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Hong Kong > Dispute resolution > Dispute resolution: litigation > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Brian Gilchrist heads the team at Clifford Chance, which acts for clients  such as Citibank, the Fok Family, BNP Paribas and Nezu Asia. Recent work includes advising a major UK financial institution, including providing crisis management advice, upon its discovery of an internal fraudulent scheme being perpetrated against the bank for more than 15 years resulting in the misappropriation of approximately $30m from the accounts of customers and the bank. The team is also representing a major US financial institution in defending a claim brought by a client for alleged mis-selling of $55-65m worth of equity accumulators in 2007. Consultant William Wong is also singled out.

The key names to note at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP are James Wadham and Martin Rogers. Recent recruit from Ropes & Gray LLP, Patrick Sinclair, has extensive experience in corporate criminal investigations. Karen Chan, whose practice focuses on complex regulatory matters particularly within the financial services industry, has been promoted to partner; and Kevin So to counsel. In a large-scale commercial dispute, the team represented Asia Cement Corporation in its opposition to legal proceedings commenced by China Shanshui Cement Group for alleged unlawful conspiracy. It also successfully represented Deutsche Bank and RREEF China REIT Management in dismissing an appeal brought by Mr. Tin Lik seeking HK$500m damages arising from the listing of RREEF China Commercial Trust.

Gareth Thomas¬†heads up the team at Herbert Smith Freehills, a ‚Äėgo-to firm for complex and high-value corporate litigation, where large resources are required‚Äô. Clients include financial institutions such as Bank of China, UBS and Credit Suisse, as well as corporates such as British American Tobacco. Recent work includes acting for DBS in defending a High Court action brought by the liquidators of a local business, Galleria, which had been financed by borrowings from leading commercial banks in Hong Kong and the US. Joanna Caen¬†has been promoted to partner, concentrating on litigation involving trusts, private banks and high-net-worth individuals. Julian Copeman¬†relocated to the London office.¬†Rachel Yu ¬†moved to¬†King & Wood Mallesons¬†in April 2019 as a partner.

Simon Clarke¬†heads up the practice at Allen & Overy, with a particular focus on the financial services industry. Led by Clarke, the team continues to act for PwC, the joint administrators of the estate of Nina Wang, once Asia‚Äôs richest woman, and the estate of Teddy Wang, her former husband. It advises on the legal proceedings related to the interpretation of Nina Wang‚Äôs will and on the recovery of Chinachem Group's assets (95% of the value of the estate), one of the largest property developers in Hong Kong. Matt Bower¬†comes highly recommended as ‚Äėone of the best litigation partners in Hong Kong‚Äô. The ‚Äėintelligent and client-oriented' Stuart Rau¬†was promoted to counsel, and both Karen Chan¬†and¬†Nathan Colless¬†to senior associates. Clients also include WPP.

Baker McKenzie's practice head¬†Cynthia Tang¬†is¬†an expert in listed company and financial services regulatory enforcement¬†who has ‚Äėin-depth knowledge and is well¬†connected‚Äô.¬†The team attracted a number of high-profile cases and¬†acts for clients across the entire spectrum of disputes and contentious work, from compliance and regulatory investigations through to commercial litigation, shareholder disputes, commercial and international arbitration, contentious restructuring and insolvency.¬† Mini vandePol¬†is also singled out. Special counsel Jannice Lau¬†is ‚Äėvery diligent in her analysis‚Äô.

Hogan Lovells'¬†‚Äėfirst-class‚Äô team is headed by¬†Allan Leung¬†and Chris Dobby. It has seen some growth, with Edward Seto¬†joining from Andrew W.Y. Ng & Co, Jeremy Forsyth¬†from Bennett + Co, and Byron Philips¬†from CMS. In recent highlights, the team advised¬†China Metal's liquidators in relation to the first ever application to wind up a Hong Kong-listed company on public interest grounds, involving multi-jurisdictional investigations and asset recovery claims. It also successfully represented¬†Chau Chi Yin, a former director of CITIC, in a market misconduct tribunal action, and the¬†Hong Kong Airport Authority in several judicial reviews, one involving matters of public security. Mark Lin¬†is ‚Äėa seasoned litigator.'

Melvin Sng¬†leads the team¬†at Linklaters¬†with ‚Äėa¬†quick mind and clear presentation‚Äô. It has been bolstered by¬†Vivien Li, who¬†joined from Simmons & Simmons, and¬†Denise Fung¬†has been promoted to partner.¬†The practice frequently represents financial institutions, investment banks, hedge funds and asset managers and clients include KPMG, Ping¬†An¬†Securities, HSBC and JP Morgan. Managing associate Honnah Lee¬†is ‚Äėvery responsive, diligent¬†and smart‚Äô.¬†Charlotte Luker-Coombs¬†left to join Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and¬†Candy Au¬†joined the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). However, the team has been bolstered with Andrew Chung¬†joining from an in-house role at Goldman Sachs.

John Hickin heads up the practice at Mayer Brown. Recent work includes advising HSH Nordbank on a breach of charterparty, loan agreements and unpaid supplies issues, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, following the winding down of a South Korean shipping container company; as well as acting for DBS Bank on a $50m mis-selling claim brought by the bank’s customers against the bank, in the only reported mis-selling claim in Hong Kong arising from the collapse of Lehman Brothers involving a trust structure. Alan Linning joined from Sidley Austin. Jonathan Mok departed for Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. Clients also include HSBC, Cathay Pacific Airways, and SEA Holdings. Nicholas Hunsworth and counsel Vivien Yip are singled out.

‚ÄėAlways very enthusiastic about finding solutions to litigation problems, and succeeds in doing so‚Äô, Camille Jojo¬†heads up the team at Norton Rose Fulbright.¬†Clients include private individuals as well as corporations from a number of sectors, among them media and entertainment. Recent work includes fraud, misappropriation of assets, diversion of corporate opportunities and breach of fiduciary duties. Of counsel Michael Chik¬†is also singled out.

Reed Smith Richards Butler has particular expertise in securities, commodities, energy and shipping disputes. Asha Sharma¬†is noted¬†as¬†‚Äėalways giving¬†a very clear direction to¬†both¬†client and the team‚Äô. Of counsel Carrie Yiu¬†is also a name to note, as is associate Priscilla Au Yeung, who is ‚Äėjunior but very diligent and with strong legal acumen‚Äô. David Morrison has left the firm for¬†Minter Ellison.

Joseph Kwan, ‚Äėa very competent and accomplished lawyer with a keen sense of the practicalities of a case‚Äô, heads up the team at Deacons. The team successfully defended¬†a law firm¬†against a $400m professional negligence claim brought by Greater Beijing Region Expressways.¬†Carmen Ng¬†has been promoted to partner in January 2018.¬†Clients include Google and South China Morning Post. Robert Clark¬†is also singled out and Justin Yuen¬†has been made partner.

Mark Johnson¬†and Lord Peter Goldsmith¬†QC lead the team¬†at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Johnson has¬†significant experience advising clients in relation to litigation in other Asian jurisdictions including Indonesia, China and Thailand; Goldsmith spearheads¬†the firm‚Äôs European and Asian litigation efforts. The team regularly represents financial institutions including investment banks, brokers, asset managers, private equity firms and high-net-worth individuals. The practice has been significantly bolstered by¬†Gareth Hughes' arrival from Ashurst¬†in October 2018, a¬†‚Äėhighly professional and skilled legal operator who inspires confidence and is an extremely safe pair of hands‚Äô.

Kevin Chan¬†and Harris Chan, ‚Äėa very shrewd strategist in litigation and court practice‚Äô, head up the team at DLA Piper. Recent work includes acting for a client to recover onshore and offshore loan debts of over HK$2bn from China Huishan Dairy Holdings, one of China's largest dairy producers. Andrew Chin¬†joined the team as senior associate from Baker McKenzie, and associate Benjamin Ng¬†from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Ping An Bank, Thiess Mongolia and Zurich also count among the team's clients.

William Robinson leads the team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, whose practice mainly consists of regulatory enforcement litigation for major financial institutions and Hong Kong-based multinational conglomerates. Georgia Dawson and senior associate Jonathan Wong are also key names to note. Counsel Nick Stern has relocated to Hong Kong from the London office in 2017.

With ‚Äėgood experience in advising on commercial fraud and recovery actions‚Äô, George Lamplough¬†heads up the team at HFW. Recent work includes advising the Hong Kong branch of a major international bank who was victim of a major fraud and money laundering scheme - involving an impostor who deceived the bank into remitting over $13m to the fraudster's bank account - on commencing actions against recipients of the funds. Other clients include CLP Power Hong Kong, and ANZ Commodity Trading.

Name partner¬†Chris Howse¬†is¬†‚Äėalways expedient, with a strong understanding of dispute resolution‚Äô,¬†and the key contacts at Howse Williams.¬†On the corporate and regulatory side, clients include internationally-listed and private companies as well as multi-national conglomerates and family-owned businesses. The firm also has a large clinical negligence practice, acting for private hospitals as well as medical professionals, group practices, and their respective insurers.¬†Kevin Bowers¬†is now a consultant at Tanner De Witt.

‚ÄėA great strategist and advocate‚Äô,¬†Paul Starr¬†heads up the practice at King & Wood Mallesons.¬†The¬†‚Äėexceptional, high-calibre' team, which has undergone considerable expansion at associate level, possesses 'excellent depth of expertise backed up by a highly practical and outcome-focused approach‚Äô. Barbara Chiu¬†represented the former Hong Kong Chief Executive,¬†Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, in a high-profile criminal case of alleged misconduct in public office and corruption, which has received considerable media attention. The team also acts for Larry Yung Chi-kin, the former chairman of CITIC Limited.¬†Rachel Yu joined from Herbert Smith Freehills¬†as a partner in April 2019.

Denis Brock heads O'Melveny's team, which recently represented PAG Asia Capital in High Court litigation against SouFun Holdings, a NYSE-listed company with business operations in China, concerning SouFun’s failure to complete an agreement pursuant to which PAG would have acquired share and convertible notes in SouFun. It also defended NASDAQ-listed technology company Xunlei Limited in securities class actions filed against it for alleged false or misleading statements regarding one of its products. Other clients include Deloitte and Aon. Philip Monaghan joined from the Hong Kong Competition Commission.

‚ÄėA real delight to deal with even under the most intense pressure‚Äô,¬†Rory McAlpine¬†leads the team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.¬†Recent work includes acting for the underwriters in a class action in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York involving the $90bn issuance of bonds by Brazil's state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, with the team assisting the Bank of China (Hong Kong) in the discovery process and the US deposition proceedings held in Hong Kong. The Danish subsidiary of US corporation Middleby instructed the team in retrieving funds fraudulently transferred to accounts in Hong Kong.

Malcolm Kemp¬†leads the team at Stephenson Harwood, which is ‚Äėimpressively knowledgeable in product liability and competition law, not just in Hong Kong but generally in common law jurisdictions‚Äô. The team represented Raiffeisen Bank International as the account holder in relation to $22m in damages sought by¬†Ye Weiping, arising from the alleged unauthorised sale of 500 million shares in Hong Kong-listed Neo Telemedia. Clients also include Bank of China and Michharry & Company Nigeria; the latter instructed the team to trace and recover funds lost after falling victim to cyber fraud.¬†Ian Childs¬†has been promoted to partner, and Phillip Rompotis¬†departed to set up his own practice.

Mark Side¬†leads the team at Tanner De Witt, which recently assisted Grant MacEwan University with tracing and recovery of CA$11.8m misappropriated through cyber fraud, with the team facilitating the recovery of approximately CA$4m in Hong Kong through obtaining a series of emergency injunctions and disclosure orders. Clients also include Micro-Pak Limited and LiMing Capital. Jeff Lane¬†is recommended as ‚Äėa fantastic practitioner, who gives clear and commercial advice on complex issues, and, most importantly, achieves results‚Äô.

Keith Ho heads up the team at Wilkinson & Grist, which is primarily known for handling contentious probate matters, shareholders’ disputes and insolvency litigation. Clients include The Bank of East Asia, Chinachem and Citibank. It acted for a private client in connection with a dispute with his siblings with regard to the late tycoon, Henry Fok Ying Tung’s estate. The team also advised the Department of Justice on an inquiry into the operation and monitoring of franchised buses, following a fatal accident in February 2018. Evelyn Chan departed for Gall.

Bird & Bird's team represented Breakaway, a private equity fund based in Australia, in a £20m shareholder dispute regarding a bauxite mining business joint venture in the Solomon Islands; it also assisted a global media company with a media rights distribution dispute. The Hong Kong Solicitors Indemnity Fund, Excelsior Capital and Nestlé also count among the team's clients. 2018 saw Richard Keady and Robert Rhoda joining Dentons Hong Kong, and Gloria Cheung leaving for an in-house role at Essar Insurance Services. IP litigator Matthew Laight and associate James Wong are the key names to note.

Clyde & Co LLP's practice head Simon McConnell has extensive experience in commercial disputes, particularly in the financial services sector. In addition to contractual, fraud and shareholder disputes, McConnell also specialises in regulatory matters and currently acts for a number of financial and securities industry clients in regulatory matters in Hong Kong and across the region. Anthony Woo is a key contact, with extensive experience in shipping and commodities, as is Patrick Perry, specialising in handling claims against professionals, commercial litigation and construction litigation.

Mark Yeadon and Rachael Shek are key contacts in the litigation practice at Eversheds Sutherland. Shek’s practice covers the spectrum of disputes from complex commercial litigation, shareholder disputes and corporate loan recovery to private wealth, insurance, and employment disputes. Yeadon advises in particular on matters arising out of complex financial transactions including derivatives, breaches of commercial contract, negligence, fraud, and breaches of directors' and employees' duties. Competition expert Adam Ferguson is another name to note. Former Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong (SFC) counsel John Siu joined the financial disputes team in September 2018.

A boutique practice that ‚Äėprovides¬†great technical advice and is sensitive to commercial issues‚Äô, the team at Gall¬†is led by Nick Gall,¬†who has extensive experience in dealing with multi-jurisdictional fraud and international asset tracing litigation. The team recently represented Zhang Lan, one of the most prominent business women in China, in a $300m dispute with CVC Capital Partners regarding CVC‚Äôs acquisition of an indirect majority shareholding in the South Beauty chain of restaurants from the client and her corporate vehicles. Other clients include Three Towns Capital, Cellmark and Rio Tinto Shipping.

Max Cross and Rosita Lau are key contacts at shipping specialists Ince. Cross acts for clients in domestic and international commercial disputes, predominantly regarding sale and delivery contracts and enforcement of payment; Lau’s practice covers all types of charterparties, bills of lading, carriage, piracy, sanctions, freight contract and shipbuilding disputes, as well as ports and terminal operation matters.

Rupert Skrine¬†and Chris Sharrock¬†head up the team at Kennedys, which has particular expertise in defending¬†professional and clinical negligence claims and in healthcare-related litigation and proceedings. Recent highlights in the commercial litigation space include¬†representing a group of offshore investment vehicles against Barclays in relation to a wide-spread $10m fraud perpetrated by Barclays‚Äô private banker, Jagdish Kale, resulting in proceedings in Hong Kong and Singapore. Mark West¬†is ‚Äėoutstanding in his ability to digest complicated facts and difficult legal arguments, and come up with effective and practical solutions‚Äô.¬†The Hong Kong Hospital Authority is also a client.

Simon Powell and Ing Loong Yang head up the team at Latham & Watkins LLP. Recent work includes assisting China Life in relation to a $2.5bn dispute with a high-net-worth individual from mainland China and various companies owned by the client, arising out of the sale and purchase of shares in a Mongolian mining company. The practice has been bolstered by the arrival of contentious regulatory expert Catherine McBride from Deutsche Bank. Clients include PwC and One Equity Partners.

Marc Thorley heads up the team at Simmons & Simmons LLP, having relocated from London to the Hong Kong office in January 2017. The team recently successfully defended Leslie Chang, former director and CFO of CITIC, in market misconduct tribunal proceedings initiated against him by the Securities & Futures Commission. Clients also include Ernst & Young.

Ashurst's team is¬†‚Äėcalm and measured, provides timely responses and high-quality, strategic advice‚Äô. It suffered a blow with former practice head¬†Gareth Hughes'¬†departure to¬†Debevoise & Plimpton LLP¬†in October 2018.¬†It continues to act for the Kingboard Group in defending a High Court action commenced by a US company arising out of a $25m contractual dispute regarding an agency agreement for the sale of printed circuit boards. Clients include Credit Suisse and ANZ Banking Group.¬†Associate¬†Allison Lau¬†is ‚Äėvery personable, good on detail and technical knowledge, and excellent at keeping clients informed‚Äô. James Comber¬†acts for financial institutions and asset managers in regulatory and financial disputes.

With ‚Äėstrong technical knowledge‚Äô,¬†Darren FitzGerald¬†and consultant Jonathan Gray¬†lead the team at FitzGerald Lawyers. Recent work includes advising AVC, a subsidiary of the Bonds Group, as landlord of a commercial property in Hong Kong on claiming for unpaid rent and enforcement against Lion Legend Holdings, a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. Fully Best Trading Limited and Staywell are also clients.

Hill Dickinson Hong Kong's team, which is jointly led by Damien Laracy and Bryan O’Hare, has particular expertise with shipping litigation, commodities and international trade disputes. It represented Gannon Home in litigation in Hong Kong and the US to recover a 100% shareholding in a Vietnamese brewery company, and represented the CEO of a major PRC property developer in the Court of Appeal.

Of counsel Robert Thomson heads the team at Jones Day, which is acting for Weir Group in litigation concerning breach of warranty claims arising out of a share purchase agreement. Of counsel and commercial litigator Linh Lieu joined from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.

Randall Arthur heads up the practice at Kobre & Kim, primarily handling complex fraud matters, with an emphasis on identifying and freezing assets in Hong Kong and obtaining other interim relief in aid of local and foreign proceedings. Arthur also has considerable experience in tracing, freezing and recovering assets that have been misappropriated as a result of business email compromises and cybersecurity breaches. Ryan Middlemas joined from Allen & Overy.

‚ÄėAlways very responsive and supportive, regardless of his hectic schedule‚Äô, Malcolm Chin¬†leads the team at Minter Ellison. Clients include the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, AECOM and the Kowloon Development Company. The team defended Crown Melbourne in two consolidated 15-party High Court actions arising from ¬£200m claims relating to sums allegedly misappropriated by a former partner of the plaintiff law firm. Steven Yip¬†is ‚Äėvery client focused, very knowledgeable and able to provide direct and useful advice‚Äô.¬†David Morrison has joined from Reed Smith Richards Butler.

Sherman Yan and Ludwig Ng head up the team at ONC Lawyers. It recently advised Smart Shirts, a multinational apparel enterprise, in a dispute with SAP regarding the enterprise resources solutions platform which hindered its ability to expand into an emerging Asian market. Clients also include Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, PwC, and Mingpao Newspapers.

David Smyth¬†heads up the team at RPC, which has expanded significantly: Jonathan Crompton¬†joined from Proskauer Rose LLP, counsel Michael Maguiness¬†from Clyde & Co LLP, and¬†Carmel Green¬†has been promoted to partner. The team acted as defence counsel for BDO in proceedings commenced by Sino-Forest Corporation Litigation Trust, a Chinese plantation forest operator, seeking $1.95bn in damages from the client. Crompton has an ‚Äėuncanny ability to grasp the case very early, continually proving himself to be extremely competent, with exemplary attention to detail‚Äô. Clients also include KPMG and PwC.

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