Legal Move Updates (Jan – Mar 2022)

Editor’s note: This is an ongoing list.

March 2021

30 March – Midosuji LPC (Tokyo, Japan)

Osaka-headquartered Midosuji LPC has hired intellectual property expert Kozo Yabe as a partner in Tokyo from Yuasa & Hara, where he worked for more than three decades.

Besides intellectual property, Yabe focuses on risk management including scandal response, digital technology, and international M&A. He is also an adjunct professor at the College of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (from

30 March – Kudun and Partners (Bangkok, Thailand)

Thai law firm Kudun and Partners has hired Thanyaluck (Bee) Thongrompo as a partner in the firm’s corporate and M&A practice from accounting firm PKF Tax and Consulting Services.

Thanyaluck specialises in permits, licences, regulatory and compliance work. With more than 18 years of experience – including stints at consulting firms Bolliger & Company and KPMG, and law firms DFDL and Bryan Cave – she also advises on company formation, M&A and due diligence, tax exemptions, personal data protection, IP, and banking services. (from

30 March – Clyde & Co (Singapore, Singapore)

Clyde & Co has hired regulatory and investigations lawyer Weiyi Tan as a partner in Singapore from Harry Elias Partnership.

Tan, who started her career at Drew & Napier, spent more than a decade at Baker McKenzie, leaving that firm in 2018 as a partner. She joined Harry Elias in early 2020.

With experience in investigations into corruption, money laundering, employee misconduct, fraud, and other white-collar offences, Tan assists clients with the response to enforcement and regulatory authorities in the context of government investigations.

In addition to compliance, Tan also has expertise in litigation and arbitration, and has been appointed to the panels of the Singapore Mediation Centre and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. (from

28 March – King & Wood Mallesons (Melbourne, Australia)

King & Wood Mallesons has hired intellectual property partner Kate Hay from Australian corporate firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Melbourne-based Hay has over 20 years of experience in multi-jurisdictional patent, copyright and trademark litigation, and consumer protection litigation, and was head of IP at Corrs. (from

24 March – L&L Partners (Mumbai, India)

India’s L&L Partners has added Ashutosh Narang as a partner in its corporate practice in Mumbai from financial services platform Capital India Finance, where he was general counsel and head of the legal and compliance team.

Narang joined Capital India Finance in 2018 from law firm Link Legal, where he was a partner. He previously worked at AZB & Partners and Wadia Ghandy.

Over a 17-year career, Narang has focused on fintech, digital lending & payments, derivative contracts, structured finance, debt capital market, venture capital and private equity, merger & acquisitions, general corporate transactions, and related advisory. His clients have included funds, corporates, banks, and other financial entities. (from

24 March – King & Wood Mallesons (Perth, Australia)

Asia’s top-tier International Law Firm King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is investing in its vision for connecting Western Australia to Asia, announcing the appointment of four leading practitioners to the Partnership – Lorenzo Pacitti, Peter Vaughan, Antonella Pacitti and Roger Davies.

Lorenzo and Peter are recognised as top practitioners in the energy and resources sector, with decades of experience and were former Global co-heads of Mining and Oil & Gas, respectively. Their appointments late last year further strengthened the already market-leading KWM resources sector team, and their deep experience across the Asia-Pacific Region adds an additional dimension of capability and connectivity across KWM’s top-tier footprint in the region.

This depth will be perfectly complemented with the addition of corporate dealmakers Antonella Pacitti, and the tremendously experienced Roger Davies. Both Roger and Antonella are recognised leaders in corporate Mergers & Acquisitions and Equity Capital Markets transactions, built on an enviable deal track record of working together to deliver for clients. (from

23 March – Khaitan & Co (Singapore, Singapore)

Khaitan & Co, India’s second-largest firm, has added a third partner to its Singapore office, which opened in August last year. Dispute resolution lawyer Kartikey Mahajan joins from the Mumbai office of Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (SAM), where he was a counsel.

Mahajan becomes Khaitan’s first dispute resolution partner in Singapore. The other partners in the office are Anuj Shah, who specializes in M&A and private client work, and Karun Cariappa, a former head of the India practice at Morgan Lewis Stamford.

In an interview with ALB in July last year, Haigreve Khaitan, senior partner at Khaitan, talked about how dispute resolution would be one of the Singapore office’s areas of focus. “International arbitration has become a preferred mode of dispute resolution, with Singapore-seated arbitrations getting an ever-growing lion’s share of that market,” he said. “Today, a majority of SIAC cases involve an Indian party, and many of the disputed contracts are governed by Indian laws. There’s room for us to add even more value to our clients on such matters through our Singapore office, in collaboration with local and global firms.”

Prior to joining SAM in January last year, Mahajan worked with King & Spalding and Kirkland & Ellis in London, and Clifford Chance in Singapore. He has more than 10 years of experience in arbitrations governed by the rules of ICSID, ICC, LCIA, SIAC, HKIAC, AAA and GAFTA. (from

22 March – Ashurst (Perth, Australia)

Global law firm Ashurst has appointed three partners for its projects and corporate teams in Perth, all of whom are joining from BigLaw rival Norton Rose Fulbright.

Paul Lingard, Miriam D’Souza and Jessica Davies are set to join Ashurst’s office in Perth as part of the global firm’s plans to further develop its focus on the energy and resources sectors.

Mr Lingard was, most recently, the co-head of NRF’s energy group in Asia-Pacific and co-head of energy, infrastructure and resources in Australia. He has been a partner at NRF since 2018, prior to which he was a partner at Clifford Chance and King & Wood Mallesons.

Ms D’Souza has been a partner at NRF for three and a half years, prior to which she spent nearly 16 years at Herbert Smith Freehills. She currently serves as a director of the Australian Gender Equality Council.

Ms Davies has been a partner at NRF for three years and three months, before which she worked at Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, King & Wood Mallesons and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in New York. (from

21 March – Ashurst (Melbourne, Australia)

Law firm Ashurst has launched a superannuation offering, combining legal, regulatory and risk expertise, with the firm hiring to lead the offering.

Ashurst appointed superannuation lawyer Scott Charaneka as partner. He joins from Thomson Geer where he was head of superannuation and wealth management from 2014. (from

21 March – Clifford Chance (Perth, Australia)

Clifford Chance has hired a major projects and contentious construction partner to join its Perth, Australia, practice as clients’ transition to renewable energy, creating a need for risk mitigation strategies.

Spencer Flay, who joins from Corrs Chambers Westgarth, has 20 years of experience and advises developers, principals, project sponsors and contractors on dispute management and resolution arising from projects in the natural resources, oil and gas, and infrastructure development sectors. (from

17 March – Anthony Siu & Co (Hong Kong, China)

Hong Kong firm Anthony Siu & Co, PRC firm Jia Yuan Law Offices’ association firm in the city, has hired Bonita Chan, an expert in commercial litigation and arbitration, as a partner from Ince.

With more than 25 years of experience, Chan focuses on cross-border dispute resolution, international arbitration, shareholder and company disputes, banking and securities-related litigation, white-collar crime, and contentious regulatory matters.

Chan joined Ince in August 2020 from Han Kun Law Offices’ Hong Kong association firm. Prior to that, she was an of counsel at K&L Gates from 2016 to 2017. She had also worked as at Hong Kong local firm Hastings & Co. for more than eight years starting from 2007. (from

15 March – Kirkland & Ellis (Hong Kong, China)

Kirkland & Ellis has hired another partner for its Hong Kong office. Peng Yu joins the firm from Ropes & Gray, where he was a partner and had practiced for over a decade.

Yu advises private equity firms and corporate clients on buyouts, take privates, growth capital investments, divestitures, joint ventures and private investment in public equity (PIPE) deals. (from

10 March – Saraf and Partners (Delhi, India)

India’s Saraf and Partners has expanded its projects, regulatory and litigation team in Delhi with the addition of Alok Shankar as a partner from HSA Advocates.

Founded last July following a split from L&L Partners, Saraf has been growing steadily. Last month, it expanded its competition law and data privacy practice with the hire of Akshayy S Nanda from Trilegal.

A former lawyer at Luthra & Luthra Law Offices – later to become L&L, Shankar is an expert in regulatory and general disputes in the power and energy sector, mining, aviation, and disputes relating to contractual agreements/ constitutional rights. He joined HSA in May last year, after spending three years at Advaita Legal. (from

10 March – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Hong Kong, China)

Capital markets specialist Howie Farn has joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as a partner in Hong Kong from Kirkland & Ellis.

Farn’s practice focuses on capital markets transactions, including pre-IPO and post-IPO financings and investments, as well as various general corporate and regulatory matters related to U.S. securities law. He was a counsel at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett prior to joining Kirkland. (from

10 March – IndusLaw (Mumbai, India)

India’s IndusLaw has hired dispute resolution expert Soura Subha Ghosh as a partner in Mumbai from Hariani & Co.

Ghosh has more than 15 years of experience in commercial civil litigation, dispute resolution, arbitration, mediation, and conciliation. (from

9 March – Ropes & Gray (Hong Kong, China)

Ropes & Gray, a market-leading law firm in Asia, serving clients across the region, announced today that asset management partner Vincent Ip has been named the managing partner of the firm’s Hong Kong office, effective April 1.

Vince succeeds Dan Anderson as part of the firm’s periodic leadership rotation. Dan has been the firm’s Hong Kong managing partner for five years, and will continue to play a senior role and lead the firm’s restructuring and special situations practice in Asia. (from

3 March – Kirkland & Ellis (Hong Kong, China)

Brian Ho, a former executive director of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), will join Kirkland & Ellis in August as a partner in its transactional practice.

At the SFC, Ho oversaw takeovers and mergers regulations and listing policy matters. He was also a member of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited’s Listing Nominating Committee, before retiring in August last year.

With the addition of Ho, Kirkland will have 32 partners in Hong Kong. Since last year, the office has seen the exits of M&A partner Xiaoxi Lin to Linklaters, financial restructuring specialist Daniel Margulies to Dechert, corporate partner Michael D. Rackham to Latham & Watkins in Singapore, and capital markets expert Li-Chien Wong to HKEx. It also welcomed back Mengyu Lu from Sidley Austin. (from

3 March – Reed Smith (Singapore, Singapore)

Reed Smith has hired Bryan Tan as a partner in Singapore from Pinsent Masons MPillay, where he was head of its technology, media, and telecommunications practice.

Joining Tan in the move to Reed Smith are Pinsent Masons associates Nathanael Lim and Bernice Tian.

With over 20 years legal experience, Tan focuses on TMT transactions, as well as on venture capital investments, cryptocurrency projects, cyber security, data protection and digital trade facilitation matters.

Prior to joining Pinsent Masons in 2013, Tan spent nine years at Singapore boutique Keystone Law Corporation, a firm that he founded. He has also worked at Rajah & Tann, Baker McKenzie, and Allen & Gledhill. (from

3 March – Johnson Winter & Slattery (Brisbane, Australia)

Australian firm Johnson Winter & Slattery has poached the partner-in-charge of Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s Brisbane office, a lawyer who specializes in technology, media and telecommunications, as the firm continues to tap into Australia’s booming tech sector.

Helen Clarke, who will join the firm’s Brisbane office on Monday, was also a member of Corrs’ diversity and inclusion council. (from

3 March – White & Case (Tokyo, Japan)

U.S. firm White & Case has hired Kristian Bradshaw as a local partner in its project development and finance practice in Tokyo. He recently held an in-house role at Japanese oil company INPEX Corporation.

Bradshaw, who has worked in London, Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, focuses on energy transition matters including renewable energy power projects, hydrogen projects and clean tech-related technologies investments.

Prior to joining INPEX Corporation, Bradshaw worked with law firms Allen & Overy, Ashurst, and Herbert Smith Freehills. (from

3 March – Gadens (Sydney, Australia)

Australian law firm Gadens has hired five lawyers, including a partner from K&L Gates and two special counsel from Norton Rose Fulbright, as it expands its partnership in Sydney and Melbourne.

Savannah Hardingham joins from K&L Gates, where she was an intellectual property partner.

She has experience in the protection, management, exploitation and enforcement of IP rights, including trademarks, copyright and designs and is also experienced in matters relating to the misuse of confidential information, passing off and misleading and deceptive conduct, Gadens said. (from

3 March – Carey Olsen (Singapore, Singapore)

Offshore firm Carey Olsen has hired Tom Katsaros as a consultant in Singapore from rival Maples Group, where he was the head of the firm’s funds and investment management team in the city-state.

Katsaros, who worked with Maples for nearly 14 years across two stints, advises on corporate and commercial law, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and financing transactions.

After initially spending four years at Maples’ Cayman and Channel Islands offices, Katsaros rejoined the firm when it opened its Singapore office in 2012, following a spell at Adelaide’s Kain Corporate and Commercial Lawyers.

Katsaros’ clients include large financial institutions and investment funds sponsors, as well as boutique and start-up investment managers. (from

1 March – Baker McKenzie (Hong Kong, China)

Baker McKenzie continues the rapid growth of its Hong Kong transactional practice with the hire of senior capital markets specialist Thomas Tarala as partner. Thomas brings a wealth of transactional experience to the Firm and will be advising clients on public offerings, private placements of debt and equity securities, secondary offerings, and securitization. This latest hire builds on the recent appointment of Capital Markets partner Victoria Lloyd in July 2021 and virtual asset specialist Joy Lam in January 2022.

Thomas has broad experience in both equity capital markets (ECM) and debt capital markets (DCM) transactions, M&A (including leveraged acquisitions and disposals of private and public companies), funds formation, loans, corporate restructurings, as well as litigation and regulatory issues. As a senior practitioner with over 25 years of experience, he has worked with investment banks, intermediaries and major corporations in Hong Kong SAR, Mainland China, Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States, and he is well-versed in SEC-registered offerings and offerings pursuant to Regulation S and Rule 144A. (from

February 2021

28 February – Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney, Australia)

Herbert Smith Freehills has poached two financial services partners from top-tier local firm MinterEllison as it seeks opportunities to work with pension funds.

Maged Girgis and Andrew Bradley will join the firm’s Sydney office. (from

28 March – Morgan Lewis (Singapore, Singapore)

Morgan Lewis has launched its Singapore tax practice offering with the hire of a new tax partner, Kai Lee Lau, who joins the firm from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

In addition to his title as partner at Morgan Lewis, Lau will also become a director at the firm’s merged Singapore brand, Morgan Lewis Stamford. (from

28 February – Shearman & Sterling (Hong Kong, China)

Global law firm Shearman & Sterling today announces the appointment of Wanda Woo as a Capital Markets partner in Hong Kong. Her return to Shearman & Sterling adds to its capital markets offering in the Asian market, further strengthening the firm’s global platform.

Wanda brings extensive experience advising on capital markets transactions in Hong Kong including initial public offerings, share placings, rights offerings and bond offerings, as well as regulatory and compliance matters. Her clients include leading investment banks and companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Wanda has also advised clients on mergers and acquisitions transactions under Hong Kong law. Prior to joining Shearman & Sterling, Wanda was a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. (from

24 February – PDLegal (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore boutique PDLegal has hired disputes expert Cathryn Neo as a partner in the firm’s international arbitration and China practices from Ashurst ADTLaw, where she was a senior associate.

Neo focuses on international arbitration, insolvency and restructuring, and mediation in the financial, energy and construction sectors. She also assists clients in managing cross-border litigation before Australian, Brunei and Indonesian courts. (from

24 February – AZB & Partners (Mumbai, India)

India’s AZB & Partners has welcomed back Nandish Vyas as a senior partner in Mumbai from Veritas Legal.

Vyas has focused on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, general corporate and private equity matters for more than 15 years.

He began his legal career with AZB in 2006, and was with the firm for close to a decade. (from

24 February – Trilegal (Mumbai, India)

When Nishant Parikh and Sridhar Gorthi were elected co-managing partners of Indian law firm Trilegal, they had grand plans for the firm’s strategic direction. What they didn’t count on, though, was that by April 2020, when their new roles took effect, they would be neck-deep in crisis management.

Trilegal became the second Indian firm to democratically elect new co-managing partners. The industry in India is made up of predominantly family-led firms, but Parikh, Trilegal’s former head of corporate, and Gorthi, a co-founding partner, were chosen by the firm’s partners to lead its operations when the two founding managing partners stepped down from the top leadership role at the end of March 2020. At that time, 55-partner Trilegal already had an elected management committee that comprised Gorthi, Parikh and the firm’s other co-founding partners, Rahul Matthan, Karan Singh and Akshay Jaitly. (from

24 February – Herbert Smith Freehills (Singapore, Singapore)

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has added capital markets specialist Xavier Amadei as a partner in Singapore from Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow.

Amadei is HSF’s second partner hire in a matter of weeks: Project finance specialist Rupert Baker recently re-joined the firm as a partner in Singapore from the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group.

An expert in equity, debt and equity-linked offerings, Amadei joined Baker McKenzie in 2019. Prior to that, he spent nearly 15 years at Linklaters in the U.S., Hong Kong, and Singapore. He was previously at White & Case. (from

17 February – Dentons (Tokyo, Japan)

Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, announces that Aragon St-Charles has been appointed as the Firm’s first Global Head of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG).

Aragon will work with Dentons’ global leadership team and Global Board to design and implement the Firmwide ESG strategy, bringing together critically important efforts across the Firm, while coordinating with Stephen Shergold, Chair of the Firm’s Global ESG Steering Committee, responsible for developing market-leading ESG products and services for Dentons’ clients. (from

17 February – Three Crowns (Singapore, Singapore)

Global arbitration law firm Three Crowns has launched an office in Singapore with the hire of Shearman & Sterling’s Singapore office head Daryl Chew.

Singapore will be Three Crowns’ first Asian outfit. Launched in 2014, the firm also has offices in London, Paris, Washington D.C. and Bahrain, and counts 64 lawyers including 15 partners globally.

Chew joins Three Crowns as office managing partner along with Shearman & Sterling associate, Shaun Pereira. He will also be joined by Three Crowns Paris partner Simon Elliot and London counsel Penny Martin, both of whom will transfer from their respective locations. (from

17 February – HKEx (Hong Kong, China)

The Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Market (HKEx) has hired Kirkland & Ellis partner Li-Chien Wong as managing director and co-head of IPO vetting.

Wong is expected to join HKEx in March. She will report to HKEx’s Head of Listing, Bonnie Chan, and work closely with the other co-head, Stephanie Lau to oversee all issuer listing applications.

Wong has had a 25-year career in practice, focusing on corporate and capital markets. Prior to joining Kirkland, she was with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Sidley Austin. (from

16 February – Jones Day (Brisbane, Australia)

International law firm Jones Day has hired partner Dan Howard from Australian firm Clayton Utz to join its energy practice in Brisbane. (from

14 February – McDermott Will & Emery  (Singapore, Singapore)

International law firm McDermott Will & Emery announced today the appointment of Clarinda Tjia-Dharmadi as the Asia Chair of the Transactions Practice to lead the Pan-Asian build out of its energy and infrastructure practice. Based in Singapore, Clarinda adds a wealth of experience in projects and finance to a strong pre-existing corporate and finance team covering the entire region.

She joins from Latham & Watkins where she was a former Global Co-Chair of the firm’s Power Industry Group and launched its Women Enhancing Business initiative across Asia.

Clarinda specialises in international project development and finance and has over two decades of experience in advising, developers, sponsors, commercial lenders, multilateral agencies, export credit agencies and governments on a wide range of projects, including many of Asia’s landmark power, oil & gas, petrochemicals, infrastructure and mining projects. (from

13 February – Hall & Wilcox (Sydney, Australia)

Australian firm taps into infrastructure boom with international partner poaching. Hall & Wilcox has hired real estate Jennifer Degotardi and a team of three other lawyers from K&L Gates. (from

13 February – MinterEllison (Sydney, Australia)

MinterEllison appoints Simon Harvey as partner in infrastructure, construction and property practice, Simon has over 20 years’ experience as an infrastructure development and construction lawyer, with extensive experience advising on global energy (including renewable energy), water and other infrastructure projects.

Simon joins MinterEllison from Reed Smith, Dubai, where he led the transactional infrastructure practice. His international experience also extends to working in the Russian Federation, as well as advising on projects across the Middle East and Central Europe. (from

10 February – Saraf and Partners (Delhi, India)

India’s Saraf and Partners has hired Akshayy S Nanda as a partner in the firm’s competition law and data privacy practice in Delhi from Trilegal.

Nanda joins Saraf and Partners, established in July last year, as the firm continues to bulk up. In October, Saraf hired real estate partners Sachit Mathur, Ajay Bhadu, and Astha Singh Trehan in Delhi, and banking and finance partner Sagar Manju in Mumbai in October.

Nanda, who has nearly 15 years of experience, advises clients on competition law issues including cartel enforcement, abuse of dominance, merger control, leniency applications, competition law audits, and compliance. (from

10 February – Watson Farley & Williams (Hong Kong, China)

London-headquartered Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has hired Jonathan Silver, an expert in assets and structured finance, as a partner in its Hong Kong office from offshore law firm Maples Group.

A former head of the North Asia shipping practice at Norton Rose Fulbright, Silver has more than 18 years of experience advising on general banking and finance matters, working capital loans, syndicated and bilateral lending, secured lending, structured trade and commodity finance, debt capital markets and alternative finance. He also advises on the debt financing of ships, ship sale-and-leaseback lease finance, sale and purchase of ships, and other commercial shipping contracts.

Silver joined Maples in 2019 after nearly 15 years at Norton Rose across two spells on either side of a stint as partner at independent Hong Kong law firm Howse Williams (then known as Howse Williams Bowers) between 2013 and 2014. (from

10 February – Mourant (Hong Kong, China)

Offshore firm Mourant has added disputes and insolvency lawyer Michael Popkin as a partner to its litigation team in Hong Kong from rival Campbells, where he was a counsel.

Popkin, who has close to three decades of legal experience, advises clients on contentious issues arising out of investment and commercial disputes.

Prior to joining Campbells, Popkin worked for more than a decade with Allens in Australia, and also had stints at Siam Premier International Law Office and DFDL in Thailand and Cambodia, respectively. (from

10 February – LawPlus (Bangkok, Thailand)

Corporate lawyer Paul Westover has joined Thai firm LawPlus as a partner in Bangkok from Stephenson Harwood, where he previously led the Greater China corporate group.

Westover spent about 25 years at Stephenson Harwood in two spells on either side of a stint at Hong Kong’s Tanner de Witt between 2005 and 2010. He advises on corporate/commercial matters in Asia with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, specifically cross border, joint ventures, private equity and inward investment into the region. (from

10 February – Herbert Smith Freehills (Singapore, Singapore)

Leading international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has hired Rupert Baker as partner, adding specialist Asia project finance expertise as part of its broader expansion of that practice within the region.

A firm alumnus, Rupert advises sponsors, investors and financiers on all aspects of project financing in Asia Pacific. This includes financing greenfield projects and brownfield asset refinancing as well as financing related aspects of secondary market acquisitions.

He worked most recently at SoftBank Group Corp. as Senior Counsel and Head of Legal, Project Finance & Energy. (from

9 February – Lander & Rogers (Sydney, Australia)

Growing corporate law firm Lander & Rogers has poached the founder and leader of KPMG’s commercial law practice, David Morris, as the exodus of leading lawyers from the big four consultancies continues.

Three senior lawyers from Mr Morris’ mergers and acquisitions team at KPMG are also jumping ship to Landers, signalling the law firm’s aggressive growth of both its Sydney office and its broader M&A and equity capital markets practices. (from

8 February – Herbert Smith Freehills (Melbourne, Australia)

Leading law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has signed up PwC partner Cameron Whittfield for its technology practice.

The move has been revealed internally at HSF, but it has yet to be announced to the market and his profile remains on PwC’s website.

Whittfield, who takes on his new role in March, will help drive the firm’s global ambitions in the technology, cyber security and digital space. He is the second partner to join HSF’s technology arm in Australia this year. (from

8 February- White & Case (Sydney, Australia)

Global law firm White & Case LLP has expanded its Global Project Development and Finance Practice with the addition of partner Joanne Emerson Taqi in Sydney.

Joanne is a project development lawyer with experience advising on a wide range of construction and project agreements in the infrastructure, utilities and real estate sectors. She advises on all types of developments, including commercial, industrial, domestic, public private partnerships and all forms of contracts, including the FIDIC and NEC suite of agreements and the Australian Standards. Joanne brings more than 20 years’ experience and joins White & Case from Norton Rose Fulbright, where she was a partner. (from

8 February – Rita Ku & Solicitors (Hong Kong, China)

Sharon Ser, a senior regional partner at Withers specialising in divorce and family law, has announced that she will join recently launched Hong Kong boutique firm Rita Ku & Solicitors (RKS).

RKS, which specialises in family law, was established by Rita Ku, a former partner at Withers. Joining Ku in her new venture are four former Withers associates.

In a LinkedIn post, Ser wrote: “Later this year I will join Rita Ku in her HK boutique life solutions family law firm, where I will be able to combine my legal career with a growing commitment to charitable work. I was Rita’s mentor some 20 years ago and she became a long-time friend and business partner.” (from

7 February – K&L Gates (Melbourne, Australia)

Global law firm K&L Gates continues to grow its Australian labour, employment and workplace safety team with the addition of partner Dominic Fleeton, who returns to K&L Gates’ Melbourne office from Kingston Reid.

An experienced safety and industrial relations lawyer and litigator, Fleeton works across a range of industries, including construction, to help clients achieve their goals, and is known for his ability to balance the robust pursuit and defence of claims and the management of clients’ reputational outcomes. (from

4 February – MinterEllison (Sydney, Australia)

MinterEllison is delighted to welcome new Partner, Amela McPherson, to the Finance Solutions team. Amela has over 15 years of experience specialising in finance across top tier law firms and within major financial institutions. A MinterEllison alumnus, she re-joins MinterEllison after several years in the inhouse legal team at Westpac Institution Bank.

Amela, who is based in Sydney, brings her experience in corporate lending, leveraged finance and corporate finance, alongside project and real estate finance. (from

4 February – Johnson Winter & Slattery (Sydney, Australia)

Leading independent law firm Johnson Winter & Slattery has bolstered its tax practice with the lateral hires of two new partners in Sydney, Matthew Shanahan and Annemarie Wilmore.

Infrastructure and projects tax specialist Matthew Shanahan joined the team on 1 January 2022 from Deloitte, where he was a partner. Matthew is widely recognised as one of the “go to” infrastructure tax specialists in the Australian market. He brings more than 22 years’ experience advising large corporates on infrastructure, M&A, property, funds management, banking, tax disputes and international tax matters, gained through his experience in professional services firms and working in a leading infrastructure advisory team at an international investment bank.

Annemarie Wilmore specialises in tax dispute resolution, bringing 17 years’ experience. She has advised on high-profile tax disputes and litigation for a range of clients, including those in the resources, technology, infrastructure and pharmaceutical sectors. Annemarie’s expertise includes advising clients at all stages of a tax dispute, from an initial assessment of tax risk in potential transactions through to reviews, audits, objections and appeals. She joined the firm on Monday 17 January 2022 from KPMG Law where she was Director in its Tax Controversy Team, and has previously worked at PwC and the ATO. (from 

3 February – Gilbert + Tobin (Sydney, Australia)

Gilbert + Tobin has appointed one of the world’s leading climate change lawyers, Ilona Millar, as a partner in its Banking + Projects practice.
Ilona joins from Baker McKenzie, where she was a partner and global head of the Climate Change Practice. She has extensive experience in advising on carbon market transactions and helping clients respond to climate change risks and opportunities.

Ilona’s recruitment strengthens G+T’s reputation as a leading Australian advisor on all legal aspects of climate change and ESG matters. It positions G+T to be the go-to firm for carbon markets transactions, decarbonisation and energy transition projects, climate risk governance and climate litigation. (from

3 February – Herbert Smith Freehills (Brisbane, Australia)

Herbert Smith Freehills is pleased to announce the appointment of Kathryn Pacey as a partner in the firm’s market-leading Real Estate practice in Brisbane.

Kathryn, who starts at Herbert Smith Freehills in early February, joins from Clayton Utz where she has been a partner for 10 years. At Clayton Utz, Kathryn was the National Practice Group Leader of the Environment and Planning team.

Kathryn specialises in environmental assessment, major project approvals, incident management and compliance, planning litigation and regulatory issues. She also has extensive experience in managing investigations and assisting clients on environmental issues arising from M&A transactions.  (from

2 February – Allens (Sydney, Australia)

Allens has appointed Ellen Thomas as a Partner in its tax practice, strengthening the practice’s expertise in mergers and acquisitions and finance transactions.

Over her 20 year career, Ellen has advised on a range of domestic and international M&A transactions, corporate restructures, post-acquisition integrations, international tax planning, distressed debt transactions, infrastructure investments and financial arrangements.

Ellen’s appointment will support the firm’s growth strategy and is an important step in growing the tax practice. Ellen joins Allens from PWC where she was a partner and head of the PwC Tax Deals Team.  (from

2 February – Allen & Overy (Perth, Australia)

Allen & Overy has announced Derek Chia as the new Head of the Advanced Delivery Centre in Australia, which is due to open in the second quarter of 2022.

Derek, a senior Australian legal practitioner, joins A&O from Herbert Smith Freehills and will lead a team of associates and legal support professionals, providing high quality, cost-efficient support to Allen & Overy legal teams around the world.

The new centre, to be based in Perth, Western Australia, will provide technology-enabled support on areas such as due diligence, document review, eDiscovery, regulatory-filings, as well as general transaction support and management.

The new centre will comprise senior associates, associates and legal support professionals, as well as dedicated project management and eDiscovery specialists and will build on the success of A&O Belfast, which opened in 2011. The team will integrate seamlessly with the Belfast office, providing increased language and legal skills, increased capacity and broader time-zone coverage for A&O’s network. (from

January 2021

31 January – Wotton + Kearney (New Zealand)

Native Insurance coverage agency poaches 18 legal professionals from DLA Piper in New Zealand.

Specialist insurance coverage agency Wotton + Kearney has poached an 18-strong crew from DLA Piper in New Zealand to turn into the biggest insurance coverage and dispute decision agency within the nation.

The crew, together with companions Peter Leman, Caroline Laband and Misha Henaghan, will be a part of the agency on Tuesday. (from

31 January – Ashurst (Sydney, Australia)

Ashurst is already ranked as a leading firm in Financial Regulation in Australia, having been recognised by Chambers with a Band 1 ranking for many years. The appointment of Narelle reflects Ashurst’s commitment to leading the market in this area.

With three decades of experience in financial services regulation, Narelle is widely recognised as a leader in the field. She has advised both domestic and international financial services providers on regulatory compliance, investigations and enforcement proceedings and M&A transactions in the financial sector.

Narelle’s experience extends to financial services, credit, privacy, anti-money laundering, fraud, bribery and corruption. She has overseen complex, large-scale, multi-faceted investigations, devised effective remediation programs, and managed the regulatory issues arising on financial services projects and corporate transactions.

With a client base encompassing the leading banks, BNPL providers, other financiers, payment service providers and technology companies, Narelle has acted on many regulatory firsts. She is a longstanding advisor to the Reserve Bank, which she has advised on payment systems reform for almost 20 years. (from

31 January – Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Sydney, Australia)

Australian law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth has tightened its grip on rival Allen & Overy’s banking and finance team, securing another pair of senior lawyers.

Corrs boss Gavin MacLaren told staff on Monday afternoon that the firm had hired James Abbott and Simon Huxley, both Allen & Overy partners, to work alongside their former colleague and new Corrs recruit Adam Stapledon.

MacLaren told staff that Abbott specialised in project, corporate and acquisition financings, including in the energy, resources and infrastructure sectors, while Huxley specialised in construction and commercial matters including complex project finance and M&A matters. (from

28 January – Rita Ku & Solicitors (Hong Kong, China)

Highly regarded litigator Rita Ku has left Withers’ Hong Kong office after more than 11 years to set up her own family law boutique, taking a trio of associates with her.

Ku, who has been a partner at Withers since 2012, said on LinkedIn she was ‘delighted to embark on a new journey with the establishment of my firm, Rita Ku & Solicitors (RKS).’

Senior associate Elaine Chung and associates Natalie Leong and Sarina Cheung have moved over from Withers alongside her, with the rest of RKS’ team made up of senior associate Sindy Wong, who has joined from HSBC but before that was also an associate at Withers, and client solutions director Leo Leung. (from

27 January – Jones Day (Melbourne, Australia)

The global law firm Jones Day has announced that Lisa Taliadoros has been appointed Partner-in-Charge of its Melbourne Office. Ms. Taliadoros joined Jones Day’s Sydney Office in 2010, and in 2018 returned to Melbourne, her home town, to assist in establishing Jones Day’s fourth Australian office. She was appointed as Australian Chair of the Jones Day Global Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement Committee in 2015.

Ms. Taliadoros has led the Intellectual Property Practice in Australia since 2018. The practice was recently ranked as a leader in the Chambers and Partners 2022 Asia-Pacific Guide.

Ms. Taliadoros’ practice focuses on global intellectual property disputes, including in relation to patents, trademarks, copyright, and consumer law/passing off. In particular, she acts in the Australian and New Zealand chapters of multijurisdictional patent litigation in relation to pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices, including in a number of landmark High Court cases. She also advises clients on intellectual property issues in high-value international corporate transactions across a range of sectors including energy and resources, banking, consumer products, and healthcare. (from

27 January – Peter & Kim (Seoul, Korea)

International disputes firm Peter & Kim has hired arbitration expert Seokchun Yun as a partner in Seoul from Kim & Chang.

Yun’s practice focuses on cross-border arbitration and litigation, international trade, international taxation, and shareholder disputes. He joined Kim & Chang in May 2020 as a partner from fellow Korean Big Six firm Bae Kim & Lee (BKL). (from

25 January – Milbank (Seoul, Korea)

Milbank LLP is pleased to announce that David K. Cho, one of the leading corporate and M&A lawyers focused on South Korea, has joined the firm as a partner in the firm’s Global Corporate Group. Temporarily based in Los Angeles, Mr. Cho will ultimately be based in the firm’s Seoul’s office where he will lead the office as Managing Partner. Mr. Cho will be joined by special counsel Spencer Park and associates Amos Yoo and Susan Yoon.

Mr. Cho’s market-leading practice focuses on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, as well as other corporate finance and capital market transactions including public offerings registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Rule 144A / Regulation S offerings. Mr. Cho has extensive experience working with multinational clients, including major Asian companies, on international transactions spanning a wide array of sectors, such as private equity, ESG, technology, life-sciences, manufacturing and energy. (from

25 January – DLA Piper (Melbourne, Australia)

Global law firm DLA Piper has today confirmed the appointment of Sallie Bowtell as a Melbourne-based partner in our real estate practice.

Sallie is joining from Moray & Agnew, where she specialises in major property projects, acting for institutional developers, foreign investors and developers, and listed and unlisted property trusts. (from

24 January – Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Sydney, Australia)

Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, has today announced that prominent banking and finance practitioner Adam Stapledon is joining the firm, based in Sydney.

Adam is currently the Head of Allen & Overy’s Debt and Projects practice in Australia. He has more than two decades of experience working with sponsors and lenders in Australia and the Asia Pacific, across project and acquisition finance, infrastructure, energy and resources, and syndicated lending. He covers the full spectrum of financing, including capital markets, banks and private credit, and has particular expertise in implementing complex multi-source financing structures. (from

20 January – Lavan (Perth, Australia)

Lavan is coming into 2022 strong with several new senior appointments.

The firm brought in a three-strong team led by partner Bruno Di Girolami to beef up its employment, safety and education practice. Di Girolami was joined by special counsel Sharon Payn and associate Anna Lee.

Di Girolami and his team are experienced advisors when it comes to current workplace-related concerns like flexible workforces, vaccination strategies, discrimination and sexual misconduct, complex employment and safety litigation and COVID-19 restrictions on global mobility and migration. Di Girolami himself has played roles in significant employment and health and safety cases that have been brought before a variety of courts and tribunals. (from

20 January – Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Melbourne & Perth, Australia)

Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, has today announced that it has appointed two new partners to its Energy & Natural Resources practice, with Tracey Greenaway joining the firm in Perth and Anthony Lepere joining in Melbourne.

Tracey is a specialist in the energy sector with extensive experience advising on a wide range of project developments, joint ventures and M&A transactions. She has more than 20 years’ international experience with a particular focus on oil and gas and LNG. Tracey’s experience includes advising on upstream oil & gas exploration and development, midstream transportation and storage infrastructure, large scale LNG import and export infrastructure transactions and commodities marketing and trading.

Tracey is joining Corrs from Allens where she has been a partner for almost a decade. In addition to her experience in private practice, Tracey worked as a senior in-house counsel with Shell for eight years in Europe and Australia. As a result she is a leading specialist in the sector who combines in-depth industry knowledge with a focus on commerciality.

Anthony specialises in corporate and project development in the energy and resources sector. He is a trusted advisor to mining industry stakeholders and regularly works with management teams and governments on business-critical issues. He undertakes a wide variety of commercial work, including in relation to the energy transition and the regulation of digital assets. Anthony has joined Corrs from Shearman & Sterling in London, where he was a partner in the global energy and infrastructure practice. (from

20 January – Seyfarth Shaw (Hong Kong, China)

U.S. law firm Seyfarth Shaw has hired TMT expert Paul Haswell as a partner in Hong Kong from Pinsent Masons, where he worked for nearly 15 years.

Haswell’s practice focuses on telecoms projects and commercial contracts relating to technology, data, outsourcing, supply chain, cryptocurrency, blockchain, and licensing. (from

18 January – Simmons & Simmons (Beijing, China)

International law firm Simmons & Simmons has announced that Ruina Liu has joined the firm as a partner in its technology, media, and telecom practice in China.

This appointment furthers the growth of the firm’s TMT practice as well as continues to build on its multi-practice presence in China covering transactions, compliance and IP.

Ruina joins the firm from Han Kun Law Office, where she focused on corporate M&A and private equity transactions and, compliance in relation to TMT and life sciences clients. She has advised these clients on matters across the telecommunications, internet, e-commerce, IT, media and entertainment, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology spaces. She also covered a wide range of work encompassing foreign direct investment, private public partnership, capital markets, infrastructure and project finance, real estate, employment and intellectual property in China. (from

17 January – Linklaters (Singapore, Singapore)

Linklaters has hired a partner from US rival Morgan Lewis & Bockius to set up an investment funds practice in Singapore, its third Asia partner lateral in a month.

Joel Seow brings experience advising sponsors in Asia on the establishment of private investment funds across asset classes and jurisdictions, with a particular focus on private equity, venture capital, real estate and infrastructure, as well as hedge funds and special situations funds. (from

17 January – Baker McKenzie (Hong Kong, China)

Leading virtual assets and investment funds lawyer Joy Lam has joined Baker McKenzie’s Financial Services Practice in Hong Kong, where she will advise clients on virtual asset funds, tokenized offerings, and the development of infrastructure that support the virtual assets ecosystem.

Joy has market leading virtual assets experience and has acted on several ground breaking transactions including advising on Asia’s first open-ended tokenized fund, Asia’s first close-ended tokenized fund and securing the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission’s first approval for a virtual assets fund that permits subscriptions and redemptions to be effected in cryptocurrency. Joy’s significant experience also includes advising on virtual asset funds, non-fund tokenized offerings, and the complex and rapidly evolving regulatory requirements for managing investments in virtual assets and operating secondary exchanges for virtual assets.  (from

17 January – Karas (Hong Kong, China)

Karas LLP in association with Mishcon de Reya is pleased to announce a significant addition to the firm’s regional dispute resolution and private wealth offering with the arrival of Kevin So as a Partner.

Kevin has an outstanding track record in the Hong Kong disputes space, particularly in handling various high-stakes contentious trust and international succession matters, and various probate, family and mental health disputes. His arrival further enhances the market leading dispute resolution practice and private wealth capability of Karas LLP, and perfectly complements the wider offering of Mishcon de Reya.

The team joining Karas LLP with Kevin includes two senior associates (Geoffrey Lai and Veronica So) and two associate level lawyers (Jamie Chan and Tricia Yu). (from

14 January – Christopher & Lee Ong (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Christopher & Lee Ong warmly welcomes Annette Soh and Daphne Lam to the Firm.

Annette Soh joins the Capital Market Practice as co-head, bringing with her a wealth of experience in the field of equity capital markets, acquisitions and disposals, mergers and demergers, and joint ventures. Annette is also a member of the Bar Council Corporate and Commercial Law Committee (CCLC), and she heads the Securities Commission Sub-Committee.

Daphne lam brings extensive experience in this field, having successfully advised on numerous IPOs as well as equity and debt securities offerings. She has advised clients from a wide range of industries from industrial automation solutions providers, to those in the construction and manufacturing industries, in relation to their corporate exercises. Daphne’s expertise also extends to matters involving takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, commercial property transactions, and joint ventures. (from

14 January – Tencent (Hong Kong, China)

A Hong Kong-based Slaughter and May partner has left the firm to take on a senior legal advisor in-house role at Tencent, the Chinese multinational technology and entertainment conglomerate known for developing the instant messaging app WeChat.

Corporate finance and M&A partner Charlton Tse left the firm at the end of 2021 to take on the role at Shenzhen-headquartered Tencent, according to a person with knowledge of the move.

Tse was promoted to partner in 2014 and he had a notable role in building the firm’s corporate and investment banking client relationships in both Hong Kong and the PRC. (from

14 January – Tjajo & Partners (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Indonesian boutique Tjajo & Partners has added capital markets expert Ken Prasadtyo as a partner in Jakarta from Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners (HHP), Baker McKenzie’s Indonesia member firm, where he worked for more than a decade.

Additionally focusing on M&A and financial services, Prasadtyo represents international banks and financial institutions, and various business groups.

Prasadtyo, who began his legal career at HHP, was named on ALB’s Indonesia Rising Stars list for 2021. (from

13 January – LC Lawyers (Hong Kong, China)

Hong Kong’s LC Lawyers, a member of the EY global network, has hired corporate finance expert Li Fai as a partner from PRC firm Jingtian & Gongcheng.

Li has extensive experience in IPOs, enterprise restructuring, private equity finance, and corporate compliance. He has advised various mainland Chinese companies on their Hong Kong IPOs and also guided Hong-Kong listed companies on their restructuring and M&A projects, spanning industries like manufacturing, retailing, food, media, medicine, and energy. (from

12 January – RPC (Hong Kong, China)

London-based law firm RPC has hired the co-head of Ashurst’s Korea practice in Hong Kong to lead its newly-formed Korea desk.

Peter Kwon brings experience advising Korean financial institutions, industrial conglomerates and investment funds in major cross-border disputes, as well in securities regulatory matters. (from

12 January – Withers (Singapore, Singapore)

Tien Gui Koh joins Withers in Singapore as a partner from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, which will have five lawyers, including one partner, remaining.

Koh represents hotel operators, developers and owners of hotel developments and serviced apartments. He advises on hotel management, franchise and leasing arrangements, joint ventures and real-property, providing advice related to hotel operations and disputes. (from

11 January – Gateway Law (Singapore, Singapore)

King & Spalding and Norton Rose Fulbright have lost two veteran partners to Singapore boutique firms Gateway Law Corporation and Breakpoint LLC. Both local firms focus on providing litigation and arbitration representation.

Simon Dunbar leaves King & Spalding along with counsel, Kevin Lim, to join Gateway Law Corporation. Established in 2006, Gateway focuses on intellectual property, real estate and technology disputes. With its new hires, the firm counts 11 lawyers including three directors. (from

11 January – Charles Russell Speechlys (Hong Kong, China)

London-headquartered Charles Russell Speechlys (CRS) has hired family law specialist Lisa Wong as a partner in Hong Kong from local boutique Boase Cohen & Collins.

Wong focuses on all aspects of matrimonial law. She also advises on matters in relation to surrogacy and parental orders, jurisdictional disputes, as well as same-sex relationship disputes. Wong joined Boase Cohen in 2010, and became a partner in 2014. (from

5 January – Cooley (Singapore, Singapore)

Cooley has hired a top lawyer from Goldman Sachs in Singapore—the law firm’s first capital markets partner in the city-state.

Tim Pitrelli served as a Singapore-based executive director and senior counsel in the investment banking division at Goldman. He has significant experience in IPOs and other regional and international cross-border transactions, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of the Singapore and Southeast Asia markets, the firm said. (from

5 January – Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton (Shanghai, China)

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton has appointed Charles Gray managing partner of its office in Shanghai. He succeeds Kris Reed, who had served in that role since 2017.

Gray, who leads the firm’s Asia patent practice, has been with Kilpatrick for nearly 15 years and was a founding member of the Shanghai office when it opened in February 2017. His practice focuses on patent counseling and prosecution of both U.S. and international patent applications. (from

4 January – Withers (Hong Kong, China)

Withers has added a partner in Hong Kong as part of the launch of a global asset finance practice.

Paul Jebely joins as head of Withers’ new global asset finance practice, according to a firm statement. He was previously at U.S.-based firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, where he was a partner for five years and served as managing partner of the Hong Kong office as well as co-chair of the firm’s private wealth and asset finance practices. (from

3 January – Mayer Brown (Singapore, Singapore)

Mayer Brown announced today that Soumitro Mukerji has joined its Banking & Finance practice as a partner in Singapore. He joins from Hogan Lovells in Singapore, and previously practiced in London at Linklaters.

Mr. Mukerji has nearly 15 years of experience advising on complex banking and finance matters, including fund-level financing, leveraged and acquisition financing, general corporate financing and structured lending. His clientele includes banks, financial institutions, funds, corporates and financial advisors across the credit spectrum. (from

Private Practice Round-up 2021

Welcome to the new year; same as the old year?

The news in 2021 was dominated by something that was emerging as a mere curiosity this time two years ago. Those who had lived through the original SARS outbreak were confident (or at least hopeful) that the then-named Coronavirus would be eradicated in the warmer summer months and any inconveniences and concerns would be sharp but short-lived. Two years on the world braces itself for a new and highly transmissible variant, and the variable responses of different governments in curtailing the spread. The universal mood among individuals remains one of weariness, disenchantment, frustration (at those in power and each other), annoyance and despair. That confidence now looks hopelessly naive.

That said, the Asian legal markets maintained an air of stoicism and firms refused to stand still, whether continuing to drive forward, shifting their territorial focus or, in some cases, withdrawing from the region altogether – Baker Botts following fellow Texas oil and gas giants Vinson & Elkins and Locke Lord in shuttering physical operations and establishing something of a trend in that sector. Elsewhere there were closures in Thailand (Mayer Brown) and openings in Vietnam (Dentons) as international firms reconfigured their South East Asia strategy while Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and McDermott, Will & Emery shifted their focuses from China and Hong Kong to Singapore. While none of these shifts in strategy are directly attributable to the virus situation, with severe travel restrictions and political upheaval continuing ad infinitum in Hong Kong, Singapore is seizing the opportunity to present itself as an alternative, attractive, prosperous regional hub.

As we look forward to 2022 and beyond, the picture is murky; not necessarily gloomy, just unclear. As the world welcomed 2021 there was an air of optimism thanks to the impending availability of vaccines. A year on that optimism has been deflated somewhat by the continued spread of new variants, exacerbated by a scientific skepticism leading to a lower-than-expected uptake of the vaccine. Firms have by and large successfully pivoted and retooled to minimise disruption to their operations, and are therefore more capable of absorbing any further bumps and shocks along the road to normality. How much of that road remains, and what the world will look like by the time we reach the end, is anyone’s guess.

Asia In-house Legal Market Outlook 2022

2021 is generally touted as a year of recovery. Although the economic growth for Asia-Pacific remains the fastest moving region in the world[1], there were twists and turns along the way. As the highly transmissible Omicron variant lingers, we expect the Covid-19 crisis to continue to present challenges that shape the business outlook for the world. To remain competitive amid these challenges, it is critical for companies to understand how to invest in and upgrade their legal departments to counter the predictable and unforeseeable trials over the next few years.

According to the 2021 HBR Consulting Law Department Survey[2], corporate “legal departments are still in the mode of investing versus cutting back” [3] despite the shaky economy that contributed to the Covid-19 recurrences. In coping with current competitive labour markets affected by the Great Resignation, law departments are generally willing to invest in their people, processes, and technology to improve their teams’ success in the fast-evolving legal and regulatory environments. Keeping abreast of opportunities in the markets can help guide your career plans.

Going into 2022, both companies and lawyers will want to prepare well for the challenges ahead. So we present three key areas in Asia’s legal markets to look out for.

  1. Flourishing Industries

With increased vaccination rates across Asia and better management of the pandemic, some industries, including fintech, technology, manufacturing, luxury retailing, and biotechnology, are likely to keep growing exponentially in 2022, providing opportunities for which you should be well prepared in advance.

The global fintech market is booming and expected to continue to do so in 2022. Regulations around the world bore more scrutiny over fintech issues. For example, China has continuously shored up weak links in its financial regulatory system to keep pace with the evolving fintech sector. Also, despite continuous speculation on cryptocurrencies, Singapore has seen the immigration of many Chinese crypto markets since May 2021 and has now emerged as a major cryptocurrency hub in Southeast Asia. Hong Kong gave up its conservative stand towards fintech and is quietly catching up to become a fintech innovation hub.

Asian tech giants such as Alibaba, Ant Financial, Bytedance, Grab, and Tencent keep expanding globally, activity that will require legal and regulatory support and informed advice on cross-border market access and contract formation. Also, Southeast Asia has become an attractive market for US and Chinese tech firms. US tech firms such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have recently entered Southeast Asia after Tencent and Alibaba have expanded their footprints into the region. As a result, we expect the Asian technology industry will continue to shine.

Even amid the recurrent Covid-19 waves in 2021, the manufacturing industry includes automotive (EVs), energy, logistics, and biomedical sciences, benefitting from high demand. In addition, thanks to increased use of technology, luxury retailers expanded their digital engagement with shoppers even during the pandemic. Therefore, we expect the luxury industry to continue to benefit from the post-Covid-19 period.

Last but not least, the Covid-19 pandemic has generated stellar growth in biomedical and biotechnology in 2021. We expect this trend will continue in 2022 as the uncertainty of Covid-19 variants and healthcare expenditure roll on.

  1. Increased Legal Demands

Since the second half of 2021, corporate clients have seen their legal needs increase, and as a result, overall legal spending is expected to remain healthy into 2022. In particular, they anticipate demand to increase in brand protection, privacy & cybersecurity, and regulatory compliance practices.

E-commerce expanded rapidly as people increased their online shopping activity during the lockdowns. However, border shutdown and the slowdown of manufacturing have interfered with the supply of goods, and counterfeiters quickly began producing much-needed replacement products. Brand-protection online and offline teams had to step up to the mounting challenges and quickly develop strategies and solutions to deal with the issues. As we expect retail to continue to be a growth market in 2022, then the problem emerges that there are fewer brand professionals internally as many companies laid off their enforcement officials when Covid-19 started. We expect corporate legal departments will increase the hiring of brand protection professionals.

Companies are inevitably becoming more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, data breaches, privacy incidents, and technology challenges as a result of increased digitization and the shift to hybrid working. Heightened regulatory, contractual, and consumer obligations will emerge next year or soon after. Corporate in-house counsels need to ensure continuous compliance, tackle the issue of cybercrime far more diligently than ever before to build the framework for resilient security.

From now on, we expect that corporate law departments managing regulatory uncertainty will be a key growth area as more local and national governments across the region begin to adjust their regulatory compliance requirements to deal with the problems of Covid-19 and some of the compliance issues related to the fintech industry.

  1. In-demand Skills

While unknowns and unpredictability will continue moving into the new year, we anticipate seeing a multitude of opportunities as listed above. Asian legal markets constantly evolve, with certain specific legal skills becoming more in-demand with employers as others fade. Knowing what skills are needed can help in-house counsels prepare themselves and their employers to plan their recruitment, and internal training and development efforts to enable existing staff to overcome skills gaps.

Technological competency is essential. The pandemic has reshaped the business world, forcing companies to reinvent their business models and accelerate their shifts towards the digital world. Technological adaption is one of the most prevalent trends in the legal industry. With hybrid working and remote working arrangements here to stay long-term, we will see more employers entering the market of legal technology solutions with more cloud-based and enterprise solutions. To remain competitive and to thrive in this new environment, lawyers need to make technological competence a crucial part of their professional growth strategy in 2022.

Cross-discipline specialism is the skill of tomorrow. Lawyers are traditionally focused and reactive. Whenever lawyers are given a problem, they will solve it. But, as the increased rate of technological changes, legal complexity, and cross-functional work in recent years, legal professionals are no longer isolated on their departments in organizations but are rather out there integrated with other divisions. In-house counsels must be able to foresee problems before they occur and conduct legal work more efficiently with other departments.  The future lawyer needs specialised knowledge of the law for advanced legal issues, in the meantime also require proactivity, creativity, and broad knowledge for multidisciplinary cooperation.

[1] Huaxia, “Roundup: IMF revises down Asia growth forecast to 6.5 pct amid resurgence of pandemic,” XinHuaNet, October 2021, (accessed 8 December 2021)

[2] HBR Consulting, “HBR Consulting’s Annual Survey and Sounding Board Series Reveal Optimistic Outlook for Law Department Growth,” HBR Law Department Survey,  December 2021, (accessed 8 December 2021)

[3] Phillip Bantz, “Legal Department Spending Held Steady Amid Pandemic, Expected to Rise Next Year,”, December 2021, (accessed 8 December 2021)

Now is the right time to consider changing jobs

When the Covid-19 pandemic erupted in the legal industry last year, many professionals felt blessed to retain their jobs even with the challenges of working remotely and coping with additional challenges like childcare, home schooling and health risks. These combined stresses prompted the “Great Resignation” (also known as the “Big Quit”). As a result, high resignation rates led to record levels of job openings in the US, Europe, China, and Australia in the fall of 2021.

The Great Resignation

The legal industry, like all industries, is struggling to navigate a reset of worker expectations, of all levels, who bore much of the brunt of the past two years. A supposed mass exodus of legal professionals from their current roles is predicted to happen in the coming months as professionals seek to take a break. Being in a period when there are more vacancies than jobseekers, it could be the ideal time to consider changing jobs. Lawyers who want to reboot their careers can capitalize this trend. They will be given greater freedom of opportunity, and the ability to chase both better financial and personal situations, with employers compelled to offer competitive packages and broader benefits and flexibility.

Opportunities in legal markets

Vietnam was the world’s fifth fastest-growing economy in 2020. Despite the pandemic, the country has proven resilient, and the implementation of the free trade agreement helps Vietnam foster trades and investments. Allen & Overy and Duane Morris have made a few significant partner hires this year, along with recent Dentons’ arrival, sending a strong signal of interest and intent to bolster their business there. As one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, Vietnam should be a priority market for international law firms’ clients. The rise of the economy and the arrival and expansion of international law firms could signal the right moment for lawyers to find exciting opportunities.

Singapore’s legal market is gaining steam as a thriving arbitration and energy & infrastructure centre in Asia as it builds on past efforts of maintaining social stability sees the economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021 so far we witnessed a few significant partner-level hires and relocations to Singapore. In addition, Korean giant Bae, Kim & Lee, Shanghai-based firm AllBright, and Indian tier-1 law firms Khaitan & Co and Cyril Armachand Mangaldas ramped up their presences in the Lion City. As there have been more firms building up in Singapore, there are growing number of opportunities in the disputes, M&A, and energy areas.

Due to the current political/social environment and tight Covid-19 restrictions, there is an expat and local talent exodus in Hong Kong fueling the local senior-level job market. In reply to the talent outflows, employers are busy filling the gaps. In addition, recruitment agencies are struggling to persuade expats to relocate. So, companies can now acquire or keep the talent that Hong Kong has. Higher salaries and the promise of quicker promotions are hoped to halt the talent exodus in Hong Kong. This could be the golden moment for any high-calibre legal professionals to take the next step and work with their ideal employers.

In-demand fields

2022 looks to be a year of talent acquisition war as law firms and in-house legal departments pivot from pandemical survival to long-term growth. The practice areas lacking available mid- to senior-level talent are capital markets, employment, energy & infrastructure, intellectual property, M&A, litigation/arbitration, and real estate. We also expect the in-house legal departments to grow in the financial services, healthcare, and technology sectors. These teams need professionals with experience in compliance, corporate transactions, e-commerce, data protection/privacy, and regulatory.

Once in a career window

Now could be an opportunity for a career reboot. Building up a relationship with an experienced specialist legal recruiter before you start looking for an opportunity can help give you a competitive advantage. They can help you find the position with the right culture and fit for your individual requirements and preferences.

Despite ongoing Covid-19 issues, legal markets are picking up across Asia Pacific

The Covid-19 challenge has been unprecedented and persists throughout 2021.  However, we are happy to see legal markets across Asia Pacific are picking up so far this year. Compared to 2020, we witnessed growth of recruitment activities in India and Singapore. Both the Australian and Hong Kong legal markets remained relatively stable. After China’s strong rebound in the fall of 2020, there has been a significant drop of senior-level recruitments in that market.

Summer holidays, July to August, are traditionally a quiet time for significant moves. But, due to the lockdowns and travel restrictions, people stayed in their hometowns and worked as usual. As a result, the number of hires in Q2 and Q3 were the same.

The most significant partner recruiters were Ashurst and K&L Gates. Ashurst has actively recruited in Australia and Singapore, and K&L Gates has hired evenly throughout the Asia Pacific.

Top Partner Recruiters in the Region


  • Among the top 13 partner recruiters (Jan-Sep 2021), 4 were UK law firms, 3 from the US, 2 from India, 2 from China, and 1 from Australia. The top 3 partner recruiters in Q3 are Corrs Chambers Westgarth, L&L Partners, and White & Case.
  • White & Case, a White-shoe firm, was active in the region, especially during the Q3. An AmLaw100 firm, K&L Gates, announced lateral hires evenly spread out the first 3 quarters.
  • L&L Partners, a top-tier Indian law firm, has seen some departures during the year-long public feud between the firm’s managing partner Rajiv Luthra and former equity partner Mohit Saraf. In response, the firm hired 8 partners to their Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai offices. Their rival, HAS Advocates, also had made few significant hires for their corporate/commercial, disputes, and project practices.
  • In March, Ashurst expanded their consulting business with a five-partner hiring spree from the Big Four in Australia. The firm remained active in Australia and Singapore throughout the first 3 quarters.


  • Despite a 20% decrease of lateral hires in the first 3 quarters in 2021 compared to 2020, much of it was related to China’s strong showing last year. If we take out key appointments made in China, we would see slight growth in the region hires.
  • July is usually a quiet period in the legal recruitment business as many partners/general counsels and HR personnel are partaking of summer holidays and traveling. However, we witnessed busy hiring activity in the past two consecutive summers, presumably because of the lockdowns and travel restrictions.




  • Both India (50% up) and Singapore (32% up) saw growth in the number of key appointments compared to 2020. Despite having a quiet Q2 due to the Covid-19 re-occurrence, Singapore saw a strong come back in Q3. Singapore attracts attention from the US, UK and beyond.  
  • Australia and Hong Kong remained relatively stable and only slight drops occurred. Also, Hong Kong replaced China with the 2nd highest key appointment numbers Jan-Sep 2021.




  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices constituted 30% of the key hires in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
  • Like Q1 and Q2, Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets, Projects/Construction/Infrastructure, and Employment & Workplace practices observed significant growth compared to 2020.
  • Although we witnessed a drop in Litigation/Dispute Resolution/Arbitration/Investigations practices, hires in those sectors still sit at the 2nd place in 2021 Jan-Sep.   





  • Lateral hires dominated the hiring markets in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
  • We witnessed a growing tendency in rejoining former firms, moves between In-house and Private Practice positions in both directions, and relocations in 2021 compared to 2020.
  • By contrast, we saw a significant drop in Promotions.

Dentons land where others fear to tread

By Sam Kenworthy

It has taken maybe longer than expected but global behemoth Dentons has finally planted a flag in the Vietnam market by forming an association with local firm LuatViet. The Vietnamese firm is not top heavy, with only three partners but over 30 legal professionals in total, but crucially it does have offices in both the administrative capital of Hanoi and the financial centre of Ho Chi Minh City. These two markets are quite distinct so having a foothold in both offers Dentons maximum market coverage; it is generally acknowledged that one market cannot be accessed from the other as they are so different (think Washington, D.C. and New York). Lawyers rarely relocate between the two because of business, cultural and family ties to one or the other.

Vietnam has regularly been identified as the next “white hot” Asian market for at least two decades but, despite a regulatory framework seemingly open and welcoming to international firms, the take-up has never really happened. Less than a dozen non-Vietnamese firms have significant presences there, even including those from Japan and Singapore, and other pan-Asian operations such as ZICOLaw and DFDL. Even among those, many do not have resident partners in one or both offices. It will be interesting to see whether Dentons sees the need to relocate partners from elsewhere in the network. Unsurprisingly, most inbound investment in Vietnam is geared towards its key industries of infrastructure, construction, manufacturing, textiles and energy (increasingly clean energy projects) so one would expect any incoming senior lawyers, either from within the firm or hired from the local market, to have expertise in those areas. But even with ongoing rapid growth in those sectors, most international firms have only been prepared to engage from afar, usually Singapore or Hong Kong.

Why the reticence? Hong Kong and Singapore (and Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo) remain the key financial centres of Asia and lawyers at international firms looking to build a career tend to focus on them rather than become entrenched in a second-tier market (where salaries are lower, taxes are higher and international schooling is expensive, albeit the standard of living is otherwise extremely affordable). The local market has some extremely well-regarded firms and lawyers with international firm experience but the talent pool is not (yet) as deep as elsewhere in the region so perhaps that is factor. Until the last 18 months, travel in and out was convenient and efficient so having a permanent base probably wasn’t seen as a necessity.

That said, both A&O and Duane Morris have made partner hires in Vietnam in recent months so, with Dentons’ arrival, maybe the enthusiasm is becoming stronger.

Legal Move Updates (Oct – Dec 2021)

Editor’s note: This is an ongoing list.

December 2021

17 December – Herbert Smith Freehills (Singapore, Singapore)

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has elected Fatim Jumabhoy as its first-ever Singapore managing partner.

Jumabhoy will begin leading the Singapore team effective 1 January. (from

16 December – Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai, India)

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) has strengthened its general corporate practice with the hire of Akshay Bhargav as a partner in Mumbai from Khaitan & Co.

With more than a decade of experience, Bhargav specialises in private equity and venture capital transactions as well as on other corporate and commercial matters. (from

16 December – Linklaters (Hong Kong, China)

Linklaters LLP has rehired two veteran lawyers as the global law firm seeks to grow in Asia.

Betty Yap, until recently managing partner for the China practice of New York-based Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, is joining Linklaters as a partner in its corporate practice, according to a press release. She will continue to be based in Hong Kong and will be global co-head of the financial sponsor group. (from

16 December – Linklaters (London then Asia)

Linklaters is also rehiring Carl Fernandes, a partner at Latham & Watkins LLP based in London. Fernandes will join as a partner in its financial regulation practice. He’ll continue to be based in London and will eventually relocate to Asia. Fernandes previously worked at Linklaters in both Hong Kong and London. (from

10 December – FenXun (Shanghai, China) 

FenXun Partners, Baker McKenzie’s Chinese affiliate firm, has hired former Clifford Chance and JunHe partner Hong Zhang as head of its private equity practice in China. (from

16 December – ONC Lawyers (Hong Kong, China)

Hong Kong firm ONC Lawyers has hired Chak Tin Justin Lo as a partner from King and Wood Mallesons (KWM), where he was a senior associate.

Lo, who worked with KWM for more than 12 years, focuses on construction arbitration and dispute resolution, including handling claims, prolongation, and damages. (from

16 December – Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (Singapore, Singapore)

The office will also have director Dipti Bedi, who rejoined CAM in February from Cairn Oil & Gas.

CAM, which had announced the opening of a representative office in Singapore in February, will offer Indian law expertise across various practice areas in the city-state. (from

16 December – Trilegal (Bengaluru & Mumbai, India)

India’s Trilegal has hired four lawyers, namely Sai Krishna Bharathan, Shivani Kabra, Pallabi Ghosal and Vivek Bajaj, from AZB & Partners. While Bajaj will join Trilegal in Bengaluru, the other three will be based in Mumbai.

Bharathan, who has more than 25 years of experience, has led on M&A and private equity transactions in the real estate and allied sectors.

Pallabi Ghosal, who focuses on investment funds and asset management, advises on fund formation, platform joint ventures and financial regulatory matters.

Kabra’s practice includes counselling PE and corporate clients on M&A and other corporate matters.

Bajaj, with over two decades of experience, advises on M&A and other corporate matters. (from

16 December – Sidley Austin (Hong Kong, China)

Steven Hsu, a former counsel at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, has joined Sidley Austin as a partner in the firm’s China corporate and finance group in Hong Kong.

Hsu focuses on equity capital market transactions, including rights issuances and other secondary offerings, alongside corporate governance and regulatory compliance matters. (from

10 December – FenXun (Shanghai, China)

FenXun Partners, Baker McKenzie’s Chinese affiliate firm, has hired former Clifford Chance and JunHe partner Hong Zhang as head of its private equity practice in China. (from

10 December – Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (Singapore, Singapore)

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas has officially been awarded a Foreign Law Practice (FLP) license in Singapore and has hired the former Singapore head of Nishith Desai Associates, Vivek Kathpalia, to head that office.

Cyril Amarchand announced its Singapore launch earlier in the year, marking its debut international foray. It was then set up as a representative office but now, with its FLP license, the firm will be permitted to provide Indian law advice and help its clients navigate Indian legal and regulatory frameworks. (from

9 December – Latham & Watkins (Hong Kong, China)

Latham & Watkins has hired commercial litigation partner Dominic Geiser as a partner in Hong Kong from Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF). At Latham, Geiser will be a member of the complex commercial litigation practice.

Geiser, who has been with HSF for the entirety of his career, specialises in banking, financial and IPO-related litigation, disputes involving investors, shareholders, joint ventures, equity valuations, and intellectual property, fraud and money laundering claims, and insolvency and arbitration-related litigation. He becomes Latham’s 11th partner in Hong Kong. (from

8 December – McDermott Will & Emery (Tokyo, Japan)

McDermott Will & Emery has added three new IP attorneys to its intellectual property practice. Former Hogan Lovells IP partners Simon Roberts and Jason Leonard will be resident in New York, while former Jones Day IP partner Maxwell Fox will reside in Japan. (from

8 December – Eversheds Sutherland (Hong Kong, China)

Eversheds Sutherland has strengthened its IPO practice in Hong Kong with the hire of Roger Zhou as a partner in Hong Kong from Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

Zhou, a capital markets and general corporate law specialist, represents issuers and underwriters on IPOs as well as counsels on foreign direct investments in China. He also advises on post-IPO compliance issues, annual compliance, M&A, bond issuance and placements.  (from

8 December – IndusLaw (Delhi, India) 

India’s IndusLaw has added Rohit Ambast as a partner in Delhi from rival Khaitan & Co, where he was a counsel.

He is the firm’s second lateral M&A partner hire in about a week. IndusLaw recently add M&A specialist Faraz Khan as a partner in Mumbai from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas. ( from

2 December – IndusLaw  (Mumbai, India)

India’s IndusLaw has hired corporate expert Faraz Khan as a partner in the firm’s Mumbai office from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas.

Khan’s hire is IndusLaw’s second partner addition in Mumbai in about a month. At the end of October, real estate expert Avikshit Moral joined the firm from Juris Corp.

Khan specialises in private equity investments, domestic and cross-border M&A, and foreign investment. (from

2 December – DLA Piper (Hong Kong, China)

DLA Piper had added George Wu as a partner in Hong Kong from Herbert Smith Freehills, where he was an of counsel.

Wu is DLA’s second partner hire in Hong Kong a matter of weeks. The firm recently welcomed IP and fintech expert Kristi Swartz, a former managing partner of the Hong Kong office of the legacy Bryan Cave.

Prior to spending a decade at Herbert Smith Freehills, Wu was with U.S. firm Pryor Cashman in New York, and with Baker McKenzie in Shanghai. He advises on corporate and securities transactions including IPOs, debt offerings, private equity, M&A and compliance matters. (from

2 December – Ashurst (Hong Kong, China)

UK firm Ashurst has strengthened its global markets practice with the hire of Jessica Li as a partner in Hong Kong from Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy, where she was a counsel.

Li specialises in debt capital market transactions, including standalone bond offerings, MTN programme establishment and note issuances, with a focus on China-related markets.

Before joining Allen & Overy in 2013, Li worked with Clifford Chance in the firm’s London and Hong Kong offices. (from

2 December – White & Case (Singapore, Singapore)

Private equity funds and M&A specialist Sayak Maity has joined U.S. law firm White & Case as a partner in Singapore from India’s AZB & Partners.

Maity assists PE funds on investments in India and the wider Asia-Pacific region. He also advises on joint ventures and corporate governance.

Prior to his stint at AZB, Maity worked in an in-house role at Tata Sons, and was also with law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas. (from

2 December – Herbert Smith Freehills (Hong Kong, China)

Herbert Smith Freehills has brought back litigator Rachael Shek to replenish the departure of Hong Kong partner Dominic Geiser, who will be joining Latham & Watkins.

Shek, who has previously served two separate stints as an associate at Herbert Smith Freehills, rejoins the firm as a partner from Clyde & Co. (from

2 December – DLA Piper (Hong Kong, China)

DLA Piper has appointed Russell Wilkinson as a partner in its Finance, Projects and Restructuring (FP&R) practice, based in Hong Kong, the firm announced on Thursday.

Wilkinson joins the firm from Baker Botts in Hong Kong, where he has been a senior energy partner since 2006. He focuses his practice on the development, acquisition/divestment and financing of energy businesses and infrastructure, and the commercialisation of energy resources. He has extensive experience of upstream and midstream petroleum projects, power generation and transmission projects.  (from

2 December – Feshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Tokyo, Japan)

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has appointed a senior counsel as head of M&A in Japan, amid a flurry of moves across Asia at international firms.

Freshfields has appointed senior counsel Tomoko Nakajima to the new role. She has been with the firm for almost two decades. (from

1 December – Holman Fenwick Willan (Melbourne, Australia)

U.K.-headquartered Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) has bolstered its Australian construction team with the hire of a senior associate from Herbert Smith Freehills, who is joining the global firm as a partner.

Michael Debney, who will join HFW’s Melbourne office, advises contractors, financiers and owners on all aspects of project development and implementation and has more than a decade of experience in industry in senior legal and commercial roles in Australia, England and the Middle East. (from

November 2021

24 November – King & Spalding (Singapore, Singapore)

King & Spalding has hired Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom counsel, Parveet Singh Gandoak, as partner for its corporate, finance and investments practice in Singapore.

Gandoak advises private equity sponsors and venture capital firms, sovereign wealth funds, and multinationals on cross-border M&A, minority and control investments, joint ventures, exits, restructurings and capital markets offerings. He acts for clients dealing in the techn, media, telecommunications, real estate, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, energy and insurance sectors. (from

23 November – Ashurst (Sydney, Australia)

Global law firm Ashurst announces the appointment of Bernie Walrut as a partner in its Restructuring and Special Situations Group in Sydney.

Bernie’s practice covers restructuring, insolvency and special situations with a focus on transactional work in the private capital market. He also acts for insolvency practitioners on contentious administration or liquidation matters, including recovery actions, and has advised on a number of significant insolvency disputes in Australia. (from

22 November – Ashurst (Tokyo, Japan)

Ashurst is hiring a partner in Tokyo for the first time in five years, taking Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Asia sanctions head. Alexander Dmitrenko, who was counsel at Freshfields, will start with Ashurst in 2022. He specializes in white collar-defence, internal investigations, sanctions and export controls advice. (from

18 November – Argus Partners (Bengaluru, India)

India’s Argus Partners has hired Prashanth Sabeshan as a partner in the firm’s corporate and infrastructure practice in Bengaluru from AZB & Partners.

Sabeshan has more than two decades of experience focusing on general corporate, infrastructure, electricity, renewables and clean energy. (from

15 November – Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Brisbane & Perth, Australia)

Australia’s Corrs Chambers Westgarth grabs two employment partners from Herbert Smith Freehills. The pair specialize in industrial relations law, which the firm said will be helpful to clients at a time when they are trying to respond to changes in the way people work brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kirst Falchen joins Corr’s Brisbance office and Anthony Longland join the firm in Perth. (from

15 November – Clifford Chance (Hong Kong, China)

The Shearman & Sterling capital markets partner, Alan Yeung, leaves the U.S. firm after 16 years and rejoin Clifford Chance in Hong Kong.

Yeung is a US-qualified lawyer who advises on equity and debt offerings of securities into US, including IPO, high yield and investment grade bond offerings, and Rule 144A/Regulation S placements. (from

10 November – Hunton Andrews Kurth (Tokyo, Japan)

Hunton Andrews Kurth has snapped up a project finance partner from Hogan Lovells in Tokyo as it continues expanding its global energy and infrastructure team.

Sean Conaty advises governments, lenders and sponsors on infrastructure projects in the energy sector, Hunton Andrews Kurth said in a statement. (from

10 November – Dentons (Brisbane, Australia)

Dentons announces today the continued strategic growth of its Australian Real Estate practice with the addition of Lyndal Draper as partner in the Brisbane office.

Lyndal brings over 15 years’ of experience advising client on all aspects of property law, including; development, sales and acquisitions and leasing. She has prepared, advised on, and worked under various development and joint venture agreements for developers, large institutions, statutory trusts, and private companies. Her development experience includes off-the-plan strata and flat-land developments for residential, mixed use and commercial applications.  (from

10 November – King & Wood Mallesons (Melbourne & Sydney, Australia)

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has announced the appointment of Renae Lattey as the new Chief Executive Partner of the Australian practice, and David Friedlander as Chairman of the Australian practice.

Currently Managing Partner Clients and Mergers & Acquisitions, Renae has been a member of the firm’s Australian Executive Management team since 2017 and will succeed Berkeley Cox who has held the position for a similar time. (from

10 November – AZB & Partners (Delhi, India)

India’s AZB & Partners has hired antitrust expert Ram Kumar Poornachandran as a partner in Delhi from Talwar Thakore & Associates (TTA).

Poornachandran, who focuses on competition and corporate law, spent more than a decade at TTA. Prior to that, he was at Fox Mandal and Bird & Bird ATMD. (from

8 November – Stephenson Harwood  (Hong Kong, China)

Stephenson Harwood has added new partners to their Hong Kong office. Wei Kang advises clients on international estate and asset protection planning, the Canadian tax and corporate aspects of private wealth structures, and the development of family governance structures. (from

8 November – Mishcon de Reya (Singapore, Singapore)

Mishcon de Reya announced the appointment of Henry Winter as a Partner, marking an expansion to the Firm’s international Dispute Resolution capabilities. Henry becomes the fourth Partner operating from the Firm’s Singapore office, which has grown to 14 lawyers since opening last year.

Henry specialises in cross-border dispute resolution, including international commercial and investor-state arbitration, litigation, and investigations. He also has considerable experience dealing with regulators throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Henry’s extensive experience includes representing multinational corporates, foreign investors, and governments in complex litigation and arbitrations under the SIAC, ICC, UNCITRAL and ICSID rules. His sector focus includes international trade, energy (renewable and conventional), resources, financial services, fraud, infrastructure, and construction. (from

8 November – Mayer Brown (Hong Kong, China)

Mayer Brown announced on Monday that it has added a team led by investment funds partner Paul Moloney to its corporate and securities practice in Hong Kong.

Moloney will join Mayer Brown along with counsel Helen Wang and associate Gigi Ma.

Moloney specializes in the establishment of public and private investment funds in Hong Kong and other jurisdictions, including Ireland, Singapore and the Cayman Islands, according to Mayer Brown. His clients include financial institutions, asset managers and institutional investors, the firm said. (from

3 November – Baker McKenzie (Sydney, Australia)

Baker McKenzie has appointed Joshua Saunders as a construction partner in Sydney. Joshua joins Baker McKenzie from Lendlease, where he held the position of Deputy Head of Legal.

Baker McKenzie’s National Managing Partner, Anthony Foley stated: “Joshua comes to us with a broad range of important skills in the transport, utilities, telecommunications and renewables sectors. Taken together with the recent addition of Matt Coleman as a partner in our Construction team in Melbourne, Joshua’s recruitment in Sydney reflects the growth and ambition of our construction, infrastructure and project work. (from

3 November – Ashurst (Melbourne, Australia)

Global law firm Ashurst has appointed Melbourne-based partner Hilary Goodier as co-leader of Ashurst Advance, the firm’s fast-growing NewLaw division. Goodier joins London-based Chris Georgiou as co-division head and became a member of the firm’s global executive team as of Nov. 1. (from

1 November – Allen & Gldehill (Singapore, Singapore)

The Partners of Allen & Gledhill are pleased to announce the admission of Goh Eng Cher into Partnership, with effect from 1 November, 2021. Eng Cher will be joining us as Co-Head of our Private Wealth Practice, and will advising clients in the areas of trusts, private wealth, and tax.

Prior to joining us, Eng Cher was concurrently Assistant General Counsel and Executive Director at JP Morgan. During her time there, she was involved in supporting trust companies operating out of multiple jurisdictions including the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Switizerland and Singapore. Her experience also includes working on cross-jurisdictional trust issues involving changing regulation and legislation. (from

1 November – Kennedys (Sydney, Australia)

We are delighted to announce the appointment of insurance and commercial litigation specialist Alexandra Bartlett as a partner in the firm’s Insurance group in Sydney. Alex joins Kennedys from YPOL, where she was a director.

Alex practises in financial lines, D&O and professional indemnity, and has more than 15 years’ experience in defending claims and advising on coverage. (from

1 November – CMS (Hong Kong, China)

CMS has hired Hong Kong financial restructuring lawyer Kingsley Ong as a partner for its local office, continuing its expansion in the city-state.

In Hong Kong, CMS operates in association with domestic firm Lau, Horton & Wise.

Ong acts for arrangers, borrowers, investors, issuers, lenders, liquidators, sponsors, swap counterparties, trustees, and underwriters, advising on financing debt restructuring and insolvency matters. (from

October 2021
31 October – O’Melveny & Myers (Seoul, Korea)

O’Melveny & Myers has added corporate lawyer, Woojae Kim, as partner for its Seoul office.

Kim joins the O’Melveny from Korea’s Big Six firm, Kim & Chang, where he was partner.

Kim advises Korean companies on their outbound deals. He also acts for international investment banks and private equity clients on transactions involving Korean businesses.

Woojae Kim Woojae Kim
Kim is registered as a foreign legal consultant in Korea and is admitted to practice in New York. He had previously practiced in New York and Hong Kong. (from

28 October – Withers KhattarWong (Singapore, Singapore)

Withers KhattarWong, the Singapore office of Withers, has hired three lawyers specialising in private wealth, including partners Yeoh Lian Chuan and Koh Chin Chin.

Yeoh and special counsel Wong Wei Ling join Withers KhattarWong from Deloitte Legal’s Singapore firm, Sabara Law, while Koh moves from EY.

Koh specialises in succession planning for family businesses, family governance and family office set-up, advising on tax, legal and governance matters. (from

28 October – IndusLaw (Hyderabad & Mumbai, India)

India’s IndusLaw has added M&A specialist Apurbalal Malik and real estate expert Avikshit Moral as partners in the firm’s Hyderabad and Mumbai offices, respectively.

Malik, who joins from Link Legal and has over 14 years of experience, advises clients on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and venture capital.

Meanwhile, Moral advises on conveyancing, real estate financing, title diligence, joint ventures, succession planning, investor protection laws, structured transactions, and related commercial laws. He was recently a partner at Juris Corp. (from

22 October- Sullivan & Cromwell (Hong Kong, China)

Sullivan & Cromwell has welcomed back its Asia M&A/PE head Michael George DeSombre, who will be working from its Hong Kong office. DeSombre has once again assumed his responsibilities from his previous tenure with the firm – aside from leading the Asia M&A/PE practices, he will also helm the Korea team. In addition, the returning partner will serve as coordinator of Sullivan & Cromwell’s Southeast Asia practice. (from

21 October – Tiang & Partners (Hong Kong, China)

Tiang & Partners, a Hong Kong firm that works closely with PwC’s global legal network, has hired Gaven Cheong as head of its investment funds practice from Simmons & Simmons.

Cheong’s previous employers include Herbert Smith Freehills, Clifford Chance, and Sidley Austin. He joins Tiang a couple of months after the firm hired Chiang Ling Li as its IP head.

With over 15 years of experience in funds, Cheong’s practice focuses on the establishment and structuring of various collective investment schemes including hedge funds, real estate funds, and private equity arrangements, and the provision of regulatory advice in relation to investment management activity generally. (from

18 October – Hall & Wilcox (Perth, Australia)

Australian firm Hall & Wilcox has boosted its employment and safety capability with the appointment of new partner Rosemary Roach from major Australian firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth. Roach, who was a partner at Corrs before becoming a consultant with the firm, will join Hall & Wilcox’s Perth office. (from

15 October – Norton Rose Fulbright (Beijing, China)

International law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has expanded its energy and infrastructure team in Beijing with the appointment of corporate partner Jerry Li.

Previously with Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Li has 20 years of experience advising oil & gas, renewable energy, and infrastructure companies, as well as financial institutions, on corporate, M&A, joint venture, trading, project financing, credit facility, regulatory, and compliance matters.

Li’s extensive knowledge of the energy and infrastructure sectors in China will bolster Norton Rose’s competitiveness to reach a wider customer base in the world’s largest renewable energy market. (from

13 October – L&L Partners (Mumbai, India)

The Mumbai office of L&L Partners nabbed 12 lawyers, including M&A partner Nishant Singh, from rival IndusLaw. With nearly two decades of experience, Singh specialises in cross-border equity and debt financing transactions including, public takeover, PIPE and going private. (from

13 October – Phoenix Legal (Delhi, India)

India’s Phoenix Legal has hired Harsh Arora as a partner in Delhi from HSA Advocates.

Arora joins Phoenix Legal weeks after Jatin Arora was hired as the head of the firm’s indirect tax practice in Mumbai.

With almost two decades of experience, Arora focuses on banking and finance, restructuring, infrastructure and public-private partnerships. (from

11 October – Dechert (Hong Kong, China)

Dechert announces today the appointment of Daniel Margulies as a partner in the firm’s global financial restructuring practice based in Hong Kong.

A market-leading lawyer with a wealth of knowledge of the Asian market, Daniel has extensive experience in financial restructuring and insolvency matters, distressed asset sales as well as cross-border and special situation financings. Over the past decade and a half as a key member of market-leading financial restructuring practices in Asia, Mr. Margulies has had significant roles on the largest and most complex corporate defaults and restructurings, acting for debtors, creditors, private equity and hedge fund clients. His appointment to lead the firm’s financial restructuring practice in Asia will expand Dechert’s leading emerging markets restructuring practice and build on the firm’s successes in Asia. (from

11 October – Dentons Rodyk & Davidson (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore’s Dentons Rodyk & Davidson has hired Debby Lim as a partner from boutique firm BlackOak, where she was a director.

A finalist for Woman Lawyer of the Year at the ALB Southeast Asia Law Awards 2021, Lim focuses on restructurings, insolvencies, and commercial litigation. (from

8 October – McDermott Will & Emery (Singapore, Singapore)

McDermott Will & Emery has made its fourth partner hire for its new Asia head office in Singapore. Siddhartha Sivaramakrishnan, a U.S. securities and corportate finance lawyer, has joined from Herbert Smith Freehills. He focuses on capital markets and securities transactions in the Asia Pacific and in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He also has substantial experience in advising on the financing of major energy and infrastructure projects in the region. (from

7 October – Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Hong Kong, China)

U.S. firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges has hired insolvency expert Kathleen Aka as a partner in Hong Kong from Ropes & Gray.

Aka advises on financial restructuring, creditor enforcement, formal insolvency, insolvency litigation, distressed M&A, and distressed secondary debt trading. She joined the Hong Kong office of Ropes & Gray in 2014, and was made a partner in 2018. In 2019, Aka was named on the ALB 40 Under 40 list. (from

7 October – IndusLaw (Mumbai, India)

India’s IndusLaw has grown its corporate practice with the hire of Ravi Kumar as a partner in Mumbai from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM).

Kumar’s hire comes days after IndusLaw lost Mumbai corporate partner Sudipta Routh to rival L&L Partners.

Kumar advises on public and private M&A, private equity transactions and joint ventures. He spent his entire career at CAM and the legacy Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co. (from

6 October – Allen (Sydney, Australia)

Australia corporate law firm Allens has hired a construction projects partner from another top-tier local firm amid strong demand for infrastructure lawyers. Kip Fitzsimon, who joins Allens’ Sydney office from MinterEllison, specialises in construction and major projects across the infrastructure, property and energy and resources sectors. (from

6 October – ZICO Insights Law (Singapore, Singapore)

ZICO Insights Law, the ZICO Law network’s Singapore member firm, has hired Liu Hern Kuan (L) and Vincent Ooi as the head and deputy head of its tax practice, respectively.

Both Liu and Ooi join from local firm Tan Peng Chin. They are ZICO Insights’ second and third senior lateral hires this year; the firm hired corporate lawyer Jeremiah Huang as a director from RHTLaw in March.

Liu, who has more than 25 years of tax experience, was earlier a partner and head of the tax practice at Singapore Big Four firm Rajah & Tann. He previously worked with Big Four accounting firms KPMG and PwC. (from

6 October – Dentons (Hong Kong, China)

Dentons has hired David Blumenfeld as the head of its Asia-Pacific real estate practice from Paul Hastings, where he held a similar role. He is based in Hong Kong.

Blumenfeld’s clientele includes private equity funds, financial institutions and investment banks. He has experience in equity and debt transactions, and China in-bound and out-bound real estate acquisition, joint venture, and financing transactions. (from

4 October – Goodwin (Hong Kong, China)

Global law firm Goodwin announced today that Phil Culhane and Elyn Xing have joined the firm’s Hong Kong office as partners in the global Private Investment Funds practice. Culhane and Xing previously worked together at an international law firm.

Culhane has over 30 years of experience in advising on the formation of private investment funds. He has particular expertise with representing Asia-based alternative asset managers, from start-up first time funds to established multi-strategy firms.

Xing specializes in advising sponsors of private investment funds, co-investment vehicles and separately managed accounts, covering numerous sectors and strategies, including debt, energy, growth capital and emerging markets funds. (from

4 October – SIAC (Singapore, Singapore)

Former co-head of international arbitration and public law at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Lucy Reed, has stepped into the role of president of the court of arbitration at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). Reed succeeds Gary Born after his third term and six years as SIAC’s president. (from

1 October – White & Case (Tokyo, Japan)

Global law firm White & Case LLP has expanded its Global Mergers & Acquisitions Practice with the addition of Naoya Shiota as a partner in Tokyo.

Naoya is a mergers & acquisitions lawyer who advises global private equity clients and Japanese corporate clients on cross-border and domestic acquisitions and disposals. He has substantial experience advising on transactions in a wide range of sectors, particularly the automotive, technology and entertainment sectors. Naoya joins White & Case from Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, where he was a partner. Naoya is admitted to practice in both Japan and New York. (from

1 October – Dentons (Melbourne, Australia)

Dentons has strengthened its Patents offering with new patent partner Steven Wulff bringing his expertise to the Melbourne office.

Steven specialises in strategic patent and innovation counselling for technology start-up companies. He advises clients across a wide range of industries on patent and intellectual property matters, including patent drafting and prosecution. (from

1 October – Linklaters (Singapore, Singapore)

Linklaters today announced the hire of market-leading energy and construction lawyer Mark Veitch as Head of Asia Construction in its energy and infrastructure practice, based in the firm’s Singapore office.

Mark has over 14 years of specialist construction experience in the energy and infrastructure market, focusing on major projects for downstream hydrocarbons, industrial estates, manufacturing, transport and utility infrastructure and power. He joins the firm from Herbert Smith Freehills where he led their front-end construction practice for Southeast Asia. Prior to joining Herbert Smith Freehills, Mark was a senior associate in the Global Transactions practice at King & Spalding LLP. (from

1 October – Macquarie Group (Sydney, Australia)

KWM Australian M&A Head quits for General Counsel role at a major client. King & Wood Mallesons Australian head of mergers and acquisitions and banking and finance Evie Bruce is leaving the firm to join local bank Macquarie Group. Bruce will join Macquarie in January 2022 as group general counsel and head of legal and governance, and will work alongside incumbent GC Michael Herring until he leaves in May 2022. (from

Advancements in attitudes still being tested by ongoing Covid-19 crisis

10 October 2021 is World Mental Health Day, which seems particularly timely as we continue to confront Covid-19. The legal industry, both law firms and in-house departments, are increasingly seeking to promote the importance of an emotionally and mentally healthy workplace and at the same time demonstrate their respect for the rights, diversity, and individual needs of their staff. Most law firms have taken progressive initiatives to promote and support their employees’ mental health and well-being.

Covid-19, unfortunately, has had an impact on the mental well-being of many lawyers and has placed them in a potentially more fragile state. Despite the world slowly emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic, under-pressure lawyers’ mental health is still at risk. The transition period of lawyers and law firm staff returning to the workplace after a long period of remote working should be identified and proactively managed.

Disruptions of Covid-19

The impact of the massive disruptions of 2020 and 2021 on the population’s mental health state is undoubtedly a severe issue, and legal practitioners are not immune from the impact. According to ALM’s 2021 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey results, 70% of respondents (lawyers and staff) said the pandemic worsened their mental health. [1] Lawyers are struggling with unprecedented challenges such as large-scale illness and loss of life that produce widespread grief. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders led to social isolation and loneliness, on the one hand, and rapidly reconfigured family roles and responsibilities on the other. Uncertainty over job security, online meetings, longer or more disjointed working hours for lawyers, additional childcare, and caring responsibilities as schools closed intensified feelings of anxiety and pressure.

Mass remote working was the default. The physical and emotional division between lawyers’ work and family lives has also been compromised, which substantially impacts lawyers’ emotional and mental health. The LexisNexis Bellwether Report 2020 revealed that 50% of firms cited staff morale and wellbeing as their top concern six months into the pandemic, compared to only 26% in the first couple of months after the first lockdown[2]. Many law firm leaders are concerned that remote working has had a severe impact on the culture and operation of their firm. Morgan Stanley CLO Eric Grossman also shared the same idea and asked in July that the bank’s outside counsel push for in-office returns. The legal profession is dependent on a mentoring model for development and relies heavily on ingrained client teams interpersonal development and collaboration.

Although many global law firms planned to get their lawyers and staff to return to their usual place of work, there is uncertainty about the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recent uncertainty regarding the return to work is further deteriorating the well-being of law firm staff. In the ABA Profile of the Legal Profession 2021, lawyers at large law firms were more worried about returning to the office. “Nearly 3 out of 4 attorneys at large firms with 250 or more lawyers said they were concerned that being inside an office building for a working day will not be safe in 2021 and 2022 for various reasons, including lack of good ventilation and poor security in public spaces. Similar percentages of lawyers expressed the same concerns at firms with 100 to 249 lawyers and firms with 50-99 lawyers (75%).” The worst is that more than 1 out of 4 lawyers in large firms said they were worried about expressing health and safety concerns to their employers.[3]

Law Firm Support

Employers have a statutory duty to ensure the health and safety of their employees. Also, systemic changes designed to support and provide appropriate resources to lawyers will avoid costs associated with lawyer mental health incurred further down the line and, more importantly, create efficiencies that will increase law firms’ long-term financial stability and growth. During the post-pandemic period, more and more employees of law firms have begun to return to the office. What can law firms and chambers do to support their legal professionals and staff?

Changing the discourse around mental health must be on the agenda. Law firms must communicate their intentions and details of returning to office policies transparently. When everyone prioritizes health and safety, it is best for law firms to allow their employees to share concerns about returning to the office after they have worked remotely for almost a year. Law firms should acknowledge that many of their staff will take time, and many may not wish to go back to offices as was previously usual. Tailor-made on-boarding policies for returning staff are a good start.

Law firms should introduce support networks. Facilitating personal connections is a way for law firms to support their staff during the pandemic and after. Law firms should also encourage senior colleagues to foster supportive relationships with junior lawyers so that they would feel comfortable talking to their supervisor about challenges or issues that arise day to day. Embedding network sharing and discussion into monthly meetings could normalize the conversations and reduce any anxiety regarding new challenges. Providing support and assistance to staff struggling with their emotional and mental health should be a priority. The availability of professional help should be stressed.

Covid-19 has forced law firms to roll out flexible working methods over a long periods. On the one hand, flexible working policies saved law firms from an unprecedented crisis. But, on the other hand, it created many problems, such as the blurred distinction between work and life boundaries. The challenge now is to combine the benefits of flexible working with the advantages of an office environment. Any working practice should be rooted in what positives they bring to staff and clients. When a law firm gets the working practice right, they will continue to attract and retain the best staff and, as a result, be more competitive in an evolving market.

After the Pandemic

Covid-19 has put the mental health of lawyers and law firms’ staff in a vulnerable position. But interestingly, all of sudden, mental health is no longer a stigma within the legal industry. Now, law firms and partners realize that people are the greatest asset in any legal practice. A healthier law firm, lawyers, and staff will provide better service to the clients. So, let’s continue along the road toward improved mental health beyond Covid-19.

[1] Dylan Jackson, “Legal Professional Were Already Struggling With Stress and Isolation, and the Pandemic Has Made Things Much Worse,” ALM, May 2021, (accessed 1 Sep 2021)

[2] Amy Simpson, “Mental health of lawyers and COVID-19”, The Law Society England & Wales, March 2021, (accessed 1 Sep 2021)

[3] “Profile of the Legal Profession 2021”, American Bar Associate, July 2021, (accessed 1 Sep 2021)

Related Topics:

Conversation with Dr. Frances Cheng, Specialist in Psychiatry, OT&P Healthcare MindworX

The Legal Industry Commits to Improving Mental Health but Still a Long Way to Go

#WorldMentalHealthDay #mentalhealth #legal #law #lawyers #attorney #privatepractice #lawfirms #legalcounsel

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.

#pirvatepractice #marketreview #marketoverview #legalindustry #law

Happy 2021 Mid-Autumn Festival

𝐇𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐲 𝐌𝐢𝐝-𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐮𝐦𝐧 𝐅𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐥!
Wishing you a happy, enjoyable, and fun-filled celebration, surrounded by family and friends. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival.

花好月圆庆中秋! 愿您事事全圆满!


Singapore attracts attention from the US, UK and beyond

By Sam Kenworthy

As the Singapore legal market continues to observe internal movement, we have also seen new openings over the past 12 months, not surprising in itself as international firms have long jockeyed for position in the Lion City. However, alongside the headline-grabbing moves of US giants Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and McDermott, Will & Emery, there have also been forays from Korea, the PRC and India.

Orrick pivoted from a Hong Kong office focused primarily on private equity and capital markets to an energy and infrastructure-oriented South East Asia offering, with the strategic recruitment of Jon Thursby from Watson, Farley & Williams following a team hire from the same firm in London. McDermott went in a similar direction, swapping a corporate focus in China for another projects practice after hiring Ignatius Hwang from Squire Patton Boggs.

Korean giants Bae, Kim & Lee have relocated their head of South East Asia Eric Yang to launch the Singapore office, he previously having performed a similar role for the firm’s Myanmar branch. The firm also has offices in China, Indonesia, VietnamHong Kong, and Dubai.

AllBright Law Offices have made a similar move in relocating two partners from their Shanghai headquarters. Despite most of the major PRC firms making inroads into the Hong Kong market in recent years with some eyecatching hires, Singapore seemingly remains of little interest to the Chinese legal market, with Sino-Australian firm King & Wood Mallesons the only other notable outpost of the major PRC players.

With India being a closed market it is interesting to note Singapore openings for two of the country’s most prestigious firms, Khaitan & Co and Cyril Armachand Mangaldas, with both firms expected to focus on offering Indian law expertise and trying to make inroads into Singapore’s lucrative International Arbitration market. The two firms announced their office launches within months of each other, in a scenario reminiscent of a period in 2012/13 when Japan’s Big Four (Nishimura & Asahi, Nagashima, Ohno & Tsunematsu, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, and Anderson, Mori and Tomotsune) all opened offices in the city state. Let’s see if more Indian firms follow their lead.

Whereas Bae, Kim & Lee, AllBright, Khaitan and Cyril Armachand Mangaldas are all expected to maintain offices of smaller numbers to begin with, one would expect Orrick and McDermott to be more ambitious in their growth plans. Hwang’s former firm Squire Patton Boggs has been very aggressive on the lateral hiring front in recent years and Latham & Watkins recently announced a group hire of three partners from Shearman & Sterling and Freshfields. As firms continue to reconfigure their Asia strategies, Singapore seems to be the current hotspot.

The Age of the Chief Legal Officer

By Sherry Xu

The role of Chief Legal Officer (CLO) has been growing in importance as C-suite and board leaders become more aware of the elevated risk conditions they are working in and the long-term cost of those risks. This heightened awareness has correspondingly caused high-functioning legal teams to expand their priorities and capabilities to address broader business requirements. Due to this intensified awareness, CLOs have been given increasing authority to direct their corporate’s changing strategy and be meticulous in ensuring their business is safe from reputational and financial risks. In addition, their advice and input have become integral to business decisions and organizational strategies of expansion and cross-border business operations. According to LinkedIn Economic Graph Research, the CLO role was listed as the sixth fastest-growing designation of C-Suite hires of 2020 with 23% growth[1].

CLO or GC?

Both a CLO and General Counsel (GC) are responsible for heading up a company’s legal function, so both need solid legal backgrounds and strong management skills. In addition, both roles require the right candidate to be commercially savvy and provide business-oriented solutions.

While a GC is widely regarded as a more traditional high-level legal executive role within a company, the CLO title signals that the role is more of a top operational executive who works with other chief executives to make business decisions and formulate corporate strategies. CLOs have more opportunity to impact the business decision-making processes by regularly participating in board meetings to provide input on strategy development, governance issues and advising executives on non-legal matters, solidifying their role as an essential partner to the business. Therefore, the CLO, in general, has a more profound involvement in the business operation and a broader view of the business as a whole. It falls within the CLOs responsibility and authority to set up a business strategy in the industry to align with risk management and to generate revenue within a designated time frame strategically, which may, in turn, reflect on the company’s stock price. CLOs also take up the traditional head of legal role to build internal procedures for legal compliance and other risk control matters.

Depending on the industry and business model in many large companies, some of the risk management functions (data governance, ethics & compliance, intellectual property, safety, security, and trade compliance, etc.) may not report to GCs. However, when a business goes global or expands industry coverage, a broader corporate governance structure at the top executive level is needed. So the question is, who is in a better position to take on the head of this expanded corporate governance function? Top legal executives seem an ideal option as they come from a legal background and should have solid regulatory compliance knowledge, a successful track record of enabling business teams to achieve their business targets, crisis management capability, cross-border and international deal experience, and strong legislation knowledge and connections in jurisdictions where they are active. As a result, we witnessed more and more companies naming their top legal executives as CLOs when their businesses grow and diversify.

What makes a good CLO?

Becoming a CLO at a prominent company is not simply a matter of rising internally through the ranks or toiling away for years at a top-tier international law firm. In today’s cut-throat competitive marketplace, successful CLOs need to excel across a range of key competencies and demonstrate their ability to be a key asset to their C-suite leadership. If you are looking to become a CLO, here are four core qualities you must cultivate to be successful in the role.

  1. Cement General Counsel role initially:In a fast-paced business environment and under ever-changing regulatory scrutiny, every executive of the C-suite has to be an industry/sector expert to move quickly and make sensible business decisions at a breath-neck pace. As a subject matter expert, a successful CLO needs to be an accomplished General Counsel (& Company Secretary) with proven industry experience and solid technical skills to align legal and business strategies and ensure the legal efficiency of the corporation. Also, you will have engaged beyond your organization and throughout your industry to establish industry-wide networks. With these networks, you can work well with regulators and relevant subject matter experts. Thus, the next CLO should also be an accomplished legal tactician.
  1. Develop senior leadership skills:The skills cited as most indispensable for C-suite executives are those that constitute leadership. Today’s CLOs should be inspirational leaders who unite in-house legal functions other risk control functions , and business units to deliver in a non-authoritarian manner. Also, CLOs must be strong yet determined to set the business’s strategic goals and then inspire all employees to implement these, like all the other C-Suite leaders. CLOs also need executive courage to be confident working across and leading multiple functions and take ownership and make difficult choices and decisions when necessary. Last but not least, you have to be a visionary leader who desires to change and consistently gather information used to forecast general trends within the industry/sector.
  1. Be a strategic business partner:The CLO role isn’t just a lawyer anymore but a strategic business partner, business analyst, and risk manager on the senior executive team. The CLO must not only proactively defend the company but also grow and drive the company from a business perspective, working as a partner, rather than only an advisor, with C-suite executives to solve complex business problems and prevent potential risks. Today’s CLOs should have the ability to lead the teams and create cross-functional relationships plus displaying strong business acumen to accelerate the company’s growth. To achieve this, you must have a complete understanding of the business objectives and operations as well as institutional policies and procedures and the regulatory environment within which they operate. 
  1. Embrace changes:Change is inevitable. For example, technological advancements of recent decades have reshaped societies that vary in every jurisdiction around the world. Needless to say the consumer and technology industry, even traditional industries, such as manufacturing companies, are on the front line encountering digital challenges oriented from new technologies. Digital transformation is not just about automating the assembly line or better analysing existing data. It involves new business models and substantial changes in operations. In response to these changes, regulators in different jurisdictions will evaluate the environment and issue new laws and regulations when necessary. CLOs must have the ability/knowledge to predict legislative or regulatory trends which will come off the back of changes to ensure their businesses are protected from potential reputational, legal, financial, and other risks. In addition, on the company operational level, CLOs should establish new/enhanced risk control systems to cope with the new challenges and risks from the changes. In achieving these, CLOs need to be comfortable in embracing change and proactively leading their teams to be adaptable and forward-thinking.

[1] George Anders, “Who’s reaching the C-Suite in 2020? These 16 roles have momentum”, LinkedIn, November 2020, (accessed 26 July 2021)

—- —- —-

Sherry Xu (Director, Hughes-Castell)
Sherry is a Director of Hughes-Castell’s Shanghai and Hong Kong offices and has recently launched a well-received interview series, Leaders in Law. She has substantial years’ experience in in-house legal and compliance recruitment in Asia and has built a strong reputation with the legal community across the region. She works closely with senior management, top legal executives, and administrative and human resources teams on developing and implementing recruitment strategies at both local and regional levels. Sherry obtained a first-class LLB degree from a top-tier PRC university and completed her LLM Degree at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Consultant Spotlight: Sherry Xu

The right time for lawyers to return to the office?

Morgan Stanley’s Chief Legal Officer, Eric Grossman, has demanded their outside law firms return their lawyers to the office en masse. However most law firms who act for Morgan Stanley have already incorporated some remote working into their return plans after the pandemic. The request immediately delivers a real headache for firms trying to placate both their key clients and employees. Do they perform a 180 degree turn on agreed terms on the basis of one client’s request?

What You Need to Know About Grossman’s Memo

In his memo dated 15 July, Grossman asserted that the profession cannot long endure a remote working model which he felt would compromise performance.

We choose to hire (the law firms) all because of the quality of your lawyers and the product they deliver. I strongly believe that firms that return to the office will have a significant performance advantage over those that do not, and we will see that advantage reflected in their client service and the ability to deliver successful outcomes for Morgan Stanley,” Grossman wrote.[i]

Market Reaction

Most law firms have accommodated increased remote working flexibility into their return plans, post-pandemic. However, Grossman’s stance came as a bombshell and threw a spanner in the works of these recently established plans. Since the bank is a top-tier client and competition is so high, firms would ordinarily bend over backward to maintain good relations. Although such firms that have advised Morgan Stanley have, unsurprisingly, refused to comment on Grossman’s demand, some of their return announcements have already factored in that office attendance would depend on client and practice needs[ii]. Law firms’ leaders need to find a balanced return model to meet the firm’s business needs and those of their clients, especially the significant players, while also providing flexibility for their staff.

Will Grossman’s demand create a snowball effect in the legal industry? Probably not. Legal leaders from 3M, Adobe, Coinbase, Dell, Lexion, Qualcomm, and W.R. Grace[iii] have a different view of remote working than the Wall Street bank, saying they don’t mind where their outside lawyers work and have no plan to request their preferred law firms bring their lawyers back to the actual office.

One female partner at a global U.K. Top 100 firm decried Grossman’s stance as “inappropriate interference and presenteeism signalling.”[iv] For women and working parents especially, any embrace of the Morgan Stanley expectations by law firms could have seriously negative consequences.

However, there is some support for Grossman’s stance. Greenberg Traurig was the only one of a half-dozen large law firms representing Morgan Stanley that endorsed Grossman’s request and praised him for having “the courage and leadership to speak out during these times.”[v] Robert Chesnut, a former General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer at Airbnb, said that he understood Grossman’s desire for office camaraderie and tutelage.[vi]

Apprenticeship Model vs Remote Working

Grossman’s memo wasn’t focused on having lawyers in the office for the sake of keeping a close eye on them. Instead, he believes individual lawyers learn, improve and collectively deliver the best results when they are working together.[vii] His appreciation of apprenticeship culture was also shared with his peers.

PNC Bank’s Senior counsel, Ryan Thompson, shared his support in a LinkedIn post saying, “I am not saying 5 days a week in the office is necessary. I have been doing something resembling the hybrid model for 6 of the 8 years I have been in-house, but so much of my knowledge comes from in-person mentoring.”[viii] Also, several partners do also agree with Grossman’s reasoning that the personal development of young lawyers needs to be a focus.

A compromise could be the establishment of successful apprenticeship online training programs. Instead of forcing young lawyers back to the office, law firms could also try to use new technology to improve their apprenticeship programs by:

  • enhancing the learning experience;
  • using artificial intelligence and data analytics to provide close supervision of apprentices and to enhance the delivery of programs as part of the learning experience;
  • creating stronger relationships and promoting coordinated support among apprentices and enterprises;
  • monitoring of training through mobile logbooks that allow apprentices to record and demonstrate their learning and training progression.

[i] Dan Packel, “’Our Profession Cannot Long Endure a Remote Work Model,’ Morgan Stanley CLO Tells Law Firms”,, American Lawyer Media International, July 2021, (accessed 28 July 2021)

[ii] Andrew Maloney, ‘Most of Morgan Stanley’s Outside Counsel Had Already Pushed For Remote Work’,, American Lawyer Media International, July 2021, (accessed 28 July 2021)

[iii] Dan Clark, Phillip Bantz, & Hugo Guzman, ‘Will More Legal Chiefs Follow Morgan Stanley in Eschewing Remote Work?’,, American Lawyer Media International, July 2021, (accessed 28 July 2021)

Brian Baxter & Ruiqi Chen, ‘Tech Legal Leaders Veer From Morgan Stanley Return-to-Work Order’,, Bloomberg, July 2021, (accessed 28 July 2021)

[iv] Hannah Roberts, ‘Top UK Lawyers Expect U-Turn on Remote Working Policies in Response to Morgan Stanley’,, American Lawyer Media International, July 2021,  (accessed 28 July 2021)

[v] Dan Clark, Phillip Bantz, & Hugo Guzman, ‘Will More Legal Chiefs Follow Morgan Stanley in Eschewing Remote Work?’,, American Lawyer Media International, July 2021, (accessed 28 July 2021)

[vi] Brian Baxter & Ruiqi Chen, ‘Tech Legal Leaders Veer From Morgan Stanley Return-to-Work Order’,, Bloomberg, July 2021, (accessed 28 July 2021)

[vii] Dan Clark, Phillip Bantz, & Hugo Guzman, ‘Will More Legal Chiefs Follow Morgan Stanley in Eschewing Remote Work?’,, American Lawyer Media International, July 2021, (accessed 28 July 2021)

[viii] Dan Clark, Phillip Bantz, & Hugo Guzman, ‘Will More Legal Chiefs Follow Morgan Stanley in Eschewing Remote Work?’,, American Lawyer Media International, July 2021, (accessed 28 July 2021)

Kirkland makes unusual step into Asian Real Estate

Kirkland & Ellis’ hire of Paul Hastings’ Paul Guan is not necessarily a surprise in the context of the Chicago giant’s enduring interest in swelling its private equity ranks, but a foray into real estate remains a rare occurrence in the Asian legal markets. Whereas the nuts-and-bolts conveyancing remains very much the preserve of local firms with lower overheads in the larger international markets, indeed protected in Singapore’s divided legal system, high-level investment in one of the more stable global asset classes remains out of the cross-hairs of the international players.

Back in the early 2000s, Eastern Europe was opening up as a greenfield region for ambitious investors and chief among that wave of investment was real estate. Major UK players expanded in the region, led by their clients, and aggressively marketed their capabilities. For a few years the billing engines of the ‘Magic Circle’ and the chasing pack were not the traditional pillars of M&A, PE, antitrust or dispute resolution but real estate. The four-day international property exhibition MIPIM, held annually in the somewhat faded glamour of Cannes in the south of France, officially attracted nearly 27,000 delegates from legal, investment, development, banking and government, while unofficial figures estimated attendee numbers at north of 50,000. Firms wouldn’t blink at hiring luxurious yachts upon where champagne would flow near-constantly as the most ambitious movers and shakers were pursued. Investment in real estate practices remains core to any successful multi-disciplinary firm in the West.

In Asia, however, enthusiasm remains muted. While firms that are real estate powerhouses in Europe are active to a degree in investments here, the activity largely piggybacks off M&A or PE deals, or under the umbrella of “leisure and hospitality”, and partners aren’t specialized in the real estate field. Notable recent movers include Wayne Ma who joined BCLP from DLA Piper at the turn of the year, both firms being diners at the real estate top table in Europe. Stephenson Harwood hired Janice Garton, again from DLA Piper, making clear their own intentions to maintain a presence following several departures from their partnership ranks. But other sector-specific high-profile moves were scarce.

Indeed MIPIM has an Asia-focused offshoot which has never attained the status or attendance figures of the European flagship, perhaps reflecting generally more muted enthusiasm levels in the industry. The 80s and 90s were the boom times for construction boutiques in Hong Kong and Singapore as development and infrastructure projects surged. Perhaps the oft-anticipated investment wave in Asian emerging markets will see a similar rise in real estate interest.

Internal Recruitment: Administrative Assistant

Hughes-Castell (Hong Kong) Limited is the longest established legal recruitment consultancy in Asia.

We are currently seeking an administrative assistant with a professional manner for an administrative role to be responsible for day-to-day operations and provide general administrative support to our team based in Sai Ying Pun.

We would love to hear from you, if you:

  • Have recently graduated, or already have 1-2 year(s) of experience in an administrative or clerical role
  • Have good computer skills
  • Have an education level of Form 5-7 or HKDSE
  • Have a good command of written & spoken English/Chinese (HKDSE English with Level 2 or above / HKCEE English with an E or above)

This is an excellent opportunity to join an international legal recruitment company. Interested candidates, please send your updated CV to Ms Wong at

Internal Recruitment: Recruitment Researcher

Hughes-Castell, multi-award-winning legal recruitment and executive search firm, was established in London in 1985 and Hong Kong in 1986. We have spent more than 35 years advising clients and lawyers on leadership succession, recruitment and professional development across Asia Pacific and built a strong reputation with top Fortune/Fortune Global corporations, financial services institutions and international/Chinese law firms across the region. We are currently expanding our team in Hong Kong and are keen to speak with high-calibre Execution/Research specialists. 
We are looking for someone with the following qualifications and attributes:
  • A good University degree. A Business/Law degree would be an advantage;
  • Some research/search experience such as paralegal or internship experience would be useful, but is not essential;
  • Native-level English is highly desirable, but anyone confident in both verbal and written English communications is welcome to apply;
  • An enthusiasm and ability to speak professionally and confidently with senior management, lawyers, and HR professionals;
  • Good IT skills;
  • A confident personality with a willingness to work within an energetic and friendly working environment.
The role offers:
  • Working as part of a friendly and supportive team;
  • Providing a unique insight into legal market intelligence for those either considering or committed to a future career in law or legal recruitment;
  • The opportunity for personal and technical development, with potential for future career progression;
  • Experience working with key people in the legal and recruitment sectors. 
This is an excellent opportunity to join an international legal recruitment company. Interested candidates, please send your updated CV to Mudita Valakati at 
Your privacy and the privacy of others are important. By you supplying us with your personal data, which includes your CV and/or details of your referees, you have agreed to our collection, use and disclosure of such data to assist you in finding a job now or in future, as well as for marketing purposes. You agree that you have obtained appropriate consent to provide to us data from other person(s).

Legal Move Updates (Jul – Sep 2021)

Editor’s note: This is an ongoing list.

September 2021

30 Sep – White & Case (Seoul, Korea)

U.S. firm White & Case has strengthened its global project development and finance practice with the hire of Sungjin Kang as a partner in Seoul from Latham & Watkins.

Kang, who spent more than a decade with Latham in Hong Kong and Seoul, advises on various project-related transactions, as well as on transportation finance and M&A. He earlier worked with Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy for nearly nine years. (from

30 Sep – Stephenson Harwood (Singapore, Singapore)

Stephenson Harwood has hired private wealth expert Suzanne Johnston as a partner in Singapore. Johnston was most recently director and senior legal counsel at financial services firm UBS.

Johnston previously worked in the UK with firms such as Maurice Turnor Gardner, Harcus Sinclair and Linklaters. She relocating to Singapore in 2013 to join Withers, in 2013 where she spent more than five years.

Specialising in international tax and wealth planning, Johnston advises high net-worth individuals, professional trustees, family offices and private banks. (from

29 Sep – Oon & Bazul (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore’s Oon & Bazul has added litigators Priscilla Lua and Jerald Foo as partners from Cavenagh Law, the Singapore law firm of Clifford Chance, where they were both senior associates.

Lua and Foo are Oon & Bazul’s second and third lateral disputes partner hires in a matter of weeks. Shortly before this, the firm hired Benedict Eoon as a partner from Covenant Chambers.

Lua focuses on international arbitration, regulatory and internal investigations and employment matters. Before moving to Cavenagh Law, she had worked with Drew & Napier.

Meanwhile, Foo spent nearly nine years at Cavenagh Law. He represents both listed companies and public individuals before the Court of Appeal, High Court and State Courts, including the Singapore International Commercial Court. (from

29 Sep – L&L Partners (Mumbai, India)

India’s L&L Partners has welcomed back Sudipta Routh as a partner in Mumbai from rival IndusLaw. He moves to L&L along with three other lawyers.

L&L has seen a series of partner exits during and following the feud between Mohit Saraf and Rajiv Luthra, which resulted in Saraf taking 21 partners with him to set up Saraf & Partners.

The firm has since looked to replenish its ranks with lateral hires, including returning L&L alumni such as Subhash Bhutoria, Piyush Mishra, Asim Abbas, Sonali Choudhry and Prabjot Singh Bhullar.

With 25 years of experienc, Routh is an expert in financing, corporate and commercial matters, and specialises in structuring funds, joint ventures, acquisitions and formulating entry and investment strategies.  (from

28 Sep – MinterEllison (Sydney, Australia)

The general counsel and company secretary of Ramsay Health Care Australia has joined BigLaw firm MinterEllison as a partner in its health industry practice.

Minters has bolstered the ranks of its health industry practice with the appointment of Katrina Cunningham as a partner, meaning the practice now boasts 11 partners and over 40 lawyers. She joins as a partner in Sydney in the firm’s competition risk and regulatory team.

Prior to joining the firm, Ms Cunningham was the Australian general counsel and company secretary of Ramsay Health Care Australia, where she spent the last nine years of her career. Prior to that, she spent seven years at global law firm Allens. (from

27 Sep – Allen & Overy  (Singapore, Singapore)

Allen & Overy has relocated arbitration practice partner Christopher Mainwaring-Taylor from its Paris office to Singapore, after a major departure from the base earlier this year.

Mainwaring-Taylor has been with Allen & Overy for over two decades and has experience of a number of the firm’s bases, having previously worked in the firm’s London and Dubai offices. He moved to Dubai as a senior associate in 2007 and helped the firm launch its international arbitration practice in the Middle East. (from

23 Sep – Phoenix Legal (Mumbai, India)

Indian law firm Phoenix Legal has hired Jatin Arora in Mumbai as the head of the firm’s indirect tax practice from Price Waterhouse & Co, where he was a principal.

Arora, who has appeared before high courts and various tribunals, possesses more than two decades of experience in indirect taxation. (from

23 Sep – ING Philippines (Manila, Philippines)

Maria Concepcion Simundac, a former partner at Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law), has joined banking and financial services company ING Philippines in Manila as lead legal counsel.

Simundac specialises in M&A, power and energy, construction and real estate, infrastructure, transportation and public utilities, and corporate and project finance matters. (from

23 Sep – Argus Partners (Delhi, India)

India’s Argus Partners has added Rachika Sahay as a partner in the corporate and infrastructure team in Delhi from HSA Advocates.

Sahay joined HSA in 2018 from power company Ostro Energy, where she was general counsel. Having started her career at Trilegal, she later worked with energy company Weatherford.

Sahay counsels on corporate matters, which includes domestic as well as cross border joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments and foreign direct investments. (from

22 Sep – Johnson Winter & Slattery (Sydney, Australia)

The head of legal at Qantas has left the Australian carrier to rejoin a local law firm after two years at the airline. Competition and antitrust lawyer Michele Laidlaw returned to Johnson Winter & Slattery as a partner earlier this month.

Laidlaw specializes in Australian competition and consumer law, advising major multinational and ASX-listed clients across a range of industries. Her areas of expertise include contentious and noncontentious merger reviews, Federal Court litigation, Competition Tribunal review and advising on consumer protection law, JWS said in a statement. (from

17 Sep – Kewei (Shanghai, China)

Herbert Smith Freehills has hired new partner Peng Lei to its Shanghai joint operation Kewei, in order to help launch its intellectual property practice on the ground.

Lei has significant patent expertise and also advises on anti-trust related litigation across industries like manufacturing, tech and consumer goods.

He was most recently a counsel at Beijing-based Han Kun Law Offices, where he spent over five years acting on patent, trademark and antitrust litigation, as well as patent prosecution and invalidation. Prior to his time in Han Kun, Lei was an associate at King & Wood Mallesons. (from

17 – Hogan Lovells (Shanghai, China)

Hogan Lovells meanwhile has added to its own separate Shanghai office with the addition of a investigations partner Calvin Ding from Greenberg Traurig.
Ding specialises in international anti-corruption advisory and investigations, cross-border litigation and e-discovery, as well as compliance with China’s anti-trust, anti-bribery and privacy laws. He advises companies on compliance programs, risk assessments, pre-transaction due diligence, government policies, and internal investigations.

He primarily acts for Chinese companies and individuals who deal in the tech, manufacturing, e-commerce, automotive and pharmaceuticals space. (from

16 Sep – Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton  (Toyko, Japan & Washington DC, USA)

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton announced today the addition of Robert “Bob” Hollingshead to the firm’s Tokyo and Washington, D.C. offices as a partner on the Patent Litigation Team in its internationally recognized Intellectual Property Department. He joins from another major international law firm.

Mr. Hollingshead’s practice focuses on intellectual property disputes, including district court and International Trade Commission litigation, adversarial patent license negotiations, counseling, and international arbitration. He works with his clients to develop successful strategies for litigation, licensing, patent procurement, Inter-Partes Review, and portfolio development and leads adversarial patent licensing negotiations and transactional negotiations. While Mr. Hollingshead’s practice focuses primarily on Asia-based companies, he also represents clients in the U.S. (from

16 Sep – National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (Mumbai, India)

Shagoofa Rashid Khan, the head of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas’ (CAM) national funds and investments practice, has left the firm to join the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) in Mumbai as its group general counsel.

A former head of Nishith Desai Associates’ real estate funds and international tax policy practices, Khan focuses on structuring funds, managed accounts, private equity, acquisitions, restructuring, joint ventures and strategic initiatives.

Khan joined CAM in 2016 following a string of senior in-house roles at companies like IDFC Alternatives, Tata Services and Kotak Investment Advisors. She was at Nishith Desai between 2002 and 2006. (from

15 Sep – HFW (Hong Kong, China)

Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) has added new partner Karen Cheung to its Hong Kong disputes practice, adding a new layer to the firm’s local offering.

Cheung acts on commercial litigation and arbitration matters. She advises state-owned and multinational companies on cross-border disputes, white-collar crime, shareholder disputes judicial review, and regulatory investigations.

Cheung also advises ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families in Greater China on probate litigation, matrimonial proceedings and land disputes. (from

15 Sep – Hogan Lovells (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

Hogan Lovells Miami partner Gaston Fernandez is set to relocate to Vietnam, where the firm has two offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as managing partner.

Fernandez advises on infrastructure and energy project financing with a focus on emerging markets. Whilst based in Miami, Fernandez specialized in Latin America projects, often with ties to Asian financiers and investors.

Fernandez will be based in Hogan Lovells’ Ho Chi Minh City office, where the firm counts seven lawyers. In Hanoi, the firm has one lawyer. (from

10 Sep – Bird & Bird (Sydney, Australia)

International law firm Bird & Bird has hired a disputes lawyer from Ashurst to join its partnership in Sydney.

The London-based firm’s hire of Julie Cheeseman, previously a counsel at Ashurst, comes at a time when dispute resolution lawyers are in strong demand in Australia.

She specializes in technology, media and telecommunications disputes covering a variety of technologies and complex implementations, including billing, inventory management, customer management and e-Health systems, as well as satellite and cable transmission networks. (from

9 Sep – L&L Partners (Delhi, India)

The Delhi office of Indian law firm L&L Partners has hired litigator Mohit Bakshi (L) as a partner from J Sagar Associates. Bakshi, who was with JSA for more than a decade, specialises in civil and corporate commercial litigation, and white-collar crimes. Meanwhile, Singh has experience of more than 17 years, including nearly a decade with L&L. His clients include financial institutions, private equity investors and Indian conglomerates, with a specific focus on energy and infrastructure sectors. (from

9 Sep – Guido Hidayanto & Partners (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Indonesia’s Guido Hidayanto & Partners (GHP) has added commercial lawyer Yohanes Masengi as a partner in Jakarta from Makarim & Taira S, where he worked for more than 15 years.

Masengi advises on investment, infrastructure, power projects, ports, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, employment and corporate restructuring.

He joined Makarim in 2005, and became the firm’s youngest partner. Masengi was named on the ALB Indonesia Rising Stars list in both 2019 and 2020. (from

9 Sep – Withers (Hong Kong, China)

Withers has boosted its litigation and international arbitration practice in Hong Kong with the hire of two lawyers from Bird & Bird, including partner Michael Chik.

Chik is Withers’ second disputes partner addition in days. The firm recently hired commercial litigator Joseph Chu as a partner in Hong Kong from Simmons & Simmons.

Chik specialises in regulatory matters including compliance issues. He is also experienced in international arbitration under various institutional rules including proceedings conducted under ICC, SIAC and HKIAC rules. (from

7 Sep – Squire Patton Boggs (Singapore & Perth, Australia)

Squire Patton Boggs has hired commodities lawyers Ivan Chia and Hazel Brewers as partners from HFW in Singapore and Brisbane, respectively.

Chia joined HFW in January 2018 from Watson, Farley & Williams, where he spent about a decade. Focusing on international energy, renewables and infrastructure projects, Chia advises on development, procurement, joint venture and M&A matters. (from

7 Sep – K&L Gates (Singapore, Singapore)

K&L Gates has continued its Asia expansion with the addition of a lawyer to its Singapore partnership.

Fund formation and transactions partner Edward Bennett joins from Morgan Lewis, which he joined in 2017 after spending over 17 years at Ashurst. (from

7 Sep – Tilleke & Gibbins (Bangkok, Thailand)

Thailand-headquartered Tilleke & Gibbins has hired Derrick Khoo as a partner in Bangkok from Myanmar-focused conglomerate Marga Group, where he was general counsel.

With experience in cross-border M&A, growth equity investments, real estate, foreign direct investments, JVs and other corporate and commercial transactions, Khoo has worked in Hong Kong, Thailand, Mainland China and Singapore. (from

6 Sep – McDermott Will & Emery (Singapore, Singapore)

McDermott Will & Emery has secured a three-lawyer corporate team from Squire Patton Boggs in Singapore for its newly launched office just as Squire boosts its Asia Pacific commodities team with two partner hires from UK firm HFW.

The trio joining McDermott will reside in its global transactions practice and focus on general corporate work, boosting the energy and international projects expertise offered by Hwang and recently hired energy expert Merrick White, who joined the firm from King & Spalding in July and has relocated from London. (from

2 Sep – Walkers (Hong Kong, China)

Offshore law firm Walkers has added Tom Pugh as a partner in Hong Kong from Mayer Brown.

Having spent nearly 15 years in Hong Kong, Pugh handles large-scale cross-border liquidations and restructuring matters, and advises insolvency practitioners, creditors and debtors. (from

2 Sep – Oon & Bazul (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore’s Oon & Bazul has hired Benedict Eoon as a partner. He was most recently an associate director at local boutique Covenant Chambers.

Eoon focuses on commercial litigation, arbitration, white-collar crime and investigations. Before moving to Covenant, he was an associate director at Singapore Big Four law firm Drew & Napier. (from

2 Sep – Ogier (Singapore, Singapore)

Offshore law firm Ogier’s corporate administration business, Ogier Global, is set to open a Singapore office with the appointment Mei Luo and Connie Chan as associate directors.

Luo and Chan have a combined 35 years of experience supporting asset managers, institutional clients and corporates with their governance, corporate administration and regulatory, and compliance needs. (from

2 Sep – Dentons Rodyk & Davidson (Mumbai, India)

Singapore’s Dentons Rodyk & Davidson has hired Ipshita Chaturvedi as partner in the firm’s environment and natural resources practice. She was most recently running her own practice, C&C Advisors, in India.

With more than 10 years of experience, Chaturvedi advises on environmental compliance and regulation, clean-technology, waste management and EPR related matters, carbon finance, water law and ocean governance. (from

1 Sep – Clyde & Co (Brisbane, Australia)

Clyde & Co hires Brisbane insurance partner to continue Australian and Global expansion. Global law firm Clyde & Co has today announced the hire of Partner David Kerwin, who joins the firm’s national insurance group, based in Brisbane.

David brings immense expertise in handling complex (and often novel) matters involving property risks, financial lines, D&O liability, professional indemnity, policy coverage and defence health/life insurance lines. He is an experienced litigator and widely recognised for his technical skills, commerciality and practical approach. (from

1 Sep – King & Wood Mallesons (Singapore, Singapore)

A private capital-focused partner with 12 years’ experience at Herbert Smith Freehills has joined King & Wood Mallesons in Singapore. Nicola Yeomans was most recently a partner and head of Asia private capital at Herbert Smith Freehills. She has now joined King & Wood Mallesons, enhancing its international and regional offerings. In her most recent position, Yeomans specialised in private equity and asset management across Asia. She advised clients on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), sales, joint ventures, fundraisings and real asset projects. (from

August 2021

26 Aug – Bae, Kim & Lee (Singapore, Singapore)

Bae, Kim & Lee (BKL), Korea’s third-largest law firm, is all set to establish an office in Singapore. The office will be led by Eric Yang, partner and head of the firm’s Southeast Asia practice. When the office opens, it will make BKL the latest foreign firm to establish an outpost in Singapore in 2021, following India’s Khaitan & Co, PRC firm AllBright Law Offices, and U.S. law firms McDermott Will & Emery and Orrick. (from

26 Aug – Baker McKenzie (Melbourne, Australia)

Baker McKenzie has appointed Matt Coleman as a construction partner in Melbourne. Matt joins Baker McKenzie from MinterEllison. Matt is experienced in project management, project structuring, procurement and delivery strategy, risk analysis, and drafting and negotiating all forms of infrastructure and construction related agreements, with specialist experience in public-private partnerships and collaborative contracting models. (from

26 Aug – Khaitan & Co. (Singapore, Singapore)

Khaitan & Co. has hired Karun Cariappa, a former partner and head of the India practice at Morgan Lewis Stamford, as a partner in its newly opened Singapore office. Cariappa’s most recent role was as founder of Fernback Holdings, which provided transactional support to corporates, founders, start-ups, funds and family offices. He more than two decades of experience advising corporate issuers and investment banks, and focuses on capital markets and transactional work. Cariappa was at Morgan Lewis for about a year, having joined the firm from Simmons & Simmons. His previous firms include Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Jones Day and the legacy Amarchand Mangaldas.  (from

25 Aug – Garuda (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Timur Sukirno, formerly senior partner and head of disputes at Baker McKenzie’s Indonesian member firm, Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners (HHP), has retired from the firm to join troubled flag carrier Garuda Indonesia as president commissioner. Sukirno, who is the founder of the Indonesian Receivers and Administrators Association, has expertise in insolvency and restructuring processes. He spent more than three decades at HHP. (from

19 Aug – Latham & Watkins (Singapore, Singapore)

Both Bhasin and Clayton-Payne join from Shearman & Sterling. They advise clients in the energy and infrastructure sector on inbound and outbound transactions, joint ventures, take-overs, strategic investments, restructurings, divestments and private equity exits.

Both Bhasin and Clayton-Payne join from Shearman & Sterling. They advise clients in the energy and infrastructure sector on inbound and outbound transactions, joint ventures, take-overs, strategic investments, restructurings, divestments and private equity exits.

Meanwhile, Stokes, who spent more than two decades at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, will focus on project development and finance. (from

18 Aug – Hill Dickinson (Singapore, Singapore)

UK-headquartered maritime firm Hill Dickinson has hired trade and commodities specialists Devottam Sengupta and Iain Sharp as partners in Singapore. Both join from in-house roles.

Dev Sengupta is a member of the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa (India) 2006 and joins Hill Dickinson from Greensill Capital in Singapore. He has significant experience in providing structuring and legal support through the entire transaction lifecycle and has led on a range of multimillion dollar banking, trade finance and structured finance transactions. He was previously Co-Head of the Global Markets and Financing Legal Team at Louis Dreyfus Company, and is also an expert in Indian law.

Meanwhile, Sharp moves from commodities trading house Gunvor Group, where he was head of legal for Asia-Pacific. He focuses on litigation, international arbitration, negotiation, and ADR related to international trade and commodities.(from

17 Aug – Tiang & Partners (Hong Kong, China)

Tiang & Partners, a Hong Kong firm that works closely with PwC’s global legal network, has hired Chiang Ling Li as head of its IP practice from Jones Day, where she worked for over 13 years. (from

17 Aug – Conyers (Hong Kong, China)

Offshore law firm Conyers has hired veteran disputes lawyer Mark Yeadon as its head of Hong Kong disputes and restructuring practice from Eversheds Sutherland, where he led the Asia litigation and dispute management practice.

Prior to joining Eversheds, Yeadon spent 22 years at Slaughter and May, leaving that firm in 2010 as the head of its litigation practice in Hong Kong. (from

17 Aug – Withers (Hong Kong, China)

Joseph Chu has left Simmons & Simmons, where he was partner, to join Withers in Hong Kong. Chu has over 20 years’ experience acting on cross-border commercial litigation and international arbitration matters. (from

17 Aug – Pinsent Masons (Singapore, Singapore)

Will Stroll joins Pinsent Masons from Herbert Smith Freehills, where he was senior associate. Stroll specializes in Southeast Asia renewable energy transactions, advising investment funds, independent power producers and oil & gas companies on the corporate and commercial, and regulatory matters. (from

16 Aug – Ashurst (Sydney, Australia)

The global law firm has grown its financial regulation practice with the appointment of a new Sydney-based partner. Hong-Viet Nguyen has taken to Ashurst’s partnership, joining from HWL Ebsworth Lawyers, where she has been a partner since 2017.  (from

12 Aug – Clayton Utz (Melbourne, Australia)

Melbourne-based Angela Wood has joined Clayton Utz as a partner within the firm’s national taxation practice. She joins from KPMG Law, where she was the national lead partner and ASPAC regional lead partner for tax controversy.

Bringing with her over 20 years’ experience in specialist tax controversy work, Ms Wood has advised across numerous matters, including complex tax disputes on behalf of multinationals, ASX-listed corporates, private equity funds and private groups. (from

9 Aug – Hall & Wilcox (Perth, Australia)

Hall & Wilcox has expanded its national commercial disputes expertise with the new addition of a construction and projects disputes partner in its Perth office.

Penny Ford has joined the international firm from Norton Rose Fulbright and brings a breadth of construction and litigation experience, having worked in the Australian legal industry for over two decades. (from

5 Aug – Oentoeng Suria & Partners (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Oentoeng Suria & Partners (OSP), Ashurst’s associate firm in Indonesia, has hired Dion Alfadya as a partner in Jakarta from Ginting & Reksodiputro, which operates in association with Allen & Overy.

Alfadya, who was a counsel at A&O, specialises in M&A, joint ventures, fundraisings, strategic collaborations and investments, private equity and venture capital transactions. With experience of more than 15 years, he focuses on the Indonesian and broader Southeast Asian markets. (from

5 Aug – HSA Advocates (Mumbai, India)

India’s HSA Advocates has hired Vishal Lohire as a partner from Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (L&S), where he was a joint partner leading the firm’s Mumbai commercial dispute resolution team.

Lohire, who has been in the legal industry for nearly 15 years, joins after HSA’s second partner hire in Mumbai in a month: projects expert Ravi Jain recently joined from Economic Laws Practice (ELP). (from

5 Aug – Samvad Partners (Mumbai, India)

India’s Samvad Partners has hired corporate lawyer Jeeta Nayak as a partner in Mumbai from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, where she was a director.

Nayak’s addition is Samvad’s first partner hire since it brought disputes expert Savani Gupte on board from Khaitan & Co in March.  (from

4 Aug – L&L Partners (Bangalore & Delhi, India)

India’s L&L Partners has hired Abhishek Kumar (L) and Vasudev Dibbur as the firm’s newest partners. They join the Bengaluru and Delhi offices, respectively.

L&L Partners has seen a number of departures during the year-long public feud between the firm’s managing partner Rajiv Luthra and former equity partner Mohit Saraf.

This is Dibbur’s second stint with the firm, his first being an 11-year-long one that ended last year.. He specialises in cross-border M&A, joint ventures, private equity and venture capital fund investments.

Meanwhile, Kumar joins the litigation practice. With more than 15 years of experience, he was previously at Singhania & Partners. (from

4 Aug – White & Case (Hong Kong, China)

U.S. firm White & Case has added capital markets specialist Margie Chan as a partner in Hong Kong from Norton Rose Fullbright (NRF).

Chan’s arrival comes about two months after White & Case lost senior lawyers to NRF in Hong Kong: PE/M&A partner Peggy Wang and counsel Victor Sim, who focuses on leveraged, structured and real estate finance.

Chan, who started her career at Herbert Smith Freehills in 2000, focuses on debt offerings, private placement issuances and liability management transactions. (from

4 Aug – Withers (Singapore, Singapore)

We are pleased to welcome banking and finance partner Guan Feng Chen to our Singapore office. Guan Feng has more than 25 years of experience advising on high-profile and groundbreaking finance transactions across South East Asia, particularly in Indonesia, and a growing number of fintech-related deals. He is joined by Bi Qing C. (from

3 Aug – Harneys (Hong Kong, China)

Harneys is pleased to announce that Yucheng Fan has joined the firm as a partner in the Investment Funds practice based in the Hong Kong office.

Yucheng Fan joins Harneys from another offshore law firm in Hong Kong and specialises in Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands fund matters, advising on the structure, formation, launch and maintenance of private equity funds, venture capital funds, corporate venture capital funds, hedge funds and unit trusts. He is fluent in four languages and a native Japanese and Mandarin speaker, and is one of the only offshore lawyers with a Japanese attorney qualification (Bengoshi), practising Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands law. (from

3 Aug – White & Case (Sydney, Australia)

Global law firm White & Case LLP has expanded its Global Project Development and Finance Practice with the addition of partners Chris Flynn and Tim Kennedy in Sydney.

Flynn advises domestic and international companies and governments on energy and resources transactions and projects, particularly in the upstream, LNG and power sectors, and on public international law and energy security matters. He has experience across Australia, as well as in the Asia-Pacific region and globally. Flynn joins White & Case from Gilbert + Tobin, where he was a partner, head of their energy and resources group and a member of the firm’s board.

“Chris has extensive experience advising on oil & gas opportunities and renewable energy projects, particularly LNG, offshore wind and renewables-based hydrogen,” said White & Case partner Andrew Clark, Regional Section Head Asia-Pacific EIPAF & Disputes. “Tim is a high calibre partner with experience advising on market leading energy transition projects. Together, the partners will add material depth to our energy and power capabilities in Australia and more broadly across Asia-Pacific as we continue to grow our offering for clients in these sectors.”  (from

2 Aug – Gowling WLG (Beijing, China)

Anglo-Canadian firm Gowling WLG has expanded its Asia footprint with the addition of Clyde & Co’s China IP head, Elliot Papageorgiou.

Papageorgiou advises on both contentious and non-contentious IP matters, and on strategies to optimize IP portfolios. He joined Clyde & Co in 2017 from IP specialist firm Rouse, where he had been a partner for 13 years and left when he was head of patent litigation. He joined Rouse’s London office in 1999 and moved to China as partner five years later. He had previously practiced with Australian firm Clayton Utz, and also spent time in-house with Getty Images. (from

2 Aug – Fangda Partners (Beijing, China)

Fangda is delighted to announce that leading lawyer Zhao Yan has joined the firm’s Beijing office as a partner to launch our tax practice. Mr. Zhao has over two decades’ experience in advising clients on a broad spectrum of tax-related areas, from tax advisory on M&A deals, international/non-resident tax, tax planning for high-net wealth families and individuals to contentious/regulatory tax work such as advising clients on general tax audits, special investigations, and transfer pricing investigations, among other matters, initiated by tax authorities. He has been listed as a recommended lawyer in the field of PRC tax law by The Legal 500 as well as other prominent legal directories for consecutive years.

Prior to joining Fangda, Mr. Zhao was previously a partner of another leading PRC law firm, and had worked with three of the “Big Four” accounting firms. He is a qualified PRC lawyer as well as a Certified Tax Agent of the PRC. (from

2 Aug – Latham & Watkins (Seoul, Korea)

Richard Lee’s arrival in Latham & Watkins’ Seoul-based capital markets division follows the recent exit of Adrian Chiodo who to join Paul Hastings in London. Lee has moved to Latham & Watkins from Clifford Chance where he was a partner in Hong Kong for a decade. He is an experienced adviser to Asian and international issuers on an array of securities matters such as debt and equity offerings, with abilities to advise on the entire life cycle of such financings. He is also well-versed in high-yield bond matters.  (from

2 Aug – Norton Rose Fulbright (Singapore, Singapore)

Ashurst partner Andrew Digges has left the firm to join Norton Rose Fulbright in Singapore.

Digges will join Norton Rose Fulbright’s infrastructure, mining and commodities practice, led by global head Nick Merritt, who is also based in Singapore. (from

July 2021

29 Jul – The Fort Circle (Mumbai, India)

Priyanka Desai and Jaideep Singh Khattar, formerly principal associates at Khaitan & Co, have established a boutique firm called The Fort Circle in Mumbai.

The firm specialises in dispute resolution, arbitration, white collar crime, real estate litigation, private client practice and corporate advisory.

Desai has also previously worked with K Ashar & Co, while Khattar’s earlier firms include Legasis Partners and Desai & Diwanji. (from

28 Jul – Holding Redlich (Sydney, Australia)

Partner Chris Kinsella, who joins the firm’s Sydney base, has over three decades of experience in tax disputes. (from

26 Jul – White & Case (Melbourne, Australia)

Global law firm White & Case LLP has expanded its Global International Arbitration Practice with the addition of Lee Carroll as a partner in Melbourne. (from

26 Jul – Allens (Melbourne, Australia)

Allens has appointed Louis Chiam as a Partner in the firm’s Projects and Development practice in Melbourne. Louis has deep experience in energy, regulation, climate change and major projects and joins Allens from KWM where he was partner. (from

26 Jul – Kirkland & Ellis (Hong Kong, China)

Kirkland & Ellis is pleased to announce that Paul Guan, a top private equity real estate lawyer, has joined the Firm as a partner in Hong Kong. He will lead the Firm’s private equity real estate practice in Asia. (from

26 Jul – Sparke Helmore (Canberra, Australia)

Australian law firm Sparke Helmore has hired a partner from one of Australia’s Big Six firms to join its government practice. Alexandra Wedutenko joins Sparke Helmore’s Canberra-based government team from Clayton Utz, one of the largest law firms in the country with 167 partners. (from

26 Jul – K&L Gates (Tokyo, Japan)

Global law firm K&L Gates LLP has further strengthened its intellectual property practice with the addition of partner Mitsuhiro Imamura and his team of paralegals in the firm’s Tokyo office. Imamura and his team join K&L Gates from DLA Piper, and are a key addition to the firm’s global intellectual property practice, giving K&L Gates, for the first time, the ability to file Japanese patent and trademark applications, among other capabilities. (from

21 Jul – Hogan Lovells (Singapore, Singapore)

Hogan Lovells has hired capital markets partner Biswajit Chatterjee into its Corporate & Finance practice in Singapore.

Chatterjee joins Hogan Lovells from Squire Patton Boggs, where he currently serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s India practice and heads the South East Asia corporate practice. New York and India qualified, his focus is on capital markets, M&A and private equity transactions. He has advised on some of the largest equity and debt offerings in India and South East Asia. (from

21 Jul – Han Yi Law Offices (Shanghai, China)

Shanghai-headquartered boutique firm Han Yi Law Offices has hired Chen Liang as partner from Commerce & Finance Law Offices. Chen, who also has working experiences with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Haiwen & Partners, and a Nasdaq-listed Chinese TMT company as its chief compliance officer and general counsel, will continue her practice in both Shanghai and Beijing. (from

21 Jul – Hylands Law Firm (Beijing, China)

Hylands Law Firm has hired Li Yanlong, an expert in corporate compliance, as a partner in its Beijing headquarter from Real Long Law Firm, where Li was a partner.

Li’s practice covers corporate compliance, healthcare, and capital markets. With experience in the research of corporate legal risks management, he has advised a number of listed companies and large state-owned enterprises, involving fields like healthcare, real estate, construction, human resources, finance lease, insurance, and investment in funds. (from

20 Jul – Ashurst (Singapore, Singapore)

Ashurst has hired a new partner, Robert Child, for its restructuring, insolvency and special situations practice in Singapore. Child joins Ashurst from Clifford Chance, where he was most recently Singapore-based counsel. (from

19 Jul – Ashurst (Sydney, Australia)

Global law firm Ashurst has appointed Emma de Carle as a partner in its Global Loans practice in Sydney. Emma joins from PwC, where she has been a partner since 2018. Emma is a specialist in leveraged and acquisition finance, corporate finance and asset based lending with an extensive network of longstanding relationships across private equity sponsors, corporates, domestic and international investment banks and credit funds. (from

19 Jul – Stephenson Harwood (Singapore, Singapore)

Stephenson Harwood has hired a new partner for its Singapore office. Christopher Bailey joins the firm from King & Spalding, where he was a partner in Tokyo. (from

16 Jul – Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman (Tokyo, Japan)

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has recruited a corporate partner in Tokyo focusing on mergers and acquisitions amid rising deal activity.

Jeff Schrepfer joins from Morrison & Foerster where he was a Tokyo partner representing Japanese companies on outbound deals. In 2020, he advised Fujifilm Holdings Corp. on a $2.3 billion acquisition of a remaining 25% stake in its joint venture with Xerox Corp. He’s also acted for Japanese businesses including Nissan Motor, Tokyo Gas and Taisho Pharmaceutical on foreign acquisitions and operations. (from

15 Jul – Merits & Tree (Shanghai, China)

Merits & Tree has hired data compliance expert Chen Wenhao as a partner in its Shanghai office from AllBright Law Offices, where he was a partner. Chen had also practiced at King & Wood Mallesons, Kirkland & Ellis and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Chen’s practice areas include data compliance, anti-bribe, corporate investigation, government regulation and dispute resolution. He has advised various companies in industries including Internet, high technology, retail, medical equipment, and automobile manufacturing. (from

14 Jul – K&L Gates (Tokyo, Japan)

The Tokyo office of K&L Gates has hired a team of intellectual lawyers from DLA Piper, including partner Mitsuhiro Imamura.

Imamura focuses on patent filings and patent disputes in both national and international transactions, as well as deals with trademark filings, trademark portfolio management, trademark disputes and negotiations, and opposition and invalidity proceedings. (from

14 Jul – FTI Consulting (Singapore, Singapore)

Forensic investigations expert Rachel Layburn has joined advisory firm FTI Consulting as a senior managing director in Singapore from WPP, where she was the group head of compliance for APAC.

Layburn has more than 20 years of experience in China and Singapore. At FTI, she will work closely with practices such as data & analytics, export controls and financial crime compliance. (from

13 Jul – Broad & Bright (Shanghai, China)

Broad & Bright has hired Yang Ying, an expert in cross-border M&A, in its Shanghai office from Xin Bai Law Firm, where she was a partner.

Yang’s practice areas include cross-border M&A, corporate governance and compliance, and commercial dispute resolution. She has advised a number of multinational enterprises and financial institutes. Yang had also been one of the founding members of Broad & Bright’s Shanghai office. (from

13 Jul – Han Kun Law Offices (Shanghai, China)

Han Kun Law Offices has hired cross-border M&A expert Nick Shu as a partner in its Shanghai office. Prior to joining Han Kun, Shu served as the director of corporate development of a US-listed Chinse e-commerce group. He had also practiced in White & Case LLP, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Shu’s practice areas include cross-border M&A, private equity and venture capital investment, capital markets, foreign direct investment, and other general corporate matters. He has represented various private equity firms, venture capital funds, strategic investors, portfolio companies, and multinational companies in connection with their cross-border M&A and diverse types of cross-border investments and financing. (from

13 Jul – Anli Partners  (Beijing, China)

Anli Partners has hired Li Ying, an expert in cross-border M&A, as a partner in its Beijing office.

Li’s practice areas include cross-border M&A, private equity, and investment and finance. He has advised a number of domestic and multinational enterprises on deals with complex structures. (from

13 Jul – Norton Rose Fulbright (Melbourne, Australia)

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has hired a partner who specializes in environmental and town planning law for its Melbourne office.

Nick Sutton, who focuses on major projects, joins NRF from local law firm Planning & Property Partners, where he worked for more than a decade. (from

12 Jul – Holman Fenwick Willan (Sydney, Australia)

U.K.-headquartered law firm Holman Fenwick Willan is expanding its Australia dispute resolution and construction practices with the hire of partner Jo Delaney in Sydney.

Delaney, who joins from Baker McKenzie, has more than 20 years’ experience of international arbitration in the construction, energy and infrastructure sectors, HFW said. (from

12 Jul – Mayer Brown (Hong Kong, China)

Mayer Brown announced today that four leading capital markets partners, Guiping Lu, Philip Hyde, Bonnie Yung and Jason Wang, have joined the firm’s Corporate & Securities practice in Hong Kong, along with four lawyers.

The prominent debt capital markets team led by Mr. Lu and Mr. Hyde join from K&L Gates, while the high-profile equity capital markets duo of Ms. Yung and Mr. Wang were both previously at Paul Hastings and join from LC Lawyers LLP, the Hong Kong law firm member of the EY global network.

Their arrival further bolsters Mayer Brown’s award winning capital markets team in Hong Kong, as the firm continues to grow a prominent and globally integrated capital markets product offering in the key financial centers of New York, London and Hong Kong. (from

11 Jul – Jia Yuan Law Offices (Hong Kong, China)

Jia Yuan Law Offices has hired capital market lawyer Benjamin Wang as a partner in its Hong Kong branch from Zhong Lun Law Firm, where Wang was a counsel. He had also practiced at the Hong Kong offices of Morrison & Foerster and Davis Polk & Wardwell.

Wang’s practice focuses on IPO, listing, capital finance, M&A, and private equity. He has advised a number of enterprises and financial institutes on IPO, issuance of bonds, allotment, M&A, and private equity investment. (from

11 Jul – Hylands Law Firm (Beijing, China)

Hylands Law Firm has hired dispute resolution and litigation experts Lv Chunjie and Ma Zhankun as partners in its Beijing headquarter.

Lv’s practice focuses on dispute resolution, litigation, family wealth management and inheritance, and criminal compliance. He has dealt with over 100 commercial and criminal litigation cases. Prior to joining Hylands, Lv was a lawyer at Yuanhe Partners.

Ma’s practice focuses on dispute resolution, litigation, M&A, banking and finance. He has advised a number of central enterprises, state-owned enterprises and private companies on litigation, arbitration, asset management, corporate compliance, and M&A. Ma has ten years’ work experience in court trial. (from

8 Jul – Chance Bridge (Shenzhen, China)

Chance Bridge has hired financial markets expert Li Ningzi as a partner in its Shenzhen office from Guangdong Shigang Law Firm, where he was a partner.

Li’s practice focuses on financial markets and dispute resolution. He has participated in a few large projects in capital markets and securities. Li had also worked in a securities company and a technology company where he was in charge of corporate compliance and risks control, and investment and M&A projects.  (from

8 Jul – J Sagar Associates (Gurugram, India)

The duo join JSA only days after the firm roped in Ipsita Chowdhury as a partner in Gurugram from Trilegal.

Anand, who joins JSA’s Gurugram office, has 15 years of experience focusing on handling various financing transactions involving Indian and foreign banks and financial institutions. Prior to joining Juris Corp, he worked at Khaitan & Co.

Meanwhile, Kumar rejoins JSA’s Mumbai office, where he initially worked from 2012 to 2017. His practice includes domestic and cross border corporate lending, trade finance transactions and securitisation transactions. (from

6 Jul – Ashurst (Hong Kong, China)

CMS has bolstered its international practices with a series of partner hires across Mexico, Colombia and Hong Kong. The firm has added Ashurst finance partner Christopher Whiteley, who will establish a capital markets and derivatives practice for the Hong Kong practice. (from

6 Jul – Jingtian & Gongcheng (Hong Kong, China)

China’s Jingtian & Gongcheng has added a capital markets partner in Hong Kong. Wei Liu joins from DLA Piper where he had been a partner since 2006. Liu has advised some of the earliest Chinese listings in Hong Kong, especially those of state-owned enterprises, having participating in the drafting of policies in the 1990s that allowed Chinese companies to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In 2018, he advised China Maple Leaf Educational Systems, an international school operator, on a $127 million share placement in Hong Kong. (from

6 Jul – J Sagar Associates (Gurugram, India)

India’s J Sagar Associates (JSA) has added M&A lawyer Ipsita Chowdhury as a partner in its Gurugram office from Trilegal. Chowdhury, who spent more than a decade at Trilegal, specialises in M&A, corporate advisory and compliance. (from

6 Jul – HSA Advocates (Mumbai, India)

Indian law firm HSA Advocates has hired projects and energy specialist Ravi Jain as a partner in Mumbai from Economic Laws Practice (ELP).

Jain’s hire comes shortly after HSA added a team of projects and infrastructure lawyers in Delhi from Advaita Legal, including partners, Shailendra Kumar Singh, Alok Shankar and Monali Dutta.

Jain, who has been in the legal industry for over 15 years, represents clients on M&A matters as well as contractual, transactional, regulatory and financing aspects of deals. He worked with law firms AZB & Partners and Khaitan & Co prior to joining ELP. (from

6 Jul – Simmons & Simmons (Singapore, Singapore)

Simmons & Simmons has hired financial markets expert Sonia Lim as a partner in Singapore from Linklaters, where she was a counsel.

Lim, who has 25 years of experience, focuses on regulatory reforms with an emphasis on legal and regulatory issues relating to OTC derivatives and other financial markets products and services. Prior to joining Linklaters in 2017, Lim worked in-house with JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Citi, as well as with law firm Allen & Overy. (from

6 Jul – L&L Partners (Mumbai, India)

India’s L&L Partners has welcomed back insolvency expert Piyush Mishra as a partner in Mumbai from AZB & Partners.

Mishra’s hire comes shortly after L&L lost insolvency specialist Avinash Subramanian to AZB, the latest in a series of partner exits from the firm. Mishra also marks the fourth time a partner has rejoined L&L since November last year, following the returns of Asim Abbas, Sonali Choudhry and Prabjot Singh Bhullar.(from

5 Jul – King & Wood Mallesons (Hong Kong, China)

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is delighted to announce the strategic expansion of the firm’s equity capital markets (ECM) practice with the addition of Corey Zhang to the Hong Kong partnership. 

Corey joins the Hong Kong office on 5 July 2021. Corey joins from the Hong Kong office of a leading international firm with a strong capital markets focus. He has over a decade of experience advising issuers and underwriters on a range of equity and debt capital markets transactions, including Hong Kong IPOs, London global depositary receipt offerings, and Rule 144A and Regulation S debt offerings, as well as general securities and compliance matters. (from

5 Jul – Baker McKenzie (Hong Kong, China)

As Baker McKenzie expands Hong Kong transactions capabilities, Victoria Lloyd joins from Ropes & Gray where she had been a partner in Hong Kong where she advised banks and multinational investors. (from

2 Jul – Tian Yuan Law Firm (Beijing, China)

Tian Yuan Law Firm has been granted with qualification to launch intellectual property commissioning services, with an IP lawyer Chi Song joining as a partner, who brings a team of nearly ten.

Chi was a partner at Zhihong Intellectual Property Rights prior to joining Tian Yuan. He has experience in import and export business of energy companies, technology R&D and import of high-tech companies, as well as corporate IP management. His team joining Tian Yuan includes patent agents, foreign patent engineers, trademark agents, trademark process managers and attorneys. (from

1 Jul – Norton Rose Fulbright (Australia)

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright announced today that Chris Owen has joined as the firm’s first dedicated pro bono partner in Australia. (from

1 Jul – Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Sydney, Australia)

Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, today welcomes six new partners to the firm. The team comprises four corporate partners and two banking and finance partners, based in Sydney. Leading private equity specialists Ricky Casali, Glen Sauer, Chris Allen and Andrew Hewson are joining Corrs’ corporate group, with respected financing partners Stewart Robertson and John Mosley joining the firm’s banking and finance practice. (from

1 Jul – Rimon (Seoul, Korea)

Rimon is pleased to announce it has opened an office in Seoul, South Korea with, Jungwoo Chang joining the firm as corporate partner. Rimon’s Seoul office is its 42nd location, following the opening of new offices in international hubs London, Paris and Montréal earlier this year, as well as several new offices in the United States. (from

Legal markets improve, but the shadow of Covid-19 lingers

New and more contagious Covid-19 variants continue to penetrate the world’s major economies, but overall the Asia Pacific legal market continues to grow. We have seen a good level of hiring activity in the first quarter, particularly in January.

The massive disruptions of 2020 uncovered both challenges and opportunities for all legal practitioners. It is clear that some areas of the legal practice have suffered, but a few practices continue to grow. Law firms with highly regarded employment, corporate, and environmental sustainability practices are experiencing an increase in business as a result of uncertainties stemming from the pandemic.

Our half-year review provides an overview of the key appointments in Asia Pacific:



  • Of countries in the region showing success in suppressing the Covid-19 pandemic, we see 39% growth in key appointments in 2021 compared to 2020.
  • The APAC lateral market was very active in the first quarter of 2021. January also saw the highest number of key appointments. We see a drop-off in May.


  • Both India and Australia saw twice the number of key appointments compared to 2020. India also shares Hong Kong as the third busiest in terms of high-end key appointments.
  • Australia led the hiring spree with 58 significant hires in Q1 & Q2, followed by China (49) and India (46) & Hong Kong (46).
  • India observed a decreasing tendency in key appointments since March, possibly due to a worsening situation.


  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices dominated the key hires in the first quarter of 2021.
  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets, Projects/Construction/Infrastructure, and Employment & Workplace practices observed significant growth compared to 2020.
  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets practices dominated the key hires in the first quarter of 2021.
  • Corporate/M&A/Capital Markets, Projects/Construction/Infrastructure, and Employment & Workplace practices observed significant growth compared to 2020.
  • Despite a drop in Litigation/Dispute Resolution/Arbitration/Investigations practices, hiring in those areas remains popular.


Leaders in Law: Interview with Yang Guang

It is rare for high-profile lawyers to rise to a senior non-legal position of their organization. Yang Guang is one of the few hybrid lawyer-CEOs, Vice President & General Counsel of Johnson Controls Asia Pacific, and formerly President-Asia Pacific at Westport Fuel Systems, General Counsel at TRW Automotive, and Vice President & General Counsel at Siemens Healthcare. Interestingly, he works in highly regulated industries (industrial manufacturing and healthcare/ pharmaceutical), where understanding and navigating complex regulatory landscapes are particularly valuable attributes. In this interview, Sherry talks with Yang Guang about the secrets of his success in both the legal and senior executive roles and his suggestions for lawyers seeking to break into the top legal and management brackets.

Sherry:Sherry Xu (Hughes-Castell, Director)

YG:Yang Guang (Johnson Controls, VP & General Counsel, Asia Pacific)

Yang Guang received a graduate degree from the University of International Business & Economics in China, a Juris Doctor degree from St. Thomas University School of Law, and a graduate degree from New York University School of Law. After graduating, he decided to stay in the US and commence his career as an associate in the tax team of a leading law firm in New York.

China’s World Trade Organization (WTO) accession in 2001 boosted China’s domestic economy and improved its trading environment, leading to an increased foreign investment influx. The continued prosperity created a huge surge in career opportunities which persuaded Yang Guang to return to China where he took an offer from China International Capital Corporation, which was a half-legal and half-i-banking role. From there, he began his in-house legal journey.

On China Shenhua Energy’s IPO project, Yang Guang closely worked with the research team, and the field visits ignited his interest in the industrial sector. It so happened that a Hughes-Castell Senior Consultant was searching at that time for a Group Lead Counsel for Siemens Group, with a focus on Siemens Financial Services (SFS) and Siemens Financial Leasing Limited (SFLL), and headhunted Yang Guang because of his strong financial background. This opportunity determined his destiny in industrial manufacturing, while also paving his path to success.

What does Legal do? – Contract Review and Negotiation 

Sherry: We’ve known each other for a long time, though you’ve worked for several corporations, I remember whenever we’ve talked about your career, you always shared your experience with Siemens. I remember you said you had grown significantly in your days there, and your subsequent career development was also successfully built on the foundations of your Siemens experience. Could you share more about that? 

YG: If I was to share only one career highlight, I would say it’s the High-Speed Railway (CRH) projects I participated in when I was with Siemens. Others would be the development opportunities I got outside the China region with Siemens Group, including managing the legal affairs of Siemens West Asia regions such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. And specifically, later, I was relocated to Singapore and served as the Asia-Pacific General Counsel for Siemens Medical Diagnostics sector.

I believe that if you are an in-house counsel for an industrial business, you really should go for any opportunity to participate in large-scale projects and be a project leader if possible. It will give you a lot of exposure to real business operations, and you will find satisfaction in the business negotiation processes in the meantime. A megaproject team usually consists of several groups: some members are responsible for the supply chain; some are working on technology transfer; some are in charge of delivery and transportation; some will look after inspection and acceptance; and some are accountable for payment. If you are a project manager, you will actively participate throughout the process and help coordinate staff and internal resources. When you lead a project from beginning to end, you will have a deeper understanding of production, operation, finance, logistics, and the business as a whole by the time the project is completed.

The in-house legal functions constantly struggle to prove their value to business units, as they would always think lawyers do not understand business as well as they do. And in-house legal teams, many of them feel insecure about being a business barrier that they never are able to walk tall while arguing with aggressive sales teams. In fact, it should be the other way around if you are a business-savvy lawyer. Business teams, specifically the sales team, who are the most important revenue driver for 2B businesses, are only talking about the “sales-related” part of the entire business. Only a truly legal person can understand the whole business operation. When we have a comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of the business, we can confidently tell the business team that, “we understand how the business works as a whole (not just partially) – what benefits the company, how we make money, how the business teams’ bonus is tied to the contract execution results, which is, in turn, dependent on how a contract is drafted after negotiation”.

When I joined the project negotiations, I would ask questions boldly if I had doubts about anything in the project. Thanks to these railway project experiences, I not only gained a more comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of our transportation business but also improved my negotiation skills. Additionally, I have also developed a profound knowledge of China’s landscape, China Railway High-Speed lines, and every single train component. So, if you ask me about the first spark of my career, I will say the negotiations of the China Railway High-Speed project for Siemens, for sure. The success of its negotiations is still the primary source of Siemens’ stable profits in China.

The experience I accumulated in these projects’ negotiations can be applied everywhere, and it has benefited me throughout my career. If you ask me to summarize the key value of the legal function to a corporate, I would say contract review. I have worked in different industries and roles and found that contract review is still fundamental to my legal-oriented responsibilities. The main difference for me is, a deep understanding of business operation can enhance the impacts of contract review. Let me share with you a story:

In Siemens, an information visiting program for lawyers is open for all in-house legal counsel to visit their designated country’s legal department. There was a Swiss lawyer who came to China for an information gathering visit. He was a typical type of visiting fellow who enjoyed his visiting time’s work/life balance.

At first, we didn’t think of him as a talented lawyer, judging from typical Chinese standards. However, he was the one who saved us in the negotiations with China’s Ministry of Railways and taught us a great lesson. During the negotiations, the Ministry of Railways clung to and wouldn’t let go of our standard liability exclusion clauses. China’s in-house counsels had two terms that sounded too technical and too difficult to comprehend for us. At that moment, the Swiss lawyer calmly walked toward the blackboard in the conference room, wrote the relevant equations, and showed us the formula and calculations. His calculations proved that part of the performance of the high-speed rail programme depended entirely on the parameters of the lines, tunnels, and culverts. The production of components related to these parameters was out of Siemens’ responsibility as these were not supplied by Siemens. Therefore, of course, we should not be responsible if any problem arose from that. In the subsequent negotiations with China’s Ministry of Railways, this work/life balanced lawyer had demonstrated our rationale in a most convincing way and nobody could refute it. We successfully defended our interests in the end. When we were back from the negotiations, he gave us comprehensive explanations and guidance on each technology-related part of the Siemens standard agreement, explaining the reasons behind each clause and vividly explaining the importance of understanding the company’s business/operation. It was awe-inspiring!

Taking this as a background, I would like to talk further about a company’s standard terms and conditions.

Why are the Standard Terms written in a certain way? Wouldn’t it work if it was not written like this? What should we do if someone challenges our terms? You have to ask yourself more about these in your daily work to be prepared for a day that you are being put on the negotiation table. There was a time I helped our business team to negotiate with another company’s legal department directly for a project. At first, they got the upper hand in the negotiation because of the relative business positioning. However, it was their General Counsel who cost them the advantage. Since he did not fully understand their standard T&Cs, he could not bargain with us in the most effective way. During the negotiations, their procurement team put pressure on their lawyers, and in the end, certain terms of their standard contract were abandoned by their lawyer. As a result, we finally “won” the negotiation.


Is the General Counsel of TRW Automotive an easy role?

Sherry: The position of TRW Automotive did not seem to be as prestigious as Siemens’s job. Why did you choose to leave Siemens? What precisely was the TRW General Counsel role?

YG: I had the same thoughts here; when I first looked at the General Counsel JD, I was not very interested. At that time, the headhunter told me TRW’s President was an open-minded American lady, and she was looking for someone to help her out with partnership management.

In terms of responsibilities, it was about 15% acting as a General Counsel overseeing and providing legal advice on their COEM practice, which is the main business of China’s auto parts. I was also responsible for managing the joint ventures, anti-monopoly, and FCPA issues. The remaining time was to help the President manage any business-related fields, mainly including partner management, customer quotation analysis, and critical project review.

The lessons learned from the CEO role

Sherry: Given that you had already taken many business-related roles beyond the traditional legal responsibility at TRW Automotive when you became the CEO with Westport, what did you do, and what’s the difference from the past business role?

YG: There are four core responsibilities of a CEO:

  1. Vision – The CEO is responsible for the company’s strategic direction; ensure it grows in the proper direction.
  2. Strategy – Develop business strategies and plans that align with the vision.
  3. Action Plan – Lay out the next steps your business will take to achieve goals in pursuit of that vision.
  4. Execution of that plan.

When I was in TRW, I was in the role of advisor, assisting the President in making decisions. But as a CEO, I have to make my own decisions. Can my employees thrive?  To a large extent, it depends on whether I can make the right decisions.  This is probably the most significant difference.

What experience have I acquired?  I believe all roads lead to Rome. Every CEO has his/her ways to success. I want to share more about the lessons I learned. Looking back now, the most significant experience I have gained that helps me a lot in my current legal work is “to know what your target audience wants.”

Many in the auto-parts business think that their primary customer is a vehicle manufacturer, but it is not. A driver or the person who runs a vehicle team is our actual customer. Let me give you an example, a foreign-manufactured and imported truck should be of high quality and have a yearly operation failure rate below 3%. But the price is three times of one of China’s domestically produced trucks (of course, the failure rate of domestically produced vehicles is higher than 3%). However, in China, the imported trucks are not necessarily more popular than domestically produced trucks; why? Do our local Chinese customers not have concerns about the quality? Of course; they do care. Are they too price-sensitive? Not necessarily. It is because the truck users only care about the result. Even if there is a malfunction in a locally produced truck, as long as there is a way to minimize the impact on the operating time, the domestically produced option is still way more cost-effective. This rationale explains why the sales of the domestically produced trucks with a higher failure rate are still outstanding, especially in the areas where well-developed highways where a vast maintenance highway network is available. It only takes a few hours to repair the out-of-order truck. The time cost is far less than the retail price of the imported truck. While users who are doing businesses in sparsely populated areas would prefer to purchase imported vehicles as it takes a longer time for the repair service team to attend to the problem, so the time cost could potentially be higher than the retail prices of imported trucks. That’s it! The working principle of our legal work is the same.

So often we, lawyers, are too entangled in something which is not what our users are most concerned about: legal teams always regard good product quality as the most important, for example, a comprehensive memo covering all aspects. However, it’s not always necessary. The need of your user business department is a workable solution, not the best available legal which may not be cost-effective for them. The business environment is fast-changing, and the pressure of sales is so intense.

The primary responsibility of an in-house legal team is to ensure the company’s business conduct is compliant with laws, rules, regulations, and policies. Of course, our mission is to help the business develop and grow, as all General Counsels would say. Are the business teams convinced that we have helped the company grow? Maybe we would hear different feedback from our users. It’s not that the in-house legal function is counter-productive, but sometimes in-house teams fail to offer business-oriented proactive solutions for business teams.

People come to in-house teams for legal advice and alternatives, but not lecturing. Also, our actual value isn’t relying on any modifications we made to our standard contract. Sales teams need the revenue to be confirmed in black and white by the contract, which should be approved by legal. The finance team may look for legal’ s endorsement for adjusting the account receivable aging, that’s why they come to us; HR may seek out the legal team when they lack legally sound reasons to fire an employee, that’s a typical senator when they need legal, etc. In helping other departments, you have to understand what their main concerns and difficulties they are facing. Don’t create a rivalry as a lawyer; it’s better to understand what business solutions they are looking for and the best result-driven business-oriented solution.

These were my biggest takeaways when I left the CEO role. I used to believe that I was a lawyer who knew the business very well. But after taking the CEO role, I felt more empathetic toward business teams as I could feel the same pressure and challenges. Many in-house legal teams think they offered business-led solutions, but they don’t. Since they have not done any business, they cannot understand sales teams’ pressure and challenges. As a senior leader from business, at year-end time if his/her team cannot meet their business targets, not only will his/her bonus be affected but the whole team’s will. Sometimes I think my previous high school textbook, Ye Shengtao’s Overcharged Three and Five Dollars[1], vividly expresses this feeling.


Back to Legal

Sherry: You returned to legal when you took a General Counsel role at Johnson Controls Inc (JCI) in 2016. What do you think is the most significant difference in how you approach the General Counsel role now from when you took your first in 2009? 

YG: When I was 33 years old, I thought it was natural for any company to set up in-house legal positions. In-house legal counsels of the company do not need to prove their value. I had never thought about impacting the business as I believed the company must have an in-house legal team to focus on legal matters, and I had the authority to do this; thus, I used an uncompromising tone to push others. Now, I no longer work in this way. Legal teams can have thousands of different approaches. If your business team is super supportive and respects legal, everyone can be a good in-house legal counsel. But no matter what the environment is, there is an ultimate universal principle – the most successful General Counsel will use alliances rather than the authority to unite as many stakeholders as possible in a positive manner.

Let me give you an alliance example: sales teams usually don’t want to involve legal teams in their projects. They want to get the contracts signed as soon as possible; however, most legal teams would want to assess and analyse them carefully to control the contractual risks. Apart from resolving the present contract of a particular project, what can we do to help businesses change these kinds of opposing mindsets? For example, the current target of sales teams is the number of orders they could sign by the end of the year, determining their bonus. So they work very hard to get the deals signed, regardless of the payment terms and company profit levels; their KPI is just sales figures. So we can see the crux of the problem here. If we want to change the status quo, we must alter their KPI from pure sales figures to a more combined total package, pushing them to pay more attention to how much value the actual orders can create for the company, including profit and cash flow. Of course, sales teams are not willing to take the initiative to change the system, so we had better first reach a consensus with the finance department. Then, we need the HR department to adjust the current bonus model, increase the composition of indicators that we think align with the company’s broader interests, and reduce the proportionate influence of pure sales data. Finally, we can go to discuss the plan with the Sales Director. By doing this, we can solve the problem as quickly as possible and avoid conflicts to the greatest extent possible.

Sherry: In achieving this, there is a precondition that you have a deep understanding of your company’s business and maintain excellent relationships with various departmental heads. Apart from the role as APAC President for Westport, you have taken few senior positions in recent years. The rest are positions where people must have an immediate expectation on you, before internal trust had been established. How did you deal with these difficulties? How did you establish their trust in the success of these new originations?  

YG: This is the best question of today. Trust is earned but not given. People won’t trust you simply because you have an excellent credential in your resume or you come on board with a big title and a senior ranking in the company. You need to do your job to justify it. The reason for a career move is that you assume the next place will be better than your current one. Then, why do you think they should give you something better, say a salary increment? They provide you with something better, so they would expect something better from you. So you have to make efforts to justify this.

Firstly, you have to excell in your profession, legal. Next, you should try understanding your company’s business, thus making one or two positive impacts on your new company within your expertise range, as soon as possible. And then, if possible, achieve in the area that is outside your expertise range, to impress and surprise people who were not expecting this. Since then, people will see how good you are, and they certainly want to collaborate with you.

Secondly, you have to stand firm. No one can please everyone. I didn’t become a successful General Counsel because people like me; I am a successful General Counsel because I can deliver results that no one else can. Once again, you have to take care of your team, firmly support their work, and care about their development, because they are the warriors who help you fight in every battle.

Finally, take time to take stock of a situation. Remember not to focus on short-term gains or losses. Be patient! Great opportunities will come to you in the long run as a result of changes in the organization.

Sherry: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today.  Your insights are incredibly inspiring to all of us.

YG: Thank you very much.

[1] Overcharged Three and Five Dollars, a short story written by Chinese writer Ye Shengtao. The novel was published in the inaugural issue of Literature on July 1, 1933. There was a bump in the Chinese grain harvest of 1932. Famers from all over the country thought that they could sell the crop at a good price, but unfortunately, the price of grain dropped to only five dollars, less than half of in the past, pushing the farmers further into poverty. The novel describes this situation.