Hong Kong > Employment
Index of tables
Herbert Smith Freehills
Paul Hastings LLP
Reed Smith Richards Butler
Allen & Overy
- Howse Williams Bowers
King & Wood Mallesons
Baker & McKenzie’s clients praise the firm for its strength in depth across the Asia Pacific region, which gives the firm ’a real competitive advantage’, and ’substantial manpower’, making it ideal for time-sensitive matters. Team head Jennifer Van Dale is ’a fantastic lawyer; she is very responsive, and her regional co-ordination skills are formidable’. Van Dale leads on non-contentious matters, and Susan Kendall on contentious instructions. Recent mandates include a multi-jurisdictional investigation into a former senior employee of a major Dutch clothing company, and managing BT’s regional employment portfolio.
Mayer Brown JSM’s employment practice is led by ’first-class practitioner’ Duncan Abate. In 2012 the group handled the implementation of the Minimum Wage Ordinance for a number of clients including Swire Group and the Health Authority. Abate’s team also defended Cathay Pacific in claims brought by members of the cabin crew concerning statutory benefits, and represented Bank of America in a breach of contract claim brought by a former employee. Hong Tran is ’highly personable, knowledgeable, and professional’.
Simmons & Simmons LLP’s regional team has expanded with the addition of anti-corruption expert Lesli Ligorner to the Shanghai office from Paul Hastings LLP. The group undertakes a variety of multi-jurisdictional mandates, recently assisting with the employment aspects of the sale of a global real estate business. Clients include Cathay Pacific, Gucci Group Asia Pacific and Warner Bros. The well-regarded Fiona Loughrey is also recommended.
DLA Piper’s employment team has undergone a reshuffle in recent months; the relocation of former team head Pattie Walsh to the Sydney office has left six associates in the Hong Kong office, including new additions Rosamund Browne and Naveen Qureshi. Work highlights included advising a leading US clothing retailer on a disability discrimination matter, and assisting a global investment bank with the harmonisation of its severance policies and separation agreements across 12 Asia Pacific jurisdictions. Senior associate Sharyn Morrison has left the practice.
Deacons’ team has ’comprehensive knowledge of Hong Kong employment matters’, which it employs for an impressive institutional client base. It recently acted on the employment aspects of the merger of two Japanese banks, and also advised on a cross-border matter involving an employee suspected of serious misconduct. Practice head Cynthia Chung is ’outstanding; she has high levels of specialist industry knowledge, and pairs it with a good feeling for how the decision impacts clients’.
Gall’s practice head Emily Duncan acts for both employees and employers, and continues to be well respected within the market. In 2012 the group acted for a senior banker accused of theft of confidential information, and successfully obtained springboard injunctions on behalf of two manufacturing companies in relation to theft of confidential information. Michael Withington recently joined from Herbert Smith.
Linklaters’ team recently advised on the employment aspects of a leading financial institution’s sale of part of its business across the Asia Pacific; and assisted BNP Paribas on a regional headcount reduction across the region. Counsel Rowan MckEnzie is the key contact. Clients include Citigroup, JP Morgan and Nike.
Oldham, Li & Nie’s employee-focused practice is praised for its ’out-of-the-box’ advice on employment law matters. Chris Hooley is recommended. Non-contentious highlights included advising CEOs on exit packages, while on the contentious side it handles Labour Tribunal and High Court matters concerning breaches of fiduciary duties, claims for wrongful dismissal and breaches of confidentiality.
Kim Boreham leads Tanner De Witt’s practice, which handles both employer and employee matters, and successfully defended four senior executives against allegations of breaches of conduct in the high-profile Cantor Fitzgerald v Jason Boyer. It also advised a number of CEOs and senior executives in relation to exit packages and terminations. Russell Bennett recently rejoined the team from an in-house position at GFI Group.
Herbert Smith Freehills’s practice has undergone some changes of late, with senior consultant Michael Withington leaving for Gall, and senior associate Tara Grossman arriving from the London office. Recent work highlights include advising on a multi-jurisdictional High Court case concerning a managing director’s termination. Gareth Thomas leads the team.
The ’excellent and commercially aware team’ at Kennedys is jointly led by Richard Bates and Toby Brown, and predominantly services the firm’s insurance clients, such as AIA and QBE, as well as executive search firms such as Napier Wolf. Work highlights included discrimination and wrongful dismissal claims, and termination and redundancy payments. The group is also advising QBE on the employment aspects of various corporate acquisitions.
Paul Hastings LLP’s practice is led by Michael Downey, and advises on the full range of transactional, contentious and general counselling matters. Recent work includes advising on employee transfers, statutory benefits packages, and exit strategies for senior employees.
Pinsent Masons’ ’proactive and commercial’ practice is particularly praised for its tailored service to smaller companies. Commercial lawyer Peter Bullock is the main figure in Hong Kong, and routinely advises on the movement of labour within the financial services sector. Highlights included acting for the former in the high-profile Cantor Fitzgerald v Jason Boyer case, concerning the exit of four senior executives from an investment bank.
Reed Smith Richards Butler recently lost key team member Kevin Bowers, who left to establish Howse Williams Bowers. Partners Jonathan Green, Asha Sharma and Desmond Liaw remain at the firm, and continue to advise on matters including restrictive covenants, wrongful dismissal matters, and discrimination claims.
Consultant Susana Ng is the main contact at Allen & Overy’s Hong Kong office. Ng works closely with the Shanghai office, and recently advised on the employment aspects of a business restructuring for a leading bank.
Clifford Chance’s practice is headed by Brian Gilchrist, and advises clients on matters such as cross-border employment structures and employee claims.
Hogan Lovells advises multinational companies on Hong Kong related matters and claims. Tim Fletcher’s team recently acted on the interpretation of the Minimum Wage Ordinance, and on the demotion of a senior employee.
Howse Williams Bowers’ newly established practice is headed by former Reed Smith Richards Butler partner Kevin Bowers. The five fee-earner team recently acted on wrongful termination claims, and advised on lateral partner hires.
King & Wood Mallesons has been receiving an increasing number of instructions from global companies. Highlights included acting for a major European bank in the drafting of its employee handbooks. Edmund Wan and Jeff Lane are the main points of contact, with the latter highlighted as ’remorseless in pursuing his clients’ interests’.
Stephenson Harwood’s team is co-headed by Hilda Chiu, who focuses on non-contentious matters, and consultant Yeeling Wan, who handles contentious mandates. In 2012 the pair acted for Canadian, UK and European banks on matters spanning terminations of senior employees, restrictive covenants, and general employment issues.