicator of where the west sees the long-term future of the region. The increasing presence of the PRC’s major firms will continue to pick up any slack however.

Whether the appetite for opening in Hong Kong has dulled in perpetuity will also be open to debate. The number of new entrants has certainly slowed over the past few years, with severely restricted physical access to the territory being the most outwardly obvious rationale behind that. Will firms with Asian ambitions still view Hong Kong as the most attractive gateway now that travel has ceased to be a factor? Or will the emerging markets of South East Asia prove a more compelling proposition for those looking to plant a flag?

With the upheaval of the last three years it’s been difficult to predict anything with any confidence. For the first time in three years, however, the clouds are genuinely beginning to part. Let’s see what clarity and stability this brings.

Tips on how to finish 2022 strongly

2023 is coming soon! Here are our suggested ways for lawyers to have a strong year-end finish.

Make the most of the holiday season

When many practices are slowing down, and partners and clients are traveling during the holidays, the last few weeks of 2022 are a useful time for lawyers to prepare and try new business development efforts, like updating resumes, polishing LinkedIn profiles, and reaching out to contacts you haven’t connected with in a while. Also, send holiday greetings to your current contacts and your teammates.


List your highlights

To enhance your resume and professional profile, review your year by writing down the most significant successes for you and your firm. You may not be able to come up much off the top of your heads so take a moment to consider and write down the high points and achievements of the past 12 months. Self-evaluation is a good exercise that will remind you of all the good things you have done. If you aren’t happy with your list, maybe you should spend time deciding whether it is the right time to move. 

Look out for opportunities

After the great resignation, firms and corporations competed strongly for talent in 2022. The trend will continue when China fully opens up to the world. The main talking point in the Asian legal markets has been whether Singapore has stolen a march on Hong Kong as a preferred venue for international firms making entrepreneurial moves in the Asia Pacific. In addition, there are increasing opportunities for corporate, M&A, or capital markets lawyers in Tokyo. So if you are looking towards making a move, study these markets for opportunities. 

Plan for next year

Self-evaluation is good and can guide you on how you can improve in 2023. Shortlist the actions you will take to build on those successes next year. Do the same for any setbacks. Write down the lessons you have learned.

Set achievable goals and personal improvement targets and devise plans for how to reach them. Then take some time off so you can spend your holidays relaxing and having fun with your family and friends.

The Lion City awakens

Greater China, traditionally a major Asian powerhouse of lateral hires, witnessed a quiet 2022. On the other hand, Singapore had a strong Q3 and moved ahead of Hong Kong, China, and India as the joint busiest hiring market in Asian Pacific, alongside Australia. The lateral hiring markets in Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia grew stably in Q3.

Despite several economic headwinds, Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices remain the top partner recruiting areas in the Asia Pacific, despite a 48% drop from 2021. Real Estate and Employment remained stable in term of hiring numbers compared to 2021.

The top partner recruiter so far in 2022 is Herbert Smith Freehills, with two more partner hires made in Q3 (Hong Kong and Bangkok). the firm also made its largest ever round of senior associate promotions of Asian ethnicity. Singaporean law firms, including ADTLaw and DentonsRodyk, and leading Indian law firm Trilegal, were active in Q3.

Top Partner Recruiters in the Region


  • Despite countries in the region showing success in suppressing the Covid-19 pandemic, we still saw a 25% decrease in senior appointments in 2022 compared to 2021.
  • July saw significant drops in 2022 compared to 2021 and 2020.
  • The APAC lateral hiringmarket saw consecutive growth in July, August and September.


  • Australia saw76 key recruitments in Q1, Q2 and Q3 of 2022, followed by Singapore (58) and Hong Kong (53).
  • Despite that Australian hiring spree, we saw a decreasing overallin that market. It is also rare to see Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia more active than China.


  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices dominated the key hires in Q1, Q2, and Q3 of 2022.
  • All practices except Real Estate observed a drop compared to 2021.
  • Despite a drop overall in Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets, hiring in those areas remains popular in the region.


Legal Move Updates (Oct – Dec 2022)

Editor’s note: This is an ongoing list.


18 December – Cooley (Shanghai,China)

Cooley has expanded its cross-border strategic investment advisory capabilities in Asia with the hire of corporate partner Ruomu Li from Morrison & Foerster for its Shanghai office.

Li has a legal career spanning more than 15 years specializing in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, private equity deals and venture capital investments, with a particular focus on global technology and life sciences markets. As a Shanghai-based corporate lawyer qualified in New York and California, she has been representing U.S., Chinese and international companies in strategic technology and life sciences deals ranging from public to private mergers to divestitures and spinoffs. (from http://www.law.com)

15 December – Mills Oakley (Adelaide, Australia)

Australian law firm Mills Oakley is to open an office in Adelaide after poaching a real estate partner from corporate law firm MinterEllison to lead the new office.

The firm already has several lawyers based in Adelaide and said the hire of Stephen Hill has provided the impetus for a permanent office which is expected to have 15 lawyers and staff at launch. (from http://www.law.com)

13 December – Ashurst (Sydney, Australia)

International law firm Ashurst has hired real estate partner Kitty Vo for its Sydney office as it seeks to expand its offering to developer and investor clients.

The hire is a return to Ashurst for Vo, who spent 14 years at the firm before joining Australian firm Hall & Wilcox as a partner in 2019. (from http://www.law.com)

13 December – Herbert Smith Freehills  (Sydney, Australia)

Herbert Smith Freehills has become the latest firm to appoint a female leader in Australia, with the announcement that Sydney intellectual property partner Kristen Stammer will become executive partner Asia and Australia next year.

Stammer, who has been with the firm for 25 years, will succeed incumbent Andrew Pike on May 1 next year. (from http://www.law.com)

8 December – Khaitan & Co (Mumbai, India)

Khaitan & Co has hired corporate lawyer Anshuman Mozumdar as partner in Mumbai from Luthra and Luthra Law Offices India.

Mozumdar, who spent more than 11 years at Luthra, specialises in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, buyouts and platform deals across sectors such as retail, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and financial services. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

8 December – Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai, India)

Indian law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas has hired Rishiraj Prasad Bhatt as a partner in its real estate practice in Mumbai from Kanga & Co.

Bhatt advises companies, realty developers, investors and high net-worth individuals on real estate transactions including acquisitions, sales, assignments and leasing, and on regulatory compliance. He spent the entirety of his 17-year legal career at Kanga, becoming a partner there in 2013. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

5 December – Allen & Overy (Sydney, Australia)

Allen & Overy has made another addition to its global leveraged and acquisition finance practice with the hire of a Sydney-based lawyer from Herbert Smith Freehills.

Marnie Fels, whose practice focuses on global and domestic private equity sponsors and large corporates as well as banks and financial institutions, is the latest addition to A&O’s leveraged finance team, and follows the hire of London-based partner partner Marwa Elborai from Shearman & Sterling last month. (from http://www.law.com)
5 December – DLA Piper (Hong Kong, China)

DLA Piper has boosted its finance and debt restructuring advisory capability in Asia by adding a third lawyer to its Asia finance, projects and restructuring team in Hong Kong in the past year.

Trinh Hoang joins the firm from Linklaters, where she was a Hong Kong-based managing associate in its banking team. Hoang will be joining her ex-Linklaters banking and finance colleague Crystal Chen, who joined DLA Piper from the U.K. firm in May this year. (from http://www.law.com)

5 December – Ashurst (Hong Kong, China)

London-headquartered Ashurst has hired restructuring and insolvency expert Lance Jiang as a partner in Hong Kong from Addleshaw Goddard, which recently closed its office in the Chinese city.

With this move, Jiang becomes the latest Addleshaws Hong Kong partner to find a new home, after litigator Janie Wong, who moved to Howse Williams, and disputes head Ronald Sum, who joined Baker McKenzie.

Jiang has more than 20 years of experience and advises on cross-border restructurings and insolvencies with a Chinese element. He joined Addleshaw Goddard in 2018 from an in-house role at Chinese distressed-debt manager Great Wall AMC International Holdings. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)


29 November – King & Spalding (Singapore, Singapore)

King & Spalding announced today that Richard Sharpe, an experienced trial lawyer and former barrister, has joined the firm as a partner in its Special Matters and Government Investigations practice. He is based in the firm’s Singapore office.

Sharpe assists multinational clients with a variety of criminal, civil fraud and transactions matters, including anti-bribery and corruption, anti-money laundering, international sanctions, cyber-crime, other cross-border investigations, and strategic transactions assessment. He also has significant experience in complex civil litigation and arbitrations arising from fraud and other misconduct and advises global companies on investment-related international risk and the design and implementation of compliance programs. (from http://www.kslaw.com)

23 November – Kennedys (Singapore, Singapore)

UK law firm Kennedys has bolstered its aviation offering in Asia by hiring Tristan Thompson as a partner in Singapore from DLA Piper, and naming Anita Quy as its new APAC practice head.

Thompson specialises in handling aviation and aerospace matters on behalf of operators and their insurers and reinsurers across jurisdictions. He joined DLA, where he was most recently a legal director, in 2019. Thompson began his career at Clyde & Co. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

23 November – Zhong Lun Law Firm (Hong Kong, China)

The PRC’s Zhong Lun Law Firm has hired disputes expert Terence Luk as a partner in Hong Kong from local firm Fairbairn Catley Low & Kong, where he spent about 25 years.

Luk advises on a range of disputes, including shareholder disputes, commercial litigation, cross-border arbitration, receivership, liquidation, bankruptcy, divorce, custody, wardship, guardianship, mediation, Mental Health Ordinance-related applications, professional misconduct, defamation, shipping, contentious probate matters, commercial fraud, disciplinary proceedings, regulatory and criminal matters.

His clients include companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, real estate developers, local and international banks and other financial institutions, multijurisdictional corporations, charitable organizations, NGOs, government officials, celebrities and affluent individuals. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

23 Novmeber – Trilegal (Bengaluru, India)

Indian law firm Trilegal has hired labour and employment lawyer Veena Gopalakrishnan as a partner in Bengaluru from AZB & Partners.

With 14 years of experience in employment law advisory, Gopalakrishnan offers advice relating to workforce structuring, employee mobility and employee benefits. She has also worked with organisations and industry bodies to create awareness of workplace sexual harassment, LGBTQIA+ inclusion, and diversity and inclusion. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

22 November – Withers (Hong Kong, China)

U.K.-based firm Withers has hired Dentons’ Hong Kong private funds lead, Simon Wong, as a partner.

Wong’s appointment comes just weeks after the firm brought on veteran corporate partner Kazumitsu Goto from Japanese firm TMI Associates in Tokyo. (from http://www.law.com)

21 November – Squire Patton Boggs (Sydney, Australia)

Squire Patton Boggs has appointed Graeme Slattery to lead its Sydney office, replacing Campbell Davidson, who has led the office since the firm launched in Australia a decade ago.

Davidson, a mergers and acquisitions lawyer, will remain with the firm, according to the firm. (from http://www.law.com)

20 November – Clyde & Co (Bangkok, Thailand)

Clyde & Co will soon be launching a new office in Bangkok, Thailand, having hired partner Ian Johnston and legal director Sorawat Wongkaweepairot from the shuttered Thai office of Kennedys.

The Thai office, which will open subject to regulatory approval, will focus on providing insurance advice to local and international insurers and reinsurers, and litigation and arbitration services, according to the firm’s statement. (from http://www.law.com)

16 November – Selvam (Singapore, Singapore)

Selvam, Duane Morris’ Singapore joint law venture firm, has added Jerald Foo as a director in its litigation and dispute resolution group from local firm Oon & Bazul.

A former judicial officer, Foo focuses on commercial litigation, arbitration, and mediation. He joined Oon & Bazul as a partner in September last year along with fellow litigator Priscilla Lua. Both were senior associates at Cavenagh Law, the Singapore law firm of Clifford Chance.

Foo’s areas of practice include cross-border disputes, company law, banking law, equity and trust, joint venture and shareholder disputes, restructuring and insolvency, fraud and asset recovery, international trade, oil and gas, employment and white-collar crime. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

16 November – Tilleke & Gibbins (HCMC, Vietnam)

Thai firm Tilleke & Gibbins has boosted its corporate and commercial advisory capability with the hire of YKVN M&A partner, Tram Ngoc Bich Nguyen, for its Ho Chi Minh City office.

Nguyen, who has spent 16 years at Vietnamese firm YKVN becoming partner in 2019, specializes in advising on domestic and cross-border M&A transactions. Qualified in Vietnam, she also advises on real-estate projects as well as data protection laws. (from http://www.law.com)

15 November – Dentsu Group Inc (Tokyo, Japan)

Tokyo-based advertising and public relations giant Dentsu Group has promoted Alison Zoellner to general counsel, effective in January.

The post will give Zoellner responsibility for legal and compliance teams for 900 companies owned by Dentsu, which does business in 145 countries. (from http://www.law.com)

15 November – Fangda Partners (Shanghai & Shenzhen, China)

Aaron Chen, who has returned from Jia Yuan Law Offices, is a Fangda partner in Shanghai. He focuses on IPO, investment, financing, M&A and restructuring in many areas such as automobiles, aviation, electrical appliances, energy and pharmaceuticals.

Chen’s clients included famous companies such as SAIC Motor, Junshi Biosciences, Apptec and Midea Group.

He was a member of the 18th Main Board Issuance Appraisal Committee of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

Zou Wen, who had previously spent five years at GEN Law Firm and AnJie & Broad Law Firm after leaving the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court in 2017, has joined Fangda’s Shenzhen office as a partner. She had served the court for more than a decade, specialising in IP and criminal law. (from http://www.law.com)

14 November – Paul Hastings (Hong Kong, China)

Paul Hastings has boosted to its capital markets stead by adding Deacons partner, Peter Cheng, to its Hong Kong office.

Cheng primarily represents issuers and underwriters on Hong Kong initial public offerings (IPO). He also advises corporates on compliance with Hong Kong Listing Rules, as well as on M&A and private equity investments. He has particular experience acting for companies dealing in the TMT sector. (from http://www.law.com)

14 November – Pinsent Masons (Sydney, Australia)

Pinsent Masons has poached an energy and infrastructure team from K&L Gates to join its Sydney office, while Baker McKenzie and HFW have also made hires in the city.

The Pinsent Masons team consists of partner Kirstie Richards and senior associates Luke Salem and Alec Kibblewhite, who will lead the firm’s Australian planning and environment capabilities, the firm announced. (from http://www.law.com)

11 November – Karas (Hong Kong, China)

Karas LLP in association with Mishcon de Reya is growing its contentious and non-contentious private client capabilities, welcoming new Partner Jonathan Mok and his team to its Hong Kong office on 1 December 2022.

One year on from Karas LLP and Mishcon de Reya launching their association, this marks a significant expansion of the firms’ trilingual private client capability, complementing the expertise across Mishcon de Reya’s London and Singapore offices.

Jonathan is an established senior lawyer, known for his work in high-profile family disputes, criminal defence and regulatory compliance practices.

His reputation for promoting his clients’ interests – beyond a sole focus on family matters to include regional and global wealth planning – has been developed both as the sole principal of Jonathan Mok Legal and in his years spent within international law firms. He will be joined by Carmen Cheng as Special Counsel, along with associate Sarah Wong and legal assistant Angela Li. (from http://www.mishcon.com)

10 November – Reed Smith (Singapore, Singapore)

Reed Smith has continued its Asia expansion with the addition of an associate from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in Singapore.

Hui Ling Teo, a transportation lawyer who has spent the last seven years at Milbank in Singapore, has left the firm to join Reed Smith as a partner. (from http://www.law.com)

10 November – Saraf and Partners (Mumbai, India)

Indian law firm Saraf and Partners has hired litigation and arbitration specialist Sairam Subramanian as a partner in Mumbai from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.

Subramanian is experienced in general and commercial disputes, infrastructure and property-related disputes. He joined SAM in 2019 from Khaitan & Co, prior to which he worked at DSK Legal. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

8 November – White & Case (Sydney, Australia)

White & Case has launched a debt finance practice in Australia with the hire of two former London based partners.

Partner duo Mark Wesseldine and David Kirkland will spearhead a new debt finance practice, based in the firm’s Sydney office. (from http://www.law.com)

8 November – Bird & Bird (Hong Kong, China)

International law firm Bird & Bird welcomes back Wilfred Ng as a partner in the Tech & Comms team, based in Hong Kong. He started at the firm on the 1st of November.

Wilfred joins from Tencent’s International Privacy and Data Protection Department where he was Senior Legal Counsel, specialising in data protection and privacy issues. Before this role, he was a technology, media, telecoms and data protection lawyer at Bird & Bird in the Hong Kong office, with a secondment in the London Commercial practice covering a range of commercial regulatory and corporate transactional matters in the TMT space. (from http://www.twobirds.com)

7 November – K&L Gates (Hong Kong, China)

K&L Gates has hired Simmons & Simmons debt capital markets partner Jay Lee in Hong Kong.

Qualified in Hong Kong and the U.S., Lee advises financial institutions and corporations on debt capital markets transactions including RMB bonds, G3 bonds, high-yield bonds, asset-backed securities, medium-term notes, and loan syndications. He also advises on structured debt products and derivatives transactions, as well as mergers and acquisitions. (from http://www.law.com)

3 November – Clyde & Co (Singapore, Singapore)

Clyde & Co has hired projects expert Ton van den Bosch (L) as a partner in Singapore from Addleshaw Goddard, where he was the office managing partner.

van den Bosch joined Addleshaw Goddard as a partner in 2019 from Ince & Co, where he was head of the global terminals and maritime infrastructure practice and energy and projects team in South and Southeast Asia. He was earlier general counsel at International Container Terminal Services and Bluewater Energy Services, and also worked at Allen & Overy.

Specialising in corporate, restructuring and project development, van den Bosch focuses on the energy, offshore, logistics, ports, transportation, infrastructure, agribusiness and terminals industries in frontier and emerging markets in Asia, the Gulf and in Africa.

Clyde & Co has also hired Sumyutha Sivamani as legal director in Singapore from RPC. Sivamani specialises in cyber risk and incident response.  (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

2 November – Makarim & Taira S (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Indonesian law firm ADCO Law has hired Alexandra (Alex) Gerungan as partner and head of its litigation and alternative dispute resolution practice from Makarim & Taira S, where she spent more than 17 years.

She is ADCO’s second partner hire in a little over a month, with the other being corporate lawyer Alta Mahandara, who joined from Wibowo Hadiwijaya & Co in September.

Gerungan has expertise in civil lawsuits, arbitration, employment, debt recovery and restructuring, insurance claims, police and anti-corruption investigations, compliance and internal investigations, and other general corporate and commercial issues. She started her career at Luhut MP Pangaribuan & Partners. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

2 November – White & Case (Sydney, Australia)

White & Case has hired an antitrust partner from Norton Rose Fulbright to its antitrust practice in Sydney.

Belinda Harvey is the firm’s second recent antitrust hire in Sydney, with partner Stefanie Benson joining from Allen & Overy. (from http://www.law.com)

2 November – Shihui Partners (Beijing, China)

Chinese law firm Shihui Partners has hired a team of over 30 intellectual property (IP) practitioners, including patent lawyers, and patent agents and process managers.

One of its new partners is Yue Weining, who joins from King & Wood Mallesons. Yue, who made partner at King & Wood in 2016, has a legal career spanning 15 years specializing in the protection of intellectual property rights with a particular focus on high-tech areas including electronics. He has advised domestic and international technology companies in emerging markets on IP rights protection involving business areas like artificial intelligence, computer software and algorithms to chips and semiconductors. (from http://www.law.com)

1 November – Baker McKenzie (China)

Shih Yann Loo, a senior partner in Baker McKenzie Hong Kong’s intellectual property (IP) group, has been appointed as the firm’s Asia Pacific chair. He succeeds M&A and tax partner Michael Wong, who has returned to practice in Taipei.

As an IP partner qualified in Hong Kong, Singapore and the U.K., Loo’s practice focuses on cross-border litigation enforcement in Hong Kong and China. He has represented clients in some of the largest IP litigation cases across Greater China. These landmark cases include advising a U.S. client on a patent litigation against China’s technology and electronics giant Huawei, and also litigating successfully the first trade secret case in China. (from http://www.law.com)


31 October – Ashurst (Canberra, Australia)

Ashurst has hired a special counsel from Australian firm Clayton Utz to join as a partner in the firm’s digital economy team, as it expands its Canberra office to help Australian Government agencies in digital and data projects.

Mathew Baldwin has advised public and private sector clients on a range of contracting and procurement law issues including cloud services, cyber security and data protection, Ashurst said in a statement. (from http://www.law.com)

31 October – Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (Singapore, Singapore)

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has hired a new disputes partner, Paul Tan, for its Singapore office.

Tan, a former partner at Cavenagh Law, which operates in a Formal Law Alliance (FLA) in Singapore with Clifford Chance, will lead the Asia international arbitration practice at Gibson Dunn. (from http://www.law.com)

30 October – Clyde & Co (Sydney, Australia)

Clyde & Co appointed head of insurance Lucinda Lyons as its new Australia managing partner.

Lyons, who joined the firm as a partner in 2016, will take over the role from current incumbent Michael Tooma when his five-year term expires on Nov. 1. (from http://www.law.com)

27 October – Dechert (Hong Kong, China)

Dechert has appointed its next Hong Kong managing partner 10 months after the former office leader left the firm.

Asia head and global co-head of white collar, compliance and investigations at Dechert Maria Sit has been appointed to the role, replacing David Cho who left the firm in January. (from http://www.law.com)

27 October – Nozomi Sogo Attorneys at Law (Tokyo, Japan)

Nozomi Sogo Attorneys At Law has hired the president of European Business Council in Japan as the Tokyo-based firm’s first foreign partner.

Swiss-qualified Michael Mroczek, who previously spent a nearly ten-year stint as the first foreign law partner at Okuno & Partners, specializes in international dispute resolution. He is registered as an EU lawyer with the Warsaw Bar Association. The experienced litigator has also served as a former president of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan, and an attorney-at-law at Swiss law firm Stach Rechtsanwälte AG. (from http://www.law.com)

25 October – Yoon & Yang (Seoul, Korea)

South Korea Big Six law firm Yoon & Yang has hired two lawyers and a consultant for its aviation practice, taking its head count in that specialised offering to eight lawyers.

Helen Sohn, a veteran aviation lawyer, has joined Yoon & Yang as senior foreign attorney. She was most recently a partner at the firm’s Big Six rival, Lee & Ko, where she had practiced for almost three decades. (from http://www.law.com)

25 October – Herbert Smith Freehills  (Singapore, Singapore)

Herbert Smith Freehills has appointed global co-heads of its technology, media and telecoms sector, with one of the appointments based in its Singapore office for the first time.

Singapore-based partner Mark Robinson takes up one of the co-head roles alongside London partner Veronica Roberts. (from http://www.law.com)

24 October – IndusLaw (Mumbai, India)

Indian law firm IndusLaw has recruited corporate specialist Ashutosh Narang as a partner in Mumbai from Luthra & Luthra Law Offices, which he leaves after a seven-month stint.

Narang, who joined Luthra from a general counsel role at Capital India Finance in March, has more than 16 years of experience. He advises on corporate and commercial matters with focus on banking and finance, fintech, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code and other regulatory advisory work. His clients include funds, banks and other financial entities. Prior to joining Capital India Finance, Narang worked for law firms AZB & Partners and Link Legal. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

19 October – Luthra & Luthra Law Offices (Delhi & Bengaluru, India)

Indian law firm Luthra & Luthra Law Offices has hired two partners, Tamal Mandal in Delhi, and Abhilekh Verma in Bengaluru. They join from the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) and from Kochhar & Co, respectively.

Mandal will be joining the firm’s international trade practice, while Verma will be a part of the corporate practice.

These partner hires are Luthra’s first since August, when the firm brought on board corporate lawyer Sarika Raichur and litigator Abhimanyu Kampani as partners in Delhi from Kochhar & Co and Rajiv Mohan Law Offices, respectively. The firm is currently in a rebuilding phase, after losing 21 partners to DSK Legal in July this year.

With more than 13 years of experience, Mandal advises on litigation, arbitration, inter-state disputes, and trade and investment policies and negotiations with a focus on emerging sectors such as climate change, e-commerce, artificial intelligence, and data privacy. Before joining DIT in 2020, he worked for the World Trade Organization. Mandal started his career at the erstwhile Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co in 2009.

Meanwhile, Verma has more than 26 years of experience. He joined Kochhar as a partner in 2017 from Khaitan & Co, prior to which he worked at J Sagar Associates, and in an in-house role with telecom major Bharti Airtel. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

19 October – HFW (Hong Kong, China)

UK law firm HFW has added a new partner, disputes expert Kevin Warburton, in its Hong Kong office. Warburton will join HFW from local firm Tanner De Witt.

Warburton is HFW’s first partner hire in Hong Kong since September last year, when disputes lawyer Karen Cheung joined from Li & Partners.

With 15 years of experience, Warburton advises on arbitration, commercial litigation, regulatory investigations and inquiries, and privacy and cyber security. He joined Tanner De Witt in 2020 from Slaughter and May, where he spent about 13 years, leaving as a partner. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

18 October – Zhong Lun Law Firm (Shanghai, China)

Zhong Lun Law Firm has hired Jiang Haoxiong as a partner in its capital markets practice, who was previously a partner at Chen & Co Law Firm and Hui Cheng & Partners.

With 30-plus years of experience in capital markets, Jiang specifically focuses on outbound and inbound public offerings and listings, M&A, private equity investing, and cross-border financing.

He was a member of the 10th and 11th Main Board Issuance Appraisal Committee of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, which “helps corporates to grab opportunities and develop smoothly amid the strengthened capital markets regulatory environment”, according to Zhong Lun.

Jiang has advised on significant transactions, such as the Haid Group listing on the SZSE, the Sinopharm Group listing on the HKEX, Fosun High Technology’s listing on the HKEX via a red-chip structure, and French firm Groupe SEB acquiring Chinese-listed company Supor via an equity transfer agreement, voluntary general offer and private placement. (from http://www.law.asia)

18 October – Grandway Law Offices (Shanghai, China)

Grandway Law Offices welcomed Peng Cheng as partner. Peng was originally from AllBright Law Offices. Peng is a capital markets expert and has extensive experience in corporate restructuring and listing, New Third Board listing, equity investment and financing, and mergers and acquisitions. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

18 October – JunHe (Hong Kong, China)

In Hong Kong SAR, JunHe recently added Philip Kwok as partner. Before joining JunHe, Kwok worked at EY’s Hong Kong member firm, LC lawyers.

Kwok was among the first batch of lawyers to pass the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area Legal Professional Examination. Kwok focuses on complex commercial litigation and arbitration, regulatory investigations, cybersecurity and data protection, financial technology compliance, electronic data preservation and retention, as well as disputes and regulatory matters for internet and e-commerce businesses. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

18 October – King & Spalding (Middle East, Singapore & Tokyo)

International law firm King & Spalding said Monday it hired Damien Bailey, the one-time global co-head of telecommunications at Herbert Smith Freehills as a partner to its corporate, finance and investments practice group.

Bailey joins King & Spalding from KPMG Law, where he was a partner. Before joining KPMG, Bailey led the telecom practice at HSF. He also previously led the Asia-Pacific technology, media, telecommunications practice at Simmons & Simmons in Hong Kong.

Bailey, currently based in Sydney, Australia, is expected to divide his time between the firm’s Middle East, Singapore and Tokyo offices, and focuses on data, digital, technology and telecommunications transactions, King & Spalding said in a statement. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

17 October – Thomson Geer (Sydney, Australia)

Australian law firm Thomson Geer has hired a special counsel from top tier corporate firm Clayton Utz to join its construction disputes practice as a partner.

Jack Fan, who joins Thomson Geer’s Sydney office, has experience in complex disputes involving major public infrastructure and has acted on some of the largest public infrastructure projects in New South Wales, including the Sydney Metro Northwest and City and Southwest projects, Parramatta Light Rail, a number of stages of the WestConnex motorway, the NorthConnex motorway, and various rollingstock projects. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

14 October – Han Kun Law Offices (Shanghai, China)

Two former Deloitte Legal partners have joined the Shanghai office of China’s Han Kun Law Offices, following the recent closure of the Big Four accounting firm’s legal arm in Shanghai.

Partners Weiheng Jia and Cody Chen, who were previously partners at Deloitte’s now defunct legal China affiliate Qin Li Law Firm, are corporate lawyers who specialise in multiple practice areas, notably cross-border M&A and corporate regulatory compliance. (from http://www.law.com)

13 October – Penningtons Manches Cooper (Singapore, Singapore)

UK law firm Penningtons Manches Cooper has welcomed back energy lawyer John Zadkovich as a partner in Singapore. Zadkovich had been running an independent energy consultancy in Hong Kong for the past three years.

Penningtons Manches Cooper’s presence in Singapore dates back to 1996, when one of its constituent firms, Thomas Cooper, opened an office in the city-state. Zadkovich marks the firm’s second Singapore partner hire in two years; in February last year, it added corporate lawyer Nick Dingemans from Watson Farley & Williams.

With more than 15 years of experience in energy, trade and finance matters across Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, Zadkovich puts particular focus on international arbitration, investigations and public international law. He advises sovereign states, state-owned entities, companies, trading houses, private equity funds, and family offices.

Prior to running his independent consultancy, Zadkovich worked for Vinson & Elkins and McGrigors for close to a decade in total. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

13 October – Gadens (Sydney, Australia)

Australian law firm Gadens has hired Dentons’ Sydney office head, who was also its real estate leader in Australia.

Sally Tuckfield joins the national firm as partner in its real estate and construction group in Sydney, Gadens said in a statement. (from http://www.law.com)

12 October – Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung  (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Herbert Smith Freehills’ Indonesia association firm Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung has hired disputes lawyer Prawidha Murti as partner in Jakarta from Oentoeng Suria & Partners, which operates in association with Ashurst.

Murti is the third partner to join Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung this year. In May, the firm hired Abimata Putra and Irfan Ghazali from HHP Law Firm and telecom company Sarana Menara Nusantara, respectively. It also lost two partners to Widyawan & Partners, Linklaters’ Indonesia association firm: Disputes and labour expert Narendra Adiyasa, and corporate lawyer Teguh Arwiko.

With about 20 years’ experience, Murti advises international and domestic clients in sectors such as private wealth, energy, infrastructure, projects and construction, technology, media and telecommunications, finance, mining and resources, and aviation, on litigation, arbitration, regulatory and compliance investigations, and contentious competition and employment matters.

Murti was at Oentoeng Suria for five years. Previously, she worked at law firms Makes & Partners and Lubis Santosa & Maramis. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

11 October – Seyfarth Shaw (Hong Kong, China)

U.S. law firm Seyfarth Shaw has added corporate expert Stefano Beghi as a partner in Hong Kong from Italy’s Gianni & Origoni, where he spent about 19 years.

This is the second partner appointment in Hong Kong this year for Seyfarth, which opened its Hong Kong office in 2017. In January, Seyfarth hired TMT expert Paul Haswell as a partner from Pinsent Masons.

Beghi advises international companies as well as family-owned businesses in Middle East, Asia and Europe on multi-jurisdictional issues, including commercial strategy and commercial transactions.

Prior to joining Gianni & Origoni, Beghi worked at advisory firms Andersen Legal and EY. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

11 October – PDLegal  (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore boutique PDLegal has hired insurance disputes expert Wei Hong Ling as a partner, the firm’s second partner hire in 2022. Ling was most recently a vice-president at insurance company Marsh.

In February this year, PDLegal hired disputes specialist Cathryn Neo as a partner in the firm’s international arbitration and China practices from Ashurst ADTLaw.

With roughly 16 years of experience, Ling advises on insurance claims relating to cyber, professional indemnity, bankers’ blanket bonds, and trade credit. He acts for statutory boards, corporations, engineers, architects, quantity surveyors, project engineers, and contractors in sectors such as earthworks, air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation, pipe works, and fireproofing.

Ling worked for Marsh and JLT (which merged with Marsh in 2020) for nearly six years. Previously, he worked at law firms WongPartnership, Tan Kok Quan Partnership, and Drew & Napier.  (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

10 October – Morgan, Lewis & Bockius (Singapore, Singapore)

Morgan Lewis & Bockius has claimed an eight-lawyer team, including three partners, from K&L Gates, providing a significant boost to its global aviation practices in London, Dubai and Singapore.

Parners Sidanth Rajagopal and Manuela Krach will join Morgan Lewis in London along with an associate, while partner James Bradley will be resident in Singapore, the firm said in a statement. (from http://www.law.com)

9 October – Herbert Smith Freehills (Melbourne, Australia)

Herbert Smith Freehills has hired partner Alice Molan to join its financial services regulatory practice in Melbourne from Walkers in Hong Kong.

Joining the firm on 10 October 2022, Molan will advise clients in the banking, non-bank lending, payments and fintech sectors on Australian and offshore banking regulatory matters alongside partner Charlotte Henry, HSF said. (from http://www.law.com)

7 October – Helmsman (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore and Hong Kong law firm Helmsman has hired Una Khng as director and head of its commercial disputes practice group. Khng was most recently deputy divisional registrar of the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC), and assistant registrar of the Supreme Court of Singapore.

Helmsman, established as a shipping and commodity boutique in 2019, created dedicated practice groups for commercial disputes, employment, and corporate, banking and finance last month. Since then it unveiled the following lawyers as the respective practice heads: Associate director Zhida Chen (commodities), director Lynette Koh (corporate, banking and finance), director Maureen Poh (shipping), and associate director Matthew Teo (employment).

Experienced in dispute resolution, Khng advises on matters related to financial products, banking and investment, joint ventures and shareholders, corporate governance, breaches of trust, contracts, fraud and white-collar crime, misrepresentation. and property. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Khng was at Drew & Napier for nearly six years, leaving in 2013 as an associate director. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

3 October – Linklaters (Hong Kong, China)

Linklaters has hired Richard Woodworth, the co-head of Allen & Overy’s Asia Pacific restructuring practice, just three months after Allen & Overy took two of Linklaters’ capital markets heavy hitters in Hong Kong.

Woodworth joins Linklaters as a partner in the firm’s Asia restructuring and insolvency practice, leaving Allen & Overy with three restructuring partners in its 11 offices in Asia. He advises creditors, borrowers, insolvency practitioners and other stakeholders on all aspects of financial restructurings and formal insolvency proceedings. (from http://www.law.com)

2 October – Reed Smith (Beijing, China)

Reed Smith has brought on its third new partner for Asia in less than two months.

Corporate lawyer and tech specialist Barbara Li has joined Reed Smith in Beijing with two associates. The team joins from PwC, where Li was a partner in the tax and business advisory team at PwC China, focusing on corporate & regulatory matters.  (from http://www.law.com)

Baker Botts Redraws Asia Strategy Map With Singapore Opening

At the end of 2021 Baker Botts announced it was closing its Hong Kong office, just over a year after shuttering its Beijing premises, bringing to an end a 16-year physical presence in Greater China, and Asia as a whole. Not only was this the latest in a number of law firm withdrawals from the region, it was also part of a trend of energy-focused firms seemingly giving up on Asia (Locke Lord and Vinson & Elkins made their own exits belatedly official in late 2020). As with the other two firms, Baker Botts had allowed headcount to dwindle, in their case until only one partner was resident in Hong Kong, so the announcement arguably came as neither a shock nor a surprise. What came as both, however, was the recent announcement that the firm had reopened in Asia with a three-partner team hire from Ashurst in Singapore. Asia was not permanently off the agenda, it is now clear.

The team comprises of Ashurst’s then-global co-head of international projects Richard Guit, energy resources and infrastructure partner Michael Harrison and energy projects partner Daniel Reinbott. At the time of the firm’s Hong Kong closure, they issued a statement leaving to door open to alternative Asia openings, but then which exiting firm doesn’t? The timing suggests that Singapore was already in the firm’s thinking even at that time.

Another notable aspect of this move is the pivot from China/Hong Kong to Singapore, a process also followed by McDermott, Will & Emery and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in recent years. UK firm Addleshaw Goddard also ceased operations in Hong Kong in 2022 but maintains its Singapore presence.

Much has been made of Hong Kong’s internal difficulties in recent years, and the strain that travel restrictions and social distancing requirements have put an increasingly frustrated population under. Finally the Hong Kong government has lifted inbound quarantine restrictions which had severely compromised the SAR’s status as an international business hub, and the phrases “opening up” and “bouncing back” have been bandied about with much optimism. But in the meantime, it seems Singapore has stolen a march on Hong Kong as a venue for international firms making entrepreneurial moves in APAC.

Preparing for your lateral move

Making a lateral move is arguably the most significant part of a private practitioner’s career after making partner, so making this decision is contingent on a number of important factors including timing, cultural fit, business compatibility and long-term planning. Let us help you take the first step in your lateral move.

Why a lateral move?

There are many reasons for making a lateral move, including better remuneration, faster progression to equity, access to a larger/more blue-chip client base, relocation to other markets, or joining a more prestigious firm. It may be that you have reached a glass ceiling where you are and need a new challenge, or your current firm is restructuring and you have been asked to leave. However, to lay the groundwork for a successful move, you must above all ask the key questions: what are the reasons for leaving your current law firm and can those issues be satisfied at your prospective new firm?

Is there such a thing as perfect timing?

When you start thinking about a lateral move, it may appear timing is a key factor. Our answer is: There is no perfect time to go to market. As many lawyers will move after receiving bonuses in the first quarter of the year, there is also more competition for the plum roles. Also, people generally think summer is not a good time to move as many senior partners will be taking vacation, which would theoretically slow down the process. In reality, the lateral partner hiring process is so lengthy (anywhere between three to 12 months, and beyond) that picking the ideal moment to begin is all but impossible.

You may also like to know which career stage is the best time is to move. In the past, the accepted rule was that partners were expected to have a certain amount of portable business (generally around US$1m per year) to be viable to the market. According to the American Lawyer’s report in 2017 lateral success rate is highest for moves in their 50s. However in today’s market, mid-sized or leading regional/country firms are open to considering smaller books of business as long as incoming partners can demonstrate business development capability in the medium term or can service existing clients from an ongoing workflow. This in particular applies to younger partners. Partners will always have to pay their own way, there are just different methods of getting to this point. So again, there is no “best” time to move, only the best time for you.

How to identify firms that are a good fit?

A successful lateral switch should ideally provide a better platform for your business to grow, so an appropriate amount of due diligence on a potential law firm is crucial. Will the move offer the opportunity to grow your practice through a better brand and stronger internal resources, marketing as well as fee-earning? Is the size of the international or regional network of the firm a factor for you?

Every major firm’s Profit- per-Equity-Partner figures are readily available but they only show part of the story. Your own compensation package may bear little or no resemblance to those figures so PEP shouldn’t necessarily be a benchmark for your own expectations, but they are a useful indicator of a firm’s prosperity in general.

Keeping your current clients is a big part of making a successful lateral move. Conflict issues have scuppered many a lateral move, meaning that the incoming partner’s business case becomes much less viable if key clients cannot be ported over. Clearing conflicts is something most firms will look to do early in the process so have a recent client list prepared.

Prepare yourself. Firms will demand that you complete a questionnaire and a business plan. The questionnaire generally deals with your career to date, the business plan deals with your future. It is worth sounding out key clients on a discreet basis about their enthusiasm for instructing new at your proposed new firm. This will shape your business plan. Also try to contact alumni with a connection to the firm. A hiring firm will naturally present their best side, you will need to get another angle for a complete picture.

Home Comforts for Singapore’s Big Hitters

The perceived wisdom is that Singapore will pose an increasing threat to Hong Kong in attracting legal talent as the latter sticks doggedly to a Zero-Covid target policy which involves stricter social distancing and quarantine requirements than elsewhere. This continues to curtail business travel, undermining Hong Kong’s acknowledged status as an international hub, and places added burdens on families seeking to reconnect with loved ones overseas during the school break.

Moves such as Sidley Austin’s hire of private equity partner Daniel Lindsay from Goodwin Proctor and relocation from Hong Kong to Singapore are expected to set the pattern. Singapore remains the most obvious choice for those wishing to maintain proximity to the Asian markets and enjoy a similar quality of life despite the fact that Hong Kong retains a significantly elevated status in the financial world. But arguably the most notable moves in Singapore in 2022 have been internal and seen big-name partners return to their former homes.

McDermott Will & Emery must have been delighted to crown a spate of hires into their recently-launched Singapore office with Sidley’s Yuet Ming Tham, one of the premier names in white-collar crime in Asia and the firm’s global co-chair of White Collar: Government Litigation and Investigations, in April. It was a genuine statement hire that grabbed the attention of the market and underlined McDermott’s regional ambitions. She took a team of four, including Shu Min Ho who joined as a partner, and was immediately installed as head of APAC. Yet barely five months later she and her team have returned whence they came, with Yuet Ming Tham being reappointed to her departmental global co-chair position.   

In July, almost the entire complement of EY’s Singapore law firm Asia Atlas Law Corporation (AALC) joined Dentons Rodyk, the firm many of them they had left four years earlier to set up EY’s legal arm. Evelyn Ang, who led the team in both directions, returned to her position of Senior Partner in the M&A group, joined by fellow Senior Partner Emily Low and Partner Glenda Lee. Kenneth Cheow remains in place at AALC as the new office head and the firm has subsequently moved to bolster its ranks but it still represents something of a bloody nose. This is not the first time EY have encountered bumps in the road in Singapore, having dissolved its association with PK Wong & Partners in 2018 after four years.

So while observers will continue to keenly monitor movement of senior talent from Hong Kong to Singapore, some of those already in place have found the lure of home comforts too strong to resist.

Omicron-related social restrictions impair Asia Pacific Legal Recruitment Growth

When most of the Asia Pacific’s legal markets are recovering, sustaining, and growing, China witnessed  a quiet first half of 2022 due to the spreading of Omicron. A strong lockdown has been adopted in Shanghai since March and has been extended into other Chinese cities, including Beijing. With the easing of social restrictions, we witnessed the growth of Japanese and Thai legal markets. Clearly, the different approach to social restrictions are shaping the dividebetween legal markets.

The top partner recruiter in 2022 so far is Herbert Smith Freehills, demonstrating its ambitious growth plans for Asia through significant hires and the largest ever round of senior associate promotions of Asian ethnicity. In addition, leading Indian law firms, including DSK Legal and Rajah & Tann, were actively hiring in Q2. It is rare to note a Japanese firm, Atsumi & Sakai, get into the top partner recruiters too.

Top Partner Recruiters in the Region





  • Despite countries in the region showing success in suppressing the Covid-19 pandemic, we still saw a 27% decrease in key appointments in 2022 compared to 2021.
  • April witnessed significant drops in activity compared with 2021 and 2020.





  • Australia led the hiring market with 60 key recruitments in Q1 & Q2, followed by Hong Kong (38) and Singapore (32).
  • Only Australia and Japan saw increased key appointments from 2021 and 2020. It is also rare to see Japan more active than before China.
  • China observed a decrease in key appointments in February, March, and April, feasibly due to the spreading of Omicron. Key cities including Shanghai and Beijing were locked down for weeks.
  • Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan saw a strong June.




  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices dominated the key hires in the first half of 2022.
  • All practices except IP, IT, TMT, observed a drop compared to 2021.
  • Despite a drop in Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets, hiring in those areas remains popular in the region.



Legal Move Updates (Jul – Sep 2022)

Editor’s note: This is an ongoing list.


29 September – ADCO Law (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Jakarta-based law firm ADCO Law has hired corporate lawyer Alta Mahandara as partner from Wibowo Hadiwijaya & Co.

With nearly 15 years of experience, Mahandara advises on foreign investment, electricity and water utility projects, railways, cross-border M&A, general corporate matters, mining, energy and infrastructure projects, sale and purchase, joint ventures, facility and loan agreements, security, licensing and power purchase agreements.

Mahandara worked for Wibowo Hadiwijaya for nearly 12 years. He began his career with a short stint at mobile tower operator PT Protelindo. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

29 September – Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Singapore, Singapore)

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has hired projects lawyer as its second Singapore partner a year after opening an office in the city state.

A specialist in the renewable energy field, Karthik Kumar joins Orrick from Jones Day, where he was a lawyer for 10 years and a partner for six. (from http://www.law.com)

29 September – Trilegal (Delhi, India)

Indian law firm Trilegal has hired disputes lawyer Rajat Jariwal as partner in Delhi from Khaitan & Co. He is set to join the firm in the next few months.

Jariwal is the latest in a string of lateral hires by Trilegal this year. In August, the firm welcomed tax specialist Meyyappan Nagappan and disputes expert Shalaka Patil as partners in Mumbai from Nishith Desai Associates and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, respectively following addition of competition expert Rudresh Singh as a partner in Delhi from L&L Partners and corporate expert Pranav Atit as partner in Mumbai from AZB & Partners in July. Prior to that in April, it decided to hire disputes experts Anuj Berry and Vishrov Mukerjee as partners in Delhi from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and J. Sagar Associates, respectively.

With 17 years of experience, Jariwal specialises in civil and commercial litigations relating to environment defense and environmental advisory, as well as shareholder disputes both before courts and arbitral tribunals, tenders, defamation, and mining issues arising out of India’s Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act. Jariwal worked for Khaitan for more than 12 years, becoming a partner in 2017. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

27 September – AZB & Partners (Mumbai, India)

Indian law firm AZB & Partners has welcomed back Ajay Upadhyay as the Mumbai-based head of its compliance and investigation team from KPMG. Prior to leaving for KPMG in 2017, Upadhyay held the same role.

Specialising in dispute resolution, expert witness, forensic, financial crime and regulatory investigations and advisory services, Upadhyay has 20 years of experience. At KPMG, he was a forensic services partner. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

27 September – Holman Fenwick Willan (Perth, Australia)

Global law firm Holman Fenwick Willan hired shipping partner Ashwin Nair in Perth as it continues to expand in Australia.

Nair, who joins the firm from maritime boutique Cocks Macnish, where he was special counsel, specializes in shipping, admiralty and marine insurance, acting for shipowners and charterers and their P&I Clubs and other insurers of marine risks, HFW said. He has a particular interest in the offshore energy and commercial fishing industries. (from http://www.law.com)

27 September – Bird & Bird (Singapore, Singapore)

Bird & Bird has hired aviation expert Niel Liebenberg as a partner in Singapore. Liebenberg’s most recent role was as general counsel at China Aircraft Leasing Group (CALC) in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Specialising in asset leasing and project finance with focus on aircraft finance, leasing and sales, Liebenberg has more than 24 years of experience. He joined CALC in 2016 after working in law firms like White & Case, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright, and Beaumont & Son (now part of Clyde & Co), and in in-house roles at Transportation Partners and BOC Aviation. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

27 September – Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (Hong Kong, China)

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison has moved to rebuild its Hong Kong office with a partner hire, nine months after its former China head and heavyweight partner Betty Yap left for Linklaters.

Paul Weiss has added corporate partner Bosco Yiu from Goodwin Procter, according to two people with knowledge of the move. (from http://www.law.com)

22 September – Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai, India)

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas has hired finance lawyer Jian Johnson as a partner in Mumbai from ICICI Bank, where he spent more than 13 years, and was most recently senior group head of the corporate legal group.

Johnson marks CAM’s second finance partner hire in Mumbai this year. In April, CAM welcomed back project finance specialist Manasvini Raj as a partner from International Finance Corporation, a unit of the World Bank, where she was a counsel.

Johnson advises on derivatives, capital markets, project finance, structured finance, general corporate, securities, M&A, IPR, regulatory and compliance, technology, corporate centre and policy.  (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

22 September – Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (Bengaluru, India)

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas has hired four dispute resolution lawyers in Bengaluru, including partner Karan Joseph. Joseph was most recently running his own law chambers.

With more than 10 years of experience, Joseph advises on commercial, civil, employment and constitutional issues. These include cases relating to company law, arbitration, intellectual property, white collar crime and employment-related disputes.

Joseph represents both private clients, as well as central and state governments, before the High Court of Karnataka, trial courts and tribunals in Bengaluru, and other courts in India. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

22 September – Khaitan & Co (Mumbai, India)

India’s Khaitan & Co has hired corporate lawyer Prateek Desai as partner in Mumbai office from Trilegal, where he was a counsel.

Desai advises Indian corporates, credit funds, financial sponsors, banks and other financial institutions on banking, finance, commercial debt and private credit and structured credit transactions. His clients include oil and gas, real estate, pharmaceuticals, technology, financial services, specialty chemicals, power, transportation and infrastructure companies.

Prior to joining Trilegal last year, Desai worked at Talwar Thakore & Associates, AZB & Partners, and Wadia Ghandy & Co.  (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

21 September – Mills Oakley (Sydney, Australia)

Australian law firm Mills Oakley has acquired a second small insurance firm in a fortnight as it further expands its insurance practice.

The national firm has acquired Vardanega Roberts in Sydney, and its two partners Stephen Vardanega and Mike Roberts and their team will join Mills Oakley on October 1. (from http://www.law.com)

20 September – White & Case (Sydney, Australia)

White & Case is expanding its global antitrust practice with the hire of an Allen & Overy lawyer in Sydney.

Stefanie Benson joins the partnership having previously been a counsel at A&O. She advises domestic and international clients on the antitrust aspects of complex mergers and joint ventures across the Asia-Pacific region, according to a White & Case statement. (from http://www.law.com)

18 September – Reed Smith (Hong Kong, China)

Reed Smith has bolstered its dispute resolution practice with the hire of arbitration partner Zeldar Wang. Joining Reed Smith’s Hong Kong office as a partner, Wang has been seconded to the firm’s Shanghai office.

Wang primarily handles international arbitrations and advises on commercial disputes in areas such as trade, commodities and shipping. (from http://www.law.com)

15 September – Dentons (Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney, Australia)

In a significant recruitment drive that reflects increasing client demand, Dentons has appointed six new lateral partners in Australia, continuing its growth trajectory with a total of 12 new partners joining since 1 July 2022. These six partner appointments build on a truly national Australian offering, in particular, strengthening its national real estate practice and adding depth and breadth to its Melbourne office.

Meet Dentons’ six newest partners:

Paul O’Halloran – Employment and Safety, Melbourne
Seamus Gunson – Real Estate, Melbourne
Nathan Rhimes – Real Estate, Melbourne
Jill Milburn – Corporate, Sydney
Darryl Kipping – Real Estate, Perth
Brendan Golden – Recovery & Restructuring, Adelaide

Employment and safety specialist Paul O’Halloran and his team specialise in workplace disputes including employee misconduct, industrial action, reputational risk and union disputes, across a range of industries including education, religion, health and aged care. Commenting on the move, Paul said “It is a great privilege to be joining Dentons, to grow Dentons’ national Employment and Safety practice in Melbourne, the heartland of industrial disputation in Australia”.

Seamus Gunson is a real estate specialist and brings experience advising on sales, acquisitions and leasing of industrial, commercial and retail property, as well as the development of apartment towers and subdivisions.

Nathan Rhimes also commences as a partner in our Real Estate practice, bringing significant expertise in advising on all aspects of property and development, including acquisition and due diligence, mixed use development and land subdivision, as well as advising landlords and tenants in relation to the leasing of commercial offices and retail premises.

Paul, Seamus and Nathan’s appointments continue Dentons’ growth trajectory in the Victorian market, increasing the firm’s footprint in Melbourne and adding depth to our national Real Estate and Employment and Safety teams. The recruitment comes on the back of the recent partner appointments in Melbourne of Ryan Hennessey, Restructuring and Recovery, and Matthew Hennessey, Intellectual Property, Technology & Competition.

In Sydney, Jill Milburn brings a wealth of experience advising clients on capital raisings, mergers and acquisitions, management buyouts, divestments and joint venture arrangements, across a range of industries including automotive, transport and logistics, banking and finance, and energy and mining. Commenting on the move Jill said, “I’m thrilled to be joining Dentons and I am excited by the tremendous opportunity to connect clients to global resources and the diverse talent within the world’s largest law firm”.

Darryl Kipping joins our Perth office, further expanding our national Real Estate practice. Darryl brings substantial and diverse knowledge advising on all aspects of property law including pre-acquisition due diligence, off the plan contracts for strata title and commercial and industrial property.

In Adelaide, Brendan Golden joins our national Recovery and Restructuring practice, where he brings expertise in dispute resolution and insolvency, property litigation, debt recovery and corporation law disputes.

Seamus Gunson commenced with the firm on Monday 5 September 2022. Paul O’Halloran commences with Dentons on Thursday 15 September 2022. The remaining new partners and teams will commence with the firm in the coming weeks. (from http://www.dentons.com)

15 September – Appleby (Hong Kong, China)

Offshore law firm Appleby has hired two former Harneys investment funds lawyers in Hong Kong: Bronwyn King joins as partner, while Grace Yeung joins as legal manager.

King, most recently partner and head of Asia-Pacific at the Cayman Islands-heaquartered Intertrust Law, was at Harneys Hong Kong until March 2021, leaving as a partner. She has more than 15 years of offshore experience, specialising in investment funds, asset management regulatory and general corporate transactions. King’s previous employers include Simmons & Simmons, and offshore firms Mourant Ozannes, Walkers, and Ogier. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

15 September – Trowers & Hamlins (Kuala Kumpur, Malaysia)

Trowers & Hamlins has hired corporate expert Geoff Allen as a partner in Kuala Lumpur, becoming the UK-headquartered law firm’s third partner in Malaysia. Allen was most recently working at Pinsent Masons Vario.

Trowers opened its Kuala Lumpur office in 2012. In 2015, it became the first foreign law firm to be granted a Qualified Foreign Law Firm (QFLF) licence in Malaysia. Trowers currently has 16 lawyers in the Malaysian capital. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

15 September – Deacons (Hong Kong, China)

Hong Kong law firm Deacons has added corporate lawyer Mark Stevens to its now 33-strong corporate commercial practice. His joining marks the first partner-level hire for Deacons’ corporate commercial practice in Hong Kong this year. (from http://www.law.com)

14 September – Mills Oakley (Melbourne, Australia)

Australian law firm Mills Oakley is enhancing its litigation capability with the acquisition of Melbourne boutique Patrick & Associates, including principal Ben Patrick and his team of six lawyers and support staff. (from http://www.law.com)

14 September – Clifford Chance (Singapore, Singapore)

Clifford Chance has appointed its next Singapore office managing partner, as international firms continue to cement their presence in the country.

Corporate partner Valerie Kong will begin her term in the position on 1 October 2022, according to a statement by the firm on Wednesday. She becomes the first woman to take on the position. (from http://www.law.com)

13 September – Baker Botts (Singapore, Singapore)

Baker Botts has relaunched its Asia strategy and is set to open in Singapore, as many international law firms plump for investment in the city.

Baker Botts had previously pulled out of Asia entirely with the closure of its Hong Kong office after several partner exits from the base last year.

“The three partners are: Ashurt’s global co-head of international projects Richard Guit, energy resources and infrastructure partner Michael Harrison and energy projects partner Daniel Reinbott. Guit and Harrison have both been at the firm for over six years, while Reinbott has spent the last 14 years at Ashurst, according to their LinkedIn profiles. (from http://www.law.com)

12 September – Baker Botts (Singapore, Singapore)

Baker Botts had previously pulled out of Asia entirely with the closure of its Hong Kong office after several partner exits from the base last year.

At the time, the firm left the option to return open, stating it was “considering additional markets where the scale of the firm’s Asia practice can be expanded”. In October 2020, Baker Botts also shuttered its Beijing offering”.

“The three partners are: Ashurt’s global co-head of international projects Richard Guit, energy resources and infrastructure partner Michael Harrison and energy projects partner Daniel Reinbott. Guit and Harrison have both been at the firm for over six years, while Reinbott has spent the last 14 years at Ashurst, according to their LinkedIn profiles. (from http://www.law.com)

8 September – RPC Premier Law (Singapore, Singapore)

RPC has hired a technology lawyer as a partner for its joint legal venture, RPC Premier Law, in Singapore.

Nicholas Lauw, who advises on high-value contentious and non-contentious intellectual property and technology-related deals and matters, was most recently a partner at Singapore firm Rajah & Tann, where he had practiced for almost 14 years. Lauw joined Rajah & Tann in 2009 as a senior associate and was made partner in 2013. (from http://www.law.com)

6 September – Thomson Geer (Melbourne, Australia)

Australia-headquartered Thomson Geer has become the latest local firm to pick up an international infrastructure partner with the hire of a Hong Kong-based Eversheds Sutherland partner.

Jae Lemin, who will work in Thomson Geer’s Melbourne office, had been a partner at Eversheds since 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile. An infrastructure finance lawyer, he has a particular focus on the energy and renewables sector. According to the firm’s website, his clients include lenders and borrowers who require financing for significant infrastructure projects across the Asia-Pacific region. (from http://www.law.com)

6 September – Baker McKenzie (Hong Kong, China)

Baker McKenzie continues to grow its bench strength and capabilities in Hong Kong by hiring veteran arbitrator Ronald Sum JP as partner. Ronald will bring a team, composed of associates Plato Cheung and Beryl Wu, with him. This latest hire further bolsters the Firm’s bench strength in Hong Kong, following the recent hire of partners Thomas Tarala and Victoria Lloyd.

Ronald joins the Firm from Addleshaw Goddard where he led its Arbitration Practice in Asia. His practice covers all areas of dispute resolution, specializing in China related matters, international arbitration, cross border disputes, complex commercial disputes, sports related disputes, insurance and reinsurance.

Ronald is highly regarded in the international arbitration arena, and has acted as both counsel and arbitrator in administered arbitration proceedings in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore, Australia, London and the United States. In addition to being an accredited arbitrator and mediator of various institutions — including the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), and Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (SHIAC) — Ronald also sits on the Hong Kong Government Advisory Committee on the Promotion of Arbitration and the Hong Kong Steering Committee on Mediation. He is also an Investor State Mediator under the China and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Ronald is qualified as a solicitor in Hong Kong, England and Wales, and Australia, and has passed the Greater Bay Area (GBA) legal professional exam. (from http://www.bakermckenzie.com)

5 September – MinterEllison (Sydney, Australia)

MinterEllison welcomes back to the firm leading financial services and superannuation lawyer Ruth Stringer as a partner in the Capital Solutions practice.
Ruth will again lead the firm’s national Superannuation practice, which she established some years ago. She will provide expertise and advice to clients as they look ahead and respond to legislative change and current and future member needs. (from http://www.minterellison.com)

5 September – Slaughter and May (Hong Kong, China)

Slaughter and May’s long-serving corporate partner Benita Yu has been appointed as senior partner and head of the firm’s Hong Kong office. Yu succeeds Peter Brien, who will be retiring from the firm, where he has served for three decades.

Yu joined the firm in 1994. She advises on high-stakes securities, M&A and corporate finance and debt financing deals. (from http://www.law.com)

5 September – DLA Piper (Perth, Australia)

Global law firm DLA Piper has today confirmed three recent senior hires in Perth including Owen Alcorn (Partner), Matthew Watkins (Partner) and Neil Macdonald (Special Counsel).

Owen Alcorn has been appointed as partner in our Finance, Projects & Restructurings (FP&R) practice in Perth and commences today. He is returning to Australia, having joined from Herbert Smith Freehills in London. Owen brings deep international experience on a wide variety of financing transactions, including project finance, acquisition finance and general corporate finance. Owen will be focused on supporting the mining industry, particularly in Perth where we have a substantial portfolio of projects in the pipeline. He will also act for lenders and sponsors on infrastructure and renewables projects across Australia.

Matthew Watkins will join the firm on 12 September as partner in our Corporate practice in Perth, moving across from Gilbert + Tobin. Matthew is an experienced corporate lawyer who advises on the full spectrum of private and public M&A and equity capital markets transactions, particularly in the energy and natural resources sector. The addition of Matthew, following the appointment of James Nicholls (Partner) last year, gives us strength and depth to support the heavy domestic demand we are seeing in the junior and mid-cap markets. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

5 September – DAC Beachcroft (Singapore, Singapore)

Insurance-focused law firm DAC Beachcroft has tripled its partner count in Singapore after hiring Summer Montague and Andrew Robinson from RPC and DLA Piper, respectively.

Specialising in cross-border insurance and reinsurance disputes, Montague advises on property, power generation, onshore and offshore energy, mining and construction, including product recall policies and product liability claims in Asia, Europe and the U.S. in sectors such as technology, pharmaceutical and automotive. In addition, she covers cyber security and information technology claims.

Before joining RPC, Montague worked with Mayer Brown and Kennedys in Singapore and London and also had an in-house stint at Zurich Insurance.

Robinson advises on insurance and reinsurance matters with a focus on international financial lines and indemnity disputes, ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and regulatory, compliance and casualty losses, as well as litigation, arbitration, and mediation. He is also experienced in cyber risks and data security. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

1 September – Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (Delhi, India)

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co has hired project and project finance specialist Samridha Neupane as a partner in New Delhi from Saraf and Partners, after a stint that lasted three months.

Neupane joined Saraf in May this year from L&L Partners (now Luthra & Luthra Law Offices). With more than 11 years of experience, he advises Indian and foreign investors, regulatory authorities, think-tanks, developers, contractors, multilateral institutions and financial institutions on investments, private equity, mergers, and acquisitions. He has a special focus on energy and infrastructure in the renewables space.

Prior to joining L&L, Neupane worked at Khaitan & Co and Tatva Legal. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

1 September – Herbert Smith Freehills (Bangkok, Thailand)

Herbert Smith Freehills has hired M&A and competition lawyer Niab Paiboon as partner in Bangkok from Allen & Overy.

Niab has more than 12 years of experience in advising Thai and international clients on public and private M&A in sectors such as energy, petrochemicals, TMT, food and beverage, financial institutions, consumer and automotive. As part of her M&A practice, Niab has built up experience in competition law in Thailand in areas such as merger control regulations. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)


25 August – Assegaf Hamzah & Partners (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Indonesian law firm Assegaf Hamzah & Partners (AHP) has welcomed back tax expert Nazly Parlindungan Siregar as a partner in Jakarta. from KPMG in Singapore.

Siregar, who was at AHP for a year between 2017 and 2018, has more than 20 years of experience in international tax. She worked more than 12 years with Deloitte in San Francisco, London and Jakarta, and also counts PwC and KPMG among her employers. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

24 August – Luthra & Luthra Law Office (Delhi, India)

Indian law firm Luthra & Luthra Law Office has hired Sarika Raichur and Abhimanyu Kampani as partners in Delhi from Kochhar & Co and Rajiv Mohan Law Offices, respectively.

The announcement comes as Luthra looks to rebuild following a number of high-profile departures. In July, Luthra lost 63 lawyers, including 21 partners, to DSK Legal, and later saw the exit of partner Pallavi Bedi to Phoenix Legal.

A corporate specialist, Raichur advises on inbound and outbound investments, India entry strategies, M&A, disposals, joint ventures, private equity, venture capital, venture debt, investment funds, restructuring, distressed assets financing, special situation investments, franchising, distribution, commercial contracts, securities litigation, shareholders’ disputes, corporate governance and general corporate advisory.

Raichur joined Kochhar in 2016 from boutique firm Yuti Law, which she co-founded. Prior to that, she worked at Khaitan & Co. and the London office of European law firm Noerr. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

24 August – Herbert Smith Freehills (Hong Kong, China)

Herbert Smith Freehills has welcomed back banking and finance expert Ellen Mao as a partner in the Hong Kong office from Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, where she was a counsel.

Mao advises international, Asian, and particularly Chinese clients on syndicated lending, cross-border financing, insolvency work and complex project financing.

Mao started her career with JunHe in Shanghai, before joining Clifford Chance in 2010. She moved to Paul Weiss in 2020. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

24 August – Squire Patton Boggs (Singapore, Singapore)

U.S. law firm Squire Patton Boggs has hired shipping specialist Joel Cockerell as a partner in Singapore from HFW.

Cockerell is Squire Patton Boggs’ second partner hire from HFW in Singapore in the past year, after commodities lawyer Ivan Chia came on board last September. The past year has also seen a number of partner departures from the firm’s Singapore office, including Ignatius Hwang and Alfred Chia to McDermott Will & Emery, and Biswajit Chatterjee to Hogan Lovells.

Cockerell specializes in admiralty work, including vessel casualties, collisions, groundings, salvage, pollution, wreck removal and hull, machinery insurance claims, and charterparty and bill of lading disputes. He was at HFW for nearly three years, prior to which he worked at Reed Smith and Clyde & Co. Cockerell also spent more than 12 years in the Royal Australian Navy. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

22 August – Clyde & Co (Singapore, Singapore)

Clyde & Co partner, Andrew Bicknell, has relocated from the firm’s London office to Singapore. He has joined the firm’s Asia Pacific energy, marine and natural resources practice, and brings along with him one associate, Callum Gerrish, who has a focus on shipping and trade disputes including marine insurance recovery claims and casualty matters.

Bicknell’s practice focuses on international shipping, trading and marine insurance disputes. (from http://www.law.com)

22 August – Grandall Zimmern (Hong Kong, China)

Grandall Zimmern Law Firm, the Hong Kong association firm of the PRC’s Grandall, has hired real estate expert Shiu-man Wan as a partner from Baker McKenzie, where he spent 18 years.

Wan, who became a partner of Baker McKenzie in 2015, has a primary focus on development project matters, including the drafting of deeds of mutual covenant, obtaining of pre-sale consent, compliance with relevant laws, and project conveyancing. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

22 August – Phoenix Legal (Delhi, India)

Indian law firm Phoenix Legal has hired and projects expert Pallavi Bedi and disputes specialist Aman Avinav as partners in New Delhi. Bedi joins from Luthra & Luthra Law Offices, making her the latest departure from that firm.

Last month, Luthra & Luthra (then known as L&L Partners), lost 63 lawyers, including 21 partners, to DSK Legal as the firm announced an overhaul of its structure.

With more than 18 years of experience, Bedi specialises in projects, energy and infrastructure. She advises domestic and international borrowers and lenders on finance of projects such as nuclear power, renewables, oil and gas, LNG, mining as well as transportation projects including railways, ports, airports among other projects.

Having started her career at Trilegal in 2004, Bedi worked for the legacy Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co, Mayer Brown and J. Sagar Associates prior to joining Luthra & Luthra in 2017.

Experienced in dispute resolution with focus on commercial and regulatory litigation, arbitration and white-collar crimes, Avinav has acted for clients before Supreme Court of India and High Courts in New Delhi, Mumbai, Punjab and Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Assam. He had been an independent practitioner since 2018. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

21 August – Reed Smith (Hog Kong, China)

Reed Smith has added Fangda Partners counsel, Matthew Townsend, as a partner for its Hong Kong office.

Townsend acts as arbitration counsel in complex and high-stakes arbitration proceedings. His practice focuses on disputes relating to M&A and the energy, infrastructure, construction and technology sectors. (from http://www.law.com)

18 August – Squire Patton Boggs (Singapore, Singapore)

Squire Patton Boggs has grown its intellectual property team in Northern California with the addition of trademark partner Candice Kwok.

Kwok arrived, according to a firm announcement, on Thursday, after practicing for nearly two decades in the Singapore office of United Kingdom-born IP firm Marks & Clerk. (from http://www.law.com)

18 August – Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai, India)

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas has welcome back finance specialist Okram Singha as a partner in Mumbai from Trilegal.

Singha, who joined Trilegal from CAM in 2019 as a counsel following a one-year stint, has more than 14 years of experience. He advises lenders, multilateral institutions, sponsors, investors and borrowers on structured finance, project finance, debt capital market transactions and general banking matters. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

18 August – Baker McKenzie (Brisbane, Australia)

Global law firm Baker McKenziea has hired an experienced funds partner Tr to join its transactional practice group’s financial services & funds team in Brisbane.

Trudi Procter, who joins from Australian firm McCullough Robertson, advises on all facets of financial services regulation and compliance, Baker McKenzie said. (from http://www.law.com)

17 August – Allen & Overy (London, UK)

Allen & Overy has announced that Indian corporate M&A expert Harsh Pais will be joining in London as a partner to lead its India Corporate practice. Harsh is a recognised market-leader in Indian corporate M&A and has previously worked in India and New York.
Harsh has a wealth of expertise advising multinational corporations and private equity funds investing into India. He has experience is across sectors, with a particular focus on energy, technology and financial services. Harsh’s role at A&O will see him based in London, working as part of A&O’s highly regarded India Group. (from http://www.law.com)

17 August – Widyawan & Partners (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Widyawan & Partners, Linklaters’ Indonesia association firm has welcomed disputes and labour expert Narendra Adiyasa as a partner in Jakarta from Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung (HBT), the local association firm of Herbert Smith Freehills.

With experience in litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, Adiyasa has experience in labour problems, contingency planning and crisis management in relation to strikes, health and safety breaches, termination of employment, internal regulatory investigations and other employment-related issues in the Southeast Asian country. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

11 August – Howse Williams (Hong Kong, China)

Hong Kong law firm Howse Williams has continued its lateral hiring streak after adding a team of three litigation lawyers, including partner Janie Wong, from Addleshaw Goddard.

Earlier this year, Addleshaw Goddard had announced it would be closing its Hong Kong office. Joining Wong on the move to Howse Williams are senior associate Plato Cheung and associate Hugo Tam.

Wong becomes Howse Williams’ fifth lateral partner hire since May. Over the past four months, the firm has hired real estate partners Alan Yip and Jovanne Zee from Mayer Brown and Charles Russell Speechlys, respectively; insurance expert Gary Chow from Clyde & Co, and corporate specialist William Wong from Clifford Chance. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

10 August – Haiwen & Partner (Hong Kong, China)

PRC law firm Haiwen & Partners has hired shipping dispute resolution specialist Edward Liu as a partner in its Hong Kong office from the UK’s Hill Dickinson.

Liu joined Hill Dickinson in 2018, and became a partner in 2021. Prior to that, he worked at Reed Smith for nearly eight years across two stints, and DLA Piper. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

8 August – Bowers (Hong Kong, China)

Hong Kong boutique law firm Bowers has hired a new partner for its dispute resolution practice.

Mark Bedford has joined the firm from Zhong Lun Law Firm, one of China’s most prominent law firms where he had practiced as a partner for over seven years. (from http://www.law.com)

7 August – Clifford Chance (Singapore, Singapore)

Clifford Chance has hired Kobre & Kim Asia investigations head, Vasu Muthyala, as a partner for its litigation and dispute resolution team. Muthyala is based in Hong Kong and will be relocating to Singapore for his new role.

Muthyala advises multinational corporations, financial institutions, corporate executives and government officials on a broad range of cross-border government investigations and regulatory enforcement matters. His practice focuses on U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, anti-money laundering, sanctions and securities fraud. (from http://www.law.com)

4 August – ADTLaw (Singapore, Singapore)

UK firm Ashurst’s Singapore alliance firm, ADTLaw, has hired three M&A partners and a counsel from Allen & Gledhill, the largest firm in the city-state. Tao Koon Chiam joins as ADTLaw’s head of corporate/M&A for Southeast Asia, while Xiaozheng Ko and Choo Yi Ming join as director, and George Kho as associate director.

The hires come at a time when Ashurst has been steadily adding laterals across Asia. In June, it hired M&A transactions expert Yuan Yan as a partner in Shanghai from Clifford Chance, and last week, it added projects lawyer Tom Wilson as special counsel in Tokyo from the Asian Development Bank. Wilson will become a partner once the necessary regulatory approvals are received.

With more 20 years of experience, Tao specializing in deal structuring and execution for cross-border private equity (PE) transactions. He was with A&G for more than 14 years.

Experienced in PE funds on transactions throughout Southeast Asia, Ko advises various sectors including financial services, digital economy, and projects and infrastructure. He worked for A&G for more than 11 years.

Choo focuses on M&A for sovereign wealth funds and large-cap corporates in joint ventures and acquisitions of targets with a particular emphasis on real estate platforms, including for data centres, industrial and logistics properties, hotels, student accommodation and offices. She worked for A&G for more than nine years.

Ko, who was at A&G for more than eight years, advises industries such as food and beverage, education, healthcare, insurance, construction and fast-moving consumer goods on various matters including venture capital transactions. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

4 August – J Sagar Associates (Bengaluru, India)

Indian law firm J Sagar Associates (JSA) has hired corporate expert Ajay G Prasad as partner in Bengaluru from Kochhar & Co.

Prasad, who joined Kochhar in 2013, was made a partner last year. He earlier worked for PwC, MMB, and Khaitan & Co.

With more than 13 years of experience in M&A, joint ventures, corporate restructuring and reorganisations, business transfers, asset purchases, and other strategic and financial Investments, Prasad advises on foreign inbound and outbound investments, fintech, banking and finance, corporate governance, insolvency and bankruptcy, employment law, and other regulatory matters. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

3 August – Johnson Winter & Slattery (Canberra, Australia)

Australian law firm Johnson Winter & Slattery is opening an office in Canberra and has hired two partners from rival MinterEllison for the launch.

In what the company described as a long-term strategic move, it has hired the recent head of MinterEllison’s foreign investment and trade team, David Moore, and foreign investment and mergers partner Mellissa Lai. and acquisitions of MinterEllison, to staff the new office in the Australian capital. (from duchetridao.com)

3 August – Sidley Austin (Singapore, Singapore)

Investigations and compliance lawyer Shu Min Ho has become the second McDermott Will & Emery Singapore partner to return to Sidley Austin, after a stint that lasted three months.

In April this year, Ho joined McDermott’s Singapore office, which opened in July 2021, along with Yuet Ming Tham, head of Asia-Pacific and Singapore managing partner at Sidley. Tham recently announced that she was returning to Sidley as global co-chair of the white-collar (government litigation and investigations) practice.

Ho, who began her career in 2011 at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, joining Sidley in Hong Kong in 2019. She has experience in cross-border investigations, with a focus on bribery, corruption, fraud, embezzlement and other corporate crime, especially in the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

3 August – Ashurst (Tokyo, Japan)

UK law firm Ashurst has hired projects lawyer Tom Wilson as special counsel in Tokyo from Asian Development Bank, where he held an in-house role. Wilson will become a partner once the necessary regulatory approvals are received.

Wilson is Ashurst’s first partner-level lateral hire in Tokyo since it added Alexander Dmitrenko, the former head of Asia sanctions at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, in November last year.

With more than 14 years of experience in cross-border transactional project development and finance with PPP in the Asia-Pacific region, Wilson has advised the governments Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Palau, Pakistan and the Philippines on PPPs in sector such as LNG infrastructure, renewables, utilities, transport and social infrastructure. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

1 August – Kudun and Partners (Bangkok, Thailand)

Emi Rowse Igusa has joined Kudun and Partners as a partner launching a brand new Japan Practice to cater to the burgeoning Japanese legal needs in Thailand. She is a specialist in commercial litigation and international arbitration and has represented numerous clients in arbitration cases under the ICC, LCIA, SIAC and TAI rules. She has extensive experience in advising clients on commercial contracts, shareholder and joint venture disputes, employment law, investigations (corruption, fraud and corporate governance) and competition law. In addition to practicing law, Emi is a professional counselor. She possesses a unique combination of skills as a lawyer and a counselor, allowing her to comprehend the psychology of dispute resolution, an increasingly topical issue in the field. Emi is half Japanese and speaks fluent Japanese.

Emi was previously a senior counsel and of counsel with Herbert Smith Freehills based in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok for over 10 years and Robertsons in Hong Kong as an associate for 7 years. Some of her landmark cases include representing a major Japanese trading house in an arbitration case relating to a dispute over a natural resources project, acting for a high net worth individual in Hong Kong in an arbitration over a family shareholders dispute and representing a major energy company in an arbitration concerning a multi-billion dollar dispute. (from http://www.kap.co.th)

1 August – Norton Rose Fulbright (Brisbane, Australia)

Norton Rose Fulbright has hired an energy and infrastructure partner from DLA Piper amid expectations that work related to renewable energy projects will increase following the election of a new government in Australia.

Kate Muller, who joins the firm’s Brisbane office, advises international and domestic clients across the energy and resources, infrastructure, government and transport sectors, with a primary focus on Australia and Asia. (from http://www.law.com)

1 August – Loeb & Loeb (Hong Kong, China)

Loeb & Loeb is pleased to announce the arrival of Terence Wong as a partner in Hong Kong. Terence joins the firm’s Litigation department and focuses on international commercial arbitration and other dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation, expert determination and court proceedings.

With more than 20 years of experience in the region, he has handled disputes for clients throughout Hong Kong, Mainland China, the United States of America, Singapore, England, France, Indonesia, the Middle East, Nigeria, Tanzania and Venezuela. (from http://www.loeb.com)


28 July – King & Spalding (Singapore, Singapore)

King & Spalding has appointed a new Singapore managing partner as the firm continues its push to diversify its sector expertise in the city-state.

Debt finance and restructuring partner Andrew Brereton, who joined the firm in 2019, will take on the new role, succeeding project finance lawyer Kelly Malone. (from http://www.law.com)

28 July – Wotton + Kearney (Canberra, Australia)

Wotton + Kearney is opening its eighth office in Canberra, having attracted experienced insurance litigator Catherine Power and her team from Sparke Helmore. The move into Canberra continues the firm’s strong growth trajectory as the largest specialist insurance law firm across Australia and New Zealand.

The eight-strong team, led by Partner Catherine Power, includes Gemma Burke (SC), Cindy Lim (SC), Emma Bozic (SA), Rachel Walls (SA), Denisa Zezulka (Solicitor), Wendy Bradford (Practice Manager) and Sheridan Martin (Legal Admin). The majority of the team join the firm on 1 August 2022 and will move into a new office at 17 Moore St, Canberra in September when the fit-out is complete. (from http://www.wottonkearney.com.au)

21 July – Watson Farley & Williams (Singapore, Singapore)

Watson Farley & Williams has added dispute resolution expert Kimarie Cheang as a partner in Singapore from Incisive Law, where she was director  and head of the China group.

Cheang has 15 years of experience advising on disputes in international trade and transportation, oil and gas including liquefied natural gas, metals and mining, soft commodities, shipbuilding, offshore and construction, and insurance sectors. Her clients include oil majors, national oil companies, state-owned enterprises, mining companies, trading companies, and shipping companies.

Cheang joined Incisive in March 2020, after working at HFW for more than a decade. She was earlier at Singapore law firm Allen & Gledhill.

Cheang is WFW’s second disputes partner hire in Singapore in the past two years. Last August, the firm brought on board Sumeet Malhotra from Hill Dickinson. With her arrival, WFW now has eight partners in the city-state. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

19 July – DSK Legal (Delhi, India)

Indian law firm DSK Legal has hired 63 former lawyers of L&L Partners, including 21 partners. They include Delhi-based senior partners Bobby Chandhoke (L) and Sudhir Sharma.

The news comes just about a year after L&L Partners lost 85 lawyers, including 21 partners, as part of an exodus led by erstwhile equity partner Mohit Saraf, who then set up his own outfit, Saraf and Partners, in three Indian cities.

As for the group headed to DSK, the exits happened after L&L reportedly dissolved its litigation arm, and gave the lawyers the option of leaving or joining the firm’s existing corporate arm under a unified structure. L&L also recently acquired the disputes practice of Verus, led by partner Krishnayan Sen.

The partners joining DSK specialise in a range of practice areas, including dispute resolution, competition and antitrust, employment, international trade, corporate/M&A, intellectual property, and fintech.

Apart from Sharma and Chandhoke, the partners are Abdullah Hussain, Akhil Anand, Altaf Fathima, Anant Garg, Ashish Chandra, Deepali Chandhoke, Durga Bose Gandham, Kanika Chaudhary Nayar, Kunal Mehra, Mohit Bakshi, Pradyuman Dubey, Prashant Mishra, Prashant Pakhiddey, Saleem Hasan Ansari, Saurabh Tiwari, Shiv Sapra, Subhash Bhutoria, Suyash Srivastava, and Tarun Dua. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

19 July – Trilegal (Delhi, India)

Indian law firm Trilegal has hired competition expert Rudresh Singh as a partner in Delhi from L&L Partners.

The news of Singh leaving L&L comes around the time that the firm saw some 63 of its lawyers, including 21 partners, exit and join DSK Legal, including partners Bobby Chandhoke and Sudhir Sharma.

Singh advises on competition law, antitrust and merger control matters, representing private equity and other institutional investors. He joined L&L in 2013, and was named as a partner in 2020. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

18 July – Sidley Austin (Singapore, Singapore)

Life sciences expert Yuet Ming Tham has rejoined Sidley Austin with her team of three lawyers after just five months at McDermott Will & Emery in Singapore.

Tham confirmed her move in a post on her LinkedIn profile. She returns to Sidley in the same capacity as when she departed the firm in April. (from http://www.law.com)

18 July – Gilbert + Tobin (Melbourne, Australia)

Australian law firm Gilbert + Tobin hired K&L Gates partner Zac Kerr, who joins the firm in Melbourne.

Kerr was global co-head of construction and infrastructure at K&L Gates, advising on projects and infrastructure transactions globally, particularly in Australia and Asia. (from http://www.law.com)

15 July – BeiGene (Beijing, China)

A former in-house legal leader for Sanofi and Pfizer is joining BeiGene as the global biotech company’s general counsel.

Chan Lee will take over as Beijing-based BeiGene’s top lawyer on July 18. He succeeds Scott Samuels, BeiGene’s first-ever legal chief and in-house lawyer who joined the company in 2017 and built its global legal and compliance team. (from http://www.law.com)

14 July – Siam Premier (Bangkok, Thailand)

Bangkok-based law firm Siam Premier International Law Office has hired corporate specialist Maythawee Sarathai as a partner from Hunton Andrews Kurth.

Maythawee advises on domestic and cross-border financing, M&A, general corporate and commercial matters, distressed debt situations including settlement, recovery and enforcement strategies, and business and asset re-organisation. He joined Hunton Andrews Kurth last year following nearly 24 years at Mayer Brown. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

13 July – Sidley Austin (Singapore, Singapore)

Sidley Austin has hired a Hong Kong-based Goodwin Procter private equity partner for its Singapore base.

Daniel Lindsey, who specializes in private equity deals, joins the firm’s partnership in Singapore this month. He joined Goodwin in 2018 from Kirkland which he joined in 2016 from Linklaters. He has been based in Asia since 2012 having previously been based in London. (from http://www.law.com)

13 July – Mishcon de Reya (Singapore, Singapore)

UK law firm Mishcon de Reya has hired aviation specialist Ethan Tan in Singapore as partner and head of its Asia aviation practice from Reed Smith, where he was a counsel.

Tan has expertise in aviation finance, operating leases, finance leases, commercial lending, ECA-backed lending, OEM purchase orders, aircraft secured bonds, ABSs, hedging, asset-driven M&A, aviation JVs, MRO contracts, restructuring, enforcement and repossession, private jets, aircraft trading, and commercial disputes. His clients include airlines, lessors, banks and investors. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

13 July – Argus Partners (Delhi, India)

Indian law firm Argus Partners has welcomed corporate experts Jitendra Soni and Namitha Mathews as partners in Delhi, with Mathews becoming its fifth hire from Algo Legal in about a month.

Last month, Argus hired four partners, namely Abhinav Bhalaik and Armaan Patkar in Mumbai, Ankit Guha in Bengaluru, and Neha Madan in Delhi, from Algo Legal, which is currently embroiled in a defamation lawsuit against its former client Sequoia Capital, among others. Argus also hired Bhavya Mohan as a partner in Bengaluru in June.

Soni is experienced in corporate and M&A, private equity, venture capital, technology and data privacy, and advises both traditional and emerging technology companies. Until April this year, he was at DSK Legal, prior to which he worked for Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB & Partners, and Gnarus Partners.

Meanwhile, Mathews has more than 15 years of experience in litigation, dispute resolution and corporate advisory. She focuses on civil law, corporate law, private estate law, alternative dispute, real estate, infrastructure, property laws, education and white-collar issues. Mathews joined Algo Legal in 2020 from Samvid Legal, a law firm she founded in 2017. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

7 July – Howse Williams (Hong Kong, China)

Hong Kong firm Howse Williams has hired Alan Yip as partner and head of its real estate practice from Mayer Brown, where he had been a partner since 2010.

Yip is Howse William’s fourth lateral partner hire in recent months after Jovanne Zee – another property law expert – insurance specialist Gary Chow, and corporate lawyer William Wong.

Yip advises on land compulsory sale applications, residential first-hand sale legislation compliance, project conveyancing, strategic acquisitions for redevelopment purpose, commercial real estate building plans and town planning legal issues, property-related litigation, government leases, leasing projects, stamp duty legal advice and PRC real estate projects and acquisitions. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

7 July – Allen & Gledhill (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

The Ho Chi Minh City office of Singapore law firm Allen & Gledhill has hired corporate and banking expert Phuong Tran as a partner. Tran was most recently deputy head of legal at Vietnamese conglomerate Masan Group.

Prior to joining Masan Group in October last year, Tran spent more than six years at the Singapore office of Vietnamese law firm YKVN, becoming a partner in 2020. He earlier worked for Allen & Overy, VILAF, and Kim & Chang.

Tran’s practice areas include banking and finance, capital markets, corporate and commercial, and M&A. He has experience in corporate matters such as structure advice, due diligence, negotiation, documentation, and regulatory advice, involving industries such as including real estate, securities, pharmaceutical, education, power and energy, and insurance. He also has experience in international arbitration. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

6 July – Atlas Asia Law Corporation (Singapore, Singapore)

Atlas Asia Law Corporation (AALC), EY’s Singapore law firm, has hired corporate expert Liew Lan Hing as a director from casino developer and operator Genting Singapore, where she was general counsel and senior vice-president.

Her hire shortly comes after AALC lost eight lawyers, including three directors, to Dentons Rodyk. The directors included founder and managing director Evelyn Ang, who rejoined Dentons Rodyk as senior partner.

With more than two decades of experience in capital markets and M&A, Liew advises on corporate and commercial matters and compliance. Before joining Genting, she was at law firms Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow and Rajah & Tann. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

6 July – Trilegal (Mumbai, India)

Indian law firm Trilegal will hire corporate expert Pranav Atit as partner in Mumbai from AZB & Partners, with Atit set to start it in his new role in the next few months.

Since last year, Trilegal has hired five partners from AZB, including Sai Krishna Bharathan, Shivani Kabra, Pallabi Ghosal and Vivek Bajaj in late 2021, and Richa Choudhary in March.

With more than 10 years of experience in cross-border M&A and private equity (PE), Atit advises PE sponsors and investors on public and private M&A deals, including Reliance Industries and Apax. He has particular expertise in the information technology and infrastructure sectors. Additionally, Atit also advises on securities laws and offshore flip structures. (from http://www.legalbusinessonline.com)

5 July – Park Arbitration Chambers (Seoul, Korea)

Kim & Chang’s veteran partner and co-founder of its international arbitration practice, Eun Young Park, has retired from the Big Six South Korean firm, to set up his own practice, Park Arbitration Chambers.

Park has been at Kim & Chang for over 25 years and prior to that served as a judge on the country’s district courts for two years. He was also a Judge Advocate at the South Korean Ministry of National Defence for four years until 1994. (from http://www.law.com)

4 July – King & Wood Mallesons (Melbourne, Australia)

Partners continue to depart Norton Rose Fulbright in Australian, with energy partner Jo Crew leaving to join King & Wood Mallesons.

Melbourne-based Crew was a senior partner and head of NRF’s Australian projects and construction team, and co-head of the firm’s Australian energy, infrastructure and resources sector team. (from http://www.law.com)

1 July – Clayton Utz (Canberra, Australia)

Australian law firm Clayton Utz added a digital, data and technology law specialist to its partnership with the hire of a lawyer from Ashurst.

Robert Dearn, who was previously an associate at Ashurst, joins Clayton Utz’s public-sector practice in Canberra. (from http://www.law.com)

1 July – Dentons Rodyk (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore Big Five Law Firm Dentons Rodyk are today announcing the arrival of senior corporate lawyers Evelyn Ang and Emily Low. Together with six other lawyers, they join Dentons Rodyk from Big Four accounting firm EY’s Singapore law practice, Atlas Asia Law Corporation (AALC). The news follows Dentons’ recently launched combination with leading Vietnamese law firm LuatViet, as the Firm pursues its goal of being the leading pan-ASEAN law firm.

Dentons Rodyk is also delighted to welcome AALC’s former Director Glenda Lee as Partner, to the firm. Like Evelyn, Glenda begins her second chapter at Dentons Rodyk in the M&A practice, having left initially in 2018 for AALC. (from dentons.rodyk.com)

Legal issues and opportunities in Web3

Whether you hate or love Web3, it is hot now because technology influencers like Venture capitalist Marc Andreesen, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Tesla chief Elon Musk are recently debating it.[1] The Web3 advocates also believe it is reshaping the economic landscape. Gartner estimates that Web3 will increase global GDP by USD 1.76 trillion by 2030. [2] The rise of Web3 inevitably raises many legal issues such as virtual governance, data privacy, IP protection, regulatory compliance, and infringement. These also provide plenty of business opportunities for technology lawyers and law firms to join this fast-evolving area of law.

What is Web3?

Web3 is a new platform built on decentralized and blockchain technology owned by the builders and users where people can bind cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and metaverses together into a new platform. On Web3, individuals can provide services directly to each user and trade items of value that inherently exist within the system. An example of a Web3 application/network/platform might be a metaverse (an online, 3-dimensional universe that combines multiple virtual spaces in which users will be able to collaborate, meet, play games, and socialize) that works on a decentralized blockchain instead of using a bank.

Does Web3 need legal protection?

There is a misconception that a decentralized platform is unregulated. In addition, digital assets are rapidly growing in many parts of the world where local regulators have introduced laws and regulations governing transactions. For example, the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is developing rules to track cryptocurrency exchanges and report suspicious activities. In addition, Australia and Canada consider Bitcoin a financial asset with a value that can be taxed. In Asia, Japan’s parliament passed a bill into law in June to regulate stablecoins or cryptocurrencies for investor protection.

Legal worries will increase in the metaverse as it is growing dramatically around the world. In general, many users believe NFTs offer undeniable proof of ownership. However, things may not be as simple as we thought. For example the property ownership, according to João Marinotti, Professor of Law at Indiana University, as virtual land ownership falls under contract law rather than property law. Also, purchasing an NFT doesn’t give users ownership over the digital asset. [3]

Although Web3 is an entirely new and complicated landscape, a new kind of legal protection is needed when things go wrong. Cryptocurrency litigation is soaring[4]. Disputes arise with NFTs related to licensing and joint ownership of an asset. Companies nowadays use metaverses as part of their business and marketing strategies that raise many legal issues concerning governance, IP protection, and infringement. [5]

Opportunities in Web3

If any technology landscape wants to grow to its full potential, it needs to incorporate a proper legal framework that includes set rights and obligations to protect all parties’ interests. Legal issues we need to address include taxation, virtual governance, regulatory challenges, licensing and ownership, transaction tracking and reporting, data privacy, and IP protection.

To avoid being left behind, traditional law firms, lawyers, and law students need to understand the development of Web3 technologies and the changing laws and regulations related to Web3 and regional governments.

[1] Sam Shead, ‘Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey are talking about “Web3” – here’s what it is and why it matters’, CNBC.com,  CNBC, 21 Dec 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/21/elon-musk-and-jack-dorsey-are-talking-about-web3-heres-why.html (accessed 15 June 2022)

[2] Jamilia Grier, ‘Why Law Firms Need To Pivot To Web3’, bytebao.io, ByteBao, 19 April 2022, https://www.bytebao.io/blog/why-law-firms-need-to-pivot-to-web3, (accessed 15 June 2022)

[3] Jack Brassell, ‘Legal Worries In The Metaverse As NFTs And Blockchains Don’t Protect Virtual Property’, beyondgames.biz, Beyond Games, 4 May 2022, https://www.beyondgames.biz/22138/legal-worries-in-the-metaverse-as-nfts-and-blockchains-dont-protect-virtual-property/ (accessed 15 June 2022)

[4] Sam Skolnik, ‘Crypto Lawsuit Deluge Has Big Firms Scrambling to Keep Up’, bloomberglaw.com, Bloomberg, 17 May 2022, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/business-and-practice/crypto-lawsuit-explosion-has-big-law-scrambling-to-keep-up (accessed 15 June 2022)

[5] Jamilia Grier, ‘Why Law Firms Need To Pivot To Web3’, bytebao.io, ByteBao, 19 April 2022, https://www.bytebao.io/blog/why-law-firms-need-to-pivot-to-web3  (accessed 15 June 2022)

In Memoriam

Katherine Fan 1985 – 2022

Hughes-Castell is deeply saddened by the passing of our wonderful Managing Director Katherine Fan, who died peacefully in her hometown of Sydney on May 30, 2022, surrounded by her loving family. Katherine was very loved and respected both within our company and the broader legal and law firm community. Everyone who knew Katherine experienced what a beautiful and vibrant person she was, always smiling, full of charm and sparkling energy.

Katherine first joined Hughes-Castell in 2010 and after moving to work at Morrison Foerster and Baker McKenzie, Katherine came ‘home’ in 2019 because Hughes-Castell has always been a family for our people. Katherine leaves behind an indelible mark in all our hearts. At every level of engagement, she was a force of nature. With clients and candidates, her charm, her professionalism, and her dedication made her a trusted adviser. With colleagues, she was a role model and a source of guidance and encouragement.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to Katherine’s family and close friends.  Everyone in Hughes-Castell has been shaken by the loss of our dear Kat and she will be deeply missed by all. May her memory be a blessing and an inspiration for all of us.

Rest in Peace Katherine Fan, 1985 – 2022kat-b&w

Time to move in-house?

Moving in-house from a senior private practice position is a huge decision. However, in 2022, we have already seen three significant hires made in Asia’s technology or fintech industry, Joshua Chu going to Coinllectibles, Julie Gao to ByteDance, and Charlton Tse to Tencent. So, is this a prescient time to take a General Counsel/Chief Legal Officer at a tech/fintech company?

In the past, law firms’ partners have been reluctant to move in-house. Most senior lawyers thought they would enjoy less prestige, admittedly for a work-life balance trade-off. The pandemic has posed challenges for various industries, including the legal sector, but tech and fintech companies seem to have successfully overcome these challenges across Asia. While many people were locked down and worked from home, demanding online/networking solutions and fintech services, there was an explosion of digital/online networking products and fintech services. As a result, these companies continue to expand on headcount and revenue that lure top-tier lawyers to address market changes in a way that navigates the complex and rapidly changing legal environment.

Companies may have traditionally viewed security, compliance, and legal as costs and obstacles that slow down their businesses. However, in fast-growing, heavily regulated tech and financial industries, data protection, cyber-crime, and the myriad regulations covering money movement have become more challenging so addressing these issues effectively is core to product and business viability in the long term. Also, multinational tech or fintech companies have grappled with numerous regulatory disputes worldwide on topics such as operating licenses, employees’ rights, and controversies over their strategic business directions. Thus, more startup, tech, and fintech companies started hiring top-tier lawyers to take General Counsel and C-suite roles to ensure that companies can cope with requirements and restrictions set out by regulators.

More and more tech and fintech companies are operating globally. Global operations need legal departments in each of the countries where they are conducting business. Their general counsels and chief legal officers need to oversee or work in conjunction with their foreign counterparts. Instead of working in a single jurisdiction, this is a very appealing opportunity for some senior lawyers with multinational qualifications and experience looking for international exposure.

So now seems an opportune time to move in-house. We expect to see more top-tier law firms’ partners and senior associates moving in-house to tech or fintech companies, but let us be clear that it is not for every partner: experience, attitude, and personality matter. Experience-wise, you must have excellent judgment, maturity, and a commercial mindset to develop strong relationships with businesspeople and gain their trust by not falling into the trap of being the “no” person. Rather you must be the pragmatic person who balances risks with business demands and tries to find a way to get the deal done. In achieving this, the knowledge of how the business works and industry-relevant subject matter experience are required, which is why lawyers often join existing clients. They will also be shifting from revenue generators to corporate monitors. Finally, a good team player will be best suited to working in-house as they can build relationships in-house and gain a reputation for being resourceful.

Omicron wave slows Asian legal markets’ recovery

In January, firms and lawyers were full of hope, expecting a lively 2022 fueled by global liquidity, recovery from the pandemic, and growing opportunities in the tech and biotech industries. However, the Omicron surge in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, and Korea slowed the recovery. Compared to Q1 2021, we witnessed a significant decline in recruitment activities in China. Only the Australian legal market shone in Q1.

Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices constituted the top senior recruitment hires in Q1. Projects/Construction/Infrastructure practices climbed to 2nd, overtaking Litigation/Disputes/Arbitration/Investigation practices. We also saw a rise in Energy & Resources practices in Australia.

The most significant partner recruiters for Q1 2022 were Ashurst and Herbert Smith Freehills. Ashurst has actively recruited in Australia and Herbert Smith Freehills in Australia and Singapore.

Top Partner Recruiters in the Region


  • There is 34% decrease in lateral hires in Q1 compared to 2021 despite Australia’s strong showing this year.
  • The significant hires are evenly spread over 3 months. Despite the Chinese New Year holidays and being a shorter month, February witnessed the most hires in Q1. 


  • Only Australia saw growth (27%) in the number of key appointments compared to 2021.
  • China and India saw a dramatic drop in 2022 due to the Omicron surge. Under the uncertainty of the pandemic, firms remained conservative in hiring.
  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices in Hong Kong remained active, therefore Hong Kong stayed the 2nd key location for lateral hires.


  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices constituted 20% of the key hires in Q1 of 2022. 
  • Unlike 2021 and 2020, there were only few hires in Litigation/Dispute Resolution/Arbitration/Investigations practices, but there was strong growth in Projects/Construction/Infrastructure practices.
  • Energy & Resources practice area has seen stable growth since 2021. All these hires were made in Australia.   


  • Lateral hires dominated the hiring markets in Q1.
  • We witnessed a growing tendency for senior lawyers to rejoin former firms. 
  • By contrast, we saw a gradual fall in Promotions. 

Tech Unicorns continue to lure big names from Private Practice in Asia

The news that US IPO doyenne Julie Gao was leaving Skadden Arps to join TikTok owner ByteDance as Chief Financial Officer was initially greeted with shock and surprise by the market but, given a brief cooling off period, it seems like the move makes a lot of sense and is indeed part of an increasing pattern.

Gao’s stellar practice saw her dominate the US listings market for PRC companies in recent years but with that deal flow being stymied by increased regulatory scrutiny it does seem like an opportune time to explore a different path. She has already advised the company on major acquisitions of other online platforms so there’s obviously familiarity there, and rumours continue to swirl over a proposed listing in New York or Hong Kong (despite official  briefings that there are no firm plans) where Gao’s experience and expertise would presumably be leant on, albeit her role is CFO rather than GC.

Also, this is just the latest case of a big name partner leaving the ranks of private practice for an in-house role at a tech enterprise on the rise. In 2019 Jeanette Chan brought down the curtain on 33 years with Paul Weiss to join digital payments startup Airwallex as GC. More recently, former Skadden capital markets colleague of Julie Gao Chris Betts withdrew from the firm’s partnership to take the mantle of GC at Grab Holdings in Singapore. Going further back, Leiming Chen joined Ant Group after ten years at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in 2016, and, perhaps the standard bearer for this type of move, Tim Steinert was tempted away from Freshfields to join Alibaba Group way back in 2006. These are a few amongst many.

What is interesting to consider is the reasoning behind these moves. While the traditional, possibly outdated, mantra for moving in house was the pursuit of a more amenable work-life balance, none of the above roles could be viewed as slow-paced. Also these partners were at global elite firms, at the top of their pay grades, so despite any pleas of “it’s not about the money”, healthy packages and lucrative stock options are also a factor.

The centrality of these roles within the relative companies is something that is universally cited as being key however. Having spent their careers as outside counsel, the lure of being in the decision-making circle, in a unique position, in a booming and ever-evolving industry, is a compelling proposition for those who have, to a greater or lesser degree, reached the pinnacle of their careers in private practice. As tech start-ups continue to flourish and attract huge investment, we can expect to see a lot more of these types of moves in the coming years.