Mishcon de Reya doubles down in Asia with Hong Kong launch

By Sam Kenworthy 

Mishcon de Reya has always marched to the beat of its own drum, at least under the stewardship of Executive Chairperson Kevin Gold, who became Managing Partner of the firm almost 25 years ago. Then a respected but sleepy London private client/litigation boutique, the firm has built on those foundations to become one of the more eyecatching and innovative firms in the City while essentially remaining true to its roots. This drive to do things differently is exemplified by their stunning London office at Africa House in Holborn, which has been described as “looking more a like a high-end designer hotel than a law firm office”, and whose reception boasts a sushi bar. The firm is moving towards a GBP750m listing on the London Stock Exchange, which will make it the UK’s largest listed firm.

Not only has the firm seen turnover increase tenfold under Gold’s direction, it has also launched multiple sideline operations under the MDR banner, covering, inter alia, bespoke private high-net-worth services, legal tech, cyber security and brand management. This speaks of a firm with vision. In January 2020 it called time on a ten year New York venture but, unwilling to rein in its international ambitions entirely, looked east and by October of that year had launched in Singapore, prudently with a private client/high-net-worth/dispute resolution focus.

Now it has been announced that the firm has formed an association with Hong Kong litigation boutique Karas LLP, itself having recently been extricated from the former Hong Kong-Australia litigation hybrid Lipman Karas LLP. Karas LLP being a disputes and investigations practice with particular expertise in professional negligence and insolvency litigation, that fits well with one key practice of the Mishcon brand. Partner and litigation/fraud specialist Gary Miller is winging his way back to Hong Kong (having first arrived in 1977 in presumably very different circumstances) to be Mishcon’s initial representative.

Now we can expect moves into the private client sector, an increasingly crowded market in Hong Kong with Charles Russell Speechlys another UK firm with a blue-chip private client practice having made inroads in Hong Kong with recent senior hires. When Mishcon closed in New York, the final partners to leave were patent and IP specialists, and the firm had maintained a broad, multi-disciplinary operation that did not mirror the activity of the office in London. With Singapore as the forerunner, it is expected that the Asian arm will stick closer to the firm’s core business.

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