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Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Dispute resolution: litigation
  2. Leading individuals
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Clifford Chance is ‘a first-class firm in terms of quality of service’. The Hong Kong litigation practice is now led by Brian Gilchrist, who recently succeeded Matthew Newick. Cameron Hassall and Elaine Chen are ‘extremely smart, efficient and knowledgeable’; Chen’s niche strengths lie in tax litigation, while Hassall focuses on China-related cases and cross-border shareholder disputes. Other key names include Donna Wacker who has expertise in mis-selling claims and derivatives litigation, and Edward Johnson, who is recommended for contentious regulatory matters. Recent high-profile mandates include acting for a former director of CITIC in relation to market misconduct allegations made by the SFC.

Herbert Smith Freehills is ‘undoubtedly one of the best firms for litigation and arbitration’, and is ‘well-disciplined in terms of keeping to fee estimates’. Gareth Thomas, Julian Copeman and Dominic Geiser are rated highly; ‘they provide great commercial advice and are realistic with clients’. Thomas and Copeman lead the team, and Geiser recently acted for a tobacco manufacturer in an administrative challenge to tobacco regulatory measures proposed by the government. Other clients include J.P. Morgan, Standard Chartered, Suez Environment and Société Générale.

At Hogan Lovells, the ‘impeccably professionalAllan Leung leads the practice and ‘thinks outside the box to find unique solutions’. Mark Lin is acting for CY Chau, a former director of CITIC, in the high-profile market misconduct tribunal case brought by the SFC. Chris Dobby is another key partner, who is experienced in fraud-related disputes and asset recovery actions.

Mayer Brown JSM is acting for numerous parties in Hong Kong’s high-profile drinking water inquiry concerning lead contamination in tap water, and also represented HSH Nordbank in the highest-value ship mortgage enforcement in Hong Kong in 2015. Practice head John Hickin and Nicholas Hunsworth are recommended. Venna Cheng was promoted to partner in January 2016, as was Bill Amos, who is ‘well connected, flexible and provides practical solutions’.

At Reed Smith Richards Butler, William Barber’s ‘out-of-the-box thinking provides practical solutions’, and Asha Sharma is ‘very experienced in handling winding up and insolvency matters’; together, they jointly lead the practice. The firm acted for HKT in a claim against a network infrastructure company, Top Express, which it accused of illegally using the client’s telecoms network. Nathan Dentice assists major regulators with their statutory duties, and David Morrison and Alex Kaung are acting for CITIC in the high-profile market misconduct tribunal case.

Allen & Overy is representing a global investment bank in a dispute arising from the close-out of certain FX currency option transactions with an Indian counterparty following a defaulted payment. The team is also involved in the last of the Lehman Brothers mis-selling claims. Additional clients include Bank of China, Quiksilver, Deutsche Bank and HSBC. Practice head Simon Clarke, Fai Hung Cheung and Matt Bower are the key contacts.

Recent changes at Baker McKenzie’s practice include the promotion of Bryan Ng and Beijing-based Vivian Wu to partnership, and Roberta Chan and Peng Shen to special counsel. Cynthia Tang leads the team and was recently instructed by the majority shareholders of a leading manufacturer in an action against a former director for misappropriation, breaches of fiduciary duties, solicitation of employees and diversion of business.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP continues to demonstrate its superior position through the presence of Martin Rogers and James Wadham, the doyens of the Hong Kong regulatory market. The team recently acted for a Big Four accountancy firm in a major audit negligence claim. It is also representing two international solicitors’ firms in separate major professional negligence actions brought by the liquidators of formerly listed companies.

Deacons receives praise for housing easily accessible partners and providing ‘good value for money’. Joseph Kwan heads the practice and represented companies in the Fraser and Neave group in respect of a HK$50m joint venture dispute in China. In other recent work, Daisy Tong acted for Hong Kong Cable Television in a high-profile dispute with the government. Richard Hudson has ‘a great bedside manner and is easy to work with’, Kwok Kit Cheung is recommended for his construction expertise, and the ‘helpfulRobert Clark has a solid reputation for commercial disputes.

Recent work at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer includes representing a NASDAQ-listed Chinese company in a contract dispute relating to a high-value privatisation deal. William Robinson leads the department, which includes key partners Georgia Dawson, Tim Mak and John Choong. Dawson acted for a major US financial institution in a multibillion-dollar claim brought against it in Thailand.

For some, the practice at King & Wood Mallesons is ‘head and shoulders above the competition’. Paul Starr, Barbara Chiu and the ‘dedicated and approachable’ Edmund Wan are key partners. The firm is acting for Yung Chi Kin Larry, former chairman of CITIC, in the high-profile market misconduct tribunal case before the SFC. Ronald Arculli is ‘great for seeing the big picture’.

The team at O’Melveny is ‘efficient, thorough and open to exploring creative strategies to resolve disputes’. With an outstanding reputation, Denis Brock leads the practice. Friven Yeoh recently departed for Sidley Austin.

In 2015, the Hong Kong team at DLA Piper welcomed Karl Buch from the firm’s New York office, bringing ‘plentiful industry experience from his background in a global pharmaceutical company’. The firm’s recent work includes defending Watanmal Boolchand & Co in proceedings brought by an ex-director alleging unpaid salary and bonus, a matter led by practice head Satpal Gobindpuri.

Gall is ‘extremely well regarded in the litigation field’, with Nick Gall at the helm. He is supported by the ‘responsive and efficientChris Wong, who is head of China-related matters and ‘provides very clear and thorough advice’. In recent personnel developments, Andrea Randall was promoted to partner and Michael Withington departed for Howse Williams Bowers in October 2015.

Howse Williams Bowers recruited Michael Withington from Gall in 2015. Practice head Chris Howse has ‘a wealth of experience’, and Kevin Bowers and Alison Scott are also recommended. Highlights included resisting a disclosure order brought by the Police Commissioner against a television station for footage of the Occupy Central demonstrations and related criminal prosecutions.

At Kennedys, ‘a proactive approach is adopted and commercial outcomes are sought’. The ‘very reputableRupert Skrine jointly leads the practice with the ‘very experienced and hands-onChris Sharrock. Rudy Chung is ‘a responsive litigator’ and Mark West is also recommended. Defence of professional negligence claims is the team’s forte.

Led by Melvin Sng, the team at Linklaters is praised for ‘understanding the softer issues and being proactive with solutions’. Marc Harvey is a key name, as is Justin Tang, who was promoted in 2016, bringing the partner headcount to four. The firm is representing a Hong Kong-based bank in an unfair prejudice claim brought by an activist shareholder.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s team is led by Camille Jojo and includes Jim James, who is ‘a highly experienced maritime litigator’, Alfred Wu, who focuses on construction litigation, and Wynne Mok, who handles issues with regulators and shareholder disputes.

Tom Fyfe leads the five-partner team at Simmons & Simmons LLP, which recently welcomed financial markets litigation consultant Paul Dorrans on secondment from the London office. Paul Li is acting for Leslie Chang, former director and CFO of CITIC Pacific in both the Market Misconduct Tribunal (MMT) and the High Court.

Stephenson Harwood’s team was bolstered with the arrival of Richard Wilmot from Watson Farley & Williams and Ivan Ng from Eversheds. Malcolm Kemp leads the practice, which recently acted for PT First Media (part of the Lippo Group conglomerate) in a high-profile dispute concerning the enforcement of Singapore arbitration awards in Hong Kong. Phillip Rompotisadopts an extremely detailed approach and is a good tactician’.

The practice at Tanner De Witt is led by Mark Side, who is acting for a high-net-worth individual in a professional negligence claim against an international bank. Jeff Lane is ‘a true market leader in fraud and asset recovery claims, with tremendous experience and local knowledge’. Lane is defending Yves Bouvier against a Russian billionaire accusing the client of defrauding him out of $500m. Pamela Mak is also a key contact.

At Wilkinson & Grist, Florence Chan is handling a shareholder dispute relating to a joint venture set up in Hong Kong. In other recent work, Keith Ho represented Timothy Fok Tsun Ting in a dispute regarding the estate of his father, Henry Fok Ying Tung, and Ivan Chu acted for Penny’s Bay Investment in a seabed reclamation and foreshore claim worth HK$1.6bn.

The team at Ashurst provides ‘sharp, to-the-point advice, and competitive pricing’, and practice co-heads Gareth Hughes and Angus Ross stand out for their ‘strong technical skills’ and ‘deft handling of difficult matters’. New clients and panel wins include Travelex, Crown Melbourne, Deutsche Bank, RBS and Hewlett-Packard. The firm recently defended a bank against a mis-selling claim brought by an investor.

At Bird & Bird, ‘user-friendly’ practice head Richard Keady is ‘very good at getting to the nub of the issue’. His team acts for clients such as Intel, HSBC, Virgin Atlantic and Gap. Robert Rhoda joined from RPC in 2016.

Simon McConnell leads Clyde & Co LLP’s practice, which continues to act for large multinational insurers in US securities class action claims against Chinese companies. In 2016, Anthony Woo joined from Hill Dickinson Hong Kong in association with Laracy & Co. and Michael Parker relocated to become the Singapore office managing partner.

The team at Eversheds is led by the ‘capable and experienced’ Mark Yeadon, who was recently joined by Veronique Marquis from the London office. In recent work highlights, Vishal Melwani and Adam Ferguson acted for the Communications Authority in a High Court judicial review, which marked the first time the Hong Kong judiciary ruled on competition law issues. Consultant Tim Browning is also recommended.

At Holman Fenwick Willan, practice head George Lamplough is acting for the minority shareholder of the Hong Kong branch of an international group of companies headquartered in the UAE in an unfair prejudice claim against the majority shareholders. Peter Murphy and Peter Coles are also recommended.

A specialist shipping firm ‘with good experience and a solid foundation’, Ince & Co is acting for an Australian pipe supplier in a damages claim after the seller allegedly failed to comply with packaging and stowage requirements. Su Yin Anand’s ‘knowhow is invaluable and she does a large amount for women in the shipping industry’. Rosita Lau is ‘reliant and efficient’, and Rory Macfarlane is ‘diligent and analytical’.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP added two key practitioners in 2016: Chiann Bao, former secretary general of the HKIAC, and Steve Kwok, former US Department of Justice resident legal adviser in Beijing. Rory McAlpine and Bradley Klein are also names to note. Representing China-based issuers in US securities litigation is the team’s niche.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP represents clients from various industry sectors; it acted for a Chinese EPC contractor during a construction dispute relating to a large power plant, and represented a US-based financial services company regarding a failed M&A transaction. Christopher Tahbaz and Mark Johnson are highly respected.

At Hill Dickinson Hong Kong in association with Laracy & Co., key partners include Anthony Woo, Damien Laracy and Bryan O’Hare, the latter of whom joined in September 2015 from Hogan Lovells, specialising in insolvency litigation. The firm recently assisted with the recovery of stolen funds for a US company following internet fraud scams.

The ‘high-quality’ practice at Latham & Watkins LLP is led by Simon Powell. The firm was recently instructed by Wongs Investment in a dispute with Eminent Triumph over shares in China Kingstone Mining Holdings, a BVI company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Minter Ellison reaps praise for its client care, which is exhibited in Malcolm Chin, ‘who thinks outside the box and has a good temperament’. The team acted for Jetstar Hong Kong Airways in its application for a licence to operate in Hong Kong.

RPC is acting for an international law firm in relation to alleged negligent advice given regarding a complex bond restructuring exercise. David Smyth leads the practice, which includes Gary Yin, who is ‘attentive to the commercial sensitivities of a case’, and Antony Sassi.

Sidley Austin has an ‘impressive’ dispute resolution practice, despite the departure of practice head Charles Allen to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. Dominic James, ‘who clearly stands out’, was promoted to counsel, as was Jennifer Cheung, who demonstrates expertise in contentious regulatory matters. Restructuring and insolvency specialist Alex Rovira relocated from the New York office in 2015 to work alongside key disputes partners Yuet Ming Tham and Alan Linning. Since then, Friven Yeoh also arrived from O'Melveny.

For some, WK To & Co’s ‘competency level is above other leading firms in the region’. Senior partner and founder Vincent To acted for Grand Network Technology, a BVI company, in a dispute with a US company that obtained a Mareva injunction against the client. Vivian Wong was promoted to partner in 2015.

Addleshaw Goddard is praised for providing ‘good value for money’. Nigel Francis leads the practice and recently acted for a Hong Kong-based mobile phone manufacturer in an IP dispute. Ivan Chang is also recommended.

At Dechert, Kareena Teh’s ‘dedicated team always goes the extra mile’. The firm was recently instructed by automotive corporation Daimler, in a matter involving interlocutory applications and providing expert opinion on Russian company law.

The practice at Jones Day is led by Peter Wang (based in Shanghai and Beijing) and Robert Thomson, and acts for clients such as Borrelli Walsh, Walmart, P&G and Weir Group. Phillip Georgiou departed for Baker Botts L.L.P. and Ashley Howlett moved to an in-house position.

In early 2016, K&L Gates bolstered its team with the arrival of counsel Bonita Chan from Hastings & Company and Jay Chiu from Goodwin in Los Angeles. Christopher Tung leads the practice, which also includes Sacha Cheong and Samuel Ngo.

Randall Arthur leads Kobre & Kim’s practice, where recent highlights include acting for the developers of a $3.5bn resort in the Bahamas, Baha Mar, in a dispute regarding completion of the resort. Shaun Wu is praised for his handling of China-related matters and ‘does an excellent job conveying the case across cultural and linguistic barriers’.

Top-notch’ firm Locke Lord acted for Hong Jing, a Macanese company, against Zhuhai Kwok Yuen, a state-owned company, in a breach of exclusivity and fiduciary duty claim, which settled in January 2016. Greg Burch leads the team, and of counsel Adrian Tayloris rated highly for his personal touch and commercially sensible approach’.

Morrison & Foerster assisted Del Monte Foods with recovering fraudulently procured funds through obtaining an emergency injunction. Timothy Blakely heads the practice and is noted for his cross-examination skills.

Mark Reeves and Niall Giblin are the key contacts at Munros, which is well known for its expertise in shareholder disputes, regulatory investigations and internet fraud claims.

ONC Lawyers’ key partners are Ludwig Ng and Sherman Yan. Ng acted for Ming Pao Newspapers in a defamation dispute, which was the first time the Reynolds Defence was tried before a judge and jury in Hong Kong.

The practice at Oldham, Li & Nie is led by Richard Healy, who is well known for his expertise in shareholder disputes and IP infringement matters. Alfred Ip has ‘sound knowledge, and is good at devising practical strategies and managing client expectations’.

During 2016, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP hired Charles Allen from Sidley Austin, who brings expertise in representing major global corporations and listed companies in product liability claims, breach of contract actions, derivative class actions and insolvency-related disputes.

At Troutman Sanders LLP, ‘impressive’ team head Eric Szweda is ‘particularly good at cross-examination’ and Ronald Sum is the go-to partner for China-related matters.

Kenneth Wong is the key contact at Woo Kwan Lee & Lo. The firm has been acting for the Cheung Kong group in an enquiry brought by the SFC over the cancellation of transactions with purchasers of hotel room units at The Apex Horizon.

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