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Editorial

International arbitration

Index of tables

  1. Dispute resolution: international arbitration
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which International arbitration clients in Hong Kong using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Handling investment treaty and commercial arbitrations for states and businesses, Allen & Overyprovides an excellent overall level of service, with very good response times’. Practice head Matthew Gearing QC and Frances van Eupen acted for Reliance Industries and BG Exploration & Production India in a London-seated arbitration regarding profit sharing in production-sharing contracts concerning oilfields off the west coast of India. In other work, Gearing and Matthew Hodgson successfully represented Baggerwerken Decloedt En Zoon in an ICSID claim against the Philippine government, securing the first-ever award against the government. In addition, Hodgson works with offices across the firm’s international network in several multibillion-dollar investment arbitrations for the Pakistani government, one over the rights to mine a gold and copper deposit in Balochistan and another regarding the arrest of several powerships stationed in the Arabian Sea to generate electricity for Karachi. Other clients include major banks. ‘Standout’ of counsel Sheila Ahuja is ‘star material: she is extremely sharp, works hard and is very personable’. At associate level, Joanne Lau is ‘very dedicated and thorough’.

The ‘excellent’ team at Clifford Chanceprovides responses to questions in a timely and organised fashion, taking into account the commercial considerations and not just focussing on esoteric points of law’. The firm handles China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) and United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) arbitrations heard by leading arbitrators covering a range of commercial matters, civil fraud and shareholder disputes, alongside investment treaty arbitration. Practice head Cameron Hassall is ‘an excellent strategist – he is calm, hands-on and gives succinct and practical responses’, and consultant Romesh Weeramantry provides investor-state dispute firepower. Ling Ho, who has intellectual property experience, is ‘particularly good, based on her rich experiences and insights in to what clients require’, and consultant Thomas Walsh is also a name of note. Senior associate Yvonne Shek is ‘particularly impressive – responsive, clear, commercial and understanding of what clients need’.

Herbert Smith Freehills, ‘a team with excellent strength in depth’, is for some ‘the leading firm in Hong Kong for international arbitration’. May Tai and Simon Chapman are key contacts, handling a range of disputes including those covering oil and gas. Global head of dispute resolution and regional managing partner for Asia Justin D’Agostino represents claimants in investor-state disputes, and South-East Asia managing partner Alastair Henderson is also a key contact. In recent personnel developments, Kathryn Sanger joined from Clifford Chance, Elizabeth Poulos arrived from the firm’s Brisbane office and Brenda Horrigan moved to the Sydney office. Clients include leading names in the telecoms, oil and gas, banking and hotel sectors.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s practice, headed by John Choong and also including senior associate Eric Chan, handles challenging cross-border finance, joint venture and M&A disputes, often with Chinese aspects, frequently working with the firm’s other offices. Many cases handled by the team are ICC disputes, but it also has experience of Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) arbitrations, as well as matters heard at Chinese centres.

The ‘exceptional’ team at King & Wood Mallesons includes ‘partners who have been names in the market for two decades and exhibit both local and international knowledge’. The firm has a particularly strong portfolio of China-related work, including representation of Chinese state-owned enterprises, covering CIETAC arbitrations as well as those based in Singapore and Hong Kong. Paul Starr and Edmund Wan ‘stay close to their clients, providing strategic commercial, legal and definitive advice – they are not afraid to stick their necks’. Barbara Chiu is also a key contact at partner level. Donovan Ferguson, a new recruit from Ashurst, is also recommended, as is Peter Bullock, who contributes telecoms disputes expertise and joined from Pinsent Masons.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Hong Kong arbitration practice covers disputes governed by ICC, SIAC and UNCITRAL rules, covering M&A disputes, borrower-lender matters and construction projects, among other issues. Alfred Wu brings an engineering background to disputes involving construction and large infrastructure projects, while Camille Jojo is a key contact for banking and corporate disputes. In the consultant ranks, arbitrator Phillip Nunn is a name to note, as is Jim James, who handles disputes ranging from fraud through to shipping matters. Benjamin Ridgeon is an of counsel of note, while key senior associates include Kevin Hong and Michael Chik.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s team handles a range of disputes with a particular strength in those concerning technology and media, but also including M&A and real estate disputes. Rory McAlpine is ‘a serious presence’, who has ‘a very good practical sense of how to strategise, which is especially useful in drawn-out shareholder disputes’. The team now includes the well-known Chiann Bao, who joined the firm in 2016 from a role as secretary-general of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre. Other areas of expertise include enforcing arbitral awards in Hong Kong and mainland China. Wilfred Ho is ‘a promising associate who is sharp beyond his years’.

Baker McKenzie’s Greater China international arbitration practice, now headed by Paul Teo, who joined in January 2017 from Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee in Singapore. It handles a range of Hong Kong arbitrations covering all manners of commercial disputes such as joint venture disputes and banking matters, some of which are against a backdrop of insolvencies, covered by a range of different governing laws. Gary Seib, Mini vandePol and Kwun Yee Cheung are also partners of note in the practice. Soo Khim Keoy was promoted to the partnership in July 2017.

The team at Bird & Bird provides ‘an excellent level of service, especially with regards to responsiveness and insightfulness’. Richard Keady is singled out ‘for his analytical capacity and ability to convey highly complex problems in an easily understandable way’ – his work includes high-stakes joint venture disputes and commodities matters, frequently with mainland Chinese connections. Robert Rhoda, who has a particular following among Korean clients and private equity managers, represented a Singaporean private equity firm in an arbitration with a co-owner of one of its portfolio companies, an electronics manufacturer, which ran in parallel with litigation in the British Virgin Islands.

Deacons represents international clients in arbitrations in Hong Kong and elsewhere, covering construction and infrastructure disputes and well as some natural resources matters. Construction disputes are a particular area of note, where key matters are led by Joseph Chung and Kwok Kit Chueng, who on top of his arbitration work, represented a Chinese insurance company in court proceedings to defend an application by two businesses to set aside an ICC arbitral award. Robert Clark is also highly regarded. Mongolia Energy Corporation is a client.

Hogan Lovells’ team is ‘very good and frequently considered for arbitral appointments’. James Kwan and Timothy Hill handle complex disputes regarding energy, infrastructure and construction, while Owen Chan and Mark Lin are also key contacts. Damon So, a qualified engineer, adds extra firepower to the construction offering. Clients include leading Japanese and Korean industrial players, as well as international banks and institutional investors. Senior associate Mariel Dimsey, who is qualified in Australia, is a name of note for investment arbitration matters.

Ince & Co handles a range of disputes including shipping and commodities matters, ranging from commodity sales though to debt recovery and cargo matters. Max Cross, Rosita Lau and Rory Macfarlane lead heavyweight mandates. Geographically, clients range from mainland Chinese and other Asian clients, as well as European and US players.

At Latham & Watkins LLP, ‘the quality of the firm’s product and responsiveness to the task truly demonstrates its depth of expertise’. The firm primarily handles HKIAC arbitrations, but also some SIAC and ICC disputes, involving manufacturing, intellectual property, finance and M&A transactions. Ing Loong Yang is ‘able to give timely, sound and commercially oriented advice thanks to his wide experience of arbitration’; he also acts as an HKIAC, CIETAC and ICC arbitrator. On the counsel side, he recently represented Great Wall Pan Asia International Investment in a HKIAC arbitration over a loan to the chairman of a Hong Kong-listed company. Simon Powell represents Trajectory, a US e-book start-up, after the collapse of a business alliance with a Chinese partner which sought to compete with it and allegedly used a shared director to provide inside information. Other clients include South Asian Transport Services Company, which Yang acted for in a SIAC arbitration over the sale of a helicopter, and a number of Chinese state-owned companies.

Shearman & Sterling provides ‘excellent legal analysis and strong business strength, giving workable and efficient advice in the light of the clients’ best interests’. Nils Eliasson, who divides his time between Hong Kong and Beijing, is ‘very experienced and on top of the facts of his cases’; he represents a range of Asian clients, some of which from mainland China, in Hong Kong and Singapore arbitrations concerning joint ventures, infrastructure, construction and energy. Associate Fang Wu ‘has great people skills and is a solid drafter – she learns the case facts quickly’.

Sidley Austin has grown its practice through the recruitment of a number of lawyers from O'Melveny. Friven Yeoh, for example, handles a range of Hong Kong arbitrations, often concerning mainland China, allegations of civil fraud and real estate investments. Yeoh is a big name in the market, and key counsels in his team include Desmond Ang and Yan Zhang.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s Philip Georgiou represents a range of Asian clients, including leading Korean construction companies, in matters concerning renewables and hydrocarbon energy, as well as manufacturing and infrastructure. Phillip Georgiou and Sonny Payne have left the firm to set up their own boutique practice.

CMS entered the Hong Kong market in September 2016, with the transfer of Nicolas Wiegand from the firm’s Munich office. Wiegand represents a range of clients, many of them leading German names in their sectors, in arbitrations worldwide concerning construction, infrastructure, intellectual property and M&A.

The ‘professional’ lawyers at DLA Piperalways provide quick advice and use their experience to give valuable advice’. Ernest Yang has ‘a good common law background and experience in dispute resolution – his strength is to tease the frame of the case and decide on a winning strategy’; he represented Pacific Crest in a dispute regarding a failure to deliver two platform supply vessels. In another case, Ashley Bell acted for the liquidators of a geophysical survey company in an arbitration against its creditors. Other highlights concern telecoms, aviation, shipping and commodities matters. At associate level, Yuki Chan is ‘a good communicator with clients and can easily grasp what they need’.

Mayer Brown JSM is ‘highly experienced in international arbitration’, including construction, commercial, investment fund and joint venture disputes. Key partners include John Hickin, Bill Amos and practice head Menachem Hasofer.

O'Melveny’s practice head Denis Brock is ‘exceptional – the service level is very high and the attention to detail is remarkable’. The firm has expertise in cases ranging from shipping through to commodities, with a number of cases involving strong technology links. Counsel Kieran Humphrey is also a key contact. Friven Yeoh is now at Sidley Austin.

With experience representing mainland Chinese and international businesses, RPC is active in a range of disputes, often concerning mainland China, heard before both the HKIAC as well as mainland Chinese centres. Key lawyers leading mandates include Gary Yin and Andrew Horton, who has expertise in shipping matters. Yin also accepts arbitral appointments, and is a member of the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration panel. Jonathan Cary relocated to the firm’s London office.

Reed Smith Richards Butler’s Hong Kong practice represents parties in commodities and joint venture disputes in Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as award enforcement litigation. William Barber and Asha Sharma are key contacts.

The lawyers at Squire Patton Boggsdo a great job; they learn quickly and provide timely responses’. Practice head Peter Chow represents Chinese businesses and those in disputes against them, regarding intellectual property, financing and infrastructure. Geographically, arbitrations handled by the firm span Hong Kong, Singapore and further afield. Clients include the International Finance Corporation, Power China Road and Bridge Corporation, and Guangdong Dapeng LNG.


Litigation

Index of tables

  1. Dispute resolution: litigation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Litigation clients in Hong Kong using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Clifford Chance is ‘one of the very best firms in Hong Kong’, where department head Brian Gilchrist is ‘dedicated to the client's case and always very calm under pressure’, and Elaine Chen, who handles contentious tax, is ‘highly recommended for her knowledge and skills’. The team was recently successful in the Court of Appeal for a Malaysian company regarding the enforcement of an SIAC award in Hong Kong against an Asian conglomerate. Edward Johnson acted for a major US financial institution in defending a claim brought by a client for alleged mis-selling of equity accumulators. Arbitration head Cameron Hassall ‘offers a strategic perspective’ and Donna Wacker, who leads on contentious insolvency matters, is also highly respected for her derivatives litigation expertise.

Herbert Smith Freehills is ‘head and shoulders above the competition’, according to a client. Practice head and Greater China managing partner Julian Copeman is ‘quick to respond but considered and reliable’, head of commercial litigation Gareth Thomas is ‘a capable and commercial lawyer with strong practical litigation skills’, Dominic Geiser is ‘extremely proactive and agile’, and senior associate Rachel Yu handles PRC-related disputes. The team is defending the Hong Kong branch of DBS in a statutory claim brought by Galleria and liquidators, alleging the client was knowingly a party to the carrying on of Galleria's business with intent to defraud creditors, and an equitable claim alleging DBS dishonestly assisted the commission of Galleria’s fraud.

Allan Leung heads the practice at Hogan Lovells, which excels in handling disputes among financial services companies, contentious regulatory work (including cross-border investigations) and family disputes. Mark Lin, Chris Dobby and Danny Leung are the other names to note. The team is representing the Airport Authority Hong Kong in multiple judicial review applications relating to the proposed expansion of Hong Kong International Airport, and continues to act for the liquidators of Akai in a 13-year dispute regarding Akai’s liquidation and its action against former chairman James Ting.

Mayer Brown JSM recently welcomed Alan Linning from Sidley Austin, bolstering the team’s capability to handle financial services investigations and complex commercial litigation. Nicholas Hunsworth handles banking litigation for financial institutions and also advises on regulatory and compliance issues. His team also includes Vivien Yip, who was promoted to counsel in January 2017. Recent highlights for the firm include acting for HSH Nordbank in the arrest of five ships belonging to Korea-based Hanjin Shipping, which achieved an admiralty court sale of approximately $650m. The team is also representing a Taiwanese company in a dispute with a Hong Kong company involving alleged breach of contract, among other issues. Other clients include HSBC, Cathay Pacific, Sun Hung Kai Properties, Standard Bank, CITIC, SEA Holdings and DBS.

Reed Smith Richards Butler’s 13-partner team is led by William Barber and Asha Sharma, who are closely supported by David Morrison and Alex Kaung. With a focus on heavyweight international commercial disputes, the practice is recognised for its involvement in the CITIC Market Misconduct Tribunal (MMT) case, where Morrison and Kaung defended former directors in a claim brought by the SFC alleging that the clients disclosed misleading information as to CITIC’s financial position. Further highlighting the group’s expertise in the area, Barber defended AcrossAsia in the first MMT prosecution by the SFC under the new Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance.

Allen & Overy provides ‘very professional advice, speedy responses, good strategies, good teamwork and very reasonable billing’. Matt Bower has ‘a brilliant brain and cool mind’ and Simon Clarke is also highly regarded. Another notable practitioner, Fai Hung Cheung has ‘a strong ability to perceive matters holistically and analyse issues thoroughly’. Clarke heads the practice and has expertise handling big-ticket litigation for financial institutions with a particular focus on investment banks, and Cheung and Bower handle allegations of mis-selling for commercial banks and other regulatory disputes. Newly promoted counsels include Emily Tillett, Stuart Rau and Cliff Chow.

Cynthia Tang leads Baker McKenzie’s practice and is supported by Bryan Ng, Gary Seib, Soo Khim Keoy, who ‘quickly identifies crucial points of disputes and associated risks’, and Anthony Poon. The team handles commercial litigation, and contentious restructuring and insolvency matters, among other work, and the broader disputes practice has expertise in compliance and regulatory investigations, and commercial and international arbitration. Kwun-Yee Cheung recently advised a private equity firm on the restructuring of its portfolio company, as part of an agreement arising from its US-based debt dispute. She is also representing a manufacturing company in a shareholder dispute

Martin Rogers and James Wadham are the key names at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s dispute resolution practice, which has continued to go from strength to strength since it was established in 2013; in 2017, it was further boosted by the arrival of former Ropes & Gray LLP partner Patrick Sinclair, who focuses on white-collar criminal defence. Newly promoted partner Karen Chan advises major banks and corporates in regulatory investigations and disciplinary proceedings, however, her broad disputes practice also includes cases arising from derivatives and structured products matters. The firm recently represented Asia Cement regarding its opposition to proceedings brought by China Shanshui Cement for alleged unlawful conspiracy.

The team at Deaconsis very responsive and good value for money’. Department head Joseph Kwan is highly regarded for his expertise in handling large familial disputes involving listed companies, and HKMA and SFC investigations, and newly promoted partner Peter So is ‘sensible, practical, and a sharp-shooter’. Other names to note include investigations expert Daisy Tong; commercial disputes lawyer Robert Clark; Kwok Kit Cheung, who handles contentious construction matters; ‘sensible adviser’ Paul Kwan; Richard Hudson, who handles contentious insolvency matters; gaming disputes expert Alex Lai, and Joseph Chung, who is ‘very hardworking, intelligent, personable and a good team player’. Clark successfully defended a large international law firm against a $400m professional negligence claim brought by Greater Beijing Region Expressways.

William Robinson leads Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s group, which includes Asia managing partner Georgia Dawson, who splits her time between Hong Kong and Singapore, and handles joint venture disputes, banking litigation and contentious restructurings, among other matters. Financial services regulatory expert Tim Mak and cross-border arbitration specialist John Choong are other key contacts.

King & Wood Mallesons has ‘a robust team, which displays good client empathy, sound market knowledge and great legal acumen’. Paul Starr and Edmund Wan ‘stay close to their clients, provide strategic commercial advice and are not afraid to stick their necks out to provide definitive advice’. Barbara Chiu and Peter Bullock are the other key names, with strengths in shareholder disputes and commercial fraud, and TMT disputes respectively. The team is defending three criminal charges for the former chief executive of HKSAR, Donald Tsang Yam-Kuen.

Wilkinson & Grist’s practice is led by Keith Ho, and includes Florence Chan, Paul Liu, Ivan Chu and Lawrence Chan. Demonstrating its standing in the market and ability to attract big-ticket disputes, the team recently represented Chinachem Charitable Foundation in the dispute surrounding the will of the late Nina Wang, and also acted for Benjamin Fok in the disputed will of the late Henry Fok Ying Tung. The team is also handling a HK$400m dispute for China Shanshui Cement Group against its former board members for misconduct. Other highlights included handling a long-running dispute for Penny’s Bay Investment regarding claims made under the Foreshore and Seabed Reclamation Ordinance, regarding land which is now part of Hong Kong Disneyland.

Key names to note at DLA Piper are co-regional managing partner Satpal Gobindpuri, who handles high-profile multi-jurisdictional disputes; construction partner Harris Chan, who is ‘one of the most business-minded lawyers out there’; head of the Asia litigation and regulatory practice and Hong Kong managing partner Kevin Chan, who is particularly noted for representing Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs); Ashley Bell, who handles the contentious insolvency matters, and May Ng, who was promoted to the partnership in May 2016 and handles international commercial disputes. Among a raft of recent instructions, the team worked with its network offices in PRC, Poland, Hungary, Russia and Slovakia to pursue various recovery actions for Ubiquiti Networks following a cybercrime.

Gall is ‘the equal of many much larger firms; the lawyers are universally of high ability, offering practical advice and sensible solutions’. Practice head Nick Gall handles multi-jurisdictional fraud and international asset tracing litigation and head of China-related matters Chris Wong is also highly regarded. The team handles contentious insolvency and bankruptcy, shareholder and joint venture disputes, mis-selling of financial products, audit negligence claims, employment disputes, Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigations, and judicial reviews.

HFW’s advice is ‘very well received and the practice compares very favourably to the competition’. Guy Hardaker ‘stays on top of all the details in a case’, and George Lamplough is ‘very hardworking’. The duo lead the team, which also includes Henry Fung, Peter Coles, Andrew Johnstone and Peter Murphy. The firm is acting for CLP Power Hong Kong in a long-running appeal in the Lands Tribunal against the rateable value of CLP’s generation, transmission and distribution network. It is also acting for Harvey River Estate in a claim against a fraudulent sports betting organisation, which involves concurrent litigation in the Cayman Islands, Australia and Vanuatu.

Howse Williams Bowersengenders client loyalty and adopts a very commercial approach’. Chris Howse leads the practice, which includes Kevin Bowers, David Coogans, Alison Scott and Michael Withington. Recent work includes bringing a directors’ misfeasance claim to trial on behalf of liquidators, handling a variety of shareholder actions, including minority shareholder petitions, representing an ultra-high net-worth Hong Kong family in contentious issues arising from a family trust, and acting for victims of internet banking fraud in successfully recovering misappropriated funds from Hong Kong banks.

Rupert Skrine and Chris Sharrock lead Kennedys’ group, which has an emphasis on insurance litigation and defending professional liability claims. Rudy Chung and Joanie Ko are names to note; with respective strengths in handling medical insurance litigation for life insurers and defending insurance claims with a focus on financial lines. Sharrock defends liquidators in misfeasance claims and Skrine handles cases arising under the License Holders Scheme, as well as defending major Hong Kong-based accountancy firms.

The team at Linklatersbrings very strong intellect to the table and gets excellent results’. Practice head Melvin Sng splits his time between Hong Kong and Singapore, and is appreciated for his ‘technical nous’. Gavin Lewis (praised for his ‘commercial approach’), Marc Harvey and Justin Tang are other key contacts with a collective reputation for handling big-ticket shareholder disputes and advising global financial institutions. They also work closely with colleagues across the firm’s network, particularly those in Singapore and the PRC. UBS, HSBC, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Société Générale and Jardine Matheson are all clients.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s practice is led by Camille Jojo, who ‘devotes all his energy to providing a superb service’. He is supported by consultant Jim James – ‘a top international lawyer with rich experience in international litigation’ – and Alfred Wu and Philip Nunn, who are also highly recommended. Senior associate Michael Chik is ‘a very sound lawyer, who is excellent with clients’. The team is acting for an asset management company and its officer in an application for a judicial review against the SFC, relating to an SFC investigation arising from the clients’ trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Wynne Mok is now director of enforcement at the SFC.

The service level is ‘incredibly high’ and the attention to detail is ‘remarkable’ at O'Melveny, where the dispute resolution team is led by the ‘exceptional’ Denis Brock. Recent highlights include acting for PAG Asia Capital against SouFun Holdings, an NYSE-listed company with operations in PRC, regarding SouFun’s alleged failure to complete an agreement pursuant to which the client would have acquired share and convertible notes in SouFun. Aon, Equities First Holdings and Deloitte are also clients. Friven Yeoh departed for Sidley Austin.

Simmons & Simmons LLP’s six-partner team is led by Tom Fyfe, who specialises in disputes relating to financial products and services, fraud and breach of trust claims, accountants’ liability, and disputes arising out of mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. Paul Li and Marc Thorley are other names to note and they specialise in regulatory investigations and commercial litigation respectively. Consultant Melissa Chim focuses on shareholder and joint venture disputes, professional negligence and fraud claims. The team is defending The Bank of East Asia in an unfair prejudice petition brought by Elliott International against the bank and 18 of its current and former directors.

Malcolm Kemp leads Stephenson Harwood’s group, which includes Jamie Stranger, Richard Wilmot, Ivan Ng and Andrew Rigden Green. Senior associate Ian Childs is also noted and focuses on civil litigation, regulatory matters and criminal matters. The team recently achieved a win for KBC Bank (formerly Antwerp Diamond Bank) against Brink’s Hong Kong regarding a mis-delivery of certain valuable diamonds. Stranger represented Tai Ping Carpets in a breach of trust claim against a former director of one the group’s subsidiaries. Raiffeisen Bank, Comapnia Sud Americana de Vapores and Michharry and Company Nigeria are also clients.

Tanner De Witt’s practice includes litigators Mark Side, Pamela Mak and Jeff Lane. Mak is ‘careful to avoid any unnecessary litigation’, and the whole team is praised for ‘not shying away from the difficult-to-hear facts’. Recent highlights include bringing six concurrent actions for a PRC-based energy sector businessman against his former employees for allegedly transferring his assets to themselves and others without consent; the assets are currently being recovered in Hong Kong, BVI and PRC. Other work included acting for an offshore firm in an ICAC investigation.

Led by Gareth Hughes, Ashurst’s team acts for major financial institutions, defending allegations of mis-selling and breach of duty of care. It also handles contentious regulatory matters, judicial reviews, shareholders disputes and commercial fraud claims. The firm recently advised an international investment bank on an internal investigation into the operation of certain private banking client accounts and their credit risk concentrations regarding two Hong Kong-listed stocks. Hughes is defending the Kingboard Group and its associated companies in a High Court action brought by a US company regarding a contractual dispute. ANZ Bank, Credit Suisse, RBS and Hyundai Motor’s are also clients.

At Bird & Bird, practice head Richard Keady ‘has an excellent grasp of the issues involved in each case and is extremely conscientious’, and Robert Rhoda, who focuses on commercial litigation and arbitration, provides ‘strong commercial, sensible advice’. James Wong ‘has more experience than one would expect in an associate and works tirelessly’. Among a raft of recent disputes, Keady led the defence of Eurasia Sports in the UK High Court regarding a claim to recover monies owed in respect of gaming contracts, which involved a Jersey-based sports betting company and alleged breach of an online gambling services agreement, with over $22m being claimed in damages against 11 separate defendants based in various jurisdictions including the UK, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Peru.

Simon McConnell, Ian Cocking and Beijing-based Patrick Zheng are the key names at Clyde & Co LLP, which is known for its expertise in insurance, infrastructure, marine, aviation and trade and commodities related disputes. Patrick Perry relocated from the London office and brings expertise in commercial litigation and construction disputes. Gilbert Kwok, Zheng and McConnell are defending Shanghai Pudong Development Bank in a High Court action against China Construction Bank concerning a $10m alleged fraud relating to credit issues. The same team is also defending PRC-based bank Hua Xia in a credit dispute against China Construction Bank.

At Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, team head Mark Johnson is acting for a shareholder of a Hong Kong-listed company in a $23m claim against a US company and related parties to revoke transactions where the claimants listed shares were transferred to the US company. In another matter, the firm is representing the board of a Hong Kong-listed company in a dispute in connection with land development rights in Macau, and is handling a dispute for a BVI-incorporated company concerning asset recovery relating to artwork. The Hong Kong team works closely with colleagues in other offices, such as London and New York.

Eversheds Sutherland fields ‘a professional, no-nonsense’ dispute resolution practice, led by ‘titan’ Mark Yeadon, who is ‘very capable’ at handling high-level commercial litigation, and telecoms and competition-related matters. Veronique Marquis has expertise in contentious regulatory actions involving financial institutions, and Rachael Shek, who joined from Herbert Smith Freehills, brings knowledge of banking cases, joint venture and shareholder disputes and other general commercial litigation. Yeadon and Adam Ferguson are defending the Communications Authority in a High Court judicial review in which TVB is challenging the client’s findings that TVB infringed anti-competition laws. Vishal Melwani departed for Lipman Karas.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is ‘excellent when it comes to extremely high-value trust disputes’ as well as commercial litigation. Team lead Rory McAlpine is ‘absolutely first-rate – both as a lawyer and as an advocate; he is someone you would certainly want to have on your side’. Chiann Bao, Bradley Klein and Steve Kwok are the other key names. McAlpine, along with New York-based partners, acted for the underwriters in a class action in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York involving the issuance of bonds by Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petrobras. He is also acting for Middleby, a Danish subsidiary of an American corporation in retrieving funds fraudulently transferred to accounts in Hong Kong.

Hill Dickinson Hong Kong’s commercial and insolvency disputes team is made up of Damien Laracy, whom ‘nothing is too much trouble for’, Bryan O’Hare, who provides ‘excellent advice’, Caroline Thomas, who has ‘an astute understanding of the insurance sector’, and Mike Mallin, who is ‘approachable and has invaluable experience’. The team recently handled disputes for a sales agent and distributor of printed circuit boards, a European bank regarding account hacking and subsequent money laundering, and the CEO of a major property developer in the PRC concerning an appeal of a case involving an alleged fraudulent REIT.

The team at Ince & Cohandles disputes with real skill, great care, and painstaking attention to detail’. ‘Master tacticianMax Cross focuses on cases in the transportation and international trade sectors, while Rosita Lau advises on commercial, personal injury, commodities, trade, shipping and insurance disputes, and Rory MacFarlane handles contentious commodities matters and debt recovery actions for large corporations.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s practice ‘has extensive experience to tap into’ and is led by the well-regarded Simon Powell. It also includes Catherine Palmer, arbitrator Ing Loong Yang and David Blumental. The team recently assisted Enova with an enforcement action against two parties in Hong Kong concerning alleged infringement of Formula E and overstepping rights.

The team at Minter Ellison provides ‘consistently high-quality advice’. Steven Yip and Malcolm Chin are recommended, as is consultant Rachel Chan, who joined from King & Wood Mallesons in October 2016. Chin, who heads the practice, defended Crown Melbourne in two consolidated 15-party High Court actions relating to sums allegedly misappropriated by a former partner of the plaintiff, K&L Gates.

Charles Allen leads Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s practice, which is known for handling high-value cross-border litigation on behalf of multinationals and financial institutions. The Hong Kong team is involved in a Japan office-led instruction involving a multi-jurisdictional asset recovery strategy for the subsidiary of a major Hong Kong-listed property developer. Erica Chong was promoted to of counsel in March 2017.

RPC fields ‘an excellent, responsive, cooperative and professional’ practice, which is led by the well-regarded David Smyth. His team includes Gary Yin and Antony Sassi, who is ‘easy to deal with, pleasant, friendly and very professional’. Smyth defended PwC against the liquidators of 3D-Gold Jewellery and its subsidiary Hang Fung Jewellery in a breach of duty claim. Jonathan Cary relocated to the London office.

An impressive team with great capabilities to handle China-facing disputes’, the group at Sidley Austin is praised for its ‘ability to leverage the firm’s global network to deliver seamless results’. Friven Yeoh and Yuet Ming Tham are the key names, and counsel Dominic James ‘consistently demonstrates outstanding qualities and is a genuine talent for complex regulatory work’. The team is defending a subsidiary of E*TRADE against a criminal prosecution for alleged contravention of section 114/115 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO). Alan Linning departed for Mayer Brown JSM in August 2017.

WK To & Co is advising BVI-based Grand Network Technology on applying for a discharge of a Mareva injunction, which was brought by a US company alleging misuse of funds. Founding partner Vincent To and Vivian Wong are ‘experts in their fields, and exhibit enthusiasm for their practice, while achieving the best possible results’.

Addleshaw Goddard’s team is led by Nigel Francis and acts for global corporations, banks and other financial institutions, Hong Kong-listed and family companies as well as high-net-worth individuals. The team is acting for the majority shareholder of restaurant business Yung Kee in a dispute with minority shareholders over control of the company.

The team at Dechert is acting for a US-listed conglomerate in a dispute regarding the enforcement of a $500m HKIAC arbitral award obtained against a BVI holding company. Kareena Teh leads the practice with strengths in cross-border corruption, market misconduct and securities fraud investigations, as well as insolvency and shareholder disputes.

Robert Thomson and Peter Wang are the key dispute resolution names in Jones Day’s Hong Kong office. Working with its Shanghai colleagues, the team successfully represented Qualcomm in pledging 17 patent cases against Meizu Technology in the Shanghai and Beijing IP Courts, concerning the execution of a patent license agreement whereby Qualcomm granted Meizu a worldwide royalty-bearing patent license to develop and sell smartphone devices.

K&L Gates is representing over 2,600 employees of China Shanshui Investment Company as claimants, whose shares in the company are held by a trust, in a breach of trust class action. Samuel Ngo is acting for a wholly owned subsidiary of a Taiwanese company concerning the recovery of its controlling stake in a Hong Kong-listed company.

Kobre & Kimpunches well above its weight when compared to other Hong Kong-based US firms’. In particular, practice head Randall Arthur has ‘deep local knowledge and is commercially minded; he is absolutely on the ball’. William McGovern, who splits his time between New York and Hong Kong, delivers ‘well-considered, thoughtful advice and provides clear solutions in a confident way’.

Timothy Blakely is the key contact at Morrison & Foerster, whose recent highlights include acting for a US-listed Chinese company in US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Justice (DoJ) investigations involving allegations of fraud and other potential violations of US securities laws. He also represented a Hong Kong-based investment fund in an SFC investigation into alleged violations of the SFO.

Sherman Yan and Ludwig Ng are the key names at ONC Lawyers, and the practice is known for handling disputes relating to contentious regulatory issues and shipping and logistics matters.

Oldham, Li & Nie is acting for Pannam in a breach of fiduciary claim brought by a shareholder. The team is also acting for the European subsidiary of a Japanese multinational car manufacturer in a €2m asset recovery operation arising from an email fraud. Richard Healy heads the team.

Troutman Sanders LLP’s team head Eric Szweda is ‘very committed and dedicated in his approach’, and furthermore, ‘he is a first-rate trial lawyer’. Ronald Sum handles China-related disputes.

The lawyers at Woo Kwan Lee & Loensure they are well informed about relevant legal developments, thereby providing an excellent service’. Kenneth Wong is the name to note.


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